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#28279 - 04/13/07 07:35 PM Re: Adirondack Rock - a new rock climbing guide [Re: Jeff L.]
dalguard Offline
veteran

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1515
Loc: CT
You know they laugh about his guidebooks out there? I guess it shows you can't please everyone.

Way back in this thread I mentioned that my pet peeve with regards to guidebooks is when all the route descriptions are negative. I was specifically referring to McLane's Squamish guide. I believe one of my trip reports says that he deserves a special award for making heaven sound unappealing.

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#28292 - 04/16/07 12:39 AM Re: Adirondack Rock - a new rock climbing guide [Re: Jeff L.]
Jim Lawyer Offline
member

Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 157
Loc: Pompey, NY
Jeff L - Thanks for the tip. I have this guide to Squamish, but I'm not sure I see the history sections your talking about. The cliff introductions are fun to read, but not "histories" in the typical sense.
Jim

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#28293 - 04/16/07 12:42 AM Re: Adirondack Rock - a new rock climbing guide [Re: dalguard]
Jim Lawyer Offline
member

Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 157
Loc: Pompey, NY
dalguard - I quickly skimmed the aforementioned guidebook (for Squamish) and didn't find the negative language you mention. Do you have specific examples of language that should avoided in guidebooks?

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#28297 - 04/16/07 12:31 PM Re: Adirondack Rock - a new rock climbing guide [Re: Jim Lawyer]
Dillbag Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/02/06
Posts: 1130
Loc: "The Town"
I say... Tell it like it is!

If its a chossy pile, with only two good lines on it... Call it that! And if it's an awesome crag, with several dozen lines on it... Make it sound like crap, and then send me a PM ;\) \:D ;\)
_________________________
...anethum graveolens cucumis sativus!

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#28302 - 04/16/07 06:37 PM Re: Adirondack Rock - a new rock climbing guide [Re: Dillbag]
dalguard Offline
veteran

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1515
Loc: CT
It's not that he says the routes suck (they clearly don't). It's that every route description seems to have something like "tricky route finding" or "polished" or "hard to protect" or "awkward" or "top-roped to death" or something that seems to indicate that the route is harder or less well protected than the ratings suggest or less fun than the stars suggest. You'd never guess how good those routes are from the way he described them. Have you climbed at Squamish? It may be that you need to read some of his route descriptions and then climb some of the climbs to understand how much he's underselling them.

If there's something the ratings aren't telling you ("#3 needed for crux" or "take the lefthand crack") then put that in but otherwise I enjoy it when a guidebook emphasizes the positives of the route.

I'm reading travel guidebooks for Rome at the moment and there's a parallel there. A listing for an attraction tells you how much it costs and how to get tickets and may include a warning about long lines but the bulk of the description is why you'd want to go there and how best to enjoy it. If every listing said "vastly overrated", "just more stupid art", "mediocre work in a horrible setting" the guidebook wouldn't serve one of its two main purposes: to get you excited about the trip. In climbing guidebook terms, I figure the topo and the ratings serve the second main purpose (get me to, and up, the route safely). The rest of the listing should be climbing porn. Make me want it.

Here's a funny post from a Squamish climber about S (suckage) ratings. http://groups.google.com/group/rec.climbing/msg/358ca56725dfbc2f?dmode=source&output=gplain
I don't think he's really joking about McLane's habit of making routes sound worse than they are but I find the coincidence of him having picked McLane amusing.

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#28308 - 04/16/07 07:57 PM Re: Adirondack Rock - a new rock climbing guide [Re: dalguard]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Hoho, Andy's hilarious send-up reminds me of Joe Kelsey's parodies of Art Gran's guidebook, for example,

M.F.
Jim McCarthy has created a modern classic which makes this "the" climb to do. If a climber leads this route and you are with him, you will see an excellent example of calmness on sheer rock, for it will be the only tool that will save him from a fall. A border-line climb, it is probably the hardest example of this class of climbing. It is a perfect stepping stone to a higher level.

Art Gran, A Climber's Guide to the Shawangunks, 1964.

C.S.
Jim McCarthy has created a modern horror which makes this a climb to avoid. If a climber leads this route and you are stupid enough to be with him, you will see an excellent example of foolhardiness on sheer rock, for luck will be the only thing to save him from a fall. A bit hard for its class, this climb is a perfect stepping stone to the grave.

Joe Kelsey, A Supplement to A Climber's Guide to the Shawangunks, 1966.

Guidebook writers who decide to editorialize have to be prepared to take the heat. We certainly enjoyed making fun of Gran; his book provided many hours of hilarity as well as describing the routes, and so his commentaries might be viewed as value added, even if the value wasn't exactly what he had in mind.

I haven't read the Squamish Guide, but Andy's parody is evidence of its value as a source of merriment. Perhaps something there is worth celebrating, though I don't think one can aspire to it.

Please let us know where the routes go, how to get to them, and how to get back from them. More or less. The spirit of Adirondack climbing requires the lurking potential of a total fiasco. People who insist on a paint-in-the-numbers approach have the Trapps. Whatever else you want to do will add to the work for some and diminish it for others, so best to please yourself.

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