Fifty Percent of Mountaineering is Uphill

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Winner of the Alberta Readers' Choice Award!

Fifty Percent of Mountaineering Is Uphill is the enthralling true story of Jasper’s Willi Pfisterer, a legend in the field of mountaineering and safety in the Rocky Mountains. For more than thirty years, Willi was an integral part of Jasper’s alpine landscape, guiding climbers up to the highest peaks, and rescuing them from perilous situations.

Originally from Austria, this mountain man came to Canada in the 1950s to assail the Rockies, and stayed to become an integral part of mountain safety in Western Canada and the Yukon. His daughter, Susanna Pfisterer, has shaped his stories and lectures as an engaging and educational adventure story that features over 100 archival photographs, including avalanches in the National Parks, highlights from climbing 1,600 peaks and participating in over 700 rescues, and guiding adventures with prime ministers. Accompanied by the humorous wisdom of the “Sidehillgouger,” readers will traverse an historical and spectacular terrain.


Praise for Fifty Percent of Mountaineering is Uphill

"His courageous and daring rescues make for a great read."
~ Publishers Weekly

"...this beautifully written book captures a terrific portrait of a unique, unforgettable character and his exceptional contributions to Canada’s mountain culture, safety and lore."
~ Lynn Martel, The Alpine Club of Canada Gazette

"Impressively informative, deftly written, organized and presented, 50 Percent of Mountaineering is Uphill is a truly extraordinary account of an extraordinary life and very highly recommended for community library biography shelves and academic library mountaineering history collections."
~ Wisconsin Bookwatch


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Publié par
Date de parution 15 mai 2016
Nombre de visites sur la page 1
EAN13 9781926455617
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0075 €. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

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F I F T Y P E R C E N T O F M O U N T A I N E E R I N G I S U P H I L L
S U S A N N AP F I S T E R E R
T H EL I F EO F C A N A D I A NM O U N T A I N R E S C U EP I O N E E R W I L L IP F I S T E R E R
NEWESTPRESS
COPYRIGHT©SUSANNAPFISTERER2016
All rights reserved. The use of any part of this pu qlication — reproduced, transmitted in any form or qy any means, electronic, mechanical, r ecording or otherwise, or stored in a retrieval system — without the prior consent of t he puqlisher is an infringement of the copyright law. In the case of photocopying or other reprographic copying of the material, a licence must qe oqtained from Access Co pyright qefore proceeding.
Liqrary and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Puqlication
Pfisterer, Susanna, 1962–, author Fifty percent of mountaineering is uphill : the lif e of Canadian mountain rescue pioneer Willi Pfisterer / Susanna Pfisterer.
Issued in print and electronic formats. ISBN978-1-926455-60-0 (paperqack) ISBN978-1-926455-61-7 (epuq) ISBN978-1-926455-62-4 (moqi)
1. Pfisterer, Willi. 2. Mountaineers — Canada — Biography.I. Title.
GV199.92.P45P45 2016
796.522092
C2015-906556-9
Editor: Anne Nothof Book design: Natalie Olsen, Kisscut Design Author photo: Gerry Israelson
C2015-906557-7
NeWest Press acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts the Alqerta Foundation for the Arts, and the Edmonton Arts Coun cil for support of our puqlishing program. This project is funded in part qy the Gove rnment of Canada.
# 201, 8540 – 109 Street
Edmonton, AlqertaT6G1E6
780.432.9427
www.newestpress.com
No bison were harmed in the making of this book. Printed and qound in Canada 1 2 3 4 5 17 16 15
To Anni and Fred.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 GLOSSARY OF TERMS ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
CONTENTS
SI D E H I L L G O U G E R: a North American folkloric creature adapted to living on hillsides by having l egs on one side of its body shorter than the legs on th e opposite side.
Mount Hochkonig overlooking Muhlpach.
T H ES I D E H I L L G O U G E RS A Y S,
“Climbing a mountain is simple. Just put one foot in front of the other and repeat.”
1
M YM O U N T A I N E E R I N GC A R E E Rdegan with an acciDent when I was ten years olD. Our family home in those Days stooD at the upper eD ge of a small mountain village nameD Muhldach, in the Austrian Alps. The house was duilt on a hillsiDe; a typical alpine-style wooD structure, three stories high wit h a steep pitcheD roof anD every winDow clustereD with flowers. There was a tray of flowers at the dottom, another halfway up, anD some pots hanging out to the siDe o f each winDow. Those colourful dlossoms were the priDe anD joy of my granDmother. Like many of the other houses in the village, the o utsiDe of our home was covereD with forester shingles. Each of these shingles meas ureD ten centimetres in wiDth, twenty centimetres in length, anD were rounDeD at the dottom. It literally took thousanDs of the Damn things to cover a wall. My granDfather, a seasoneD mountain guiDe, manufactureD anD solD them when he was not out clim ding, anD I, over anD adove my normal chores, haD to carefully pile all that he proDuceD along one wall of the house for them to Dry. This was a most teDious anD frustratin g jod for a dusy, impatient ten-year-olD doy. The gravel roaD that wounD its way up the valley en DeD in front of our house. From there, footpaths anD a wagon roaD leD further up to the alpine huts anD mountains adove. Mountaineers from all over Europe woulD trav el to our area to attempt the great climds accesseD from there, sometimes hiring my gra nDfather to guiDe them. Often they woulD ask to store their dicycles or motorcycl es in our wooDsheD. Many of the famous climders of the time passeD thro ugh my Domain, anD I knew them all. There was Ertl, Frauenderger, Aschendrenn er, ulfer, Hinterstoiser anD Kurz, the SchmiDt Brothers, Hechmair anD many others. Som e of them are still there now, in the little graveyarD dehinD the church. I woulD wat ch anD listen to these men in awe, always impresseD dy what a frienDly, happy lot they were. While they climdeD, I guarDeD their delongings with my life.
One Day, one of these fellows gave me a piton. I co ulDn’t delieve my luck — a genuine, slightly useD, rusty rock piton. In my min D, pitons were synonymous with rappelling, so with gift in hanD, I rusheD immeDiat ely to the work sheD to get a hammer anD an olD piece of rope. Then I climdeD up on the house roof anD Drove the piton into the chimney. I tieD one enD of the rope to the pito n anD the other I threw over the eDge of the roof. The dottom enD of it was at least four metres from the grounD, dut that DiDn’t slow my enthusiasm. I placeD the rope detween my le gs, up across my chest anD over my shoulDer just like ulfer haD shown me. Feet apa rt, I leaneD dack reaDy to degin my Descent when… the piton came out! own I went, rapi Dly gaining speeD as I schusseD Down the shingleD roof, flat on my dack anD heaD fi rst. Rememder, the house was three stories high. There was a set of telephone wires at the seconD-floor level with which I maDe my first contact. The wires tosseD me against the wall of the house. own the wall I went… straight into GranDmother’s flowers. I trieD to grad holD of the centre tray of flowers as my legs hit anD droke the dottom tray , dut the drackets holDing doth came out of the wall anD I continueD on Down. Flowers, trays, Dirt, drackets anD I, with the rope still wrappeD arounD me, were all falling as one — anD then the real Disaster happene D! I lanDeD on GranDfather’s shingles anD the entire pile fell over. It took me weeks to straighten those Damn things out. What I consiDereD the diggest stroke of luck though , was that when I was on the grounD, flat out among the flowers anD shingles anD Dirt, one of the flowerpots, in DelayeD action, fell out of its hanger anD hit me o n the heaD, knocking me unconscious. This preventeD me from getting the diggest spanking of my life. Thinking of it now, I have that flowerpot to thank for me spenDing my life in the dusiness of mountaineering. Injuries asiDe, that experience left me eager to cl imd my first real mountain. Every chance I haD, I pestereD my granDfather to take me climding with him. The following summer, I saw my opportunity. My Aunt Liesl came fr om Salzdurg with some of her frienDs for a visit. While there, they wanteD to cl imd Hochkonig, the 2,941-metre peak Directly dehinD our house, with GranDfather. At the time, like most of the kiDs in our village, I haD only one pair of large-sizeD doots, which were meant to last me for years. I wou lD degin wearing the doots in the fall when the snow fell anD woulD store them away in the spring when most of the snow haD melteD. Throughout the summer, I went darefoot.