The Book of the Month is Brought to you by Valhalla Pure
Fuel the adventure with one of these recommended novels, all these titles and more are available at our Local Favourite: Valhalla Pure. Check out their facebook page for more adventure reading recommendations.
Here’s another great beach read, or maybe it’s a “floating at anchor, just off the beach” read. M Wylie Blanchet spend several summers in the 20s and 30s cruising the west coast with her two kids in a 25-ft motor cruiser. The resulting book, “The Curve of Time”, has been on the BC best-seller list pretty much every year since it was first published in the 1960s. It’s part travel journal, part autobiography, part historical artifact, part adventure. And it’s a BC classic.
Take yourself far, far away from the heat with Kelly Cordes’ “The Tower.” Everything you ever wanted to know about Cerro Torre, but were afraid to ask. The history of the mountain, the people who have climbed it (or failed), the people who live at its base, and all the controversies that have swirled around it almost from the start, up to and including Jason Kruk and Hayden Kennedy’s removal of Cesare Maestri’s infamous bolt ladder. A beautiful book, about a beautiful peak.
“100 Favorite North American Climbs”
Two words: Fred Beckey. With more first ascents than any North American alpinist, and probably more than just about anybody alive, ever, Fred Beckey knows his way around the mountains, and here he shares his Top 100 picks, plus a few honourable mentions. From Squamish to the Rockies, the Sierras to Alaska, Fred has seen it all, climbed it all, and documented it all in words and pictures. It’s all assembled here in one place, and the result is both a beautiful coffee table picture book, and a great read besides.
“Freedom Climbers” by Bernadette McDonald was the Grand Prize winner at the 2011 Banff Mountain Festival, which described it as “the story of a group of extraordinary Polish adventurers who emerged from under the blanket of oppression following World War II to become the world’s leading Himalayan climbers. Although they lived in a dreary, war-ravaged landscape, with seemingly no hope of creating a meaningful life, these curious, motivated and skilled mountaineers created their own free-market economy under the very noses of their Communist bosses, and climbed their way to liberation.”
In Freedom Climbers, McDonald “has produced one of the most captivating books on the subject of mountaineering to have appeared in recent years: a vigorous, vivid, and deeply sensitive portrait of a time as remarkable for the characters that defined it as for what they achieved.”
“The Sea Among Us – the amazing Strait of Georgia” is the first book to present a comprehensive study of the Strait of Georgia in all its aspects with chapters on geology, First Nations, history, oceanography, fish, birds, mammals, invertebrates and plants. Covering everything from tsunami modelling to First Nations history to barnacle reproduction, the book is a sweeping overview of the waterway. It describes how fjords formed, what the seafloor is made of, and why coastal BC is so prone to earthquakes; it advises on which jellyfish sting, how to tell the difference between Dall’s and harbour porpoises, and where to find whales; and it addresses how climate change and human impacts could affect the strait, noting that though marine ecosystems are tough and adaptable, there are limits to this resiliency.
With growing local interest in the ecological recovery of Howe Sound, and the increasing industrial pressures, The Sea Among Us is as timely as a book could be.
“Into the Silence – The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest” by Wade Davis.
From the trenches of northern France to the ill-fated first attempt to reach the top of the world, this is a richly detailed account of the initial exploration of the Everest region, and of the men who, having survived the horrors of the war, found themselves driven to seek out further challenge and adventure.
VPO Book Selection #8: “Blind Descent – the Quest to Discover the Deepest Cave on Earth” by James M. Tabor. This is pretty much the exact opposite of yesterday’s “Into the Silence”. Rather than trying to get as far above sea level as possible, this is about the people who are trying to go further underground than anyone has ever gone before. Two men in two different locations each spent months almost two miles below the surface “contending with thousand-foot drops, raging whitewater rivers, monstrous waterfalls, mile-long belly crawls, and the psychological horrors produced by weeks in absolute darkness.” This is the perfect book for the claustrophobe on your list
“The Calling: A Life Rocked by Mountains” by Barry Blanchard is a sure-fire gift idea because, let’s face it, if Barry Blanchard thinks it was interesting enough to be worth writing down, you can bet that it will be worth reading. The Calling is new this fall, so even if the climber on your list “already has everything” well, they probably don’t already have this.
Take a quick read through Blanchard’s 2006 “Alpinist” article of the same name, which provides brief samples of some of the stories that have now been expanded on in the book: http://www.alpinist.com/doc/ALP15/calling-blanchard