At the beginning of his memoir Life Lived Wild, Adventures at the Edge of the Map, Rick Ridgeway tells us that if you add up all his many expeditions, he’s spent over five years of his life sleeping in tents: “And most of that in small tents pitched in the world’s most remote regions.” It’s not a boast so much as an explanation. Whether at elevation or raising a family back at sea level, those years taught him, he writes, “to distinguish matters of consequence from matters of inconsequence.” He leaves it to his readers, though, to do the final sort of which is which.
Some of his travels made, and remain, news: the first American ascent of K2; the first direct coast-to-coast traverse of Borneo; the first crossing on foot of a 300-mile corner of Tibet so remote no outsider had ever seen it. Big as these trips were, Rick keeps an eye out for the quiet surprises, like the butterflies he encounters at 23,000 feet on K2 or the furtive silhouettes of wild-eared pheasants in Tibet.
What really comes through best in Life Lived Wild, though, are his fellow travelers. There’s Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, and Doug Tompkins, best known for cofounding The North Face but better remembered for his conservation throughout South America. Some companions don’t make the return journey. Rick treats them all with candor and straightforward tenderness. And through their commitments to protecting the wild places they shared, he discovers his own.
A master storyteller, this long-awaited memoir is the book end to Ridgeway’s impressive list of publications, including Seven Summits (Grand Central Publishing, 1988), The Shadow of Kilmanjaro (Holt, 1999), and The Big Open (National Geographic, 2005).
Publishers Weekly, starred review (8/6/21)
Mountaineer and environmentalist Ridgeway (Big Open) delivers a thrilling account of his life spent exploring the far reaches of the globe. He captivates with harrowing tales of his mountaineering exploits over the past few decades, including his role as part of the first American team to summit K2, the world’s second highest mountain, in 1978. In describing that brutal experience, he narrates his thought process while struggling to breathe in the thin atmosphere: “Lift a foot. Look at that crescent in the snow up ahead. That’s my goal... Dizzy again, don’t panic, breathe it out.” He also pays tribute to those who ventured out with him, including Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and his professional partner, Jonathan Wright, whose death in an avalanche is recalled in gut-wrenching detail. Other extraordinary encounters include filming a climb in the Amazon rainforest with the help of the region’s Yanomami tribe, who—at the time, in the early ’90s—had only recently been encountered by anthropologists (“I had seen a human acting as pure Homo sapien, an animal among other animals”). Perhaps most memorable is Ridgeway’s consistent sense of wonder at nature: “the beauty of the untamed world... had become a foundation for all our lives.” Readers will be left in a similar state of awe. (Oct.)
Media campaign including print reviews, excerpts, trade reviews, and radio & podcast interviews
National Author Tour 2021
- Oct 26: The Commonwealth Club, San Francisco, in-person and recorded
- Oct 27: Patagonia Ventura, introduced by Kristine Tompkins
- Nov 9, 7 PM ET: Politics and Prose, Washington, D.C.
- Nov 10: Patagonia Alexandria, VA
- Nov 11: Eaton House, Washington, D.C.
- Nov 12: The Explorers Club (private event), NYC
- Jan 18 - Feb 3: Patagonia Store Tour, schedule to come
Average rating from 5 members
You might not have heard of Rick Ridgeway, but even the casual hiker will surely have heard of some of Rick’s adventure buddies: Yvon Chouinard (founder of Patagonia), Doug Tompkins (founder of The North Face and Espirit), and even Tom Brokaw (NBC Reporter)! Rick and his friends call themselves the Do Boys, because they DO things rather than just talk about doing them, and this book was full of all the stories. Rick’s stories have a surprising amount of detail for happening decades ago, but that’s what makes them so rich. This book will take you all around the world and then some. The last quarter of this book highlights the conservation actions the Do Boys have undertaken to save what is left of the wild Earth. You might be familiar with Patagonia’s 1% for the planet — Chouinard’s commitment that Patagonia will donate 1% of its sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment. However, Doug Tompkins and his wife, Kris, have personally created over 14 million acres of National Parks in South America! I highly recommend this book.
Life Lived Wild: Adventures at the Edge of the Map is the autobiographical story of Rick Ridgeway. The author chronicles his many adventures, grand and small, and the impacts that each has on his life. His story is also one of close friendships, as his friends often traveled/climbed/paddled right along side him throughout the world. I was previously unfamiliar with the life of Rick Ridgeway before reading Life Lived Wild, and am very happy to have had the opportunity to read and review his book. Life Lived Wild is nonstop, it goes from one place to another and another, and the book was a great read. The book was honest and great care was taken to tell the stories of the friends that did not survive some of the journeys; these sections were heartbreaking but well told. I also appreciated the emphasis on a strong respect for nature and the author's efforts to protect the environment and combat climate change. Readers who love a good autobiography or outdoor/nature book should pick up a copy of Life Lived Wild when it is published. Thanks to Netgalley and Patagonia for this ARC; this is my honest and voluntary review.
Have you ever heard of Rick Ridgeway? Neither had I, but I was pulled into this story by the title and beautiful cover. This is the autobiographical story of the many adventures Rick has had during his life, and about his close friends, the "Do boys". I'm an armchair adventurer myself, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the adventures of Rick and his friends. I'd recommend this for any lovers of nature or autobiography. Thanks so much to the publisher for providing this ARC for review.
A remarkable and memorable book on a life lived wild "Going out into the wilds of the world at an early age," Doug added, "where nature was basically untouched, we got into our souls a sense of beauty". I had not heard of Rick Ridgeway before this book fell into my lap. However, I had certainly heard of two of his close friends, with whom he spent countless months adventuring all over the world: Yvon Chouinard (founder of Patagonia) and Doug Tompkins (founder of The North Face and Espirit). Rick and his friends called themselves the Do Boys, as they prefer to go out and do things rather than talking about doing things. In "A life lived wild" Rick, at now seventy-two years old, looks back at his life. It is a life full of adventure. A life mostly spent outside (Rick calculated that he had spent over five years of his life sleeping in tents). A life with many lucky coincidences, a lot of travel and exploration, and a lot of love. I felt a range of emotions reading this book. Rick made me laugh and cry, he made me feel pure happiness, love, loss and fear. He is an excellent story teller. Even now, so many years after some of these stories happened, he is able to look back and remember things so clearly, with the additional benefit of hindsight. Rick comes across as a very smart, interesting and appreciative man who never forgot how lucky he was to lead this remarkable life. I loved reading about all his adventures. About what he learned on the way from so many different people. About his appreciation of friends and family. I am afraid my words cannot truly portray how beautiful this book is. I highly recommend this book.