GearFlogger’s Backcountry Bookshelf

Books: they’re not just for starting fires anymore. When circumstances conspire to keep you inside, these titles will educate, excite and maybe even help you learn to return.

General Mountaineering
Glacier Travel & Crevasse Rescue
Backcountry Skiing


General Mountaineering


Review of Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills, 7th Edition Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills, 9th Edition

The mountaineering how-to bible since 1960. It reads a bit like an encyclopedia but almost everything you need to know is between the sheets here, and it’s well organized with a good index. Six sections: (1) outdoor fundamentals, (2) climbing fundamentals, (3) rock climbing, (4) snow, ice and alpine climbing, (5) emergency prevention and response, and (6) the mountain environment. The information is old school, but still the best place to start for beginners, and a lifelong reference for the rest of us; know the rules before you break them!


Review of The Mountaineering Handbook by Craig Connally The Mountaineering Handbook: Modern Tools & Techniques That Will Take You to the Top

There’s old school and then there’s Connally’s school. This book is the perfect balance to Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills. Connally doesn’t hesitate to heap scorn on gear and techniques that don’t in his opinion measure up. What sets his book apart from all the opinion out there is his dedication to evidence. Exhaustive discussions of fall forces, materials technology and other evidence are everywhere. It’s hard to overstate the amount of information in this book; you’ll just have to read it – and re-read it – yourself.


Glacier Travel & Crevasse Rescue


Glacier Glacier Mountaineering: An Illustrated Guide to Glacier Travel & Crevasse Rescue

140 pages of fun, fact-filled reading on the most important topic in the history of FloggerKind. The illustrations are much better than photographs, with copious use of callouts to point out the subtleties of gear and technique. Ten chapters cover moving and camping on glaciers, and the critical subject of extracting yourself and/or others from the Darwinian clutches of icy, scary slots. The last page of the book has a classic illustration of a fully rigged glacier traveller, titled “it’s bliss on the glacier,” with no fewer than thirty callouts.


Backcountry Skiing


Review of Allen & Mike's Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book Allen & Mike’s Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book: Travelling & Camping Skills for a Winter Environment

We’re huge fans of everything Mike Clelland illustrates: both the writing and the pics are clear, concise and unpretentious, making for truly enjoyable reading and learning. Not just for skiiers, about half the book contains great information on general backcountry safety (including great crevasse rescue diagrams), camping, and ethics that will be useful to anyone going out to them thar hills. The skiing specific chapters include plenty o’ tips on equipment and technique.


Review of Backcountry Skiing by Martin Volken et al Backcountry Skiing: Skills for Ski Touring & Ski Mountaineering

Part of the always-excellent Mountaineers Outdoor Expert series, BS is an awesomely complete reference to everything its title indicates. Targeted at “intermediate to advanced in-area skiers” but accessible to all skill levels, the book’s ten chapters cover all the gear and techniques you’ll need to be better at everything. Choosing and fitting skins? Nine pages. Assessing avalanche danger? Forty-seven pages. It’s all there, with the notable exception of navigation: for some reason this subject is given very short shrift.



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