A shorter email for you today but still, we hope, a good one. Lots of things going on behind the scenes…
This month’s theme is mountaineering: that’s climbing some big old mountains. Here how to get into the mood.
Jessie Leong is a photographer and climber, currently having a fab time in Switzerland by all accounts!
Women in Mountain Training is a Facebook group to join if you have a mountaineering qualification in the UK or are working your way towards one. Often home of insightful and measured discussions too.
Kelly Lander has been filling my Twitter feed with scramble ridges recently and I’m very happy about that.
Adriana Brownlee is trying to become the youngest person to summit all 14 8000m peaks in the world. More from her at adrianabrownlee.com
Anna Taylor has become the first woman to complete a continuous round of all 83 climbs in 'Classic Rock', the iconic book by Ken Wilson. Carrying all of her kit, Anna cycled between each route, covering 1500 miles on the bike and climbing over 10,000 metres. Interview on UKC here.
Abby Dione and Rosemary Saal are part of Full Circle Everest, the first all black team to attempt to summit Everest.
Jessie Stevens is 16 years old and cycling to COP26 from South Devon. You can join her for a section of the ride. More info on People Pedal Power. The Adventure Syndicate are crowdfunding to make a film of her journey.
Book of the Month
This month’s book is To Live by Élisabeth Revol (translated from French by Natalie Berry).
On 25 January 2018, Élisabeth Revol and her climbing partner Tomasz Mackiewicz summited Nanga Parbat, the killer mountain. Situated in the Karakoram, the world’s ninth-highest peak is an immense ice-armoured pyramid of rock rising to an altitude of 8,126 metres. Élisabeth and Tomek had completed only the second winter ascent of the mountain, and Élisabeth had become the first woman to summit Nanga Parbat in winter.
But their euphoria was short-lived. As soon as they reached the top, their adventure turned into a nightmare as Tomek was struck by blindness. In her own words, Élisabeth tells the story of this tragedy and the extraordinary rescue operation that resounded across the globe as fellow climbers flew in from K2 to help the stricken pair. She confronts her memories, her terror, her immense pain and the heartbreak of having survived, alone. To Live is Élisabeth Revol’s poignant tribute to her friend and climbing partner.
About the Author
French climber Élisabeth Revol holds an impressive list of achievements in the world of mountaineering and adventure. A former gymnast, she took up climbing as a teenager in her local range, the Écrins massif. She honed her alpine skills as a member of the FFCAM (Fédération Française des Clubs Alpins et de Montagne) and combined mountaineering with a career as a PE teacher. She climbed in the Alps and opened new routes in the Bolivian Andes before discovering a love for high-altitude climbing in the Karakoram and Himalaya.
In 2008, Élisabeth became the first woman to link three 8,000-metre summits when she soloed Broad Peak, Gasherbum I and Gasherbrum II in sixteen days, without supplementary oxygen. After the death of her climbing partner Martin Minařík on an expedition to Annapurna in 2009, she spent some time focusing on adventure racing before returning to mountaineering.
In winter 2015, Élisabeth and Tomasz (Tomek) Mackiewicz reached an altitude of 7,800 metres on Nanga Parbat before being forced to descend. In May 2017, Élisabeth completed a solo ascent of Lhotse without oxygen. She returned to Nanga Parbat that winter with Tomek to make her fourth attempt on the mountain and Tomek’s seventh. They reached the summit on 25 January 2018, but tragedy struck when Tomek died on the descent and Élisabeth was rescued suffering from frostbite.
To Live, her personal account of these events, was first published in French as Vivre in 2019. Following a period of recovery, she continued to climb, summiting Everest and Lhotse on successive days in May 2019, and Manaslu in September 2019.
Read the Book
Here’s your link to read the first three chapters of the book. You’ll need to sign in or become a member to view it.
The Last Mountain is a documentary about Tom Ballard and his mother Alison Hargreaves, who both died in the mountains. It’s available on BBC iPlayer.
Annie Le Outside has an new video about her fatbike and packrafting expedition link.
The Traverse film is about Valentine Fabre and Hillary Gerardi, two world class athletes, attempt to be the first women to ski the Haute Route non-stop from Chamonix to Zermatt. It’s being shown at festivals (dates on the link), but you can watch the trailer free.