Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Climbing Days

Climbing Days, by Dan Richards, is an exploration of the writing and climbing feats of his great great aunt and uncle Dorothy Pilley and IA Richards. The book borrows its title from Dorothy’s own 1935 memoir Climbing Days which chronicled the pair’s pioneering climbs during the 1920s - including the first ascent of the North Ridge of Dent Blanche.

While vaguely aware of his relations’ reputation - IAR was an influential 20th century literary figure - it wasn’t until Dan came across Pilley’s writing that he discovered the extent of their climbing achievements.

Rather than a conventional biography, the book is Dan’s attempt to understand the pair by retracing some of their steps. He travels to Wales, the Lake District, and learns to climb himself in order to make an ascent of the Dent Blanche.

This is a highly enjoyable book, full of fascinating detail, that has sent me off in search of the original. Read how reviewers greeted it back in 1935.

Manchester Guardian, 29 May 1935.

An advert for the book appeared in the Observer on 19 May 1935.

Observer, 19 May 1935.