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End of the Rope

Mountains, Marriage and Motherhood

List Price: $26.00

May 8, 2018 | Hardcover | 6 x 9, 344 pages | ISBN 9781640090309
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“A hair-raising triumph—my heart raced on every page, wondering if Jan Redford would seize her lost courage or plummet to physical and psychological annihilation.” —Kathleen Winter, author of Boundless

In this funny and gritty debut memoir, Jan Redford grows from a nomadic rock climber to a mother who fights to win back her future.

As a teenager, in a fit of rage toward her father, Jan pits herself against a steep rock face near their cottage. At the top, fired up by the victory, she sets her sights on the improbable dream of climbing mountains. By age twenty, she’s a nomadic climber with a magnetic attraction to misadventures and the wrong men.

Jan finally finds the love of her life, an affable Rockies climber. When he is killed in an avalanche in Alaska, a grieving Jan finds comfort in the arms of another extreme alpinist. Before long, they are married, with a baby on the way. While her husband works as a logger and climbs distant peaks, Jan tackles the traditional role of wife and mother. But soon, she pursues her own dream, one that pits her against her husband.

End of the Ropeis Jan’s telling of heart-stopping adventures, from being rescued off El Capitan to leading a group of bumbling cadets across a glacier. It is her laughter-filled memoir of learning to climb, and of friendships with women in that masculine world. Most moving, this is the story of her struggle to make her own way in the mountains and in life. To lead, not follow.

About Jan Redford

JAN REDFORD lives with her family in British Columbia, where she mountain bikes, trail runs, climbs and skis. Her stories, articles and personal essays have been published in The Globe and MailNational PostMountain LifeExplore and various anthologies. She is a graduate of The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University and holds a master’s in creative writing from University of British Columbia.


Praise for End of the Rope

1 of 5 Best Summer Books (Outside)
1 of 19 Books Feminists Should Read in May (Bitch)
1 of 8 Books to Read for Mother’s Day (Book Riot)
1 of 3 Heartwarming Books About Extraordinary and Unconventional Moms
(Brit + Co)
1 of 14 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in May
1 of 14 Ways to Say “I Love You, Mom—And Mother Earth, Too” (Sierra)
1 0f 9 New Books About Nature & Hiking That You Should Add to Your Summer Reading List (Bustle)

“The wall scenes made my palms sweat. The funerals of loved ones lost to the mountains made me cry.” —Outside, 1 of 5 Best Summer Books

“Charming and spirited . . . A moving story about learning how to make it in the wilderness, and how to survive in life, End of the Rope is a must-read for any hiker looking to forge their own path.”—Bustle, 1 of 9 New Books About Nature & Hiking That You Should Add to Your Summer Reading List

“For fans of Cheryl Strayed, a debut memoir by a Canadian alpinist about learning to rock climb, and figuring out along the way that marriage and motherhood take as much, if not more, bravery than reaching literal peaks.” —PureWow, 1 of 14 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in May

“Jan mixes heart-pounding descriptions of her most exciting climbs with essential reflections and shows that a family can be a child, a mother, a father, and a mountain.” —Brit + Co, 1 of 3 Heartwarming Books About Extraordinary and Unconventional Moms

“Your mountain-loving mother will welcome this hearty, harrowing, and funny new voice.” —Sierra, 1 of 14 Ways to Say “I Love You, Mom—And Mother Earth, Too”

“It’s a story filled with grit and loss, intensity and resilience, adventure and self-discovery, profound grief and immense wonder . . . End of the Rope is a must-read for any young woman challenged with forging her way in a space that is still largely dominated by men.” —Bustle

“With a wonderful combination of adventure and introspection, outdoor writer Redford tells of a life lived on the fringes of society and in the heights of the Banff mountains in British Columbia . . . Redford’s is a truly inspiring and honest account of what it means to be a strong woman who can reach new heights because she isn’t afraid to fall.” —Publishers Weekly

“Worth the price of admission are Redford’s up-close encounters with the rock itself . . . Worthy for aspiring climbers.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Her refreshing honesty, especially about her mistakes, is a welcome respite from more self-aggrandizing memoirs, and her refusal to shy away from the more turbulent parts of her past, including a tragic loss, balances well her lighthearted reminiscences . . . Redford has made her mark through sheer willpower and muscle.” —Booklist

“The book is a welcome addition to mountain literature, where women’s voices . . . are still noticeably rare . . . It will resonate with anyone trying to find her path in a confusing world that still sends women far too many mixed signals about who or what we should be.” —Outside

“The book . . . makes a powerful case for motherhood in the outdoors and feeds into a growing concern about the ways we have cut women off from nature; from spidering up a granite cliff in a climbing harness, from hiking as they heal from birth. Redford’s story . . . is proof that women need to be supported in getting outside.” —Romper

“Cheryl Strayed, move over: End of the Rope is a rambunctious, funny, heartstopping memoir that carries us along on an electric current of risk and courage.” —Marni Jackson, Mountain and Wilderness Writing Program, Banff Centre, and author of The Mother Zone

“Compassionate and courageous, End of the Rope shows us that there are many types of bravery required, not just in the wilderness, but in surviving day to day life.” —Tanis Rideout, author of Above All Things

“In this scrappy memoir of love, loss, and mountaineering, Jan Redford gracefully explores a familiar midlife quandary: how to balance safety with adventure.” —Ada Calhoun, author of Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give

“Jan Redford is a bad-ass. She is also a born storyteller, and this one—the mountains she has climbed, the men she has loved—and survived—is gritty, funny, tragic, and ultimately victorious. Women’s voices are a conspicuous rarity in the mountaineering world, and tobacco-chewing mothers’ voices are even rarer; Redford’s is a bracing and refreshing corrective—intimate, affectionate, loud, and clear.” —John Vaillant, author of The Tiger

“An adventure memoir with one foot firmly planted in the realities of life while the other soars high on a rock wall.” —Tom Beans, Dudley’s Bookshop Cafe (Bend, OR)

“Cheryl Strayed meets Elizabeth Gilbert on a journey through the realities of a life as a young Canadian woman tries to sort out a workable lifestyle as a girlfriend in the hardcore climbing culture. Her boyfriend goes to Alaska and dies in a tragic avalanche on Mount Foraker on his first Alaskan summit attempt. Jan attaches herself to a sympathetic climbing junkie and soon finds herself with a baby, trying to extricate herself from Mr. Wrong and start over again on a new tangent. Jan is tough and determined and attracted to the lifestyle but realizes it’s an impractical choice for a single mom. A very readable and honest book about Redford’s path through the life of outdoor adrenaline sports.” —Lee, Homer Bookstore (Homer, AK)

Praise for Jan Redford’s essays

“Some highlights of the book are…. the brutally honest story, “End of the Rope”, by Jan Redford. Redford’s stark account of a young climber’s mistakes on the walls of Yosemite, and similarly in life, recount youth’s delusion of infallibility and what it means to learn the hard way.” —Joanna Croston, Highline Magazine, review of the anthology Rock, Paper, Fire: The Best of Mountain and Wilderness Writing

“This precisely observed piece about faltering faith and the confusion that goes along with growing up has stayed with me. The odd logic of the adolescent explorer and the secret yearnings of the not-so-grown up were rendered in a voice that was deceptively simple and completely captivating.” —Susan Juby, author of Nice Recovery


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