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On Belay!: The Life of Legendary Mountaineer…

On Belay!: The Life of Legendary Mountaineer Paul Petzoldt

by Raye Carleson Ringholz

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0898865581, Hardcover)

Every mountaineer in the western U.S. has heard of Paul Petzoldt and his pioneering climbs and guide trips in Wyoming's Tetons. Most know of his founding of the highly regarded National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) programs. But even those who know this "mountain original" well will find new information in this wide-ranging biography by one of Petzoldt's former NOLS students.

Ringholz recounts the stories of both Petzoldt's mountaineering exploits (the Grand Teton, the Matterhorn, K2) and his innovations in outdoor education (Colorado Outward Bound, NOLS, Wilderness Education Association). Furthermore, the book provides a wealth of fascinating personal details; you'll marvel at the twists and turns in Petzoldt's adventurous life that resulted from an often-serendipitous combination of economic privation, world events, wanderlust, curiosity, coincidence, and just plain luck.

The book bills Petzoldt as a controversial figure, apparently in two connections--some bizarre events involving a murder charge in India and Byzantine struggles for control over NOLS properties and leadership--and sets out to "correct the record." Because it's an authorized biography, the book may be a bit light on objective analysis of its subject and other conflicting opinions, but nonetheless it's competently done. --Donna DeShazo

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:42 -0400)

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