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The Games Climbers Play

A selection of one hundred mountaineering articles

Paperback (480pp)
  • Paperback £12.99
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Games Climbers Play is a collection of essays, tales and stories that plugs into the frenetic world of rock climbers and mountaineers.

Written by a diverse band of writers who range from Frank Smythe, Dougal Haston and Pete Boardman to Martin Boysen, Ed Drummond and Yvon Chouinard, the book captures the joie de vivre that attends genuinely adventurous climbing, while never losing sight of the deadly serious game that it can become.

The collection of essays articles, poems and short stories was first printed in 1978 and has been reprinted a whopping six times – a testament to its popularity and position as a classic of climbing literature. Many of the entries are drawn from magazines and journals, which gives Games an immediacy not found in other collections. It is spiced with light-hearted and humorous items, tempered with some polemical and philosophical tracts and illustrated by Sheridan Anderson’s cartoons, which punctuate any hint of pomposity with their scathing caricatures and observations, to complete a truly irreverent picture of the climbing game.

This latest edition adds commentaries to each article. Despite the passage of time, the thoughts and ideas of the band of voices collected here are instantly recognizable as belonging to that breed of beings that gravitate towards vertical challenges. Climbers have always played, and always will, the very many varieties of their game, and this wonderful anthology is a wonderful reflection of that fact, a resource for the next generation; you are not alone, many have spent lifetimes enslaved to a playing the climbers game, and many more will follow, incensed by the mandate of this kaleidoscopic anthology.

Ken Wilson was editor of Mountain magazine from 1969 until 1978 and owner of the outdoor publishers Diadem from 1978 until 1989, until it was incorporated into Hodder. In 1993 Hodder downsized, and Ken set up the publishing house, Baton Wicks. He has been publisher and author of many valued outdoor books including: the 'Hard Rock' series, The Games Climbers Play, The Black Cliff, Cold Climbs, Wild, Classic and Big Walk, and others including Argonauts of the Western Isles, Canoeing across Canada and Run River Run. Ken is a member of the Climbers' Club, for which he edited the journal in 1976, and is intimately involved with the BMC, both as a volunteer and a critic. He is an Alpine Club Member and an Honorary Member of the BMC.

  • Title: The Games Climbers Play
  • Sub-title: A selection of one hundred mountaineering articles
  • Author: Various. Compiled by Ken Wilson
  • Foreword: Al Alvarez
  • Imprint: Bâton Wicks
  • ISBN: 978-1-898573-65-4
  • Rights:
  • Publication date: Dec 2005 (First published 1978)
  • Edition: Second
  • Format: Paperback
  • Size: 234mm x 155mm
  • Extent: 480 pages
  • Weight: 475g
  • Retail price: £12.99

‘Wilson’s book remains a glorious echo of an era when factions tended to have a paper journal; a mouthpiece for the expiation of their thoughts, achievements, anger, anarchy and – just occasionally – literary brilliance. It remains a rich reminder of our heritage from an age which still seems near but, in fact, was pretty far out.’
Tom Chamberlain, Climb Magazine

‘Avoiding both romantic sentimentality and pedantic sterility The Games Climbers Play exudes life, charm and vitality, and if nothing else assures you that you are addicted to a sport that is found addicting by a lot of intelligent concerned people.’
Charles Hood, Off Belay Magazine

‘This is a vast and splendiferous tome: an anthology with something for everyone interested in mountains and mountaineering. You’ll find it hard to put down.’
Roger Smith, The Great Outdoors (TGO) Magazine

‘A book to remind climbers of all abilities of how narrow-minded, diverse and how funny and tragic the climbing experience can be. It is an antidote to an overdose of world class epics, hopelessly beyond your reach.’
David Bentley, Climbing Magazine

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