Art of Freedom

Art of Freedom : The life and climbs of Voytek Kurtyka

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Voytek Kurtyka is one of the greatest alpinists of all time. Born in 1947, he was one of the leading lights of the Polish golden age of mountaineering that redefined Himalayan climbing in the 1970s and 1980s.

His visionary approach to climbing resulted in many renowned ascents, such as the complete Broad Peak traverse, the 'night-naked' speed climbs of Cho Oyu and Shishapangma and, above all, the alpine-style first ascent of the west face of Gasherbrum IV. Dubbed the 'climb of the century', his route on GIV with the Austrian Robert Schauer is - as of 2017 - unrepeated. His most frequent climbing partners were alpine legends of their time: Polish Himalayan giant
Jerzy Kukuczka, Swiss mountain guide Erhard Loretan and British alpinist Alex MacIntyre.

After repeated requests to accept the Piolets d'Or lifetime achievement award (the Oscars of the climbing world), Kurtyka finally accepted the honour in the spring of 2016. A fiercely private individual, he has declined countless invitations for interviews, lectures and festival appearances, but he has agreed to collaborate with internationally renowned and award-winning author Bernadette McDonald on this long-awaited biography.

Art of Freedom is a profound and moving profile of one of the international climbing world's most respected, complex and reclusive mountaineers.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 22mm | 570g
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • 2 ed
  • 4x 16pp colour plates
  • 1911342525
  • 9781911342526
  • 286,156

Table of contents

Introduction; One Rock Animal; Two Alpinist in Training; Three Hindu Kush - Unleashed; Four Troll Wall; Five Bandaka - The Mordor Beauty; Six Hungry for Hunger; Seven Dancing in the Moment; Eight Enfant Terrible; Nine Line against the Sky; Ten The Shining Wall; Eleven Fork in the Road; Twelve Trango Tower; Thirteen Night Naked; Fourteen Dance of the Underclings; Fifteen Chinese Maharaja; Sixteen Metaphysical Think Tank; Epilogue The Crux; Appendix Chronology of Selected Climbs; Acknowledgements; Notes; Sources; Index.
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Review quote

This biography of the enigmatic Voytek Kurtyka is intimate and poised, revealing much that we did not know about Kurtyka, but never dispelling the mystery that surrounds him. -- John Porter Voytek Kurtyka is an artist and his art is alpinism. -- Barry Blanchard
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About Bernadette McDonald

Bernadette McDonald is the author of ten mountaineering books, including the multi-award-winning Freedom Climbers (2011). Among its international awards, Freedom Climbers won the Grand Prize at the Banff Mountain Book Festival, the Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature and the American Alpine Club's H. Adams Carter Literary Award.

Her other mountaineering titles include Tomaz Humar (2008), Brotherhood of the Rope: The Biography of Charles Houston (2007), Keeper of the Mountains: The Elizabeth Hawley Story (2012) and Alpine Warriors (2015). McDonald's books have been translated into eight languages, and her international awards include Italy's ITAS Prize (2010) and India's Kekoo Naoroji Award for Mountain Literature (2008, 2009 and 2011). She has also received the Alberta Order of Excellence (2010), the Summit of Excellence Award (2007) and the King Albert Award for international leadership in mountain culture and environment (2006). She was the founding vice-president of Mountain Culture at the Banff Centre and served as director of the Banff mountain festivals from 1988 to 2006.
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Rating details

649 ratings
4.23 out of 5 stars
5 43% (279)
4 40% (261)
3 14% (91)
2 3% (17)
1 0% (1)
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