Upcoming, New: "Climber's Guide to the Sonora Pass Highway"


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Greg Barnes

Apr 5, 2013 - 06:31pm PT

On a vaguely related topic - anyone know the history of the bolts the Marines use at the MWTC?
scuffy b

heading slowly NNW
Apr 5, 2013 - 06:38pm PT
Congratulations, Brad.
The parts I've seen are models for clarity and thoroughness.
We'll just have to see whether I end up kicking myself for turning you on
to that one spot.

Hey, Will, there's a monster steep wide thingy with your name on it, not in
the book, easy approach!!

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 5, 2013 - 08:25pm PT
They just opened Highway 108 to Eagle Meadows Road.

Scuffy, thanks for the very nice words.

I've always maintained that we're way too close to that other highway, the next one to the south, and to its climbing areas, to ever get crowded, or even busy here. I still believe this. In fact, I suspect that we'll now see a few more climbers on this highway, but not crowds; maybe just enough new faces to feel good about sharing and not enough to regret it.
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Apr 5, 2013 - 08:35pm PT
Mtnyoung does it include Crystal Falls. Jay Smith and myself put up a few smear fests there back in '74. As we roped up at the bottom of one particularly runout one a frog hurtled from high above to his death right next to us-hence the name Froggies Folly.5.10b/c

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 5, 2013 - 08:46pm PT
Rick: Although I've climbed at Crystal Falls no routes there are in the book.

It may not surprise you to learn that that subdivision is a lot more built up now than it was when it was new in the early 70s. For example, the Egg Rock that is located there is now blocked from access by homes (where there used to be just empty lots). Climbing on the falls would be crowded by homes now too (I don't know anyone who's climbed on them for at least 25 years).

Although the rock at the falls is pretty good it really isn't practical to climb them anymore. There's tons of similar stuff farther up the hill though.

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Apr 5, 2013 - 08:59pm PT
SR 108

That's Eagle Meadow Rd?

Cool story Rick! Thx for posting it.

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 5, 2013 - 09:09pm PT
Something's wrong with that notice you copied Munge. It seems to only cover east of Sonora Pass.

I'm going by the sign at the base of the Twain Harte Grade; it changed today.

Edit: Eagle Meadow Road is on the right, past 5NO6, but before Short Cracks.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Apr 5, 2013 - 10:26pm PT
May have to take a field trip back west....

Trad climber
The land of Fruits & Nuts!
Apr 6, 2013 - 12:54am PT
Yay, now I don't have to waste 50% of my weekend wondering and thrashing about to spend the other 50% actually climbing. I love SPH, but it can be a bit intricate.

$42.00 bucks for 568 pages outlining the secrets of a place that's akin to a virtual Yosemite in the 60's? That's a steal!!!

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 6, 2013 - 01:05am PT
That's a good point Salamanizer. In a 70 mile length of highway, getting to/finding the crag can be half the battle.

So I paid a whole lot of attention in the book to getting people to the crags. Maps and very careful descriptions, all the way down to GPS for most significant sites and waypoints. And sometimes photos to help with approaches too. And I "field-tested" most of the descriptions, using people who'd never been there. I hope it's as user-friendly as intended.

Edit: Oh, and I forgot to mention that all of the first ascents are taken now, and documented in the book. No more to be done, no more untouched rock. No "like Yosemite in the 60s." :) :)

Apr 6, 2013 - 01:13am PT
Congratulations! Put me down for a copy. Now I got no excuse to get up there this year.

Any chance you'll do a PDF version? Now that I think of it, I scanned the maps from your Pinnacles guide, printed them out on waterproof paper, so I could stick them in my pocket and figure out where the heck I am up there. For personal use only, of course - very handy.

Trad climber
Apr 6, 2013 - 02:35am PT
Want me me one- baaaad! Congrats brad and steve
the czar

meyers, ca.
Apr 6, 2013 - 05:04pm PT
bring some in to sports ltd in s lake tahoe, we'll sell em for you! plus, i like books, w pictures. congrats!

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 12, 2013 - 11:50pm PT
I got the text proofs back from our printer today, and I am very pleased. Their print is fantastic (I'm used to printing it on my office printer and what they did is so much better).

I'm almost 100 pages into it and there are no blemishes or printing errors so far (I didn't really expect any). On Monday we'll give them the OK (or give them the OK with a change or error or two to correct) and by the end of next week or so they should have printed the text. Then comes binding.

They'll get us the cover proof next week.

Without the cover our book is slightly thicker than is the Joshua Tree West guidebook with it's cover (God what have we done!).

Trad climber
Apr 13, 2013 - 02:18am PT
This post is missing something...oh yeah...pictures!

Fortress in the Sky - Chipmunk Rodeo - 5.10b
Fortress in the Sky - Chipmunk Rodeo - 5.10b
Credit: Strider

Kennedy Tower
Kennedy Tower
Credit: Strider

Can't remember, but it's cool
Can't remember, but it's cool
Credit: Strider

Hamburger Rock
Hamburger Rock
Credit: Strider

Sweet Dreams


Big Wall climber
san jose, ca
Apr 13, 2013 - 02:23am PT
Without the cover our book is slightly thicker than is the Joshua Tree West guidebook with it's cover (God what have we done!).

I think I'll be able to make a living all season carrying peoples' guidebooks to the crag for them haha

Congrats Brad, can't wait to see a copy.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Apr 13, 2013 - 07:37am PT

Can't wait to see the finished book. Hopefully I was sufficiently cagey with you :-) I've always been psyched about your project and quick to heap praise on your first Sonora Pass guidebook. Grant gave us a great foundation didn't he? I still have his old paper/stapled guidebook too. My how times change eh?

And yet the timeless beauty of the Pass remains, the sleepiness of it all, where you can climb on a fall day and count the cars driving up the pass on ONE HAND.


But not for everyone. Chapacubra lives up there and it only takes one bad experience to send the city-climbers back to the urban heart of Yosemite harhar.

I coulda SMACKED Angus that day he blabbered to you about Peregrin. I had to have a talk with him after that. :-D

Proud to be associated with your guidebook and congrats Brad, I saw the meticulous work you put into it - you reminded me of a detective in some cool movie, cross checking notes, and your classic 'just one more question" lol.

Cheers bro
Captain...or Skully

Apr 13, 2013 - 10:17am PT
Where's that racoon? The really, really want? I'm him.

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 13, 2013 - 11:38am PT
Thanks Dingus.

I've got all Grant's books too. He and they are mentioned prominently in the history section, and I included a photo there of his books alongside our 2001 book. Of course, you and Tom are in that section too, along with many, many others going back to climbing here in the early 70s. Actually, I confess that I got carried away writing this part too. I might as well have done an 11 page history to climbing in Bumfart Egypt as one so long for this area. But, like with the book as a whole, I enjoyed putting the history section together (and hopefully I didn't screw it up).

And cagey? Wow, I never noticed that you weren't just spillin' all the beans. And what's Peregrine Pinnacle?? Never heard of it.

And even if you had been cagey, it's not like you would have been the only one. Hell even I kept one (one!!) area really, really quite. I finally told Rob about it after the snow closed everything but just before I gave him a full copy of the book to edit. I'm sure he's mentioned it to you by now: a short drive, 30 minute approach and some of the very best granite on the pass. Here's one of my favorite FAs from that area, Beyond the Yellow Brick Road 5.10b *** (as the 5.10b crack is ending and the 5.10b slab portion is about to start):

Another route from the same area, The Source 5.9 *** (named after our county's source of drinking water):

Wild Iris 5.8 ** (this shot shows the beautiful river, 50 feet from the base of this set of climbs - hit it on a hot day):

From Ski Lift Cliff, across the canyon from the previous photos:


Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 13, 2013 - 11:46am PT
Continuing my review of the proof:

The paper feels like the just like the paper in the Pinnacles Guide, but is slightly less glossy. It takes all types of ink really well, including highlighter. I wrote with a particularly "wet" ink pen over and over on the same line and it does not bleed through.

I was, of course, a little shocked at how small it is from side to side and up and down - exactly what I felt about the Pinns book after years of seeing it also printed out on 8" x 11" paper!! (It'll be 6" x 9").
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