What's New in Yosemite Big Walls 3rd Edition


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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Original Post - May 26, 2011 - 12:34pm PT
Yosemite Big Walls 3 is here!

Below is what's new. You can also read the Preface about What's New in this guide and read Climbing Magazine's Review.

Check out the new book here

See the complete list of routes in Big Walls 3
El Capitan
West Face, Horse Chute, Sunkist, Freerider, El Corazon, Golden Gate, Grape Race, El Niño, Scorched Earth, The Secret Passage

Lost Arrow Spire Tip

Washington Column
South Central, Quantum Mechanic

South Face free

Half Dome
Regular Route Free, Direct Northwest Face

GPS Coordinates added to many approaches
Clean Aid Tricks
Geology of Big Wall Climbing
All Routes have updated beta (Chris Mac personally went through all route beta posts)
About half the first ascent histories were expanded.
New clean aid ratings
New beta on which pitches go free.
Aid/free climbing Color coding
Routes by overall difficulty (both free and aid)
Free climbing variations added/updated to Dihedral Wall, Magic Mushroom, Salathé Wall, Golden Gate, El Corazon, The Muir/Shaft variation, The Nose, El Niño/North America Wall, Zodiac, The Secret Passage, Washington Column South Face, Quantum Mechanic, South Central, Half Dome Regular Northwest Face, Half Dome Direct Northwest Face, Watkins South Face.
Sure-to-get-you psyched pictures of hard aid and free climbing. Additional photos by Tom Frost and Tom Evans


Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
May 26, 2011 - 12:42pm PT
Just in time.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
May 26, 2011 - 01:27pm PT
I actually helped Chris write a bit of this book, particularly the Sunkist section, redrawing the topo for Aquarian Wall, and translating into English the many pages of new stuff that had been written. A lot of the McTopos have been corrected and updated, and there are quite a few new routes added, more than suggested above.

You would probably think that if you already own the second edition of a book, there isn't really any need to buy the 3rd edition. At least that's what I thought - until I started reading all of the new stuff Chris and Spaz have added. Many of the route descriptions for the pre-existing routes have been completely rewritten and updated, with tons of useful and interesting NEW information. Just because the route has been featured in the previous editions doesn't mean it's the same in the 3rd edition - when you read the descriptions for old familiar routes, expect to be surprised and delighted with what you find.

Particularly impressive to me were the NEW interviews with the first ascensionists that provided information and beta that has never been revealed before. Chris really went to a lot of work tracking these guys down, talking to some of the them for the first time and others yet again. Accordingly what you will read are firsthand accounts about people and routes that have never been published before, and were a real delight to read! It is for this reason alone that the book is definitely worth buying. [Even if the cover photo completely sucks and is in no way representative of Yosemite big wall climbing]


Big Wall climber
From Back to Big Wall Baby
May 26, 2011 - 02:07pm PT
Bump for Big Wall content and new book cool

Trad climber
East Coast US
May 26, 2011 - 02:55pm PT
Why is Mideast Crisis missing?
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Reply - May 26, 2011 - 03:50pm PT
Yeah, the book started out HUGE but we had to cut it down so we could afford to print it. Printing costs keep going up but I really want to keep the all the books $30 or less as long as possible. We do have a lot of material that got cut that we will putting on the site for free. But first I have to ship all your books!
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Reply - May 26, 2011 - 04:06pm PT
You can see about 30 pages for free by downloading the Introduction and Muir Topo here http://www.supertopo.com/freetopos.html#nose

Big Wall climber
From Back to Big Wall Baby
May 26, 2011 - 04:35pm PT
Just bought it looking through e book edition now so far I agree worth the money and an improvement over the second edition.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
May 26, 2011 - 05:06pm PT
Slakkey - tell 'em about the cool new history stuff he's got in there, the interviews with the first ascensionists.

Trad climber
Fresno CA
May 26, 2011 - 05:22pm PT
Say it ain't so, Chris. I just bought the Second Edition a few months ago when I decided to get back into wall climbing.

John Mac

Trad climber
Littleton, CO
May 26, 2011 - 10:40pm PT
New item posted up on mountain project to spread the word...



May 26, 2011 - 11:26pm PT

Thanks for the hard work!

May 27, 2011 - 12:37am PT
In the first edition they only had pitons.

In the second edition they had pitons and nuts.

In the third edition they got all kinds of sh'it to stick in a crack ......
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Reply - May 27, 2011 - 02:37pm PT
Books shipping! Chris Summit takes the books from the warehouse to Post Office by the new SuperTopo Delivery Truck (Bike + BOB trailer)


Big Wall climber
Yosemite, CA
May 27, 2011 - 04:48pm PT
I also provided my edits and updates on at least 10 routes, probably more like 20, so you will have all the little notes I have been gathering up on gear and beta for years now. So, definitely you should go buy this book!

Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Reply - May 31, 2011 - 11:29am PT
Thanks Holly for your awesome work!

We just got our first review from Climbing Magazine http://www.climbing.com/print/reviews/free_and_aid_blasts_yosemite_big_walls_third_edition/

And you can now get it at Amazon.com

Big Wall climber
Jun 5, 2011 - 02:24am PT
Chris. Dude. First Mideast Crisis is gone from the book, now it has been erased from the Route Beta under Yosemite Bigwalls?! WTF? It still shows up if you search for it, but it doesn't even get a linky under the Yosemite 50 Best Bigwalls (even though there are 66, and the paragraph at the top says 54).

Did the route piss someone off?

Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Jun 5, 2011 - 09:48am PT
I have to remind myself this is a third edition of the Big Wall Book, not a new book. Consequently there are modernizations, corrections, and small additions here that are good to see but in sum aren’t stunning nor constitute a whole new approach to Valley guide writing. And since this is the only such guide, it also tends to create a widespread approach to big walling that may not be particularly informed. And we have seen the same with the free climbing books.

But the gorilla in the room for many of us is of course the much much more interesting “other” guidebook: the complete one for the whole Valley. From our side of the equation, why do we still have information for many of the routes and a great deal of amazing history pretty much only verbal? As if we were in the Stone Age or that it takes being a secret member of an occult society to actually get the facts?

I know that the main problem is partly the resulting cost of such a book or set of volumes. But it has been decades since anyone has been able to publish the record of our favorite place; our accumulated creativity and stories is pretty much in tatters if not completely orphic. And the editing-out of stacks of routes always has a theme in itself to it and that theme tends to lead climbing in the Valley in certain maybe not the best ways. I know this is an old topic, of course.

Erik Sloan (Nanook) has promised us that such an effort is well under way; let’s hope so; we really need it even though it will be expensive and probably more than one volume. What a milestone it shall be too!

Trad climber
The Rock Monkey Ranch
Jun 5, 2011 - 10:43am PT
What's new? nothing.... Same routes, same beta...
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jun 5, 2011 - 12:32pm PT
I just got the new Big Walls Book and was blown away by the quality. It's a step up, and supertopo keeps upping the bar. Impressed.

Those who would make critical remarks should see what they are talking about before speculating. If you do ONE route that wasn't in a previous book, it's more than worth the money and with this book you have more option.

It's strange we haven't seen the update to the big complete guide. I talked to Donny Reid years ago and a few years before that and it always seemed to be "almost done and ready"

Oh well, it takes a lot of effort to do an epic guidebook and people have lives that take them other places. I hope but can't expect it will happen someday but perhaps somebody willing to work with Don to make it push through or take over would expedite things. Publishers are tricky now too


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