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Vertebrate Publishing
Art of Freedom: SIGNED The life & climbs of Voytek Kurtyka

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Glossary - Bernadette McDonald close

Bernadette McDonald is a Canadian author who has written a number of non-fiction books, primarily on mountaineering history and biography. She has also edited a number of books, has been a director of the Banff Festival and won the 2011 Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature with Freedom Climbers.

Freedom Climbers

Freedom Climbers
(Vertebrate Publishing, 2012)

Freedom Climbers tells the story of the extraordinary Polish adventurers who emerged from under the blanket of oppression following the Second World War to become the world’s leading Himalayan climbers.

Tomaz Humar

Tomaz Humar(Arrow Books, 2009)

In August, 2005, Tomaz Humar was trapped on a narrow ledge at 5900 metres on the formidable Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat. He had been attempting a new route, directly up the middle of the highest mountain face in the world - solo. After six days he was out of food, almost out of fuel and frequently buried by avalanches. Three helicopters were poised for a brief break in the weather to pluck him off the mountain.

Brotherhood of the Rope

Brotherhood of the Rope: the Biography of Charles Houston
(Bâton Wicks, 2007)

It was a failed summit attempt and a failed rescue in the Himalaya that brought Charles Houston, M.D., fame and adulation in the mountaineering world. His leadership of the K2 expedition of 1953 is still celebrated as the embodiment of all that is right and good in the mountains. The disaster which followed the retreat from close to the summit remains one of the most dramatic escapes in mountaineering history.



Voytek Kurtyka is one of the greatest alpinists of all time. Born in 1947, he was one of the leading lights of the Polish golden age of mountaineering that redefined Himalayan climbing in the 1970s and 1980s. His visionary approach to climbing resulted in many renowned ascents, such as the complete Broad Peak traverse, the 'night-naked' speed climbsof Cho Oyu and Shishapangma and, above all, the alpine-style first ascent of the west face of Gasherbrum IV. Dubbed the 'climb of the century', his route on GIV with the Austrian Robert Schauer is - as of 2017 - unrepeated. His most frequent climbing partners were alpine legends of their time: Polish Himalayan giant Jerzy Kukuczka, Swiss mountain guide Erhard Loretan and British alpinist Alex MacIntyre.

After repeated requests to accept the Piolets d'Or Lifetime Achievement Award (the Oscars of the climbing world), Kurtyka finally accepted the honour in the spring of 2016. A fiercely private individual, he has declined countless invitations for interviews, lectures and festival appearances, but he has agreed to collaborate with internationally renowned and award-winning author Bernadette McDonald on this long-awaited biography.

Art of Freedom is a profound and moving profile of one of the international climbing world's most respected, complex and reclusive mountaineers.

Art of Freedom: The life & climbs of Voytek Kurtyka

  • author: Bernadette McDonald
  • publisher: Vertebrate Publishing 2017, 1st edition, 256p., hardback with dust jacket
  • ISBN: 9781911342519
  • size: 24x16.4cm
  • weight: 900g
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