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Hanging On - Paperback

A life inside British climbing’s golden age

Paperback (272pp)
  • Paperback £12.99
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NEW Paperback edition

Signed Copies


FINALIST: 2014 Banff Mountain Book Festival

Shortlisted: 2014 Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature

The start of a love affair:

‘I kicked off my shoes and prepared to climb in stocking feet, aware of an enormous sense of occasion as I laid hands on the rock and stepped up on the first rounded hold. It was not a hard climb but that was unimportant. I felt instinctively at home and at the finish experienced such a surge of happy elation that I knew then I was committed to climbing.’

Martin Boysen’s passion for crags and mountains springs from his deep love of nature and a strong sense of adventure. From his early days on rock as a Kent schoolboy after the war, he was soon among the most gifted climbers of his or any generation, famed for his silky technique.

Boysen made a huge contribution to British rock climbing, especially in North Wales; he discovered Gogarth in the 1960s and climbed some of the best new routes of his era: Nexus on Dinas Mot, The Skull on Cyrn Las and the magisterial Capital Punishment on Ogwen’s Suicide Wall.

For more than two decades, Boysen was also one of Britain’s leading mountaineers. A crucial member of Sir Chris Bonington’s team that climbed the South Face of Annapurna in 1970, Boysen was also part of Bonington’s second summit team on the South West face of Everest. In 1976 he made the first ascent of Trango Tower with Joe Brown.

Along the way, Boysen climbed with some of the most important figures in the history of the sport, not just stars like Bonington and Brown, but those who make climbing so rich and intriguing, like Nea Morin and the brilliant but doomed Gary Hemming. He joined Hamish MacInnes hunting gold in Ecuador, doubled for Clint Eastwood on the North Face of the Eiger and worked on director Fred Zinnemann’s last movie.

Wry, laconic and self-deprecating, Martin Boysen’s Hanging On is an insider’s account of British climbing’s golden age.

Also available as an ebook:

Kindle (Amazon UK site)
Kindle (Amazon US site)

Martin Boysen started climbing on the sandstone outcrops of Sussex over fifty-five years ago and rapidly became one of Britain’s outstanding rock climbers. He extended his climbing to the Alps and Greater Ranges, taking part in several important Himalayan climbs, including the first ascent of the South Face of Annapurna in 1970. In the long course of his climbing life he has met and made friends with many of the leading climbers of his generation, including Joe Brown, Don Whillans, Pete Crew, Baz Ingle, Nick Estcourt, Doug Scott and Chris Bonington. He studied Botany at Manchester University where he met his wife Maggie, and worked for many years as a teacher – a career interrupted frequently by expeditions. He still lives near Manchester and maintains his love of climbing and nature. He has one daughter, Kate, married to JC, and he greatly enjoys trying to keep up with his grandchildren Poppy and Arne as they scamper over the rocks.

  • Title: Hanging On
  • Sub-title: A life inside British climbing’s golden age
  • Author: Martin Boysen
  • Imprint: Vertebrate Publishing
  • ISBN: 978-1-911342-31-1
  • Rights: Worldwide
  • Publication date: 6 April 2017
  • Edition: First paperback edition
  • Size: 234mm x 156mm
  • Extent: 272 pages, black and white with 1x 16pp colour plate
  • Cover: Paperback (flaps)
  • Weight: 400g
  • Retail price: £12.99

Also available as an ebook:

  • Imprint: Vertebrate Digital
  • ISBN: 978-1-910240-01-4
  • Publication Date: 1 July 2014
  • Price: £20

'I can't remember when I last read a book which was not about computers or the great outdoors but from the very start of the book, I found it difficult to put it down. As a climber, I knew the names of most of the climbers that Martin talked about, but was astounded by his memory in remembering the routes and names of all of the places climbed.'
– Amazon reviewer

'Wonderful book covering the establishment and development of British climbing and climbers, the "golden age"as the book descibes it. As a young climber at the time these were my heroes and the people that set the standards, most are here and most of the hard rock.'
– Amazon reviewer

'A most enjoyable read which despite his talent comes across as a down to earth guy with no pretensions.'
– Amazon reviewer

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