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Onthebelay’s Top Christmas present Ideas.

For this christmas I’ve selected four good books that work very well with our outdoor lifestyle and gear enthusiast moto.

The first two books are about our last week’s topic; mountain safety on avalanche terrain.

The first one: Avalanche essentials: a step-by-step system for safety and survival by Bruce Tremper, is pretty much the bible on this topic. It has a very interesting focus: on the one hand It is extremely descriptive and schematic on the theory of terrain reading, progressing on safety, planning our days, group management and safety gear, but as well it goes through a lot of practical cases to prove us that in the end we are humans and we make mistakes, a lot of of them actually. Hence Bruce provides us on detail of the cognitive traps and overconfidence situations that can lead us to disaster as well on how to identify and mitigate them.

The second: 3×3 Avalanches, by Werner Munter, will not only give us another magnificent lecture about mountain safety, but will as well introduce us a system set in place by Munter that he claims that can reduce avalanche risk by 1% if we follow his decision making scheme. Interesting right?

Those two books, won’t just save your ass by themselves; however they will provide you the right tools and overview to start framing everything on place when going to the mountains. Moreover they will show you that probably you don’t know that much, that probably you have made a lot of mistakes in the past and you still do them and hopefully it will be the kick in the ass that you needed for start making things right and sign up in your first avalanche course.

Let’s leave avalanches aside for a while and embrace our new topic: Training for the new alpinism by Steve House and Scott Johnson. So far I have only read half of it, but I can easily say that this is the place where titans get forged. After several decades of investigating, trying, failing and succeeding as high end trainers, mountain guides and elite athletes, they decided to condense all their knowledge in this book. Moreover, most of the alpinists, trainers, nutritionists and biochemists that have been pushing the bar on alpinism over the last years have participated and reviewed the book. With this book, the sky is the limit. I really like how it’s written: it achieves to teach in an intuitive way complex body functions involving muscles, fibers, nerves, the metabolism and how to play our cards to get the best out of them. Moreover it’s full of little stories based on personal experiences by top end athletes that illustrate the scientific statements and the proposed exercises are wrecking my body day after day.

Now it’s time to dive in the gear world. Alpinism: the saga of inventions by Gilles ModicaThe book does an exhaustive approach on how gear evolved from the first times of alpinism and how those technological improvements allowed to raise the bar in the mountains. WIth it’s images and stories it will take you straight to the golden ages of the sport and you will learn another new perspective about conquering the mountains. Moreover, if they were able to climb 6a back on espadrilles back on the day, what is your excuse?

Well, now we should be fully loaded for those cosy moments of reading by the fire.

Ho ho ho belayers!

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