Experienced climber Charles Sherwood is on a quest to find the best climb on each continent. The traditional Seven Summits were chosen by height alone, but Seven Climbs considers mountaineering challenge, natural beauty and historical context, capturing the diverse character of each continent and the sheer variety of climbing in all its forms.
'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?
Charles Sherwood has combined a thirty-year career in the risk capital industry with a love of adventurous outdoor sports. His passion for climbing began at Cambridge, where he furtively scaled the university buildings; and subsequently grew to embrace traditional rock climbing in the UK and the Alps, aid climbing in Yosemite, ice climbing in the Andes, mixed climbing in the Himalaya and ski mountaineering all over the world. His adventures have taken in everything from the Old Man of Hoy and El Capitan to the North Face of the Eiger and a ski descent of Mont Blanc. He is an occasional paraglider (which is probably not a smart thing to be), a PADI Divemaster and a fully certified cave diver, although he has retired from that last activity owing to issues around life expectancy. Charles is grossly overeducated with master’s degrees from Cambridge, Harvard and LSE. He lives in London and the French Alps with an extraordinarily long-suffering wife and three troublesome children. Seven Climbs is his first book.
Andy Kirkpatrick is an award-winning author and climber. With a reputation for seeking out routes where the danger is real and the return questionable, he has pushed himself on some of the hardest walls and faces around the world. He was born and raised on a council estate in Hull, one of the UK’s flattest cities, and suffered from severe dyslexia which went undiagnosed until he was nineteen. Thriving on this apparent adversity, Andy transformed himself into one of the world’s most driven and accomplished climbers and an award-winning writer. In 2001 he undertook an eleven-day solo ascent of the Reticent Wall on El Capitan, Yosemite, one of the hardest solo climbs in the world. This climb was the central theme of his first book Psychovertical, which won the 2008 Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature. His second book, Cold Wars, won the 2012 Boardman Tasker Prize. In 2014 he partnered BBC One’s The One Show presenter Alex Jones as she climbed Moonlight Buttress in Zion National Park in aid of Sport Relief. Andy lives in Ireland with his wife Vanessa.
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