The White Ladder: Triumph and Tragedy at the Dawn of Mountaineering (Hardback)
  • The White Ladder: Triumph and Tragedy at the Dawn of Mountaineering (Hardback)
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The White Ladder: Triumph and Tragedy at the Dawn of Mountaineering (Hardback)

(author)
£25.00
Hardback 432 Pages
Published: 05/09/2024
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The true story of the thrill-seekers, map-makers, soldiers, occultists, artists and porters who paved the way for modern mountaineering.

‘A beautifully written and sure-footed history of mountaineering “before Everest”, full of wonderful stories and spanning continents and centuries. A splendid debut.’ Sir Ranulph Fiennes, author of Shackleton

Beautiful, remote and dangerous – for generations we have looked to the mountains in awe. Yet, for most, that is where the fascination ends. For a rare few, however, the allure of the peaks proved irresistible.

There are the devout Incan priests who, scaling the Andes’ icy slopes to pay tribute to each mountain’s ‘Great Lord’, travelled higher than any European would for centuries. The Gurkha riflemen who joined their commanders in canvassing the Karakoram, admiring the distant summits of Broad Peak and K2 with gleeful anticipation. The tweed-clad mountaineers who made the first serious assaults on Everest, hauling yards upon yards of battered rope through the cold.

Tracing the world altitude record from the ashy slopes of the sacred volcano Llullaillaco to the icy crags and crevasses of the Karakoram, Daniel Light takes a panoramic journey through the storied history of mountaineering before Everest. Joining a cast of colourful characters, The White Ladder offers an ode to mountains’ capacity to enthral, and the fundamental human drive to climb higher and higher.

***

'Thrilling... Daniel Light delivers stories that are poetic, spiritual and astonishing in their courage and drive.' Sonia Purnell, author of A Woman of No Importance

‘Daniel Light guides the reader through a mountain-scape that stretches from the Alps to the Himalaya... with the sure footing of a serious student of climbing history, and the élan of a skilled storyteller. This is a book to curl up with on a cold dark night in a comfortable armchair before a bright fire.’ Maurice Isserman, co-author of Fallen Giants

‘Wonderful… a massive story with an enormous cast of characters, among them some of the most compelling figures of mountaineering history.’ Wade Davis, author of Into the Silence

Publisher: Oneworld Publications
ISBN: 9780861548163
Number of pages: 432
Dimensions: 234 x 153 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

‘A beautifully written and sure-footed history of mountaineering “before Everest”, full of wonderful stories and spanning continents and centuries. A splendid debut.’ —Sir Ranulph Fiennes

‘Wonderful… a massive story with an enormous cast of characters, among them some of the most compelling figures of mountaineering history.’ —Wade Davis, author of Into the Silence

'Why did mountaineers of old risk life and limb to break new ground and scale new summits? In his thrilling answer to this question, Daniel Light delivers stories that are poetic, spiritual and astonishing in their courage and drive. True climbers remain an esoteric breed but perhaps now they are finally more understandable.' —Sonia Purnell, author of A Woman of No Importance

‘Daniel Light guides the reader through a mountainscape that stretches from the Alps to the Himalaya... with the sure footing of a serious student of climbing history, and the élan of a skilled storyteller. This is a book to curl up with on a cold dark night in a comfortable armchair before a bright fire.’ —Maurice Isserman, co-author of Fallen Giants

'The White Ladder neatly bridges a lacuna in the history of mountaineering. In elegant prose Dan Light tracks the trials and achievements of the little-known climbers who preceded and inspired the great Himalayan expeditions of the mid-twentieth century. Disconcerted by Himalaya’s sheer scale and ill-equipped for its extreme conditions, these pioneers were as often vanquished as victorious. But without their rung-by-rung ascents to ever greater heights, and without their appreciation of what could be achieved with Gurkha, Bhotiya, Balti and above all Sherpa support, Everest might not have been climbed and Mallory, Hillary and co be uncelebrated.' —John Keay, author of Himalaya and When Men and Mountains Meet

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