The Bond

Simon McCartney's account of climbing two of the hardest routes ever done in Alaska, way back in the late '70s. Winner of the Boardman Tasker Award 2016.

The Bond

The Bond
Back Order

Simon McCartney was a cocky young British alpinist climbing many of the hardest routes in the Alps during the late seventies, but it was a chance meeting in Chamonix in 1977 with Californian ‘Stonemaster’ Jack Roberts that would dramatically change both their lives – and almost end Simon’s.

Simon McCartney was born in London in 1955 and was introduced to the mountains of the UK by his father, Mac. He became addicted to climbing in his early teens and spent his school holidays climbing all over the UK. A fine season in 1977 as apprentice to Dave Wilkinson, one of Britain’s leading alpinists, produced a number of paradigm-changing climbs. A first and extreme ascent in the Bernese Oberland and a string of second ascents and test-piece climbs around Chamonix changed Simon’s perspective on what was possible. The pair attempted a summer ascent of the north face of the Eiger but were thwarted by poor weather. Simon climbed the route in the winter of 1979.

In 1977 Simon met Jack Roberts in a Chamonix bar. Inspired by a Bradford Washburn photograph published in Mountain magazine, their first objective was the 5,500-foot north face of Mount Huntington, one of the most dangerous walls in the Alaska Range. The result was a route so hard and serious that for decades nobody believed they had climbed it – it is still unrepeated to this day. Then, raising the bar even higher, they made the first ascent of the south-west face of Denali, a climb that would prove almost fatal for Simon, and one which would break the bond between him and climbing, separating the two young climbers for over three decades. But the bond between Simon and Jack couldn’t remain dormant forever. A lifetime later, a chance reconnection with Jack gave Simon the chance to bury the ghosts of what happened high on Denali, when he had faced almost certain death. Simon is now a successful businessman living in Hong Kong where his dubious talent in calculated but compulsive risk-taking has continued, albeit on South-East Asia’s most prestigious buildings. 

The Bond is Simon McCartney’s story of these legendary climbs and his first book!

Paperback, 23.5cm x 15.5cm, 352 pages with 32 pages of colour plates and lots of black and white photos.

Published: 2016.

ISBN: 978-1-910240-66-3.

Winner of the Mountain and Wilderness Literature Award, 2016 Banff Mountain Book Festival.
Winner of the Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature 2016.
2016 Banff Mountain Book Competition Laurels

'This book portrays life at the very edge of existence.' - Graham Desroy, Chair of Judges, Boardman Tasker Award

'Recalled and written thirty years after the fact, The Bond is an intoxicating read told with an immediacy that transports one directly onto the face of the mountain.  The word epic is the most overused word in the climbers lexicon but this is an epic tale in the true sense of the word.' - Paul Pritchard, 2016 Banff Mountain Book Competition Jury

‘Man, the only – only – good thing about that climb was that you were tied on to the other end of the rope.’

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