08 december 2011

Book Review: Alpine Mountaineering

I've done a few mountaineering courses in the past few years, and have also climbed a few mountains. However, living in The Netherlands means I don't have very easy access to mountains. This makes it hard to get a lot of experience and keep up to date with things like crevasse-rescue techniques.

So what do I do when I'm at home? - I at least try to stay up to date with the theoretical part of things. For that, there's the internet and there are books. I can easily get lost on the net for hours watching YouTube and reading about climbing gear, layering strategies for clothing, how to get a low pack-weight etc.. But it's also nice to hold a real book once in a while. 

Recently I bought Alpine Mountaineering by Bruce Goodlad 
(Pesda Press, ISBN 978-1-906095-30-7).

Alpine Mountaineering Bruce Goodlad
The book seems to be written for British hillwalkers wanting to 'cross the channel' and go the European Alps.
However, once you get past that, you find a book that describes alpine mountaineering basics which are off course universaly applicable in alpine terrain.

There are chapters like: 'About the Alps', 'Alpine Weather' and a Guidebook section which are very specific to the (Western) Alps. Having been there a few times, it's very nice to recognize certain things - for instance a picture of Pierre of the Dix hut.

There are also chapters which are - although not new information for me for the the most part - always nice to read for gear-junkies like myself, like 'Kit for the Alps' and 'Technical Equipment'. Personally I rarely get tired from reading about how an alpine climbing rack is made up. Ice-screws, slings, carabiners, quick-draws, nuts, cams, there's lots of toys.

Chapters about 'Alpine Movement', 'Glacier Travel' and 'Speed vs. Security' are also there. Although there's no substitute for experience there's loads of pictures showing you how it's done.

I find I re-read sections of the book every now and again. The style in which the book is written makes it easy to read, and the pictures make everything very clear. I would highly recommend this book for 'budding alpinists' but also for mountaineers with some experience - there something there for everybody.

disclosure: I've bought the book myself and haven't been asked by the author to do a review. I also haven't asked him about the pictures I took of the book, so I hope that's ok ;-)

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