Fall 2000

Professor Kenneth Surin

114 Art Museum Building, East Campus

Tel# 684-4364


Office Hours: please sign up on sheets on my office door or arrange a time


The class will be run as a seminar, though in the first part of each class the instructor will speak of the salient features of the topic(s) set for that particular day. A lot of emphasis is placed on discussing the details and intricacies of the readings, so they must be done. As in every subject, there is some terminology to be learned. It may take you a week or so to become familiar with most of it, so be patient with yourself. You must always see me if you have any concerns. The books for this course can be purchased from the Textbook Store in the Bryan Center (tel: 684-6793).


The following texts will be read:

Blum, Arlene Annapurna: A Woman's Place

Boardman, Peter & Tasker, Joe The Boardman-Tasker Omnibus

Buhl, Hermann Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage

Child, Greg Climbing: The Complete Reference to Rock, Ice and Indoor Climbing (As the title indicates, this book is a reference work and can be consulted as required by class members)

Coffey, Maria Fragile Edge

Curran, Jim High Achiever: The Life and Climbs of Chris Bonnington

Herzog, Maurice Annapurna: The First 8,000 Metre Peak

Hunt, John The Ascent of Everest

Ortner, Sherry Life and Death on Mt. Everest: Sherpas and Himalayan Mountaineering

Patey, Tom One Man's Mountains

Pritchard, Paul The Totem Pole

Rébuffat, Gaston Starlight and Storm: The Conquest of the Great North Faces of the Alps

Rose, David & Douglas, Ed Regions of the Heart: the Triumph and Tragedy of Alison Hargreaves

Simpson, Joe Touching the Void


One 8-9 page paper in which you address the following question:

Is it a simplification to contrast the mountaineering ethos of Buhl, Pritchard, Rébuffat, Patey, and Tasker (lightweight expeditions, few porters, individualistic, etc.) with that of Herzog and Hunt (large military-style expeditions, 'attacking' the mountain, top-down leadership, patriotism, etc.)? Where does the American Women's expedition to Annapurna fit into this argument? There is a substantial literature on patriotism, leadership, the history of mountaineering, the Sherpa peoples, politics and history of the Indian subcontinent, etc., that you may want to consult.

This paper will constitute 20% of the final grade. It is due on Thursday October 12.

One 20-page research paper chosen from the following topics (this will constitute 70% of the final grade): Note: students have to notify the professor of their choice of topic before going on Thanksgiving Break.
  This will begin immediately, when the professor will collect email addresses from all students and make up a group list (this list will include my email address). When I make my first mailing, save the list in your address book, and mail your discussion contributions to each member of the class along the lines specified below:

Before each class meeting, i.e. Monday midnight (latest) for the Tuesday class, Wednesday midnight (latest) for the Thursday class, all students have to mail to the class list a 12-15 sentence email document (no attachments!) containing their comments and observations on the reading for the next day, questions they think are posed by that reading, positions they want to take on one or more of the issues posed by that reading, etc. This will constitute 10% of the final grade. Failure to turn in a piece by the required time will be penalized by a deduction of 1% from the final grade for each piece not turned in.


August 29 Introductions

Aug 31 Ortner, Life and Death, Chs. 1-5.

Sept 5 Ortner, Life and Death, Ch. 6-end.

Pritchard, Totem Pole, Chs. 1-5

Sept 7 Pritchard, Totem Pole, Ch. 6-end

Sept 12 Herzog, Annapurna, Chs. I-VII

Sept 14 Herzog, Annapurna, Chs. VIII-end.

Sept 19 Hunt, Ascent to Everest

Sept 21 No Class

Sept 26 Buhl, Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage

Sept 28 Rébuffat, Starlight and Storm

Oct 3 Patey, One Man's Mountains

Oct 5 Blum, Annapurna, Chs. 1-5

Oct 10 Blum, Annapurna, Ch. 6-end.

Oct 12 Tasker, Everest the Cruel Way

Oct 17 No Class- Fall Break

Oct 19 Boardman, Shining Mountain

Oct 24 Boardman, Sacred Summits, Part One and Part Two

Oct 26 Boardman, Sacred Summits, Parts Three

Oct 31 Tasker, Savage Arena, Chs. 1-6

Nov 2 Tasker, Savage Arena, Ch. 7-end

Coffey, Fragile Edge, Chs. 1-3

Nov 7 Coffey, Fragile Edge, Ch. 4-end

Nov 9 Rose and Douglas, Regions of the Heart, Chs. 1-4

Nov 14 Rose and Douglas, Regions of the Heart, Ch. 5-end.

Nov 16 Curran, High Achiever, Chs. 1-14

Nov 21 No Class

Nov 23 No Class- Thanksgiving

Nov 28 Curran, High Achiever, Ch. 15-end

Joe Simpson, Touching the Void

Nov 30 Presentation of paper drafts

Dec 5 Presentation of paper drafts

Dec 7 Class Wrap-up


Duke University Online Catalogue

Web Sites of Leading Mountaineering Organizations

American Alpine Club

Alpine Club of Canada

Scottish Mountaineering Club

Magazines, Journals and Publications

Backpacker Magazine


Maps and Navigation

USGS National Mapping Information

National Parks

Parknet: Gateway to the National Parks Service

MountainZone's National Park's Directory

Parknet: Gateway to the National Parks Service

National Parks Conservation Association

Miscellaneous Interesting Web Sites

Adventure Sports Online

Big Wall Climbing

Climbing Archive


Great Outdoor Research

Climb On

Everest News

Mountain Climbing

Mountain Safety/Injuries

Rock List

Shut Up and Climb!

Sierra Mountaineering

Equipment: General Information and Reviews


Outdoor Reviews

Equipment: Manufacturers and Suppliers






Eureka, Silva


Ibex Wear


Lowe Alpine




Moss Tents

Mountain Hardwear


The North Face


Outdoor Research


Rail Riders


Sierra Designs



Wild Roses Women