South Korean-born American author R. O. Kwon had the following to say about bouldering “I found that it was one of the only physical activities I’ve come across that, while I’m doing it, I can’t think about my writing.”
The satisfaction she derived from climbing reflects in a report from the Climbing Business Journal, showing a 10% increase of newly opened climbing gyms in the United States in 2017 over the previous year.
The report suggests increasing interests in the climbing world, recreationally and professionally. As such, the demand for materials to provide factual information is stirred.
There are several books on bouldering these days, and such abundance makes it difficult for climbers, especially beginners, to find which ones are worth purchasing.
Best Bouldering Books
Climbing Apex has created a list of the Best Bouldering Books you can read to find adequate information, inspire you to climb, help you induce psych, and show you the safest way to enjoy the sport.
1. Better Bouldering (3rd Edition)
Author: John Sherman
Better Bouldering is a three-edition book that is very engaging with valuable information, highlighting techniques and skills that helped John Sherman succeed through his 42-year career as one of the pioneering boulderers.
The third edition is full-color with several ideal personal experiences, primarily on outdoor bouldering. It contains nine yards of outdoor bouldering and is a beneficial resource, especially for professional boulderers.
2. Bishop Bouldering
Authors: Wills Young and Mick Ryan
There are two editions of the book “Bishop Bouldering,” but the expanded second edition is our focal point for best read’s sake.
Young and Ryan described several bouldering problems in this book and how they solved them, illustrating their descriptions in over 400 pages of full-color photographs and several action photos.
3. Master Of Rock
Author: Pat Ament
It’s often said that “Experience is a good teacher.” As such, Pat Ament narrated the man’s career revered as the father of modern bouldering, John Gill.
The book highlights John Gill’s professional approach, climbing style, and other things that helped him become a pioneer boulderer, with his accomplishments serving as inspiration.
4. Peak Bouldering
Authors: Andrian Berry and Allan James
Peak Bouldering is a great bouldering guide, seemingly useful for beginners and every range of professionals. It’s rich in information, discussing in detail several bouldering problems infamous circuits.
Interestingly, the book contains various grading systems applicable to all climbers, notwithstanding their traditional grading system.
Peak Bouldering was initially released in 1998 but was rereleased in 2013 in full-picture presentations.
5. Tuolumne Bouldering: The Best 20 Areas
Authors: Chris Summit
As its title implies, Tuolumne Bouldering highlights the twenty best bouldering areas Tuolumne and over 270 boulder problems held there.
One of its best-known attributes is how engaging it is, describing the details of these bouldering locations.
6. Fontainebleau Bouldering
Author: Stephen Gough
Fontainebleau Bouldering was released in 1997, at an era when competitive bouldering was almost nonexistent.
However, its content remains relevant today; it provides various Boulder plans, comprehensive descriptions, and access maps.
7. Squamish Bouldering (3rd Edition)
Author: Marc Bourdon
The 420-page book presents the art of bouldering in one of North America’s best bouldering locations.
It’s a detail-filled edition of 1,500 boulder problems with maps and pictures. While it doesn’t contain full-color photos like others considered earlier, its content is worth reading.
8. Utah Bouldering
Authors: Chris Grijalva, Noah Bigwood, Dave Pegg
Are you planning a bouldering expedition in Utah? It would be best if you get this guide.
Utah Bouldering is a comprehensive guidebook with a user-friendly format to most bouldering problems in Utah.
Other features include action photographs, detailed descriptions, impeccably oriented boulders, tick boxes, and graded lists.
9. Vegas Bouldering
Author: Seth Robinson
The 112-page bouldering book is filled with full-color action photos providing adequate information and detailed descriptions about boulders in Las Vegas.
10. Colorado Bouldering 2
Author: Phillip Benningfield and Matt Samet
Phillip Benningfield initially released Colorado Bouldering in 1999, which became a groundbreaking guide and eye-opener to the bouldering problems in Colorado.
In 2003, then climber and former editor-in-chief of Climbing magazine partnered with Benningfield to release Colorado Bouldering’s second edition, covering new areas and bouldering problems evolving from Benningfield’s first release.
Colorado Bouldering 2 is a 269-page book that is informative and descriptive, containing several bouldering photographs in black & white.
11. Mammoth Bouldering
Author: Charlie Barrett
Mammoth Bouldering highlights the sixteen best bouldering areas in Mammoth Lakes’ diversity, covering over 1,000 boulder problems.
The book is engaging, describing the beautiful scenery of the Californian region in full color.
12. SuperTopo Yosemite Valley Bouldering
Author: Matt Wilder
Yosemite Valley is one of the world’s most prominent climbing areas; a guidebook with sufficient descriptions of routes and boulders is quite worthy.
Some readers have found a few inaccurate maps and omitted GPS coordinates but have praised its full-color photography, historical information, and essential detailing.
13. Bouldering in the Canadian Rockies (2nd Edition)
Author: Marcus Norman
Norman is quite obsessive with bouldering, prompting him to establish and solve boulder problems in different parts of the world.
Bouldering in the Canadian Rockies was initially released in 2003 but was modified in 2010, adding updated information about the Canadian Rockies, more images, and more topos.
14. Bouldering: Movement, Tactics, And Problem Solving (Mountaineers Outdoor Expert)
Author: Peter Beal
Amongst other best bouldering books considered in this article, Bouldering: Movement, Tactics, And Problem Solving (Mountaineers Outdoor Expert) is the best step-by-step training resource for various levels of boulderers.
The book gives an insight into the art of bouldering from tactics, safety, training, gear, competition, movement, style, and so on.
It contains 224 pages of highly informative content, including action pictures, and an appendix underwritten by a couple of successful climbers like Paul Robinson and Daniel Woods.
Peter Beal’s Bouldering: Movement, Tactics, And Problem Solving (Mountaineers Outdoor Expert) if you’re new to bouldering or want to build your interest in the sport.
15. Grade (Bouldering) (Paperback)
Authors: Frederic P. Miller, Agnes F. Vandome, John McBrewster
Grade (Bouldering) is a 76-page book that focuses on grading systems peculiar to bouldering.
These systems include the V-scale, Fontainebleau technical grades, British technical grades, route colors, and Peak District grades.
16. Bouldering: Climbing, No Ropes Attached
Author: Bernd Zangerl
The 240-page kindle book is one of the most recent releases in this article, with updated information about the art of bouldering.
It discusses the essentials of success in bouldering, qualities like discipline, determination, and focus that helped the author Bernd Zangerl become one of the best boulders of all time.
17. Bouldering Essentials: The Complete Guide to Bouldering
Author: David Flanagan
Bouldering Essentials is a detailed guidebook for amateur outdoor boulderers, including movement, basics, safety, and other essentials for a successful bouldering career.
18. Rocklands Bouldering (2nd Edition)
Author: Scott Noy
Scott Noy released Rocklands Bouldering (first edition) in 2010, a 288-page book about bouldering in the Rocklands of South Africa.
Due to recent developments and the area’s growing popularity, he released a book’s second edition — a comprehensive guide packed with action shots, topos, and detailed descriptions of boulders.
The 480-page book also provides information about the area and activity tips, albeit climbing.
19. Best of Boulder Bouldering
Author: Bob Horan
At its release (2000), Best of Boulder Bouldering includes all the bouldering classics. It’s packed with several maps, photos, and detailed descriptions of over 100 boulders and 375 new problems.
20. The Boulder: A Philosophy for Bouldering
Author: Francis J. Sanzaro
South Korean-born American author R. O. Kwon whose thought on climbing was considered at the beginning of this article, realized the connection between the psychological and physical attributes of bouldering.
The book, The Boulder: A Philosophy for Bouldering gives an insight into the beauty of the sport, considering the qualities involved to solve a bouldering problem successfully.
The book discusses how the human body reacts to bouldering and the relationship between difficulty, grace, and success.
Those are 20 of the best bouldering books of all time. Definitely, they will meet your reading needs.
They are worth reading, most especially for boulders. It’s an avenue to learn from the mistakes and success of some of the best climbers on the globe through the pages.
Till we meet on the crag, keep reading! Please let us know your thoughts on our best bouldering books in the comments section below.
See more 50 Best Climbing Books Of All Time, and 10 Best Bouldering Shoes For Beginners: Review & Buying Guide.