Friday, August 26, 2011

Book Review - Alpine Climbing: Techniques to Take You Higher

Alpine Climbing: Techniques to Take You Higher
by Mark Houston and Kathy Cosley
Mountaineers Books; $21.95

Most bookstores and climbing shops have a shelf set aside where one can find a number of “how-to” volumes on alpine climbing and mountaineering. For the aspiring alpinist, picking through such tomes can be a daunting task. Which author has the most experience? Which book is the easiest to read? Which provides the most information? In other words, which of these books is the best? Mountaineers Books has answered each of these questions with their new instructional manual, Alpine Climbing: Techniques to Take You Higher by Mark Houston and Kathy Cosley.

Houston and Cosley have over fifty years of combined experience as instructors, guides, and climbers. They guided for AAI for many years in the Cascades, Alaska Range, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Nepal. This depth of experience in all three capacities is directly reflected in Techniques to Take You Higher. The book is laid out in an easy to read format that addresses everything an alpine climber might need to know. The book starts with the dynamic psychological skill of making informed decisions in the mountains and then works its way through each of the technical skills required for a climber to move safely and effectively in an alpine environment.

One very nice element of the book are anecdotes throughout the text that highlight the value of each chapter’s content. For example, Houston writes about the extraction of a climber from a crevasse who fell in while glissading during a discussion on the dangers of that method of descent; and Cosley writes about dealing with a victim of AMS in a section on altitude illness. These stories scattered throughout the book reemphasize the importance of the skills being discussed while providing entertaining tangents.

Alpine Climbing: Techniques to Take You Higher is an excellent resource for the beginning to intermediate alpinist. Indeed, the collected experiences and instruction of Mark Houston and Kathy Cosley might be well worth a read by even the most seasoned of alpine climbers.

--Jason D. Martin

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a very useful book. I've been looking into climbing recently, and might have to purchase this book.