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 Books/Movies

Big Wall Climbing


by Doug Scott

New York and London: Oxford University Press; 1974, 248 pages

“What a relief to see a mountaineering history book by an active climber! Doug Scott’s big wall climbing has taken him to the Alps, Baffin Island, the Hindu Kush, Everest and Yosemite. This considerable cosmopolitan energy has been channelled into an enormous project: the world history of big wall climbing. (…)
Historically, big wall climbing has been an explosion: a sudden, forcible expansion of a substance. Few realize how quickly this has happened. To write a paragraph on each important climb would be to spend a few pages up to 1960 and several volumes up to the present. Scott reverses this. He spends much of the book early, Alpine, pre-big-wall climbs. He helps us understand intuitively what processes led to bigger climbs. (…)
Although incomplete in some areas. Scott’s book is a must for all who are interested in mountaineering history. It fills an open chasm in mountain literature.”
Galen Rowell, „American Alpine Journal” 1975, p. 239-240, “Mountain” 1974, November, No. 40, p 38-39

“This is a book for the committed mountaineer rather than the mountain-lover. It is packed with information and needs concentrated reading. It should be studied by all those who wish to have some basic insight and knowledge of the paths that mountaineering is following and the ways in which it is likely to extend.”
Michael Ward, “The Alpine Journal” 1975, p. 250-251

“The major part if the book is devoted to history; the last two sections on method and big wall climbing areas account for just a third of the text. The latter sections are well done, but one cannot help wondering who will use them. Certainly people learn to climb from books, but once they are considering a trip to Patagonia it seems they would be getting their knowledge from companions rather than instruction book. The real meat, and value of, Scott’s work is the section on the development of big wall climbing. What, however, does he mean by big wall? (…) What Scott gives us is a condensed history of climbing in the Alps, although he is unsure just what to allow under his big wall umbrella. (…)
There is such a profusion of names, dates, and grades, that individual people and events are virtually indistinguishable. Scott has chosen to put the maximum amount of data into the book, rather than bring out key individuals and events. This reviewer wished that Scott had dwelt on less information at greater length, but others would probably object that he had left out important facts. (…)
Scott has written an important book that has something worthwhile to say to everyone interested in the big walls. Its shortcomings are far outweighed by its strengths, and the greatest strengths are Scott’s thoughtful analyses.”
Chris Jones, “Ascent” 1975-1976, p. 127

 

 

 
See also
 Books/Movies
Angels of Light
Himalayan Climber
Defying Gravity
 Climbandmore special
Why Yosemite? Answers by Top Climbers
 Climbers
Doug Scott, b. 1941, Great Britain
Jim Bridwell
 News/Last added
Smith-Gobat and Astorga's records in Yosemite Valley
Honnold links Half Dome and The Nose in 8h
Lee Cossey Sends Three El Cap Free Routes
The Huber Brothers Set Another Speed Record
Remarkable repeats of Free Rider
Second free ascent of Southern Belle in 18 years
 Routes/Crags
North Face of Rostrum, Yosemite Valley
 Walls
Changabang
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