Books by John Cleare

EPIC CLIMBS by John  Cleare
Released: May 1, 2011

In a helter-skelter scrapbook format, Cleare, a veteran mountaineer, profiles five of the world's most renowned mountains—K2, the Eiger, the Matterhorn, Everest and Mount McKinley—and identifies some of the major historical expeditions to their summits. Top-to-bottom views of each peak are provided via single, double or (for Everest) wall-poster-sized triple foldouts. Along with those, dozens of smaller captioned photos, maps, images or realistic reconstructions depict noted climbers of the past, local wildlife, old- and new-style climbing gear, wind and weather patterns, climbers' camps, glaciers and rugged landscapes. Likewise, each peak receives an introductory passage of dramatic prose ("Mount McKinley is a colossal, icy complex of ridges, spurs, buttresses, and hanging glaciers," forming "a crucible of particularly evil weather"). This is accompanied by assemblages of captions and commentary in smaller type that detail its challenges and the often-unhappy history of climbers who faced them. The level of detail is specific enough to include views and comparisons of the actual routes up each mountain, and readers are expected to be clear on the difference between a cirque and a serac, or a "technical" and a "nontechnical" climb. Armchair climbers who can weather the random-feeling arrangement of pictures and the overall absence of narrative flow are in for thrills. (Informational browsing item. 11-13)Read full book review >