Fiva: An Adventure That Went Wrong by Gordon Stainforth Book Review


Book Review: Fiva – An Adventure That Went Wrong By Gordon Stainforth

On July 6, 1969, John and Gordon Stainforth from Hertfordshire, England left home to climb the highest rock face in all of Europe – Norway’s Troll Wall. Fiva: An Adventure That Went Wrong  was written by the authors 40 years after the fact and tells the adventure of their epic ascent and descent of of the Five Route on Store Trolltind.

Fiva An Adventure That Went Wrong by Gordon Stainforth
Fiva An Adventure That Went Wrong by Gordon Stainforth

Fueled by youthful excitement these climbing obsessed, 19-year-old twins were massively unprepared for this adventure. They made all sorts of mistakes – route finding, trusting a vague guidebook, not packing enough food, lacking skills and experience, and using dated gear. Despite a climb that nearly took their life, they managed to survive and tell their gripping story to the world.

Fiva: An Adventure That Went Wrong is written in first person by Gordon Stainforth forty years after their misadventure in Norway. Despite the time gap, Gordon does a splendid job of capturing the severity of the situation. His posh English writing style makes you feel like you are right there alongside the Stainforth twins as they battle for their life on the remote and barren wall.

With luck on their side they manage to survive when a simple day trip turns into a disastrous multi-day adventure of epic proportions. Read along as Gordon paints a picture of what it likes to fight for your life while climbing and descending the Troll Wall.

Fiva will make you appreciate modern climbing gear. No longer do our lives depend on ropes tied around waists, Millar mitts, and worthless space blankets. There’s something nice about knowing that modern day safety technology is always close at hand. It will also encourage you to do as much research on your next route as you possibly can do.

The book features multiple pictures taken during the multi-day survival climb, but you can see even more, color photos here.

Fiva: An Adventure That Went Wrong by Gordon Stainforth is not my favorite mountaineering book ever, but it is certainly every climber and non-climber will enjoy. Any book that is published by Mountaineers Books and also wins the Mountain Literature Award at the 2012 Banff Mountain Festival is worth reading.

Pick up a hard copy or download the ebook to your Kindle today. This one will entertain you for hours.

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