The Life of Don Whillans
Joint Winner of the Boardman Tasker Prize 2005 and Winner of the Banff Mountaineering History Award 2005.
A fascinating and thought-provoking biography of a climbing legend.
Don Whillans has an iconic significance for generations of climbers. His epoch-making first ascent of Annapurna's South Face, achieved with Dougal Haston in 1970, remains one of the most impressive climbs ever made - but behind this and all his other formidable achievements lies a tough, recalcitrant reality: the character of the man himself.
Whillans carried within himself a sense of personal invincibility, forceful, direct and uncompromising. It gave him sporting superstar status - the flawed heroism of a Best, a McEnroe, an Ali. In his own circle, his image was the working-class hero on the rock-face, laconic and bellicose, ready to go to war with the elements or with any human who crossed his path on a bad day.
“A packed and entertaining book . . . Exhaustively researched and beautifully written”
M. John Harrison, The Guardian
“Wonderfully crafted . . . One of the most gifted chroniclers of mountaineering . . . Perrin records it all with a subtle sympathy, laying bare British mountaineering's most mythologized figure”
“An extraordinarily rich and unsentimental vision . . . The genius of this exceptional biography is that it articulates both sides of Whillans' character . . . It is by turns funny and tragic . . . This is a fine book. It was worth the wait”
“Compelling, beautifully written . . . There could not have been a better writer qualified to tell it”
Ed Douglas, Climber
“A kind of modern tragedy . . . Yet for all his failings, Whillans remains a legend”
“Created an enduring, breathtaking legend”
The Glasgow Herald