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by Lionel Terray

Download Conquistadors of the Useless ePub
  • ISBN 057501217X
  • ISBN13 978-0575012172
  • Language English
  • Author Lionel Terray
  • Publisher Victor Gollancz; English translation edition (1963)
  • Pages 352
  • Formats lrf azw lit lrf
  • Category No category
  • Size ePub 1102 kb
  • Size Fb2 1939 kb
  • Rating: 4.2
  • Votes: 343

An engagingly written portrait of the times and climbs of premier French Mountainerer, Lionel Terray including the Eigerwand, Fitzroy, Annapurna and more.

Conquistadors of the Useless book.

Conquistadors of the Useless book.

is someone you will wish you had a chance to know and learn from - about nature, the mountains and the human spirit. Since he is no longer with us, this book is all that we have. And that is why this reissue is so welcome.

Frenchman Lionel Terray is one of mountaineering history's greatest alpinists, and his autobiography, Conquistadors of the Useless, stands among the 100 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time.

Frenchman Lionel Terray is one of mountaineering history's greatest alpinists, and his autobiography, Conquistadors of the Useless, stands among the 100 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time, according to National Geographic Adventure magazine. Following World War II, when France desperately needed successes to heal its wounds, Terray emerged as a national hero, conquering summits atop the planet's highest mountains. This biography of Lionel Terry is filled with first-time feats and acts of bravery in the face of unspeakable odds.

Born in Grenoble in 1921 he was climbing by the age of 12. During the war he lived in Chamonix and formed a climbing partnership with Gaston Rebuffat.

Roberts, David, Terray. a more peaceful way of life. Nothing could have been farther from the truth. 1962 was in fact the most active and important year of my whole career. No sooner had I finished writing Conquistadors of the Useless in July than I began the guiding season.

Lionel Terray (25 July 1921 – 19 September 1965) was a French climber who made many first ascents, including Makalu in the Himalaya (with Jean Couzy on 15 May 1955) and Cerro Fitzroy in the Patagonian Andes.

Lionel Terray (25 July 1921 – 19 September 1965) was a French climber who made many first ascents, including Makalu in the Himalaya (with Jean Couzy on 15 May 1955) and Cerro Fitzroy in the Patagonian Andes (with Guido Magnone in 1952)

Conquistadors of the Useless. From the Alps to Annapurna. Translated by Geoffrey Sutton. In this book, Geoffrey Sutton’s stylish translation of Lionel Terray’s famous autobiography is republished after a long break.

Conquistadors of the Useless.

Conquistadors of the Useless by Lionel Terray (Gollancz, 30s)

Conquistadors of the Useless by Lionel Terray (Gollancz, 30s). Lionel Terray is one of the finest climbers of our time.

Conquistadors of the Useless - Lionel Terray.

Talk about Conquistadors of the Useless

I had heard of Lionel Terray many years ago, as a young man... probably when I read Maurice Herzog's "Annapurna", in junior high school, and perhaps once or twice after that. But in my recent reading of Ed Viesturs' "The Mountain: My Time on Everest", he mentioned that Terray's book had been translated from French into English, and the couple of excerpts Ed included in his text intrigued me. So I ordered "Conquistadors" on my Kindle feed.

Terray's account of his early life and climbs is nothing less than fascinating. He narrates these events in an engaging style, neither self-aggrandizing nor unduly criticizing his contemporaries. If anything, Terray is overly generous in his praise of his fellow climbers in the Chamonix guides, the Himalayan expeditions, and elsewhere. His self-deprecating manner at times is wry but not overdone, in my estimation.

As I read his book, I was repeatedly impressed by his accounts of various climbs, their challenges and cruxes, and so forth. He makes these incredible efforts sound as if they were effortless, particularly his climbs with his early partner, Gaston Rebuffat. Only when one views the photographs of some of these climbs at the end of the book does the scope of his understatement become clear! Terray's landmark climbs--the Walker Spur of the Grandes Jorasses, the Nordwand of the Eiger, and the southeast face of Fitzroy come particularly to mind, for me--were truly stunning achievements in their day, and would be a feather in the cap of any mountaineer of my time, and today.

I'm an old fellow now and my climbing days are decades behind me. But reading Terray's memoir brought back a spark of excitement about climbing I haven't felt in years. I highly recommend this book.
Ed Viesturs mentioned this book a few times in his own works so after finally reading Annapurna I decided to give this a shot. I rated it 4 out of 5 only because Mr. Terray needed an editor who would have told him to pick one story and tell that. He should have stuck to mountaineering or his war experiences. It's a loosely woven memoir of his life but inconsistent on where he adds detail and what he skips over completely. It's a good read though--my guess is if you're a climber then the amazing detail of various climbs will be fascinating and thrilling to read. For a non-climber it got a bit tedious but I knew I wasn't the right demographic. The editor for this translation did a great job of annotating details that really needed explaining for English speakers and non-climbers and was much appreciated by this reader. If you're looking to read about the early days of climbing the 8,000 meter mountains read Annapurna and The Will To Climb, first then read this book--you'll want the context.
If you have read my other reviews on many of the mountaineering genre you will find that I personally find it very hard to find a modern mountaineering adventure story. Mountaineering literature is so suffused with the quest for money, huge personal egos and quests for climbing garbarge strewn summits that there is little time to note the adventure.

In old mountaineering books they almost never have enough money, they climb with holes in their socks and equipment that make modern mountaineers shiver. They also summit and do routes of incredible complexity and skill that even modern mountaineers find hard to match -- and they all seem quite happy to hang off the Eiger North Face on a single piton...!

Terray fits this genre par excellence. He was famous in his day, but his name is not often mentioned around campfires today... (he is perhaps the French equivalent of Moe Antoine of Britain). He climbed some very technical routes with many first ascents, but throughout the book, the amazing thing is that he also does a lot of very hard climbs that most people, even in mountaineering circles have never heard of, nor want to undertake... Hence I believe the Title of his book -- the conquering of brilliant but largely useless summits.

Terry offers great and nailbiting vignettes of his climbs all over the world. Starting with climbing the Walker Spur, the Second Ascent of the Eiger North Wall, and the French Classic climb of the first 8000-metre summit, Annapurna. Each chapter is a real page turner. When you are in the middle it is hard to put down... you can feel the tension build in some parts such as the numerous traverses on the Eiger, the uncertainty of route finding... the terror of the long run outs of rope... where downclimbing is about the scariest option one can think of..

The early work on the Eiger is well recounted and the rescue of the Cassin Expedition. He also covers a lot of ground on the climbing of Annapurna with no overlap with Herzog's classic. I was particularly impressed with the amount of bushwacking Terray and crew had to do just to get access to the mountain glaciers. They were using maps and entering valleys no outsider had seen. This raw adventure, lower than summit peaks with its route finding conundruns, waterfall climbing, backtracking down blind valleys, is supremely exciting. It is in fact a joining of the exploration genre with mountaineering.

The other summits are just as stupendous but less known. Terray saw the South Ridge of Mt Hunter in Alaska and thought it the most beautiful he had seen. He had to climb it. While not high by Himalayan standards this Frenchman set a new North American standard with his long and arduous ascent.

Also there is one of the most exciting (and rare) accounts of Alpine Mountain Warfare that I know. At the end of the war he was attached to the French Alpine Regiment. Despite his knowledge that the war in the Alps would never hasten the end of the war even a single day, he fought as a good soldier should. But one does admire Terray in other ways. If this front would not be decisive in any way, why kill people he mused? He therefore devised daring raids upon German Mtn Troops. On one of them they scale a couloir, climbed a rock face and bivvied in a snow cave on the opposite side of a rock outcropping. The next day they set up their machine gun and duly strafed the German positions -- "not really aiming at anyone and hoping to hit noone." After scaring the Germans silly he and his partner decamped and slid back to their camp. Mission accomplished and no one dead. His other exploits were not so bloodless as when they attacked a heavily defended German position up sheer rock faces under their supporting artillery fire --- but the effect and accurary required to pinpoint targets on ridges meant that most of the rounds missed and fell upon the cliffs with the resulting French Chaussers suffering their own friendly fire.

I must add that there are a lot of pictures in the book about his climbs in Patagonia, but these only get a brief mention in the book. The fact that he was soon dead after this was published is also a tragic note on which to end. But here is pure adventure that this Frenchman lived and but that the rest of the world could discover his raw love for nature, the challengce of the climb and love for only adventure... A ripping yarn... Thank you Lionel!
Surpasses Annapurna as my favorite mountaineering book ! LT"s poignant writing style seems modern and fresh despite its age. His observations of daily life, amazing climbs, everyday life and even combat in WW2 are worth the price of admission. Highly recommended! RR
Nothing personal
A good autobiography of a mountaineering legend. I enjoyed this book but can be tedious at times and when he gets to the climbs they are over and done with sometimes two paragraphs. seemed to spend more time talking about what he did in between climbs.
Prince Persie
I enjoyed the adventure and constant insights into each meaningful experience Lionel had throughout his mountaineering career. It was a pleasure to read his shifting attitude toward climbing and his newfound connection to the people of the land he visited. I’d love to watch the documentaries he filmed according the book.
I really enjoyed the well written, detailed accounts of his life. Goes well beyond climbing into the culture and life during the 2nd war in the French Alps.
Personal, pure, perfect! The best book ever on climbing guiding motivation and life. Climb to live live to climb. Period.