WINNER - 2011 Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature
GRAND PRIZE WINNER - Banff Mountain Book Festival 2011
One of the most important mountaineering books to be written for many years. – Boardman Tasker Prize
Painstakingly researched and well crafted, this remarkable book acknowledges the significance of Polish mountaineers during the golden age of Himalayan exploration. Fascinating. – Andy Cave
Freedom Climbers tells the story of the 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 war-ravaged landscape, with seemingly no hope of creating a meaningful life, these curious, motivated and skilled mountaineers built 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 Himalayan climbers the world has ever known.
In her most engaging book to date, renowned and award-winning author Bernadette McDonald weaves a passionate and literary tale of adventure, politics, suffering, death and – ultimately – inspiration.