Imaginary Peaks: The Riesenstein Hoax and Other Mountain Dreams: Ives, Katie
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Imaginary Peaks: The Riesenstein Hoax and Other Mountain Dreams

Author(s): Ives, Katie

Copyright: 2021, US
Specifications: 1st, 8vo, pp.301, photo frontis, grey cloth
Condition: signed, dj & cloth new

In 1962 the editors of Summit magazine received a submission about first ascents in an unknown mountain range in British Columbia. Accompanied by a photo of granite walls that stretched like gothic spires into the sky, the article explained that the climbing party had failed to reach the main summit. The magazine’s editors, apparently unaware that they had fallen victim to a clever ruse, added the enticing question, Who will be the first to climb it?

Renowned Alpinist magazine editor Ives investigates this adventure-literary mystery, known as the Riesenstein Hoax, within the larger context of mountaineering history and the allure of unmapped regions. Delving into the literature of exploration, Ives follows ancient routes across Asia, historical expeditions in the Alps, and disputed climbs on the slopes of the Alaska Range. She details how conservationist Harvey Manning, along with his co-conspirators, photographer Austin Post and glaciologist Ed LaChapelle, conceived the Riesenstein joke, and places their plot in a continuum that includes the legendary Diamond Mountain, James Hilton’s Shangri-La, and a mythical mountain taller than Everest.

The idea of lost lands appeals to our basic human desire to venture beyond the attainable, a shared yearning to escape the humdrum reality of everyday life. Deeply immersive and vividly recounted, Imaginary Peaks explores our fascination with wild places, the attraction of blank spaces on the map, and the power of imagination.

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