cover image Up: A Mother and Daughter’s Peakbagging Adventure

Up: A Mother and Daughter’s Peakbagging Adventure

Patricia Ellis Herr. Broadway, $14 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-0-307-95207-3

Taking her five-year-old daughter on ambitious back-packing adventures in the White Mountains of New Hampshire earned author Ellis Herr flak from her blogging audience as well as an enormous sense of accomplishment. In fact, as she recounts in this charming, uplifting account, Ellis Herr and her daughter, Alex, climbed all 48 of New Hampshire’s highest (4,000-plus feet) peaks from 2008 to 2009 to become members of the Four Thousand Footer Club, sponsored by the Appalachian Mountain Club. Alex was a super-charged kid with a lot of stamina; the daughter of notable climber Hugh Herr, whose frozen legs were amputated at age 17 in 1982 after he and a friend were lost for three days in a snowstorm while climbing Mount Washington, Alex rarely complained, but learned to be cautious while climbing and employ safety techniques enforced by her mother. Braving the elements, especially the rotting snow in spring, sudden storms, and aggressive grouse, and ignoring criticism by importunate fellow climbers who questioned Ellis Herr’s intentions in taking her daughter up the mountains (“A little girl like you shouldn’t be trying to hike such a big, grown-up mountain,” they were told), Ellis Herr and Alex spent a happy year and a half scaling the peaks, recording their treks, and silencing the critics. Would people have wondered at their feat if Alex had been a boy? Ellis Herr wonders, rendering this a keen feminist fable for brave girls. (Apr.)