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U.K. Climbing
Greater Ranges/Climbing Travel
Humour, Collected Essays, Climbing Metaphysics
Welcome to our definitive guide to mountaineering literature, written by Colin Wells. If you're new to the subject, you're in for a treat, as there's no rubbish included in this list. If you're an old hand, we hope you might find some new classic tomes which have escaped your attention in what is intended to be an eclectic rummage through climbing's written heritage.

We've concentrated on the literary side of the genre, as opposed to the more prosaic world of guidebooks and instructional texts. There are one or two exceptions to this where sheer quality or originality of approach has transcended mere utilitarian purpose to produce a book to enjoy in its own right.

However, the bulk of this collection is unashamedly biased towards works which are creative, artistic, historical, biographical, or humorous - or all of these!

Hence, despite their former domination of the genre, there are remarkably few 'expedition books' included, as these invariably tread a formulaic path - only those which break the mould or are otherwise outstanding make the grade.

The works selected here also range in chronology from the very dawn of the sport in the 'Golden Age of Alpinism', right through to the present day, thereby proving that good climbing writing is still alive and well despite 150 years of multi-media dumbing down (this website excepted of course. Ahem).

We've broken the sorted the selected titles into five broad categories; namely:

U.K. Climbing
Humour/Collected essays/Compilations/Climbing Metaphysics
Greater Ranges/Climbing Travel

  Star rating guide

   Simply the best
   Ace, definitely worth a try
   Good, not to everyone's taste but fine within its genre
   So-so. Caution advised, but important because of historical interest
   Is there anything on telly?

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