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Mountaineering has always demanded a fine balancing act between calculated risk-taking and the basic instinct for survival. The pioneers of the Victorian golden age tested this balance as they pushed themselves further and further, first in the Alps and later in the Himalayas. Of them all, it was perhaps Mummery whose attitude to climbing is closest to that of the 1990s, and this book recreates his first ascent of the Grepon. It also traces his attempts on Nanga Parbat, where he was to lose his life. In a book which treads across the stepping stones of Alpine and Himalayan climbing history, from the backbiting that attended the first ascent of Mont Blanc to the possibility of a sponsored race up Everest, Chris Bonington explores the way climbers develop their skills in order to push back the frontiers of the possible. He draws on his first-hand experience as a climber and interviews with notable climbers from both Europe and America.