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1 rating
list price: $9.99
also available: Hardcover
category: Sports & Recreation
published: Jul 2011
publisher: RMB | Rocky Mountain Books

Freedom Climbers

by Bernadette McDonald

tagged: mountaineering

Winner! 2012 American Alpine Club Literary Prize (USA)

Winner! 2011 Munday Award, Banff Mountain Festival (CANADA)

Winner! 2011 Boardman Tasker Prize, Kendal Mountain Festival (UNITED KINGDOM)


Freedom Climbers—the most honoured book of mountaineering literature published in Canada—tells the story of a group of extraordinary Polish adventurers who emerged from under the blanket of oppression following the Second World War to become the world's leading Himalayan climbers. Although they lived in a dreary, war-ravaged landscape, with seemingly no hope of creating a meaningful life, these curious, motivated and skilled mountaineers created their own free-market economy under the very noses of their Communist bosses and climbed their way to liberation. At a time when Polish citizens were locked behind the Iron Curtain, these intrepid explorers found a way to travel the world in search of extreme adventure—to Alaska, South America and Europe, but mostly to the highest and most inspiring mountains of the world. To this end, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Nepal became their second homes as they evolved into the toughest group of Himalayan climbers the world has ever known.

About the Author

Bernadette McDonald

  • Winner, Himalayan Club Kekoo Naoroji Book Award
  • Winner, American Alpine Literary Prize
  • Winner, Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature
  • Winner, Munday Award, Banff Mountain Book Festival
Editorial Reviews

This is certainly McDonald's best book. Her writing is more nuanced and complex, and she is less of a cheerleader for her subjects than she has been in the past. She deserves great credit – and I have to admit to envy here – for bringing this subject to a wider public. Pursuing the same aim, editors told me that there wasn't a market for this kind of thing. It seems McDonald is proving them wrong.

— UK Climbing

Hard to put down, Freedom Climbers is expertly and engagingly penned by Bernadette McDonald, the author of a number of prize-winning books on mountaineering. This time she has painstakingly pieced together a story of the over two decades of Himalayan exploits of Polish climbers, women as well as men, many of whom she knew personally. The figures and events of the glory days of Polish mountaineering are brought vividly to life. Both story and book are fully deserving of the years of attention lavished on them.

— The Cosmopolitan Review

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