High and wild places have dominated Stephen Venables' life and now he has written a full autobiography which explores how and - more importantly - why he became a mountaineer, and reveals a series of never-recorded adventures on four continents. At its climax he revisits his dramatic success without oxygen on the Kangshung Face of Everest, described by Reinhold Messner as the most adventurous in Everest's history and by Lord Hunt as 'one of the most remarkable ordeals from which men or women have returned alive'. As Venables writes: 'Although we didn't go seeking deliberately an epic near-death experience, it did turn out that way - the ultimate endurance test for which all the previous adventures seemed, retrospectively, to be a preparation.'
Stephen Venables is best known as the mountaineer who in 1988 became the first Briton to climb Everest without oxygen - one of many pioneering expeditions around the world. He began climbing while at Oxford in the early 1970s, and has written eight books about his mountain travels, winning the Boardman Tasker Prize, the King Albert Medal and the Grand Award at Banff International Mountain Literature Festival. He has also appeared in several television documentaries and worked on two IMAX movies - appearing in Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure and writing Alps - Giants of Nature. His most recent book, Ollie, was a Sunday Times bestseller. He is President of the Alpine Club in the year of its 150th anniversary. He lives in Bath with his wife and son.