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Monday 19th September 2016

The Bond by Simon McCartney

The Bond by Simon McCartney

Simon McCartney has written an excellent book here. Some climbing books can be a little formulaic but Simon's account of his two Alaskan first ascents in 1978 and 1980 are far from dull.

With American Jack Roberts he pioneers a new route on the North Face of Mount Huntington. With a large amount of luck, huge amounts of commitment and the youthful belief in their own immortality they make an audacious first ascent followed by an onsight descent of the West Face.

Emboldened by their success Jack and Simon attempt a first ascent on the South West face of Denali two years later. This time they stretch their luck even more and when Simon gets High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema high on the mountain there begins a trail of events that sees Jack and Simon fighting to survive as they descend the mountain.

Simon's introspective writing really digs deep into his own mind and thought processes. His honesty about risk and achievement is highly refreshing and he doesn't shy away from saying it exactly how it is.

There are several sections of the book which are made up of other climber's journals. Initially I thought that this would take away from the flow of the book but in fact it really adds to the story. Particularly the period when Simon is almost unconscious and dangerously ill with HACE.

All in all a very enjoyable and emotional book about climbers and life.