"The goal isn't the summit, it's the footsteps it takes to get there."

—Rick Ridgeway

Life Lived Wild

Adventures at the Edge of the Map

“Rick Ridgeway . . . captures the essence of a lifetime of story-telling.”

—Jimmy Chin

Academy Award-winning film director

Rick Ridgeway calculates that he’s spent over five years of his life sleeping in tents: “Small tents pitched in the world’s most remote regions.” Whether at elevation or raising a family at sea level, those years taught him, he writes, “to distinguish matters of consequence from matters of inconsequence.” Some of his adventures made news: the first American ascent of K2; the first traverse of Borneo; the first crossing on foot of a corner of Tibet so remote no outsider had ever seen it. Big as these trips were, Rick kept an eye out for the quiet surprises, like the butterflies he encounters at 23,000 feet on K2 or the furtive silhouettes of eared pheasants running wild in Tibet. What really comes alive in Life Lived Wild are his relationships with his fellow travelers, such as Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, The North Face founder Doug Tompkins, and filmmaker Jimmy Chin. Some companions don’t make the return journey. Rick treats them all with candor and straightforward tenderness. And through their commitments to protecting the wild places they shared, he discovers his own.

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Previously Published

The Big Open:

On Foot Across Tibet’s Chang Tang

On foot and on their own, four adventurers brave the challenges of nature on a 275-mile trek through one of the most beautiful-and most remote-regions of the world.

Holt Paperbacks, 1998

Below Another Sky:

A Mountain Adventure in Search of a Lost Father

Combining gripping adventure writing with intimate memoir, Rick Ridgeway takes readers to the mysterious mountain domain of Tibet and into the remote corners of his past. In what Tim Cahill called the “most intensely personal” of his books, Ridgeway recounts the extraordinary journey he takes with Asia Wright, the daughter of his friend Jonathan, who was killed during an expedition with Ridgeway in a terrifying avalanche twenty years earlier. Hoping to help her connect with the father she never knew, Ridgeway takes her to the breathtaking Himalayas her father so cherished. Trekking through forbidding terrain and threatening weather, and past jumpy border patrols, they search for the place where he died.

Here, Ridgeway’s storytelling technique hits perfect pitch as he weaves together indelible stories of past adventures with his and Asia’s journey of self-discipline and self-discovery. Below Another Sky is at once an evaluation of a life lived on the edge and a wrenching story of loss-and of truths revealed.

Holt Paperbacks, 1998

The Shadow of Kilimanjaro

In one of the most acclaimed travel and adventure books of the past year, Rick Ridgeway chronicles his trek from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro to the Indian Ocean, through Kenya’s famed Tsavo Park. His tale is, according to The Boston Globe, “a gripping account of how it feels to be charged by an incensed elephant and kept awake at night by the roaring of stalking lions.” But it is more than an adventure story. The Los Angeles Times noted that “the pace of walking gives Ridgeway time to contemplate his great theme and the great men and women who have struggled with the conundrum of whether man can live at peace with the beasts.” Ridgeway examines the effects of colonial expansion on the indigenous people, the landscape, and the animals, and contemplates the future for all of them.

Holt Paperbacks, 1998

Seven Summits

Two Undaunted Men Frank Wells was the head of a major motion picture studio. Dick Bass had made his fortune as an energy and resort entrepreneur. In middle age, both men left behind home, family, and successful careers to share an impossible dream. Seven Unconquered Summits The challenge: be the first to climb the highest mountain on each of seven continents, from McKinley to Kilimanjaro to Everest. The obstacles: many and merciless, from ice storms to illness to a measurement question that threatened to make their record-breaking expedition a sham. The prize: the sheer, exhilarating triumph of standing at the top of every continent on earth.

Warner Books, 1986

The Last Step

The American ascent of K2

In September 1978, Rick Ridgeway, Jim Wickwire, Lou Reichardt and John Roskelley stood atop K2, the first Americans ever to achieve this victory. Under the leadership of Jim Whittaker, they and their teammates had spent 67 days on the mountain, nearly all of them above 18,000 feet, where the stresses of high-altitude living, of monotonous food, of confinement in tiny tents for day after day of frustrating storms had worn them down to the core.

The Last Step is Rick Ridgeway’s inside story of this extraordinary expedition. It’s about the people who, battered by the mountain and their isolation, overcame their individual fears, desire, and disappointments to work together to get somebodyñanybodyñto the top of K2. It’s about the glorious success the team achieved, and about the perilous bivouac Jim Wickwire spent just below the summit without food, oxygen or shelter in temperatures of -40F.

Mountaineers Books, 1980

The Boldest Dream

The story of twelve who climbed Mount Everest

This exciting, true story recounts the perilous journey of twelve men and women, most of them weekend climbers, to the upper reaches of Mt Everest. The team consisted of a wide range of people – 3 lawyers, 2 medical doctors, 2 college professors, a computer scientist, a modern dance instructor, a pilot, an anthropolgist and a writer. Not your normal Himalayas fair. So goes the journy of the 1976 American Bicentenial Everest Expedition.

Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1979


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