Steve House‘s actions speak loud, louder than words. The resultant art, painted on the canvas of big blank faces. And his book Beyond the Mountain tells that story.
I was truly riveted for most of the book, not once wanting to put it down. I actually wanted to enjoy it before getting it and I certainly was not disappointed. I had heard much of Steve‘s routes over the years but have hardly read any of his writing. Yes there is a touch of Twight darkness in a couple of pages but overall it is much more human and I can relate to it much more easily. His version of the Slovak Direct on Denali is interesting as I have read Twight’s many times.
But the book does live up to its name in that summits attained, or not are vehicles only for something more.
How do you review a product like this without reviewing the man? Who am I to review him anyway? The one nagging thought that keeps coming up is “Why does Steve see it as acceptable to leave his stove which has run out of fuel as trash on an alpine face? Why not leave all and any trash? And how different is that attitude to that of big expeditions? Why is it OK to put your own ambitions above those of the greater good?” That is the one question I would like to hear the answer to.
Other than that this is a truly inspirational book. Not in a far out sense but making the suffering and emotion seem real and tangible and the whole experience human. I can only recommend this book to all climbers, alpinists and coach spectators alike. You will not be disappointed!
And if you are still not convinced then read this much more articulate review here.