Book Review: ‘Alpenglow’ by Ben Tibbetts

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Will Harris’s coffee table groans under the weight of this heavyweight guide to the alpine 4000ers from British Mountain Guide, photographer and illustrator, Ben Tibbetts…

The amount of time and effort that has gone in to producing Ben Tibbets’ book tracing the finest routes on all 82 of the 4000m peaks in the Alps is breathtaking. Not only did the author research the history of ascents of each peak, as demonstrated by his in-depth introductions to each chapter, he also climbed and photographed all 82 summits, becoming only the second Brit to have achieved this impressive mountaineering feat. Each of the 50 chapters, some covering multiple of the 82 summits on the UIAA official list, begins with an introduction before moving on to an illustrated account of Tibbets’ own ascents.

The routes selected range from PD to ED in difficulty, with the majority being the super-classic alpine ridges in the AD to D difficulty range, many of which will be well-known to keen alpinists. Alongside these moderately technical routes lie accounts of ascents of more challenging north faces and tough rock routes, adding extra star quality. As a British Mountain Guide the author’s deep knowledge of, and passion for the summits of the alps is to be expected, and this comes across throughout the book. What sets it apart from other coffee-table tomes about mountaineering in the area is his background as an artist and professional photographer, with beautifully drawn pencil sketches complimenting an impressive selection of photographs. A beautiful and impressive effort, I’m sure it will not only entertain the armchair m0untaineer but inspire others to continue
on a lifetime of alpine adventures.

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