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The Mountains of My Life Paperback – 27 May 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (27 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141192917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141192918
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 32,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Walter Bonatti was born in Bergamo on June 22, 1930. As a young man he dedicated himself to extreme alpinism, and from the age of 19 to 35, he became an expert climber. In 1954 he played a vital role in the success of the Italian expedition that achieved the first ascent of K2. After 1965 Bonatti gave up mountaineering, turning to photojournalism for the Italian magazine Epoca, and travelling to remote places.


Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Bonatti takes us on a roller coaster ride of his most audacious and awe-inspiring alpine adventures. You feel the bone-chilling bivouacs and the mind-blowing exposure of his most creative climbs, many of which were done solo and in the finest alpine style.
This book is a must read for collectors of the genre and anyone interested in alpine history. From the humourous but life threatening hitting of his thumb whilst hammering in a piton on the first ascent of the Whymper Spur, to his tortuous arrival at the Gamba hut after the tragic sequence of events on the Central Pillar of Freney during which four climbers perished - it is all told in a human and compelling way.
In the final section of the book there is a detailed analysis of the K2 controversy which is disected from every angle, from the ascent of the mountain to the ensuing court case ten years later. These chapters for me were a little dry but formed a contrast to the previous alpine adventures. However, this shouldn't put anyone off reading such a thought provoking book about one mans achievements and life adventures. One is left in no doubt that Bonatti was the most accomplished and prolific alpinist of his era.
He has a great story to tell and he forces you to keep turning the pages, as, in his life not only was he stalked by controversy but whilst 'on the heights' he seemed to be a magnet for storm and bad weather.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a classic read from one of the greatest mountaineers in the history of climbing. All his major climbs are recalled by the man himself who gives vivid and poetic accounts superbly translated by Robert Marshall, a friend of Bonatti. Bonatti's account of his 1984 climb of Mont Blanc is particularly beautiful, revealing the spiritual dimension of the man. The book gets bogged down for a few pages when Bonatti attempts to clear his name regarding the events of the 1954 K2 climb, but his reasons are understandable and he reveals himself as a man of great integrity. One of the best mountaineering books I've read. The man is a legend.
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By D. Elliott TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With its budget paperback binding of The Modern Library Exploration Series this book appears small - but it is immense - physically at almost 500 pages in length, and spiritedly telling a big, big story from one of the greatest mountaineers of all time - Walter Bonatti. His dedication to extreme mountaineering life set new standards yet spanned a mere 16 years from 1949 when as a teenager he climbed the NE Face of the Piz Badile (not NW as publication) until stepping down in 1965 after an audacious solo winter ascent of the N Face of the Matterhorn. Bonatti climbed continually in the Alps between these dates with first ascents including the E Face of the Grand Capucin and the SW Pillar of the Dru, plus in the Himalaya and South America. His traditional yet aspirational approaches were full of passion and almost innocence, and though this attracted respect and fame he was also attacked by some with envious agendas. In addition to early controversy arising from the first ascent of K2 Bonatti was criticised over his tragedies with fatalities of companions in the mountains, eventually leading to his `early retirement'.

All these elements and many more are embraced by `The Mountains of My Life' and readers will live through Walter Bonatti's triumphs, excitement, joy, suffering, fear and despair. Aware he was regarded by commentators as somewhat masochistic, even deranged, Bonatti acknowledges in his Preface how his career is studded with highly dramatic episodes, but points out how many wonderful ascents were completed without incident and with tranquil mind. Set in the post Second World War years there is a historical significance throughout with explanations on rudimentary gear/techniques, but more importantly with reference to emotional elements and degenerating ethics.
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Bonatti is a hero to many mountaineers. This collects writings about many of his greatest exploits - Bonatti pillar, epic on central pillar of freney, Bonatti Zapelli route on Grand Piler d'Angle. Plus an exhaustive run down on the ins and outs of the infamous K2 affair. Tremendous. He makes the climbing itself sound easy - wish it was for mere mortals!
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A really interesting book that looks into a selection of snippets throughout his life, rather than concentrating on one specific climb or adventure.

It's exciting, harrowing, moving, and inciteful.

Well worth the time to read it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great read, part climbing, part adventure, part thriller, part detective story. This book has it all. What ties it all together is reading about the struggles and victories and how they are often the same thing whilst getting a sense of what he got out of it all. Really enjoyable read.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is a beautiful book. In addition to chilling descriptions of the mountains, it is a haunting description of the perennial man versus nature quest and a plea for simpler times and purity. Bonatti's appears as a man not made for the pettiness of human reationships always drawn by the honesty of the mountains.
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