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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16, 2017

Second-hand Books at Outside by The Book Man

About 5 years ago, I started a second-hand book section in the shop. I’m delighted that it now attracts a loyal band of customers looking for that out-of-print title that has previously eluded them at a sensible price.

It all started when Ken Wilson asked me to sell some of his books after his retirement. Since then I have sourced books from book fairs, charity shops, the Internet and from Outside customers who no longer have the space or desire to keep all their books.

So far, I have just about managed to maintain a sufficient supply to keep the shelves full of interesting old mountaineering and climbing books. There is even a selection of foreign language books. With books priced reasonably low at between £2.50 and £25.00, the turnover is quite high and therefore you will never know what you might find.

The following 1st editions have all recently been sold: Hard Rock - Ken Wilson; Yosemite Climber -  George Meyers; Kamet Conquered – Frank Smythe; I Chose to Climb – Chris Bonington; My Vertical World – Jerzy Kukuczka; Mountaineering in Scotland – W H Murray; 50 Years of Alpinism – Riccardo Cassin; High Peak – Eric Byne & Geoffrey Sutton.

Prices depend on scarcity and condition but in general I try to beat comparable books that are for sale on the Internet.

The above books have not been processed yet. Several are signed and some are quite collectible.

I have a collection of over 1200 mountaineering /climbing books so here’s a few lists for you:

These lists change daily because it’s an impossible task but today…

5 compelling books that I have read recently:

  1. Tears of the Dawn: Jules Lines
  2. The Tower: Kelly Cordes
  3. The Bond: Simon McCartney
  4. The Push: Tommy Caldwell
  5. The Magician’s Glass: Ed Douglas 

5 Books that have inspired me:

  1. Snow on the Equator: H W Tilman
  2. High Peak: Eric Byne & Geoffrey Sutton
  3. Four Against Everest: Woodrow Wilson Sayre
  4. Master of Rock: Pat Ament
  5. Feet in the Clouds: Richard Askwith

5 books that I would keep (if I had to get rid of the rest):

  1. Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage: Hermann Buhl – a present from my mum & dad and one of the first mountaineering books I read.
  2. The Ascent of Everest: John Hunt – with 11 signatures from the 1953 team.
  3. Classic Rock (2nd edition, 2007): Ken Wilson – inscribed by Ken with a photo opposite that just happens to be me with my mate Mick Langton on Gillercombe Buttress.

No apologies needed for the last two!

  1. Mountain Words: British hill and crag literature: my first book collaboration with Boardman Tasker shortlisted author Graham Wilson.
  2. Forty Plus: Challenge walks in the North of England – also co-written with Graham Wilson.

As a bibliophile and collector myself I love this part of my job, so If you have any comments, questions, or would like some advice about buying or selling, please email (chris.harle@outside.co.uk) or ask for me in the shop when you next visit (I am normally in the shop on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays).

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16, 2017
By Chris Harle
The 'Book Man'

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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16, 2017

Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon

On the 29th May, the anniversary of the first ascent of Everest, I completed the Tenzing, Hillary Everest Marathon (THEM) Ultra Extreme 60K. It was my 3rd attempt, having entered in 2015 but abandoned due to the earthquake. In 2016 I lead a group to Everest basecamp but was unable to run after helping an aspiring runner with an artificial leg onto a rescue helicopter on Race Day.

This year there were some 200 competitors on the standard Marathon (which I completed in 2013 and 2014) and just 14 for the Ultra. I met them for the first time on the start line on the Khumbu Glacier (5330m) at 6am on the 29th May. Some may have been famous in their home country.

Nationalities included a Russian, Japanese, Australian, Americans, about half a dozen local Nepali and an old fella from the UK, standing at the back wondering if he’d made a mistake. There was talk of having trained in altitude chambers. Some professional endurance athletes listed all the other ultras they had completed, whilst I shuffled about looking at my shoes. My aim was to be the oldest and probably slowest to finish the Ultra. However, I wasn’t in the end.

The first few KM are on the ice of the Khumbu Glacier and by the time I’d reached the steep moraine leading from it, I had lost sight of the others ahead of me. I also felt rough, unusual for me having had to urgently visit the toilet tent several times in the night.

The first quarter of the route once off the Khumbu Glacier was straightforward and I covered 15Km in about 3hrs. Mostly descending I reached the village of Pangboche in a further 2hrs. The altitude written on the lodge wall was 4000m. Here my friend Nepalese Doctor Rahot was at the check point. I told him how I felt, he smiled, dug out a Snickers and a Gel from my pack, gave me an apple and told me I'd be all right. He said the other Ultras were only 2 hours ahead!

I was joined here by Krishna, a volunteer local chap (20yrs old) to support me in the next long and dangerous leg. The 15km long loop up and down the Gokyo Valley to Nha La at 4400m. If these facts were not bad enough the path was mostly no more than 80cms wide and above sheer drops of 100mtres.

After Phortse, Krishna said he would drop down, cross the bridge and meet me on the way back down (yeah sure I thought). I struggled on in full bad weather gear in the cold wind and some rain following the red flag markers across the middle of nowhere and finally reached the bridge at Nha La at 5pm (11 hrs in and 1 hour short of being timed out).

The bridge lead me to familiar ground, the trekkers trail to Gokyo. I soon reached Machermo settlement at 4413m. The settlement is in a shallow valley and as I puffed my way out I heard voices calling me. I looked back and saw two other Ultra runners from Australia and USA coming behind me. At first I wondered if they were on a second lap!

We continued down together and amazingly an hour later Krishna, true to his word reappeared to help.

At Dole settlement it got dark, but between us we had enough headlights to keep going down through the forest and across torrents to Portse Tenga (the bridge where Krishna crossed). The worst was yet to come though and I knew it. It was the hour or more of steep climbing back up to Mong La pass at 4000m (but seems like a week).

At about half height my Australian companion, tucked in behind me at my slow pace, said that he thought the hill wasn't too bad, 20 mins later he asked if it was far to go, then after another 10 he sat down (to wait for his friend from USA) he explained. Then Shikar Pandey, the organiser phoned to check I was OK. "Fine" I said just completing the race, "see you in a couple of hours".

From the Mong La, Krishna and I took off at a brisk downhill walk leaving the others. They were OK with their Minders and we could, with a bit of imagination smell the finishing line. Eventually we reached Namche Bazaar (3400m) and crossed it at 11pm or thereabouts. All the officials were gone, nobody to hand out medals or give me the snazzy 1970s style official track suit. Only Shikar was there in a small tent with his lap top and a headlight. "Well done Tom Dai "he said, "Would you like a beer?" “Some water would be great if you have some "I croaked.

Krishna and I shook hands and went our separate ways.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16, 2017
By Tom Richardson
Footwear and expedition specialist

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Tom Richardson
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TUESDAY, AUGUST 15, 2017

The Call of Karakoram

I can’t say that I am a great enthusiast for the current “Bucket List” of places to go and things to do in your lifetime. It’s not that I’m old and grumpy (although I am) but it seems to me that it encourages people to do very similar things, in an easy way, making adventure into mere tourism.

Lots of people have an ambition to see Mount Everest and visit the Base Camp for example. They can do so by joining the caravan of trekkers, all on the same trail, staying at the same purpose built lodges and taking pretty much the same photographs to show the folks back home. It’s nice, but hardly an adventure. Sure, there is the problem of the acclimatisation, but otherwise relatively few objective dangers.

In contrast to Everest, K2 Base Camp the second highest mountain on earth, or indeed anywhere in the Karakoram Mountains of Northern Pakistan, is not on many bucket lists. To undertake a trek in Karakoram is an adventure and without question the most dramatic mountains on earth.

Camping under the Cathedral from Urdukas

There are minimal roads or trails and both get regularly swept away by landslides, rockfalls and glacier movements. There are no lodges in the mountains, camping is the only option. The terrain is such that even as a member of an organised and professionally lead group, participants need to have some mountain awareness and judgement.

Like the Khumbu, the local Balti people are tough mountain people who are great company and have a fantastic sense of fun. Unlike the Khumbu area of Nepal, there are no fleets of commercial helicopters circling like vultures to pick you up and fly you to medical help or your 5-star hotel in Kathmandu. The Pakistani Air Force can, weather permitting evacuate people from one place, but most evacuations are done on horseback, challenging for everyone, including the horse.

All together it is one of the most rewarding adventure trekking areas in the world.

People are often put off going to Pakistan, thinking that there is a terrorism risk. I have been visiting Pakistan since 1997 and the greatest dangers are still the same. Road traffic accidents and mountain hazards. The best way to avoid these dangers is to fly from Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad then onto Skardu, thus avoiding the drive up the Karakoram Highway.

The large comfortable plane flies over the Karakoram Mountains and directly over the summit of Nanga Parbat, one of the highlights of the trip. Many extra steps have also been taken by the authorities to improve security and of course more terrorist attacks have happened in the UK in recent times.

Here is a selection of images from my two trips to the Karakoram leading groups for KE Adventure Travel this summer.

The Imposing Trangos Nameless Tower

The Summit of K2

The Team in front of K2

TUESDAY, AUGUST 15, 2017
By Tom Richardson
Footwear and expedition specialist

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Tom Richardson
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