18 Best Climbing Books Update 05/2022

Best Climbing Books

Rock Warrior’s Way, Arno Ilgner

Rock Warrior’s Way, Arno Ilgner

Every climber should read this mental training guide. Whether you hit 5.15 or 5.5, it’s important to read. The mental side of rock climbing is often not talked about in climbing books, but we all know how important our thoughts are to our climbing performance and experience.

This book shows you how to train your mind to get over everything from performance anxiety to the fear of falling. Our love for climbing can be our motivator instead of fear or ego. The Rock Warrior’s Way helps us learn how to use that as our motivation instead.

Espresso Lessons, Arno Ilgner

Espresso Lessons by Arno Ilgner is just like it sounds. It gives climbers a lot of useful advice in a short and powerful package. In his first book, Rock Warrior’s Way, Ilgner talks about how to improve your mental strength. In this follow-up, he shows how to apply these ideas to real-world climbing situations. This book helps you think about when and how to take risks, how to deal with the importance and inevitableness of falling, and other things that can help you build a strong mind as you climb.

Any climber knows that sometimes, the mental part of the sport can be more difficult than any one physical part. It’s worth your time to learn concrete ways to build and use your strength of mind as you climb. To get the most out of Ilgner’s books, make sure you read Rock Warrior’s Way before reading any of them!

Vertical Mind: Psychological Approaches for Optimal Rock Climbing, Don McGrath and Jeff Elison

In this mental training manual, Don McGrath and Jeff Elison show us how important our minds are when it comes to becoming the best athletes we can be. This book is based on the most recent research in brain science and psychology, and it can help you change your brain and your body to work better.

You should read this book if you are afraid or anxious when you are rock climbing and don’t want to move forward. Another thing this book talks about is how to help your partner become a better climber as well. Expect a lot of useful drills, exercises, and advice!

Best rock climbing autobiographies and stories

Drawn: The Art of Ascent, Jeremy Collins

As a father and husband, Jeremy Collins felt drawn to climb in every direction. This is the story he tells in an artful way in the book Drawn. A close friend died in a climbing accident. Jeremy and his friends decide to go on a trip to put up first ascents in the US, China and Venezuela. Drawn also has beautiful art from the sketchbooks that he kept while he was on vacation. A few years ago, this won the Banff Mountain Book Award for Adventure Travel, and for good reason. Climbers and non-climbers alike will find this book interesting and useful.

Camp 4: Recollections of a Yosemite Rockclimber, Steve Roper

Camp 4 Recollections of a Yosemite Rockclimber, Steve Roper

During this book, we get to see the history of climbing culture in Yosemite and get a close look at how one of America’s subcultures came to be. He spent most of his 10 years living in the valley of Yosemite during what many people call the “Golden Age of rock-climbing.” In the 1960s, Camp 4 was the place for climbers who didn’t fit in. These are stories about the people, climbs, attitudes, and stories that came out of Camp 4 and Yosemite.

Climbing Free: My Life in the Vertical World, Lynn Hill

It is Lynn Hill’s autobiography, Climbing Free. It tells the story of how she grew up, how she became a climber, and how she became the first person to climb El Capitan’s The Nose on her own in 1994.

If you read a lot of climbing autobiographies, you might think they are self-absorbed or egotistical. This book is refreshingly free of pretense and makes you want to climb.

High Infatuation: A Climber’s Guide to Love and Gravity, Steph Davis

During this honest account of love, soul-searching, and climbing, Steph Davis shows how much she loves climbing rocks. High Infatuation is a great book about the drama and details of attempting certain routes. It also gives a glimpse into the mind of a climber.

If you feel like climbing is the only thing that makes sense in your life and makes all of your decisions, this book is for you. It will make you feel less crazy.

Alone on the Wall, Alex Honnold

Alex Honnold, a world-famous free soloist, talks about risk, reward, and keeping a laser-focused eye on the goal. In Alone on the Wall, Alex looks inside himself as he talks about his seven best climbs.

Co-writer David Roberts adds more context and perspective for the reader, who is known for understating his epic feats. 16 pages of color photos will make you want to go outside and chase your dreams.

Psychovertical, Andy Kirkpatrick

Psychovertical, Andy Kirkpatrick

This book is about Andy Kirkpatrick’s thirteen-day climb of the Reticent Wall on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley. He tells this story with stories about many other daring climbs that will make you think of “suffer-fest” in a whole new way. His whole story is based on the question, “Is this worth it?” He tries to answer this question for himself, and the reader gets a sense of his personality, marriage, and family as he does.

Women Who Dare: North America’s Most Inspiring Women Climbers, Chris Noble

Women Who Dare by Chris Noble is a book about 20 of the most badass female climbers in the United States. It’s a great source of inspiration for both climbing and life in general. In this book, you’ll meet a wide range of women who are both unique and badass, from young climbers like Sasha DiGuilian to long-time climbers like Lynn Hill.

Even if you’re a climber or not, Women Who Dare will make you want to do more. If you want to learn more about how to follow your dreams, deal with problems, and find happiness in everything you do, this book is for you. This book is full of amazing photos and words that will make you want to climb more. Chris Noble did a great job with this book.

Learning to Fly: A Memoir of Hanging On and Letting Go, Steph Davis

We get to know StephDavis’ husband, Dean Potter, and how his controversial climb of Delicate Arch put a strain on their relationship, her career, and made her question who she was. This is the second book that she has written. This causes her to go out on her own with her dog, Fletch, in search of something to help her figure out who she is.

She ends up becoming in love with skydiving and BASE jumping. They are both about what climbers don’t like and try to avoid as much as possible: falling. Love, risk, and adventure are all in this great story.

Best books for technical rock climbing skills

Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills, (multiple authors)

People who like to climb and mountaineer can’t get enough of Freedom of the Hills, which has been in print for more than 50 years! Many climbers treat this 600-page book like a Bible.

Helpful diagrams are spread across the pages, and the writing is easy to read and understand. Outdoor basics, rock climbing technique, rope work, emergency response, and more are all covered in the well-organized chapters.

Self-Rescue, David Fasulo

Self-Rescue, David Fasulo

This is a subject that is very important but isn’t very often talked about when we first start climbing. It is up to the climber to know at least the basics of how to get back up on their own. Self-rescue is one of the most important things you can learn in this book. You’ll also learn how to rappel down a multi-pitch route with an injured climber. David Fasluo also talks about knots, anchor and belay systems, hitches, and other important things in great detail. You owe it to yourself and your partner to know the ideas in this book.

It’s hard to understand how to avoid getting hurt while rock climbing if you make too many moves at once. This book will help you understand the injuries and overuse syndromes of rock climbing. 

One Move Too Many: How to Understand the Injuries and Overuse Syndromes of Rock Climbing, Thomas Hochholzer and Volket Schoffl

This book not only gives us practical advice on how to treat climbing injuries, but it also talks about something that climbers don’t think about very often: how to avoid getting hurt in the first place. A good mix of anatomy, science, and sports medicine helped the authors write this guide. It helps us understand climbing and how it affects our bodies. In this book, you’ll learn about taping, stretching, muscle development, overuse symptoms, rehabilitation, and basic anatomy, as well as how to treat them.

The Trad Climber’s Bible, John Long and Peter Croft

The Trad Climber’s Bible is a book about traditional climbing written by two of the best and most interesting people in our sport. In their book, Long and Croft give their readers a lot of knowledge and inspiration by telling them about how they’ve had to work hard to climb trad routes. This book was written by Falcon Guides, but it is not a guidebook or how-to book. It is a collection of stories about trad climbing that have been written in a narrative style. However, you can learn a lot from this book.

The Good, the Great, and the Awesome, Peter Croft

The Good, the Great, and the Awesome, Peter Croft

In this book, you’ll find Peter Croft’s guide to the Sierra. We know, we know: How could a guidebook be worth reading?

If you buy this guide, not only will you get information on 40 of the High Sierra’s best routes, but almost every route comes with a hilarious, epic, or cringe-worthy story from Peter himself. People say this is more like a journal than a guidebook. This is more like that. I bet it will get you excited and make you think about what rock climbing is all about.

Basic Rockcraft, Royal Robbins

Our top pick for best books about rock climbing is Basic Rockcraft, which was written in 1971. It’s not because it has new information, but because it shows us an important part of the history of rock climbing. If you read the title, you already know what this book is about: how to climb rocks. It’s a short book that anyone who wants to learn about climbing could read in a short amount of time. It doesn’t matter if you climb 5.15. Even if you don’t, you’ll love this book for its charm and glimpse into our history.

Rock Jocks, Wall Rats, and Hang Dogs, John Long

This is a book about the history of rock climbing that is both funny and interesting. John Long is the author. It tells us about the early days of climbing through stories from the “golden age” of climbing. Rock Jocks, Wall Rats, and Hang Dogs is a book about climbing.

It makes you feel like you’re sitting around a fire with Long and drinking beers with him.

This bookalso offers valuable insight, philosophy, and technical information to make this book a must-read for any climber.

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