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Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills  is often considered the standard textbook for mountaineering and climbing in North America. The book was first published in 1960 by The Mountaineers of Seattle, Washington. The book was written by a team of over 40 experts in the field.
The book grew out of the annual climbing course run since 1935 by the Mountaineers, for which the reading material was originally a combination of European works and lecturers' mimeo outlines. These were assembled into the Climber's Notebook and published by the Mountaineers as the hardbound Mountaineers Handbook in 1948. By 1955 the rapid postwar evolution of climbing techniques and tools had made the Handbook out of date, and the effort was begun to produce Freedom of the Hills. Nearly 80 major contributors are credited in the first edition and were organized by a committee of 8 editors.
The first four editions were only available in hardcover.
|1st||1960||Harvey Manning||430 pp.|
|2nd||1967||Harvey Manning||485 pp.|
|3rd||1974||Peggy Ferber||478 pp.|
|4th||1982||Ed Peters||550 pp.|
|5th||1992||Don Graydon||447 pp.||ISBN 0-89886-201-9 or ISBN 0-89886-309-0|
|6th||1997||Don Graydon and Kurt Hanson||528 pp.|
|7th||2003||Steven M. Cox and Kris Fulsaas||575 pp.||ISBN 0-89886-827-0|
|8th||2010||Ronald C. Eng||592 pp.||ISBN 978-1-59485-137-7|
|9th||2017||Eric Linxweiler and Mike Maude||624 pp.||ISBN 978-1-68051-004-1|
In the 9th edition, the book is divided into six parts as follows
There is an appendix, a glossary, and an index.
The title of the book is a reference to the ancient medieval European tradition of "Freedom of the City", that conferred upon the recipient access to a city. The reference implies that with the knowledge in the book, a certain equivalent freedom of the wild mountains can be attained.
Climbing is the activity of using one's hands, feet, or any other part of the body to ascend a steep topographical object. It is done for locomotion, recreation and competition, and within trades that rely on ascension; such as emergency rescue and military operations. It is done indoors and out, on natural and man-made structures.
Mountaineering is the set of activities that involves ascending mountains. Mountaineering-related activities include traditional outdoor climbing, skiing, and traversing via ferratas. Indoor climbing, sport climbing and bouldering are also considered mountaineering by some.
In rock climbing, mountaineering, and other climbing disciplines, climbers give a grade to a climbing route or boulder problem, intended to describe concisely the difficulty and danger of climbing it. Different types of climbing each have their own grading systems, and many nationalities developed their own, distinctive grading systems.
Scrambling is "a walk up steep terrain involving the use of one's hands". It is an ambiguous term that lies somewhere between hiking, hillwalking, mountaineering, and rock climbing. Canyoning often involves scrambling.
The International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation, commonly known by its French name Union Internationale des Associations d'Alpinisme was founded in August 1932 in Chamonix, France when 20 mountaineering associations met for an alpine congress. Count Charles Egmond d’Arcis, from Switzerland, was chosen as the first president and it was decided by the founding members that the UIAA would be an international federation which would be in charge of the "study and solution of all problems regarding mountaineering". The UIAA Safety Label was created in 1960 and was internationally approved in 1965 and currently (2015) has a global presence on five continents with 86 member associations in 62 countries representing over 3 million people.
Hermann Buhl was an Austrian mountaineer and is considered one of the best climbers of all time. He was particularly innovative in applying Alpine style to Himalayan climbing. His accomplishments include:
A crampon is a traction device that is attached to footwear to improve mobility on snow and ice during ice climbing. Besides ice climbing, crampons are also used for secure travel on snow and ice, such as crossing glaciers, snowfields and icefields, ascending snow slopes, and scaling ice-covered rock. There are three main attachment systems for footwear: step-in, hybrid, and strap bindings. The first two require boots with welts, as a tension lever attaches the crampon to the heel. The last type are more versatile and can adapt to virtually any boot or shoe, but often do not fit as precisely as the other two types.
An ice axe is a multi-purpose hiking and climbing tool used by mountaineers in both the ascent and descent of routes that involve frozen conditions with snow or ice. An ice axe can be held and employed in a number of different ways, depending on the terrain encountered. In its simplest role, the ice axe is used like a walking stick in the uphill hand, the mountaineer holding the head in the center. It can also be buried pick down, the rope tied around the shaft to form a secure anchor on which to bring up a second climber, or buried vertically to form a stomp belay. The adze is used to cut footsteps, as well as scoop/bucket seats in the hillside and trenches to bury an ice axe belay. The long-handled alpenstock was a predecessor to the modern ice axe.
Ice climbing is the activity of ascending inclined ice formations. Usually, ice climbing refers to roped and protected climbing of features such as icefalls, frozen waterfalls, and cliffs and rock slabs covered with ice refrozen from flows of water. For the purposes of climbing, ice can be broadly divided into two spheres, alpine ice and water ice. Alpine ice is found in a mountain environment, usually requires an approach to reach, and is often climbed in an attempt to summit a mountain. Water ice is usually found on a cliff or other outcropping beneath water flows. Alpine ice is frozen precipitation whereas water ice is a frozen liquid flow of water. Most alpine ice is generally one component of a longer route and often less technical, having more in common with standard glacier travel, while water ice is selected largely for its technical challenge. Technical grade is, however, independent of ice type and both types of ice vary greatly in consistency according to weather conditions. Ice can be soft, hard, brittle or tough. Mixed climbing is ascent involving both ice climbing and rock climbing.
Abseiling, also known as rappelling from French rappeler, 'to recall' or 'to pull through'), is a controlled descent off a vertical drop, such as a rock face, using a rope.
The British Mountaineering Council (BMC) is the national representative body for England and Wales that exists to protect the freedoms and promote the interests of climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers, including ski-mountaineers. The BMC are also recognised by government as the national governing body for competition climbing.
Gaston Rébuffat was a French alpinist, mountain guide, and author. He is well known as a member of the first expedition to summit Annapurna 1 in 1950 and the first man to climb all six of the great north faces of the Alps. In 1984, he was made an officer in the French Legion of Honour for his service as a mountaineering instructor for the French military. At the age of 64, Gaston Rébuffat died of cancer in Paris, France. The climbing technique Gaston was named after him. A photo of Rébuffat atop the Aiguille du Roc in the French Alps can be found on the Voyager Golden Records.
An ascender is a device used for directly ascending a rope, or for facilitating protection with a fixed rope when climbing on very steep mountain terrain.
The Mountaineers is an alpine club serving the state of Washington. Founded in 1906, it is organized as an outdoor recreation, education, and conservation 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and is based in Seattle, Washington. The Mountaineers host a wide range of outdoor activities, primarily alpine mountain climbing and hikes. The club also hosts classes, training courses, and social events.
A mountain guide is a specially trained and experienced professional mountaineer who is certified by local authorities or mountain guide associations. They are considered to be high-level experts in mountaineering, and are hired to instruct or lead individuals or small groups who require this advanced expertise. This professional class of guides arose in the middle of the 19th century when Alpine climbing became recognized as a sport.
Eldorado Peak is a 8,868-foot (2,703 m) peak, and is the 25th highest peak in Washington. The mountain is located in the North Cascades of Washington, approximately 27 miles (43 km) east of Concrete. It is located in North Cascades National Park at the head of Marble Creek and just west of the Inspiration Glacier. Other glaciers in the immediate vicinity include Eldorado Glacier and McAllister Glacier; thus Eldorado is flanked by the largest continuous non-volcanic ice sheet in the lower 48 states.
Mixed climbing is a combination of ice climbing and rock climbing generally using ice climbing equipment such as crampons and ice tools. Mixed climbing has inspired its own specialized gear such as boots which are similar to climbing shoes but feature built in crampons. Dry-tooling is mixed climbing's most specialized skill and has since evolved into a "sport" unto itself.
Alpine climbing is a branch of climbing in which the primary aim is very often to reach the summit of a mountain. In order to do this high rock faces or pinnacles requiring several lengths of climbing rope must be ascended. Often mobile, intermediate climbing protection has to be used in addition to the pitons usually in place on the climbing routes.
Andrew Nisbet was a Scottish mountaineer, guide, climbing instructor, and editor of climbing guidebooks. Regarded as a pioneer of mixed rock and ice climbing techniques, he built a 45-year reputation as an innovator by developing over 1,000 new winter climbing routes in Scotland, of which 150 were at Grade V, or above.