From the inside flaps of the dust jacket: Why would anyone want to climb a mountain? The most famous answer to that question is Mallory's "Because it is there." Warren J. Harding has a different answer: "Because it's there and we're MAD!"
Harding, who prefers to be known as Batso, achieved instant fame (but no fortune) when he and his partner Dean Caldwell made the first ascent of the most difficult rock face in the United States-the sheer, smooth 3,000-foot Wall of the Early Morning Light in Yosemite Valley.
The climb took 27 sometimes freezing and rain-soaked days, and was praised by Sports Illustrated as "probably the most skilled piece of technical climbing ever achieved." But in typical Batso fashion, it was carried out with spectacular nonchalance and buffoonery, including spurned rescue attempts and exuberant wine-drinking parties.
Sometime later, Batso had the audacity to presume he could write, so here is DOWNWARD BOUND-a brainchild nurtured by a twisted mind and a hallucinatory imagination. An inside and totally distorted look at the history and present state of rock climbing, this hilarious book is also a first-rate manual for the beginner and the seasoned climber. Here you'll learn about climbing à la Batso, and have the dubious privilege of discovering Harding's many innovations, such as BAT tents and BAT hooks (BAT standing for Basically Absurd Technology). Moving on, but not necessarily upward, you'll find insane accounts of his most infamous climbs, including that crime of the century, the ascent of the Wall of the Early Morning Light.
DOWNWARD BOUND also tells the ludicrous story of Batso's war with the "purists" who have tried to turn climbing into a religion, dramatizes his pointless search for ethnic identity, and recounts many other equally irrelevant adventures in a career that has gone steadily downward from the beginning. - PRENTICE-HALL, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.