Big Walls 3 - Low Impact Climbing, Wilderness and Ethics


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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 8, 2011 - 02:47pm PT
Ok, I botched it. In an effort to keep the cost of Yosemite Big Walls 3 down, I had to cut stuff... but I choose poorly. Namely, I cut Low Impact Climbing In Vertical Wilderness by Yosemite Climbing Ranger Jesse McGahee and Taking Care of The Big Stone by Steve Grossman.

I did this because, limited by space, I felt I infused enough of the book with big wall ethics that these essays could be out of the print book as long as I put them in the eBook and all over the web site (which I did). But, as I now realize based on your feedback, a good talk with Jesse and my own reflection, you can't have enough essays and discussion on big wall ethics and wilderness ethics. Most of you get it: leave no trace... period. But there are some folks that could use either an introduction to Wilderness and low impact climbing or at least a refresher.

I do feel good about how I infused the book with clean climbing beta with:
 updated clean aid ratings
 updated clean aid racks
 an article on tips and tricks to clean aid climbing
 dedicating much of the Preface to clean aid climbing

However, I fell short on really driving home the Wilderness ethic. Namely, I put most of the info (and too little of it) in the Rules Section of The Introduction (see page 14). While Wilderness is the rule on all Yosemite big walls. It goes well beyond that. The idea of Wilderness and leave no trace was established and refined by climbers (Muir, Brower, Chouinard, Frost, etc etc). It is not a rule that was imposed on climbers as much as a higher way of being in the outdoors that climbers helped establish.

Needless to say, Big Walls 4th Edition Print book will have these chapters back in. But, in the meantime

The eBook of Big Walls 3 has these omitted essays:
 Low Impact Climbing In Vertical Wilderness
 Taking Care of The Big Stone

These essays are also in:
 Free Download of The Muir Topo
 Free Download of the Introduction and Preface
 Yosemite Big Walls First Ascent Topos

Please also check out
 tips and tricks to clean aid climbing
 How to Make Poop Tube
 Staying Alive


Trad climber
CA Central Coast
Jun 8, 2011 - 03:07pm PT

just thought you'd like to know that links for the essays -
Taking Care of The Big Stone and Low Impact Climbing In Vertical Wilderness
both point to the same essay.

edit: thanks Chris!

Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 8, 2011 - 03:13pm PT
they are in the same download. Low Impact Climbing comes first and the you scroll down to page 6 which is Taking Care of the Big Stone (right after an article on Yosar).
the Fet

Jun 8, 2011 - 03:28pm PT
In this day and age it's great to see someone admit and move on from a mistake.


Trad climber
Central Coast, California
Jun 8, 2011 - 03:40pm PT
Is there anyway you could out those sections back into the E-Download?

That way at least some of the downloads will include that section?
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 8, 2011 - 03:57pm PT
Those two essays should be in all ebooks and most downloaded excerpts of the book. Let me know of you find a download that is missing them.

Ice climber
Ashland, Or
Jun 8, 2011 - 04:02pm PT
yeah it's a shame you had to cut those pieces, and "Staying Alive."

I understand though, sometimes extras have to be cut.

I'll still buy the book!


Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jun 8, 2011 - 04:12pm PT
Sorry, but Dingus is going to get on here and explain to you ethics are all relative - as in relative to which way the wind blows at the moment and in any case you simply can't constrain the youngsters with such tired stuff as this because it will stifle and damage their creative impulses. Besides, why bother anyway, what with all the Winnebagos passing through.
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