At the age of sixteen, Andy Cave followed in his father's and
grandfather's footsteps and became a miner - one of the last
recruits into a dying world. Every day he would descend 3,000 feet
into Grimethorpe pit. But at weekends Andy escaped from the pithead
to a very different world - testing his nerve on the cliffs and
mountains around Britain, and forging endearing friendships with
his new companions. Enduring the 1984-5 miners' strike - the guilt,
the broken friendships, the poverty - Andy continued to indulge his
passion. In 1986, after much soul searching, he quit his job as a
miner in order to devote himself to mountaineering. At the same
time he decided to educate himself, acquiring almost from a
standing start academic qualifications including a PhD in
socio-linguistics. This extraordinary twin odyssey is graphically
recalled in this remarkable book. In the Himalaya in 1997 Andy
achieved a courageous first ascent on one of the steepest and most
difficult summits in the world - the North Face of Changabang.
Seventeen days later, he and only two of his team-mates crawled
into base camp, frostbitten, emaciated and traumatised. His account
of this terrifying experience provides a dramatic climax to this
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