We love reading about climbing as much as we actually love climbing. There's nothing quite like opening a book and reading about life in Camp 4, the contention between climbing's earliest elite climbers, and how our sport has evolved into what it is today.
Each one of these books serves a different niche purpose, but as a whole, they inspire today's modern climber to appreciate the ones who came before.
This is a homage of our favorite books, and although there are so many more to love, these ones will take you on a journey through time – back when a climbing gym John Bachar's bouldering circuit and a harness was double looped swami belt.
Disclaimer: We've included affiliate links for these books below to make it easier for you to find 'em.
Climbing Free: My Life in the Vertical World
Need we say more? Lynn Hill is one of the most iconic climbers in the world and a firecracker who trailblazed her way through history. As one of the few women who rocked the climbing community in an era when it was predominately male, she was fearless in her pursuits. She was the first person to ever free climb The Nose on El Capitan, setting an incredible precedent that anything is possible. Her autobiography dances through her childhood, transition into climbing, and her life on the rock.
If you're looking to be deeply inspired, look no further.
This recently published book details climbing history from the point of view of Jeff Smoot, a writer and climber during the 80s. The story preps the reader with basic climbing history and then jumps straight into juicy and inspiring first-hand accounts of Smoot's dirtbag days and the race for 5.14. Climbing style and ethics have evolved from the very beginning and Smoot does an incredible job of making the reader question their own climbing ethics and wonder what the future holds for our crags.
If you're into reading on the history of specific climbs or nerding out about Yosemite/Joshua Tree/Smith Rock, this one's for you.
The Impossible Climb*
When Alex Honnold historically free soloed El Cap in 2017, author Mark Synnott was part of the small group who knew the ascent was solid the second it happened. As a writer for National Geographic, Synnott followed and interviewed Honnold in the years and months as he prepped for his free solo. Impossible Climb gives readers an inside look into the small community of high-level climbers and how the history of Honnold's iconic free solo started long before the climb itself.
If you're interested in hearing about some of America's greatest climbers and all the scandalous details, this one's for you.
Alone on The Wall*
Alex Honnold, unarguably the world's most fearless climber, published an autobiography in 2015. Although this was 2 years before he would go on to free solo Freerider on El Capitan, the book captures Honnold's most honest thoughts and journey into many of his other iconic ascents.
If you're looking for a glimpse into what it takes to be an elite and fearless climber, this one's for you.
The Push captures Tommy Caldwell's life story in the most captivating and can't-put-this-book-down type of way. He gets incredibly raw and vulnerable about the effects of being held hostage in Kyrgyzstan, his relationship with Beth Rodden, and what it really felt like to finally ascend The Dawn Wall.
If you're looking for inspiration to never give up on your dreams, this one's for you.