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Teewinot: A Year in the Teton Range [Hardcover]

Jack Turner
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 8 2000
Jack Turner grew up with an image of the Tetons engraved in his mind. As a young man, he climbed the peaks of this singular range with basic climbing gear friends. Later in life, he led treks in India, Pakistan, Nepal, China, Tibet, and Peru, but he always returned to the mountains of his youth. He continues to climb the Tetons as a guide for Exum Mountain, Guides, the oldest and most prestigious guide service in America. Teewinot is his ode to forty years in the mountains that he loves.

Like Thoreau and Muir, Turner has contemplated the essential nature of a landscape. Teewinot is a book about a mountain range, its austere temper, its seasons, its flora and fauna, a few of its climbs, its weather, and the glory of the wildness. It is also about a small group of guides and rangers, nomads who inhabit the range each summer and know the mountains as intimately as they will ever be known. It is also a remarkable account of what it is like to live and work in a national park. Teewinot has something for everyone: spellbinding accounts of classic climbs, awe at the beauty of nature, and passion for some of the environmental issues facing America today. In this series of recollections, one of America's most beautiful national parks comes alive with beauty, mystery, and power.

The beauty, mystery, and power of the Grand Tetons come alive in Jack Turner's memoir of a year on America's most beautiful mountain range.

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Product Description

From Amazon

Skillfully blending history, memory, and observation, philosopher-cum-mountain guide Jack Turner's Teewinot is a year in the life of Wyoming's Teton Range, as told by a true believer. Certainly he captures a sense of the mountains--not only their jagged rock, hidden valleys, and beaten trails, but the flora, fauna, and folks who inhabit them. He navigates this territory with the poise and purpose of a skilled climber--feeling for holds, finding one, adjusting balance, reaching out again in a different direction, pausing on those features whose nuances fit best, but never lingering too long. His narrative meanders between peaks, seasons, communities, periods of history, and moments in time. While lacking much of the intensity in tone and the invitation to controversy of his previous work, The Abstract Wild, Teewinot is still underscored by a deep environmental consciousness and concern for the future of the wild. Turner notes, for instance, the numerous and varied ways Homo sapiens have scarred his beloved wilderness: the trash left behind by campers, the wildlife pushed out of their usual haunts, the rash of development in Jackson Hole. But he also manages to skirt the role played by guide companies like Exum (his employer), noting only that "Exum, of course, is a part of the problem--a small part." Maybe this is denial, a practice he labels "the first line of defense." Or perhaps he relies on the climber's "prizewinning talent for dissociating emotion" to shield him. Whatever, he is content to leave these questions unanswered. Many readers will also be content to leave them as such--a worthwhile trade for a glimpse into a climber's soul. --Rene Henery

From Publishers Weekly

Bursting with a sense of place, Turner's earnest journal of a year spent in Grand Teton National Park, where he works as a mountain guide, is a rewarding reading experience replete with ravishing observations of nature. From his Wyoming cabin, he looks out on majestic Mount Teewinot (the name comes from a Shoshone word meaning "many pinnacles"). He counts among his "Thoreauvian neighbors" deer, ospreys, great blue herons and porcupines, as well as moose that occasionally sleep on his porch. "We are a guild, our labor a craft," he declares, referring to fellow guides and park rangers who come together three or four months each year, united by a love of mountains and the West. Turner, a seasoned mountaineer who has led expeditions to India, Tibet and China, and has taught philosophy, takes us on exhilarating climbs, including one to the summit of the Grand Teton, as he casually drops apt references to Sartre, Rilke, Wittgenstein, Matthew Arnold, Chinese painting, Buddhist chants, Zen poems. But this is no Shangri-La. Illegal snowmobilers and poachers abound; "extreme skiers" and "extreme snowboarders" keep rescuers and medics busy. Turner himself lives on the edgeAjust half a mile from an active geologic fault capable of triggering a 7.5-magnitude earthquake tomorrow. A passionate conservationist, he bemoans the frazzled state of this "most compromised park in the national park system," a sanctuary littered with hunters, a major airport, motorboats with no speed limits. Highlighting the fate of the vanishing grizzly bear, he makes a compelling plea for preservation of "wild forms of being," and envisions a respectful covenant between people and wild animals such as mountain lions and wolves. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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5.0 out of 5 stars Much Better Than Expected March 19 2004
By C. Ryan
Format:Hardcover
This beautifully crafted narrative presents a month-by-month, May through April, description of a 58 year old mountain climbing guide's recollections and reflections on living and working Grand Teton National park. Teewinot is the nearest peak visible from the author's seasonal cabin in the park.
Each chapter is an essay about climbing, wildlife, plants, environmental management or personality profiles related to events that happened during that month. The book begins in May because that's when spring begins to overtake winter, covers the intense summer climbing season, describes autumn wildlife viewing treks to remote corners of the park and tells about winter ski treks. The lifestyle and habits of climbing guides, rangers and other professional outdoors people are profiled throughout.
One of the best aspects of the book is that while it's written by a technical climbing guide and has interesting stories about both guided and highly challenging climbs, the book goes beyond that to reflect the author's wide-ranging, eclectic interest and knowledge about everything related to the Tetons.
Highly recommended to anyone interested in mountaineering, national parks, wildlife and the contemporary American West. There are 11 unexceptional color photographs, two maps with sufficient detail to follow the ground covered in the essays, and a six-page bibliography of reference sources for the Tetons and other topics covered, although many books cited are probably available only in large reference libraries.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Now I'll have to learn to climb Sept. 24 2000
Format:Hardcover
Jack Turner has yet again produced a book with a sense of place and sometimes even an aura of the Tetons where he has climbed and guided for 40 years. Although this book is more relaxed and less intense than his powerful "Abstract Wild" it nevertheless provides a mature outlook on life in the Tetons. Turner is not afraid to reveal himself in this book and yet does not fall into sentimentality, the accounts of climbing and the experiences with friends are especially moving such as the tragic consequences of a fall for his friend Kim Schmitz who suffered in incredible agony after breaking just about everything or the death of Leigh Ortenburger, and yet there are great times too like the remarkable skiing of Mark Newcombe and Turner's love of Rilke and Haiku which also appeals very much to me. Surrounding these images of lost friends and at times extreme experiences is the national park itself which never leaves the scene always providing the glue which binds the whole together. Turner has a remarkable grasp of both the scientific aspects of the park such as the geology and the biology/ecology which is added to the feel of it at the same time, I mean the sense of being experienced when the mind is stilled, something which is always enhanced in a wild area where existence is forced upon you no longer escapable such as in a big city. Through the stories of the park, the people and his own very human outlook you can't help but feel Turner loves where he is and lives for it wholeheartedly, his own journey into philosophy, Zen show how deeply he thinks about his life and the natural environment. I also feel that he loves what he does and where he is so much that he not willing to give it up to go that extra distance needed in really deep meditation. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars A lot of nature, a little climbing Sept. 18 2000
Format:Hardcover
Each of the book's chapters represents a typical month during the author's decades of life in the Tetons. During each season you get up early with the author, have breakfast, go see some wildlife, experience the Tetons. The day-to-day and season-to-season details of his life were just what I was looking for: I wanted to get real close to what it would feel like to really be there. One third or less of the book covers climbing experiences, and even these accounts may have great appeal for non-climbers such as myself, because the author's attention is forever focused on the natural world around him. The book is especially rich for the author's gift at observing and describing the natural world. Other topics such as ecological issues and author's spiritual views are very subtley and concisely raised throughout the book and are only sidebars in what is an excellent journal about the wild world of the Tetons.
If someone is interested in a better understanding of conflict between game wardens and the public in Wyoming, a topic touched upon in Teewinot, I recommend "Wild Journey" by Bragonier.
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