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Mountain Dew

List your TOP 10 Books on Mountain Climbing!!

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So far I only have two...

 

Freedom (which I am slowly absorbing 1 chapter at a time)

and

Mt Rainier - A climbing Guide by Mike Gauthier

 

I really love the book by Mike G. I am re-reading it (my 3rd time).

 

I would really love to read more GOOD books on mountain climbing and people experiences...

 

List your top 10 books that you have read here. I will try to buy some of them and help keep myself motivated during the winter months! :grin:

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The Devil's Thumb

 

The White Spider

 

Deborah, the Mt of My Fears (or some such name)

 

Touching the Void

 

Minus 148 Degrees

 

Into thin Air

 

K2 the Savage MT

 

Annapurna

 

Nadi Devi

 

The Shining Mt

 

I'm sure I can think of a few more but that should be a good start.

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I'll second a lot of Dave's

but....

 

Feeding the Rat (fantastic book!)

Eiger Dreams

Ascent - The Biography of Willi Unsoeld

The Climb up to Hell

Freedom of the Hills

The White Spider

K2 the Savage Mountain

 

I'll look again when I get home.

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A little more on the instructional side:

 

FOTH -

 

Climbing Self Rescue - Andy Tyson / Molly Loomis

 

Glacier Mountaineering - Andy Tyson / Mike Clelland

 

Northwest Mountain Weather - Jeff Renner

 

How to Stay Alive in Avalanche Terrain - Bruce Tremper

 

Mountaineering First Aid -

 

Advanced Rockcraft - Royal Robbins

 

Climbing Anchors - John Long

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Also, for a different perspective on the Everest tragedy in '96 (and a counter point to Krakauer) check out The Climb by Anatoli Boukreev. I think there are three or four other published accounts besides these two.

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A little more on the instructional side:

 

FOTH -

 

Climbing Self Rescue - Andy Tyson / Molly Loomis

 

Glacier Mountaineering - Andy Tyson / Mike Clelland

 

Northwest Mountain Weather - Jeff Renner

 

How to Stay Alive in Avalanche Terrain - Bruce Tremper

 

Mountaineering First Aid -

 

Advanced Rockcraft - Royal Robbins

 

Climbing Anchors - John Long

:tup:

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Everyone has listed great books. My own favorites would be:

 

One Man's Mountains by Tom Patey

 

The Burgess Book of Lies

 

Extreme Alpinism

 

Summit-photos by Vittorio Sella

 

K2 The Savage Mountain

 

Starlight and Storm

 

Touching the Void

 

Eiger Dreams

 

The White Spider

 

H.W. Tilman-The Seven Mountain Travels

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I like it when my books have lots of pictures:

 

In the Throne Room of the Mountain Gods -Galen Rowell

Soul of the Heights -Ed Cooper

On Ice and Snow and Rock -Gaston Rebuffat

 

Newer ones (for me) that I'm pretty stoked about:

 

The 11,000ers of the Canadian Rockies Updated -Bill Corbett

Flakes, Jugs & Splitters -Sarah Garlick

 

*anything by Greg Child*

 

 

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"On The Ridge Between Life and Death" - David Roberts - bio

 

"Moments of Doubt" - David Roberts - collection of writings by author

 

"Conquistadors of the Useless" - Lionel Terray - bio

 

"Kiss or Kill" - Mark Twight - collection of writings/bio - very entertaining!

 

"Eiger Dreams" - John Krakauer - collection of writings by author

 

"Touching the Void" - Joe Simpson

 

"Climbing Ice" - Yvon Chouinard - Snow/ice climbing how-to classic!

 

FOTH

 

Books that I felt were lacking but still interesting if you climb:

 

Annapurna - Maurice Herzog - great story but has a disneyland aspect to it.

 

Free Spirit - Messner - the guy did awesome things and that inspires, but the personal side of it is very dry and curt.

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Everyone has listed great books. My own favorites would be:

 

K2 The Savage Mountain

 

 

Read "The Endless Knot" by Kurt Diemberger, makes The Savage Mountain pale to insignificance. Curran was at the base, Diemberger was in the high camp when everything went down.

 

 

Fifty Favorite Climbs

Himalayan Climber, Doug Scott

Heroic Climbs, Chris Bonnington

Eiger Dreams, Krakauer

The White Spider

Kiss or Kill, Twight

The Endless Knot, Diemberger

Mixed Emotions, Child

My Vertical World, Kukuczka

All 14 Eight-Thousanders, Messner

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Lots of great titles listed thus far.

 

You might check out The Challenge of Rainier by Dee Molenaar. One of my favorites, may be right up your alley.

 

I personally haven't read this one, but a couple friends have recommended to me The Measure of a Mountain: Beauty and Terror on Mount Rainier by Bruce Barcott.

 

Keep up the good work, amigo!

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There are some good books listed here. Here are a few more:

 

"Upon that Mountain," by Eric Shipton (1943) is a classic that has some real precious passages.

There were many things I did not like about climbing, and there were brief periods of bitter disillusionment: being waken at 1 a.m. form a deep sleep of real physical fatigue, and having to turn out into a cold hard world of stale bread and boots and cracking lips – it was many years before I became resigned that grim business of the midnight start …

 

Thomas Hornbein's "The West Ridge" (1965) is pretty good and the pictures are excellent.

At four the oxygen ran out, a most effective alarm clock. Two well incubated butane stoves were fished from inside our sleeping bags and soon bouillon was brewing in the kitchen. Climbing into boots was a breathless challenge to balance in our close quarters. Then overboots, and crampons.

‘Crampons in the tent?’

‘Sure,’ I replied. ‘It’s a hell of a lot colder out there.’

 

"Mount Analogue" (1952) by Rene Daumal, is another classic.

You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know

 

Slightly more modern (still dated but very much irreverent) "Downward Bound" (1975) by Warren Harding is definitely worth a read.

'Good Evening! What can we do for you.'

'We've come to rescue you.!'

'Really? Come now, get hold of yourselves - have some wine

 

In the book Ascent, published by Sierra Club in 1980 and edited by Steck and Roper, is a good story written by Mark Twain: The conquest of Riffelberg.

…we roped ourselves together and went at that rock. For some time we tried the hook-rope and other means of scaling it, but without success – that is, without perfect success. The hook caught once and Harris started up it hand over hand, but he hold broke and if there had not happened to be a chaplain sitting underneath at the time, Harris would certainly have been crippled. As it was, it was the Chaplain. …

 

 

 

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In no particular order.....

 

Mixed emotions, G. Child

This game of ghosts, J. Simpson

Games climbers play, Wilson

Climbing in North America, C. Jones

The ridiculous mountains, G.F. Dutton

Climbing anchors, J. Long

The mountains of my life, W. Bonatti

The cascade alpine guide, Vol 1-3, F. Beckey

Climbing tales of terror, T. Knight

Fifty classic climbs in North America, Steck and Roper

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Two books that haven't been mentioned yet:

 

A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby

 

Summary: Friend says to Newby, an ex-Black Watch soldier in WWII working in high fashion post-war: "Hey want to go climb a mountain in Afghanistan?" Newby says, "But we don't know how to climb mountains." Friend says, "That's ok, we'll go to Wales for the weekend first and learn how." So they do, although Newby says he “..was filled with profound misgiving. In cold print 20,000 feet does not seem very much. Every year more and more expeditions climb peaks of 25,000 feet, and over. In the Himalayas a mountain of this size is regarded as an absolute pimple, unworthy of serious consideration. But I had never climbed anything. It was true that I had done some hill walking and a certain amount of scrambling in the Dolomites with my wife, but nowhere had we failed to encounter ladies twice our age armed with umbrellas.” Hilarious book, with the best final sentence of any book I have ever read.

 

 

Two For the Summit: My Daughter, the Mountains, and Me by Geoffrey Norman

 

Summary: 50-year-old sports writer decides to climb the Grand Teton to prove he's not over the hill and is taken aback when his 15-year-old daughter wants to do it with him. Initially says, "No, no this is my manly man thing and you can't come" but then realizes he's nuts to decline when his teenage daughter actually wants to spend time with him and changes his tune. Focused around that climb and a subsequent Aconcagua climb but mainly about how climbing helped him discover what it meant to be a good father and develop a special bond with his child.

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I wouldn't say these are the best. But I don't think they've been mentioned, and they deserve to be.

 

I would second/third Annapurna. Enjoyable as it talked about climbing a mountain that wasn't really mapped at the time.

 

High Adventure by Hillary. You'll read a thousand books about bad ass guys doing incredible stuff in challenging terrain. Here's a guy that does it all, and says that his greatest accomplishment is helping the sherpa people of nepal. A modest hero.

 

Lastly, the Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen. Denser then the testosterone prose of mountain writers.

 

Thanks for posting this question. I've enjoyed seeing what the rest of you recommend. I'll have to check them out.

Edited by whoiswillhockett

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High and Wild: A Mountaineers World - Galen Rowell :tup:

 

Addicted to Danger - Jim Wickwire :tup: :tup:

 

Seven Summits - Dick Bass and Rick Ridgeway :tup: :tup: :tup: (very inspirational!)

 

The Climb - Anatoly Boukreev :tup: :tup:

 

The Eiger Obsession - John Harlin III (interesting read, but no thumbs up)*

 

Moments of Doubt - David Roberts :tup:

 

Touching the Void - Joe Simpson :tup: :tup: :tup: :tup:

 

The white Spider - Heinrich Harrer :tup: :tup: :tup: :tup:

 

FOTH - The Mountaineers :tup: :tup: :tup: :tup:

 

The Dharma Bums - Jack Kerouac (this is about many things, not just mountaineering) :tup: :tup: :tup: :tup:

 

 

*Not that I didn't like Harlin's III book or writing, but it seemed more like a bio and the history of his climbing life leading up to his ascent of the eiger moreso than a specific story leading up to one particular climb, and if any book on my top ten favs was not going to get any thumbs then it would be this one - but the book still makes my top ten favs!

Edited by LostCamKenny

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I find it hard to believe nobody's mentioned No Picnic on Mt. Kenya (Felice Benuzzi) yet - I've just re-read it for the 10th or 12th time. Such a great story and well-written too.

 

a less well known, but still pretty good read is "A spy on the roof of the world" by Sidney Wigall about a welsh expedition to Northern India that gets caught by the chinese (as they're taking over Tibet).

 

The Flame of Adventure, Simon Yates is excellent as well.

 

+ all the classics previously mentioned: the white spider, touching the void, kiss or kill, etc...

 

Two books to be avoided (IMO) are:

Killing Dragons, Fergus Flemming about the history of climbing in the alps and

Tomaz Humar by Bernadette MacDonald - a pretty lousy read.

 

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After rereading it, John Roskelley's "Last Days" has to go on my list. Not only was he a great climber, but I love his writing style...down to earth, honest, great ethics and perspective, and a good story teller.

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