Steve House is one of the world’s premier alpine climbers. He has set a high standard for style and achievement in the mountains. His approach to the mountains centers on a low impact, self-reliant alpine style that demands serious commitment and resolute skill. From a sixty-hour non-stop ascent of the Slovak Direct route on Denali to a long sought after alpine style ascent of Nanga Parbat’s Rupal Face, House has arguably climbed some of the most difficult alpine routes in the world, if not set a new standard for what can be achieved. His new book Beyond the Mountain is the story of these ascents, but to his credit, the book is much more than a tale of extreme adventure.
Beyond the Mountain is a story of the struggles, sacrifices, partnerships, and introspection that are inextricably linked to the level of achievement that House has accomplished. Humble and confident in his climbing, House’s writing strikes a similar balance. He writes, “Do not mistakenly assume that these portraits exalt courage, bravery, skill, or intelligence. Though these qualities bear some part, so do fear, inadequacy, and compromise.” House walks the talk and shares the uncertainties and compromises associated with his endeavors, painting a sometimes less than flattering picture. His quest for connection with his climbing partners and the importance of these relationships runs throughout the book.
House’s soul-baring confessions, humorous anecdotes of misadventure (like dropping a boot shell high up on an alpine face with a full day of climbing ahead), and incredible triumphs are real and eloquent. Beyond the Mountain offers a descriptive window into the life and mind of a very driven alpinist. With Beyond the Mountain, House can add one more thing to his list of accomplishments, writing a very interesting, readable, and vivid book.