Chris Bonington is Britain’s best-known climber, having spent a lifetime among the world’s highest and wildest mountains. In the 1960s, he made the first British ascent of the north face of the Eiger. In the 1970s, he led some of the most important first ascents ever achieved in the Himalaya, including the south face of Annapurna and the south-west face of Everest – the hard way. Along with successes came the agony of friends losing their lives on the mountain, gambling with the highest stakes of all. In the 1980s, he reached the summit of Everest, aged fifty-one, a moment of fulfillment that only renewed his passion for adventure. In the years since, he has led countless expeditions to remote peaks with small teams all over the world, his enthusiasm for remote and little-known places still burning as he enters his ninth decade.
He now looks back on his extraordinary life, recounting his family’s adventurous roots, his mother’s struggle to bring him up through the Blitz on her own, his discovery of the mountains, his fierce ambition and the long marriage that gave the sensitive boy the security to find his place in the world. Honours and fame follow the decades of risk and adventure, but nothing could protect him from the devastating illness of his wife, Wendy. Open, honest and full of hard-won wisdom, Ascent is the epic saga of an unrepeatable life on the edge.