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UNJUSTIFIABLE RISK? THE STORY OF BRITISH CLIMBING Simon Thompson 2010 Short-Listed for the 2010 Boardman Tasker Prize
By Thompson, Simon
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2010. 320 pp. To the impartial observer Britain does not appear to have any mountains. Yet the British invented the sport of mountain climbing and for two periods in history British climbers led the world in the pursuit of this beautiful and dangerous obsession.
 
'Unjustifiable Risk' is the story of the social, economic and cultural conditions that gave rise to the sport, and the achievements and motives of the scientists and poets, parsons and anarchists, villains and judges, ascetics and drunks that have shaped its development over the past two hundred years. The history of climbing inevitably reflects the wider changes that have occurred in British society, but the sport itself has also influenced changing social attitudes to nature and beauty, heroism and death.
 
Over the years, increasing wealth, leisure and mobility have gradually transformed climbing from an activity undertaken by an eccentric and privileged minority into a sub-division of the leisure and tourist industry. At the same time, competition, technology and increasing specialisation have created climbs of unimaginable difficulty at the leading edge of the sport. But while much has changed, even more has remained the same. Today's climbers would be instantly recognisable to their Victorian predecessors, with their desire to escape from the crowded complexity of urban life and willingness to take unjustifiable risks in search of beauty, adventure and self-fulfilment. New hardcover with Dust Jacket.

About the Author

Simon Thompson started climbing at the age of 16 and has been fascinated by the sport ever since. A former director of Anglo American and chairman of Tarmac, he has lived in seven different countries and currently sits on the boards of companies headquartered in Russia, Sweden, the UK and the USA, but he continues to escape to the mountains whenever time permits.

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