/ Do you have a library of climbing books?

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Only a hill - on 02 Nov 2012
I think most of us probably have a collection of guidebooks, but I'm interested in how many climbers enjoy collecting mountain books of all kinds for the sake of it. I know of several climbers who have amassed pretty impressive collections over the years including some real gems. My own library isn't huge (and is hugely disordered!) but I've started to sense that, for me, the pleasure of collecting books has eclipsed the practical need for the information they contain...

Is this a common phenomenon amongst climbers? What are your favourite climbing books you have collected?

My overall favourite is probably "Mountaineering in Scotland" by W.H.Murray.
Tall Clare - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Only a hill:

My dad occasionally gives me very old mountaineering books he's found in secondhand shops - one dates from 1897.

I also received a box of first editions a while back, containing the likes of I Chose To Climb, The Hard Years, and Conquistadors of the Useless.
Only a hill - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:
Brilliant--I'm constantly amazed at how many mountaineering books you can find in the average second hand bookshop, even far from the hills. Yesterday in Aldeburgh (Suffolk) I spotted about seven in one shop!
Doug on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Only a hill: I have a couple of shelves of climbing related books, plus magazines & club journals but have never thought of it as a collection (have many more botanical/natural history books & journals)
hokkyokusei - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Only a hill:

A quick glance at my shelves says that I may have unwittingly started to collect.
Rich L - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Only a hill:
I have charity shop where I am always finding climbing books, but I have not got around to reading any of them yet, so I guess I am collecting. However, my rationale is that, due to limited print runs, climbing books are expensive, so it is a good idea to snap them up when I can.

However, I am going to start "High Endeavours: The Life and Legend of Robin Smith" later.
Robert Durran - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Only a hill:

I have my own pretty good contemporary (1970's onwards) collection, but I was lucky enough to inherit an amazing collection of mountaineering related books from a mountaineering uncle. They include some real gems such as first editions of Whymper and Shackleton, The Abrahams brothers books and a beautiful privately published account of an ascent of Mont Blanc from the 1830's. There are lots I have never read (and when I do I'll probably read modern editions of the old ones so as not to damage them!). It is lovely to have them on my bookshelves.

My favourites are probably Whymper and Murray.

I plan to add your book when it comes out in papoerback!
The Pylon King on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Only a hill:

Ive got a right old collection but my favourite is still my original copy of "Lets Go climbing" by Colin Kirkus.
Duncan Bourne - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Only a hill:
I have a small collection of Peak Guide books going back to 1948 as well as a selection of biographies and guides to climbing including Colin Kirkus's "Let's go climbing" 1941. Perhaps my favourite though is Gill Fawcett's (later Kent) "The Alternative guide to climbing" a superb humorous guide to pubs, cafs and other ephemera of the climbing world.
Tom Last - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Only a hill:

Yeah I've got about 100 or so, I didn't realise I was collecting them until I found myself buying Extreme Rock! ;)

Favourite is Camps and Climbs in Arctic Norway by Tom Weir.
Timmd on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Duncan Bourne:I have 'The Alternative Guide To Climbing', I like the cartoons in it as well as the written humour.
drmarten on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Only a hill:
I have a small selection of climbing books, if I had to keep one it would be "Mountaineering in Scotland" by WH Murray.
Greenbanks - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Rich L:

> However, I am going to start "High Endeavours: The Life and Legend of Robin Smith" later<

Interesting book - not sure about the picture painted of Robin though.

To the OP, I have got about 150 climbing & climbing related books...as I slowly expire this life (well, not just yet...) I'd expect the collection to multiply.
My collections of High, Rocksport, Mountain etc were snaffled by a punter on here ( :-)))) ) because we were running out of loft-space

Greenbanks - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Greenbanks:

And my favourite book is a toss-up between Bill Peascod's Journey After Dawn and Samson, by Jim Perrin.
Graham T - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Greenbanks:

No idea how many I have got. Mine is more measured in distance so can never be bothered to count books. Mine is half a shelf or so, mind you one shelf is about 7 ft long and 10 inches wide.
Like others have said I am expecting the collection to increase over time.
Bulls Crack - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Only a hill:

I have a first edition E A Bakers Morrs, Crags Caves of the High Peak etc + few others
cornishmackem - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Only a hill: I have a good few, all time favourite though Hermann Buhl:Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage
MattJP - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Only a hill:

We have lots of mountain books! We have the guide book shelf and the literature shelf and the several shelves of books of mountain areas!

Latest addition, Fiva by Gordon Stainforth! :D

Also natural history sheves and cooking shelves! If it was Facebook I would post a pic of the shelves! :D
ajones - on 02 Nov 2012
The second-hand bookshop near me has a decent selection of mountain/climbing books which has no doubt made it easier for my own collection to grow. I'd only buy books that I was interested in reading (that goes for all books, not just mountaineering ones) but I am a bit of a hoarder with it too, am rapidly running out of shelf space. The most recent acquisition was a 1940's edition of On High Hills by Geoffrey Winthrop Young, though most of my collection is more contemporary. All-time favourites include Conquistadors of the Useless and White Spider as well as more recently published books like Learning to Breathe and Revelations.
Tom W - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Only a hill:

I have guides to places I've never been and ones to places I may have been only once or twice. As said charity shops are a great place to get older books, I'll often pop in to one on the way home after work. I occasionally get into trouble for amassing more of them, but I can't help it...! Cordee is my best friend. One of my many dreams is to run an outdoor bookshop and cafe.

My favourite is the last edition of Yorkshire Grit. It was the first climbing book I ever bought, is full of ticks and scribbles, I love the topos and descriptions. Brilliant book for the crag or bath! Now held together with tape.
Mike C on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Only a hill:

Blimey, where to start? Leaving out over 100 Scottish climbing guides, probably 50 odd other guides, I have almost all the SMC regional guides ever printed, then all sorts of books on a variety of mountain related topics. Most valuable is probably Extreme Rock, favorite read would be Borthwick's Always a Little Further, oldest possibly Ernest Bakers's Highlands with Rope And Rucksack (1928), quirkiest has to be Know The Game Rock Climbing. Most treasured is first N E Coast of Scotland climbing guide from 1960.
cuppatea on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Only a hill:

My most read (after North Devon and Cornwall CC Guide) is an old picture book called "Holding The Heights".
Still inspires.

Thinking about it...I should put "time for tea" on my wishlist.
Co1in H - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Only a hill: My mountaineering collection stands at around 1,400. Plus an almost complete run of Alpine Journals, some American AJs and a full set of Mountain magazine.
About 50% of my books are signed.
Favourites? Most of them although I have a soft spot for the Snowflake edition of Scrambles and I do have 2 copies. In a fire I would probably save one of those, a signed Bonatti and my signed Murray.
I've been collecting for 42 years and there is still so much to find.
Colin H
Co1in H - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Co1in H: Oh yes and my copy of Conquistadors signed by Terray and Herzog.
Fly Fifer - on 02 Nov 2012
In reply to Only a hill: I have gathered a few over the years

Personal Favourites include:

Bells Scottish Climbs
Memoirs of a Mountianeers - F Spencer Chapman
A few by Richard Gilbert

And the brilliant

The Cairngorms Scence and Unseen - Sydney Scroggie

The author of which was blown up by a mine towards the end of WWII, lost a leg and his sight but continued to exploxe the gorms in spite of it all. First class.

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