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About the book
  • Published: 24 April 2012
  • ISBN: 9781446493441
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 304

Learning To Breathe




Joint Winner of the Boardman Tasker Prize 2005 and Winner of the Adventure Travel Award - Banff Festival 2005

The extraordinary autobiography of a brilliant young climber who began life as one of the last generation of British miners.

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 compelling story.

  • Pub date: 24 April 2012
  • ISBN: 9781446493441
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 304

About the Author

Andy Cave

Andy Cave was born into a mining family and is now a cutting-edge Alpinist with several formidable first ascents. He also is a University lecturer, with a PhD in the sociology of mining, and a qualified International Mountain Guide.

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Praise for Learning To Breathe

“A tale of split lives fused into one extraordinary story of adventure, laughter, tears and joy”

Joe Simpson

“A brilliant book, well-written, gripping, honest and very moving”

Chris Bonington

“Andy Cave's compelling autobiography is, like Joe Simpson's Touching the Void, a gripping book on mountaineering that will appeal even to those who didn't know they were interested in climbing ... Fascinating”

Observer

“Enthralling ... Cave's elegant writing draws on the congruence between mining and climbing, the black humour, the danger, the camaraderie ... Excellent”

Independent on Sunday

“The story of Andy Cave's transition from Yorkshire coal miner into one of Britain's best climbers echoes the heroic tones of Don Whillans or Joe Brown ... Thoughtful and often gripping ... Cave explains what it actually feels like to climb the kind of exceptionally dangerous routes that the rest of us, climbers or not, find unimaginable. There are few other climbers with the writing skills to be able to pull this off. There are fewer still who have led such an interesting and varied life as Cave”

Scotland on Sunday

“A brilliant book, well-written, gripping, honest and very moving”

Chris Bonington


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