6 Classic Adventure Books We’d Read Again and Again
Spend less than you would on a restaurant dinner and get a book that you'll cherish for years to come
‘Instant Karma: The Heart and Soul of a Ski Bum’ ($18)
File this memoir by Wayne K. Sheldrake under light reading; Instant Karma is a funny story of a life spent on skis. The author works his way from petty high school theft, lifting skis and forging lift tickets, to a career as a ski instructor and an amateur racer. The action takes place mostly at Wolf Creek in Colorado, a small blue-collar mountain that only adds to the story’s charm.
‘The Call of the Wild’ ($6)
This classic is getting the Hollywood treatment, complete with Harrison Ford in a leading role. But read Jack London’s novella first, which on the surface is about a sled dog going feral to survive but is really about the author’s own time in Canada’s Yukon. Nobody writes about survival in harsh environments like London.
‘The Longest Run: How a Colorado Ski Bum Skied Every Day for More Than Eight Years’ ($16)
You think you’re obsessed with skiing? You ain’t got nothing on Rainer Hertrich, a groomer at Copper Mountain, Colorado, who skied 2,993 days in a row. There’s some cool ski history in here, but it’s really a book about obsession gone right as the author searches for snow from Colorado to Mount Hood, Oregon, to South America.
‘Higher Love: Skiing the Seven Summits’ ($15)
It only took freeskiing champ Kit DesLauriers two years, from 2004 to 2006, to crisscross the globe and become the first person to climb and ski the seven highest mountains in the world. This memoir details that journey, from crappy skiing conditions at 8,000 meters to DesLauriers’s decision to adopt a wolf pup. The photos from Jimmy Chin that pepper the book aren’t bad, either.
‘Conquistadors of the Useless: From the Alps to Annapurna’ ($16)
French mountaineer and author Lionel Terray has first ascents all over the European Alps, the Andes, and the Himalayas. This book takes a look at his various excursions, the most notable of which were an ascent of Annapurna, in Nepal, and a second ascent of the Eiger, in Switzerland. It’s a classic mountaineering armchair adventure, all underscored by Terray’s notion that the sport is, essentially, useless.
‘Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube: Chasing Fear and Finding Home in the Great White North’ ($16)
Author and Outside contributor Blair Braverman left her home in California for Norway to study the art of driving sled dogs while also immersing herself in the nuances of Arctic life. She later applied what she learned in Alaska, where she landed a job guiding sled dogs. The toughest part? The rampant misogyny that pervades the sport’s culture.