I realized several years later while serving aboard a nuclear submarine that this book was essentially about submarine warfare but set in space. The small attack ships were called climbers because they would climb into a fourth dimension to hide from the "battle cruisers" before and after they struck. Furthering the WWII era submarine theme, they could only stay hidden for so long, in this case, before overheating as they couldn't shed heat while in that dimension as I recall. Even referred to "Kool-aid" as bug-juice just like on subs. Also their unit anthem was a song called Outward Bound I think.

Googled the heck out of Outward Bound, and Climbers; you can probably guess the result. Thanks for any help.


Could this be Passage at Arms? The blurb makes extensive reference to "climbers"

The ongoing war between Humanity and the Ulant is a battle of attrition that Humanity is losing. Humans do, however, have one technological advantage - trans-hyperdrive technology. Using this technology, specially designed and outfitted spaceships - humanity's climber fleet - can, under very narrow and strenuous conditions, pass through space undetected. Passage at Arms tells the intimate, detailed, and harrowing story of a climber crew and its captain during a critical juncture of the war.

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A quick glance through reveals a mention of "bug juice"

The only thing to like here is the reconstituted fruit juice. Plenty of concentrates. Plenty of water. The crew likes to mix them. Bug juice, they call the result. Sometimes it looks it.

Their anthem is "Outward Bound"

The tugs stop thrusting except when the mother’s main astrogational computers signal that she’s drifting off the centerline of the tunnel. A little puff here, a little one there, and she keeps sliding along, very, very slowly. They’ll play “Outward Bound” a dozen times before her nose breaks the final ragged circle and peeps cautiously into her native element. Groundhog coming up for a look around.

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