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Item #: BK1118A-874
TWO FOR THE SUMMIT: MY DAUGHTER THE MOUNTAINS & ME. Geoffrey Norman 2000
By Norman, Geoffrey.
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2001, 1st edition. 242 pp. Paperback, Near Fine condition.

A man's relationship with his daughter is changed by watching her mature from a rock climber into a mountaineer, surpass his ability, and climb in the Tetons and Aconcagua. 

At the approach of his 50th birthday, sports and outdoors writer Geoffrey Norman decided to pursue a dream that had quietly obsessed him for years: to summit the 13,770-foot Grand Teton in Wyoming. Little did he suspect, when he announced his plans to his family, that his 15-year-old daughter, Brooke, would ask to make the climb too. 

Two for the Summit: My Daughter, the Mountains, and Me documents what happened when Norman realized that 'the notion of the solitary climb to celebrate my fiftieth birthday was narcissistic, self-indulgent crap' and decided to attack the mountain with his daughter. It is the story of the two novices' toughest two climbs: Grand Teton, and (a few years later) 23,000-foot Aconcagua in the Andes, one of the seven tallest mountains in the world.

Like most books in this genre, Two for the Summit is about adventure and taking risks, although in this case, Norman forgoes the usual adrenaline-and-disaster-driven narrative for a deeply personal and moving account of how climbing helped to teach him what it means to be a good father. There are moments (on Grand Teton for Brooke, on Aconcagua for Norman) when each reaches the limits of endurance, yet what moves this book along is the small epiphanies that accompany the hard work of building trust: 'It occurred to me that if nothing else came from this climb and we never got close to the summit, this evening would be something I'd always be grateful for.'

In this candid, semi-adventure narrative, journalist Norman recounts how pursuing his fascination with mountain climbing allowed him to create a special bond with his teenage daughter, Brooke, and to enhance his understanding of parenthood. Norman initially perceives climbing as a solitary endeavor and his relationship with his daughter as largely detached. Yet when Norman accepts his daughter's wish to accompany him 14,000 feet up the treacherous Grand Teton in Wyoming on his 50th birthday, he lays the ground for transformation.

With his reflections on the meaning of manhood, his relationship to women, his role as father and the necessity of being sensitive, Norman certainly embodies characteristics of the post-'60s American male. His masculine idea of sportsmanship, however, is put to the test when Brooke rises to the challenge of rock climbing. Father, suddenly surpassed by daughter, becomes the dependent. But Norman learns to accept the change in his relationship with his daughter and ultimately steps back to admire her.

Amidst these tides of change, Norman continues to hone his passion for climbing while trying to understand why climbers risk their lives to reach lofty peaks. He emphasizes the admiration for famous victorious climbers, as well as for those who have perished. In his dangers of the sport, the concern and responsibility he feels for his daughter and his ruminations, Norman concludes that, 'it is risk that makes climbing so ineffably seductive.' This realization, however, seems to fall short, leaving the reader grasping for some more insightful truth about the desire for risk taking. In spite of this flaw, Norman and Brooke's ascent of the Aconcagua in the Andes, one of the highest peaks on the planet at 23,000 feet, provides touching remarks on life, fatherhood and climbing


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