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Item #: OP2785-103
HIGH HOPES Norman Croucher 1976 1st ed Hardcover DJ Fine
By Croucher, Norman
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Detailed Product Description
London, 1976, 1st edition. 160 pp, 18 photos. Hardcover with dust jacket - both are in very nice condition. Fine.

Subtitle: The Story of a Disabled Climber

In 1960, at the age of nineteen, Norman Croucher lost both legs below the knee in a railway accident. In his determination to fight back he walked from John o'Groats to Land's End for Oxfam on his new metal legs. Then he turned his attention to climbing - an interest for which his appetite had been whetted just before his accident. High Hopes is the story of how he learned to climb and how, through following an obsession, he learned to come to terms with himself.

At first it was a matter of finding out what he could achieve, recognizing his special difficulties, learning to adapt technique and improvise equipment to overcome them. Slowly he progressed from scrambling up his native Cornish sea cliffs on the end of a rope to thinking about mountains - first Tryfan and then the Alps, and the start of a long, patient, personal test which began with conquering the Monch and the Jungfrau, then progressed to Mont Blanc, the west flank of the Eiger and the Matterhorn. The setbacks were many: Alpine guides had to be persuaded to risk their professional reputations by climbing with him, there were the endless waits for long enough stretches of favorable weather, there was the time to know when to give up if his stumps had had enough punishment or the snow was becoming dangerous.

There was also the time to know when to push himself into the mental attitude to conquer a new grade of climb and ultimately second and lead up to the Severe grade. Norman Croucher writes vividly and well about the mountains he has climbed and his enthusiasm is infectious. His is a story of grit and patience and ingenuity and humor and sheer bloody-minded single-mindedness. His enormous zest for life and refusal to give in will be a delight to climbers and an inspiration to disabled people who may get some idea of what they themselves might manage to achieve, not necessarily in the same field of activity.

Norman Croucher was born in Cornwall and did a lot of his early climbing with the South Wales Mountaineering Club. After climbing Mont Blanc in 1971 he was voted one of the Men of the Year. He is married and now lives in London. He sits on the Physical Recreation Panel of the Disabled Living Foundation and in the past few years has been involved in several schemes to provide outdoor pursuits for other physically handicapped people. These include preparing the Foundation's Guide to Outdoor Pursuits for Disabled People. He is a member of the Working Party on the Integration of the Disabled, chaired by Lord Snowdon, and has undertaken research for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme into the application of the Scheme's activities to disabled people. Norman Croucher is the first physically handicapped person to be appointed a member of the Sports Council.


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