Famous Guidebook Passages


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Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 19, 2017 - 06:18pm PT
Flipping through Dick Culbert's Alpine Guide to Southwestern British Columbia, (1974) I was reacquainted with this gem:

Siwash Rock (est. 40 ft.)

A famous sea - stack adjacent to the Western shore of Stanley Park in Vancouver.
A seawall walk along the shoreline from Third Beach gives access to Siwash Rock, but something less than a 6 ft. tide is required to reach the rock without wading. Many routes have been put up on all sides, the easiest being a stiff class four on the face opposing the shore. The prominent overhang on the the corner farther left is a briefer line, requiring only one class 5 mantleshelf from a cave onto a protruding shelf. A sign has been placed on the SW face threatening climbers with prosecution. The sign is cemented on and makes a good foothold. Once a popular and convenient climbing spot, Siwash has now become a victim of bureaucracy.

Siwash Rock, sporting it's beautiful summit tree at sunset:

Credit: Mike Heller Photography

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Apr 19, 2017 - 07:24pm PT
From John Sherman's 1991 Hueco Tanks guide:

"As you approach Hueco Tanks from the south, your first glimpse of the rocks will be disappointing, unless you're from Stoney Point."

From A climber's guide to The High Sierra, 1954, by Hervey Voge:

"FOR WILD and rugged grandeur the Kings River Canyon Region of the Sierra Nevada has no peer. A mighty panorama, beginning at the wandering snow-fed streams, sweeping up the terrifying gorges past jagged spires, and culminating in towering granite peaks and domes presents itself to the adventurer. In this vast, largely unknown area the opportunities for exploration are limitless. With the imposing array of peaks and rock towers, and with many unclimbed summits still awaiting an ascent, the climber can fare very well."


Social climber
Apr 19, 2017 - 08:48pm PT
From the ooooober classic 1975 Squamish Chief Guide by Gordie Smaill, published by Bill Lupul and Marlene Smaill .

It's out of date, no doubt. :-)

A few gems :

Bulletheads (area)
Sloppy Seconds ( route )
first ascent : Jim Sinclair and Gordon Smaill 1974
Time < one hour
Wiggle up the chimney's lips until able to hand traverse out on a block ( bombs away style ) to a dirty stance. Even easier climbing follows. Recommended when everything else fails.
equipment : two arms and a leg.

Wrist Twister
first ascent : Brian Norris and Paul Piro 1974
time : all day

Hike up the SOuth South Gully past the first large chockstone to the left leading ledges onto the Tantlaus Wall. Nail arches past bolts to the bottom of thin crack that splits to the brim. Four or five leads should be enough for this spine chiller.
equipment : Take lots of small stuff, hooks and Preparation H.

( and a drum roll for the BEST EVER route description )

Grand Wall Area
Black Dyke
first ascent Al Givler and Mead Hargis 1970 to Bellygood. Bricks Shannan soloed the top of the Dyke on motor responses 1974
time : grade six
5.9 A3

If you simle on tipped off blades in prying horror stories , and 40 foot lead outs free off cliffhangers on prayers, you'll be laughing when you pull onto the summit. An exceptionally fine route anywhere, the Black Dyke consists of fifteen pitches and follows the adamant basalt dyke that splits the Squamish Chief. Although the bottom ten pitches are fairly strenuous, every lead except the fourth and eighth are mixed, with the sixth, seventh and the five pitches above Bellygood entirely free. The cave ( end of 7th) offers a dry bivy and a Bellygood escape. The last five pitches to the top can be done as a separate free route consisting mainly of 5.7 with a sprinkling of 5.8 and a dash of 5.9. This climb turns into a veritable bag of liver in the rain.
equipment : Carry plenty of thin pins including knife blades, 20 horizontals up to 2" and some small nuts. Don't forget the tie offs.


Boulder climber
The high prairie of southern Colorado
Apr 19, 2017 - 09:22pm PT
A poke at bouldering from Haskett Smith from Climbing in the British Isles:

"A lifelong devotee of etymologies, and possessing a gift for describing past acquaintances, Haskett Smith delighted in producing rambling and witty pieces about his athletic avocation. For instance, in his description of Bear Rock in "Climbing in the British Isles", the reader divines a subtle poke at the new pastime of bouldering: "a queerly-shaped rock on Great Napes, which in the middle of March, 1889 was gravely attacked by a large party comprising some five or six of the strongest climbers in England. It is a little difficult to find, especially in seasons when the grass is at all long." (Wiki)

Trad climber
Las Cruces, NM
Apr 20, 2017 - 09:14am PT
From Dick Ingraham's "A Climbing Guide to the Organ Mountains"

S Face, Diagonal Route

This aery, beautiful route up the tremendous exposed slabs of the S Face is one of the classics of the Organs.

Approach as in Route 4a as far as the "trailforks" just beneath the Big Tooth. Take the left fork, bushwhack into a large gully full of boulders, then mount straight up to a gigantic pine at the bottom of the S Face. Head right along the bottom of the Face to a point about midway between the pine and the col on the Organ Ridge, where an obviously feasible crack heads up and left onto the Face. Before engaging the first pitch, a "shillelagh" (a stout piece of green wood about 2 inches thick and 2 feet long) should be cut for use above. (It is possible that wide enough bong-bong angle pitons will render this device obsolete.) Climb up the right side of a prominent flake, then cross over its top and gain a good belay ledge provided with a stout tree. Then wriggle up a narrow inclined ledge for about 20 feet with the exposure on your left already well developed. From here easy scrambling takes you to the eastern end of the Green Band. Passing above the Band, head diagonally up the left side of the Upper Face. The first difficulty is the Shillelagh Overhang, a small overhang reached via a jam crack in the steep slab below it. Lean out from under the overhang under tension and throw the shillelagh, to which a 5 foot length of sling rope has been attached in the middle, into the upper part of the very wide vertical crack which splits it down the middle. This can be used as a handhold to muscle up over the overhang. Climb 30 feet straight up, then traverse right a few feet in a deep fissure, to the bottom of the Great Overhang, which is formed by the breaking off of the wide steep shelf descending from the Great Shoulder on the W Ridge. The next pitch is the crux, and is extremely enjoyable, if you enjoy exposure. Step up around a corner into a shallow niche beneath the lip of the overhang, then use a 6th Class sling in a bolt high on the right wall to reach a small ledge just over its upper lip. Continue up the steep shelf to the W Ridge, where Route 4b is joined.
Mr. Rogers

The Land of Make-Believe
Apr 20, 2017 - 09:31am PT
From Adirondack Rock by Jim Lawyer and Jeremy Haas, discussing he first ascent history of the Trap Dike, a 3rd class scramble up a deep gully cutting into the west face of Mt. Colden.

The Trap Dike’s first ascensionists (1850) downclimbed the dike, killed and dressed a deer, and drank brandy from a bottle they nicknamed “the admiral,” but your day is just getting started.

Also, most of The Good, the Great, and the Awesome is hilarious.

Social climber
Butterfly Town
Apr 20, 2017 - 05:38pm PT
From Roper's Yosemite Valley Green Guide (1970), P.210, "We do not deceive ourselves that we are engaged in an activity that is anything but debilitating, dangerous, euphoric, kinesthetic, expensive, frivolously essential, economically useless and totally without redeeming social significance. One should not probe for deeper meanings."

-Allen Steck, 1967
Stephen McCabe

Trad climber
near Santa Cruz, CA
Apr 21, 2017 - 01:34am PT
Not a famous passage: I'm looking for an obscure line from one of Roper's Yosemite guides, something about the way to get up the next section was to "hunk upwards." Anybody know what route he was describing in which edition?
Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
Apr 21, 2017 - 06:32am PT
Wasn't Roper's High Sierra guide notorious for "Follow the obvious crack system for many pitches"? You look up and see two dozen obvious crack systems. LOL.

Rick A

Boulder, Colorado
Apr 21, 2017 - 01:22pm PT
Roper's green 1971 guide about Reed Pinnacle Direct:

The complete route is an attractive climb and has become obligatory for hard men.


Mountain climber
Apr 21, 2017 - 05:40pm PT
The 1994 "Heel and Toe" guidebook to Vedauwoo has some great ones:

Descending Colon 7 This is the chimney/offwidth which, if good form is not maintained, can result in propulsive descent

Blood Sport 11c Seven yards left of Hemoglobin is a shallow finger crack in a small right facing dihedral. It's best regarded as a high boulder problem. Alternative: to achieve similar damage to your body engage in bull fighting without a cape

Bombay 8 The open slot on the wall facing 50 degrees and the worse climb at Vedauwoo - tape your belly for it. Worth doing once, to say you've done it. If you do it twice, you'll have a first - the first person to have ever climbed it twice. Protection: none if done straight up. Landing, jumbled boulders

Social climber
Apr 22, 2017 - 11:49am PT
In 1984 a group of about 6-8 of us were hanging out at some tarn near Third Lake, drinking up a storm around the fire. Of course Roper's High Sierra guide was out as we discussed the next day's plans. When the Sun Ribbon was described as 'an exposed, committing and difficult route' , one of the more inebriated said 'I'm going, who wants in'. Feeling no pain, I agreed.
Bit painful getting up the next morning, but that passage led to one the better experiences I've had in the Palisades. Carrying that thick green book was required back in those days.
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