Having abandoned a normal career path for a life of climbing and worldwide adventure, baby boomer Geof Childs finds himself at middle age putting on the gray suit of ambition in order to support his wife and child. Yet he soon discovers that though he had abandoned climbing and adventure, they had not abandoned him.
In a collection of stories written over twenty-five years, Childs describes the tension, joy, triumph, and heartache of living in both these worlds; of building a life that accommodates not only his responsibilities but also the brilliant triviality and sublime uselessness of climbing.
Told in a voice that never quite settles into truth or fiction, time or place, these stories probe not just the events of a life spent in search of undiscovered stone, but the complexity and reward of being fully alive to all of one's possibilities. And if, as Childs states, pulling himself up a rock wall is a silly thing to be doing at 52, it has at least provided him with the ideal perspective from which to study the contradictions, beauty, and hardship of being there.
Geof Childs has infused each story in Stone Palaces with the select disquiet that comes from seeking adventure in the mountains and in life. Or, as he describes it, the clarity that comes from moments of doubt in the company of good friends en route to someplace, something, or someone that matters.
Recipient of the American Alpine Club H. Adams Carter Literary Award | "[Stone Palaces] provides its readers with a vision of the climbing life that is insightful, true, and beautiful." —AAC Literary Committee