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A B C D E F G H I
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Item #: BK1127
BEYOND RISK CONVERSATIONS WITH CLIMBERS O'Connell 1993 Hardcover New
By O'Connell, Nicholas
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Seattle, 1993, 1st-3rd printing. 300 pp, photos. Interviews with many climbing luminaries, including Sir Edmund Hillary, Kurt Diemberger, Warren Harding, Royal Robbins, Chris Bonington, Jeff Lowe, Lynn Hill, Reinhold Messner, and Walter Bonatti. Also, Cassin, Robbins, Scott, Kurtyka, Droyer, Gullich, Destivelle, Croft, Cesen. Hardcover, DJ, as New.
 
'Beyond Risk is a collection of seventeen interviews conducted by Nicholas O'Connell with 'the world's most innovative and accomplished climbers.' (…)
Many of these climbers are writers themselves, well over half with books to their credit (Messner and Bonington being virtual publishing industries unto themselves). But even these familiar faces benefit from O'Connell's careful questioning and editing. I've read numerous books by Bonington and even spoken briefly with him, but O'Connell manages to get out of him what he rarely achieves in his own prose. Throughout this book these people are able to say the things that might be seen as unbecoming or self-aggrandizing in another context. (…)
It is the obligation, I think of any good book about climbing, to address either explicitly or implicitly the issue of why we climb. We are invariably disappointed when the issue is ignored.
 
O'Connell recognizes this and he attempts to draw from these climbers their innermost motivations. In their responses, however, we hear a little too often the circular 'life is climbing, climbing is life' rationale. Kurt Diemberger even says that it's impossible to answer the question of why one climbs. (…)
One of the most interesting aspects of the book is its historical continuity. Cesen cites Bonatti, Buhl, and Cassin as strong influences; Croft cites Bonington as an early hero and Bonatti above all others; Jean-Claude Droyer the father of modern free climbing in France, also cites Bonatti. Bonatti himself cites Cassin as an influence but also expresses admiration for those who followed him, Messner and Scott. Likewise, Robbins notes that Croft, in addition to his mastery of climbing has 'a character that is head and shoulders above a lot of petulance and nay-saying and faultfinding that even I'm involved in.'
O'Connell does a superb job of introducing each climber in a two or three page bio and his introduction to the book as a whole provides a concise and accurate history of modern climbing.”
David Stevenson, “American Alpine Journal” 1994, p. 286-288

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