by Charlie Winger
This autobiographical book is filled with Charlie's adventures during 35 years of mountaineering, climbing rock & ice, and world travel. People who have met Charlie, attended one of his slideshows, or read his guidebooks will recognize his knack for telling stories. Some are hair-raising, some are a little crazy, and some will have you laughing out loud.
Two Shadows is about more than climbing. It is the story of a boy who grew up in an atmosphere of neglect and abuse. He made numerous bad choices in life which resulted in his being sentenced to prison at age eighteen. While incarcerated, Winger turned his life around. He obtained his high school diploma, began taking college courses, and learned computer programming. Upon his release, he began a successful career in information technology.
After moving to Colorado in the early 1970s, Winger began hiking and climbing in the Rocky Mountains. He discovered a passion for the mountains, and went on to climb peaks all around the world, as well as literally hundreds of summits within the United States.
Quoting from the book’s introduction by guidebook author and Denver Post columnist Dave Cooper:
“Although this is an autobiography, the story Charlie tells in this book could be considered as an allegory for whatever personal summits we are attempting to scale. The mental fortitude, perseverance, and bonds of friendship needed to scale the peaks described here are no different than the qualities needed to excel in life in general. It is on the mountain that a person’s true nature is laid bare. It has been said that character is revealed not by one’s successes, but by how one responds to failure. Charlie shares with us both his successes and failures, and it is apparent that neither has done anything to diminish his indomitable spirit. It is this same spirit that has allowed him to ‘bounce back’ (sorry Charlie) from the illness and fall that would have ended most other climbers’ careers.”
Charlie Winger is a prolific mountaineer with a passion for climbing lists of peaks: the 200 highest mountains in Colorado, the 50 state highpoints, over 100 USGS-named peaks in Death Valley, the 57 ultra-prominence peaks in the lower US, the highest mountains in North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Australia, and many more lists few people understand.
Charlie and his wife, Diane, live in Colorado and are co-authors of several guidebooks on outdoor recreation. He makes killer Belgian waffles, numerous sick jokes, and enjoys telling climbing stories almost as much as he loves actually getting "out there."