Tuesday, 1 June 2010

"For if the signs of our times are more trustworthy than the structures...

...an era is again impending when the Roof and the Wall shall be put to their proper purpose."

I'm extremely proud to announce the republication of a lost masterpiece of climbing literature. As you all know, the whole night climbing cannon was initiated by the excellent Roof-climber's Guide to Trinity, written by Geoffrey Winthrop-Young in 1900 whilst a student there. This spawned a small family of titles including two later editions of his guide, a guide to St John's and, of course, the infamous Night Climbers of Cambridge by Whipplesnaith in 1937.

What few people know though is that, before he started writing the legitimate climbing guides which would embellish his illustrious climbing career, he penned a remarkable tome whilst still a teacher at Eton in 1905. Called simply Wall and Roof Climbing, this exuberant book strives to map the literary history of this largely-subversive sport. Digging out references to the practice by leading authors and poets from the last 2000 years, he weaves an almost entirely believable tradition of written celebration in the sport.

Working from the author's own copy – probably the last copy in existence – and in collaboration with his family, Oleander has brought this complex, erudite and fascinatingly entertaining classic back to life. Obviously I'm going to say this but – every fan of literature or climbing, regular and roof, should have this in their library. It's an extraordinary achievement.