7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: 8000m: Climbing the World's Highest Mountains: All 14 Summits (Hardcover)
This is Alan's first book, but he is already a well-known contributor to climbing magazines and to many publications such as the Alpine Journal. He has developed a narrative style that is essentially accessible and easy to read, without being at all condescending or verbose. He has the knack of making us sweat with fear at the seeming certainty of a horrible death, and then cheer out loud at the incredible achievement of not only summiting, but most importantly descending safely, against all the odds.
He is totally underrated as a photographer and high-altitude film-maker, but he will now hopefully receive the acclaim he deserves, as the illustrations are superb. Many would be suited to a larger format to bring out all the details. (He does generally have poster-sized prints to sell at his live presentations.) I am stunned that he managed to take such photographs at an altitude where most climbers are desperately concentrating on just trying to breathe, and to put one foot in front of the other, without plummeting to their doom. Taking shots of himself often involved balancing the camera on a rock, downclimbing again, then re-ascending, painstakingly checking the shots each time, and repeating as necessary: an arduous task in often dangerous and difficult conditions. 'Gnarly'!
Paragraphs about specific subjects of interest, including such widely varied topics as 'Dealing with Death' and 'Roseberry Topping' are inserted between the chapters describing the ascents, and this design feature makes it, perhaps, a book to dip into rather than devour instantly from cover to cover - though actually it can be rather hard to put down. In a nutshell, a beautiful book by an amazing guy, don't know why he hasn't received a knighthood for his achievement, why has he not had more recognition: but as he says, he's most proud of being a Yorkshireman!