John Mock & Kimberley O'Neil

1994 John Mock and Kimberley O'Neil on Darkot An (4650m), Ghizar, Northern Pakistan Lukpe Lawo or Snow Lake, one of the world's largest glacial basins seen from Hispar La, Baltistan, Northern Pakistan 2000 John Mock on Ghidims Pass South (5,650 metres), Shimshal, Gojal, Northern Pakistan 2000 Kimberley O'Neil on Mai Dur Pass (5,700 metres), Shimshal, Gojal, Northern Pakistan

Karakoram, Hindukush & Pamirs Reading List
for Travelers & Trekkers

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Trekking in the Karakoram & Hindukush by the intrepid husband-and-wife team of John Mock and Kimberley O'Neil is the definitive guidebook to the mountains of northern Pakistan (Lonely Planet Publications, 2nd ed. January 2002).
ISBN 1 74059 086 4
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Afghanistan (Lonely Planet Publications, 1st ed. August 2007).
ISBN 1740596420
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Pakistan & Karakoram Highway (Lonely Planet Publications, 7th ed. May 2008).
ISBN 1741045428
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Paddling the Frontier - Guide to Pakistan's Whitewater by Wickliffe W. Walker is the first and only river guide for Pakistan.
ISBN 969 8081 00 3
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Hiking Around Islamabad by Hans Van Hoeflaken is a detailed and thorough guide to one-day to three-day long hikes in the Margalla Hills outside of Islamabad.

Trekking in Tajikistan is by Jan Bakker.


After You, Marco Polo by Jean Bowie Shor is about this American and her husband who stumble into Hunza’s Misgar Valley from Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor.
ISBN 007057040X
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Among the Kara-Koram Glaciers in 1925 by Jenny Visser-Hooft describes one of the earliest crossings of the Khunjerab Pass and the first account of crossing the Chafchingol Pass (from north to south) into the Ghuzherav Valley and the Mai Dur Pass to Shimshal village.

Beyond the High Himalayas by William O. Douglas is a resource for the whole Himalaya and travels through NWFP, Gilgit, and Hunza.
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Between the Oxus & the Indus by Reginald Charles Francis Schomberg chronicles travels to Gilgit, Yasin, and Hunza by this acidic British officer who found the landscapes nobler than the people.
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Beyond the Northwest Frontier: Hindukush & Karakoram by Maureen Lines has a special focus on the Kalash and current environmental issues.

Blank on the Map by Eric Shipton, the master of small expeditions, treats Baltistan, Shimshal (including the route between Shimshal village and Shimshal Pamir) and Hunza. Published in The Six Mountain Travel Books ( Buy this book)

The Call of The Snowy Hispar by F.B. & W.H. Workman recounts the remarkable Fanny and her husband's visit to Nagyr and the Hispar Glacier.

Desert, Marsh, and Mountain: The World of a Nomad by Wilfred Thesiger recounts travels to Chitral, Broghil, Ishkomen, and Swat, including crossing the Karambar An and Chilinji An.
ISBN 187354457X
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The Golden Peak: Travels in Northern Pakistan by Kathleen Jamie is an insightful book by a poet with an eye for the ironies of life for women, Muslims and travellers. The innocence of the first-time visitor has not been edited out. Included are glimpses of private lives that male visitors will never see.
ISBN 0 14 023342 3
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Among Muslims: Everyday Life on the Frontiers of Pakistan by Kathleen Jamie, originally published as The Golden Peak with an extended epilogue, recounts her visit to northern Pakistan post-September 11, 2001.
ISBN 1 580 05086 7
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The Heart of a Continent by Francis E. Younghusband relates classic journeys of a British colonial officer, including crossing the Muztagh Pass.
ISBN 0 19 583840 8
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The Himalayan Letters of Gypsy Davy and Lady Ba by Robert & Katherine Barrett is hard to find, but a fine read from a bygone era of romantic, idyllic travels through the Karakoram.
ISBN 8173030316
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In the Ice World of Himalaya Fanny Bullock & William Hunter Workman is about one of the first treks up the Biafo to Snow Lake, which Shipton later termed "Fanny’s Folly".
ISBN 8173050473
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Innermost Asia (Vol. I-V) by Sir Aurel Stein, a Hungarian-English archaeologist who focused on Central Asian sites between 1900 and the 1940s, recounts travels through Swat, Darel, Ghizar, Yasin, Darkot An, Karambar An, Chilinji An, and Chapursan Valley going to and from Taskurgan, Kashgar, and the Tarim Basin.
ISBN 0391023861
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Kafirs and Glaciers by R.C.F. Schomberg recounts his early journeys in Chitral and the Hindukush. "The Chitrali proper, if indeed a proper Chitrali exists, has few of the virtues but all of the defects of other hillmen…his partisans would be wiser to cure his faults than advertise his virtues."

Karakoram-Himalaya, Sommets de 7000 metres is by A. Roch.

Karakoram: Mountains of Pakistan by Shiro Shirahata has the finest photos of the great peaks.
ISBN 093856725X
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The Last Nomad by Wilfred Thesiger has one of the few accounts of crossing the Chilinji An, also Broghil, Punji Pass and Kachakani An.
ISBN 0525930779
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The Lion River by Jean Fairley is a detailed and elegant book about the Indus River and the people who live along it.
ISBN 0 381 98272 6
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The Roof of the World by Mohamed Amin et al. has large format color photos of the Karakoram, Hindukush and Pamir.
ISBN 1869828054
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A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby is a delightful, humorous tale of an ill-advised, ill-planned, and ill-equipped trek.
ISBN 0 86442 604 6
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Sisters on the Bridge of Fire: Journeys in the Crucible of High Asia by Debra Denker, who has travelled solo through Baltistan, Hunza and Chitral, and share the lives of local women.
ISBN 1878179101
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This My Voyage is by Thomas George Longstaff, a turn-of-the-twentieth century renowned explorer in Gilgit and Baltistan.
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Travels in Kashmir, Ladak, Iskardo is by Godfrey Vigne, who in 1835 was the first Westerner to visit these parts.
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Two Mountains and a River by H.W. Tilman has accounts of travels to Rakaposhi, Gilgit, Jaglot, Bar Valley, Chalt and crossing the Mintaka Pass en route to Tashkurgan. Published in The Seven Mountain Travel Books ( Buy this book)

Two Summers in the Ice-Wilds of Eastern Karakoram by F.B. & W.H. Workman describes their exploration of glaciers in Baltistan, including the Kondus, Bilaphond and Siachen Glaciers.

Unknown Karakoram by R.C.F. Schomberg recounts exploration of the area north of the main Karakoram, including Shimshal.

Where the Indus is Young by Dervla Murphy is the redoubtable account of a winter in Baltistan, travelling on foot and horseback with her six-year-old daughter.
ISBN 0 7195 3335 X
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Where Three Empires Meet by E.F. Knight are travels of a Victorian journalist in Kashmir, Ladakh and the Northern Areas, including a thrilling, but colonial, version of the 1891 invasion of Hunza.
ISBN 8120608283
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Chitral, the Story of a Minor Siege by Sir George Robertson is a classic colonial adventure by the then Political Agent for Chitral - heroic defenders of a remote outpost besieged by wild tribes, and nick-of-time relief against major physical odds.
ISBN 1873050054
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Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 by Steve Coll, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and former South Asia bureau chief and managing editor of The Washington Post, is an impeccably researched and well-written account.
ISBN 1594200076
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The Gilgit Game: The Explorers of the Western Himalayas 1865-95 by John Keay is a very readable account of the explorers and oddballs who played in the `Great Game', the imperial rivalry between Britain and Russia across the Pamirs, Hindukush and Karakoram in the late nineteenth century.
ISBN 0 208 01774 7
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The Great Game: On Secret Service in High Asia by Peter Hopkirk is a definitive, well written account of the Anglo-Russian rivalry in Central Asia.
ISBN 071954727X
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The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia by Peter Hopkirk.
ISBN 1 56 836022 3
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High Asia by Jill Neate gives a comprehensive illustrated history of the 7000-metre peaks.
ISBN 0898862388
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The Kirghiz and Wakhi of Afghanistan: Adaptation to Closed Frontiers and War by Nazif Shahrani.
ISBN 0295982624
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The Making of a Frontier: Five Year's Experience and Adventures in Gilgit, Hunza, Nagar, Chitral and the Eastern Hindukush is by Algernon Durand, the British officer who was in charge of establishing the Empire's border.
ISBN 0195779835
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The Pundits: British Exploration of Tibet and Central Asia by Derek Waller is an account of the heroic but unsung journeys of Indian scholars and soothsayers trained by the British to be undercover surveyors and spies across the Hindukush and Karakoram.
ISBN 0 813 19100 9
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A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms by Fa-Hsien is the Buddhist monk's own dry account of his 5th-century pilgrimage through Xinjiang and the Karakoram, down the Indus to Gandhara and on to India. Excellent and much livelier descriptions of this and the later journey of another pilgrim, Hsuan Tsang, are in The Great Chinese Travelers, edited by Jeannette Mirsky.
ISBN 0486267601
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Sir Aurel Stein: Archaeological Explorer by Jeannette Mirsky portrays the life of this great explorer.
ISBN 0 226 53176 7
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When Men & Mountains Meet: Explorers of the Western Himalaya 1820-1875 by John Keay has gripping and often hilarious stories of the Europeans who first penetrated the western Himalaya in the early 1800s. Check out the photo of George Hayward, who lies buried in the Gilgit cemetery.
ISBN 0 7195 3334 1
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General - Afghanistan

First In: An Insider's Account of How the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan by Gary Schroen.
ISBN 0891418725
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Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia by Ahmed Rashid
ISBN 0142002607
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The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
ISBN 1573222453
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Taliban: Miltant Islam, Oil, and Fundmentalism in Central Asia by Ahmed Rashid is required reading to understand how Afghanistan affects the entire region.
ISBN 0300089023
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General - Pakistan

Bolor and Dardistan by Karl Jettmar is a learned exposition of the ancient history of Gilgit, Hunza, and Baltistan by the dean of northern Pakistan scholars.
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Breaking the Curfew: A Political Journey Through Pakistan by Emma Duncan is a well-researched, thoughtful look at power and politics; recommended as an introduction to behind the scenes Pakistan.
ISBN 0 09 973790 6
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"Challenge and Response in the Karakoram" by Hermann Kreutzmann is in Mountain Research & Development (1993 13:1). Kreutzmann's articles listed here present much of his untranslated German doctoral research on the cultural geography of Hunza.

Daughter of Destiny by Benazir Bhutto is an autobiography of this former prime minister of Pakistan.
ISBN 0 671 66983 4
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Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia by Ahmed Rashid is essential reading on the crisis affecting Pakistan, Afghanistan, the U.S. and the world.
ISBN 014311557X
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Empires of the Indus by Alice Albinia is "a triumphant melding of travel and history into a compelling story of adventure and discovery."
ISBN 0393338606
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Hunza - Lost Kingdom of the Himalayas by John Clark portrays the good as well as the bad aspects of life in Hunza when the Mir's power was total, by an American who worked there in the 1950s.
ISBN B00005W4G3
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The Idea of Pakistan by Stephen Philip Cohen is a thorough, reliable and independent analysis of how Pakistan came to be what it is today by a scholar and long time observer of the nation.
ISBN 0815715021
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India, Pakistan & The Kashmir Dispute: On Regional Conflict and Its Resolution by Robert G Wirsing is the best study of the seemingly unending Kashmir imbroglio.
ISBN 0 312 08442 0
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Islam and Democracy: Fear of the Modern World by Fatima Mernissi
ISBN 0 201 60883 9
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Kalash Solstice by Jean-Yves & Vivianne Lièvre Loude is a passionate and detailed study of the religious traditions of the non-Muslim Kalasha people of Chitral.
ISBN 0836424301
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"The Karakoram Highway: The Impact of Road Construction on Mountain Societies" by Hermann Kreutzmann is in Modern Asian Studies (1991, Vol. 25, 4).

"Kashgar to Islamabad: The Impact of the Karakoram Highway on Mountain Societyquot; by Nigel J.R. Allan, in the Scottish Geographical Magazine, July 1989 is an interesting academic account of how the KKH has irrevocably changed the Northern Areas.

Language Hunting in the Karakoram by Edith O. Lorimer is a readable, but romanticized account of Hunza by the wife of the British Resident and scholar.
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"Oases of the Karakoram" by Hermann Kreutzmann is in Human Impact on Mountains, Nigel J.R. Allan & Knapp (ed).

The Pakistan Army by Stephen Philip Cohen
ISBN 0 520 04982 9
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Pakistan: Between Mosque And Military by Husain Haqqani, Pakistan's recent ambassador to the U.S.
ISBN 0870032143
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Rockcarving and Inscriptions in the Northern Areas of Pakistan by Karl Jettmar is a handy guide to the area's numerous petroglyphs.

Tribes of the Hindoo Kush by John Biddulph is a reprint of a nineteenth century classic by the first Political Agent in Gilgit.

The Veil and The Male Elite by Fatima Mernissi presents "a feminist interpretation of women's rights in Islam."
ISBN 0 201 52321 3
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Waiting for Allah by Christina Lamb is a bleak tale of the rise and fall of Benazir Bhutto and the country's depressing failure to seize the chance for democracy. Pakistani politics come out looking terminally bankrupt.
ISBN 0241130557
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Words For My Brother by John Staley discusses the culture, politics, religious traditions and recent history of pre-Karakoram-Highway Chitral, Kohistan, Gilgit and Hunza. Staley and his wife studied and travelled here in the 1960s. This scholarly but affectionate book is a favourite on the Northern Areas.
ISBN 0 19 577255 5
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Natural History

Mammals of Afghanistan by Khushal Habibi.
ISBN 8188722065
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Birds of the Indus by Mubashir Hasan.
ISBN 019577938X
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The Birds of Pakistan (Vol I. & II.) by T.J. Roberts is a standard reference.
ISBN 0195774043
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The Butterflies of Pakistan by T.J. Roberts.
ISBN 0195779959
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Concise Flowers of the Himalaya by Oleg Polunin and Adam Stainton is an inexpensive and easy-to-carry field guide. The text is abbreviated and descriptions are limited to the species illustrated.
ISBN 0 19 564414 X
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Continents in Collision by Keith Miller discusses the geology underlying the relentless grind of Nanga Parbat against Rakaposhi.
ISBN 0540010669
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Field Guide to Indian Mammals by Vivek Menon.
ISBN 0143029983
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Flowers of the Himalaya by Oleg Polunin and Adam Stainton is the standard reference with more than 690 color illustrations, 315 B&W drawings and 1500 entries.
ISBN 0195641876
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Islamabad Birds by Geoff Ward is useful for walks in the Margalla Hills.
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The Mammals of Pakistan by T.J. Roberts is a large and hard-to-find standard reference that serves as a reminder of how quickly large mammals disappear when modern roads and weapons make their appearance.
ISBN 0 19 577852 9
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Pocket Guide to Birds of the Indian Subcontient by Richard Grimett, Carol Inskipp, Tim, Inskipp.
ISBN 0713663049
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Stones of Silence: Journeys in the Himalaya by George B Schaller has tedious, but somehow gripping accounts by the biologist who first photographed the snow leopard, of his research on this and other mammals in the Hindukush, Karakoram, and Himalaya.
ISBN 0 670 67140 1
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Wild Flowers of Pakistan by Yasin Nasir and Rubina Raif describes and illustrates over 650 flowering plants.
ISBN 0 19 577584 8
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Abode of Snow by Kenneth Mason gives "a history of Himalayan exploration and mountaineering from earliest times to the ascent of Everest."
ISBN 0 89886 142 X
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All 14 Eight-Thousanders by Reinhold Messner recounts his ascents without oxygen and many of them solo. This is probably the greatest mountaineering feat of all time.
ISBN 089886660X
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Art of Freedom: The Life and Climbs of Voytek Kurtyka by award-winning author and mountaineering historian Bernadette McDonald is "a masterpiece [in this biography] of the dazzling and enigmatic genius of alpinism that is Voytek Kurtyka".
ISBN 9781771602129
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Climbing and Exploration in the Karakoram-Himalayas by William M Conway describes the first expedition to the Baltoro Glacier; a classic which is difficult to find.

Elusive Summits: Four Expeditions in the Karakoram is by Victor Saunders, leading proponent of the new generation of alpine-style exploration.
ISBN 0747409684
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Freedom Climbers by award-winning author and mountaineering historian Bernadette McDonald highlights the "Golden Age of Polish Mountaineering" in the 1980s and 1990s, featuring Jerzy Kukuczka, Voytek Kurtyka and Wanda Rutkiewicz.
ISBN 1 59485 756 0
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The Hard Years by Joe Brown is an account of the first ascent of the Muztagh Tower.
ISBN 0898868459
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Himalayan Odyssey by Trevor Braham describes small expeditions to peaks in Chitral, Swat and Kaghan.
ISBN 0 04 910054 8
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I'll Call You in Kathmandu by award-winning author and mountaineering historian Bernadette McDonald is a biography of Elizabeth Hawley and her four decades in Nepal with "a crash course in the history of Himalayan mountaineering".
ISBN 9780898868005
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In the Throne Room of the Mountain Gods by Galen Rowell recounts the American K2 expedition with the best history of Baltoro exploration and fine photographs.
ISBN 0 87156 184 0
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K2: Triumph and Tragedy by Jim Curran recounts the horrendous 1986 season, when K2 claimed thirteen lives.
ISBN 0395485908
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Karakoram and Western Himalaya by Fillipo de Filippe recounts the Duke of the Abruzzi’s 1909 Baltoro Glacier expedition, with Vittoria Sella's incredible photographs. The most sought after rare book on Himalayan exploration.
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Karakoram: The Ascent of Gasherbrum IV by Fosco Maraini is an excellent description of the Karakorams and of the upper Baltoro Glacier.
ISBN 0670411647
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Nanga Parbat - the Killer Mountain is by Karl M. Herrligkoffer who devoted much of his life to this mountain.
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Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage: The Lonely Challenge by Hermann Buhl is an account of the 1953 solo first ascent of Nanga Parbat.
ISBN 0898866103
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Rakaposhi by Mike Banks is an account of the first ascent of Rakaposhi.
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Storm & Sorrow in the High Pamirs by Robert W. Craig recounts in 1974 when 160 climbers from twelves countries converged on the Pamirs Mountain Range when no Americans and few Europeans had ever climbed in these mountains.
ISBN 0671251546
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Summits and Secrets by Kurt Diemberger gives accounts of Broad Peak, Chogolisa and Tirich Mir.
ISBN 0898866065
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Thin Air: Encounters in the Himalayas by Greg Child is a well-written, award-winning account of Karakoram alpine-style climbs.
ISBN 0898865883
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Tirich Mir: The Norwegian Himalaya Expedition by Aarne Naess et. al. is the story of the first ascent of Tirich Mir.

Tomaz Humar by award-winning author and mountaineering historian Bernadette McDonald is a biography of Slovenia mountaineer Tomaz Humar and his epic rescue from the Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat.
ISBN 9780091795474
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A Walk in the Sky by Nicholas Clinch is an account of the first ascent of Gasherbrum I.
ISBN 0 89886 042 3
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Where Four Worlds Meet: Hindu Kush, 1959 by Fosco Maraini is a well-written account of an expedition to Saraghrar in Chitral, with a visit to the Kalasha Valleys.

Winter 8000 by award-winning author and mountaineering historian Bernadette McDonald chronicles the winter ascents of the 14 8000-meter peaks and "some of the most heartbreaking and dangerous feats in mountaineering history".
ISBN 9781680512922
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Hindi, Urdu & Bengali Phrasebook (Lonely Planet Publications, 3rd ed. forthocming 2005) is a useful reference for vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and phrases.
ISBN  1740591496
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Central Asia Phrasebook (Lonely Planet Publications, 1998) includes Uighur, Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Pashto, Tajik and other languages including Burushaski, Khowar, Kohistani, Shina and Wakhi
ISBN  1741046041
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Teach Yourself Urdu in Two Months by Aziz Rahman is available in major book shops in Pakistan.
ISBN 0870529137
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Health & Safety

The Illustrated Guide to Glacier Travel & Crevasse Rescue by Andy Tyson and Mike Clelland contains material that anyone trekking on glaciers should know - don't step on a glacier without reading this book.
ISBN 1893682064
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High Altitude: Illness and Wellness by Charles Houston, who knows his subject.
ISBN 0934802726
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Hypothermia, Frostbite and Other Cold Injuries: Prevention, Recognition and Pre-Hospital Treatment by James A. Wilkerson, M.D. is essential if you are travelling across glaciers. You'd be well-advised to know how to prevent or treat these vicissitudes.
ISBN 0898860245
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International Travel Health Guide by Stuart R. Rose, M.D. is updated annually and contains easy-to-read information.
ISBN 0923947019
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Medicine: For Mountaineering & Other Wilderness Activities by James A. Wilkerson, M.D. is the "bible of mountaineering medicine" for the lay person.
ISBN 0898867991
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Medicine for the Outdoors: The Essential Guide to Emergency Medical Procedures and First Aid by Paul S. Auerbach, M.D. gives easy-to-understand, quality advice for all backcountry emergencies and ailments.
ISBN 1585747882
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Mountaineering Medicine and Backcountry Medical Guide by Fred T. Darvill, M.D. is a pocket-size handbook now in its 13th edition.
ISBN 0899972071
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Mountain Medicine: A Clinical Study of Cold and High Altitude by Michael Ward discusses cold and high altitude problems.
ISBN 025896989X
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Mountain Sickness: Prevention, Recognition, and Treatment by Peter H. Hackett, M.D. is an essential pocket-size handbook for anyone trekking above 4,000 meters.
ISBN 0930410106
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Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills by Steven Cox et al., published by the Mountaineers, Seattle, Washington, contains excellent information.
ISBN 0898868289
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Travellers’ Health: How to Stay Healthy Abroad by Richard Dawood, M.D. is comprehensive, easy to read, and authoritative, although it is too large to carry around.
ISBN 0192629476
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Where There is No Doctor: A Village Health Care Handbook by David Werner is a very detailed reference for the lay person, covering most diseases and injuries you might encounter and their treatment. A South Asia specific edition is available from the Voluntary Health Association of India in New Delhi.
ISBN 0942364155
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Copyright Text & Photographs © John Mock & Kimberley O'Neil 1997-2023
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