Inspiring Adventure is the official podcast from Vertebrate Publishing and we hope that our episodes help inspire you to seek your own adventures. We want to connect all – young and old – with the outdoors and the positive impact it can have on well-being. We think it’s particularly important that young people get outside and explore the natural world. At Vertebrate Publishing we publish award winning books to inspire adventure. It’s our rule that the only books we publish are those that we’d want to read or use ourselves; beautiful books that stand the test of time and that you’ll be proud to have on your bookshelf for years to come. Everyone in the Vertebrate Publishing team are driven by their own passion for the outdoors, for exploration and for the natural world. Now we're sharing that passion with listeners as well as readers! Our podcast host is Rae Helm. She spent her great swathes of her childhood out in the UK's first National Park, the Peak District, making escapades in the outdoors a favourite pastime. That could mean climbing with the family along Stanage, camping in Snowdonia or striding along the Cotswolds - she's always looking for the next adventure! Visit our website: https://bit.ly/2pDUU3n
Ep 24 - In Some Lost Place Audiobook (Chapter 1)
In the summer of 2012, a team of six climbers set out to attempt the first ascent of one of the great unclimbed lines of the Himalaya – the giant Mazeno Ridge on Nanga Parbat, the world’s ninth highest mountain. At ten kilometres in length, the Mazeno is the longest route to the summit of an 8,000-metre peak. Ten expeditions had tried and failed to climb this enormous ridge. Eleven days later two of the team, Sandy Allan and Rick Allen, both in their late fifties, reached the summit. They had run out of food and water and began hallucinating wildly from the effects of altitude and exhaustion. Heavy snow conditions meant they would need another three days to descend the far side of the ‘killer mountain’.
‘I began to wonder whether what we were doing was humanly possible. We had climbed the Mazeno and reached the summit, but we both knew we had wasted too much energy. In among the conflicting emotions, the exhaustion and the elation, we knew our bodies could not sustain this amount of time at altitude indefinitely, especially now we had no water. The slow trickle of attrition had turned into a flood; it was simply a matter of time before our bodies stopped functioning. Which one of us would succumb first?’
In Some Lost Place is Sandy Allan’s epic account of an incredible feat of endurance and commitment at the very limits of survival – and the first ascent of one of the last challenges in the Himalaya.
AUDIOBOOK AVAILABLE HERE and also available as an ebook:
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Ep 23 - Quest into the Unknown Audiobook (Chapter 1)
We are all climbing where we are and with the gear we use in no small part due to Tony Howard’s quest for adventure.
Tony Howard rose to fame in 1965 as a member of a group of young climbers from northern England who made the first British ascent of Norway’s Troll Wall; a climb described by Joe Brown as, ‘One of the greatest ever achievements by British rock climbers’. Tony went on to design the modern sit harness, now used universally by every climber in the world. He founded the company Troll Climbing Equipment but never stopped exploring. Quest into the Unknown is his story.
Tony has dedicated his life to travelling the world in search of unclimbed rock faces and remote trekking adventures. The scale of his travels is vast: he has visited all of the North African countries, much of the Arab land of the Middle East, the mountainous regions of Scandinavia, Canada and the rocky spine of the Americas, the Himalaya, remote Indian provinces, South East Asia, Madagascar, South Georgia and Antarctica. This book, the last word in adventure travel, takes the reader from Tony’s youth spent developing the crags of the English Peak District, via whaling ships in the Southern Ocean, thousand-mile canoe trips in the Canadian Arctic, living amongst the Bedouin in the rocky mountains of Jordan, to the isolated opium tribes of Thailand.
Tony Howard’s Quest into the Unknown is the jaw-dropping account of a life of adventure that is the very definition of true exploration.
Also available as an ebook:
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Ep 22 - The Last Blue Mountain Audiobook (Chapter 1)
‘When an accident occurs, something may emerge of lasting value, for the human spirit may rise to its greatest heights. This happened on Haramosh.’
The Last Blue Mountain is the heart-rending true story of the 1957 expedition to Mount Haramosh in the Karakoram range in Pakistan. With the summit beyond reach, four young climbers are about to return to camp. Their brief pause to enjoy the view and take photographs is interrupted by an avalanche which sweeps Bernard Jillott and John Emery hundreds of feet down the mountain into a snow basin. Miraculously, they both survive the fall. Rae Culbert and Tony Streather risk their own lives to rescue their friends, only to become stranded alongside them.
The group’s efforts to return to safety are increasingly desperate, hampered by injury, exhaustion and the loss of vital climbing gear. Against the odds, Jillott and Emery manage to climb out of the snow basin and head for camp, hoping to reach food, water and assistance in time to save themselves and their companions from an icy grave. But another cruel twist of fate awaits them.
An acclaimed mountaineering classic in the same genre as Touching the Void, Ralph Barker’s The Last Blue Mountain is an epic tale of friendship and fortitude in the face of tragedy.
We published 200 special edition hardback copies of The Last Blue Mountain in March 2020, signed by Ed Douglas, author of the 2020 Introduction, and numbered. This special edition hardback offer is available exclusively from our website on a first-come, first-served basis for £24 per copy inc. UK P&P. The trade paperback edition of The Last Blue Mountain will also be published in March 2020 and will be available to purchase at the same time for £12.99 inc. UK P&P.
AUDIOBOOK AVAILABLE HERE
Also available as an ebook:
Kindle UK Kindle USKoboiTunesGoogle Play
Ep 21 - Seven Climbs (Intro and Chapter 1 extract)
'Even the most casual reader among you will by now have worked out that the whole thing is little more than a delightful ruse for having a very good time.'
Experienced climber Charles Sherwood is on a quest to find the best climb on each continent. He eschews the traditional Seven Summits, where height alone is the determining factor, and instead considers mountaineering challenge, natural beauty and historical context, aiming to capture the diverse character of each continent and the sheer variety of climbing in all its forms.
The author's ambitious odyssey takes him to the Alps, the Himalaya, Yosemite, the Andes, Kenya, New Zealand and South Georgia. His goal is neither to seek glory nor to complete a box-ticking exercise, but simply to enjoy himself in the company of his fellow climbers, including Mark Seaton, Andy Kirkpatrick and Stephen Venables, and to appreciate the splendour of his surroundings. On classic routes like the North Face of the Eiger and the Nose on El Capitan, it is hard not to be swept away by Sherwood's unfaltering enthusiasm.
Also featuring fascinating historical detail about each route, Seven Climbs is a compelling account of Sherwood's efforts to answer a much-debated question: which are the world’s greatest climbs?
Buy it now:
ebook: Kindle UK and Kindle US
Hard copy: Vertebrate Publishing
Ep 20 - The Shining Mountain Audiobook (Chapter 1)
‘It’s a preposterous plan. Still, if you do get up it, it’ll be the hardest thing that’s been done in the Himalayas.’
So spoke Chris Bonington when Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker presented him with their plan to tackle the unclimbed West Wall of Changabang – the Shining Mountain – in 1976. Bonington’s was one of the more positive responses; most felt the climb impossibly hard, especially for a two-man, lightweight expedition. This was, after all, perhaps the most fearsome and technically challenging granite wall in the Garhwal Himalaya and an ascent – particularly one in a lightweight style – would be more significant than anything done on Everest at the time.
The idea had been Joe Tasker’s. He had photographed the sheer, shining, white granite sweep of Changabang’s West Wall on a previous expedition and asked Pete to return with him the following year. Tasker contributes a second voice throughout Boardman’s story, which starts with acclimatisation, sleeping in a Salford frozen food store, and progresses through three nights of hell, marooned in hammocks during a storm, to moments of exultation at the variety and intricacy of the superb, if punishingly difficult, climbing. It is a story of how climbing a mountain can become an all-consuming goal, of the tensions inevitable in forty days of isolation on a two-man expedition; as well as a record of the moment of joy upon reaching the summit ridge against all odds.
First published in 1978, The Shining Mountain is Peter Boardman’s first book. It is a very personal and honest story that is also amusing, lucidly descriptive, very exciting, and never anything but immensely readable. It was awarded the John Llewelyn Rhys Prize for literature in 1979, winning wide acclaim. His second book, Sacred Summits, was published shortly after his death in 1982.
Audiobook available, and also available as an ebook:
Ep 19 - Tides Audiobook (Chapter 1)
This week's episode features a chapter from the award winning Tides by Nick Bullock.
Winner: Mountain Literature Award, Banff Mountain Book Festival 2018Shortlisted for the 2018 Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain LiteratureNick Bullock is a climber who lives in a small green van, flitting between Llanberis, Wales, and Chamonix in the French Alps. Tides, Nick’s second book, is the much-anticipated follow-up to his critically acclaimed debut Echoes.
Now retired from the strain of work as a prison officer, Nick is free to climb. A lot. Tides is a treasury of his antics and adventures with some of the world’s leading climbers, including Steve House, Kenton Cool, Nico Favresse, Andy Houseman and James McHaffie. Follow Nick and his partners as they push the limits on some of the world’s most serious routes: The Bells! The Bells! on Gogarth’s North Stack Wall; the Slovak Direct on Denali; Guerdon Grooves on Buachaille Etive Mor; and the north faces of Chang Himal and Mount Alberta, among countless others.
Nick’s life can be equated to the rhythm of the sea. At high tide, he climbs, he loves it, he is good at it; he laughs and jokes, scares himself, falls, gets back up and climbs some more. Then the tide goes out and he finds himself alone, exposed, all questions and no answers. Self-doubt, grieving for friends or family, fearful, sometimes opinionated, occasionally angry – his writing more honest and exposed than in any account of a climb. Only when the tide turns is he able to forget once more.
Tides is a gripping memoir that captures the very essence of what it means to dedicate one’s life to climbing.