The Ten Essentials list first appeared in the third edition of Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills. Released in 1976 by Mountaineers Books, Freedom is written entirely by volunteer instructors.
The origins of the list date back to our climbing courses in the 1930s, and the purpose of the Ten Essentials list has always been to answer two basic questions:
- Can you respond positively to an accident or emergency?
- Can you safely spend a night—or more—out?
The list has evolved over time from a list of individual items to a list of functional systems; the updated Ten Essential Systems list is included in Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, 8th Edition.