“I Chose To Climb” by Chris Bonington

I chose to climb photo from amazon.com

I chose to climb photo from amazon.com

With Christmas passing I found myself with a new book to read and that book I couldn’t put down was “I chose to climb” by Chris Bonington.

This book takes you on a down to earth journey with the author through his formative climbing years through to his ascent of the Eiger North Face.

Unlike some mountaineering books where the author takes an almost super human perspective to their exploits Chris Bonington shares his fears and lets you know he faces the same challenges with you. Through out this book you get a sense of the authors growing skill and competence as he climbs with different partners including Don Whilllans (The Villain).

If you are going to buy any book in the next few months add this to your list if you haven’t already read it.


Maurice Herzog

Annapurna by Maurice Herzog - Annapurna First Ascent - Maurice Herzog On Annapurna Summit June 3, 1950June 3 1950 saw the first ascent of an 8000 meter peak, Annapurna in the Himalayas on an expedition lead by Maurice Herzog.

Herzog who was born in the town of Lyon on the 15th of January 1919 developed a love for the mountains at his families chalet in Chamonix France. Maurice served as a rifleman during the war and as an executive post war. It wasn’t until Annapurna that Maurice Herzog became a house hold name.

The expedition in 1950 originally targeted Dhaulagiri, and a great deal of time was spent trying to find a route up the mountain. When it became apparent that this mountain would not be climbed the team switched their objective to Annapurna. The route to the base of the mountain still needed to be found, a suitable climbing route and stocking the route all needed to be done before the upcoming monsoon season.

In a testament to organisation and the skill they pulled off the climb and at around 2pm on june 3 1950 they reached the top. During the ascent and descent Herzog and Lachenal suffered frostbite to their hands and feet. Their repatriation to France took 6 weeks of painful travel.

Herzog wrote the book Annapurna after his return, which has sold over 11 million copies. Ed Viesturs, a famous American mountaineer and the first american to climb all 14 of the 8000m peaks without oxygen cites Herzog’s Annapurna as one of the reasons he got started in mountaineering.

To put the effort of the 1950 climb in perspective, Annapurna repels many climbing team each year and is known as one of the most dangerous 8000m peaks. Viesturs himself took three attempts to climb the mountain and doubted that the peak was inside his level of acceptable risk.

Herzog passed away on the 13th of December 2012 after leading a long and full life

Reinhold Messner

Image “badassoftheweek.com”

Reinhold Messner what more really needs to be said? a true icon and revolutionary in the climbing world, his feats are still something modern mountaineers seek to emulate and his philosophy changed the way man kind see the mountains.

Born on September 17 1944 Messner was introduced to climbing by his father at age five where he quickly developed a flair for the sport and being lucky enough to grow up in the Dolomite’s where he could refine his art he progressed quickly. From the age of 13 Messner was climbing difficult routes in the eastern Alps.

Messner became of the first people to climb in “Alpine Style” as opposed to the traditional method of climbing big mountain. Messner did away with the idea that climbing teams needed to stock a mountain with supplies and camps and employ Sherpa’s to carry loads up and down the mountain.

In 1970 Messner climber his first 8000m peak Nanga Parbat a peak that had already seen its fair share of tragedy and heart ache. This trip was no exception, as it was on this expedition that Messner lost his younger brother Gunther. Messner spent a considerable time looking for his brother on the mountain and as a result he suffered severe frostbite to his feet. the event has caused controversy over the years and still continues to do so. Not to be taken away is the feat of climbing Nanga Parbat’s southern wall for the first time.

On the 8th of May 1978 Messner along with long time climbing partner Peter Habeler climbed Everest without the use of oxygen canisters, the first to do so. Many people tried to convince them that it was a bad idea and that they would do themselves permanent damage if they tried.

Messner became the first person to “Close the loop” or climb all 14 mountains over 8000m in height. A feat that is still rare amongst mountaineers.

  • Everest                1978
  • K2                       1979
  • Kanchenjunga     1981
  • Lhotse                 1986
  • Makalu                1986
  • Cho Oyu              1983
  • Dhaulagiri 1         1985
  • Manaslu              1972
  • Nanga Parbat      1970
  • Annapurna 1       1985
  • Gasherbrum 1     1975
  • Broad Peak         1982
  • Gasherbrum 2     1984
  • Shishapangma    1981

Recently Messner has laid the final touches to the “Messner Mountain Museum” spread across various sites in the Alps.

In summary its fair to say that Messner is a remarkable man who has achieved more than most and continues to do so.

“After Messner, the mystery of possibility was gone;
there remained only the mystery of whether you could do it.”

– Ed Viesturs


Mt Wellington Snow

Todays weather with snow and rain reminded me of a walk I did a couple of weeks ago when the conditions were about the same.

The walk was designed to test out the new boots i purchased in Melbourne which I reviewed a couple of weeks ago.

The walk was a quick trip from the springs on Mt Wellington, Up the zig zag track to the summit and down the road back to the springs only a couple of hours really.

Wineglass Bay

A couple of weekends ago a spur of the moment trip to Freycinet national park presented itself. It was a quick overnight trip to blow out some cobwebs before starting a new job later that week.

Leaving Hobart at about lunch time we stopped at Kate’s berry farm near Swansea for a last coffee, then proceeded to Coles Bay to buy some cheese and were on the track at around 3:50 pm.

The walk up the saddle to the Wineglass bay lookout revealed some great views back to Coles bay and took about 30 minutes to reach the saddle. we then dropped down the other side and descended to Wineglass bay itself. We stopped for some chocolate and a drink before wandering the remaining 30 minutes up the beach to the campsite. Its worth noting that water can be hard to find at this end of the beach so we hauled in about 7 Liters of water ( a bit overkill). We set up camp in the fading light before heading down to the beach for make dinner and enjoy that chilli cheddar we got in Coles bay. all up the walk took about 1.5 hours including the stops and a very restrained pace.

We woke up the next day to a beautiful day, warm by winter standards in Tasmania. Breakfast in bed was only improved by the sun pouring into the tent. the morning was spent sitting on the beach, swimming (yes in a Tassie winter) and eating some fresh fruit. before retracing our steps at around 11am and enjoying lunch back at the Coles Bay bakery. A very pleasant trip to relax before returning to the corporate jungle.

Very Inspiring Blog Award

WalkTassie is very proud to accept the nomination for the Very Inspiring Blog Award from ClanMother. This site has grown out of my passion for hiking and the awesome beauty of the Tasmanian wilderness.

There are a few others that I would like to Nominate for the inspiring stories I have read on their sites.

Please take a moment to look at these sites and I hope you get as much inspiration, Motivation and information from them as I do.

There are four requisites to accepting a Very Inspiring Blogger Award:

1)      Link back to the person who nominated you.

2)      Post the award image to your page.

3)      Tell 7 facts about yourself

4)      Nominate 15 other blogs

La Sportiva Garnet GTX

La Sportiva Garnet GTX

Well the time has come swap out my old pair of boots which were also La Sportiva’s but I cant remember the model. Heavy full grain leather boots which lasted me eight years and sold me on the quality of this brand. So I headed to Melbourne with my tax return in my hand and feet pointed to little Bourke street.

I wont go into the full spec’s of the boot which can be found here Sportiva.com

I found the boots very comfortable straight out of the box and managed to wear them on a day walk three days after purchasing them. The walk was a snowy bash up the south wellington track, across wellington plateau to the summit and then down via the road. With 15-20cm of fresh snow on the ground I was expecting to end up with wet feet at some point during the day and I also packed the blister kit just in case. I was very happy to get home that evening with dry feet that were completely blister free. The Vibram soles provided plenty of traction on a slippery track and at no point were my feet cold.

I would recommend upgrading the innersole of the boot as its a tad thin.
All in all I was very happy with my purchase and hope to get another eight years out of these ones.