New Standard for Climbing Guide books!


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Trad climber
Topic Author's Original Post - May 14, 2009 - 07:50pm PT
The new Indian Creek guidebook should be the new standard for ALL guidebooks. It shows the effort put forth in it. The color photos are beautiful and the many other climbing photos are incredible.

It would be unbelievable to have a Toulumne or Yosemite guide book like this. And I would be willing to fork over the cash for it.

Yes, I got along fine with the old guides, but sure was nice to see things in color!

What do you guys think?

Gym climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
May 14, 2009 - 09:42pm PT
Does it include the first ascent party and style done (ground up, top down, etc.)?
Greg Barnes

May 14, 2009 - 10:05pm PT
People do top down at Indian Creek?!?
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
May 14, 2009 - 10:08pm PT
I've heard the new Adirondacks guidebook (by Jim Lawyer and Jeremy Haas) is very good quality, too. We've seen some of how the topos were constructed in a thread here.
Very high quality standards in this book.

(David Bloom's Indian Creek guidebook also has very high quality elements!)
(There are other guidebooks I like, too)

Tucson, AZ
May 14, 2009 - 10:55pm PT
Dave had a copy at the benefit for Roy. It's even a little nicer than the last one.

John: I'm fairly certain Dave tried to get as much FA info in there as possible. It's "The Creek" though where pretty much everything was done ground up so I think that's a moot point.

Chalkless climber
the Gunks end of the country
May 14, 2009 - 11:18pm PT
It is funny how things like pictures seem to excite people about guide books.

The Adirondacks book is only good by comparison to its predecessor which is the worst of probably 30 that I own.

On an absolute scale it is not very good for trip planning because it is so full of choss AND it does not have an easy central location for planning where you might want to climb in about 10000 square miles.


Gym climber
berkeley, ca
May 15, 2009 - 12:04am PT
Part of what I liked about the Creek guide was that it contained a lot of readable info about the access issues there.

For an area with very few true locals and heaps and heaps of visitors, being able to read about the history of the place from so many points of view was appreciated by this visitor and hopefully good for preserving some of its character.

My only complaint about the, did I really just read that?...was seeing detailed rack beta for routes w/ the anchors removed (as noted in the guide) because the run right over top of petroglyphs.

Although I was happy to read essays by Steve Hong and Heidi Redd's daughter-in-law in the new book, I thought some of the best content of the last edition was left out of this one. I was happy to see pics by and of my friends, although that's just a personal thing for me. The pic of Wendy Davis exhaling with a vengance on Kool Cat is my favorite 'action' photo of all time. I wouldn't have replaced that great Way Rambo pic in the last book w/ one sporting a giant tick mark either, but perhaps that's nit picky on my part.

Big props to the publisher who contacted me after I placed my e-book order before my trip in April to let me know that the shops in Moab just got the book in if I wanted to pick up a proper hard copy there. (I wanted the e-book, actually.) I thought that was cool as he was bound to make less $$ if I bought it in Moab.

A little to the left of right
May 15, 2009 - 12:26am PT
Personally I think guide book authors, (compilers?), have forgotten what really matters in a guide book. It's not the color photo's, or the detailed history, it's the routes. Give me just enough to find the route, with a minimum of beta, and there ya go. The Oso Grande Bartlett guide for example, is more than enough. The Loomis guide for Spokane honestly, close to perfection. My old orange snow canyon guide; Kindred, Goss & that thing had as much as you should ever need. I don't want to pay $40.00 for a bunch of pics, no matter how nice they are, (unless I'm trying to decorate). Hand drawn topo's, and maybe a note about an odd piece I might need. Simple, pure, and sometimes enlightening. I don't give a rats ass about some "select" circle jerk guide. Give me every f*ckin' route in the area, with minimal info, and let me decide how many *'s it deserves.

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 15, 2009 - 09:44am PT
No, the new Indian Creek doesn't give first ascents. That is what I like about the Yosemite guide book.

I do like the fact that the Indian Creek guide has Star Ratings, as I don't get over there too often.

It was also nice to be able to get a E-book copy. That way I can print stuff out for carrying it along climbing without bashing up my book.


Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
May 15, 2009 - 10:37am PT
Climbing is interesting. On the one hand, there is the desire to recreate the first-ascent experience with all its uncertainties, a wonderful concept that allows many parties to enjoy the pioneering experience. On the other hand, most of us are hopelessly addicted to beta once it is known to exist, from the large details of where the route goes down to the minutest information about moves.

And guidebook writers, who often spend a few years collecting information, are understandably dedicated to communicating the fruits of their very considerable labors.

It seems inevitable that each time a writer raises the bar, others will follow, and this creates "progress" whose end result is that climbers know more and more about their routes before they do them.

This inevitably gives rise to at least some climbers, raised on a steady diet rich in information, who require a high level of detail, who are not comfortable with too much uncertainty, and indeed view it as detrimental to their experience.

Personally, I grew up as a climber in the Vulgarian tradition of the fiasco, which was viewed with relish and enjoyed every bit as much, indeed often much more, than an efficient and uneventful success. But I think climbing has become increasingly oriented to the end result, the medium is no longer the message if you will, and a good old-fashioned fiasco is nowadays an ignominious failure.

Whether this is a good thing or not I do not know; it is surely a different thing, and guidebooks, in order to satisfy their audience, will have to take note.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 15, 2009 - 11:01am PT
Variety is the spice of life. Expecting uniformity in creative efforts like writing a guidebook isn't very realistic when you are dealing with distinct areas and highly idiosyncratic authors.

Hoping for a quality result in each case is great and noble but a Falconized world......

Rgold- great thoughts. The rational mind tries to make the phenomenal world predictable and orderly. The spirit silently abides all the chatter and machinations and waits for its chance to come into power once the poor little noggin gets engulfed by the demands of the situation and finally SHUTS UP!

The spirit don't need no stinkin' beta!

Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
May 15, 2009 - 12:29pm PT
"Hoping for a quality result in each case is great and noble but a Falconized world.."

Amen to that.

Funny how they've also gone from $20 utilitarian info source to "thank God I got an ebook so I don't have to bash up my beautiful expensive new standard-setting guidebook at the crags."

No reflection on David at all. I know how much work goes into guidebooks. Juat a commentary on a changing world.

Gym climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
May 15, 2009 - 01:57pm PT
No first ascent parties listed?

Must be a great guidebook.

Gym climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
May 15, 2009 - 02:15pm PT
"Welcome to McDonald's Drive Thru Climbing. Can I take your order?"

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
May 15, 2009 - 02:35pm PT
Why is it that guides provide all of the information you can figure out for yourself and basically none of the information you can't. I can figure out the line, the gear, and how hard it is (and if I can't, I'll epic which is ok too...) - what I can't figure out looking at or climbing a line is the story of the route, who did it, what was happening for them then, what went on, what's behind the name, etc.

For me 99% of guides represent little more than listings of great stories and histories lost so I've never had any use for them. I will say, though, before google the first couple of pages in them were always good for directions to a crag. Maybe someday people will start writing companion pieces to go with those listings to preserve the stories of the routes, then in future online versions of guides you'd be able to click through the listing to the story.

Trad climber
May 15, 2009 - 02:41pm PT
I find a climb more adventurous if it is written on a bar room napkin or explained to me around a fire the night before.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
May 15, 2009 - 02:43pm PT
"Welcome to McDonald's Drive Thru Climbing. Can I take your order?"

When the red and yellow sign at the entrance to your crag proudly proclaims "Over 1,000,000,000 Bolts Sold", you know it can't be wrong...

May 15, 2009 - 04:33pm PT
a conundrum. and that's right where i come down on the issue. how can i go on being so conflicted? the above is well stated and close to the core of things, yet i cannot formulate a critical policy decision. like poking dead things with sticks. hope that comes across as repectful as i meant it.

clearly info media won't be reversing course any time soon. i'm enthusiastic about developements enabling new expression, distribution, highres, instant access, all that. if the new hole in your rucksack is the topic, make it artful.

guidebooks have a utility, provide efficiency, and if you turn away quickly enough, you can still court a fiasco.

interesting how madison avenue can apply all the high production value they can muster, yet the power of first person testimonial often trumps. so as long as there is fuel for the campfire, the tribal way should be safe.

i advocate for nurturing each branch of the tree. make the artsy profound, the infomative, definitive, and by golly a good yarn will stand on its own. hybridization is quixotic. hopefully it turns out fabulous, then i'd have even less trouble leaving it behind

Trad climber
Moab, Utah
May 15, 2009 - 05:25pm PT
This guidebook may have some flashy photos but has anybody taken the time to actually look at the route information? How many "Unknowns" do you have to see before you start wondering that this guy doesn't have the slightest clue what he is talking about. David took no time, I know this for a fact, to check with First Ascentionists and the like to find out crag names (yes, he has misnamed many crags), names of routes, FA information, etc. David is not from Utah (yes, Indian Creek is in Utah)he has spent a limited amount of time here and he failed miserably to ask those that know the area (Jay Smith, Steve Quinlan, etc.) for beta about the routes here. Don't be dazzled by flashy pictures, look for content...David Bloom and Fred Knapp missed the target on this book!

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
May 15, 2009 - 05:40pm PT
There is some FA info for certain routes, but unless it was a ground breaking test piece, historic for some other reason, or your own personal ego trip, who cares?

There are a million really nice but not too overly adverterous single pitch climbs there. I'm greatful to all who took the time and money to equip the anchors. They should publish their own name on mtn. project or something if they need the specific recognition.

I guess as a visitor I want to know where a nice hand crack is more than I care about who climbed it first or what they wanted to call it or any other info about how the FAist wished to be remembered short of the original hole count.

Beyond that, knowing a bit about the area ethics and threats to continued use are good things to share with visitors, IMO.
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