The Best 52 Mountaineering Books To Read in 2024

Every year I choose to read 52 books in 52 weeks. And this year I chose mountaineering books. I talk about it on my podcast, All About Everest. These are some of the most intriguing and motivational stories, whether you are into mountaineering or not. Some of these are considered the best mountaineering books of all time.

I became interested in learning more about mountaineering when I discovered this whole community about Mt. Everest. It takes a special person to defy the odds and get into the sport. There are no rules and it’s all about new adventures and pushing yourself. There are stories of tragedy and triumph.

I hope you join me for 52 mountaineering books in 52 weeks, or you just get inspired to read a few of them. You may also like my Everest book list and my outdoor adventure book lists as well, I’ve included some of those titles on those lists here as well. Some of these are classic mountaineering books, and hopefully, you will find something new on this list. There is a variety of history and memoirs, but all are non-fiction.

This list will continue to be updated as I read through this list. I have added more books to this list that if I have time, will try to get through this year. If there are other mountaineering books that you think should be on this list, leave a comment below. You will find some of the best mountaineering books ever written on this list.

52 Books About Mountaineering To Read Right Now

1. “Touching The Void” by Joe Simpson

This book has often been called the number one mountaineering book of all time. Joe Simpson and his climbing partner Simon Yates were in a mountaineering accident in 1986 on the West Face of the Siula Grande. This book is one of survival, hard decisions, and lessons learned from mountaineering. The real question is, would you cut the rope? The book was adapted into a documentary in 3 and also into a play in 2018. The documentary can be found for free on Tubi and I have included a clip below.

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“Touching the Void” 2003 trailer
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2. “The Wild Within” by Simon Yates

Simon Yates is not only known for his mountaineering adventures and extreme climbs. He is also known for his three books including this one, and for being “the one who cut the rope”. Yates was Simpson’s climbing partner in “Touching the Void”. This book is Yates’s third one and my favorite of all his. It’s a close look at several of his expeditions, and also he reexamines the fateful expedition from 1985.

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3. “Beyond Possible: One Man, Fourteen Peaks and The Mountaineering Achievement of a Lifetime” by Nims Purja

Though his record was taken away , his accomplishment is still huge. Nims Purja has become a rockstar in the mountaineering community. Part of it is his 14 peaks achievement. And he and his all Nepali team completed the first winter accent of K2. From poverty to military life to becoming a great mountaineer, Nims has broken down barriers for his community.

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4. “The Crystal Horizon: Everest-The First Solo Ascent” by Reinhold Messner

Reinhold Messner, one of the GOATs of mountaineering, summited Mt. Everest solo and with no O’s in 1980.

5. “Fearless on Everest: The Quest for Sandy Irvine” by Julie Summers

It’s been 100 years since Andrew “Sandy” Irvine and Geroge Mallory disappeared on Mt. Everest in 1924. What really happened to Sandy? Who was Sandy and how did an inexperienced mountaineer end up attempting to climb the highest mountain in the world? Julie Summers is the great niece of Irvine and has pieced together who he was by using family stories and a cache of letters found in the family home.

6. “The Mountain of My Fear” by David Roberts

David Roberts has written several mountaineering books and this one occurs the year after Roberts and his climbing partner Don Jensen climbed the eastern side of Mt. Deborah in Alaska. This book is about Roberts’ attempt of Mount Huntington. As with many mountaineering stories, it is a story of achievement and of tragedy.

7. “Denali’s Howl: The Deadliest Climbing Disaster on America’s Wild Peak” by Andy Hall

Denali (formerly known as Mt. McKinley) is the highest and also the most dangerous mountain in North America. In 1967, a terrible tragedy occurred on Denali when 12 young mountaineers attempted to summit it. Andy Hall spent years investigating what exactly happened. This is a well-written book about a very unfortunate mountaineering accident.

8. “Blind Descent: Surviving Alone and Blind on Mt. Everest” by Brian Dickinson

I know there are many Everest books on this list, but Mt. Everest is a huge part of the mountaineering culture. It may be one of the most dangerous mountains in the world. and Brian Dickinson knew he was in trouble after he chose not to turn around. He became slow blind and alone in the death zone.

9. A Fine Line: Searching for Balance Among Mountains” by Graham Zimmerman

Graham Zimmerman is a younger mountaineer and his book is different. It’s one of inspiration and balance, and how a younger mountaineer balances life and family. As a younger mountaineer, his perspective is unique.

10. “My Old Man and the Mountain: A Memoir” by Leif Whittaker

When you come from a famous mountaineering legacy, it can be hard. The expectations are high. In this memoir, Leif Whittaker, the youngest son of Jim Whittaker, gives a fresh perspective about his father. This is Leif’s Everest story, and how he had big footsteps to fill.

11. “Imaginary Peaks: The Riesenstein Hoax and Other Mountain Dreams” by Kate Ives

12. “The Boys of Everest: Chris Bonington and the Tragedy of Climbing’s Greatest Generation” by Clint Willis

13. “Lou Whittaker: Memoirs of a Mountain Guide” by Lou Whittaker

14. “K2: The Price of Conquest” by Lino Lacedelli

15. “Finding Elevation: Fear and Courage on the World’s Most Dangerous Mountain” by Lisa Thompson

16. “Holding Fast: The Untold Story of the Mount Hood Tragedy” by Karen James

17. “Hidden Mountains: Survival and Reckoning After A Climb Gone Wrong” by Michael Wejchert

18. “Buried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of the Sherpa Climbers on K2’s Deadliest Day” by Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan

19. “Everest, Inc.: The Renegades and Rogues Who Built an Industry at the Top of the World” by Will Cockrell

20. Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story

21. Master of Thin Air

22. High Crimes

23. Mountain Madness

24. Fallen Giants

25. The Beckoning Silence

26. Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know

27. 18. Vantage Point

28. No Picnic on Mount Kenya

29. Last Man on the Mountain

30. Forever on the Mountain

31. Tears in the Wind

32. Kiss or Kill

33. The Calling: A Life Rocked by Mountains by Barry Blanchard

34. Tibet’s Secret Mountain

35. Deborah by David Roberts

36. Should I Not Return

37. No Shortcuts to the top

38. Eiger Dreams

39. The Third Pole

40. The Last Great Mountain

41. Higher Love by Kit Deslauriers

42. The Ghosts of K2

43. Savage Arena

44. The World Beneath Their Feet

45. The Last of His Kins

46. The Climb Up to Hell

47. The Shining Mountain

48. In some lost place

49. The Mountain: My Time on Everest

50. Scrambles Amongst the Alps

51. The Dospiosable Man

52. The Next Everest

Additional Mountaineering Books

If I can, I would like to squeeze these ones in too. I will continue to update this list and what I think of each book. If there are other mountaineering books you think should be added to this list, drop a comment below.

53. Annapurna a woman place

54. Mountain of my feat

55. The SHining Mountain

56. Annapurna by Maurice Herzog

57. The Mountains of my Life by Walter Bonatti

58. Ultimate High: My EVerest Odysey

59. We Aspired: The Last Innocent Americans

The Lost Explorer

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