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John Gill: Master of Rock

The life of a bouldering legend

Paperback (84pp)
  • Paperback £12.99
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Please note: this is a print-on-demand title and may take up to ten working days to arrive

John Gill: Master of Rock is a captivating look into the life, achievements and ethos of boulderer John Gill. This new edition of the classic title is complete with photographs, personal impressions of Gill from climbers such as Yvon Chouinard, and an enlightening interview with Gill himself.

Hailed the father of modern bouldering, John Gill is an awe-inspiring climber with enigmatic talent. His techniques have been likened to poetry and are almost ‘spiritual’ in nature. Famous for his dynamic approach to bouldering and his impressive physical accomplishments, such as the one-arm front lever, Gill is an inspiration to climbers around the world.

Written by Gill’s friend and fellow climber, Pat Ament, John Gill: Master of Rock pays homage to this influence. Delving deeply into not only the fascinating life of Gill, but the very raw essence of what it means to boulder, this intimate biography is both intriguing and informative.

'Bouldering is the poetry of mountaineering … As with good poetry, good bouldering comes from within. It is derived from an inner eye, then refined.'

At its core, John Gill: Master of Rock illustrates the humbling relationship between Gill and those who admire him – as Ament details first-hand, Gill is never egotistical, nor elitist; instead he is approachable, passionate and refreshingly independent.

This staple climbing read is a real must-have for those with an interest in pioneers of the bouldering scene. The exploits and adventures contained within will appeal to devotees of the sport and to anyone seeking insight into the triumphs of a master.

American rock climber and author Pat Ament is known for his creative writing, having published a range of impactful pieces such as his Mountain article ‘The Black Canyon With Kor,’ his imagistic masterpiece ‘Swaramandal,’ and his bestselling biographies John Gill: Master of Rock and Royal Robbins: Spirit of the Age. Much of his work has been praised for showing how humour and philosophy might fit into what is often particularly technical writing. In addition to this, dozens of his articles have appeared in anthologies of the best climbing and mountaineering writings due to their high quality. A keen gymnast whilst at university, Ament set free-climbing standards and partnered with masters including Layton Kor, Dave Rearick, Royal Robbins, Tom Higgins and Chuck Pratt. Ament became a bouldering inspiration and teamed with John Gill, achieving numerous first ascents both as a free-climber and a boulderer, throughout the 1960s and 1970s. His route Supremacy Crack in Colorado, in 1965, was one of the hardest short free climbs in the country, whilst his freeing of Centre Route on the Slack in 1967 was the first 5.11 in Yosemite. In September 2013 he was inducted into the Boulder Sports Hall of Fame, which celebrates and preserves the legacy of the city’s greats who have excelled in their respective fields. Alongside these climbing successes, Ament has enjoyed recognition for his award-winning filmmaking, photography and art. Pat has won the Best Spirit Award at Telluride's Mountain film festival and, internationally, several outstanding achievement awards for film. Dubbed a ‘Renaissance Man’, Pat is a chess master, award-winning artist, pianist, songwriter, poet, photographer, and karate black belt. His humour, imagery, and gentle spirit have endeared him to a wide following.

  • Title: John Gill: Master of Rock
  • Subtitle: The life of a bouldering legend
  • Imprint: Vertebrate Publishing
  • ISBN: 9781912560011
  • Rights: Worldwide
  • Publication: 17 January 2019
  • Edition: First
  • Author: Pat Amend
  • Classification: Climbing and mountaineering (WSZG)
  • Size: 234mm x 156mm
  • Extent: 84 pages, black and white text with black and white images
  • Cover: Paperpack 
  • Retail price: £12.99

Also available as an ebook:

  • Imprint: Vertebrate Digital
  • ISBN: 9781912560004
  • Publication Date: 22 November 2018
  • Price: £4.99

A solid read from the father bouldering. It shows just how he influenced many of the greats. - Mansel Kersey, The Snow Leopard Award

The content of ‘John Gill: Master of Rock’ deserves a 5-star rating and so does its author. - Amazon reviewer 

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