Fall 2011 Front Range Book Club

Jim Moss, the Front Range book club’s fearless leader writes in:

Next Book club meeting is September 13, 2011 at 6:30 PM at the AAC.  We’ll be reading One Mountain Thousand Summits: The Untold Story Tragedy and True Heroism on K2 by Freddie Wilkinson.  Here’s Alpinist’s review.

October 11, 2011 at 6:30 PM at the AAC, we’ll have Jim Davison, who just wrote The Ledge: An Adventure Story of Friendship and Survival on Mount Rainier by Jim Davidson and Kevin Vaughan. Jim lives in Fort Collins and we were able to entice him to come down and talk about his book.  We don’t have it here in the library yet, but we expect it soon!


March 8th Front Range Book Club:

Jim Moss writes in about the March book selection:

Let’s do The Wildest Dream: The Biography of George Mallory by Peter Gillman and Leni Gillman

From Amazon Reviews:

In 1924, a 37-year-old English schoolmaster and war veteran named George Mallory bid farewell to his beloved wife and children and went off to Tibet, where he intended to climb the north face of Mount Everest, a feat that had never been achieved. He was warned that the approach might not be attainable–and that, in any event, humans might not be able to survive at such altitudes without oxygen. But in that fine British spirit of dauntlessness, Mallory pressed on all the same, and he and his novice companion Andrew Irvine did not survive.

When Mallory’s frozen body was found on the high slopes of Everest in 1999, it touched off a wave of interest in the question of whether he had reached the top before falling to his death–which, if so, would unseat Edmund Hillary‘s 1953 expedition as the first to summit. Peter and Leni Gillman, themselves mountaineers, hint that he did, drawing on evidence that is at best circumstantial but compelling all the same. Their interest in this biography, however, is to provide a more complete picture of Mallory as a man of his time, who was a familiar among the Bloomsbury set of writers, a loving husband and father, an accomplished scholar and teacher, and a modest hero who, though not technically the best climber of his time, never refused a challenge. The Gillmans acquit themselves in this task very well, and they offer a fascinating reconstruction of what they imagine to be Mallory’s last moments on earth. Their book makes a fine companion to Conrad Anker and David Roberts’s The Lost Explorer and David Breashears and Audrey Salkeld’s Last Climb. –Gregory McNamee –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Why did George Mallory, his 1924 expedition in treacherous straits, nevertheless make a last-ditch attempt to go for the summit of Mt. EverestAa decision that cost the lives of this seasoned climber and his young climbing partner, Andrew Irvine? To the Gillmans, British journalists and mountaineers who together retraced Mallory’s 1921 reconnaissance expedition, the answer is plain: he hoped to resolve the conflict at the core of his marriage, to obviate the need for further expeditions and further separations from his beloved wife, Ruth. This vivid, illustrated biography is both a moving tribute to Mallory and a fresh reappraisal of the man and the legends surrounding him. While the authors take no position on whether or not Mallory and Irvine reached Everest’s acmeAa controversy intensified by the discovery of Mallory’s body in 1999Athey provide a useful summary of the ongoing debate. Drawing liberally on letters between Mallory and his wife, the Gillmans chart the highs and lows of a marriage strained by his periodic absences. While mountain climbing was for decades an imperialist’s sport, Mallory did not fit the mold. A rector’s son, he became a Fabian socialist and agnostic at Cambridge, making friends with poet Rupert Brooke, Robert Graves and Bloomsbury painter Duncan Grant, and indulging in a brief homosexual affair. Mallory’s literary output includes a study of Boswell and an intense love sonnet to fianc?e Ruth. Among the spate of recent books on Mallory’s Everest expeditions, this biography stands out for its well-rounded, sensitive portrait of a restless, thoughtful adventurer. Photos. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Come prepared in March to pick books to read!


Winter Book Club Dates in Golden

We are always looking for new books to read and new members so bring great ideas, great discussions and a friend to the December meeting. The meeting will be December 14, 2010 around 6:30 p.m .  See you then.

Future Front Range Book club books are going to be:

December 14: Fatal Mountaineer by Robert Roper. This is the biography of Willi Unsoeld.

January 11: Touching the Void by Joe Simpson. One of the great classics of mountaineering literature. (You can watch the movie if you want… )

For February 8: We were thinking about reading Fifty Classic Climbs by Steve Roper and Alan Steck.

However copies of that book are hard to find (outside of the library).  So if you are interested in something like that, we could do Fifty Favorite Climbs by Mark Kroese. This was printed in 2001 and can be found easily and cheaply.

Book Club: October 12 and November 9

Jim Moss, AAC’s Library Committee Chair and Book Club fearless leader writes in:

It is amazing but no matter what happens when the AAC Book Club gets together, there is a discussion about a book….. This past meeting, we were a little shy on people and still had two different positions about Robert Birkby’s book Mountain Madness! One side loved it and one side did not!  It can’t get any better than that.

Contrary to earlier reporting that we’d be reading Freddie Wilkinson’s book, our book for  October 12 is Jennifer Jordan’s The Last Man on the Mountain. Jennifer writes a great story about the 1938 K2 climb and the controversy surrounding it.  This will be the second book the Book Club has read by Jennifer. The first was K2 the Savage Mountain.

November’s meeting we will read Brotherhood of the Rope by Bernadette McDonald. This book is the autobiography of Dr. Charlie Houston. Charlie was one of the foundations of American Mountaineering as Wilderness Medicine. This is a very entertaining book.

As the year end comes around, and you have that extra money you’ve been meaning to find someplace to donate, take a look at making a gift to the AAC Library. (OK, I know that there is not a lot of extra money sitting around this year, but ….)  The book club is a free service of the AAC library, you can even borrow the books for free if you want (if you are an AAC member), so a donation would be cool and could really be used by the library this year. Thanks, in advance!

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at the next two meetings to talk about both  great books.



Book Club Coming Attractions

Originally uploaded by American Alpine Club Photo Library

As some of you might have heard, the AAC’s book club has plans for global domination. In response to your requests for more local activities, we are hoping to launch book clubs in each AAC Section that wants one, possibly by winter!

All we need is you. Each book club needs a leader who is willing to find a place and time to meet, help the group pick the book they want to discuss, and then show up to help keep the conversation on track. Encouraging beer and special guests would be an added bonus.

The Library will help you by providing a suggested reading list, making sure we’ve got copies of those books available for checkout, and, when possible, working to get discounts, special guests or other interesting related events.

We’ll also post your meeting times, book selections, photos and write-ups on the Library Blog, High Places, and on our Facebook and Twitter accounts, and we hope you will all post there too.

Contact Beth Heller to see how you can help get it going! library[@]americanalpineclub[dot]org

We already have a book club going in Golden, so those of you on the Front Range, come on in on the 2nd Tuesday of each month.

Books for this fall in Golden are:

  • September 13:  Freddie Wilkinson will do a slideshow and booksigning for One Mountain, Thousand Summits at 6pm
  • September 14:  Book Club meets at 6:30 to discuss Mountain Madness, by Robert Birkby. This is the autobiography of Scott Fisher
  • October 12:       Discussion of One Mountain, Thousand Summits (hopefully everyone will get a chance to meet Freddie in September)
  • November 9:     Brotherhood of the Rope    Bernadette McDonald   Biography of Charles Houston (see K2, The Savage Mountain)

August 9th Book Club: Dee Molenaar Special Guest!

Thanks to Bob Ader, August’s American Alpine Club Book Club will feature a visit from Dee Molenaar!  We’ll be discussing Dee’s book, The Challenge of Rainier, as well as his 2009 Mountain Rescue publication, Mountains Don’t Care, But We Do: an early history of mountain rescue in the Pacific Northwest.

Challenge of Rainier can be found in full on Google Books, as well as in the AAC Library.  A search of the American Alpine Journal pulls 81 results about Dee, if you’d like to read more about him there.

Please join us at 6:30 on Monday, August 9th in the American Mountaineering Center, Golden.  The discussion will start at 7pm.  Stop by the library on the bottom floor beforehand to check out our books for sale and to say hello!

Call or email the library to rsvp, or join the Facebook event.

July 13 Book Club: Tom Patey’s One Man’s Mountains

Click on the image to buy the book from Chessler Books

July’s book club will discuss Tom Patey’s collection of essays, One Man’s Mountains, published in 1971, a year after his death.   The book includes song verses as well, such as “The Manchester Delinquent’s Song”,and  “Onward Christian Bonington”.

Read the whole book on Google Books or check it out from the library if you are an AAC member.

Patey achieved first ascents in Lochnagar and neighboring Cairngorms, Scotland, the Alps and the Himalayas, particularly Muztagh Tower in 1956 and his climbing partners included Sir Chris Bonington and Hamish MacInnes.  The book has been deemed a classic, to be read and re-read.  Come tell us what you think!  Book Club meets from 6:30-8:30 in the American Mountaineering Center.  Stop by the library to find out which room.