100 Best of British Mountaineering Books
Abraham ROCK-CLIMBING IN NORTH WALES. 1906 One of the unsurpassed classic trilogy which covered rock climbing of the day
Abraham ROCK-CLIMBING IN SKYE. 1908 This brilliant tome has never been reprinted - why?
Archer Thomson and Andrews THE CLIMBS ON LLIWEDD. 1909 An early guide book, setting the standard still, almost, followed today.
Auldjo NARRATIVE OF AN ASCENT TO THE SUMMIT OF MONT BLANC, 1828 The first Mont Blanc' narrative' not privately published and therefore available to the public. Went into four editions
Band SUMMIT. 2006 The Alpine Club 150th anniversary celebrate the history of the club.
Barker THE LAST BLUE MOUNTAIN. 1959 This book has always appeared in best of lists.
Bell A PROGRESS IN MOUNTAINEERING. 1950 Not rated by Neate, but a favourite of mine!
Benson BRITISH MOUNTAINEERING. 1909 Not possible to exclude this one, it's such a joy.
Blackshaw MOUNTAINEERING. 1965 The mountaineering bible. A fine contribution to mountaineering. Without reading this instructional gem some of us might not have returned safely from the hills.
Boardman THE SHINING MOUNTAIN. 1978 Two men on 'the hardest thing in the Himalayas' - Changabang's West Wall.
Bonington I CHOSE TO CLIMB. 1966 Annapurna South Face might be his best book?
Borthwick ALWAYS A LITTLE FURTHER. 1939 Honest and readable climbing reminescences including the Creagh Dhu Club
Bourdillon VISIT TO THE SHERPAS. 1956 Jennifer Bourdillon, whose husband Tom was with the British Himalayan expedition in 1952, became the first 'white' woman to live among the Sherpas.
Braham WHEN THE ALPS CAST THERE SPELL. 2004 A worthy, if surprising winner of the Boardman Tasker for mountaineering literature.
Brown BRENVA. 1945 Brown was obsessed by the Brenva Face which inspired him to write this alpine classic, the first since 1900?
Brown HAMISH'S MOUNTAIN WALK. 1978 Hamish does the Munro's in a single trip.
Brown THE HARD YEARS. 1967 Joe Brown as told by JB? About time this reclusive rock-climbing hero let us know what he's been up to since.
Brown & De Beer THE FIRST ASCENT OF MONT BLANC. 1957 Two of the finest Alpine historians credit Dr. Paccard, the man who started the sport of mountaineering.
Byne & Sutton HIGH PEAK. 1966 The only history of gritstone climbing.
Carr DEATH ON MILESTONE BUTTRESS. 1951 Sir Abercrombie Lewker is an essential character to be included in a celebration of climbing fiction by Showell Styles. The charismatic detective appeared in a total of fourteen mysteries.
Cave LEARNING TO BREATHE. 2005 A fascinating tale of the metamorphosis of a climber.
Clark THE VICTORIAN MOUNTAINEERS. 1953 another Batsford mountaineering history, but which focuses on the personalities.
Clark & Pyatt MOUNTAINEERING IN BRITAIN. 1957 Who else but Ted Pyatt could have written the first book to chart the history of rock-climbing in Britain.
Cleare & Smythe ROCK CLIMBERS IN ACTION IN SOWDONIA. 1966 Iconic climbing photography
Collie CLIMBING ON THE HIMALAYA AND OTHER MOUNTAIN RANGES. 1902 Collie managed to climb all over the world. But this is such a rare and expensive book that few will have the chance to read it.
Conway THE ALPS FROM END TO END. 1900 An epic journey along the length of the Alps
Coxhead ONE GREEN BOTTLE. 1951 Possibly the finest of all mountaineering fiction?
Dent MOUNTAINEERING. 1892 Clinton Dent's writing embellished by Willink illustrations - nothing better!
Edwards UNTRODDEN PEAKS AND UNFREQUENTED VALLEYS. 1873 Before everyone took a midsummer ramble!
Evans KANGCHENJUNGA THE UNTRODDEN PEAK. 1956 A great expedition book telling the story of the 1st ascent of the 3rd highest mountain in the world, although the summit was left
Faux HIGH AMBITION. 1982 Perhaps this was written too early in the life of the great man. Will Messner bring it up to date one day.
Finch THE MAKING OF A MOUNTAINEER. 1924 Finch was not as popular as his book!
Fitz Gerald CLIMBS IN THE NEW ZEALAND ALPS. 1896 There are many, many books of New Zealand mountaineering. This was the first and remains the greatest.
FitzSimons THE BARON OF PICCADILLY. 1967 Albert Smith - the inventor of Mont Blanc, fortunately. Here told by a faithful admirer.
Forbes NORWAY AND ITS GLACIERS VISITED IN 1851. 1853 Illustrated with some of the first chromolithographs of mountain scenery - wonderful and so, if only for that reason alone
Forbes TRAVELS THROUGH THE ALPS OF SAVOY. 1845 Forbes was a scientist and first to systematically explore the alpine mountain regions
Freshfield ROUND KANGCHENJUNGA. 1903 The circuit of Kangchenjunga undertaken at the turn of the century was an exceedingly serious undertaking.
Freshfield THE EXPLORATION OF THE CAUCASUS. 1896 This is a masterpiece in two volumes packed with some of the finest photography by Vittorio Sella and handsomely produced.
The contibutors to THE ALPINE JOURNAL. 1864 - present Of Alpine Journals there is only one and the History of mountaineering graces it's pages. Priceless!
Gilbert and Churchill THE DOLOMITE MOUNTAINS. 1864 A delightful early book on the Dolomites, beautifully illustrated
Gillman THE WILDEST DREAM. 2000 By far the most enjoyable Mallory biography and hugely well researched.
Gribble THE EARLY MOUNTAINEERS. 1899 The history of the sport before the 'Golden Age'
Hankinson THE FIRST TIGERS. 1972 The first tigers, not really, but a charming history of Lakeland climbing.
Haston IN HIGH PLACES. 1973 Haston of course was different. Had he not gone out ski-ing then we might have seen the greatest ever mountaineer - if there is such a thing..
Hinchliff SUMMER MONTHS AMONG THE ALPS: 1857 A book which influenced members of the Alpine Club about thier sport of the time
Humble THE CUILLIN OF SKYE. 1952 Humble or Poucher? Skye is the mecca and this is the history of it's climbing.
Hunt THE ASCENT OF EVEREST. 1953 A fantastic record of a great achievement.
Irving A HISTORY OF BRITISH MOUNTAINEERING. 1955 An attractive Batsford book which covers British mountaineering worldwide.
Jones ROCK-CLIMBING IN THE ENGLISH LAKE DISTRICT. 1897 By the master of early climbing in Britain and the Alps.
Jones and Millburn WELSH ROCK. 1986 Millburn deserves to be included on effort alone.
Kilgour TWENTY YEARS ON BEN NEVIS. 1905 The highest hut in the British Isles occupied by the weather man.
Kirkpatrick PHYSCHOVERTICAL. 2008 BT winner 2009. The boy continues to do exceptionallywell.
Longstaff THIS MY VOYAGE. 1951 For many years Longstaff, in his ascent of Trisul, had climbed higher than anyone. This is a fascinating autobiography.
Mason ABODE OF SNOW. 1955 The first chronicle of Himalayan mountaineering and exploration.
Mason RUNNING WATER. 1907 Brenva route, so tie onto your chair before reading it!
McCormick AN ARTIST IN THE HIMALAYAS. 1895 McCormick was a decent artist and illustrated most of Conway's books. He must have produced thousands of sketches recording what he saw on his journeys.
Moffat TWO STAR RED. 1964 Perhaps this is a little of a luxury to include here, but nevertheless a story which deserved to be written
Moore THE ALPS IN 1864. 1867 1902 saw a public edition of this otherwise elusive title of which only 100 copies were originally printed.
Morris CORONATION EVEREST. 1958 For me, this is the most entertaining book of the 1953 British Mount Everest Expedition
Mummery MY CLIMBS IN THE ALPS AND CAUCASUS. 1895 Fortunately he wrote this delightful book before leaving us on Nanga Parbat
Murray UNDISCOVERED SCOTLAND. 1951 Which is this better? This or 'Mountaineering in Scotland'?
Neate MOUNTAINEERING AND ITS LITERATURE. 1978 Bill/Jill produced this highly anticipated bibliography. It was the first having not been bettered. Mountaineering Club Library catalogues list more books, but are quite boring.
Norton THE FIGHT FOR EVEREST: 1924. 1925 Everyone knows about the disappearance of Mallory & Irvine
Noyce SOUTH COL. 1954 Noyce the scholar and poet certainly had a writing gift.
Pares HIMALAYAN HONEYMOON. 1940 Miss Pares bumps into the 1938 Everest expedition whilst on her honeymoon in Sikkim. Subsequently she illustrated the dustwrappers of Eric Shipton's books including 'Blank on the Map'
Patey ONE MAN'S MOUNTAINS. 1971 We can't include so many biographies can we?
Perrin THE VILLAIN. 2005 Perrin still gets undeserved criticism for his efforts, although it was rightfully recognised as a brilliant piece of writing. It's not easy writing a bigraphy!
Pilley CLIMBING DAYS. 1935 Her first and only book is a classic which would have won all the mountaineering literature prizes - had there been any then!
Poucher THE MAGIC OF SKYE. 1949 Of all the Poucher mountain photographic books this is by far the finest.
Pye GEORGE LEIGH MALLORY. 1927 This first set the standard for all Mallory books - of which there are 100's!
Roberts I'LL CLIMB MOUNT EVEREST ALONE. 1957 Strangely captivating tale of the aviator who would have been killed earlier had he been able to carry out his plan to the death!
Scott & MacIntyre THE SHISHAPANGMA EXPEDITION. 1984 Joint winner of the 1984 Boardman Tasker prize for mountaineering literature
Shipton BLANK ON THE MAP. 1938 Some might prefer Nanda Devi, but this is the greatest mountain exploration book.
Simpson TOUCHING THE VOID. 1989 The whole world have enjoyed this epic of a climber who lived to tell the tale. But what if he hadn't?
Slingsby NORWAY THE NORTHERN PLAYGROUND. 1904 By the 'Father' of Norwegian mountaineering.
Smith THE STORY OF MONT BLANC. 1853 Smith introduced Mont Blanc to the masses, fortunately
Smythe CAMP SIX. 1937 Some would argue that this is the best Everest book and the best that the prolific Smythe wrote
Soper, Wilson & Crew THE BLACK CLIFF. 1971 Is this where Ken Wilson got his idea and do his co-authors deserve the credit for what followed?
Steele ERIC SHIPTON. 1998 Peter Steele brings this complex man to life, but is there more to come?
Stephen THE PLAYGROUND OF EUROPE. 1871 Remained the benchmark for a few months and which still remains highly regarded.
Sutton & Noyce SAMSON. The Life and Writings of Menlove Edwards. 1961 Menlove - if only you'd made it to Everest.
Tasker SAVAGE ARENA. 1982 Tasker would undoubtedly have crafted more excellent mountain writing.
Tilman SNOW ON THE EQUATOR. 1937 Tilman - The best of all writers of mountaineering exploration and sailing also rode across Africa on a bicycle. He never told of his adventures upon his return, just telling others they would have to wait for the book!
Unsworth EVEREST. 1981 The first, the biggest and the best in terms of knowledgeable writing
Venables A SLENDER THREAD. 2000 A gripping tale of an arduous escape, on two broken legs, the remote Himalayan mountain Panchu Chilu V
Waller THE EVERLASTING HILLS. 1939 John Hunt's first Himalayan expedition
Walton THE PEAKS AND VALLEYS OF THE ALPS. 1867 One of, if not, the finest example of illustrations printed in colour. The result is stunning.
Ward EVEREST A THOUSAND YEARS OF EXPLORATION. 2003 Michael's epitaph - yet only 300 copies were printed and so out of print within weeks! Whymper's 'Scrambles' suffered the same fate, but was thankfully rectified.
Whipplesnaith THE NIGHT CLIMBERS OF CAMBRIDGE. 1937 Night Climbing in Cambridge! Why nobody has not written the Oxford equivalent I'll never know.
Whymper SCRAMBLES AMONGST THE ALPS IN THE YEARS 1860-69. 1871 The best mountaineering book of all. It has remained in print since Whymper made the first ascent of the Matterhorn!
Wilson CLASSIC ROCK. 1979 The forerunner of a classically inspired series.
Wright MOUNTAIN DAYS IN THE ISLE OF SKYE. 1934 Jerry Wright became a professional mountaineer after learning his craft on Skye.
Young MOUNTAIN CRAFT. 1920 'The classic of precept and practice'
Young ON HIGH HILLS. 1927 Surely one of the most influential of all mountaineering books. GWY tells wonderful stories
Young G.W., Sutton SNOWDON BIOGRAPHY. 1957 A full length mountain biography by three distinguished mountain writers.
other suggestions received
Styles ROCK AND ROPE.
Moffat SPACE BELOW MY FEET.
Ashcroft BRITAIN'S HIGHEST PEAKS.
Barford CLIMBING IN BRITAIN.
Wilson COLD CLIMBS.
Ruttledge EVEREST: THE UNFINISHED ADVENTURE.
Stainforth EYES TO THE HILLS.
Alvarez FEEDING THE RAT.
Coffey FRAGILE LOSS: LOST ON EVEREST.
Hankinson GEOFFREY WINTHROP YOUNG.
Cawthorne HELL OF A JOURNEY.
Venables/Fanshawe HIMALAYA ALPINE STYLE .
Tyndall HOURS OF EXERCISE.
Fleming KILLING DRAGONS.
Greig KINGDOMS OF EXEPERIENCE.
Fiennes MAD, BAD AND DANGEROUS TO KNOW.
Greig MEN ON ICE.
Perrin MIRRORS IN THE CLIFFS.
Greene MOMENTS OF BEING.
Baker MOOR, CRAGS & CAVES OF THE HIGH PEAK.
Hankinson MOUNTAIN MEN.
Tyndall MOUNTAINEERING IN 1861.
Murray MOUNTAINEERING IN SCOTLAND.
Engel MOUNTAINEERING IN THE ALPS
Macfarlane MOUNTAINS OF THE MIND.
Craig NATIVE STONES.
Unsworth NORTH FACE : The Second Conquest of the Alps.
Ashton RIDGES OF SNOWDONIA.
Gray ROPE BOY.
Moran SCOTTISH WINTER MOUNTAINS.
Simpson THE BECKONING SILENCE.
Burgess Brothers THE BURGESS BOOK OF LIES.
Tyndall THE GLACIERS OF THE ALPS.
Bailey THE RIDGES OF ENGLAND, WALES AND SCOTLAND.
Irving THE ROMANCE OF MOUNTAINEERING.
Smythe THE SPIRIT OF THE HILLS.
Hudson & Kennedy WHERE THERE'S A WILL THERE'S A WAY.
Tuckett A PIONEER IN THE HIGH ALPS.
Saunders ELUSIVE SUMMITS.
Scott HIMALAYAN CLIMBER.
Curran K2 THE STORY OF A SAVAGE MOUNTAIN.
MacFarlane MOUNTAINS OF THE MIND.
Greig SUMMIT FEVER.
Tilman THE ASCENT OF NANDA DEVI.
Fowler VERTICAL PLEASURE.
Newby A SHORT WALK IN THE HINDU KUSH.
Borthwick ALWAYS A LITTLE FURTHER.
Pritchard DEEP PLAY.
McLewin IN MONT VISO'S HORIZON.
Kirkus LET'S GO CLIMBING.
Fowler ON THIN ICE.
Tasker SAVAGE ARENA.
Astill MOUNT EVEREST : The Reconnaissance 1935.
Bowman THE ASCENT OF RUM DOODLE.
This list of the 100 Best of British Mountaineering Books has been compiled from the results of a poll as such there is still room for change. Please be kind enough to let me know if you would like your own favourite to be included. firstname.lastname@example.org