"There are only three sports in life, mountain climbing, bull fighting, and motor racing, all others being games. In games you have to convince yourself, that winning is somehow better than losing."
On this page I have collected some informative and/or entertaining climbing books and websites which I recommend to anyone.
Mountaineering - The Freedom of the Hills, 7th edition. Isbn: 1904057276. Mountaineers Books, 2003.:
Since publication of the first edition in 1961, Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills has endured as the classic mountaineering text. Novice climbers use it as a primer; veterans use it to review their skills. Translated into five languages, it has instructed and inspired more than half a million climbers from all over the world. The fully updated seventh edition maintains the same high standard for complete, authoritative instruction in an easy-to-use format.From choosing equipment to how to tie a particular knot, from basic rappelling technique to planning an expedition, it's all here in this essential mountaineering reference. Continued evolution of the sport ensures that climbers who own previous editions will need to "upgrade" to the new seventh edition. The chapter on aid climbing, for example, has been substantially rewritten to include new aid techniques and equipment. A new chapter has been added to meet the rising popularity of waterfall ice and mixed climbing.The more than thirty contributors to Freedom 7 are all active climbers who regularly use and teach the skills about which they write. This book is the resource trusted by climbers the world over.
Extreme Alpinism - Climbing Light, Fast, and High, 1st edition. Isbn: 0898866545. Mountaineers Books, 1999.:
* The most advanced climbing how-to on the market * Techniques and mental skills needed to climb at a more challenging level * Illustrated with full-color photos throughoutBig, high routes at the edge of a climber's ability are not the places for inventing technique or relying on old habits. Complacency can lead to fatal errors. So where does the hard-core aspirant or dreamer turn? The only master class in print, Extreme Alpinism delivers an expert dose of reality and practical techniques for advanced climbers.Focusing on how top alpine climbers approach the world's most difficult routes, Twight centers his instruction on the ethos of climbing the hardest routes with the least amount of gear and the most speed. Throughout, Twight makes it clear that the two things he refuses to compromise are safety and his climbing ethics. In addition to the extensive chapters on advanced techniques and skills, Twight also discusses mental preparedness and attitude; strength and cardiovascular training; good nutrition; and tips on equipment and clothing.
Glacier Travel & Crevasse Rescue - Reading Glaciers, Team Travel, Crevasse Rescue Techniques, Routefinding, Expedition Skills 2nd Edition, 2nd edition. Isbn: 0898866588. Mountaineers Books, 2006.:
This is a clearly written, well-illustrated, definitive reference on glacier travel and crevasse rescue. The new, second edition includes expanded and updated information on technical improvements and safety, new sidebars providing extra lessons on the techniques presented, and a larger format with more photographs.
Going Higher - Oxygen Man and Mountains. Isbn: 0898865808. Mountaineers Books, 1998.:
In this completely revised edition of a classic work, Houston examines the interrelationships between humans, oxygen, and mountains. Beginning with what oxygen is and how we use it, Houston guides the reader through the latest understanding of the various types of mountain sickness, to acclimatization, prevention, and treatment. A mountaineer, scientist, teacher, and medical doctor, Charles Houston, M.D., is one of the leading authorities on high-altitude medicine. He lives in Burlington, Vermont.
Climbing Anchors - Climbing Anchors. Isbn: 0934641374. Chockstone Press, 1993.:
The most valuable skill you can acquire as a traditional climber is the ability to build sturdy, reliable anchors. Without that, no amount of natural talent or dumb luck will allow you to live a long, healthy life as a rock climber. Fortunately, John Long's guide to climbing anchors is a definitive source, with sections on natural, equalized, haul bag, and rappelling anchors. Whether you're using spring-loaded, camming devices or the old-school, passive tri-cams, Long presents a number of creative options for nearly every possible situation. Long is a patient teacher and his writing is clear and concise, but it's the hundreds of illustrations that really drive his lessons home. --Benjamin Tiffany
More Climbing Anchors. Isbn: 1575400006. Chockstone Press, 1998.:
Expert climber John Long analyzes more belay anchors and gives advice on their respective strengths and suitability.More Climbing Anchors continues the fine analysis of rock climbing anchoring systems found in Long's bestseller Climbing Anchors. Together with professionalism climbing guide and instructor Bob Gaines, John Long has compiled in this book essential knowledge to creating safe, yet simple anchors, the single most important skill a rock climber must rely on for a successfully long career.
Medicine for Mountaineering & Other Wilderness Activities. Isbn: 0898863317. Mountaineers Books, 1993.:
What do you do if you're 25 miles into the backcountry and a member of your hiking party develops appendicitis? Or if you're nearing the summit of a 14,000-foot peak and your climbing partner suffers a ruptured cornea from the altitude? If you thought ahead, you'd pull out your copy of Medicine for Mountaineering. This is probably the top book to carry for serious backcountry injuries. There are other titles that cover basic first aid, but not with this book's depth and specificity. Ten M.D.s with a fondness for wilderness outings contributed to the chapters, and it shows: medical jargon abounds. But don't be intimidated by words like thrombophlebitis or pneumothorax--you might need to know how to treat blood clots in the legs or a ruptured lung. Most of the injuries covered have their origin in high-altitude mishaps, whether it be kidney infections from dehydration or blunt head trauma from falling rocks. Other ailments like appendicitis and heart disorders are less common, but if they strike in the backcountry, it's vital to know what to do. The range of medical advice stretches all the way to administering intravenous drips and performing tube thoracostomies (inserting a drain valve into a patient's fluid-filled lungs). Though the authors warn that such procedures should be performed by a trained physician, if it's a life-and-death situation miles from any hospital, these instructions could make all the difference. Other topics covered include: soft-tissue injuries, fractures, burns, gastrointestinal disorders, neural disorders, infections, allergies, heat and solar injuries, animal bites and stings, and cold injuries. A list of useful prescription drugs for mountaineering is also valuable. Who could benefit from this book? Anyone venturing into the outdoors, but particularly those bound for remote locations who've already mastered basic first aid. Emergency medical technicians will find some of the topics familiar, but even they won't be expert in all the injuries outlined here. At 20 ounces, Medicine for Mountaineering is worth the extra weight in your pack. --Demian McLean
Avalanche Safety - For Skiers & Climbers. Isbn: 0898866472. Mountaineers Books, 1999.:
A thoroughly illustrated manual stressing the avoidance of avalanche hazard by good routefinding and by recognition of dangerous slopes, written specifically for climbers, backcountry powder-hounds, and more conservative ski tourers. Ski tourers, telemark skiers, ski mountaineers and climbers all put themselves at risk of being caught in an avalanche, yet many don't know how to detect and avoid dangerous slopes. This book gives them all the basic information they need to evaluate the snowpack, spot hazardous slopes, and avoid triggering slides themselves. Beginning with an explanation of how mountain weather and various forms of snow affect avalanche hazard, Daffern moves on to cover the types of avalanches and how they are triggered. He offers skiers and climbers a variety of tests they can apply on the slopes to evaluate the safety of the terrain. With illustrative photographs and straightforward explanations, this guide provides winter sports enthusiasts with the tools they need to learn how to travel safely in the backcountry, and how to react if their party is caught in an avalanche.
Self-Rescue - How to Rock Climb Series. Isbn: 0934641978. Chockstone Press, 1997.:
This book fully describes and illustrates a variety of techniques that every climber should know for safety and self-reliance. Whether you need to assist your partner past a difficult section of a climb or rappel down a multiple pitch route with an injured climber, you owe it to yourself and your fellow climbers to be prepared.
Links to several gear review sites can be found here.
High Exposure. Isbn: 0684865459. Simon & Schuster, 2003.:
For generations of resolute adventurers, from George Mallory to Sir Edmund Hillary to Jon Krakauer, Mount Everest and the world's other greatest peaks have provided the ultimate testing ground. But the question remains: Why climb? In High Exposure, elite mountaineer and acclaimed Everest filmmaker David Breashears answers with an intimate and captivating look at his life.For Breashears, climbing has never been a question of risk taking: Rather, it is the pursuit of excellence and a quest for self-knowledge. Danger comes, he argues, when ambition blinds reason. The stories this world-class climber and great adventurer tells will surprise you -- from discussions of competitiveness on the heights to a frank description of the 1996 Everest tragedy.
Into Thin Air - A Personal Account of the Everest Disaster. Isbn: 0385492081. Import, 1997.:
Into Thin Air is a riveting first-hand account of a catastrophic expedition up Mount Everest. In March 1996, Outside magazine sent veteran journalist and seasoned climber Jon Krakauer on an expedition led by celebrated Everest guide Rob Hall. Despite the expertise of Hall and the other leaders, by the end of summit day eight people were dead. Krakauer's book is at once the story of the ill-fated adventure and an analysis of the factors leading up to its tragic end. Written within months of the events it chronicles, Into Thin Air clearly evokes the majestic Everest landscape. As the journey up the mountain progresses, Krakauer puts it in context by recalling the triumphs and perils of other Everest trips throughout history. The author's own anguish over what happened on the mountain is palpable as he leads readers to ponder timeless questions.
The Climb - Tragic Ambitions on Everest. Isbn: 0300488961. Pan Books, 2002.:
The Climb is Russian mountaineer Anatoli Boukreev's account of the harrowing May 1996 Mount Everest attempt, a tragedy that resulted in the deaths of eight people. The book is also Boukreev's rebuttal to accusations from fellow climber and author Jon Krakauer, who, in his bestselling memoir, Into Thin Air, suggests that Boukreev forfeited the safety of his clients to achieve his own climbing goals. Investigative writer and Climb coauthor G. Weston DeWalt uses taped statements from the surviving climbers and translated interviews from Boukreev to piece together the events and prove to the reader that Boukreev's role was heroic, not opportunistic. Boukreev refers to the actions of expedition leader Scott Fischer throughout the ascent, implying that factors other than the fierce snowstorm may have caused this disaster. This new account sparks debate among both mountaineers and those who have followed the story through the media and Krakauer's book. Readers can decide for themselves whether Boukreev presents a laudable defense or merely assuages his own bruised ego.
Beyond the Mountain. Isbn: 9780979065958. Patagonia Inc, 2009.:
What does it take to be one of the world's best high-altitude mountain climbers? It takes raising funds for an expedition, negotiating some of the world's most dangerous countries, suffering freezing-cold bivouacs and enduring the discomforts of high altitude. It also means learning the hard lessons the mountains teach. This book explores those lessons. Dubbed by Reinhold Messner, "The best high-altitude climber in the world today." Steve House's story chronicles his experiences in the worlds highest mountains, each chapter revealing a different aspect of mountaineering.
On Thin Ice - Alpine Climbs in the Americas, Asia and the Himalaya. Isbn: 9781898573586. Baton Wicks Publications, 2005.:
Mick Fowler - Britain's most successful exponent of lightweight mountaineering in the greater ranges describes his international climbs - an important book recording several historic ascents. Climbs include Aksu in Kirgistan, Taweche in Nepal, Changabang in India, Arwa Tower in India, Mount Kennedy in Alaska and Siguniang in China - the latter received international acclaim and was awarded the American "Golden Piton" and the French "Piolet d'Or".
Thin White Line. Isbn: 0099509490. Arrow, 2009.:
Thin White Line is the sequel to Learning to Breathe, Andy Cave's bestselling debut and winner of both the prestigious Boardman Tasker Prize and the Adventure Travel Award at the Banff International Festival.In 1997, Andy Cave returned from the Himalayas, having climbed the stupendous north face of Changabang but losing his friend and climbing partner in the process. Traumatized by the savage ordeal, he must examine his relationship with the mountains that have defined his life so far. Will he have the courage to undertake such a challenge again? Does he want to? Thin White Line charts his struggle towards finding an answer. It is as much a journey into the mind of an extreme mountaineer as it is into the wild landscapes through which he travels.In a nail-biting narrative set in Patagonia, Norway and Alaska, Cave tackles the severest challenges modern Alpinism can pose. Juxtaposed with the stark beauty of the environment are the colourful characters populating his stories, from the adventurers around him, past and present, to the pioneer aviators who get him and his kind to those impossibly remote places. He vividly recreates the joy and despair of climbing, building the book to a desperate finale that lays bare the fragility of our carefully constructed convictions.
Learning to Breathe. Isbn: 009947266X. Arrow, 2006.:
At age sixteen, Andy Cave followed in his father’s and his grandfather’s footsteps and became a miner — one of the last recruits into a dying world.Every day he would descend 3,500 feet into the Grimethorpe pit. But at weekends, Andy inhabited a very different world — thousands of feet above the pitheads of the colliery. Introduced to his local mountaineering club while a miner, he soon learned to cherish this newfound freedom. Living through the coalminer’s strikes of the mid-eighties — the guilt, the broken friendships, the poverty — Andy continued to indulge his passion, and in 1986, after much soul-searching, he quit the mines in order to take up mountaineering professionally. At the same time he decided to educate himself, acquiring, almost from a standing start, academic qualifications including a PhD. in sociology.This extraordinary twin odyssey is graphically recalled in this remarkable book. Andy also recounts the grim tale of one of the steepest and most difficult summits in the world — the north face of Changabang in the Himalaya. Seventeen days later, he and two of his teammates — his best friend had already perished — crawled into base camp, frostbitten and emaciated. His account of this terrifying experience provides a dramatic climax to this extraordinary story.Learning to Breathe is first and foremost a lively and humorous memoir, written with energy and insight, about two very different groups of men, each navigating equally inhospitable worlds. Finally, on a larger scale, it is an examination of our ability to draw on inner strengths and the strengths of others.
The Shining Mountain, 1st Vintage Books Ed edition. Isbn: 0394729293. Vintage Books, 1985.:
'It's a preposterous plan. Still, if you do get up it, I think it'll be the hardest thing that's been done in the Himalaya.'So spoke Chris Bonington when Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker presented him with their plan to tackle the unclimbed West Wall of Changabang - the Shining Mountain - in 1976. Bonington's was one of the more positive responses; most felt the climb impossibly hard, especially for a two-man, lightweight expedition. This was, after all, perhaps the most fearsome and technically challenging granite wall in the Garhwal Himalaya and an ascent - particularly one in a lightweight style - would be more significant than anything done on Everest at the time. The idea had been Joe Tasker's. He had photographed the sheer, shining, white granite sweep of Changabang's West Wall on a previous expedition and asked Pete to return with him the following year.Tasker contributes a second voice throughout Boardman's story, which starts with acclimatisation, sleeping in a Salford frozen-food store, and progresses through three nights of hell, marooned in hammocks during a storm, to moments of exultation at the variety and intricacy of the superb, if punishingly difficult, climbing. It is a story of how climbing a mountain can become an all-consuming goal, of the tensions inevitable in forty days of isolation on a two-man expedition; as well as a record of the moment of joy upon reaching the summit ridge against all odds.First published in 1978, The Shining Mountain is Peter Boardman's first book. It is a very personal and honest story that is also amusing, lucidly descriptive, very exciting, and never anything but immensely readable.