The best books about peakbagging and highpointing

Why are we passionate about this?

We are twin brothers that like climbing mountains and peakbagging around the world. Our goal is to climb the highest mountain in every country on earth, and we’ve so far gotten up the highpoints of 139 countries out of 196 total. We got started doing long bicycle tours in Europe climbing country highpoints on the cheap after graduate school at MIT. Recently we've climbed some of the most difficult country highpoints in the world like Pik Pobeda (24,406ft), the Kyrgyzstan highpoint, Noshaq (24,580ft), the Afghanistan highpoint, and K2 (28,261ft), the Pakistan highpoint.


We wrote...

Twins to the Tops: The Quest for the North American Country High Points

By Eric and Matthew Gilbertson,

Book cover of Twins to the Tops: The Quest for the North American Country High Points

What is our book about?

This book is about our journey to become the first people to climb the highpoints of all twenty-three North American countries. This was a five-year project that we completed mostly while in graduate school at MIT. These peaks range from long jungle bushwhacks in Belize to remote high-altitude glaciated peaks in Canada and Alaska, to razor-grass-covered volcanoes in the Caribbean. This book is for those who share a thirst for travel, the outdoors, and the mountains.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books we picked & why

Book cover of Not Won In A Day: Climbing Canada's Highpoints

Eric and Matthew Gilbertson Why did I love this book?

This is the story of the first person – Jack Bennett – to climb the highest point in each of the Canadian provinces and territories. This story will take you from a remote bushwhack in Nova Scotia to a multi-pitch rock climb up a new route on Mt Nirvana in the northwest territories to a glaciated peak on Ellesmere Island only a few hundred miles from the north pole. We climbed many of the Canada highpoints together and used this book extensively for planning. At the time this book had some of the only published information on some of these peaks. 

By Jack Bennett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Not Won In A Day as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of High Points: A Climber's Guide to South America

Eric and Matthew Gilbertson Why did I love this book?

Jonathan Wunrow is working on climbing the highest peaks in each country in the Americas, and this book documents his climbs in eight of the countries in South America. He writes very entertaining trip reports, and his information is the only beta available for some peaks. He made the first documented ascent of Julianatop, the Suriname highpoint, and so his report of this climb is very valuable. Jonathan has a few peaks remaining in South America, and plans to publish a companion book once he finishes those. We are currently making plans to climb the highpoints in Suriname and a few other South American countries, and we are using this book to plan these trips.

By Jonathan Wunrow,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked High Points as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An emergency bivouac at 20,000’ on Bolivia’s highest mountain that left the author near death. Bushwhacking through a remote Surinamese jungle for eleven days to make the first recorded ascent of Juliantop. Venturing alone to Argentina to attempt a solo climb of the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere. These and other adventures make High Points: A Climber’s Guide to South American, Part 1 more than a climbing guide. They offer a unique insight into the emotional and physical thrills and challenges that come with climbing in the jungles and on the high icy peaks of South America.

High Points:…


Book cover of Europe's High Points: Reaching the Summit of Every Country in Europe

Eric and Matthew Gilbertson Why did I love this book?

This is a detailed guidebook for climbing the highpoints of all of the countries in Europe. The authors conducted extensive background research, and made great maps and route descriptions for each peak. We used this book as our primary resource for climbing the European highpoints, and brought it along during several long-distance bicycle tours in Europe. The book covers peaks ranging from glaciated climbs like Monte Rose in Switzerland and Mt Blanc in France/Italy to casual hikes like Halti in Finland and Moldoveanu in Romania.  

By Carl McKeating, Rachel Crolla,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Europe's High Points as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A guide to reaching the summit of every country in Europe - driving, walking and climbing routes to the tops of 50 countries in Europe. Detailed route descriptions, sketch maps - advice on transport, seasons, grading and gear. Heading to the highest point of any European country is an experience not to be missed. The continent has a wealth of adventure and a huge variety of dazzling scenery awaiting the walker and climber. And each of Europe's 50 countries celebrates its national high point in a different way. This guide brings together detailed route descriptions for those seeking to get…


Book cover of Summit Routes: Washington's 100 Highest Peaks: Routes for Hikers, Scramblers, and Climbers

Eric and Matthew Gilbertson Why did I love this book?

For any peakbagger living in the pacific northwest, the ultimate list of peaks is the hundred-highest mountains in Washington. This is the only guidebook dedicated to this list of peaks, and this was our primary resource when climbing these peaks. The authors have organized the peaks into “slams” where they figured out the optimal grouping of peaks to get the most out of any trip. They give excellent route descriptions and time estimates, which are very important for trip planning. 

By Scott Stephenson, Brian Bongiovanni,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Summit Routes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Summit Routes takes you to the apex of Washington's 100 highest peaks. From easier trail routes to true wilderness experiences, from just beyond the pass to the top of Mount Rainier, this guide shows the way with detailed approach and route descriptions, photos with route overlays, and itineraries that group peaks into multiday outings. Whether you are a hiker or an experienced climber, Summit Routes will get you into the mountains and on top of the world.


Book cover of Colorado's Fourteeners: From Hikes to Climbs

Eric and Matthew Gilbertson Why did I love this book?

Gerry Roach has climbed extensively in Colorado and has done a great job compiling his wealth of first-hand knowledge into this guidebook. This is the best resource we know of for climbing all the 14,000ft peaks in Colorado, and it was our main resource when climbing these peaks. He gives very detailed color-coded route maps, and describes a half dozen different route options for each peak. This is a must-have book if you are hiking and peak-bagging in Colorado.

By Gerry Roach,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Colorado's Fourteeners as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Standard, alternate, and technical routes for all 58 Colorado Fourteener peaks

A classic guidebook known for its accuracy and comprehensiveness, Colorado's Fourteeners has been updated for this thirtieth anniversary edition to include GPS coordinates, revised topographic maps, expanded route details, and new descriptions reflecting alterations to trail access. Besides the often-climbed standard routes, the guide describes many alternative and technical routes.

The trusted source for over 30 years, this is the guide to bring with you to peaks websites can't reach.


You might also like...

We Had Fun and Nobody Died: Adventures of a Milwaukee Music Promoter

By Amy T. Waldman, Peter Jest,

Book cover of We Had Fun and Nobody Died: Adventures of a Milwaukee Music Promoter

Amy T. Waldman

New book alert!

What is my book about?

This irreverent biography provides a rare window into the music industry from a promoter’s perspective. From a young age, Peter Jest was determined to make a career in live music, and despite naysayers and obstacles, he did just that, bringing national acts to his college campus atUW-Milwaukee, booking thousands of concerts across Wisconsin and the Midwest, and opening Shank Hall, the beloved Milwaukee venue named after a club in the cult film This Is Spinal Tap.

Jest established lasting friendships with John Prine, Arlo Guthrie, and others, but ultimately, this book tells a universal story of love and hope – about figuring out where you belong, finding your way there, and living a life that matters.

We Had Fun and Nobody Died: Adventures of a Milwaukee Music Promoter

By Amy T. Waldman, Peter Jest,

What is this book about?

The entertaining and inspiring story of a stubbornly independent promoter and club owner 

This irreverent biography provides a rare window into the music industry from a promoter’s perspective. From a young age, Peter Jest was determined to make a career in live music, and despite naysayers and obstacles, he did just that, bringing national acts to his college campus at UW–Milwaukee, booking thousands of concerts across Wisconsin and the Midwest, and opening Shank Hall, the beloved Milwaukee venue named after a club in the cult film This Is Spinal Tap.

This funny, nostalgia-inducing book details the lasting friendships Jest established…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in hiking, Washington state, and Colorado?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about hiking, Washington state, and Colorado.

Hiking Explore 45 books about hiking
Washington State Explore 73 books about Washington state
Colorado Explore 76 books about Colorado