Hear Sir Chris Bonington's extraordinary story, read by Gordon Griffin.
His memoir, Ascent, charts not only his many triumphs in the climbing world - such as the Eiger and the Himalayas - but also the struggles he has faced in his life bringing up a family and maintaining a successful and loving marriage over the decades of travelling the world to conquer mountains.
He has undertaken 19 Himalayan expeditions, including four to Mount Everest, which he climbed in 1985 at the age of 50, and has made many first ascents in the Alps and greater ranges of the world. Along the way his many adventures have included meeting the mercurial Dougal Haston, the legendary-tough Don Whillans, the philosopher of the rock Stephen Venables and the enigmatic Doug Scott, plus many more.
Ascent is a memoir like no other - a timely and uplifting narrative for anyone who has ever dreamed of adventure.
I've read about a number of Sir Chris Bonington's mountaineering expeditions but this book offers so much more than an account of such trips. Indeed, to write this book he must have experienced an intense adventure into his own soul. No stone is left unturned as Sir Chris writes about moments of great joy, fear, love and loss. It really is an incredible life which has been led but he does not hold back when considering the impact upon his family, accepting that ultimately the life of a serial adventurer must be a selfish one. Also for someone who is considered a kind of action hero it is perhaps reassuring to find that he has often lacked confidence and felt insecure, both as a young boy and later in life. The journey from extreme mountaineering to struggling to look after his Wife during her illness is sobering and make it very clear that his true loyalties were always closer to home. The narration was very good being soft and easy to listen to. I didn't find it difficult to picture the great man as I listened to it on my drive into work. I have always believed that Sir Chris' life has inspired millions around the world to seek joy in the natural environment and the company of friends. I am sure that this great book will continue to do this.
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