Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills

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 By 1955 the rapid postwar evolution of climbing techniques and tools had made the Handbook out of date, and the effort was begun to produce Freedom of the Hills.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


Edition Year Editor(s) Size ISBN
 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

Chapter listEdit

In the 8th edition, the book is divided into six parts as follows

  • Part One: Outdoor Fundamentals
  • Part Two: Climbing Fundamentals
  • Part Three: Rock Climbing
  • Part Four: Snow, Ice, and Alpine Climbing
  • Part Five: Emergency Prevention and Response
  • Part Six: The Mountain Environment

There are four appendices, a glossary, and an index. pp 563.


  1. First Steps
  2. Clothing and Equipment
  3. Camping and Food
  4. Physical Conditioning
  5. Navigation
  6. Wilderness Travel
  7. Leave No Trace
  8. Stewardship and Access
  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. Glacier Travel and Crevasse Rescue
  18. Alpine Ice Climbing
  19. Waterfall and Mixed Climbing
  20. Expedition Climbing
  21. Leadership
  22. Safety: How to Stay Alive
  23. First Aid
  24. Alpine Search and Rescue
  25. Mountain Geology
  26. The Cycle of Snow
  27. Mountain Weather

Origin of titleEdit

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 alsoEdit


  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.

External linksEdit