Holding On, A Story of Love and Survival
Gear Review

Holding On, A Story of Love and Survival

Holding On, A Story of Love and Survival

Page Type: Gear Review

Object Title: Holding On, A Story of Love and Survival

Manufacturer: Jo Gambi (Portrait Books)

Your Opinion: 
 - 1 Votes


Page By: silversummit

Created/Edited: May 3, 2009 / May 3, 2009

Object ID: 6100

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Holding On begins with Rob and Jo meeting and Rob quickly learning to climb and become a mountaineer in his late 30s. They marry a year later and disappear into the civility of work and school. It takes a personal crisis to push them beyond their comfort zone.

From the Parliament's Speaker's website: "After battling Rob's cancer together and living with the knowledge that it may return, Rob and Jo decided to do more things together and went on to become the first couple to climb the seven summits and ski to both the North and South poles. An amazing story of strength and belief....and that's before they had even began to climb.

In 2005 Rob and Jo Gambi became the first married couple to achieve the ultimate adventurer’s ambition when they climbed the ‘Seven Summits’ (the highest mountains on all seven continents) and skied to both the North and South Poles together. Jo is also the first female, and Rob the first Australian, to have achieved this feat.

What makes their story even more remarkable is that they achieved all this while Rob was in remission from his second bout of cancer. Having been warned that his cancer could reoccur, Rob and Jo both left their jobs in order to spend as much time together as they could, and embarked on what was to become an incredible adventure. In spite of setbacks and facing death high in the Himalaya, they persevered and fulfilled their dreams (while unwittingly setting a string of records). They experienced and endured more together during several challenging years, than most couples would in a lifetime, overcoming illness and living with an intensity few people ever know.

In 2005 Jo entered the Guinness World Records for the fastest female ascent of the ‘Seven Summits’ and still holds this record and Jo was the second British woman to climb Everest’s more difficult and daunting North Ridge."


Price: $19.95

Paperback: 302 pages with color photographs

Author: Jo Gambi

Publisher: Portrait Books

Year Published: 2006

Language: English

ISBN: 0-7499-5122-2



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silversummitGood, quick read!

Voted 4/5

Not the typical mountaineering book in many ways with its details about Rob's second bout with cancer but the chapters recounting their Antarctic travels and North Pole trek are truly unique. Jo Gambi writes in amazing first person voice about the relentless battle each day of pushing yourself a little further, a little harder, a little more than she could imagine. Her struggles are so real that you sometimes want to shake her and tell her "Go down!" After attaining several summits, this united couple make the painful decision that if necessary, one will push for the top leaving the other behind. Surprisingly, it's Jo who has most of the health problems after their first ill-fated Himalayan conditioning attempt but it's Jo who keeps Rob going day after day.

Gambi is a great writer but don't expect lengthy descriptions of each summit. The poles get quite a bit of attention as well as Aconcagua, Denali, and Everest of course but other summits are barely mentioned. Also given no mention is their sponsorship by companies etc. so I continually wondered how they pulled off these extremely expensive jaunts to Antarctica, the Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia and the trips back to the U.K. and Australia between climbs. Overall though, this is a fast read; great for seeing the seven summits (or at least some of them) from a couples' point of view.
Posted May 3, 2009 1:11 pm

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