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The best books about mountains and climbing

Books about mountains and ascents are a great chance to go on a high-altitude expedition, to experience all the difficulties together with the characters, to experience the emotions of fear and euphoria. All the best books about mountains are stories of real mountaineers about discovering new peaks, about the most memorable climbs, about difficult routes and life experiences, about tragedies and successes. Most of them are written in a lively language that allows you to really make friends with the author and experience the whole story, from the first to the last page.

There are a lot of books on mountain subjects. It is very difficult to make a rating of the best books, because not all climbers are professional writers, but they have a huge mountain experience, which they want to share with readers. So we tried to choose, in our opinion, the best books about mountains and climbing, which are worth your attention. They have different style of writing: someone tells everything very seriously and with the smallest details, some people focus more on their own thoughts, others describe what is going on around them, someone pays attention to mountain landscapes, and others to communication with other participants of the expedition.

Therefore, reading different books about one and the same ascent, you can get acquainted with different points of view, make your own conclusions and learn a lot of new and useful. For example, about the first ascent of Everest in 1953 there are three books in this list: “Tiger of the Snows”, “South Saddle” and “Climbing Everest”. Also many are aware of the large-scale tragedy on the slopes of Jomolungma in 1996. The events of that year are also described in many books, which are listed here.

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A selection of the best books about mountains and climbing

We hope this list of books about mountains will fill your leisure time with bright emotions and inspire your next successful ascent.

[blockquote]You can order all of the books on the list from our Kuluar online gift store.[/blockquote]

“Because it exists,” George Lee Mallory

Потому что он существуетThe book describes three English expeditions to Everest in 1921, 1922 and 1924. The first two were unsuccessful. There is still no unequivocal opinion about the third, and no one can give an exact answer whether Mallory and Irwin were on top of Jomolungma 29 years earlier than Hillary or not. The histories of the 1921-22 ascents are described by J. Mallory himself. Information about the last expedition is the work of other authors (books, articles).

“Tiger of the Snows,” Tenzing Norgey

Тигр снеговAutobiography of a Nepalese mountaineer who, along with Edmund Hillary, set foot on the summit of Everest for the first time in human history in 1953. Describes life before and after the ascent, as well as the expedition itself, how the preparation went, what problems they had to face on the way to the top. Much attention is also given to Sherpa life, everyday life and traditions.

“The Southern Saddle,” Wilfrid Noyce

Южное седлоFor many years climbers from all over the world tried to reach the highest peak of the planet. And only in 1953 did the British expedition succeed, the heroes of which were Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. The author of the book Wilfried Noyce was also a participant of this ascent. He bundled with Sherpa Annullu to reach the South Saddle, which for many climbers is the turning point on the way to the summit.

“Climbing Everest,” John Hunt

Восхождение на ЭверестThe story of one of the participants of the British first successful expedition to Everest in 1953. The book describes in detail all the stages of preparation, the equipment then used, the choice of route and technique of its passage, the conditions and experience of acclimatization. It also gives a brief description of the peculiarities of the mountain terrain in the area of Jomolungma and the history of the first ascent attempts that came before.  To see Everest with your own eyes we recommend the routes: classic trekking to Everest and Trekking to Everest via the Gokyo Lakes.

“Crystal Horizon, Reinhold Messner

Хрустальный горизонтReinhold Messner is the first climber to have climbed all 14 eight-thousanders in the world. He writes fascinating and useful books about all his expeditions. This one is no exception. Here he describes his solitary ascent of Everest without the use of oxygen in 1980. Together with the author you can experience all the problems and experiences, deepen your thoughts about life, answer the age-old questions about the mountains, and why we always come back here…

“My Life on the Limit,” Reinhold Messner

Моя жизнь на пределеNothing seems to be impossible for this man. He was the first climber in the history of mountaineering to climb all eight-thousand peaks, make several oxygen-free solo ascents, go through sandy and icy deserts, challenging himself again and again and overcoming himself. What drives this man, how he manages to avoid danger, how he turned from a simple country boy into a renowned mountaineer – these and other topics Messner reveals about himself during an interview for a magazine.

“Climbing”, Anatoly Boukreev

ВосхождениеАнатолийAnatoly Boukreev is a prominent Russian mountaineer who was part of the Everest climbing team in the tragic 1996. His book provides an opportunity to look at the events through the eyes of a guide and one of the expedition leaders. Despite his weakness and his descent from the summit, Anatoly sets out in the middle of the night in terrible weather conditions to search for the missing members of the group. Based on the stories of the participants of those events, including Boukreev, in 2015 the film “Everest” was made.

“In thin air,” John Krakauer

В разреженном воздухеThe story of the journalist who witnessed the most terrible tragedy on the slopes of Everest in 1996. The author reveals the curtain of all the preparations for the expedition, the problems and disagreements that began to arise in the early stages, even before the arrival in Kathmandu. The book describes the details of everything that happened on that terrible night from the participant’s point of view.

“The Other Side of Everest, Matt Dickinson

Другая сторона ЭверестаThe story of a man who almost accidentally made it to Everest. He was a cameraman on an expedition from China in 1996, and the plan was to get to the top where he could. But by coincidence he had to walk all the way to the summit and witness the tragic events that unfolded on the other side of the mountain in Nepal…

“Dzhomolungma and its Children,” Fritz Rudolph

Джомолунгма и её детиThe book tells of the beauty and power of the Himalayan mountains and of the climbers who come here each with his own purpose. Also a large part of the narrative is a description of the life of the mountain dwellers, the Sherpas, their life values, traditions and a large role in all climbing.

“Chogori – K2”, collection

К2 – вторая вершина мираK2 is one of the most dangerous and impregnable mountains on our planet, which for 52 years did not allow anyone to reach its summit. In 1954 the Italians led by Ardito Desio managed to reach the second summit of the world. The collection includes books and stories by different climbers about their expeditions to Chogori in different years and in different conditions. The book includes works by Ardito Desio, Walter Bonatti, Achille Compagnoni, Reinhold Messner, Jerzy Kukuchka, Gennady Kopeika, and Chris Bonington.

“Annapurna,” Maurice Herzog

АннапурнаA detailed account of the first successful ascent of an eight-thousand-meter peak in the history of mankind. In 1950 this peak was Annapurna, which to this day is considered the most difficult and dangerous mountain. The book describes all the details of the expedition, route research, preparation, as well as all the difficulties the participants had to face during the oxygen-free ascent. We suggest trekking with us to Annapurna base camp or trekking around Annapurna.

“Makalu. West Rib,” Robert Parago Yanik Senjer

Макалу. Западное реброThe book from the first to the last word is permeated with the spirit of the mountains. The author tells little about himself. All the attention is on the mountain scenery, the characteristics of the relief, the daily life of the mountaineers during the expedition to Makalu, their thoughts and conversations. There is also considerable emphasis on the life of the local mountain people. Since climbing was carried out on one of the most difficult routes – the Western Rib, where not many managed to visit, the author tries to show the reader everything he saw and felt there himself.

“”Climbing My Freedom, Lynn Hill

Скалолазание – моя свободаAn autobiographical book by the world’s most outstanding rock climber. Lynn tells how she got into the world of mountains, how she moved from a simple hobby to the professional level and became a multiple winner of world sports competitions in rock climbing. The book describes not only the author’s athletic career, but also pays much attention to the general history of the development and traditions of rock climbing in America.

“Cho-Oyu – The Grace of the Gods,” Herbert Teehee

Чо-Ойю - милость боговA book about the first ascent to the seventh peak of the world, Cho Oyu, which took place in 1954, written by the organizer of the expedition. All the stages of preparation, difficult decisions and difficulties of the ascent are described in detail. The author is very grateful to the mountain people, the Sherpas, without whom it would have been impossible to achieve success. We suggest watching a video of Taras Late about his ascent of Cho Oyu in September 2019. 

“Seven Years in Tibet,” Heinrich Harrer

Семь лет в ТибетеThe autobiographical story of a European’s life in remote and inaccessible Tibet during World War II. Detailed descriptions of escaping from an Indian prison, overcoming mountain passes, finding shelter with Tibetans, ways to survive in a foreign environment, the stages of the conquest of Tibetan lands by China. The book is imbued with an unwavering love and respect for the Tibetans, their culture, benevolence and yearning for freedom. A film of the same name was made on the basis of this novel. You can learn about the culture and life of Tibet in our time in the bark around Kailas.

[blockquote]You can order all the books from the list at our Kuluar gift store.[/blockquote]

Share in the comments which books about mountains you’ve already read, which of them you liked best, and which you didn’t find on our list and think they should be added here as well.


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