Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills

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8th edition cover Freedom of the Hills 8th ed.jpg
8th edition cover

Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills [1] 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 By 1955 the rapid postwar evolution of climbing techniques and tools had made the Handbook out of date, and the effort was begun to produce Freedom of the Hills.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.


 1st1960 Harvey Manning 430 pp.
 2nd1967Harvey Manning485 pp.
 3rd1974Peggy Ferber478 pp.
 4th1982Ed Peters550 pp.
 5th1992Don Graydon447 pp. ISBN   0-89886-201-9 or ISBN   0-89886-309-0
 6th1997Don Graydon and Kurt Hanson528 pp.
 7th2003Steven M. Cox and Kris Fulsaas575 pp. ISBN   0-89886-827-0
 8th2010Ronald C. Eng592 pp. ISBN   978-1-59485-137-7
 9th2017Eric Linxweiler and Mike Maude624 pp. ISBN   978-1-68051-004-1

Chapter list

In the 9th edition, the book is divided into six parts as follows

There is an appendix, a glossary, and an index.


  1. First Steps
  2. Clothing and Equipment
  3. Camping, Food, and Water
  4. Physical Conditioning
  5. Navigation
  6. Wilderness Travel
  7. Leave No Trace
  8. Access and Stewardship
  9. Basic Safety System
  10. Belaying
  11. Rappelling
  12. Alpine Rock Climbing Technique
  13. Rock Protection
  14. Leading on Rock
  15. Aid and Big Wall Climbing
  16. Snow Travel and Climbing
  17. Avalanche Safety
  18. Glacier Travel and Crevasse Rescue
  19. Alpine Ice Climbing
  20. Waterfall Ice and Mixed Climbing
  21. Expedition Climbing
  22. Leadership
  23. Safety
  24. First Aid
  25. Alpine Rescue
  26. Mountain Geology
  27. The Cycle of Snow
  28. Mountain Weather

Origin of title

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.

See also

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  1. The Mountaineers (10 October 2010). Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills (50th Anniversary Edition). 8th Ed. Mountaineers Books. ISBN   978-1-59485-137-7.