The world of mountaineering has captured public imagination since the alps were first attempted in the early 1800s. But as enraptured as the public is, most people will never set foot on a 12,000-foot peak… and that’s ok! It doesn’t mean they can’t still appreciate the thrill of a climb or the beauty of an alpine start; with enough imagination, these books will make anyone feel like a true mountaineer.
5. The Challenge of Rainier
By Dee Molenar
With Rainier in our backyard, we had to include a book about this incredible peak. Dee Molenaar covers geology, glaciology, and climate; early climbs dating before 1900; the pioneering efforts on over 35 routes in winter and summer; notable summit climbs; mountain tragedies on the steep slopes; and the guides who have led summit seekers over the years.
4. A Life on the Edge
By Jim Whittaker
We might be a little biased, but we think Jim Whittaker’s account of his incredible climbing exploits is one that every armchair mountaineer should pick up. Jim Whittaker's achievement on Everest and his many successes before and after are the natural outcome of a life driven by a passion for outdoor adventure combined with strong leadership qualities and a commitment to making a difference. In A Life on the Edge, readers will discover a true hero - someone who tells his story not to boast or preach but to share his love of the environment and outdoor adventure and to inspire others to seek challenges in their own lives.
3. Mountains of the Mind: A History of Fascination
By Robert Macfarlane
If you’re looking for a comprehensive history of mountaineering with a little bit of philosophical introspection thrown in, Mountains of the Mind is definitely for you. In this ground-breaking, classic work, Robert Macfarlane takes us up into the mountains: to experience their shattering beauty, the fear and risk of adventure, and to explore the strange impulses that have for centuries lead us to the world's highest places.
2. Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills (9th Edition)
By Mountaineers Books
If you want to know pretty much anything at all about mountaineering, it’s in here. For nearly 60 years it’s been considered the bible of technical mountaineering, and as the sport evolves, so does this beast of a book. From gear selection to belay and repel techniques, from glacier travel to rope work, to safety, safety, and more safety—there is no more comprehensive and thoroughly vetted training manual for climbing than the standard set by Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, 9th Edition.
1. Lou Whittaker: Memoirs of a Mountain Guide
By Lou Whittaker
Ok fine, we are absolutely biased about this one. But not without reason! As the founder of RMI Expeditions and bastion of mountain guiding, we simply wouldn’t exist without Lou Whittaker. His exploits as a mountaineer and guide have shaped the mountaineering world for the last 6 decades, and in these memoirs, Lou Whittaker's tales of life as a young mountain rescuer, and later as a climber mentor to others, are filled with his trademark humor, boundless energy, and compassion.