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Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills Paperback – August 25, 2010
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"Growing up in Southern California in the '60s, I couldn't find anyone who shared my passion to learn how to climb. So I bought an ice axe, crampons, and Freedom of the Hills and still remember being on a snow slope with axe in one hand, book in the other, trying to teach myself how to self-arrest. It worked: I'm still around and still climbing." (Rick Ridgeway)
"The 2nd edition of Freedom of the Hills (as well as pictures of Bonatti in an old REI catalog) jump-started my climbing education. The manual's content has kept pace with the evolution of the sport and should be considered mandatory reading for every mountain climber. This truly remarkable resource has no equal in any language." (Mark Twight)
"If there is only one 'how to' book to read for the aspirant and expert alike, it is Freedom of the Hills." (Conrad Anker)
"When I was a springy sapling, the pages of Freedom of the Hills held some of my very first lessons." (Dean Potter)
"I purchased my first copy of The Freedom of the Hills in 1976 and consumed it several times, well before I ever set foot in the mountains. Through the years, my well-worn copy became my guide and reference for the art of mountaineering. I would highly recommend this book as a 'must have' for any aspiring mountaineer's library." (Ed Viesturs)
"I've taught climbing on the world's great mountains for 25 years, and so it is humbling to realize how much I can still learn from simply sitting in a chair and reading Freedom of the Hills. But the game keeps changing, with new technologies and new techniques, and Freedom does a remarkable job of staying not just current, but on the cutting edge. Turning on new climbers to this resource is one of the best things I can do to prepare them for life in the big hills." (Dave Hahn)
"The lessons I learned in the Mountaineers climbing course in 1945 stood me on the summit of Mount Everest in 1963. To see that knowledge, accumulated by so many individuals in 1960, put into a book was wonderful. That it has evolved into the best book on climbing, continually updated by active climbers, is remarkable. I have told many people, including my sons, 'If you want to climb mountains, read Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills. Then read it again, so you know for sure, how to get down.'" (Jim Whitaker)
About the Author
Founded in 1906, The Mountaineers Club of Washington is one of the oldest and largest mountaineering and outdoor recreation organizations in the United States. Learn more at mountaineers.org
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Top Customer Reviews
To be honest, certain areas touched upon in this book are more thoroughly covered by other sources. The segment on avalanches is far from comprehensive, for instance, but the book admits very openly when further information is required, and points the reader in the right direction about where to learn more. However, certain users will not find this book very useful because of its focus on attaining summits. If you are looking for a book on hiking and backpacking, the first one hundred pages will be extremely valuable, but the remainder will be too summit-focused and too climbing-centric to be of much use. For those looking for info on skiing, this book has some interesting observations, but largely avoids the subject. To these people, I would recomend they look for more specialized books in their particular subjects until they gain an interest in bagging peaks.
For anybody whatsoever looking to start climbing summits above treeline, performing vertical climbs of any difficulty, reviewing old materials, or looking at improving skills or developing new ones for climbing, this book is absolutely required. No matter your skill level, this book will have useful information to reference, review, or expand upon. There are no other books whose breadth, clarity, and organization match this book's.
To put it poetically, for all aspiring mountaineers, this book is the Regolith upon which your skills should build. It should be the anchor upon which you hang. It will be a compass to those who know how to use it and appreciate its value, guiding you in the right direction. As the old saying goes, there are many paths to the summit, and this book will reveal all the ways to get there.
As always, I find new elements every time I read this book.
My husband's understanding of "mountaineers" are the 1000s of fashion decked Asians who take to the hills in Japan, Korea and China, sometimes in high heels, maybe carrying a day pack and dining on pricey dinners at the huts on the peaks. Dinner is helicoptered in, along with wine and beer.
So, a cold night in the woods, low temp 29, sleeping in a tent, cooking on a camp stove and, in one private camp site, an open fire, has been a whole new world for him. He doesn't yet understand how bad cotton is -- wet, won't dry, etc., -- and how important it is to dress only in moisture wicking fabrics. He doesn't yet understand, although this weekends overnight low of 29 with a daytime afternoon temp near 70, is helping him, to understand how radically the conditions can change and how suddenly. About 5 degree per hour.
Understanding simple facts like blisters on feet, clean water and body temperature control is critical not only to surviving the mountains, but for me, the most important, enjoying it. This weekend after the sunset, it was some 6 hours before moon rise, leaving dozens and dozens of stars visible inside Orion. The sky was exquisite, the sound of the Colorado River, the rustling of the wind in the branches, the warmth of the open fire. It's heaven! Truly heaven. But only if you're not freezing. I should have brought polypro liner gloves and 4-season sleeping bags, but I thought the overnight low was forecast to be in the 40s. Sleeping in winter temps in 3-season sleeping bags was a little uncomfortable.
Gotta know the probable conditions, the options for equipment and plan ahead. There's so much planning and thinking in mountaineering. This book is the best way to get the brain juices flowing to think of everything I should have thought of and of course, a great way to move ahead is to realize I should have brought this or that and remember it next time.
Life in the mountains is marvelous and this book is a must to make it a truly wonderful experience.
I've developed my own methods of mountaineering over the years and do fine solo, but I wanted a book that shows the more standardized methods so that I can work and communicate well with other people who might be joining me. This book really does a great job of showing those methods and explaining why they are done in such a way.