Transcendent Summits home page About Jennifer and Gerry Roach Contact Jennifer and Gerry Roach Visit Summit Sight

Transcendent Summits Reviews

A gripping, multidimensional tale filled with action, self discovery, spiritual growth and laced with hard-edged reality. A rare look back across Gerry’s formative years that reaches beyond climbing and re-defines the term mountaineer. – Fulcrum editorial review

Not just for climbers   Five Stars!

In Transcendent Summits, Mr. Roach has accomplished the nearly unthinkable: in some of the most artistically effective words ever written on the subject, he has communicated how several critical experiences in his life have generated the motivation, preparation and skills required to achieve at a world-class level in his chosen field of endeavor for more decades than many of us have been alive.

In a very real sense, this book is not a climbers’ book, but a book of and for the human species. The details of climbing form only the backdrop for the real story of Transcendent Summits: the development of character through consistent self-challenge and accomplishment at a level beyond what most of us can imagine.

If you count yourself among those who seek out challenges rather than shrink from them, then this book is for you. If you find nothing of interest here, count yourself among those from whom I personally have nothing to learn.

– Jim Harvey - April 1, 2005

Review by Outdoors Writer Lew Friedman
Reprinted from the March 31, 2005 Chicago Tribune with permission

Gerry Roach is one of the most incredible mountaineers in history. He has climbed everything except the rock pile outside your bedroom window – and he would if you gave him the address. He is 61 and maintains the spirit of a 16-year-old. Although he is starting to write about his adventures – and talk about them too – he is seeking new ones.

Roach, a software engineer from Boulder, Colorado, is the keynote speaker at the Chicago Mountaineering Club’s annual dinner Saturday night at the Chicago Yacht Club at Belmont Harbor. He also is the author of a new, autobiographical book, “Transcendent Summits: One Climber’s Route to Self-Discovery.”

The point of the book – Roach’s first narrative after penning guidebooks – is obvious once the cover is cracked, and soon became apparent in a recent interview.

“To keep the love for a lifetime,” Roach said.

Roach was one of the first mountaineers to climb the seven summits, the highest peaks on the seven continents. He has also climbed all 55 of Colorado’s recognized fourteeners. After looking for greater challenges, he became the first person to climb the 13 tallest mountains in North America. Most mountaineers can’t name them.

“I’ve been climbing for 50 years,” Roach said. “It’s a little scary. I’ve gone through generations of climbing partners. The spiritual aspects have kept me in the game so long.”

Roach’s book covers his climbing roots in the 1950s through 1964. It is planned as the first installment in an autobiographical series.

The early stages of the book explain how Roach and his best friend sneaked out of their houses in the dark to make rock climbs. Then he touches on his problems being accepted by adult climbers and nurtured by others. Then he reviews special climbs, his transcendent summits, marking his spiritual development and precepts for life.

It is well known that Mt. McKinley, at 20,320 feet, is the tallest point in North America. Less publicized are Mt. Logan in Canada, No. 2 at 19,551 feet, and Orizaba in Mexico, No. 3 at 18,695.

Roach offers a striking description of his approach to the summit of Orizaba while he was still in high school.

“In addition to the labor of love, there were ever-expanding views, and I paused to ponder. The lower world fell away until it was no longer recognizable as a place of cities, cars, churches, bases, bombs, bands, boats, pets, plazas, paintings or other people-made things. The human world diminished, and the land took over. What I looked down on was simply the Earth – the land of sunrise, sunset, sky, air, rocks, roots, rain, soil, snow, clouds, couloirs, trees, lightning, thunder, volcanoes, mountains, shores, slabs, tides, water, sand, ice, storms, rivers, washes, avalanches, fog, forests, animals, people and all things God made.”

Roach was caught in a life-threatening blizzard with a group near the summit of 14,410-foot Mt Rainier near Seattle.

He wrote: “Death. Stinging death. I pulled myself farther out to be sure. Death! The storm raged worse than yesterday, and the lashing wind froze me instantly. Now, I smelled the fourth color. The color was death, and it tugged at my weakness. No! I didn’t have time to bleed or die, and I certainly had no energy to cry, since my tears would have frozen anyway. I slipped down, and swam back into the cave, as new drift snow poured in all around me.

Roach said he doesn’t plan to tie his Chicago speech specifically to the book’s topics but will highlight his ascents of the 13 tallest peaks on the continent.

He joked that once after giving a talk on the subject, someone said, “Boy, you made it sound easy.”

Not even Roach would contend it has all been easy, but he will say it all has been fun or challenging.

– Lew Friedman

Life Lessons   Five Stars!

Gerry Roach’s new book Transcendent Summits is filled with youthful enthusiasm, yet tinged with the experience of his many years of climbing and mountaineering. The climbing stories of his youth, set in the 1950s and 60s, are brought to life by his great narrative writing style. The title cannot be easily explained; one must read the book to completely understand the significance of it to the author. When I reached the end of the book, I finally understood the meaning of the title and realized that I have had a few transcendent summits in my own mountaineering experiences.

The overriding structure of the book is revealed in the foreword written by Rick Ridgeway. Gerry Roach had always learned an important climbing lesson from each of his transcendent summits. Each lesson learned is concisely summarized down to one word. He assembles the first letter of each word to form the acronym “WHO CLIMBS UP.” From there we are off reading the adventures of a young boy with his head in the clouds. There is an obvious correlation between the climbing lessons and applying those lessons to everyday life.

At an early age he finds his parents “Life” magazine from July 1953 with a picture of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on the cover. Reading the article about the famous first ascent of Mt. Everest, he is captivated by the controversy over which man first set foot on the summit. The explanation that the two climbers can be as one when connected by a piece of climbing rope is a puzzling concept for a boy. He then questions the authenticity of their claim of climbing Mt. Everest. His mother tells him, “Mountaineers are men of honor.” Honor is a transcendent summit lesson that Gerry Roach learns on Mt. Rainier a decade later.

One of the fascinating aspects of the book for me was his description of climbs that I have also experienced in Colorado, Washington, Mexico and Alaska. However, he puts them in the context of the late 50s and early 60s by writing about the transportation methods to get to the trailhead and the descriptions of the gear he used. There are also descriptions of a couple of climbs he did that are no longer legal to do, one climb that became legal in the time context of the book, and a mountaineering hut that no longer exists.

Another time context writing technique he employs is to include world events that shaped his life. For instance, his father was a member of the scientific community in WW II and had some part in developing the atomic bomb. Gerry would do some Hindu chanting while climbing and when the Chinese invaded Tibet, he was saddened that the Dalai Lama left his homeland. He mentioned the scene of the Russian Prime Minister, Khrushchev, pounding his shoe on the table at the United Nations. The escalation of the Vietnam War affects his research on top of an isolated Alaskan volcano in the summer of 1964. At the end of the book he joins the newly formed Peace Corps to go to work in India.

The book is also a coming of age story of a boy transforming into a man, and his experiences with women. As a young teenager, he lived in Paris with his family and encountered prostitutes while wandering the streets in search of stone masonry walls to climb in the old city. He mentions the difficulties of high school dating while attending Boulder High School. On a family trip to Norway one summer during high school, he is amazed how forward the young women are that he meets while peak bagging the country's high points. The young Scandinavian women are out to party in the land of the midnight sun. The summer after his high school graduation, while building an observatory on top of Maui, he meets and falls in love with a woman and intends to marry her but never does. Then there was that mysterious older woman with the psychic connection he met the day before climbing Ship Rock when it was still legal to climb.

I was particularly interested in the background information of the native people’s legends surrounding some of his climbs. The Native American legend of the creation of Ship Rock is fascinating. He was emotionally touched at the crux of the climb when he recognized the location of a legendary battle. He also writes of the Aztec legend of the Mexican Volcanoes, known now as Orizaba, Popo and Izta. From Hawaii he writes of the legendary struggle between the demigod Maui to capture the sun in the Haleakala Crater. In the chapter on his Mt. McKinley climb, he writes of his affection for “Denali’s queen,” Sultana (Mt. Foraker) from the Indian legend and of their child, Begguya, known as Mt. Hunter. The telling of these legends helps bring a much larger context to the book.

The mountains have been a place of joy as well as an educational forum for Gerry Roach that he applied to his everyday life. For example, as a result of an incident on Little Bear at age 14, he learned how a person’s ego could compromise one’s safety. While still a teenager, Gerry Roach learned to do risk assessment from climbing at an earlier age than his non-climbing peers. He writes of risk assessment in conjunction with the death of several of his climber friends. He believes in the importance of safety to live a long life to create and spread joy to others. As an instructor with the CMC, I was interested to read his statements on safety, risk, and mortality in the mountains.

A strong theme throughout his stories is the human bonds that develop from climbing with a trusted team. Gerry Roach’s first climbing partner was his high school classmate, Geoff. Together they formed “The Summit Club” and climbed together for many years. He writes about the fellowship with the guys on the drive to the Mexican Volcanoes in the old milk truck they fixed up. He develops a close trust with Layton Kor on the first ever climb of T2 in Eldorado Canyon. During a fierce storm at the summit on Mt. Rainier, one rope-mate drops in exhaustion. It crossed Gerry’s mind to leave him, but his honor would not let him leave someone to die. The four men on his Denali team had developed a positive attitude and a special relationship to overcome many difficulties near the summit. My favorite quote in the book came from the chapter on Denali. He wrote, “One of life’s extant experiences is to be on an expedition where the energy is positive and the momentum is always accelerating toward the summit.”

“Transcendent Summits” is much more than a collection of an old climber’s stories; it is about life. It is about the human connections we make, keep and treasure through climbing. I recommend this book to all climbers interested in discovering the lessons Gerry Roach has written about and comparing them to their own life lessons.

Kurt Wibbenmeyer (

Mountain Maestro

When Gerry Roach was in high school in the late 1950s he listened to opera records over and over until he boiled down the grand operatic tradition to its essence.

“Act one: profess undying love,” the Colorado author and mountaineer told a crowd gathered recently to hear a few stories from his early days. “Act two: many complications. Act three: everybody dies.”

The young Roach could not have known that his life would follow a similar dramatic arc of love, struggle and death.

By age 15, he had essentially professed undying love to climbing mountains. The complications of difficult climbs and the deaths of fellow climbers came later.

Now, as Roach celebrates his 50th year of climbing, he is giving a show in Colorado Springs that revisits some of his earliest alpine arias.

Roach, 61, best known regionally for his yellowspined guidebook, “Colorado’s Fourteeners: From Hikes to Climbs,” is one of the state’s most accomplished mountaineers. He has scaled every Colorado fourteener at least twice, and summited 2,000 more peaks in the state. He was the second person ever to climb the highest point of every continent, and the first to bag the 10 highest summits in North America. Along the way he has written nine books, including his 2004 foray into narrative, “Transcendent Summits.”

Most people with a repertoire like that might be ready to take a bow. But as opera fans know, a show is only as good as its last act, and it ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings. Roach has no plans to stop climbing or writing.

“Of course I’m getting less strong and less fast as I get older. That might be a problem if I was trying to set a speed record on K2, but for my purposes, it doesn’t make much of a difference. I can still climb in Alaska every year.

“Right now I’m working on climbing the highest point in every national park,” he said on a recent afternoon after a yoga class near his Boulder home. “Plus, as soon as I turn 62, I can get a lifetime senior pass to the national parks. That will be amazing.”

Roach’s prelude to mountain expeditions came in 1956 when he and a friend used their paper route money to buy a few pitons and carabiners, stole his dad’s hammer and headed up to a set of sandstone slabs above town called the Flatirons.

“Back then, climbing was a counter-culture activity,” he said. “Not many people did it, and people thought the ones who did were nuts. We didn’t have any real gear. We climbed in our school shoes.”

Gear or no gear, Roach had the desire and drive to learn the budding sport and soon hooked up with a ragtag chorus of climbers at the University of Colorado who taught him the ropes. He was so dedicated to becoming a mountaineer that he would practice tying and re-tying knots while dousing himself with cold water in the shower.

“It was the mystery that drew me. The sense of adventure. At the time, parts of Colorado seemed as remote as the Himalaya(s),” he said.


The Rockies were a resounding rehearsal range for Roach. Every lesson learned could be applied on mountains around the world.

One lesson he learned early on, while trying to scramble up Crestone Needle in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, was that Thanksgiving is a rotten time to climb.

“We quickly turned back. Oh, November’s the worst. It’s cold, but the snow hasn’t set up yet. Why can’t we get those days off in May instead?” he said.

To this day he resents the holiday’s poor timing, but it taught him that weather will always win, and a good climber must wait patiently for the right conditions.

After climbing some of the state’s classic alpine routes, he headed off to bigger adventures. In high school, Roach and a few climbing buddies bought a used milk truck and made two trips in it to climb Mexican volcanoes “with enticing, unpronounceable names,” such as 17,343-foot Iztaccihuatl.

“It was fantastic how much adventure could be had for so little. Our first trip only cost us $40. The second time it cost us $60,” he said with a gruff laugh.

His climbing career continued to crescendo in college. He organized an expedition to Denali in Alaska and, later, one to Mount Rainier in Washington.

Today, visitors to Roach’s climbing résumé at his Web site,, will scroll for a long time before reaching the end. He has been on 26 Alaskan expeditions, 10 Andean expeditions and seven Himalayan expeditions.

Like his opera records, those acts were filled with complications and deaths.

Roach was still in high school when his first climbing friend died. In college he was trapped in a blizzard on Mount Rainier and had to wait out the gale in a cramped ice cave formed by steam coming off the volcanic mountain’s top.

Later, on a peak in South America, one of his climbing partners was knocked unconscious when the snow they were on collapsed. In an epic effort, Roach and his partners got the injured man to a hospital, only to watch him die from brain damage.

Today, Roach still has all his fingers and toes, but it is a rare presentation when he doesn’t mention, off-handedly, that one climber or another from an expedition is no longer around.

“A gruesome number of them have died,” he said. “I almost feel like I keep climbing to carry the flag for them.”


Roach is best known among casual peak baggers for his guidebooks, not his climbing feats, but he rarely reads guidebooks himself.

It would be like staring at subtitles during a live performance of “Madame Butterfly” instead of just getting wrapped up in the music.

“I don’t like to know too much about where I’m going. Figuring it out is part of the challenge. I usually read the book after the climb, just to see how I did,” he said.

But not reading books has never translated into not writing them. Roach has a guide for everything from popular Front Range hikes to obscure technical thirteeners.

Anyone flipping through a Roach guide will find detailed descriptions, maps and photos, and stumble across a liberal sprinkling of almost philosophical one-liners, such as “physics always wins.”

Fans have deemed these little gems “Roachisms.”

A particularly poignant Roachism shows up in Aron Ralston’s best-seller “Between a Rock and a Hard Place.” The young explorer is best known for cutting off his hand and forearm to escape from a dislodged boulder in a Utah slot canyon.

After realizing he was stuck, Ralston took out his knife and scratched a line he remembered from Roach’s thirteener guide into the stone: “GEOLOGIC TIME INCLUDES NOW.”

Along with fans, the maestro has critics who blame guidebook authors for the swelling numbers of hikers on some Colorado summits.

He shrugs off such grumbling as “ridiculous.” “Guidebooks don’t create a demand,” he said. “They just keep people from making wrong turns.”

A guidebook, like a scratchy recording of “Carmen,” can easily be left on the shelf by anyone who would rather experience the real thing without a middleman.

“There are so many mountains out there with no one on them, especially the thirteeners,” Roach said. “You can still have the same adventure that I had 50 years ago by leaving the guidebook at home.”

– Dave Philipps ( - The Gazette - Colorado Springs, Colorado - Jan 30th, 2005

Author reaches new heights with book on climbing  

Climbing is the ultimate anti-gravity sport, according to outdoor adventurer Gerry Roach. “If you don’t take a step, nothing happens,” he says.

Roach, the first person ever to climb the 10 highest peaks in North America and the second to scale the highest peaks on the seven continents, has a new book out - “Transcendent Summits” - that shares his wealth of mountain climbing experience.

His new work also highlights a strong tie to Utah’s red rock country and even credits it for his initial beginnings.

He will be visiting Salt Lake City on Saturday, Jan 29, at 5 p.m. to present a slideshow, discussion and conduct a book signing at REI, 3285 E. 3300 South. He’ll also be in Utah for the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market event.

Roach, 61, has already written five hiking/outdoor books on Colorado - his current home state - but this new work examines his overall 48-year hiking/climbing career, why he does it and focuses more on his world-class climbs.

The cover photograph on the book is extremely intriguing, showing Roach and two colleagues on the precarious, snow-laden southeast ridge of Mount Blackburn, Alaska, in 1977.

Roach recognizes the dangers of such high-altitude climbing and writes about this key, critical aspect of the sport: “Sometimes climbers heap trouble on their own heads, and the usual entry into the personal danger zone is via the ego. If your ego drives you into a bad choice, then you are ripe for trouble. The second, more deadly error, is to persist in the first error. This is the worst thing your ego can do to you. The third error, which often seals your fate and eliminates your chances for retreat, is not to recognize the existence of the first two errors.”

His personal philosophy of climbing is also explained in the book:

“When I’m climbing, I have a direct connection between the wind and the bottom of my lungs, and my feet make a direct connection with the earth at the same time. I can see and understand more of Earth from on high - I can’t get that from an airplane. So, on my high, steep mountain, I have the best of Earth and much of the air - I’ve got not just two of the eight domains, but two of the three elements as well, all for the price of one domain!”

Well-written, this book examines his climbs of Grand Teton, T2, Mount Rainier, Longs Peak, Denali and others. However the section I enjoyed the most was Roach’s account of scrambling across the top of Utah’s Landscape Arch, Arches National Park, back in 1957.

These days, because of the possibility of the arch collapsing, you can’t even get near it, and yet Roach was lucky enough to be one of the few to travel across its 306-foot-long top - 100 feet above the ground.

“Landscape Arch is like a suspension bridge without any suspension cables,” Roach wrote.

That rocky climb was also very significant for him:

“It was a powerful, mysterious moment that still stands out in time for me,” he wrote. “Even then, it felt magic; later, I would realize that my transit was transcendent. It is appropriate that my first Transcendent Summit was on rock, which is the foundation of all mountains. I find it even more appropriate that it was on an arch, which synthesizes rock and air so eloquently. It also makes perfect sense that my first walk across an arch and my first Transcendent Summit occurred together on one of the longest freestanding rock spans in the world.”

Even apart from climbing, the author’s early life in Pasadena, Calif., and later that state’s Mojave Desert, deal with pioneering aspects of the atomic age. That’s because his father worked in that top-secret industry and hence the book’s first chapter is “The Classified Kid.”

From climbing walls in Paris, France, to catching spiders and rattlesnakes in the desert, to scaling Shiprock in New Mexico, this is both a compelling adventure and human philosophy book.

The only two shortcomings to the book are: (1) I did get a little bored reading the last third of the book, having had more than my fill of extreme climbing; and (2) more photographs than the several dozen it contains would make this worthy book even better.

– Lynn Arave ( - Deseret Morning News - Salt Lake City, Utah - January 20, 2005

Transcendent Book   Four Stars!

Having read hundreds of mountaineering books over the course of many years, Gerry Roach’s Transcendent Summits is one of the few climbing memoirs to carry a meaningful message beyond a quest for adventure. Roach’s intellectual curiosity takes him beyond the summits he climbs, to places few authors attempt to describe. Fewer still manage to do it with such transparent, yet compelling writing that the willing reader is able to get there too.

Roach tells his story in the context of his coming of age, revealing not only a developing passion for climbing to high places, but also his passage from youth through adolescence and his spiritual awakening. Throughout he writes with honesty and humor, taking the reader to those special places and moments that make a life worth living. He has written a book well worth reading.

– Fred C. Barth - January 17, 2005

Genuine Mountaineering Wisdom   Five Stars!

Just recently finished TS on an annual winter camping trip up Mt. Elbert. A great place to finish a great book! It is very impressive, well written and very inspiring!

TS demonstrates the depth of Gerry’s genuine mountaineering wisdom. Few writers have detailed the level of understanding and analysis of the mountain environment and mountaineering skill as Gerry has. He demonstrates an in-depth ability to really learn at a young age what few people can learn in a lifetime.

Gerry demonstrates a genuine wisdom that comes from not experience alone, but also a great deal of deep personal introspection, that I have not read in any other mountaineering literature. I learned much from Gerry in this book about my own mountaineering experiences and how to learn even more from them.

Being a successful, well-prepared adventurer, mentally and physically, is only part of Gerry’s wisdom! But unfortunately not glamorous and interesting enough for all. Such wisdom takes some real thought, intelligence and experience on the part of the reader to thoroughly comprehend. Unfortunately this has gone over the heads some of those reading TS. But what can you expect from an Armchair Mountaineer from Kansas?

Those of us who give it 5 stars actually read the book and digested Gerry’s lessons and hope to learn from his wisdom. Sadly, some readers are too limited for this.

Personally, I’m looking forward to the next book. Many of us are enjoying following in your foot steps.

Arg Snarg Gerry!
Great lead!

– Bill Blazek - January 17, 2005

Another Side Of Gerry Roach Worth Looking At   Five Stars!

I just finished Gerry’s book ‘Transcendent Summits’ and in all honesty, I was very impressed with his writing! I never saw that reflective side to Gerry before and was touched at times by his sincerity and inner wisdom. I especially enjoyed the climb on Shiprock where he placed that special piton from his friend Prince.

There have been times that when I read his guidebooks, I felt distant from Gerry, though his guidebooks are ‘top shelf’ and very much accurate and highly recommended.

‘Transcendent Summits’ gave me a glimpse into a man who has accomplished much on the high peaks and who began his climbing at a very young age. The stories of Gerry and his friends scampering around Boulder, Longs Peak, Mexico, Alaska and other parts of the Western U.S. climbing their hearts out with rudimentary equipment and training and accomplishing their goals were truly inspirational.

Gerry, you have my utmost respect!

– Jerry Shustrin - January 13, 2005

Life Quest   Five Stars!

Why climb a mountain?? Maybe it’s one way to discover who we are or why we’re here as individuals. Transcendent Summits takes you on such a journey of self-discovery with one mountaineer who has spent his life in the mountains. Written in an autobiographical format, Gerry takes you through his formative years of learning about life, love, friendship and death. These lessons, that we all learn in our own way in our own lives, are magnified intensely in Gerry’s mountain experiences. Transcendent Summits unlike Gerry’s other books is not a guidebook.

.......... On the other hand maybe it is!! Read it and find transcendent summits in your life.

Ig Snig??
Arg Snarg!

– Le Grimpeur (Paris, France) - January 6, 2005

Refreshing and inspiring   Five Stars!

A long-time by-product of adventure books has been the unintentional glorification of accidents while successful, well-prepared adventurers are sometimes overlooked. Prime example: Scott & Amundsen - the tragedy of Scott’s fatal South Pole expedition raised him to “legend” status while Amundsen’s great accomplishments were virtually ignored. Amundsen’s research, preparation and execution made his trek to the South Pole look easy compared to Scott’s incompetence.

This book is your chance to experience the early development of one of those successful, well-prepared adventurers - how refreshing and inspiring to read the stories of a young Gerry Roach on his way to the Seven Summits and a lifetime of mountain adventure! You find out quickly that there is a method to the man . . . even with close calls and youthful hubris, Gerry is different because he seeks to learn from each and every experience. He is constantly revising and expanding his mountain/life philosophy with every new experience, both failure and success.

Many of us grew up during the Cold War, hiding under our desks on command during school drills, but Gerry was closer to the bomb than most because of his Dad’s profession. Maybe because of this, he seems to have wisdom beyond his years, which he applies to his mountaineering career too.

I thoroughly enjoyed all the climbing stories - they describe the joy and rejuvenation that can happen only in the mountains for some of us. Gerry’s many hiking/climbing guide books have always conveyed this special joy, but now we have some background on where that love of the mountains comes from.

– Terri Horvath - January 6, 2005

I feel honored to know him   Five Stars!

I met Gerry over the internet many years ago, and then in person, in Mexico for his “nth” round of Mexican climbs. I couldn’t wait to buy his book Transcendent Summits, and elected to pay full price for an autographed copy from his website. I have always been curious about what motivates Gerry to be tirelessly into mountaineering every possible day, and this is part of the clue.

– Rodulfo Araujo Matus (Mexico City, D.F. Mexico) - December 17, 2004

Truly Genuine!   Five Stars!

Girls: if you want to learn more about what makes a man tick, read this book.
Guys: if you want to learn more about what makes you tick, read this book.

A truly genuine and captivating life-story of one of the modern world’s last great explorers
and adventurers. “Om Mani Padme Aum!”

– Valerie Cook - December 13, 2004

Deep Inside Gerry Roach ! WOW !   Five Stars!

Gerry had done more by age 22 than most people dream of doing in a lifetime. The book discusses many climbs, but goes much deeper into the very soul of one of the great mountaineers alive. To read this book is to begin to understand what makes Gerry tick. His paradigms and mantras captivated me. His love of life, and his brushes with spirituality, are not commonly observed merely by reading his guidebooks. The style is the same, with much wit, insight, and profound statements, but this book delves into what makes a mountaineer. I have never seen a book that goes into the early years of a mountain man. I can’t wait for the next book in the series, if that ever happens.

– Dave Covill - December 6, 2004

The Making of a World-Class Mountaineer   Five Stars!

This is a great read which combines mountain adventure, romance and spirituality.
The book will provide the basis for a fine movie.

– Jack Dais - December 2, 2004

...a MUST read!!  – Jeffery P. Valliere - November 30, 2004

Not just for mountain climbers!   Five Stars!

Transcendent summits isn’t just for mountain climbers. It is an autobiography about a world-class mountain climber, but his story really inspires us to look at our own summits in our lives. It is an insight into the deeper meanings of life, to read about one man’s quest to understand himself through the life of climbing mountains. Gerry’s book is a remarkable journey into his passion for climbing, and through his tales each of us can recognize that part of ourselves that seeks to transcend regardless if we have stood on a summit or not.

– Christopher K. Vedeler - November 26, 2004

A Fantastic Love Story   Five Stars!

Yes...I said love story, because there are few words that can describe what Gerry Roach feels for the mountains. Whether it be a sunbathed rock above Boulder Colorado, or a frigid, bone-cracking mountain in Alaska, Gerry loves the mountains, and his autobiography is a pure, honest, and true account of his climbs and life.

Deftly maneuvering between life’s loves, adventures, and heartbreaks, Gerry transcends the genre of the mountaineering book. Through his poignant and expert storytelling, you will thrill with him as he climbs the clouds on Popocatepetl, and you will agonize with him as he deals with the inevitable losses a mountaineer encounters...both on and off the mountain.

I have read many mountaineering books and biographies, but few have touched me the way Gerry’s book has. The read itself is almost transcendent, as you leave the words on the page and walk side by with greatness on a mesmerizing and touching journey.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. For those of you who climb, those who love those who climb, and those of you who dream, this is the book you have been looking for.

– Gregory A. Helmerick - November 25, 2004

A book for mountaineers   Five Stars!

“WHO CLIMBS UP”? Who indeed? Follow Gerry Roach as he finds enlightenment during his development as a world-class mountaineer. Through his mountaineering experiences Gerry weaves together the pieces of his acronym for mountaineers: “WHO CLIMBS UP”. You’ll share his joy as he summits some of the high mountains of the world and you’ll share in his anguish as the mountains cut short the lives of some of his closest friends.

Gerry’s enthusiasm for mountaineering is evident on every page. His breathtaking descriptions of the perilous ascents of Denali (the Great One) and Mt. Rainier will keep you turning the pages with anticipation. The book is not without its lighter moments either. How could you not be in awe of someone who could eat “a dozen eggs, six slabs of him, eight pieces of bacon, four pieces of thick sourdough toast slathered with butter and jam, seven glasses of orange juice, six buttermilk pancakes overflowing with syrup, a plateful of home style potatoes, two glasses of milk and a large cinnamon roll” after summiting Denali; and that was just for breakfast!

You’ll have to read the book to determine for yourself what creates a transcendent summit. Perhaps after you’ve turned that last page you’ll know what it took Gerry many years, many miles and thousands of feet of elevation gain to discover. This is a book you’ll want to read more than once.

– Charlie Winger aka “Wingman” - November 24, 2004

Just read Roach’s new book. Friggin amazing.  – Joey Luther - November 16, 2004
I agree with Joey - Roach’s new book is inspiring.  – Chris Junda - November 17, 2004

Thrills, Chills, and Food for Thought   Five Stars!

This is not just an ordinary autobiography, it’s a book to help each reader look back at their own life and find the Transcendent Summits that they have climbed. Gerry, by sharing his life experiences and hair raising climbs, will make you think about what has made your life what it is. It may spur you on to a few more summits. For the rock climber and mountain climber it will cause you to reflect on your own Transcendent Summits. I just purchased 10 more copies to give to friends and grand kids so that they can discover what in their lives has made them what they are. I’ve read many autobiographies of rock climbers and mountain climbers, but this is the first time that I have taken notes. My advice is to start immediately keeping track of his “Transcendent Summits”, and his acronym for successful climbing, and pursuit for life. Many prominent mountain and rock climbers have their autobiographies “ghosted”; after reading this book, you will know that only Gerry could have set these words to print. My one regret that it is not in hardcover, since as a collector I know that it deserves hardcover status. Happy Reading.

– Lindon A. Wood Jr. aka “Woody” - November 17, 2004



All text and photos on this site are Copyright © 2001-2022 by Gerry Roach. All Rights Reserved.