We asked Musa members and people we interview and work with to recommend books, articles and guides to help in your exploration of Nepal, or for tips on hiking, climbing and thriving in the wilderness. Send us your favorite adventure book title with a short description and we will list it here with your name and send you some stickers! Here’s a good place to start for your for great adventure reading:
1 The Snow Leopard, Peter Matthiessen, 1978. The author’s account of his search for the elusive snow leopard in the Dolpo region of the Tibetan Plateau
2 Into The Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest, Wade Davis. An epic account of the history of the first three British expeditions to Mt Everest, tying in each climber’s service in WWI and showing the effects on the English psyche after the war and how it influenced these expeditions. Definitive and exhaustive with the research into the early attempts on the mountain.
3 No Mud, No Lotus, Thick Nhat Hanh, 2017. The Vietnamese monk’s beautiful book is Dr. Jen’s recommendation for on-the-trail reading and “the art of transforming suffering;” very apropos for trekking.
4 The Girl From Kathmandu, Cam Simpson, 2018. A frightening story of human trafficking that leads to the death of twelve Nepali citizens in Iraq in 2004 and the young wife of one of the men who seeks justice for their deaths while the US company who bought them, KBR, uses every loophole to stop her.
5 Touching My Fathers Soul: A Sherpa’s Journey to the Top of Everest, Jamling Tenzing Norgay, with Broughton Coburn, 2001. Son of the great Tenzing Norgay, Jamling tells the story of his climb with the 1996 IMAX crew to the top of the world. The mixture of his upbringing, Sherpa culture and point of view make this a must-read for visitors.
6 A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster, Rebecca Solnit, 2009. An amazing read for anyone in disaster or wilderness medicine about how communities come together and people rise to the occasion in disasters, and how government intervention and the “elite panic” of the few can destroy that community. Shown through the example of multiple disasters is a vision of what society could become, one that is less authoritarian and fearful, but more collaborative and local.
7 Everest: The West Ridge, Tom Hornbeim, 1965. Amazing book detailing Hornbeim and Willie Unsold and their traverse of Mt Everest, one of the most astounding feats in mountaineering. This is great reading, too!
8 Kathmandu, Thomas Bell, 2016. An authoritative history of Nepal while also an up-to-date chronicle of a city, that as Bell says, is a jewel of the art world, a carnival of sexual license, a paradigm of failed democracy, a case study of bungled western intervention and an environmental catastrophe. Bell peels back the layers of the city, literally the very buildings, to see the historic structures underneath. A great opportunity to understand a complicated and fascinating city.
9 High Exposure: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Other High Places, David Breshears, 2000. An intimate autobiography of the great climber and filmmaker. David Breshears not only pursued the great peaks around the world, but his film-making on Everest, with the 1996 IMAX and 2014’s Everest, makes him one of the great authorities on the mountain. This is a great story told in his words of his pursuit of excellence and quest for self knowledge. This is just one of Breshears’ books. We will feature more in the future.
10 Into Thin Air, Jon Krakaur 1997. Of course, the definitive story of the 1996 climb on the South Col route.
11 Touching the Void, Joe Simpson. This extraordinary tale of a climbing gone horribly wrong may make you want to stay at home. Joe Simpson’s book is a gripping, amazing read.
12 The Last Climb, The legendary Everest Expeditions of George Mallory – David Breshears and Audrey Salkeld. The account of the 1924 expedition, a great read that keeps the mystery going of what happened to Mallory and Irvine, did they reach the top?
13 The Lost Explorer: Finding Mallory on Mt Everest, Conrad Anker and David Roberts. In 1999, Conrad Anker found the body of George Mallory on Everest, but the mystery continues!
14 The Third Pole: Mystery, Obsession and Death on Mt Everest, Mark Synnott. The spring 2019 season on the North side of the mountain as the search for Andrew Irvine Expedition deals with the mountain, the Chinese government, questionable climbers and all the twists and turns as they search for an answer to the great Mallory and Irvine mystery.
15 The Third Man Factor: Surviving the Impossible, John Geiger. This is an awesome book. Do people at the very edge of their endurance, near death, experience the encouragement of a benevolent presence that pushes them and guides them onward, surviving the near impossible? Hear the stories and the science meet. Just a fascinating read.
RESOURCES, MANUALS AND TEXTS
1. Auerbach’s Wilderness Medicine, Paul Auerbach, MD – Now in its seventh edition, this two volume set is a complete and all encompassing resource for everyone from physicians to first responders and the lay rescuer to essential skills to prevent and address illness and injures in the backcountry. Truly the expanded and total bible for wilderness medicine, so inclusive, there is an enormous amount of information here. A must have for a home library.
2. The Field Guide to Wilderness Medicine, Paul Auerbach, MD, Benjamin Constance,MD, Luanne Freer, MD – This is the mobile edition of Wilderness Medicine. Take this with you for a full overview of medical and emergency situations that may arise on a wilderness outing or expedition. Includes sections on dive medicine, water emergencies, mountain medicine, disaster medicine, wilderness survival and much more.
3. Medicine for the Outdoors: The Essential Guide to First Aid and Medical Emergencies, Paul Auerbach, MD – A step by step manual for caring for the sick and injured in the wilderness. Called the definitive manual for first aid on land or sea, a good fit in your pack, for sure.
4. NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Tod Schimelpfenig, WEMT – An awesome First Aid guide from the National Outdoor Leadership School. Put it in your pack for extended trips.
5. Vertical Aid: Essential Wilderness Medicine for Climbers, Trekkers, and Mountaineers, Seth Hawkins MD, R. Bryan Simon, RN J. Pearce Beissinger, MS, PA-C, Deb Simon, RN. – This great book is specific to those who go into the mountains, this guide contains not only medical aid, but , avalanche, weather conditions and other information specific to moving in the mountains.
6. Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, Mountaineers Books – What can you say? For over 60 years and 9 editions the literal bible of climbing. If you don’t have it, get off that mountain!
7. Going Higher: Oxygen, Man, and Mountains, Charles Houston, MD, David Harris, PhD, Ellen Zeman, PHD – A must have for climbers and trekkers who intend to go high in the mountains. Need to know information on how to prevent, diagnose, and treat acute mountain illness, HAPE and HACE. Fascinating stories and includes sea level hypoxia information as well.
8. Enviromedics: The Impact on Climate Change on Human Health, Paul Auerbach, MD, Jay Lemery, MD. – Important and need to read for every provider. The physicians perspective on what our unhealthy planet is doing to the health of its inhabitants, it’s really a two bladed sword, we hurt the planet, it hurts us. A wake up call about what is happening now and what the future could look like. How we can address these issues along with stories of hope with action.
9. Foraging for Survival, Mykel Hawke and Douglas Boudreau – This is the guide to find edible, safe plants in your area. Well written and easy to follow and find what you are looking for. A great guide for city folk and the outdoors!