In 1970, Chris Bonington and his now-legendary team of mountaineers were the first climbers to tackle a big wall at extreme altitude. Their target was the south face of Nepal’s Annapurna: 12,000 feet of steep rock and ice leading to a 26, 454-ft. summit. As serious armchair climbers will tell you, Annapurna South Face is better than all but a handful of equally gripping classics. One could also argue that all that has happened in the big mountains in the past 30 years has come out of this expedition and out of this book. Bonington and his teammost of whom subsequently died in the mountainsrepresented a kind of “greatest generation” of modern mountaineers. They pioneered a new, bolder approach to high altitude climbing, and this book is about how they hit the big time.
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