​I think ​Mountain High: Europe’s 50 Greatest Cycle Climbs by Daniel Friebe and Pete Goding is one of the best road cycling books you can buy. It is a sumptuous summary of 50 of Europe’s best climbs, with most of them located in the Alps and Pyrenees, plus a sprinkling elsewhere (the Vosges, Apennines, southern Spanish sierras and Belgium).

Mountain High is beautifully written by Friebe and manages to combine three different bike book genres in one: a coffee table cycling book, a guide to Europe’s best climbs and a book about pro cycling. It was shortlisted for the British Sports Book Awards 2012.

I think Mountain High is a book for cyclists of all levels – from experienced club racers who’ve trained on some of Europe’s most dramatic peaks to newbies thinking about their first cycle challenge.

If you love cycling why haven’t you got it already?

Mountain High hardback cycling book by Daniel Friebe and Pete Goding


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  • ​Compiling any such list is always going to be controversial, but the list includes a great mix. It covers everything from the small, yet legendary, climbs of the most famous one-day races (e.g. Koppenberg from the Tour of Flanders) to the infamous Tour de France climbs (mythical beasts such as Alpe d’Huez, Galibier and Stelvio). It also includes lesser known/forgotten gems such as Mont Faron in the Var region of France.
  • ​Lots of excellent photographs by Goding, including some wonderful two-page spreads, which capture the tone of Friebe’s words: from suffering to beauty and glory.
  • ​It’s a fascinating read. The primary focus is on the people, history, stories and events the mountain has hosted. The writing is captivating and brings each climb alive.
  • ​Each climb includes a map with information like start town. There’s also an elevation profile and climb data, for each important side of the mountain.
  • ​It’s easy to navigate the book as the climbs are listed according to the height at the finish (from the Koppenberg at 78m to Picco de Velete at 3,384m).
  • ​The coffee table version would be unwieldy to take away with you, but there is now a ​softback version which is easy to put in a suitcase.
Contents page of Mountain High Daniel Friebe and Pete Goding
Alpe d'Huez entry in Mountain High by Daniel Friebe
Second page of Alpe d'Huez entry in Mountain High by Daniel Friebe


  • ​The list focuses on climbs with a strong race history, so some may feel that countries with incredible mountains but less major races (Switzerland for example) are under-represented. But it’s hard to pick too many holes in the selection.
  • ​Some of the photos seem a bit dark. This may well have been intentional, to reflect the pain and suffering encapsulated by Friebe’s words.
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What do you think of ​Mountain High by Daniel Friebe?

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If you’re packing for a cycling trip, check out our ultimate packing list. You may also enjoy our list of the best cycling books.

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Clare Dewey

Clare Dewey is a cyclist with a passion for travel. She set up epicroadrides.com in 2018 to help make it easy for cyclists to explore the world by bike. Today her mission is still inspiring cyclists to discover new places on two wheels – and doing what she can to make sure they have the best possible time while they’re there. Clare has visited 50+ destinations around the world, many of them by bike.

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