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'Recompense: Streams, Summits and Reflections' by Dr. Brian Irwin

Multi-talented local doctor pens his first book

Pigeon Spire — part of the Bugaboo Alpine Provincial Recreation Area located in the Purcell Mountain Range of British Columbia, Canada. Courtesy Dr. Brian Irwin. (click for larger version)
December 17, 2009
Dr. Brian Irwin's just released first book, "Recompense: Streams, Summits and Reflections," is a compilation of his lifetime experiences that will bring you emotionally into his varied world. Through his words and pictures, you will feel your heartbeat quicken when he stands on a precipice, your adrenaline will kick in when he pushes over the top of a way-too-steep ski ravine and your anxiety level may rise when he talks of lowering a patient thousands of feet off a mountain top. Through it all, though, you may find yourself with a niggling longing for some of his brand of adventure.

Currently residing in Madison with his two young sons, Andy (5), and Reid (2), Dr. Irwin is a practicing family and travel physician. He writes a weekly health column for the Conway Daily Sun, works as a ski patroller at Cranmore Mountain, volunteers for both the Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue and Mountain Rescue Service and is a member of the Kismet Rock Foundation's Board of Directors, an organization that teaches children leadership skills through the sport of rock climbing.

Who needs sleep?

During a recent interview with Dr. Irwin, my first question was, "How do you find the time to do all this?"

He looked at me as if to say, "it's no big deal." Shrugging his shoulders, he answered, "I don't sleep much. Having two energetic boys around doesn't allow for much down time."

"Yes," I agreed, "most people find raising two children challenging enough without adding in life and death drama at every turn."

In his book, Dr. Irwin recounts climbing expeditions to Alaska, Bolivia, Canada and Argentine Patagonia as well as local climbs of Mount Washington and Katahdin. He talks of friends made and friends lost and of alpine rescues and treating patients. With humor and with sadness, he shares his pinnacles and his frustrations as he travels through life.

He told me that he finds writing therapeutic and he credits his dad for instilling "an addiction" to penning his experiences. Dr. Irwin has been widely published in numerous magazines and journals. He proudly expects that his book will be reviewed in two of the largest climbing publications, Rock and Ice and the Mountain Gazette.

Dr. Irwin will be a guest at three local book signings in the next few weeks. He will be at Eastern Mountain Sports on Dec. 19 from 3 to 6 p.m.; at International Mountain Equipment on Dec. 30 from 4 to 7 p.m.; and at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, doing a signing and reading, on Jan. 9 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Give yourself, and a friend, a holiday treat by meeting this charismatic author, and reading and sharing this compelling book. If you can't make a signing, the book is available at White Birch Books and from all major book retailers.

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