“Because it is there.” These simple words, spoken by pioneer mountaineer George Leigh Mallory to explain why we feel compelled to climb mountains, have become the mantra of many generations of trekkers. Veteran climber Stefano Ardito explores the enduring lure of the world’s highest and most beautiful mountains and chronicles the most outstanding climbs through dramatic photographs, gripping accounts, and fascinating descriptions of the preparations, equipment, and conditioning necessary to make these historical treks. Beginning with a concise chronology of mountaineering, this compelling volume places mountaineering adventures in a historical context, starting with the conquest of Mt. Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps, in 1786. The book progresses to other milestones in mountaineering–the Himalayas, Mt. McKinley, the sheer granite slabs of El Capitan in Yosemite, and many more. Archival photographs juxtaposed with specially commissioned pictures document the hardships, victories, and defeats of these outings. Readers meet the early adventurers who dared to venture where no man had been before and the contemporary trekkers who, equipped with state-of-the-art technology and benefiting from the experience of those who went before them, have taken the art of mountain climbing to new extremes.