High Altitude Interiors is a personal account of one womans goal to climb all of Californias mountains over fourteen thousand feet before she turned fifty. It conveys the physical and emotional risks of an older woman committing to such a project; the development of skills and confidence; the intimacy of sharing such adventures with others, as well as exploring vast amounts of time alone; the physical and emotional barriers that must be recognized and overcome or accepted; and lots of quirky self-deprecation. Each of the disappointments, setbacks, and failures are used as opportunities for new explorations. Though set within the specific context of mountaineering, Reeds process of setting goals as guidelines to encourage exploration and growth can also be applied to other areas as well. Working through fear, the value of goals (and abandoning them), planning, fitness, limitations and creating reasonable expectations, are all illustrated in ways that are easy to assimilate.
This book has several different strands: the articulation and execution of goals; physical descriptions of the climbs; the evolution of the skills and confidence of the narrator; the relationship of the narrator to self and others; and the social reading of age and gender. Readers may not feel inspired to literally repeat the authors exploration of climbing the 14ers, but they may translate the process into a particular goal of their own. Experienced hikers might appreciate the insights expressed that they have felt, but not put into words. Hikers interested in the Sierras might find the specifics of the descriptions useful in planning their own trips. Readers who have anticipated mountaineering as a prohibitively daunting endeavor, might feel inspired to try a small trip of their own after reading these accounts.
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