Virgin on Insanity – Coming of age on the world’s toughest mountains. Vertebrate 2016
Outwardly, ‘Britain’s most experienced teenage Alpinist’ is a brave young mountaineer. But he’s not experienced at all, at least not in the way he really wants to be. Behind his death-defying climbs there lurks a great deal of fear – fear of the opposite sex, fear of failure, fear of not being ‘man enough’.
He seeks manhood in the mountains, yet he believes he will only truly gain it by losing something. Harrowing escapades in Scotland, the Alps and Alaska are interspersed by excruciating sexual encounters and unsettling hitch-hiking rides. When the mountains fail him, he seeks meaning with a religious cult in Colorado. Eventually he succeeds in his quest, only to find that he’s lost more than he bargained for.
What people have said about Virgin on Insanity:
‘One of the more gripping climbing autobiographies ever told … a searingly honest coming-of-age account which takes the reader to the edge in so many ways. Highly recommended.’ Matt Dickinson (author of The Death Zone)
‘Virgin on Insanity’ is a really well-written and admirably honest book, whose descriptions of Bell’s adventures in the Alps in particular will delight many.’ Trek and Mountain
‘For anyone with experience in mountaineering, Virgin On Insanity will remind you of the best of the highs and lows. For those looking to find an escape while locked away on a winter’s day, this masterful tale will whisk you far from your reading chair. It may even inspire your next trip to the mountains.’ Wild.com
‘Readers can take advantage and be exhilarated by compelling and gripping tales from just a brief period of Steve Bell’s life when his exploits merged mountains and manhood.’ Amazon Vine Voice Reviewer
‘As for the climbing – it does not get much more gripping; success, frustration, near death, death itself, 1970’s culture or lack of it, suffering and a bit of fun all come together (pun intended) and for most will horrify as much as inspire.’ UKClimbing.com