A while back I bought a book for Whitney as a gift. I became interested in the book because the author was a climber and self-publisher. I had read some of his other stuff and liked his writing. When I found out I could contribute to his Kickstarter campaign and receive a copy of the book I went for it. I didn’t know much about the book besides that it was a climbing story. Having already read it, Whitney passed it along to me to enjoy.
The book is a tremendous 103 pages. I read it in about an hour or so. It’s small, elegant and intriguing. On the first page, the author, Chris Kalman, left a hand written note and signature. It said, “Whitney- climb strong, live long”. It was copy 691 of 1,000.
The story is about a father and son climbing duo. The father, David, is an accomplished climber and seeker of outdoor adventure. As it were, his son, Aidan, grew up to be a climber as well. They decide to go to Argentinian Patagonia to climb a big wall.
Kalman’s book is a fast read. It’s pretty well written and includes some interesting writing. As the current story unfolds, Kalman brings the reader, without much notification, to and from earlier memories from David’s life. Kalman alludes to David’s previous climbing adventures, a life changing accident in Pakistan, and some of his favorite memories from his home and family in Bozeman, Montana.
All the while, much like the cover of his book, Kalman writes elegantly and cleanly, describing the Patagonian landscape surrounding the two climbers. He helps the reader develop an understanding of the father-son relationship, and for the most part, coaxes the reader into wanting to support the duo, despite also developing a nagging feeling that a twist in the story is bound to come soon.
Before you know it the book is over. The book entertains you and makes you feel a wide range of emotion. Especially if you are a climber. As a climber, you can better understand the jargon of mountaineering, the feeling in your stomach when the adventure begins, and the ecstasy of moving over rock and being surrounded by inexplicable beauty and power.