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Books for climbers; top winter reads

Cold days and short daytime hours offer prime reading conditions. Here are the top climbing-related reads for winter 2014. Scroll to the bottom for cover shots.

The Calling by Barry Blanchard

Blanchard’s much-awaited memoirs. A portrait of the power of mountains to lift us physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. From the Rockies and Andes to the Himalayas, this is one of the best climbing books of the year.

Letters From Chamonix by David Stevenson

A collection of short stories by David Stevenson, director of UAA’s department of creative writing and literary arts. His climbing tales from a by‐gone era to the present speaks of the essence of mountain adventure. From the Midi to the Eiger, no details are left out from this must-read set in the Alps.

One Day as a Tiger by Jon Porter

The winner of the Banff Mountain Book Festival grand prize. Jon Porter’s memoir about his friend Alex MacIntyre’s life at the cutting edge of mountaineering took nearly 30 years to write. MacIntyre was killed by rockfall on the south face of Annapurna in 1982. He was one of Britain’s leading climbers with new routes on Changabang and Dhaulagiri and in the Alps and Andes. This has been hailed as the new standard of mountaineering literature.

Hanging On by Martin Boysen

Martin Boysen’s book is an insider’s account of the golden era of British climbing. Boysen made the first ascent of the South Face of Annapurna in 1970, the first ascent of Trango Tower and the second ascent of the southwest face of Everest. He discovered many of Britain’s popular crags and climbed with most of the leading climbers during the 70s. For those wanting to know more about one of the most important eras of climbing.

The Tower: A Chronicle of Climbing and Controversy on Cerro Torre by Kelly Cordes

Kelly Cordes book about Cerro Torre, which has been shrouded in controversy since it was first allegedly ascended in 1959, digs through the mystery to try to uncover the truth. If you love climbing history and mountain mysteries, put this on your gift list.

The Rock Climber’s Training Manual by Mike and Mark Anderson

This all-new, comprehensive guide to continuous climbing improvement by the Anderson twins builds on Mike’s training method he developed in the 90s. If you’re looking to train and stay strong this winter, this is the book for you.

Buried by Ken Wylie

Buried is the story of an avalanche in 2003 on Tumbledown Mountain in B.C., which killed seven people, and the mountain guide’s decisions that led to the accident.  “The story illustrates the peace that comes from accountability and the growth that results from understanding.”

Rock Climbing Second Edition by Topher Donahue

If you love climbing techniques and systems, this book will keep your attention cover to cover. The original book, Mastering Basic Skills, by Craig Luebben was an important book for thousands of climbers. Donahue updates the book to current standards and includes technological advances. It includes lessons derived from accidents due, in part, to the increased popularity of climbing.

The Call of Ice by Simone Moro

Moro is one of the world’s leading high-altitude climbers. The Call of the Ice was written during Moro’s winter attempt on Nanga Parbat in 2012. He reflects on past climbs and partners. Moro explains why his expeditions are more about the attempt and not the summit. Throughout the book, we relive his 51 days on Nanga Parbat with Denis Urubko.

My Life at the Limit by Reinhold Messner

Messner is the author of more than 60 books. His latest, My Life at the Limit, is a conversation between Messner and interviewer Thomas Hüetlin. It digs into Messner’s treks across Tibet, the Gobi, and Antarctica; his five-year-stint as a member of the European Parliament; his encounter with and study of the yeti; his thoughts on traditional male/female roles; and much more.

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