CLOUDS FROM BOTH SIDES: An Autobiography by Julie Tullis


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An absorbing posthumously published autobiography by the British mountaineer and cinematographer who died on K2 in 1986. The great distinction of Tullis' autobiography (as opposed to the other new mountaineering memoir, Bonington's The Everest Years, p. 900) is the amount of attention Tullis pays to the ordinary problems facing climbers. Bonington, who is most comfort able with abstractions of expedition planning, writes like a military strategist; Tullis, like a schoolgirl on holiday--she revels in the everyday details of the climbing experience. ""Just after we arrived in Huarez."" she writes of an expedition to Peru, ""I developed a strange addiction to bananas. . .I was like an alcoholic, and tried to keep a secret store, which was not easy in a small tent, as bad bananas do not smell very good."" On Mount Everest, she craved ""salty, savoury foods like salami and cheese and [could] eat a whole tin of anchovies at one go, something I never could do at home."" Beginning with her wartime London childhood (she was a naughty, accident-prone girl), the book moves up through her marriage to fellow-climber Terry Tullis, her training in the martial arts, her sudden discovery of photography, and her eventual decision to join her first major expedition at the age of 38. The book honestly explores the difficulties of being a wife, a mother, and an expedition cinematographer, and portrays some of the great climbs and climbers of the world. An Afterword by British journalist Peter Gillman reconstructs her final successful ascent of K2 and her quiet death by hypothermia just beneath the summit. This book's honesty and vividness should appeal to many, climbers and non-climbers alike.

Pub Date: Oct. 22nd, 1987
Publisher: Sierra Club--dist. by Random House