Fifty Percent of Mountaineering Is Uphill: The Life of Canadian Mountain Rescue Pioneer Willi Pfisterer

Susanna Pfisterer. NeWest (LitDistCo, dist.), $24.95 trade paper (312p) ISBN 978-1-926455-60-0
Reading alpine rescue legend Willi Pfisterer’s memoir, lovingly pieced together by his daughter after his death in 2010 at age 83, readers will gain respect for the incredible power of nature, with its towering mountains, terrifying avalanches, and fast-changing glaciers. They will also appreciate Pfisterer’s contributions to Canadian mountaineering safety and rescue. Part memoir and part history lesson, the narrative is harrowing and moving, particularly when detailing rescues that didn’t succeed. As the book recounts the Austria-born mountaineer’s various duties in western Canadian parks, readers get to know him, sharing his close calls, his son’s death in an avalanche, and the first time he “had to stand back and let someone else go ahead.” He said that questions about why he climbed mountains baffled him: “In Austria, we never asked why. It was just part of what we did, part of our culture.” His courageous and daring rescues make for a great read. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/06/2017
Release date: 05/01/2016
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