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Item #: BK2542-614
THE HARDEST CLIMB [Seven Summits] Alistair Sutcliffe 2011 1st UK ed Hardcover DJ New
By Sutcliffe, Alistair, Foreword by Chris Bonington
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Detailed Product Description
UK, 2011, 1st UK edition. 149 pp, 32 color photos. Hardcover with dust jacket. New.

Alistair Sutcliffe is a British physician who was the first person to climb the seven summits on their first attempt. The book is a very personal account of his climbs, as well as his recovery from a near fatal brain hemorrhage. 
 
Here is a personal review found on the internet:
 
'As we grow up, most of us harbour some sort of vague ambition to do something noteworthy, perhaps even something extraordinary, before our time is up. Some of us achieve our aims, some don't. Alistair Sutcliffe has achieved his, and then some, but goes on dreaming of more and greater feats, as the final chapter makes clear.

'I knew Ali Sutcliffe first as an 11 year-old classmate, and we were friends up until around the age of 16 when I left school and, shortly afterwards, left home and moved away. I think it's fair to note that I don't remember him as much of an athlete - he was a little overweight and, outside school, usually had a hand-rolled cigarette on the go. It was something of a surprise when, a few years later, I discovered that Ali had become a GP, run dozens of marathons, and already climbed several of the highest mountains in the world. He was preparing to climb Everest, and almost halfway through the Seven Summits challenge - to climb the highest peak on each of the world's seven continents.

'To describe this as the story of Ali's successful effort to conquer the seven highest peaks (each, remarkably, done on the first attempt) is to do the book a disservice. I have no personal interest in mountaineering, and would never have bought a book on this subject by an author I didn't have a connection with. My expectations were that this would be a book about climbing, full of boring, technical stuff. I was wrong. Of course it IS a book about climbing, but it's so much more than that. This is also the story of Ali's own journey from school through university and to medical school, meeting his wife-to-be, and of the intense training and preparation for each of his expeditions. It tells of the extraordinary effort and focus needed to get through each stage, both physical and mental, but also the emotional burden that goes with long periods of separation whilst undertaking a highly dangerous activity - the guilty feelings that accompany the intense personal drive to complete each part of the challenge, the occasional loneliness and self-doubt, the triumph of success and the joy of being reunited with loved ones. The book is packed with entertaining, humourous and often touching details that keep the story going. A nice touch is the page or two after each chapter, penned by Ali's wife, Clare, giving her side of the story and revealing something of the strength of their bond and commitment to one another in circumstances that would test many others beyond endurance.

'Ali's hardest climb, alluded to in the title, followed the near-fatal brain haemorrhage he suffered in February 2010. The last chapter tells the terrifying story of how he was stricken by the haemorrhage whilst at home alone, how Clare was told to say her goodbyes to him at the hospital, how he temporarily lost and then regained his sight, and of his subsequent recovery and rehabilitation.

'Alistair Sutcliffe could dine out on the stories in this book for the rest of his years. But what's very clear is that his life is far from over. He hasn't finished with marathon-running or mountains, and any future edition of this book is likely to need an extra few chapters. '

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