5 of the best: adventure books

It’s not often we find time in our busy lives to sit down and get stuck into a good book and now many of us have some extra time on our hands, it’s the perfect time to do just that. Luckily, we’ve made the act of finding adventure easier for you and picked five of our favourite adventure books to read. From harrowing first-hand accounts to joyous life-changing adventures, we hope they inspire you to plan an adventure of your own or simply get outside. So, make a brew, sit back, relax and read on to see where your next book will take you!


Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

In March 1996, Outside magazine sent journalist and seasoned climber Jon Krakauer on an expedition to climb Everest. Despite the expertise of the expedition leaders, by the end of summit day, eight people were dead. Into Thin Air is the tragic true story of a 24-hour period on Everest, when members of three separate expeditions were caught in an unexpected storm and faced a battle against hurricane-force winds, exposure, and the effects of altitude, which ended in the worst single-season death toll in the peak's history. Not only was this book a best seller, it also fuelled the general public’s fascination with Everest, and the men and women who climb it, that remains firmly in place to this day.


Not got time to read? This book was one of the inspirations for the major motion picture Everest, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Keira Knightley.

Touching the Void by Joe Simpson

In Touching the Void, the Banff Book Winner 2003, author Joe Simpson shares the story of what happened to him while climbing a 20,800ft peak in the Peruvian Andes. In the summer of 1985, Joe and Simon, two young, headstrong mountaineers, set off to tackle an unclimbed route up the remote Suila Grande. On the descent from the summit, Joe shattered his leg which lead to his climbing partner, Simon, cutting his rope, sending him plummeting inside a deep crevasse. Completely alone, without food or water, he defies the odds to not only survive but to drag himself back to base camp. What happened to Joe, and how the pair dealt with the psychological traumas that resulted when Simon was forced into the decision to cut the rope, makes not only an epic tale of survival but a compelling testament of friendship.


Not got time to read? This was the book behind the BAFTA Award Winning film Touching the Void.


Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

If you’re looking for a laugh-out-loud adventure book packed with fascinating and engaging information, then you will love Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods. In this book, Bryson shares his experiences as he and a friend set out to hike the Appalachian Trail. The trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breath-taking terrain in America – majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaining guide you’ll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the folks he meets along the way including bears, rattlesnakes, poisonous plants, disease-bearing tics and some questionable characters. During the 2,200-mile journey, Bryson learns a lot about himself and manages to put himself in the shoes of other ramblers who have conquered this famous route. In true Bryson style, A Walk in the Woods will leave you longing for the great outdoors.

Not got time to read? A Walk in the Woods is now a major film starring Robert Redford, Nick Nolte and Emma Thompson.


The Lost City of Z by David Grann

In this true tale of lethal obsession, The New Yorker writer David Grann sets out to solve ‘the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century’: what happened to the British explorer Percy Fawcett and his quest for the Lost City of Z? Fawcett was among the last of a legendary breed of British explorers and for years he explored the Amazon. He believed that its jungle concealed a large, complex civilization that he christened the City of Z. In 1925, Fawcett headed into the jungle with his son Jack, promising to make history, but they vanished without a trace. In trying to tell Fawcett’s story, author David Grann also gets drawn into the obsession with Z. Fortunately, he avoided Fawcett’s fate and returned home from the jungle to share both their tales in this book.


Not got time to read? Watch The Lost City of Z starring Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Tom Holland and Sienna Miller.

The Impossible Climb: Alex Honnold, El Capitan and the Climbing Life by Mark Synnott

To most, the idea of attempting to summit one of the world’s most challenging ascents ‘free solo’, meaning no equipment, no rope and no climbing partner, where a single small mistake would mean certain death, would be an insane proposition. But most are not Alex Honnold – the world’s most famous climber and a familiar face on the Banff UK & Ireland tour. On 3 June 2017, National Geographic sent journalist Mark Synnott to cover Alex’s attempt to summit one of the world's most challenging ascents, a route called Freerider on the notorious rock formation El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. In The Impossible Climb Mark follows Alex as he plots, practises and ultimately attempts his heart-stopping ascent, and also shares his own personal stories of climbing along the way. It will certainly leave you on the edge of your seat… or armchair!

Not got time to read? Watch Alex Honnold in the Academy Award winning documentary Free Solo as he attempts to become the first person to free solo climb El Capitan.


Like these, want more adventure? Check out the Banff UK & Ireland tour’s collections of handpicked adventure films here.

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