• Biography of a seminal, but often unheralded, figure in high-altitude climbing
• Written by his son, Tony, Frank Smythe was himself a prolific author
• Important addition to Mountaineer Books’ Legends and Lore series
Frank Smythe, like Eric Shipton, is associated with early Everest explorations and was a member of three expeditions to the mountain. At a time when it was ungentlemanly to make a living by climbing, Smythe wrote more than a dozen popular books based upon his travels to high places -- one of them being the first ascent of Kamet (25,447 feet) in 1931, which was the first time any climber had gone beyond 25,000 feet. Two years later, he reached the highest point climbed on Everest (28,200 feet). He also climbed in Britain, the Alps, Canada, and Alaska. He and Graham Brown established two new routes on the Brevna face of Mont Blanc. In short, he has serious climbing credentials.
As the title hints, this is a biography by Frank’s son Tony, but it isn’t based solely on personal memories; Frank was away from home for long periods and died when Tony was only fourteen. Instead, this book is based on thirteen years of research: Frank’s parents’ meeting and marriage, Frank’s early school years, his first climbs, his training for various jobs, his gradual rise to fame and fortune, his friendships, his war years, and his sudden death are all covered. Like his father, Tony has a strong understanding of how to tell a story that appeals to both climbers and general lovers of nonfiction adventures.