24 Apr 2014

Hanging By A Thread

I'm a little bit excited tonight! As you know, pre-baby45 I did a fair bit of climbing - it's one of the things I miss most since he arrived. Husbando is a total climbing fanatic however and owns many books on the subject, including Mark Reeves' `How To Climb Harder`.

Tonight on twitter I spotted that Mark is actually in London on May 12th giving a lecture on The History + Technology of Climbing. Tickets are £10 and the talk commences at 7pm. As he normally spends most of his time in Snowdonia this is a real one off opportunity to hear one of the world leading experts in climbing and mountaineering speak.

Want to know more? Well here in Mark's own words is the background to how he came to write Hanging by a Thread - the book that forms the basis for this talk..... 

"So I choose to write the book (Hanging by a Thread) after I wrote a blog post on the 10 most important inventions in relation to climbing. I think nylon was one of them, and looking into its history I was fascinated by the people who came up with the idea and their story. 
I also knew there were anthologies of odd chapters from climbing's past, but there wasn’t a brief overview of the history of climbing and mountaineering. With so many people coming to climbing from indoor walls, I thought it would be interesting to give them a brief overview of the sport's history.

I had set myself the challenge of trying to tell a story about climbing science and technology but it turned out there is some tangible link to humanity and how our greatest achievements have played their part in the development of mountaineering. 
It is a rather mixed bag; as well as the history I used bits of research I discovered on my Masters in Sport Science to base a whole chapter on Altitude Medicine. 
Another one I am particularly proud of answers the question many climbers have tried to ask of ‘Why We Climb`. Rather than philosophy, I turned to research into risk taking behaviour and it is quite a illuminating read for many people. I was really lucky that a friend who was just going to proofread the book, not only read it but saw where it could go and did an excellent job of editing it down to what it is.
I just hope it inspires people to look back at where climbing has come from and maybe where we are going in the future. The book has also has led to me to write a series in Climber magazine loosely based on short sections of it. 
The talk itself came about because I occasionally work for a centre that has the staff give talks usually on their holidays. So rather than talk about climbing amazing rock across America, I instead gave a talk based on the edited highlights of `Hanging By A Thread`. Overhang Climbing then got hold of me and asked me down to give the talk. Last month they had Tim Emmett a good friend and climbing legend, I think next month Emma Twyford is talking there, so I feel so lucky to be invited down to give my talk to the good folk of London."
So there you have it - in Mark's own words. If you want to book tickets for his talk click here. You can visit Mark's blog here and follow him on Twitter here. If you have any questions or comments please do post them below or tweet Mark - or me :)

Thank you and goodnight,

Stupidgirl has left the building

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