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Rock Climbing Books To Pair with Climbing Films Plus Bonus Reads

Updated: Oct 31, 2023

We're going to go out on a limb and say the most-read climbing books are guide books, and while they are masterpieces, there are many books about climbing or climbers available. After scouring around, six books caught our eye and are summarized below. But the best part is that the first three have epic movies to watch (or rewatch) after you finish the book, and the last three are bonus titles that are worth the read, movie or not.

Read and Screen: Three Climbing Books to Read and Movies to Watch

1. Camp 4: Recollections of a Yosemite Rock Climber

Author: Steve Roper

Summary: Prepare to journey back to Yosemite in the 1960s. The place, specifically Camp 4, was the hangout spot of some of the best climbers in the world as they pioneered some of the most significant climbs in Yosemite. Told by Steve Roper, a Yosemite Valley inhabitant during the height of its climbing glory, you’ll read stories about Royal Robbins, Warren Harding, Yvon Chouinard, Chuck Pratt, and Mark Powell.

Who would enjoy it?

Rock climbers psyched on outdoor climbing or those involved in the outdoor community who would like to learn more about some of the biggest names in climbing before the advent of indoor gyms and modern competition climbing.

Movie to pair with: Valley Uprising

While directly based on the book, it covers the history of climbing in Yosemite Valley from when Camp 4 was, as Roper describes, to modern-day climbers tackling the valley's jaw-dropping walls.

2. Alone on the Wall

Author: Alex Honnold


Alone on the Wall is the story of a man who pushes the limits. Free soloist Alex Honnold retells his top seven climbing free solo feats, and he recounts how each death-defying moment taught valuable lessons on living fearlessly, taking risks, and maintaining composure in intense situations.

Who would enjoy it?

Anyone who loves an edge-of-your-seat thriller or any climber wants to understand the mind of someone living on the extreme edge of the sport.

Movie to pair with: Free Solo or Alone on the Wall - First Ascent

Surprise! We have one movie and one short film to accompany this book. The short film follows the title of the book and a similar storyline, while Free Solo is all about Honnold’s ascent of El Capitan in Yosemite and the preparation it took to do so.

3. The Push: A Climber’s Journey of Endurance, Risk, and Going Beyond Limits

Author: Tommy Caldwell (with Kelly Cordes)


Tommy Caldwell’s background in climbing starts in his childhood. As he grew up, climbing became his life and took him worldwide. However, the journey was not without hardships, many surpassing the average difficulties anyone may face. His story culminates in a big wall ascent of Yosemite’s notoriously hard 3,000-foot rock face, the Dawn Wall. And in case you hadn’t heard, Tommy only climbs with nine fingers, which is even more impressive when you rely heavily upon them in the sport. (You’ll have to read the book to find out more!)

Who would enjoy it?

Rock climbers of any level with reasonable maturity to handle intense descriptions of harrowing events who want to finish reading feeling inspired.

Movie to pair with: Dawn Wall

Directly related to the book's contents, the movie brings Tommy's story and epic ascent of the Dawn Wall to life.

Other Notable Climbing Reads (No corresponding movies)

1. Women Who Dare: North America’s Most Inspiring Women Climbers

Author: Chris Noble


This book contains twenty stories of North America's most inspiring women climbers. Some legendary climbers featured are Lynn Hill, Emily Harrington, Sasha Diguilian, and Alex Puccio. Their stories are paired alongside stunning photos of them doing their best, crashing on the rocks.

Who would enjoy it?

Great for any climber, male or female, looking for incredible strength and inspiration. Learn some of the biggest names in the climbing world, regardless of gender.

2. Rock Warrior’s Way

Author: Arno Ilgner


This read is a one-of-a-kind take on mental training for climbing. Ilgner builds upon ‘warrior’ literature, sports psychology, and personal climbing experience to create the mental training program detailed in the book. Igler guides readers through motivation analysis, information gathering, risk assessment, mental focus, and transitioning from thinking to acting. Beneath every discussion is honing the intention to eliminate fear and overcome the mental blocks holding climbers back from their full potential.

Who would enjoy it?

Climbers and non-climbers alike can enjoy Rock Warrior's Way. And anyone looking to break through mental barriers prohibiting you from trying rock climbing or reaching new heights (literally and figuratively) in your climbing will benefit from reading.

3. Climbing Free: My Life in the Vertical World

Author: Lynn Hill (with Greg Child)


If there were climbing Gods and Goddesses, then Lynn Hill would be the almighty climbing Goddess. As a teenager, Lynn Hill rose to fame in the climbing community for pushing the limits of the sport beyond what men and women had achieved thus far. At the time of this book’s publication, Hill was the first and only climber to free-climb the Nose on El Capitan. This book details her climbing triumphs, friendships, failures, and more.

Who would enjoy it?

Any climber, no matter your level, can enjoy it! Lynn Hill is one of the most excellent climbers of all time, and everyone can learn from her and draw inspiration from her willingness to push beyond what everyone deems possible.

Hopefully, this list has you stoked about reading, and you are filling your Amazon cart with these six epic books about climbing through the eyes of climbers! If you have to pick and choose which ones to read first, we’d suggest the first three if you haven’t seen the accompanying films. But if you’ve seen all the motion pictures, give 4, 5, or 6 a whirl first! Either way, you won’t be disappointed! If you do read any or have any other books about climbing to recommend, drop them in the comments below!


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