Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

New Adirondack Guidebook

Adirondack Rock GuidebookSo it’s been a long time in coming but there’s finally a new guidebook to the Adirondack’s. My friend Jim Lawyer has been working on this in his “spare” time. With nearly two thousand routes covered that’s a lot of ground to cover. You can buy it here:

This has been a work in progress for quite some time now but the authors have finally gotten it to the printers. Order now and you’ll have a copy before the snow melts.

Technorati Tags: ,

The worst book in the World… Ever

Each trip I managed to end up getting forced, blackmailed or otherwise tricked into reading something truely terrible. Usually its a panic buy before a long flight or the only English language book in an otherwise empy alpine hut. Previous winners of this prestigious title have included such notables as Dean Kootz, John Grisham and Ayn Rand.

Continue reading »

E11 The Best Climbing Video Since Stone Monkey

Rock climbing makes bad TV. The huge popularity of televised climbing competitions proves it. Some skinny guy or girl in the latest cragging “fashions” clipping bolts or attempting some plastic boulder problem. It’s like juggling, doing it is fine but nobody should have to watch. So for me to be writing about a climbing video it has to be a bit different.

E11” is just such a film. Not since “Stone Monkey” has it got this good…

The movie follows Dave MacLeod‘s attempts to climb ‘Rhapsody’ E11 7a (French 8c+) on Dumbarton Rock, a crag you’ve never heard of on the outskirts of Glasgow. An therein lies the movie’s unique take on climbing. It’s not all posing on sun drenched Euro crags. It’s about a relatively regular guy, who happens to climb very hard and his long suffering wife who has a real job. Dave’s obsession leads him to keep trying the route taking some monster falls in the process.

My only complaint is there’s tantalizing winter footage thrown in at one point which left we wanting more.

The Peru Guidebook Guide

As part of planning a trip to Peru this summer I’ve been busy reading guidebooks and looking at maps. I’ve not climbed in Peru before so this isn’t a review of how accurate these guides are, but it will give an idea of what to expect if you’re mail ordering books.

Continue reading »

Alpine Journal 2006

The latest issue of the (British) Alpine Journal just arrived in my post box. I’ll fess up right now… Simeon and I wrote an article on Good Neighbor for this edition and also snagged the cover photo.

There’s a stack of (more interesting) stuff in this year’s volume; Mick Fowler, Julie-Ann Clyma and Roger Payne, plus Steve House and the Rupal face.

Makes me actually want to go climbing again. After a couple of disasterous forrays into the Cascades this winter with nothing to show for it except a bent up truck moral has been a bit of an issue recently.

Copies are available direct from Cordee – yours for twenty six quid.

Review: A Climber’s Guide to the St. Elias Mountains

This guide has already been reviewed by JoJo in last year’s CAJ, he published a draft of his review on Cascade Climbers and I added some followup including an errata. Thoughts of another trip to the range prompted me to revisit the guide.

It would be really easy to spend a bunch of time panning this book. There’s a lot bad to be said about it; it’s lack of historical background and references to first ascentionists, the weird listing of unclimbed features as routes and the promotion of seige tactics when all the routes can and should be climbed alpine style.

That would be to ignore the author’s efforts to produce a guidebook to a somewhat obscure and certainly not popular range complete with an accompanying CD of aerial photos. The CD is a novel and welcome addition to this type of guide although the images are a little small to be really useful. But at the end of the day that doesn’t really make up for the books shortcomings. If you’re planning on visiting the range then you may want to buy it but only for the pictures.

A Climbers Guide to the St. Elias Mountains” by Richard Holmes, Icy Bay Press.

Continue reading »

Review: Books

Over the years I seem to have collected quite a collection of books on mountaineering and climbing. I’ll be reviewing new ones as and when I get them but I thought I’d list a few of the better ones I’ve come across.

Review: "Cold Haul" DVD

Cold Haul - Front CoverFellow Brits Andy Kirkpatrick and Ian Parnell make the second ascent of the Lafaille route on the West face of the Dru (A4, Scottish VII) in winter. The DVD features a lot of hard aid climbing, mostly in bad weather.

The best thing about this film is what it’s not. It’s not some huge staged production. There are a ton of those out there already. Often shot with a dedicated camera crew in fantastic weather. Complete with staged shots of people taking leader falls and stepping onto virgin summits. All the while clad in brand spanking new gear provided by the film’s sponsors. And, in the time it takes you to say “Team North Face” you have a climbing film – albeit a formulaic one.

Continue reading »