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‘To those who went to the War straight from school and survived it, the problem of what to do afterwards was particularly difficult.’
For H.W. ‘Bill’ Tilman, the solution lay in Africa: in gold prospecting, mountaineering and a 3,000-mile bicycle ride across the continent.
Tilman was one of the greatest adventurers of his time, a pioneering climber and sailor who held exploration above all else. He made first ascents throughout the Himalaya, attempted Mount Everest, and sailed into the Arctic Circle. For Tilman, the goal was always to explore, to see new places, to discover rather than conquer.
Snow on the Equator chronicles Tilman’s early adventures; his transition from East African coffee planter to famed mountaineer. After World War I, Tilman left for Africa, where he grew coffee, prospected for gold and met Eric Shipton, the two beginning their famed mountaineering partnership, traversing Mount Kenya and climbing Kilimanjaro and Ruwenzori. Tilman eventually left Africa in typically adventurous style via a 3,000-mile solo bicycle ride across the continent – all recounted here in splendidly funny style.
Bill Tilman was one of the greatest of all travel writers. His books are well-informed and keenly observed, concerned with places and people as much as summits and achievements. They are full of humour and anecdotes and frequently hilarious. He is part of the great British tradition of comic writing and there is nobody else quite like him.
From the Foreword by Sir Chris Bonington:
In looking closely at Tilman and his lifetime exploring the world’s mountains, one has to think long and hard to find someone who surpasses his record, not only as an author, but also as a mountaineer. I urge all young adventurers to read a little of Tilman before setting off on their own endeavours, as we did, if only to keep one’s self-importance and ego firmly buried in the bottom of the rucksack. His boldness, organisation, and sheer sense of adventure make him one of the greatest mountaineers and explorers Britain has ever known.
Chris Bonington is Britain’s most celebrated mountaineer. He made the first British ascent of the North Face of the Eiger and led the 1975 Everest South-West Face expedition on which Doug Scott and Dougal Haston became the first Britons to summit the mountain. He reached the summit of Everest himself in 1985. He has written seventeen books and received a knighthood in 1996 for services to mountaineering. A lifelong fan of Tilman, Chris Bonington reflects that many of his own adventures were very much in the footsteps of these great explorers.
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ISBN 978-1-909461-14-7; 216 x 156mm, 216 pages, photos, maps. Softcover with sewn binding, cover flaps and matt lamination.
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