His father, Frank Smythe – biography of a Himalayan legend

His father, Frank Smythe – biography of a Himalayan legend

It’s been a while since I wrote at length about Frank Smythe, the legendary British mountain explorer who was something of a celebrity in the 1930s when he became one of the first people to make a career of climbing,

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Is The Last Great Mountain by Mick Conefrey the last great book about Kangchenjunga?

Is The Last Great Mountain by Mick Conefrey the last great book about Kangchenjunga?

It’s not clear why Kangchenjunga should be considered the last great mountain, but whatever: this book is a comprehensive history of all expeditions up to its first ascent in 1955. I learned a lot from it, and I can thoroughly recommend it, however well acquainted you are with Kangchenjunga’s history.

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Learning about the Manang Valley in the early days of the Annapurna Circuit

Learning about the Manang Valley in the early days of the Annapurna Circuit

Now that the pubs are all closed, I’ve been spending Saturday nights searching for mountain gems on YouTube. Here’s one. In the Shadow of Annapurna offers a glimpse into an earlier age in Nepal, when things were rapidly changing but many of the old ways remained.

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What I’m learning from Robert Macfarlane’s reading group about Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain

What I’m learning from Robert Macfarlane’s reading group about Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain

As coronavirus lockdown takes hold, the nature writer Robert Macfarlane has started running a reading group on Twitter about Nan Shepherd’s classic nature book The Living Mountain. It was a no-brainer for me to join, and it’s helping me to see the world differently.

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Review: Touching the Void, on stage in London’s West End

Review: Touching the Void, on stage in London’s West End

There aren’t many characters in Joe Simpson’s book Touching the Void, and the main one spends most of the story entirely alone, contemplating existence as he crawls for three days along a glacier. How on earth were they going to make a stage version of this?

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10 great books about mountains that have nothing to do with climbing

10 great books about mountains that have nothing to do with climbing

The shortlist for this year’s Boardman Tasker Prize was announced this month, and once again five out of six books on the shortlist are about climbing. You can be certain that the winner will be one of the five. [*]

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