The Oxford Mountaineering Library

The Oxford Mountaineering Library, maintained by OUMC and the Bodleian Library, is one of the country's largest collections of mountaineering literature. The library contains many historic first editions, letters, and journals (including the Alpine Journal, American Alpine Journal, Himalayan Journal, Oxford Mountaineering Journal and Scottish Mountaineering Journal), as well as guidebooks and general mountaineering texts, and is open to all OUMC members and Bodleian readers. Members of the public may access the library for research purposes by prior arrangement with the OUMC Librarian.

Search the collection online at Solo. Restrict your search to the OML by refining it to "SSL".

The library is currently located at the Social Science Library.

Using the Oxford Mountaineering Library

The OML is located in the Radcliffe Science Library, Parks Road, on Level 5 in the centre of the room.

If you have a Bod card, you can swipe into the RSL and go and have a look for yourself.

If you do not have a Bod card, you can still access the OML and OUMC guide collection. Show the RSL librarian your OUMC card at the entrance of the RSL and ask to be admitted to visit the Oxford Mountaineering Library. The RSL librarians can point you in the right direction (if you’re not a member of the University please don't wander around).

What have we got?

The collection mainly consists of:

  1. Guidebooks
  2. Mountaineering Literature - "Books"
  3. Journals (back issues of many journals, including the Alpine Journal, Scottish Mountaineering, and our very own Oxford Mountaineering Journal).

Anyone can check what books are in the OML via a search on Solo, the normal library catalogue. You can restrict your search to the OML by refining it to "RSL Level 5". If there is a particular book which you think the OML should have, please let the OUMC librarians know (

Books on climbing technique, ropework, navigation, etc. can be found in the OML by searching for "mountaincraft" on Solo.

OUMC also has the following maps:

  • Harveys BMC map Lake District
  • Harveys BMC map Snowdonia North
  • Harveys BMC map Snowdonia South
  • OL4 North West Lake District
  • OL5 North East Lake District (1 laminated, 1 standard)
  • OL6 South West Lake District (3)
  • OL7 South East Lake District (1 laminated, 1 standard)
  • OL17 Snowdonia (2 laminated, 1 standard)

These are not kept in the library. Club members can borrow maps by arrangement with the librarians.


We have a growing collection of climbing guidebooks for destinations in the UK and worldwide. You are welcome to borrow these. Most of the guidebooks now have barcodes in and can be borrowed as normal (they'll appear on your account on Solo). A few do not; these need to be recorded in the black OML book that is kept behind the Issues desk. You may need to guide the librarians on this; they are not all used to dealing with OML borrowing!

"Books" in the OML can be borrowed by any current member of the university.

Guidebooks and journals can only be borrowed by OUMC members and OUMC Life Members. If you do not have a current Bod card, you can borrow guidebooks, books and journals from the OML by showing your OUMC membership card (please contact the OUMC Librarians if you have any difficulties doing this). They will either be signed out to you via the Black Book or via the OUMC library account (instructions for doing this are in the front of the Black Book).

If you borrow a guidebook, please make sure you return it.

PLEASE NOTE: Please do not borrow the guidebooks for the current week's meet destination. If you're super-psyched to pre-plan your routes for the meet, please email the librarians to let them know what you've borrowed and make sure you bring those guidebooks on the meet.

The librarians are responsible for making sure that OUMC has the right guidebooks on each meet, and it makes their job much harder if key guidebooks are out on loan when they're needed for a meet.