The Color of Everything

The Color of Everything

A Journey to Quiet the Chaos Within

About the Book

A renowned climber and National Geographic photographer shares his incredible adventures—and the early trauma that drove him to seek such heights.

“An extraordinary memoir of mental illness that reads like a thriller.”—Amy Ellis Nutt, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author of Becoming Nicole

“In order to escape madness, I will live madly. I will risk my life in order to save it.”

Growing up in the mountains of Utah, Cory Richards was constantly surrounded by the outdoors. His father, a high school teacher and a ski patroller, spent years teaching Richards and his brother how to ski, climb, mountaineer, and survive in the wild. Despite a seemingly idyllic childhood, the Richards home was fraught with violence, grief, and mental illness. After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and dropping out of high school, Richards subsumed himself in the worlds of photography and climbing, seeking out the farthest reaches of the world to escape the darkness. Then, in the midst of a wildly successful career in adventure photography, a catastrophic avalanche changed everything, forcing Richards to confront the trauma of his past, evaluate his own mental health, and learn to rewrite his story.

The Color of Everything is a thrilling tale of risk and adventure, written by a man who has done it all: He’s stood at the top of the world, climbed imposing mountain faces alone in the dark, and become the only American to summit an 8,000-meter peak in winter. But it is also the story of a tumultuous life—a stirring, lyrical memoir that captures the profound musings of an unquiet mind grappling with the meaning of success, the cost of fame and addiction, and whether it is possible to outrun your demons. With exquisite prose and disarming candor, accompanied by stunning photos from his career, Richards excavates the roots of his trauma and shares what it took for him to climb out of it.
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Praise for The Color of Everything

“An extraordinary memoir of mental illness that reads like a thriller. The Color of Everything is filled with brilliance and bravado, breathless in its pace and breathtaking in its consequences. Richards’s story is ​nothing less than a bullet train into the heart of darkness—and back out again. Readers will be grateful for every one of Richards’s hard-won insights.”—Amy Ellis Nutt, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author of Becoming Nicole

“In The Color of Everything, Cory Richards, one of the world’s most daring photojournalists, embarks on his ultimate adventure—he explores his danger-filled internal landscape, and does so with bravery, vulnerability, and extraordinary insight, all rendered in gripping, page-turning prose.”—Michael Finkel, best-selling author of The Art Thief and The Stranger in the Woods

“You might recall the look in Cory Richards’s eyes from the selfie he snapped after climbing out of an avalanche in the Himalayas at 26,000 feet, or maybe you remember him from a very public panic attack he suffered on Everest, his name on the front pages of newspapers around the world, or you might know him from his million Instagram followers of his iconic photographs, or you know him as a record-setting, world-class mountaineer. But you might not know that Richards is also a beautiful writer and thinker, with a complicated makeup and an abiding love for life. This book will make you laugh, will make you gasp, and is sure to make you happy in indescribable ways.”—Matthew Klam, author of Who Is Rich? and Sam the Cat and Other Stories

“The truth isn’t often told, it is lived. Cory’s journey, as told through his unique and daring vision, is as close to that truth as one can get. He lived it. I feel every stone under foot, every snow crystal, every piercing breath of cold air, struggling to breathe, as if I were right there with him. This book is as important as anything I’ve read in understanding the mind, the heart, and one’s deepest fears as he invites us on the journey of overcoming adversity through human spirit and triumph.”—Reinaldo Marcus Green, film producer and director of One Love and King Richard

“Cory Richards tells this hard story with the same ferocious intensity, wit, and elegant keenness by which he has made stunning photographs and climbed killer mountains. The combination of risk and aplomb is amazing.”—David Quammen, author of Breathless
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About the Author

Cory Richards
Cory Richards is an internationally renowned photographer, filmmaker, and author of the memoir The Color of Everything. He is the first and only American to climb one of the world’s 8000m peaks in winter. His documentation of the climb and aftermath of the experience was made into the award-winning documentary COLD and appeared on the cover of the 125th anniversary issue of National Geographic. Richards is a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, Photographer Fellow, and a two-time recipient of an Explorers Grant. He has photographed twelve feature assignments for the magazine. He has an active speaking career, in which he speaks about conservation, mental health, leadership, and vulnerability. More by Cory Richards
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