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A Mountaineer’s Odyssey

by John Harding
Foreword by Robin Hanbury-Tenison

John Harding served with the Welsh Guards from 1960 to 1965, going on to be an administrator and political officer in Aden and the Aden Protectorate. He later qualified as a solicitor, working for a City firm.  He is a former vice president of the Alpine Club and president of both the Alpine and Eagle ski clubs, and has written and lectured extensively on mountain adventure.

In Distant Snows, the author recounts many of his mountaineering adventures around the world, over some 60 years. He has climbed some of the famous peaks, including Mont Blanc, Mount Kenya, and Mount Cook, as well as exploring some of the less-known mountain ranges. His long climbing career began in 1954, when he was 19 and serving with the Welsh Guards. It was the Padre, The Reverend Fred Jenkins, who first took him climbing in the Cairngorms and, as he described in this book, having arrived at Aviemore by overnight sleeper from Euston ‘I have never forgotten my excitement on first seeing snowdrifts piled twenty-feet high on either side of the Drumochter Pass and my first view of the Cairngorms’.

The book is not just about mountaineering. Harding has an excellent eye for the local culture and history of the many places he has visited. And the book is not just about the author, far from it. Most of the photographs show Harding’s mountaineering companions, including members of his family, and the book describes well the camaraderie of climbing.

This is a remarkable record of adventure, challenge, friendship, and the love of mountains. While the book will be enjoyed particularly by climbers and aspiring climbers, it has a much wider appeal. John Harding’s mountain odyssey is both fascinating and inspiring.

The Editor

Distant Snows. A Mountaineer’s Odyssey. Bâton Wicks. www.v-publishing.co.uk £20.00

© Crown Copyright