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Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills

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The latest edition of the classic guide to mountaineering describes fundamental climbing skills; discusses rock, snow, and ice climbing techniques; recommends clothing and equipment; gives advice on safety and first aid; and includes a new section on waterfall ice and mixed climbing. Simultaneous.

575 pages, Paperback

First published April 1, 1960

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The Mountaineers Club

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5 stars
2,517 (68%)
4 stars
904 (24%)
3 stars
221 (5%)
2 stars
39 (1%)
1 star
18 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 167 reviews
16 reviews2 followers
May 15, 2010
If you are not a climber and/or are not interested in ever being a climber, then, for the love of God, do NOT buy this book. You will be bored to tears! But if you love the outdoors and backpacking into the high country or would like to improve your skills climbing rocks/ice/glaciers/whatever, then this book is fantastic. Written by a team of professional climbers and continuously revised, this book covers every aspect of climbing, from setting up camp, choosing the right gear, advanced climbing techniques, even protecting the environment ("leave no trace"). It's essentially a textbook for learning how to climb... the only thing missing is the mountains themselves (you have to provide those). Highly recommended for anyone interested in mountain climbing.
Profile Image for Traian Stancescu.
32 reviews1 follower
September 15, 2016
The one and only bible of mountaineering. Reading this monster requires a huge investment of time, energy, and patience. It is not only long, but too fucking verbose and the intonation is boring.

Having said that, I am extremely happy that I went though it. I now have the theoretical basics to do about anything on the mountains on this planet. In practice, however, it's a different story. The book will open your eyes and make you aware of the many skills you need to not die out there. It takes several months to read about, but a lifetime to practice them.

If you read something like this, it will motivate you to go further and work to become a mountaineer. Because it would be a pity to spend all this effort and acquire all this knowledge for nothing.
Profile Image for Laura Leaney.
461 reviews103 followers
April 7, 2018
I learned so much from this book that I hesitate in taking off a star. (I do admit to skipping the sections on belaying, et cetera, since I've no intention of advanced climbing). The only issue I had with reading the book relates to the textbookish language that made for some tedious reading. I'm not sure how one could make it more exciting, but there you have it.

The material on hiking and/or backpacking in harsh conditions was excellent, especially the chapter on traveling through snow and in avalanche territory (watch National Geographic's The White Death).
December 15, 2017
When they say that this book is the bible of mountaineering, they sure aren't kidding. This book is filled above the brim with all kinds of information concerning numerous aspects of the sport. The detail is awesome, the illustrations are superb, and the whole thing is seriously well put together. I think the best things about this book is the breadth of the topics it covers.
When I bought the book, I thought I was going to learn about mountaineering in great detail, and perhaps a little about camping and rock climbing. In reality, this book tells you about pretty much everything. It teaches navigation, ice climbing, how to dress, wilderness medicine, and avalanche safety, to name a few. Granted that no one book can tell you all there is to know about every aspect of climbing, this one provides a solid base-knowledge and the foundations for taking the next steps. I am a pretty experienced hiker, and I was still surprised by all the new info that I got from reading this book. The book is over 700 pages long, and the writers make excellent use of every one of them. Reading this book will give you great advice on what gear to buy, how to stay safe out there, and, as cliche as it may sound, could realistically save your life.
My advice is to read this book like a textbook. Mark up the pages, add notes, write down your own ideas, and read it multiple times. And of course, go with experienced people before you tackle dangerous climbs.
No one I know has ever gone mountaineering, There are only two things that are helping me reach my goal of being able to climb mountains year round: my own motivation and Freedom of the Hills. I'm a first generation climber just trying to figure things out, and I'm beyond grateful for others who have gone to the time and effort to put something like this together. Skip the frustration of turning to disreputable sources. Videos and forums on the internet won't get you anywhere. Invest in this book if you're serious about getting on top of the world's high places. I'm stoked to see where it can take me. Hopefully, reading this book will be my first step a lifetime of adventure. Also, if anyone needs a mountaineering partner in Utah or Salt Lake County, hit me up haha
Profile Image for William Long.
14 reviews1 follower
January 15, 2014
This reference book is to mountaineering (or just camping and hiking) as Joy of Cooking is to the cooking world. A must have for any outdoorsman (or woman).
12 reviews
February 19, 2015
Freedom of the hills is packed with knowledge and skills that are helpful in order to survive in the mountains. As a mountaineer I am always pushing to increase my skills and knowledge in order to climb more difficult mountains. I initially started out with an older edition of this book and purchased the new one as soon as I saw it. The book covers anything from basic knowledge of gear to more advanced skills and techniques. I found that this book is very thorough and is very fair in what it teaches. After reading "Freedom of the Hills" I successfully climbed Mt Aconcagua, Mt Hood, Grand Teton, Gannett Peak, and an attempt up Mt Rainier's Tahoma Cleaver. This book gained the title of 'The Mountaineers Bible' for a reason. The most helpful portion of the book for me was glacier travel and anchors. Knowing how to safely rope up as a team and travel on a mountain is a art that takes a lot of practice and reading. Without the knowledge that I gained in this book I would certainly not be here to write today. This book also makes a perfect gift for anyone who is into hiking/mountaineering or wants to get into it.
April 18, 2017
The latest edition of the classic guide to mountaineering describes fundamental climbing skills; discusses rock, snow, and ice climbing techniques; recommends clothing and equipment; gives advice on safety and first aid; and includes a new section on waterfall ice and mixed climbing. Simultaneous.
Profile Image for James Morrison.
164 reviews3 followers
April 4, 2013
What can you say about a book that is six decades in the making, evolving and written by a whole group of experts from various parts of the sport?
It is simply the best text book for mountaineers. It includes quite a bit of alpine climbing and very good basic rock climbing advice. Lots of excellent illustrations. I see the changes in the last 3 or so editions, but they are only modest improvements. I happen to have editions dating back to the original "Mountaineers Handbook" (Superior 1948). This is an excellent gift for any mountaineer that doesn't have the latest copy.
1 review10 followers
October 25, 2015
Saying that this is the "Bible of Mountaineering" is an understatement.

A more accurate comparison would be to say that this is the Bible plus everything that has ever been written on religion since that time, neatly summarized into less than 600 pages.

Anyone willing to put in the time will benefit from reading this book.

If only textbooks were this insightful when I was in school -- 5 stars.
February 13, 2022
A lot of great information. It is a very complete guide with a lot of technical and in-depth information that might keep you alive in certain environments, specially if you are getting into mountaineering.
Profile Image for Cory verner.
18 reviews5 followers
June 27, 2012
Hands down the best book on Mountaineering I have read. The only other titles that rival it are the Mountaineers Outdoor Expert guides for the specific activity you are training for. Make sure you pick up a current edition. The first edition, published in 1961 is worth browsing for entertainment but maybe not for lifesaving tips on the mountain. I read the 7th edition.
Profile Image for Jane.
69 reviews
Currently reading
January 30, 2013
I am seriously reading this book for my WTC course with the Sierra Club. Just started reading about navigation & how to use a compass. Besides supporting the Sierra Club I suggest supporting the Mountaineer's Books. My sister works there & they publish great hiking, mountaineering, & camping guides.
Profile Image for Tommy.
15 reviews5 followers
August 12, 2016
The essential mountaineering handbook. A concise (600+ pages!) text book for the basic knowledge necessary for backpacking and climbing mountains off the grid. Reading it once is not enough. Practicing the concepts in the field will be the only way to digest the material. You will use it as a reference guide again and again, countless times.
Profile Image for Du Nguyen.
215 reviews16 followers
June 17, 2017
Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills is nothing else but a must for any mountaineer. It is rightly considered the Bible of mountaineering and contains all the information that you would ever want to know about mountain climbing.

The book is especially easy to read considering the subjects covered. The many pictures are definitely a help and while outdoors experience is really the only way to learn mountaineering, the book is really well written. I especially like the sections on planning trips and expedition leadership, something that is often overlooked. The chapters on weather systems and geology is also fascinating to read and puts some perspective to the feat of mountaineering. The authors write with a clear and concise language with pictures added for extra comprehension.

For any aspiring mountaineer, this is a must to read. I am sure that no matter how many mountains I will climb, I can still return to this book and learn something new.
Profile Image for Patrick.
289 reviews26 followers
January 11, 2018
In the grand tradition of The Compleat Walker, this is a wide-ranging field guide to challenges and techniques for mountain travel. The book assumes that you're going climbing (and not just hiking), but if that's not you, you can skip the middle chapters on technical climbing. The chapters on equipment, shelter, navigation, snow travel, leadership, safety, and first aid were all practical and applicable, and the chapters on geology, snow, and weather were excellent introductions to the mountain environment.

Recommended for anyone who spends significant time outdoors in the mountains.
January 3, 2020
I have studied the freedom of the hills before, I used this edition to train our group for Mt. Shasta climb. Lost of more details about the climb on my blog - http://www.vitraag.com, what really struck with me on this read is how to convey trail etiquettes. I print pages from this book and our group took turns reading it, substantially changed our group dynamics. This is a go to for any thing mountaineering.
Profile Image for Jonathan Wilbur.
35 reviews1 follower
September 28, 2020
Wow. Finished this book, now I have to admit that it is boring for those who have no interest in climbing, but this is literally THE HANDBOOK of Mountaineering. It literally has everything you need to know and covers everything. From belaying, first aid, clothes, ice axes, crampons etc. It has everything you need to know. 3 star rating though for excitement, but 5 out of 5 for the information and everything.
255 reviews1 follower
October 18, 2021
Considered the Bible of Mountaineering. Everything you need to know to be a mountain climber, including rock and ice climbing. I found the opening chapters helpful for everyday hiking - how to be prepared, the items you should always carry, when to carry additional items, how to deal with certain hazards and more. I borrowed from the library since I’m only interested in day hiking and only wanted to read those related sections.
Profile Image for Juhi Singh.
14 reviews27 followers
June 3, 2020
The level of detail in this book is unbelievable. From insulating layers to pitching a tent to avalanche rescue, there is nothing that this book doesn't cover about mountaineering. If you're just getting into mountaineering, it would be easier to go on a guided trip and learn the ropes from a guide than try to remember everything in the book.
June 19, 2020
The classic text book for mountain-lovers that has been revised and up-dated a number of times (this is the 9th edition). I have the hard copy, but decided to buy the kindle edition for convenience. I use this book as a reference when writing risk assessments for particular activities (www.rinjanidawnadventures.com) and for learning different techniques.
Profile Image for Bruce.
102 reviews10 followers
February 21, 2022
This was the book that got me into mountaineering for real, after always wanting to do that activity. Completely great book, and probably saved me from grave injury or worse. I also bought the seventh edition, but never really read it, as the old climber I have become no longer has the boldness I once wished to have.
18 reviews
June 3, 2022
Over the past year have fallen in love with Rock Climbing and this book truly brings an amazingly written technical manual on different styles explaining different pieces of equipment that help me to really understand a lot about climbing. Really this book is for people who are climbers and really want to understand much more about a lot of different styles of climbing and gear.
Profile Image for William Buchanan.
24 reviews4 followers
June 25, 2017
It's pretty cool to have this book handy in ebook format while killing time in morraine camp at 5,000m and consulting the glacier! I wish it had more specific technical information, but I suppose that's why it lists other books as reference.
Profile Image for Logan Streondj.
Author 2 books11 followers
July 28, 2020
Very thorough covers everything you might like to know before going mountaineering. It is like having an expert explain all the basics and fundamentals you might need. Of course you will still need to train, have adequate preparatian etc but this book will get you started.
5 reviews
August 16, 2020
Dağcılık kulübümüzün eğitimlerinde kullandığımız temel kaynak kitabımız buydu. A'dan Z'ye her konunun detaylı bir şekilde ele alındığı oldukça kapsayıcı bir eser. Dağcılık sporuna ilgi duyan ve bu sporla bilinçli bir şekilde uğraşmak isteyenler için çok elzem bir kitap.
8 reviews5 followers
September 15, 2020
The definitive text on the subject. If you want to get in the mountains, and do it safely, or are just curious about how it's done, this is how you start learning. Well illustrated, evolved over decades, excellent.
Profile Image for Scott.
120 reviews20 followers
December 5, 2022
This is THE book to start with if you're interested in learning and doing climbing, mountaineering, alpinism and even just non-technical hiking or peak bagging. Definitely a manual and not a novel, but it serves to help you enjoy "The Freedom of the Hills".
Profile Image for Nam.
415 reviews
May 5, 2017
learned a lot. provides a good basis and support for all the nuances i'm learning in person
Displaying 1 - 30 of 167 reviews

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