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Breaking Trail: A Climbing Lifeby Alrene Blum
Synopses & Reviews
Arlene Blum is a legendary trailblazer by any measure. Defying the climbing establishment of the 1970s, she led the first teams of women on successful ascents of Mt. McKinley and Annapurna, and was the first American woman to attempt Mt. Everest. In her long, adventurous career, she has played a leading role in more than twenty expeditions and forged a place for women in the perilous arena of high-altitude mountaineering.
Breaking Trail is the story of Blum's journey from her overprotected youth in Chicago to the tops of some of the highest peaks on Earth. Chronicling a life of extraordinary personal and professional achievement, Blum's intimate and inspiring memoir explores how her childhood fueled her need to climb — and how, in turn, her climbing liberated her from her childhood.
Each chapter in Breaking Trail begins with a poignant vignette from Blum's early life. Using these as starting points, she traces her evolution as a climber, from a hilariously incompetent beginner to an aspiring mountaineer to a successful, confident, and world-renowned expedition leader. Along the way, she takes us to some of the most extreme and exquisite places on the planet, sharing the exhilaration, toil, and danger of climbing high. Blum also relates the story of her scientific career, which, like her mountaineering, challenged gender stereotypes and was filled with singular accomplishments, including the banning of two cancer-causing chemicals and the initiation of an important area of biophysical research.
Writing with remarkable candor and introspection, Blum recounts her triumphs and tragedies, and provides a probing look at what drove her to endure extreme physical discomfort — andeven to risk her life — attempting high, remote summits around the world. In her story, she shares intimate insights into how and why climbers persevere under the harshest circumstances, cope with the deaths of their comrades, and balance their desire for adventure with their personal lives.
Complemented with breathtaking personal photos and detailed maps, Breaking Trail is a deeply moving account of how one woman overcame adversity to become one of the world's most famous climbers, and a testament to the power of taking risks and pursuing dreams.
By the author of the bestselling Annapurna: A Womans Place
"A magnificent and compelling story . . . [Blums] inspiring story is as much about leadership as it is about living life fully and overcoming obstacles to reach ones goals."—Lynne Cox, author of Swimming to Antarctica
Arlene Blum defied the climbing establishment of the 1970s by leading the first all-female teams on successful ascents of Mt. McKinley and Annapurna, and was the first American woman to attempt Mt. Everest. At the same time, her ground-breaking scientific work challenged gender stereotypes in the academic community. With candor and humor, Blum recounts her journey from an overprotected childhood in Chicago to the tops of some of the highest peaks on earth, and to a life lived on her own terms. Breaking Trail is a testament to the power of taking risks and pursuing dreams.
"Compelling . . . Blum exudes possibility."—Los Angles Times
"Personal and disarmingly honest . . . [Blum] simply tells her nourishing and deserving story, quietly reminding us that a womans place is indeed on top."—New York Times Book Review
Arlene Blum is a leadership and intercultural trainer and author of Annapurna: A Womans Place, named one of the 100 best adventure books of all time by National Geographic and one of Fortunes "75 books that teach you everything you need to know about business." She has a doctorate in biophysical chemistry and has taught at Stanford University, Wellesley College, and the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in Berkeley, California.
A legendary trailblazer, Arlene Blum defied the climbing establishment of the 1970s by leading the first all-female teams on successful ascents of Mount McKinley and Annapurna and by being the first American woman to attempt Mount Everest. At the same time, her groundbreaking scientific work challenged gender stereotypes in the academic community and led to important legislation banning carcinogens in childrens sleepwear. With candor and humor, Breaking Trail recounts Blums journey from an overprotected childhood in Chicago to the tops of some of the highest peaks on earth, and to a life lived on her own terms. Now with an index, additional photos, and a new afterword, this book is a moving testament to the power of taking risks and pursuing dreams.
About the Author
ARLENE BLUM has a doctorate in biophysical chemistry and has taught at Stanford, Wellesley College, and the University of California, Berkeley. Her bestselling book Annapurna: A Woman's Place was named one of the one hundred best adventure books of all time by National Geographic. She lives in Berkeley, California.
Table of Contents
1 A Slide down Mt. Adams
2 A Man and a Mountain
3 Higher and Higher
4 A Woman? Never!”
5 Peru Adventure
6 Berkeley in the 1960s
7 Real Women Climbers
8 The Damsels on Denali
9 To the Summit of Denali
10 Out in the Cold
12 The Endless Winter in Africa
13 The Queen of Tenacity
14 The Endless Winter in Afghanistan and Nepal
15 Peak Lenin Bares Its Fangs
16 The Maelstrom
17 Tragedy on Trisul
18 Seduced by Mt. Everest
19 Annapurna: Women in High Places
20 First Up Bhrigupanth
21 The Great Himalayan Traverse, Part I
22 The Great Himalayan Traverse, Part II
23 Coming Home
24 Across the Alps with Baby
25 Peace and Love at Last
EPILOGUE: Mountains, Molecules, and Motherhood
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