Book recommendations wanted

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chrislehrer

 
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Book recommendations wanted

by chrislehrer » Mon Sep 03, 2018 7:19 pm

I am working on a novel, and it turns out that mountaineering is a more important piece of the work than I had planned. So I need to learn a fair bit about the how-to. I am not myself a climber; this is information for research purposes only.

In the novel, the characters will be climbing a face somewhat similar to the north face of the Eiger.

I am hoping that you can suggest some how-to guides, references, whatever that I can use to get my facts straight.

Many thanks!

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rgg
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Re: Book recommendations wanted

by rgg » Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:11 pm

I'm afraid that you're looking for a shortcut that doesn't exist. You can't learn about climbing without actually doing it. Not that you need to climb the Eiger north face, but you've got to start climbing something. Imagine someone writing a book where driving a car is an important part of the story. Would you tell someone who's never driven a car that it's enough to read about how to drive a car? And, frankly, driving is a whole lot easier than climbing a long, hard route.

I believe your book will be better if you not only start climbing, but also get in trouble. Not on purpose, just climb a lot and it will happen. To varying degrees, most climbers get in a bit of trouble from time to time. Mostly just an uncomfortable thing, on rare occasions life threatening. Best to avoid the latter of course.

Case in point: Imagine yourself descending but still high up on a dangerous mountain, with nightfall fast approaching. What to do? Descend as fast as you can, hoping to get to safer terrain by the time it gets dark? Descend slower, which may be safer, but you might get off the route when it gets dark? Or find a spot to bunker down for the night? And what if the weather turns on you? Do you even know the forecast? I don't have a standard answer, there are just too many variables.

If you don't want to start climbing, then the next best thing is to get some climbers involved. If not for help with writing, then at least to thoroughly read your drafts.

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nartreb

 
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Re: Book recommendations wanted

by nartreb » Tue Sep 04, 2018 4:54 pm

The standard tutorial is "Freedom of the Hills". Read all of it, it provides a basic framework.

You may want to hang out in some online climbing forums for a general sense of the culture, rhythms of speech, areas of controversy, and modes of braggadoccio.

Technical terms you find in those forums can be looked up here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_ ... bing_terms

You will want to decide where the mountain is located, and what countries the climbers come from. Terminology varies, and in a big expedition, language issues are a common source of, shall we say, interesting events.

Avoid fetishising the equipment ("he ran an 8mm cordelette through his ATC"). You'll inadvertently say something hilarious (like I just did) and most of your readers won't care.

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chrislehrer

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chrislehrer

 
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Re: Book recommendations wanted

by chrislehrer » Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:46 pm

Thank you, @nartreb -- that's exactly the information I was looking for.

Thank you, also, for that little piece of "fetishising" prose: I _loathe_ that kind of writing, so you needn't fear on that score!

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Woodswalker

 
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Re: Book recommendations wanted

by Woodswalker » Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:27 am

Read some books by Jon Krakauer. He is both an accomplished mountaineer and a best-selling author who knows how to tell a story. (Yes yes, peanut gallery, he is controversial.)

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BolSon

 
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Re: Book recommendations wanted

by BolSon » Fri Sep 07, 2018 3:37 pm

You can also check out the most popular climbing blogs to get inspiration and see the way climbers speak. You wanted to find out some terms and phrases, right? If so, you can google for Climbing Narc, Dead Point Magazine, Climberism (these are just a few that came to my mind)....


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