Sunday 14 April 2013

The Next Horizon

Chris Bonington, the legendary British Mountaineer, is a master story teller when it comes to telling a real story. In The Next Horizon Bonington writes about his climbs from 1962 to 1972. 

Seek your horizons

Each story is interwoven with his mountaineering life and the non-climbing life thus making the book all the more readable. It is a phase of his life where he not only develops as a climber and as an able expedition leader but also when he left the so called secure jobs and lived off mountaineering first as a photographer then as a photographer and journalist.

The books starts with the exploits on the Paine in Chile when he had recently married Wendy and after his return from Chile takes us to the beautiful Lake District in search of a home for them where they had their first son, whom they unfortunately lost after just a few years when he drowned in a stream. Then follows a period of his alpine climbs, several of them as first ascents.

The photo-journalistic assignments take him not only to the mountains but also to the active volcano of Sangay in Ecuador and to the remote Eskimos of Canada and to the Blue Nile where after escaping narrowly after the rafts were overturned by the rapids they also had to face gunfire attacks of the bandits.

The jubilation at the successful first ascent of the South face of Annapurna under his leadership when Don Whillans and Dougal Haston became the first ones to climb is dampened by the death of Ian Clough who is swamped by an avalanche at the fag end of the expedition. The book concludes at a stage when he is preparing to go for the climb of the South-West Face on the Everest Expedition. The quest for the next horizon continues.

There are several top notch climbers who have survived the climbing years but there is none who is equally a great story writer like Chris Bonington.

Also read my earlier post - Meeting the Legend - Sir Chris Boningtonwhen I met the legend in person! 

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