Stone Palaces


By: Geof Childs
Published by: Mountaineers Books
Hardcover, 216 pages
Buy it.

Publication date: August 2000
Price: $16.06
ISBN: 0898867320

Stone Palaces is a compilation of mostly climbing stories written by Childs during the 70's , 80's and 90's. If you read Climbing, Rock and Ice or any of the other climbing literature, you will probably have read some of his stuff. There are plenty of climbing stories in it- written in Childs' intelligent and imaginative prose. There are stories of Himalayan struggles, solo mountaineering, chalk bags and smearing.

One of his pieces is called Bird, and is an excellent introduction to Jim Bridwell, a living legend who shaped the face of climbing in Yosemite. The Bridwell story reads like a who's who in American Climbing with over 30 climbers talked about. It is a great read of the history of the climbers who put together Yosemite's Golden Age.

This book isn't only about climbing though. It is eclectic in nature, and often the stories will leave you laughing, or more often than not, give you pause and make you think. The characters in Child's stories are like many of the climbers out there—you only see them in one light, and your life is altered, just a tiny bit, by having met them.

In this book I found a climber with a voice, willing to share stories, tell tales, and relate his experiences with everyone, even those outside of the climbing world. According to Childs, the best climbing stories are those that are told out loud. If there were a close second, it would have to be the voice inside your head telling you the stories from the pages of a well-written book. The stories vary from humorous to intense, and, whether you climb or not, they will leave you feeling like you have been to and touched the heart of Stone Palaces.

Reviewed by Dave Loveland

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