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Favorite books on Himalayan mountaineering?

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Favorite books on Himalayan mountaineering?

Postby artrock23 » Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:22 am

Being into alpine-style mountaineering, i've recently started getting a number of books on Himalayan climbing. I haven't read them all (yet), but here's a few favorites thus far:

'Annapurna' by Maurice Herzog

'Everest: The West Face' by Thomas Hornbein

'K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain" by Ed Viesturs

'Dark Summit' by Nick Heil

'The Crystal Horizon' by Reinhold Messner

Does anyone else here have any personal favorites?



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Re: Favorite books on Himalayan mountaineering?

Postby old and slow » Sat Oct 05, 2013 11:52 am

some of my favorites:

"Conquistadors of the Useless" by Lionel Terray (includes a chapter on the Annapurna expedition with Maurice Herzog)

A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush" by Eric Newby (very funny account of virtual amateurs hiking and climbing in wild and remote northeastern Afgahistan in the 1950s)

"in the Throne Room of the Mountain Gods" by Galen Rowell (including great photography)

and of course, "Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer
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Re: Favorite books on Himalayan mountaineering?

Postby Shawn » Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:55 pm

- No Shortcuts to the Top, Ed Viesturs
- Epic Stories of survival, Greg Child
-Eiger Dreams, Jon Krakauer
- Below Another Sky, Rick Ridgeway
- K2: Life and Death on the Worlds Most Dangerous Mountain, Ed Viesturs
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Re: Favorite books on Himalayan mountaineering?

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Oct 06, 2013 5:06 pm

Herzog's Annapurna remains my favorite. Close behind is the disaster story to end all, The Endless Knot by Kurt Diemberger, which chronicles the tragic 1986 season on K2. A childhood favorite of mine was Hermann Buhl's Lonely Challenge (recently reprinted by the Mountaineers), although only the very last chapter is Himalyan--that last chapter is the account of Buhl's legendary first ascent of Nanga Parbat. Folks who are into that story line should check out Kurt Diemberger's eerie account of Buhl's last climb (with Diemberger) on Chogolisa--published in the Swiss alpine journal Mountain World in (I believe) 1958. Diemberger was a superb writer as well as world-class mountaineer.
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Re: Favorite books on Himalayan mountaineering?

Postby artrock23 » Sun Oct 13, 2013 11:20 am

Thanks for the replies, guys. :thumbsup:

I just finished "Climbing the Fish's Tail" by Wilfred Noyce. It's about the first ascent of Machapuchhare (in 1957), and is noteworthy since Nepal closed the peak to all climbing after this expedition for religious reasons.

Giantbrookie, i'd really like to read some of Diemberger's books. They are out-of-print, but like most books can be obtained with dilligent searching and patience.

Old and Slow, thanks for the reminder about Galen Rowell's "Throne Room..." book. I'd forgotten about that, and it's supposed to be very good. This morning I found a nice copy on ebay. "Into Thin Air" is good, but IMHO, flawed, due to the many presumptions and inaccuracies Krakauer presented. The events of May 10-11, 1996 are important to understand for anyone with an interest in Himalayan mountaineering, and fortunately there are a number of accounts available from which one may draw their own well-informed conclusions.
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Re: Favorite books on Himalayan mountaineering?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Apr 14, 2015 7:31 pm

My favorite, for very personal reasons, is John Roskelley's "Stories Off the Wall". We both started climbing with the Spokane Mountaineers as teenagers and did some crazy adventures in Canada in mid-winter in college. I personally know a lot of the people he talks about. I was visiting him and his wife, when a box of the books arrived from the publisher, and he pulled out a book, signed it, and gave this first copy off the press to me. Last year we visited again, after he had been given the lifetime achievement award by the Swiss guides - the few given this award include Terray and Reinhold Messner. The award meant a lot to him but we just talked about old times, our kids and dogs.
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Re: Favorite books on Himalayan mountaineering?

Postby ndpanda » Wed Apr 15, 2015 7:47 pm

My favorite is Fosco Maraini's Karakoram: The Ascent of Gasherbrum IV. He was first and foremost an ethnologist, as well as a wonderfully vivid writer, so the cultural context of the climb and the attitudes of the climbers are presented with a sensitivity that is rare in this genre. Introspective without being self-indulgent, which is hard to pull off.

My desert island mountain book would be Maraini's Where Four Worlds Meet: Hindu Kush, 1959. It's only incidentally about mountaineering, though. I was fortunate to follow in some of his footsteps there before political and religious fanaticism made it a no-man's land. The photography of Nuristan alone is worth the price you have to pay for a vintage copy.
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Re: Favorite books on Himalayan mountaineering?

Postby melissarubbe » Mon May 18, 2015 11:52 pm

Here is few :

Himalaya (Hardcover) by "Michael Palin"
The Snow Leopard (Paperback) by "Peter Matthiessen"

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Last edited by melissarubbe on Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Favorite books on Himalayan mountaineering?

Postby maverick » Mon May 25, 2015 3:29 pm

Hi Melissa,

Welcome to HST! If you get some time an intro would be appreciated: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=9329
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Favorite books on Himalayan mountaineering?

Postby giantbrookie » Sat Jun 06, 2015 11:52 am

ndpanda wrote:My favorite is Fosco Maraini's Karakoram: The Ascent of Gasherbrum IV. He was first and foremost an ethnologist, as well as a wonderfully vivid writer, so the cultural context of the climb and the attitudes of the climbers are presented with a sensitivity that is rare in this genre. Introspective without being self-indulgent, which is hard to pull off.

My desert island mountain book would be Maraini's Where Four Worlds Meet: Hindu Kush, 1959. It's only incidentally about mountaineering, though. I was fortunate to follow in some of his footsteps there before political and religious fanaticism made it a no-man's land. The photography of Nuristan alone is worth the price you have to pay for a vintage copy.


Ah yes, how could I have forgotten these? Maraini's Karakorum was one of the books I very much enjoyed reading in my youth. I agree that both books are outstanding.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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