Our top three bestselling hardbacks of 2021
- Thursday 16 December 2021
Doug taking in the view just below the summit of Kangchenjuna. © Doug Scott
So 2021 is reaching its close, and you’re reflecting on your accomplishments of the year and perhaps looking ahead to what you can achieve in 2022. Well here’s a quick hit of incredible literature to add to your January reading list and just might inspire you to go out and conquer a goal or two along the way.
The Mountain Path by Paul Pritchard
The Mountain Path was shortlisted for The Great Outdoors Book of the Year, and it’s not hard to see why; this biography from hemiplegic climber, Paul Pritchard, covers his trials and triumphs as he returns to the climb that nearly killed him.
But don’t just take our word for it, some of the most revered climbers and mountaineers around have this to say:
- Johnny Dawes: 'Out of a soup of pain and fears, a person clear about what really matters has surfaced.'
- Bernadette McDonald: 'Thoughtful, irreverent and oh, so eloquent, Paul Pritchard has shown us once again that he is unafraid of the feel of the burning light.’
- Lynn Hill; ‘Paul is an amazing person … From learning to walk again, daily falls and dealing with epileptic seizures, Paul has not only learned to climb again, but his meditative approach to life has led him on a path towards enlightenment that we can all learn from.’
- Jerry Moffatt: ‘Paul’s injury and recovery are inspirational and legendary. It’s a true example of what you can do with your life if you have drive and motivation’.
- Ed Douglas: ‘Paul Pritchard used his near-fatal brain injury as the inciting incident in a second life of metaphysical exploration, with some real adventures thrown in.’
Paul proves that living with a disability doesn’t mean leaving behind adventure and aspiration. In his youth he conquered many of the toughest climbs around, and his sense of perseverance has meant that since his brain injury he had continued to lead a challenging life through caving, tricycle racing, sea kayaking, river rafting, climbing Kilimanjaro, and, in 2009, a return to lead rock climbing. He also raises awareness for the charity Headway and the Upendo Leprosy Centre in Tanzania, and is a patron of Hemihelp and the Llanberis Mountain Film Festival. His previous books have been awarded the Boardman Tasker Prize on two occasions (Deep Play, 1997; Totem Pole, 1999), and the Grand Prize at the Banff Mountain Book Festival (Totem Pole, 1999).
Kangchenjunga by Doug Scott
A year ago we lost a true legend of mountaineering; Doug Scott CBE. He was on the team that made the first ascent of the south-west face of Everest, has received the Piolet d’Or Lifetime Achievement Award, has made over thirty first ascents … so many accomplishments!
Kangchenjunga is the world’s third highest mountain, and considered sacred. In fact, no mountaineer has stepped foot on its very top out of respect to the Sikkimese. In 1979 Doug and a team of some of the greatest mountaineers of the time summited this incredible mountain.
Kangchenjunga is Doug’s final book, and was written in his concluding years before he passed away at the end of 2020. It is a tribute to the sacred mountain of the same name; a love song to a Himalayan giant, written by a giant of Himalayan climbing.
Chris Martin of the Mountain Heritage Trust perhaps explains best why you should consider this book for your 2021 reading list:
‘I have to profess; I loved this book, and any reader and collector of mountain literature will be proud to have a copy of it on their shelves. It’s an outstanding epitaph to a man, loved and respected by a generation of mountaineers around the world.'
The Vanishing Ice by Iain Cameron
Here is another book shortlisted for The Great Outdoors Book of the Year Award. The Vanishing Ice is the diary of Scottish now hunter Iain Cameron. It’s filled with his scientific evidence and personal observations, chronicling the lifecycles of ice patches in Scotland’s beautiful mountains that can still be found in the summer and beyond.
Now, “how can a book about snow be recommended reading?” I hear you ask, well, Muriel Gray sums it up: “[Iain is] a man who can make staring at snow, not just interesting, but fascinating … possibly the only writer who can pack history, geography, meteorology and adventure into tiny patches of snow."
This is a passion that Iain first identified at nine years old, captivated by the sight of snow in summertime. Through his close friendship with Dr Adam Watson, Iain has developed his expertise in snow and ice patches that have captivated travellers and writers for hundreds of years, and reflects on the impact of climate change in today’s world.
In The Vanishing Ice Iain takes on a tour of Britain, taking in the Scottish Highlands, the Southern Uplands, the Lake District and Snowdonia, from one elusive snow patch to the next. Highlights include a perilous climb in the Cairngorms with Ed Byrne and hill walks with Andrew Cotter and his dutiful dogs, Olive and Mabel.