Stephen Venables is a world-renowned mountaineer who climbed Everest without oxygen, pioneering a new route at the same time. He is the author of eight books, including the award-winning Painted Mountains. His most recent project was retracing Ernest Shackleton's steps for the IMAX movie, Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure. Sir Chris Bonington is one of the world's most successful expedition leaders, having led the teamsthat made the first ascents of the south face of Annapurna and the southwest face of Everest.
Many books have chronicled mountaineering adventures throughout the world but this book is unique in telling the often-harrowing stories of those who made the initial ascent of peaks both large and small. The individual stories of those who had the courage to go where no one had gone before can be viewed as inspiring or insane, selfishly egocentric or generous. However, it makes for exciting reading. The daring feats of the men and women who were lured to the unknown to make it to the top the first time is covered with flair and amazing photography on every page, including archival footage. Historians and mountaineers, both armchair and actual, will find the book hard to put down.... This book is a joy to read, cover to cover, is a fine reference book, and it would make a great coffee-table book to peruse anywhere throughout.--Georgia Briscoe "American Reference Book Annual " There's no one better to dissect the peculiar psychology of those driven to physical and mental extreme than [Stephen] Venables, an intellectual who describes the motivations and emotions of a mountaineer in a series of gripping and remarkably honest books, most recently First Ascent.--Simon Crompton"TimesOnline UK" (10/27/2008) Trying to decipher between the thousands of first ascents is like pinning a bull's-eye on your head at a mountain guides' ice-axe throwing contest. Your choices are bound to elicit controversy. And yet Venables has likely done the trick with his latest book. Climbs he features in a book full of stunning full-page colour photos were all ground-breaking in some way. You'll come away inspired to notch your own first ascents.-- (12/18/2008) It's a rare pleasure when stunning pictures of heavenly perches are complemented by truly readable text that puts mountain climbing into both a historical and spiritual context. For all its detail on climbers and peaks, this coffee table gift book may be best suited to the select few, just this side of terminally odd, who prefer the straitened life of a peak-freak.-- (12/07/2008) Rock climber, writer, and lecturer Venables, the first Briton to climb Mount Everest without oxygen, profiles a sizable list of climbers who are credited with first ascents of summits and other challenging heights in mountain ranges across the globe.--Book News Inc. (02/01/2009)