For those rainy, foggy, windswept days (sounds like Arthur's Pass doesn't it) try finding some of these books...
ANNAPURNA (A Woman's Place) by Arlene Blum
The tale of 13 women, who in 1978 laid seige to Annapurna I (26,504'). This was more than a battle with a mountain, but a fight against male ego and hypocrisy. A very honest account, of a successful expedition that turned sour with the death's of two of its members. Available at most second hand book shops.
This Game of Ghosts by Joe Simpson
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Joe's previous mountaineering account called "Touching the Void", it is highly recommended you read it first. It is a book that cannot be put down, whether or not you are a climber. This Game of Ghosts is the definite sequel, however it is a bibliography of Joe's life and climbing history, prior to his venture to Peru. It helps explain the mentality that preserves most climbers lives a little longer than should be expected, and definitely would put Joe at the end of your list of preferred climbing partners. Available at most bookshops that carry mountaineering titles.
The Ascent of Rum Doodle by W.E.Bowman
This is definitely a book for all mountaineers, especially those who take themselves and this activity too seriously. Written in the mid 1950's it is a parody of all the mountaineering literature at the time. The humour is timeless. It has just been reprinted, but may still be difficult to obtain. Every high mountain hut should have a copy!
ANNAPURNA (The first 8000 metre Peak) by Maurice Herzog
Classic mountaineering literature. This is definitely a climbing parties fight with mother nature at her most cruel. It deals extensively with leadership and decision making, in the alpine expedition environment, and their dire consequences. It is a very honest account. Available at most second hand book shops, has been reprinted many times.
THE WHITE SPIDER by Heinrich Harrer
This book gives a almost blow by blow account of the expeditions, and soloists attempts at conquering the White Spider, the North Face of the Eiger. Heinrich, himself, was in the first party to ascend the wall in 1938. His account is very personal, and manages to portray at least some of the fear and adrenaline that makes such a climb feasible. A classic read. This book may be available second hand, and is still able to be ordered through good book shops (Scorpio etc).
COFFEE TABLE BOOKS for a rainy day...
Great Peaks of New Zealand - Hugh Logan - Good routes, Good Pictures
Mountaineer - Chris Bonington - Excellent Pictures, Good Tales
The Loneliest Mountain - Lincoln Hall - Mod. Antartic Story, Top Pictures
White Limbo - Lincoln Hall - Australian Everest Expedition