Monday, 15 December 2014 15:19

Five of the Best Outdoor Books of 2014 Featured

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Despite the dire predictions of the death of the book the reality is that not only has the book survived the digital revolution, but books have flourished. Some say that we're in a golden age of outdoor literature, a claim partially reinforced by a record entry in this year's Boardman Tasker Awards. With books available in both hard form and digital, if anything, reading has become increasingly popular. With the winter nights firmly on us we've picked out our favourite six books of 2014. They're not in any particular order but any of them would make a inspirational companion whether tent bound on a mountain or relaxing at home with a christmas drink.


Alpine Exposures - Jon Griffith

alpine exposures

Jon Griffith has a seriously unfair amount of talent. Not satisfied with being a highly accomplished alpine climber he's also a world renowned photographer. In Alpine Exposures Jon documents ten years of alpine adventures working, climbing, flying and skiin.While each of the 288 pages is adorned with jaw-dropping images they tell a story, both singly and in combination. The movements, the facial expressions and the intense concentration are all definitive of the adventures we dream of and the level of both the climbing and the images mean that most of us they will only ever be dreams.

Available from Vertebrate Publishing priced at £35 Alpine Exposures is a coffee table book you'll never tire of. Read our full review here.


One Day As A Tiger - John Porter.

On 15th October 1982 Alex MacIntyre and Rene Ghilini reached 7200 metres on a new route on the south face of Annapurna. Having reached an inpenetrable barrier they were retreating from the face when a single falling stone hit MacIntyre. In that one instant one of the most iconic figures in British climbing history died, leaving a  James Dean style legacy that still remains over 30 years later. In One Day as a Tiger close friend, and witness to the accident, John Porter documents the life of the enigma that was Alex MacIntyre from a unique perspective.


One Day As A Tiger is one of the most anticipated books of recent years, and has already claimed the prestigious Banff Mountain Festival Grand Prize. Documenting the impact of Alex MacIntyre from a unique position the author reveals not only his subject's immense personality but also the society and times that almost saw the national body, the BMC, collapse. The period also saw the begining of a powerful relationship built between British and Polish climbers that was to go on to great success in the highest mountains of the world.


The roll call of participants in the dramas reads like a Who's Who of mountaineering, with Voytek Kurtyka, the Burgess twins, Joe Tasker, Pete Boardman, Reinhold Messne, Doug Scott, Roger Baxter-Jones, Maria Coffey and Ken Wilson all taking to the stage. For anyone who lived through the late 70's and early 80's the names and personalities will be immediately familiar, while for anyone coming to the game later it proves a valuable insight into a world that was very different from today's. Read our full review here.


The Atholl Expedition - Alex Roddie


Alex Roddie writes mountain fiction, very good mountain fiction! Following on from the success of his book The Only Genuine Jones, the author takes the reader to the Cairgorms of the 1840's where a tightly woven storyline sees a search for a mythical glacier that drags a young Queen Victoria into the action. The first in a series of stories, The Atholl Expedition introduces the reader to James Forbes, a convalescing university professor and while following a pulsating storyline also highlights economic and working conditions in Scotland in the 1800s.

A superb read and a real escape from the usual expedition report style of book the Atholl Expedition is ideal for a weekend wild camping.


Photographing the Lake District - Stuart Holmes


You can't visit the Lake District without wanting to take a photograph, it's part of what brings 15 million people to the area every year, but though we all like to think our photographs are good it takes a single glance at the work of the professionals to realise we're usually average at best. Somehow we never get the same weather, or the same light. The landscapes look similar but always seem to be from a slightly different angle and always look so .....professional! We see the photographs we wish we could take and a library full of coffee table sized books remind us of what we could have as memories, if only we knew where and how. If we're lucky these stunning photos will have a bit of information telling us the camera used and maybe it's aperture and shutter speed. Photographing The Lake District is different, really really different. It's also going to prove expensive. It's £25, but that's just the initial investment. I challenge anyone who reads it not to want to jump in their car and drive straight to the Lakes with camera in hand.....repeatedly as each location is revealed. Read or full review here.


Tears of the Dawn - Jules Lines

With a coffee table essential, a "How to" guide, a fictional story and a long awaited piece of history we decided to fill the final slot with an adventurous autobiography, and you can't get much better than a Boardman Tasker winner! Tears of the Dawn is the autobiography of audacious UK climber Jules Lines. Far from being a simple list of achievements, which on their own are mind-boggling, the author leads the reader through the feelings and emotions inside him at the time. The book examines risk and guilt, escapism and self sufficiency and reveals better than perhaps any other book what drives a climber to climb without ropes.

Tears of the Dawn is wonderfully complimented by Stone Free, the Posing Productions film that forms part of the Britrock 2014 DVD and picked up  the best Adrenaline Film Award.

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