- Also check our best rated Travel Book reviews
Climbing Days Hardcover – 16 Jun 2016
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Climbing Days is a special book, not quite like anything I have ever read before, and a law unto itself. It's a wayward, funny, warm, wandering, open, inspiring journey back into the lives of two remarkable people, and out into the remarkable landscapes they explored. (ROBERT MACFARLANE, author of Landmarks)
[A]n affectionate portrait... For non-climbers, the attractions of mountaineering might seem inexplicable, but Richards conveys much of the thrill and sense of achievement. The resulting book is an entertaining and absorbing account of past and present relationships forged amid extreme physical endeavour. (Sunday Times)
Climbing Days is the most enormous fun. Richards has something of Jerome K Jerome about him. It's a miracle he lived to tell this tale and Climbing Days is a wonderful achievement. (Katharine Norbury Observer)
Sublime (Alex Preston Observer)
With its roots in the psychogeographical writing about landscape, this fascinating account of the life of the early twentieth-century pioneering mountaineer Dorothy Pilley eschews objectivity in favour of dramatizing the relationship between writer and subject, melding personal reflection and the process of historical investigation. (TLS)
[A] totally engaging and satisfying book on every level - as biography, memoir, travelogue and erudite meditation on the restlessness and indomitableness of the human spirit. (Caught by the River)
[A] rich and illuminating portrait of a remarkable woman. (Roger Cox Scotsman)
Enjoyable, funny and thought-provoking. What more could you want from your mountain literature, or any other book for that matter? (ELSEWHERE: A Journal of Place)
[A] journey of discovery ... [a] fascinating book. (Climber)
Enlighten(s) our knowledge and understanding of an interesting figure in 20th century British climbing. (Footless Crow)
A thrilling travel book, following in the footsteps of a pioneering mountaineer.See all Product description
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
In Climbing Days, Dan Richards goes in search of his great-great-aunt, who wrote a book of the same name in 1935. Most climbing books, to a greater or lesser extent, focus on the author. While the author is clearly present in the book, the main character is not really there, always at arms length, one pitch away from the pages.
This is not really a book about ‘why I climb’, more than why did she climb? And given the scarcity of female climbers in the 1930s this is an interesting question - and one which may or may not really be answered by this book.
Dorothy Pilley, the author’s great-great-aunt, climbed with her husband, and often with a guide. Both the current and past authors acknowledge that many of the climbs she achieved would not have been possible without the aim of the guide. Given the way that guided trips into the Greater Ranges are viewed these days I would really have liked this aspect to have been explored in rather more detail.
This book is at its best when the author is dealing with his own personal experiences and relating to them of Dorothy Pilley. The sections sections focused purely on Pilley’s own history seemed to go rather more slowly for me.
Recommended, especially if you have had you fill of ‘hairy chested’ mountaineering books!
Oddly, all this year's mountainous books seemed to fall into my lap from various friends near and far. Sometimes you set out on a journey and then other times, the journey picks you. In "Climbing Days" I was drawn in by its central figure Dorothea Richards (Pilley), an accomplished mountaineer and rebel with an overflow of energy. As I read about her obsession with aesthetics, a need to make things real by writing them down, and the founding of the Pinnacle Club for women climbers during the early 1920s, I saw her restlessness as both physical and intellectual - but not intellectual in a way that confines one to a lecture hall. It was more of a burning curiosity to be permeated by everything the world had to offer, and maybe that still wouldn't be enough. I liked her instantly.
By far my favorite section of the book was 'Switzerland' where Dan climbs in Dorothea's footsteps to Dent Blanche - perhaps something of an ancestral calling, something to do with bloodlines. But I think Katherine Rundell of Oxford said it best early in the book when she described it as "unmooring your sense of fear and self-preservation from your sense of hope and danger and adventure." This will resound with anyone who defaults to adventure for escape, for rebellion, for distraction, for the reluctant and harrowing search inward. There isn't enough kit in all the world to prepare you for that, but you find yourself unable to stay home and stagnate.
I spent a good deal of my thirties unmooring myself by ironically hanging from a rope on the sides of cliffs. People were always asking why. Sometimes reasons are difficult to find and even harder to explain to those who never have, but here's my best attempt. My memory of that time is strewn with images of an impossible scope of nature viewed from above the treetops and pocketed sandstone amphitheaters. This impossible feeling that's even more impossible to ignore is also the crux of Dan's book, while his soulful writing - part ancestry research and part alpine exploration - is how we get there. That arrival point is the impetus to find one's own pinnacle, the last hope of any adventurer. And a quest to resolve one's sense of self-awareness with the rest of the world is rarely ever attempted within any normal reaches of gravity.
Perhaps this is what grows more palpable while reading "Climbing Days". It starts with the expanse that exists in the mind of the adventurer, saying 'no' to stagnation and the status quo, crossing that abyss, and the profound discoveries made at every waypoint therein. It is a landscape of internal as well as external extremes. It happens in whatever phase of life the adventurer finds herself. It flourishes in the many connections with people - both familiar and stranger - encountered on the journey.
Brilliant hatch drawing cover by Stanley Donwood.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews