MONTROSE – If you’d like to know what it’s like to be a world traveler, but you never seem to make off the couch, go get a copy of a new book, Because It’s There – A Photographic Journey, by Diane and Charlie Winger. It will not only look good on the coffee table, it portrays the wonders the two have seen over years of hiking, mountaineering, and writing guidebooks to five continents.
Diane Winger is quick to point out that Charlie is the hard-core mountaineer of the duo. But anyone who climbs to 17,500 feet in Nepal, as she has, is certainly no slouch. One of the photos in Because It’s There shows Diane in a skirt, waving and bare armed, surrounded by streaming Tibetan prayer flags, at a 14,700 base camp on Gokyo Ri in Nepal.
The Wingers will be on hand to talk about their adventures and sign copies of their current and previous books at Hastings Bookstore in Montrose on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Charlie Winger has climbed the mountains of the world for close to 40 years, but Diane, who also loves outdoor adventures, says she is more focused on “hiking in beautiful places.”
Because It’s There includes some of both, with more than 90 photographs, mostly taken by Charlie, showing the astounding beauty of landscapes that range from the “forbidding face of Chopicalqui,” a 20,846-foot peak in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru, to the lush green Kathmandu Valley, to the snow-covered rim of our own Black Canyon.
The book came about, Diane said, because of many requests after slide show presentations of Charlie’s expeditions. The title, she added, came from that famous response that George Mallory gave when asked why he wanted to be the first to climb Mount Everest. Photographs in the book cover locations on five continents, “from our nearby San Juans to remote regions of the Himalayas.”
The Wingers began writing guidebooks in 1999 when their first, Highpoint Adventures, was published about Charlie’s climbing all of the 100 highest mountains in Colorado. Charlie kept climbing and hiking and their next book was The Essential Guide to the Great San Dunes National Park, followed by The Trad Guide to Joshua Tree, a guidebook geared toward rock climbing.
Then in 2010 the Wingers self-published Charlie’s autobiography, Two Shadows, which tells of his overcoming a childhood of abuse and neglect, and a stint in prison.
Writer Katie Levy interviewed Charlie about his autobiography and posted a story on Nov. 4 on her website www.adverture-inspired.com.
“As both an autobiography and an adventure story, Two Shadows is unique,” Levy wrote. “It’s not a romantic novel, nor does it glorify Charlie’s many achievements as a mountaineer. Instead, it’s a raw, unfiltered look at his life, misadventures and all, delivered in a colloquial, candid fashion.”
All of the Wingers books are available at their website wingerbookstore.com, and at most major booksellers, including amazon.com, where several readers have written reviews.
One reader suggests that Because It’s There should be bought in conjunction with Two Shadows “as it gives the reader a chance to not only read but also to see their journey and vicariously experience what brought the Wingers to publish some of the most breathtaking photographs this reader has ever seen.”
Another reader said she is grateful to the Wingers for Because It’s There, because it is a book “that inspires travel and also takes the reader to places we’ll likely never reach otherwise, including six western U.S. states, sites in Canada, Mexico, Bolivia, Argentina, Peru, Switzerland, France, Russia, Kenya, Tanzania, Tajikistan, India and Nepal.”