An Adventure Beyond Limits
KAREN DARKE IS AN EXTRAORDINARY HUMAN BEING, and a woman who has touched the lives of many through her spirit for adventure. A keen runner and mountaineer, she was paralysed in a rock-climbing accident on a Scottish sea cliff at the age of twenty-one. Facing life in a wheelchair, Karen chose to continue her adventures - breaking preconceived ideas of just what was possible for someone who could feel or move nothing below their chest.
In her first book If You Fall she wrote about recovering from this accident, and her return to adventures and the value of embracing change. Boundless carries on from If You Fall and covers a two year period in which she faces her biggest challenges yet - both in the wilderness and at home. These begin with a 600 kilometre crossing of the Greenland ice cap on a sit-ski, a month long journey across one the world’s last great expanses of wilderness. It was a journey which led to Karen confronting her greatest fear, returning to the ropes and climbing the iconic overhanging rock-face of El Capitan. Boundless is far more than just a book of expedition heroics, and instead offers a raw, funny and honest view of a life that really is lived at the edge.
Quite a few years in the writing, this book by Karen Darke covers two important trips that I took part in; skiing across Greenland and climbing Zodiac. I guess I’d always been a typical selfish climber, and so doing these trips where the focus was helping someone else was pretty special. I’d also recommend Boundless to any climber who has trouble finding the courage to try something harder, or break out of their comfort zone. After reading this book I guarantee it’ll both readjust your perspective on what’s possible, and it’s also a great essay on the thought process behind such hard won success.