Some Quick Notes and What I’m Reading Now

This rock climbing shoe fit in the palm of my hand (Szalay 2014)

I promised Natalie that I wouldn’t push the kids to get into climbing, though she understands that I won’t discourage it if they show interest. But get this: Wunderkind and Schnickelfritz both like to get into our piles of books. And lately, Schnickelfritz, who is a year-and-a-half old, has chosen the small picture book about Mount Everest off my bookcase. There are a lot of books within his reach and that one keeps surfacing and left somewhere on the floor. So when I stumbled upon this tiny rock climbing shoe, it was hard for me not to get somewhat excited. Still, I didn’t buy it; I know what I promised.

I’m very excited to have finished my first piece for Alpinist magazine. Alpinist is the leading English-language literary climbing magazine that delivera in-depth and beautiful feature articles quarterly. My submission is notably smaller than the well-known features, but that’s not the point; I got to share a little-known piece of climbing history that I think you’d like to know. Be sure to check it out in issue 49, which comes out around January.

And here are some quick notes on what is in my physical and virtual reading stack:

I am extremely late in publishing my review of John Quillen’s book, Tempting the Throne Room: Surviving Pakistan’s Deadliest Climbing Season 2013 (2014), which was available in paperback earlier this year. I accepted an ebook version, but, as I have discovered, I read ebooks at a much slower pace. I might go with the hard copy book next time.

Barry Blanchard’s book, The Calling: A Life Rocked by Mountains (2014) came out at long last. I think I looked more forward to Blanchard to publishing his first book than I did Steve House’s. I only just began reading it, as I need to finish Quillen’s work first. It’s also an ebook, so I have to stay disciplined and keep my phone fully charged before my commute and time on planes traveling. (Please wish me luck with that.) Here is an excerpt in case you’d like a preview.

I continue to read and re-read parts of Alpinist 48. Katie Ives column, The Sharp End, is about the art of the approach and is available to read online for free. My friend Suzanne Ybarra writes about her late brother and his friend’s unyielding pursuit of El Capitan-south. It also has a short piece involving Don Jensen, which if you are as interested in Alaskan exploration anywhere near the way I am, well, it’s a must read.

Lastly, while I don’t possess a copy yet, I am excited about reading John Porter’s One Day as a Tiger (2014) about Alex MacIntyre. A biography of MacIntyre is enough to interest me but it also took the grand prize at the 2014 Banff Mountain Book Competition.

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