You can only stare at Netflix and Twitter for so long. Now perhaps more than ever before, this is time to get wrapped up in a good adventure book. Before you set out on your own adventure or expedition, become a student of those who have gone before. Here are some of our favorite books on the subject, as reprinted from Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers (Skyhorse Publishing). How many have you read?
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain (1884). The classic American novel that inspired countless budding adventurers. “Huck’s always been my hero,” polar explorer Will Steger says. “I’ve patterned my life after his.”
Annapurna – Maurice Herzog (The Lyons Press, paperback edition, 1997). French climber Maurice Herzog’s gripping and horrific account of the first ascent of an 8,000-meter peak in 1950.
Arctic Dreams – Barry Lopez (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1986). An inspiring, classic celebration of the Arctic region.
The Brotherhood of the Rope: The Biography of Charles Houston –Bernadette McDonald (The Mountaineers Books, 2007). The story of the 1953 K2 expedition and the famed belay that saved five people.
Crossing Antarctica – Will Steger and Jon Bowermaster (Alfred A. Knopf, 1991). First-person account of the $11 million expedition that will be remembered as both Antarctica’s final dogsled adventure and the longest of any kind ever.
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage – Alfred Lansing (The Adventure Library, 1994 Edition). One of the greatest rescue stories ever told.
Eric Shipton: Everest & Beyond – Peter Steele (The Mountaineers Books, 1998). An in-depth look at this climbing and exploration legend who explored at a time when there were still white spaces on the map.
Into Thin Air – Jon Krakauer (Villard Books, 1997). Hard to believe, but climbing Everest became even more popular after the 1996 tragedy was recounted in such vivid detail.
Kon Tiki – Thor Heyerdahl (Rand McNally & Company, 1950). “Fishing was easy; sometimes the bonitos swam aboard with the waves.” Feel the romance of one of the world’s best-known expeditions by reading an original edition purchased from a used book store.
The Last Climb: The Legendary Everest Expeditions of George Mallory – David Breashears and Audrey Salkeld (National Geographic, 1999). Did Mallory and Irvine reach the summit? Where’s Irvine’s camera? Better read this if you have any hopes of finding it on your own expedition.
The Last Step: The American Ascent of K2 – Rick Ridgeway (The Mountaineers Books, 1980). What can go wrong on an expedition? Plenty. This is a first-person account of a K2 climb, warts and all.
North to the Pole – Will Steger with Paul Schurke (Times Books, 1987). Could Robert E. Peary have reached the North Pole in 1909 unsupported? Will and Paul demonstrate in fifty-five days, and a thousand zigzag miles, how it could have been done.
Sea of Glory – Nathaniel Philbrick (Viking, 2003). Lewis and Clark received all the publicity 30 years before, but the U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838 to 1842 was the granddaddy of American seagoing expeditions.
Shackleton – Roland Huntford (Ballantine, 1987). The definitive Shackleton, every excruciating moment of his extraordinary life.
Snowstruck: In the Grip of Avalanches – Jill Fredston (Harcourt, 2005). Fredston is one of North America’s leading avalanche experts. Dreaming of a white Christmas? Read this and you’ll think of snow in a whole new light.
Surviving the Extremes: A Doctor’s Journey to the Limits of Human Endurance – Kenneth Kamler, MD (St. Martin’s Press, 2004). The expedition doctor has seen it all. You will reconsider swimming in an Amazon lakes after reading about the candiru.
The Seven Summits – Dick Bass and Frank Wells with Rick Ridgeway (Warner Books, Inc., 1986). Two middle-aged men with a dream to be first to climb the highest mountain on each of the seven continents. The Seven Summits craze started here. When he liked something, such as Snowbird’s legendary deep powder, Bass would tell us, “It makes my heart sing, my thing zing, and my socks roll up and down.”
They Lived to Tell the Tale: True Stories of Modern Adventure from the Legendary Explorers Club – Jan Jarboe Russell, editor (The Lyons Press, 2008). Oceanographers, naturalists, Arctic explorers, NASA astronauts, and even an ethnobotanist all recount their most memorable projects.
Touch the Top of the World – Erik Weihenmayer (Penguin Putnam, 2001). The story of the first blind climber to summit Mount Everest. His guide dog was a chick magnet, but can he really tell the denomination of paper bills by smell alone?
Author Jeff Blumenfeld shares techniques for securing sponsors for expeditions and adventures in Get Sponsored. Buy it on Amazon.com.