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EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS: REMEMBERING ROCK CLIMBING 2004 1st ed New Paperback SIGNED by Pat Ament
By Ament, Pat
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Colorado, 2004, 1st edition. 215 pp, photos. Pat Ament’s 2004 book, Everything That Matters, is the most moving and beautiful collection of essays of his career. In the spirit of climbing, life, comradeship, and the sacred earth, and covering a wide range of subjects, from the art of climbing to his unique meditations and mystical philosophy, Pat’s book is full of luminous poetic grace. With vivid intelligence, and bringing always a strong historical resonance to the words, Pat speaks of lost times. He knows the history of climbing in America better than anyone and for decades has remained a pivotal figure among climbing literati. A masterful poet, Pat Ament has earned his place as one of climbing’s most compelling writers, and his work is characterized by untiring creativity, yet always a freshness, his words celebratory and full of lovely imagery.

 

The places this new book takes a reader are rich, made superbly visible by Pat’s narrative and imagistic skills. Undoubtedly a few of these chapters are destined to be classics, with their high and noble ends. The careful way he engages the sublime and describes even the minutest handhold or grandeur of sky, its colors, with fragrances of stone and pine and air blowing, makes readers realize he’s been to these places and actually seen them. Indeed he has an intimate understanding of the profound beauty of the climbing experience, of friendships, of the trials of life, of time passing, and of such things as riding freight trains under a night sky full of stars.

 
Extremely observant, Pat is a true craftsman, a gifted thinker, and one with a keen sense of the mysterious. No book on climbing so skillfully draws light to the mediocrity and evils of our present world, while at the same time showing how his love for people and the earth are undiminished through the years. These pages are almost more like the “studies” of an artist. His sense of mortality and the shadow of age seem to renew his wonder and his hunger of spirit. This book inspires and uplifts from cover to cover.

 

Pat calls this book his best, which is saying a lot. His “Swaramandal” in the early 1970’s was a pioneering achievement in creative climbing writing, and his 1977 classic biography of John Gill, “Master of Rock” – beautifully written and important – revolutionized climbing, giving the world a sense of what true mastery is. His well-known biography of Royal Robbins, “Spirit of the Age,” widely applauded “Climbing Everest,” small jewel of wisdom “How To Be A Master Climber in 6 Easy Lessons,” and exhaustive history of free climbing, “Wizards of Rock,” are all among the most important American climbing books.

 
Referred to by Royal Robbins as “that incorrigible original,” Pat has, with his new book, finished a work of the highest literary value, his coup de grace. Dave Rearick writes about the book, “Very significant and moving.” Award winning poet and professor of English at the University of Southern California, Mark Irwin, describes the book as, “Total abandon of the heart.” New Paperback.

SIGNED by Pat Ament. 

From John Gill's Website:

Pat Ament : Pat and I first met in 1967, just after I had moved to Fort Collins. The friendship that resulted from our first encounter has lasted 36 years. Although ten years my junior, we had, in common the most important thing two climbers can have in common: remarkably similar perspectives of our craft.

We were both gymnasts, and Pat, independantly, had started using chalk in climbing only a few years after I had introduced it elsewhere. We both viewed rock climbing as an extension of gymnastics. What I had in pulling strength, Pat had in pressing strength. He could do a hollowback press to handstand from the floor, followed by a number of handstand push-ups. He once held a one-arm handstand on the parallel bars for 18 seconds (I don't think I ever went beyond 5). Along with one-arm mantels on the rock, he could also do a very slow and controlled muscle-up on the high bar, rotating both elbows simultaneously – a very difficult feat.

But, most importantly for our friendship, we were aware of spiritual or mystical dimensions of the sport. We also thought of our climbing as an artistic endeavor.

Pat is a significant artist. He is a prolific writer, having written literally dozens of books about various aspects of climbing, including an original guidebook 'High Over Boulder', that set benchmarks for precision and accuracy. He is a composer, pianist, and singer, and his line drawings are superb. He is also, and fundamentally, a poet. The balance he has achieved between the physical realm – including being a black belt Karate instructor – and the artistic or spiritual realm is extraordinary.

Now , for a few words about his climbing feats. Besides setting new bouldering standards at Flagstaff Mountain, in Boulder, during the 1960s, he made significant climbs in Colorado and Yosemite. Pat's ascent of Supremacy Crack in Eldorado Canyon at the age of eighteen in 1965 established one of the hardest short climbs in the country. He authored the first 5.11 in Yosemite - the Center Slack at the base of El Cap - as well.

He is also a true master of safety in climbing , having the ability to place adequate protection in even the most barren of traditional climbs. Pat was a leading innovator and experimented with various approaches to rock climbing during a transitionary era, fraught with ethical dilemmas, toward the end of the Golden Age. He raised a few waves because of this and because of a powerful intellect and a quiet but forceful attitude, not averse to philosophical and verbal argument.

He has weathered these minor squalls with determination and resiliency, and to some extent, I think they define him. He is a rare renaissance man in an age of increasing specialization. The only true poet I know who weaves his spell upon the rock as well. (2003)

For those of you interested in learning more about this great old friend of mine, I recommend Pat's Stories of a Young Climber – an Autobiography . By the way, Pat Ament has a great new book : Everything That Matters (2004)


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