Chessler Books
Rock Climbing - Mountaineering - Exploration
New - Used - Collectible - Signed
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About Us

Chessler Books

Chessler Books was started in 1984 by Michael Chessler in New York City. Our primary interest has always been books about mountaineering and rock climbing, but we also carry books on polar exploration, and other adventure travel and sports activities.
At first we sold only used and rare mountaineering books, but quickly added climbing guidebooks and in-print narratives. We sold by mail order through printed catalogs. In 1987 we moved to Colorado and quickly grew to where we were soon selling 20% of the mountaineering books in America. From 1984 to 2003 we issued 120 different paper catalogs. In 2003 we did our last catalog and transitioned into selling through this website. Most of our sales now are from this website, and we also list books on eBay (as chesslerbooks) and other websites.
Climbing has been a passion of Michael Chessler since he was a teenager, who learned how to climb in 1962 with the Brooklyn College Open Road Club at the Shawangunks in New York. He also got some winter experience in New Hampshire's White Mountains, especially on winter climbs of Mount Washington in the 1960s, and ice climbs in the Adirondacks.

His first job in the business of climbing was working and managing one of the original east coast climbing shops, Leon Greenman Inc, in NYC, starting in 1968. He soon moved to Cambridge MA and managed a small but influential climbing shop called Climber's Corner.  In 1971 he created a mail order catalog and department for Kelty Pack Inc in Glendale CA, and climbed and skied in the Sierra Nevada almost every weekend. In 1976 he became Sales Manager of Sierra West in Santa Barbara, an early manufacturer of Gore-Tex jackets, and started seriously collecting mountaineering books. By the time he moved back to New York City in 1982 he had over 5000 mountaineering books on hand, most purchased from bookshops all over America.
With the advent of the internet, many bookshops throughout the world had a difficult time adapting to on-line competition. We adopted several changes that allowed us to thrive. We import many books from the UK, India, Australia, New Zealand and Europe that are usually unavailable in the USA. We now maintain an inventory of used and rare mountaineering books that is probably larger and more comprehensive than any other specialist bookseller.
And perhaps most interesting, we get many authors and climbers to autograph the books they have written or are mentioned in. In many cases, we sell these books at the same price as unsigned books. We usually keep a large inventory of these books, so they are available for years after publication. It has enabled us to create a type of bookshop like no other in the world, with thousands of books signed by the leading people in our field.
Some of the climbers we have had the pleasure of meeting and getting books autographed by include Edmund Hillary, Reinhold Messner, Heinrich Harrer, Anderl Heckmair, Maurice Herzog, Chris Bonington, Stephen Venables, Jim Whittaker, Tom Hornbein, Galen Rowell, Barry Bishop, Ed Viesturs, Jon Krakauer, David Breashears, Steve House, Royal Robbins, Tom Frost, Warren Harding, Layton Kor, Yvon Chouinard, Jim Bridwell, John Bachar, Lynn Hill, Catherine Destivelle, Paul Petzoldt, Charles Houston, Bob Bates, Bradford Washburn, Pat Ament, Tommy Caldwell, Alex Honnold and dozens more.
This is an image of Michael Chessler climbing in the 1970s. Note the twin lens Rolleiflex we were given in our teens by a family friend who saw I liked to take pictures.
Michael Chessler
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