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                Books are an excellent medium for the transfer of bulk knowledge; however keep in mind that experience comes from training and time spent in the field. Do not just read a book if you desire to really understand. True understanding can only be achieved through a combination of knowledge and experience. We have selected the books listed in this section to assist you in your search for knowledge. Reading, training and practice are critical to a safe and sane rescue. Remember, rescue is serious business.

Rock Climbing - Mountaineering Books


The Essential Wilderness Navigator

THE ESSENTIAL WILDERNESS NAVIGATOR: HOW TO FIND YOUR WAY IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS, by David Seidman.  A detailed explanation of maps, compasses, general navigation, practical navigation, natural navigation, and extreme environments.  Complete with pictures, diagrams, and figures.  160 pages

Catalog #EWN Essential Wilderness Navigator

Modern Rope Techniques in Mountaineering

MODERN ROPE TECHNIQUES IN MOUNTAINEERING, by Bill March. Published by Cicerone Press. Third Edition reprinted in 1986. A well researched book covering all phases of rope techniques for mountaineering. Twelve chapters cover everything form rope types to crevice rescue. Bill March has been an active mountaineer for over 20 years. This man knows his stuff. Many illustrations. Paperback, 119 pages. Weight 8oz.(229g) Printed in England.

Catalog #MRT Modern Rope Techniques in Mountaineering

Mountaineering the Freedom of the Hills

MOUNTAINEERING THE FREEDOM OF THE HILLS, Fourth edition. Edited by Ed Peters. Published by The Mountaineers. A fully updated and revised edition of the most complete, authoritative book on all phases of mountaineering. Includes chapters on equipment, safety, techniques and how to understand the mountain environment. Very thorough and well written. A long recognized authority on the do’s and don’ts of mountaineering. Hardback, 560 pages. Weight 2 lbs.(.9kg). Printed in USA.

Catalog #MFOH Mountaineering the Freedom of the Hills

On Rope: The Book on North American SRT

ON ROPE: THE BOOK ON NORTH AMERICAN SINGLE ROPE TECHNIQUE, by Allen Padgett and Bruce Smith. Published by the National Speleological Society. This book is destined to become the source book for rescuers, climbers and cavers. A highly detailed book on all current practices in single rope techniques. Fifteen chapters include sections on ropes, knots, rigging, rappelling, equipment, domes and walls just to name a few. If you are involved in any phase of rope work be it sport climbing, caving or rescue, then this book should be in your library. Over 350 pages with more than 500 illustrations. Weight 2.75 lbs.(1.2kg). Printed in USA. 2nd Edition

Catalog #OR On Rope: The Book on North American SRT

Caving Books

Alpine Caving

ALPINE CAVING, by Georges Marbach and Bernard Tourte.  English Edition, Spelo Projects 2002 Translated and adapted by Melanie Alspaugh.  This is the definitive source for vertical and horizontal caving techniques among cavers worldwide.  320 pages, 395 figures, 44 b/w photos, color covers

Catalog #AOC Adventure of Caving

Vertical Caving

VERTICAL CAVING, by Mike Meredith. Published by Westmoreland Gazette. An intriguing book on the French or frog approach to vertical caving. The French cavers are well known for their rebelay techniques and the use of bolting equipment. This compact well illustrated book is a good source book for methods which are not widely used in the United States. Expand your horizons with this book. You will find something you can use underground as well as on the surface. Paperback, 64 pages. Weight 4.5oz.(129g). Printed in Great Britain.

Catalog #VC Vertical Caving


VERTICAL, by Alan Warild. Published by the Speleological Research Council Ltd, Sydney, Australia. A technical manual for cavers. A review of the Australian “state of the art vertical caving techniques”. Paperback, 152 pages. Weight 1 lb.(.45kg). Printed in Australia.

Catalog #V Vertical

Knots & Splicing Books

The Art of Knotting and Splicing

THE ART OF KNOTTING AND SPLICING, by Cyrus L. Day revised by Rax O. Beard, Jr. and Lee M. Hoffman, Jr. Hundreds of precise step‑by‑step photos and clear instructions demonstrate thousands of useful knots and splices in this practical “hands‑on” guide to knots and Marlingspike Seamanship. 1986. Paperback, 235 pages, 823 illustrations. Printed in the USA.

Catalog #TAOKAS The Art of Knotting and Splicing

The Ashley Book of Knots

THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS, by Clifford W. Ashley. Published by Doubleday. This is the definitive book on knots. Listed within it are approximately 3,900 knots, from simple hitches to very complex plat sinnets. Knots from adjustable bends to zigzag ring hitching. Precisely named and classified, the knots can easily be found in its big index. This book tells when they first appeared, something about their history, and what they are good for. Above all the book tells how to tie the knots. Step-by-step instructions along with over 7,000 illustrations make it easy to master even the most complex knot. If you want to know everything there is to know about knots, this book will give you what you want to know. Large format hardback, 620 pages. Weight 5 lbs.(2.3kg). Printed in USA.

Catalog #TABOK The Ashley Book of Knots

Complete Book of Knots

THE COMPLETE BOOK OF KNOTS, by Geoffrey Budworth.  Easy-to-follow instructions on tying knots for climbing, sailing, fishing and other outdoor activities. Each entry contains a history of that knot’s development and information on its uses and special features.  The illustrations are large and easy to follow.  Paperback, 160 pages

Catalog #CBOK Complete Book of Knots

Knots for Climbers

KNOTS FOR CLIMBERS, by Craig Leubben.  Provides up-to-date info on ropes and knots used in mountaineering in an inexpensive format.  75 illustrations, 40 pages. 

Catalog #KFC Knots for Climbers

The Klutz Book of Knots

KLUTZ BOOK OF KNOTS, by John Cassidy. Published by Klutz Press. An entertaining cute knot book. Contains detailed illustrated instructions on how to tie and use twenty‑five knots. This book is more than just a written guide. It’s also a tool, meant to be used as well as read. Each of the numerous board pages has been die‑cut so that knots can be practiced directly next to their illustrations. The book even includes two lengths of cord for practicing your knot tying skills. In short it is a book you can get wrapped up in. Fiberboard covers with spiral binding, 21 pages. Weight 6.2oz.(177g). Printed in USA.

Catalog #TKBK The Klutz Book of Knots

The Morrow Guide to Knots

THE MORROW GUIDE TO KNOTS, by Mario Bigon and Guido Regazzoni. Published by Quill. Here is an entirely different kind of knot book. Step-by-step instructions with color photographs teach the art of knot tying. A compact, practical handbook of the seventy most useful knots to know. Illustrated with 647 color photographs. The photos are over the instructor’s shoulder showing the way you see the knot as you make it. When more than one rope is used the ropes are color coded making it easy to understand. This book is a reliable and essential reference tool for all sportsmen, rescuers, and campers. Paperback, 255 pages. Weight 1.5 lbs.(.7kg). Printed in USA.

Catalog #TMGTK The Morrow Guide to Knots

Ropes, Knots, Hitches, Splices & Things

ROPES, KNOTS, HITCHES, SPLICES & THINGS by Wellington.  This handy reference provides a general knowledge of ropes, knots, hitches and splices along with safe use guidelines.  How-to sections cover rigging, lariats, halters, bridles, and magic tricks you can do with rope.  Wirebound, 74 pages. 

Catalog #RKHST Ropes Knots Hitches Splices and Things

The Splicing Book

THE SPLICING BOOK, by Wellington Puritan, Inc. Published by Wellington, Puritan, Inc. New revised and updated second edition. Have you ever needed to put an eye, inline or crown splice in a rope but lacked the ability? This simple to use flip chart workbook takes you through the entire process with concise easy‑to‑understand, step‑by-­step color photographs and instructions. Learn how to put the above splices in braid‑on‑braid, hollow braid or three strand twisted ropes any time you need to. Sixty‑nine color photos show you what to do and when to do it. Heavy fiberboard with spiral binding, 36 pages. Weight 4oz.(114g). This book is also available as part of a splicing training kit. The kit contains the book, two lengths of braid‑on‑braid rope and the tools needed to make four eye splices. We recommend this kit for beginners and for training sessions. Kit weight 5 lbs.(2.3kg). Made in USA.

Catalog #TSB The Splicing Book

Catalog #S9912 Splice Training Kit

Medical & First Aid Books

The Common Sense Medical Guide and Outdoor Reference

THE COMMON SENSE MEDICAL GUIDE AND OUTDOOR REFERENCE, by Newell D. Breyfogle. Published by McGraw‑Hill. This guide divides into two parts. The first deals with the common sense approach to handling medical emergencies. It is presented in a simple manner to help the non‑medical person in recognizing and treating emergencies. The second part provides specific information on how to prepare for, how to anticipate, and how to handle many outdoor and wilderness emergencies. The purpose of this guide is to provide enough information for the reader to feel secure and confident in the management of unexpected mishaps in the home, on the road, or on short trips into the wilderness. Handy pocket or pack size with a waterproof washable cover. Paperback, 413 pages. Weight 1.25 lbs.(.57kg). Printed in USA.

Catalog #TCSMGOR The Common Sense Medical Guide and Outdoor Reference

Hypothermia Death by Exposure

HYPOTHERMIA DEATH BY EXPOSURE by Wm. W. Forgey. Published by ICS Books, Inc. Hypothermia can be prevented, and it can be treated, but only if you know how. Hypothermia is the lowering of the body’s core temperature to the point that illness and death can result. It is the greatest potential danger for anyone traveling in the outdoors. This book includes the official State of Alaska hypothermia treatment protocols. Paperback, 172 pages. Weight 10.5oz.(300g). Printed in USA.

Catalog #HDBE Hypothermia Death by Exposure

Hypothermia, Frostbite and Other Cold Injuries

HYPOTHERMIA, FROSTBITE AND OTHER COLD INJURIES, by Wilkerson, Bangs and Hayward. Published by The Mountaineers. Hikers, climbers, hunters, fishermen, lost children ‑ anyone who is cold, wet, tired and without the proper clothing, food and shelter can suffer from hypothermia, a lower than normal body temperature that eventually shuts down the body’s vital systems. Hypothermia is also a major cause of death following boating accidents. A thorough knowledge of hypothermia is vital for those involved in search and rescue. This book covers hypothermia’s causes and effects, and tells how to prevent, recognize and treat it. A chapter on cold water immersion hypothermia is a must for anyone who works or plays on or about water. Other chapters deal with frostbite and other localized cold injuries such as trench foot. Includes six color plates of frostbite injuries. Paperback, 105 pages. Weight 6oz.(172g). Printed in USA.

Catalog #HFB&OCI Hypothermia, Frostbite and Other Cold Injuries

Medicine for Mountaineering

MEDICINE FOR MOUNTAINEERING, edited by James A. Wilkerson, M.D. Published by The Mountaineers. New, up­dated and expanded third edition. First aid books tell you “what to do until the doctor comes”‑not much help if someone falls victim to an accident or illness out in the wilderness, on a boat or mid‑ocean, or high up on some foreign mountain, places where the doctor isn’t going to come. This book starts where first aid manuals stop. It’s a handbook of medicine compiled by climber‑physicians experienced in wilderness medicine. Subjects covered include: diagnosis, psychology of accidents, prevention measures; traumatic injuries‑fractures, burns, soft tissue injuries; environmental injuries‑heat, cold, altitude; disease, pain, infections, allergies; medications, medical kits, legal considerations. Tough vinyl cover, 438 pages. Weight 1.75 lbs.(.8kg). Printed in USA.

Catalog #MFM Medicine for Mountaineering

Mountaineering First Aid

MOUNTAINEERING FIRST AID, by Lentz, MacDonald and Carline. Published by The Mountaineers. Newly revised third edition of this old standby. Compact, concise handbook for dealing with remote area accidents and medical emergencies, and help in preventing them. An excellent text for outdoor safety or first aid class. Paperback, 112 pages. Weight 5.6oz.(160g). Printed in USA.

Catalog #MFA Mountaineering First Aid

Wilderness Medicine

WILDERNESS MEDICINE, by Wm. Fogery, M.D. Published by ICS Books, Inc. Many laymen fear traveling deep in the wilds because in the event of a serious illness or accident, one might become helpless or even die through lack of medical treatment. This book is intended to allay this fear. It is an excellent basic medical guide for the layman in the wilderness. This book tells what to do for commonly encountered medical problems in the wilds such as: burns, diarrhea, cuts, imbedded fishhooks, insect bites and stings. It also has an excellent guide for first aid equipment and medications for use in the back country. Paperback, 125 pages. Weight 6.7oz.(191g). Printed in USA.

Catalog #WM Wilderness Medicine

Search & Rescue

Alpine Operations

ALPINE OPERATIONS, by Mark V. Lonsdale.  A detailed overview of the equipment and training required to operate effectively in the high mountains and in cold weather environments.  Topics include: wilderness living, basic mountaineering, avalanche awareness, crevasse rescue, high altitude climbing, helicopter deployment, alpine and rope rescue, tactical rappelling, alpine law enforcement and military operations.  Paperback, 390 pages. 

Catalog #AO Alpine Operations

Confined Space/ Structural Rescue

CONFINED SPACE/STRUCTURAL RESCUE, by Michael Roop, Thomas Vines, and Richard Wright.  In full-color with over 400 illustrations, this book provides the latest on confined space and rope rescue in urban and industrial environments.  Special emphasis on compliance issues.  29oz (822g). 

Catalog #CSSR Confined Space/ Structural Rescue

Confined Space Rescue

CONFINED SPACE RESCUE by George J. Browne & Gus S. Crist.  This complete text details the hazards of confined spaces, describes ways to control those hazards, then prescribes a formula for conducting confined space rescue operations.  204 pages black and white.

Catalog #CSR Confined Space Rescue

Engineering Practical Rope Rescue Systems

ENGINEERING PRACTICAL ROPE RESCUE SYSTEMS.  By Michael G. Brown.  This practical look at rope rescue looks at team integrity and development issues as well as team efficiency concepts.  Interesting, current, and sometimes controversial topics within rope rescue community are featured throughout.  322 pages black and white

Catalog #EPRRS Engineering Practical Rope Rescue Systesms

First Due Trench Rescue

FIRST DUE TRENCH RESCUE.  By James B. Gargan.  Second Edition is a must read for anyone responding to trench rescues.  Topics include: preparation, initial response, assessment, hazard control, support operations, gaining access, emergency care, disentanglement, removal and transfer, and termination of the response.  A real-life trench rescue scenario builds through each chapter.  Procedures illustrated by step-by-step drawings.  Paperback, 258 pages. 

Catalog #FDTR First Due Trench Rescue

High Angle Rescue Techniques: A Student Guide for Rescue Classes

HIGH ANGLE RESCUE TECHNIQUES, by Tom Vines and PMI’s own Steve Hudson. Published by the National Association For Search & Rescue. A textbook for teaching basic rappelling and technical rescue techniques. This book is designed to take a basic rope rescuer through a course of study on a step by step basis. Highly recommended. Heavily illustrated. Paperback, 250 pages. Weight 1 lb.(.5kg). Printed in USA.

Catalog #HART1 High Angle Rescue Techniques (1st Edition)

Catalog #HART2 High Angle Rescue Techniques (2nd Edition)

Catalog #HART3 High Angle Rescue Techniques (3rd Edition)

Managing the Lost Person Incident

MANAGING THE LOST PERSON INCIDENT,  Developed for the NASAR and National Park Service MLPI course.  Unbound, three-hold punched. 

1.8 lbs (809g)

Catalog #MTLPI Managing the Lost Person Incident

Mountain Search and Rescue Techniques

MOUNTAIN SEARCH AND RESCUE TECHNIQUES, by W.G. May. Published by Rocky Mountain Rescue Group. A somewhat dated book which gives good coverage to the many skills required for a member of a mountain rescue team. Well illustrated. Paperback, 301 pages. Weight 1 lb.(.5kg). Printed in USA.

Catalog #MS&RT Mountain Search and Rescue Techniques

Search is an Emergency

SEARCH IS AN EMERGENCY, by Rick Lavalla, Skip Stoffel and Bill Wade. Published by The Emergency Response Institute. A field coordinator’s handbook for managing the search function. A go anywhere pocket sized booklet that provides information on all facets of search techniques and management. Thirty‑three sections cover everything from leadership through demobilization. Everyone involved with search and rescue should always have a copy of this booklet nearby. Paperback, 92 pages. Weight 2.4oz.(68g). Printed in USA.

Catalog #SIAE Search is an Emergency

Rescue Technician: Operational Readiness for Rescue Providers

RESCUE TECHNICIAN by Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute, University of Maryland.  This student manual covers rope rescue equipment and rigging, incident scene approach, patient packaging, and vehicular rescue.  Confined space, trench/excavation, and aquatic operations are covered at the first responder awareness level.  Text is laid out well and includes skill proficiency evaluations and skill cards.  Paperback, 217 pages

Catalog #RTOR Rescue Technician: Operational Readiness for Rescue Providers

Rope Rescue Nomenclature

ROPE RESCUE NOMENCLATURE, by Reed Thorne. Published by The Thorne Group Inc. A well researched guide to terminology for equipment and techniques commonly employed in rope rescue. From A‑frame to Z‑rig this book covers it all. Highly recommended for everyone involved with high angle rescue. Heavily illustrated. Spiral bound paperback. 42 pages. Weight 9oz.(257g). Printed in USA.

Catalog #RRN Rope Rescue Nomenclature

Search & Rescue Operations Field Guide

SEARCH AND RESCUE OPS FIELD GUIDE, Pocket-sized guide good for a wide-range of topics.  Only 4oz (11g)

Catalog #SAROFG Seach and Rescue Operations Field Guide

Search & Rescue Fundamentals

SEARCH AND RESCUE FUNDAMENTALS By Donald Cooper, Robert Stoffel, and Patrick LaValla.  Essential knowledge for every wilderness search and rescue mission is covered in this text, with numerous illustrations, charts, and sample forms.  Paperback, 396 pages.  2.3 lbs (1.04kg). 

Catalog #SARF Search and Rescue Fundamentals

Surviving the Unexpected Wilderness Emergency

SURVIVING THE UNEXPECTED WILDERNESS EMERGENCY, by Gene Fear. Published by The Survival Education Association. This book tells you what to do when lost or injured in the outdoors. Your survival is your problem! The rescuers’ problem is to carry you back to civilization, if you survive until found. A comprehensive guide to wilderness survival. Chapters include: anticipating a problem, psychological stress, general survival, survival in heat and cold, navigation and much more. A must for anyone who travels or works in the outdoors. Paperback, 191 pages. Weight 10oz.(286g). Printed in USA.

Catalog #SUWE Surviving the Unexpected Wilderness Emergency

Technical Rescue Field Operations Guide

TECHNICAL RESCUE FIELD OPERATIONS GUIDE, by Tom Pendley.  A pocket sized guide containing over 150 high quality illustrations, command checklist and easy to follow step-by-step procedures for rope, confined space, Swiftwater, trench, structural collapse and helicopter rescue.  Paperback, spiral bound.  150 pages, Weight 7.1 oz (200g). 

Catalog # TRFOG Technical Rescue Field Operations Guide

Technical Rescue Riggers Guide

TECHNICAL RESCUE RIGGERS GUIDE, by Rick Lipke.  A pocket sized quick reference to rigging, from Anchors to Z-rigs.  Clear presentation with numerous technical drawings and diagrams.  121 pages, spiralbound.  Made in USA.  4.8 oz (136g). 

Catalog # TRRG Technical Rescue Riggers Guide

Urban Search and Rescue Structures Specialist: Field Operations Guide

URBAN SEARCH AND RESCUE STRUCTURES SPECIALIST FIELD OPS GUIDE, by the US Army Corps of Engineers.  A pocket sized reference guide designed as a working reference tool for US&R Structures Specialists during a response operation.  Information is condensed from the initial training and is used to expand and incorporate new information.  Over 150 pages of essential instructions.  Spiralbound

Catalog # USARSSFOG Urban Search & Rescue Structures Specialist Field Operations Guide

Wilderness Search and Rescue

WILDERNESS SEARCH AND RESCUE, by Tim J. Setnicka. Published by the Appalachian Mountain Club. This book, first published in 1980, has become the standard by which all other similar books are judged. No serious rescuer or mountaineer should be without this book. The first chapters deal with managing the search response, and later chapters deal with the wide range of skills and knowledge involved with technical rescue operations. It is very well written and illustrated, and covers numerous rescue techniques. This book should be a part of your library. Hardback, 636 pages. Weight 2.5 lbs.(1.2kg). Printed in USA.

Catalog #WS&R Wilderness Search and Rescue

CMC Rescue Published Books

Catalog #

Book Name


Rope Rescue Manual, 3rd Edition **A reader favorite!**


Rappel Manual


Rope Rescue Manual Field Guide


Confined Space Entry and Rescue


Water Rescue Books

Ice Rescue

ICE RESCUE, by Steve Linton and Damon Rust. Published by Concept Systems, Inc. Ice Rescue is designed as a textbook, a study guide, and a reference to keep skills up to date. Chapter one is a thorough discussion of ice and its characteristics. Chapter two discusses the cold’s effect on victims and rescues. The final chapter deals with ice rescue techniques. Paperback, 23 pages. Weight 2.5oz.(70g). Printed in USA.

Catalog #IR Ice Rescue

River Rescue

RIVER RESCUE, by Les Bechdel and Slim Ray. Published by The Appalachian Mountain Club. An indispensable aid for anyone who spends time either working or playing on our nation’s waterways. Instructors, recreational paddlers, professional outfitters and rescue personnel will find this book to be essential. With clear, concise instructions and illustrations, the authors cover every aspect of whitewater rescue from organization through evacuation, as well as trip planning, reading the river, and self rescue. This publication is a comprehensive manual on how to avoid accidents on the river and what to do when they happen. Paperback, 227 pages. Weight 1 lb.(.5kg). Printed in USA.

Catalog #RRB River Rescue

River Rescue

RIVER RESCUE, by Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Published by Ohio State University. A comprehensive coverage of current techniques required for all types of water related emergencies. Written for fire and rescue personnel, but it has something for everyone who works or plays in or around moving water. Sections include river reading and tactics, rescue techniques, accident scene preplanning, rescue team development, low head dam rescue methods and more. If there is a potential for water related emergencies in your area then you need this book. Paperback, 118 pages. Weight 1 lb.(.5kg). This book is also available in a loose leaf instructor’s manual with lesson plans and space for instructor’s notes. Paperback, 340 pages. Weight 2.5 lbs.(1.2kg). Printed in USA.

Catalog #RROSU River Rescue

Catalog #RRIMOSU River Rescue Instructor’s Manual

Swiftwater Rescue

SWIFTWATER RESCUE, by Slim Ray.  Topics include rescuer safety, river hydrology, equipment, rigging, incident command, and Swiftwater training.  Shore-based, boat based, and in-water rescue are covered.  Available in full 360 page edition or 78 page field guide. 

Catalog #SWR Swiftwater Rescue

Catalog #SWRFG Swiftwater Rescue Field Guide

Water Wise

WATER WISE, by David S. Smith and Sara J. Smith. Published in 1984 by Smith Aquatic Safety Services. An excellent reference for anyone who has the potential for water related emergencies. Eight chapters from why drownings occur to a hypothermia resource list, including a chapter on alcohol and aquatics. Highly recommended for your water rescue library. Spiral bound paperback, 188 pages. Weight 1 lb.(.5kg) Printed in the USA.

Catalog #WW Water Wise