Stan Huncilman's The Sacred Mountain
Stan Huncilman in coversation with Cathy Luchetti.
The book is dedicated to an outdoor industry stalwart: To Phil Brown, who never let me forget the fun and folly that is also part of mountaineering.
Cathy: How did you, a sculptor and artist, with huge credentials, turn out to be a writer? What led you to writing?
Stan: Reports at work! [Laughing] I had to write reports at work.
..why I started. I took an acting class. I really liked it. But I was like I don't have time. It’s like a team sport, and...mountaineering's like a team thing, but you're kinda by yourself a lot, especially alpine style where you're marching up, but you're all alone and you're just grumbling to yourself. You're roped in and you plod along. But acting, you know, you got to be involved, remember the stuff and be there and you have rehearsals.
So I liked that, but I was like you know what, I can kind of write my own plays and be the own actor and everything in that.
Part of mountaineering is somewhat, it may even, I think of England, Britain, it’s kind of the elitist thing, cause it’s the "Royal Geographical Society" and they were...and I think what is it, the Royal Alpine?.. anyway, it wasn't just anybody could walk in there so they came to, kind of be selective and I kind of thought you know...a lot in America, a lot of great mountaineers are just people that started climbing. Not to say Mallory wasn't a great climber, he was. He was climbing but there were connections. So I liked this character. It’s also kind of based on the Chinese you know. They just climbed. If they had mountains..
Cathy: Your description of the mountains is you know, first hand, I mean, and the daunting things that can happen and yea, I know, this is really an adventure. Can you make any parallels between this and something that you might have read, or something that we can refer to?
Stan: Well, you know, I read a lot about... I did some research all about that. But also I had to, the other big influence was George McDonnel Fraser and the Flashman series. The character’s a rapscallion, a liar and a cheat, so I took that...but it wasn't anything like that in mountaineering. I thought, there is the Center from Doodle, I believe, and that's kind of a comedy. But I don't know. There is a lot of sordid of tales in mountaineering. People disappearing, questionable disappearances, questionable ascents and stuff. But a lot of mountaineering means stories like well, you take off and this and that and something and it's all fuzzy till you get to climax where they are climbing, do they make it or they die and that kind of stuff. But I thought, well, you're kind of limited by that but I wanted to throw in some adventure before, so it makes sense to fill it out. And I do that whole thing with Tibetan Buddhism and all that. I had a lot of fun with that...the bandits. Cause I've been to India and been to Nepal. And the other influence was, I forget his name, Tilman, his last name is Tilman. He was a British mountaineer and climber. Very good writer.
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