Book Review: Distant Snows: A Mountaineer’s Odyssey by John Harding
Every armchair adventurer, ski mountaineer, or climber will enjoy Distant Snows by John Harding. Harding has had more mountain adventures in one lifetime than most people can even dream of. In Distant Snows, Harding recounts 60-years of ticking off exotic peaks and tackling wild ski traverses in far flung destinations like Europe, Iran, East Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, the Arctic, and beyond.
One of the best parts about Distant Snows is that Harding completed all of his worldwide adventures while working full time. His inspiring tales will ring true with any mountain enthusiast or weekend warrior that still dreams of getting after it in the big mountains of the world.
Throughout the book, Harding does an amazing job of bringing the reader along on every adventure. Readers will feel like they are side-by-side with Harding on epic climbs of Mount Cook, Mont Blanc, or Mount Kenya or on a ski mountaineering expedition through Turkey, Spain, or Greece. Included in the book are numerous photographs taken along the way that truly bring the mountains to life.
Here are a few of our favorite quotes from Distant Snows by John Harding:
- “I was beginning to wonder how to survive a night in the forest with a bad-tempered rogue elephant notorious for his dislike of Japanese 4x4s.” (204)
- “A mountaineer’s most vivid memories may well be of those when life has hung in the balance. Yet quite as permanent are those when you made time to stop and stare, watch the clouds pass by, paint and photograph or even ponder the meaning of life.” (311)
- “Ski mountaineering is never a soft option. After stomping uphill on skins with a heavy pack in zero-visibility to attain some blizzard-swept col or peak, you must somehow get yourself down the other side through powder, crust or crumb. Ski mountaineers must not only be competent mountaineers, but have also mastered a range of skiing techniques as well as snow-craft, avalanche evaluation, weather and navigation skills.” (187)
Harding’s tales may not be epic, jaw dropping sagas that will be turned into Hollywood blockbusters. But what Harding details in Distant Snows are real adventures that will appeal to any mountain enthusiast. With adventure packed into every page, this book will entertain you from the comfort of your couch or inspire you to plan your own mountain missions.
One thing that differentiated Distant Snows from other mountaineering books is that Harding was not just bagging peaks. He was a ski mountaineer in a time when ski mountaineers were few and far between – and that’s impressive.
Whether you’re an armchair adventurer, a ski mountaineer, or a travel fanatic you need to read Distant Snows. All 18 chapters will inspire you to get outside, explore the mountains, and chase your dreams. Add this one to your book shelf of mountaineering novels.
Distant Snows: A Mountaineer’s Odyssey by John Harding was published on 16 December 2016 by Vertebrate Publishing. Vertebrate Publishing sent Distant Snows: A Mountaineer’s Odyssey by John Harding to A Mountain Journey for review. We give it a thumbs up. Buy your own copy and enjoy John Harding’s inspiring, life-long mountain journey.