Living at the coast and loving to climb I sadly don’t get to go to the mountains that much. Practice makes an expert, but to build up the theoretical skills and knowledge I decided to get a book to help with the latter. Alpine Climbing: Techniques to take you Higher is a superb read which helps you to take the first steps in becoming an alpinist.
As with other books about climbing, they’re there to read up on skills & knowledge and help you to avoid making mistakes. However, the best way to learn is to be in the mountains - go with a Guide at the beginning, visit courses to build up the practical skills and take the first solo excursions on easy objectives.
Alpine Climbing: Techniques to take you Higher was the first book that popped up in Amazon search when looking for alpine climbing books. The authors, Mark Houston and Kathy Cosley are both certified UIAGM mountain guides, have been climbing on all big ranges of the world and have a lot of experience, which they share in this 330 page book. It’s not a book that you will read in one sitting and then pass on, but more likely it will sit on your bookshelf for a long time while you’re referring back to it to look something up. As a novice alpinist (if we don’t count the childhood ascents with mom. dad and siblings) I found the book a superb read, never boring and always informative.
The book is divided in seven chapters and starts out with “The Making of an Alpinist”. After having established what an alpinist is, the authors move on to talk about The Alpine Environment, Preparation and Equipment and Routefinding and Navigation before giving loads of practical examples of how to belay on rock, snow and ice, help you plan a white-out strategy and give tips on glacier travel. Very enlightening I found the little stories of their experiences in the mountains which are interweaved into the text via grey boxes, these personal accounts make for amusing & interesting reading.
Alpine Climbing is easy to read from cover to cover, however, with so much information in it there’s a lot to digest, so it will be a book which I will continue to refer to while I make excursions to the mountains - I’m just unlikely to remember it all from reading it just once. As it is well structured with a good index to look things up that won’t be a problem, either, and it’s nice and compact so it also fits well in my pack and can be taken along in a pinch. If you’re looking to take the next step with your hiking and climbing then Alpine Climbing: Techniques to take you Higher is a very good book to get you started.