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Ten top tales of mountain adventure: 30% off biographies

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

It’s 1 November so you know what that means. Roll on the Coca-Cola truck and press play on the John Lewis advert. If you’re mulling over what to get your climbing friends this year, we’ve put together this helpful wish list of ten mountaineering biographies and given you a special 30% discount code to use at checkout. Scroll down to the bottom for details …


The Bond

Simon McCartney was a cocky young British alpinist climbing many of the hardest routes in the Alps during the late seventies, but it was a chance meeting in Chamonix in 1977 with Californian ‘Stonemaster’ Jack Roberts that would dramatically change both their lives – and almost end Simon’s. Their first objective was the 5,500-foot north face of Mount Huntington, a route so hard and serious that for decades nobody believed they had climbed it. They then made the first ascent of the south-west face of Denali, a climb that would prove almost fatal for Simon, and one which would break the bond between the two young climbers for over three decades. A lifetime later, a chance reconnection with Jack gave Simon the chance to bury the ghosts of what happened high on Denali, when he had faced almost certain death.

Norton of Everest

E.F. Norton lived a life of distinction in the declining years of the British Empire. His gift for leadership was first demonstrated via his rapid progression through the ranks in the First World War. Events in the Second World War followed suit, when Norton was abruptly assigned the post of acting governor of Hong Kong, entrusted to save the civilian population from imminent Japanese invasion. The 1924 Everest expedition exemplifies the pattern of having had leadership thrust upon him. Leading from the front, Norton set an altitude record for climbing on Everest without supplementary oxygen. In Norton of Everest, Hugh Norton has written sensitively and knowledgably about his father’s remarkable life.

There is no map in hell

In 1986, the legendary fell runner Joss Naylor completed a continuous circuit of all 214 Wainwright fells in the Lake District, covering a staggering distance of over 300 miles – plus many thousands of metres of ascent – in only seven days and one hour. The person taking on this superhuman challenge would have to be willing to push harder and suffer more than ever before. There is no Map in Hell tells the story of a man willing to do just that. The book recounts Birkinshaw’s preparation, training and mile-by-mile experience of the extraordinary demands he made of his mind and body, and the physiological aftermath of such a feat.

Chris Bonington Mountaineer

Chris Bonington is one of the best-known and highly regarded mountaineers in the world. He has tested himself in some of the most savage and remote mountain regions, including the Karakoram, the Arctic, the Himalaya and Patagonia. This fully revised and updated edition of Bonington’s photographic autobiography gives a frank perspective into the surreal, majestic, mundane and occasionally tragic corners of his mountaineering career, and includes a new foreword by Leo Houlding.

Up and about

At dusk on 24 September 1975, Doug Scott and Dougal Haston became the first Britons to reach the summit of Everest as lead climbers on Chris Bonington’s epic expedition to the mountain’s immense South-West face.

Scott went on to become one of Britain’s greatest ever mountaineers, pioneering new climbs in the remotest corners of the globe. 

In Up and About, the first volume of his autobiography, Scott tells his story from his birth in Nottingham during the darkest days of war to the summit of the world. 

PUNK in the gym

Andy Pollitt is as close to a Hollywood A-lister as the climbing world will ever get. He had the looks, and he starred in all the big roles in the 1980s and 1990s – Tremadog, Pen Trwyn, the big Gogarth climbs, Raven Tor and the cult Australian adventures.

Alongside co-stars like Jerry Moffatt, John Redhead and Malcolm ‘HB’ Matheson, he brought us sexy climbing – gone were the beards, the woolly socks and the fibre pile. Andy was all skin-tight pink Lycra, vests and brooding looks.

For those watching, Andy Pollitt had it all.

But Punk in the Gym gives us the whole truth.

The fight for everest 1924

In 1924 Mount Everest remained unclimbed. Two British expeditions had already tackled what was known to be the highest mountain on Earth. The first, in 1921, found a route to the base. The second, in 1922, attempted the summit, reaching a record height of 27,320 feet before retreating. Two years later, a team that included Colonel E.F. Norton, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine returned to the Himalaya. Could they succeed where others had failed, and make the first ascent of the highest mountain on Earth? Before they could find out, tragedy struck – George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, climbing high on the mountain, vanished into the clouds.

First published in 1925, and reissued now for only the second time, The Fight for Everest 1924 is the official record of this third expedition to Everest.

Wild country

In early 1978, an extraordinary new invention for rock climbers was featured on the BBC television science show Tomorrow's World. It was called the 'Friend', and it not only made the sport safer, it helped push the limits of the possible. The company that made them was called Wild Country, the brainchild of Mark Vallance. Within six months, Vallance was selling Friends in sixteen countries. Wild Country would go on to develop much of the gear that transformed climbing in the 1980s. 

Diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in his mid fifties and robbed of his plans for retirement, Vallance found a new sense of purpose as a reforming president of the British Mountaineering Council. In Wild Country, Vallance traces his story. 

One Day as a Tiger

In the autumn of 1982, a single stone fell from high on the south face of Annapurna and struck Alex MacIntyre on the head, killing him instantly and robbing the climbing world of one of its greatest talents.

Although only twenty-eight years old, Alex was already one of the leading figures of British mountaineering’s most successful era. His ascents included hard new routes on Himalayan giants like Dhaulagiri and Changabang and a glittering record of firsts in the Alps and Andes.

One Day As A Tiger, John Porter’s revelatory and poignant memoir of his friend Alex MacIntyre, shows mountaineering at its extraordinary best and tragic worst.


On 14 June 1990, at Raven Tor in the Derbyshire Peak District, twenty-four-year-old Ben Moon squeezed his feet into a pair of rock shoes, tied in to his rope, chalked his fingers and pulled on to the wickedly overhanging, zebra-striped wall of limestone. Two minutes later he had made rock-climbing history with the first ascent of Hubble, now widely recognised as the world’s first F9a.

Born in the suburbs of London in 1966, Moon started rock climbing on the sandstone outcrops of Kent and Sussex. A pioneer in the sport-climbing revolution of the 1980s and a bouldering legend in the 1990s, he is one of the most iconic rock climbers in the sport’s history,

In Statement, Moon’s official biography, award-winning writer Ed Douglas paints a portrait of a climbing visionary.

Save 30% off each of these titles when you enter the code BOOKISHGIFTS at checkout. Offer ends on 19 December.

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