I was challenged with reading a book set in Argentina, but I’d had my fill of South American novels. Thinking outside the fiction box, I thought I’d try a work of non-fiction instead. Many such books are “travel” memoirs, but Enduring Patagonia is more of a thrill seeker’s adventure. Gregory Crouch is an avid alpinist, and the mountain range known as Patagonia became his holy grail.
I don’t know anything about mountain climbing. I don’t even hike outdoors, but that doesn’t mean I cannot appreciate the inner drive of someone like Crouch, who constantly challenges his own physical and mental limits by facing a difficult climb. In fact, I was curious how a person becomes a serious climber, how it affects their life and how they view the rewards of a successful ascent.
Crouch is an excellent literary guide and a terrific writer. As I reclined in my favorite reading chair, I was transported to the Andes, where, in the heart of winter, he attempts the fearsome Cerro Torre. Crouch’s enthusiasm is infectious and his description of the surroundings are breathtaking. It’s dangerous and rugged, and while there are a few females at base camp, this is primarily a man’s world. It’s a chance explore the outer boundaries of masculinity – strength, intellect, bravery, and only a very few will reach the summit.
I would imagine anyone interested in mountain climbing would give this book a solid five stars. There is some serious detail that at times made my eyes glaze over (and I knocked off half a point for that), but otherwise I appreciated the author’s ability to relate his experiences.
4 1/2 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2002
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