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#38551 - 07/20/08 03:05 AM new guidebook in August?
Alex Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/00
Posts: 191
I noticed a new "Climbing Guide to the Gunks" $35 advertised at Chessler Books that is due out in August. It's by the same authors as the splashy new "Needles" and "Devil's Tower" guides. I guess this is the new hip style for guidebooks. I've seen their other guides; some of the stories are funny and their cut and paste pictures too. But overall they're not for me. I prefer a guide that shows all the routes. And perhaps the hype is too much for me.
But, you can pre-order your copies now.


Edited by Alex (07/20/08 03:06 AM)

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#38553 - 07/20/08 02:55 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Alex]
budman Offline
stranger

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 17
Loc: UT.
Bought both of the mentioned guide books as I'm headed to the Tower in a Week. Think they are the shit. Very accurate as well as having great photos and good rap beta for the Tower. Still have my Dingus McGee and The Last Pioneer Woman copy also and it will be in my pack as well. Headed back to the Gunks for 3 weeks of climbing in the fall and looking forward to the new guide book and a new perspective at climbing cracks that go in the other direction. Will be bring my Todd Swain guide book for some adventure as being miss lead is always fun. Remember no guide book is a substitute for good judgement.
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#38554 - 07/20/08 04:27 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Alex]
ShakesALot Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 04/19/04
Posts: 257
Loc: NJ
That's pretty funny, nice marketing approach... "beta, beta, beta" "tear-out route cards to bring with you", "full color topos."

The only things missing are a free day-pass ;\) and a sticker.




Wonder when the Dick's guide to the Near's is coming out?


Edited by ShakesALot (07/20/08 04:28 PM)

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#38555 - 07/20/08 04:28 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: budman]
cfrac Offline
addict

Registered: 04/26/08
Posts: 462
 Originally Posted By: budman
Will be bring my Todd Swain guide book for some adventure as being miss lead is always fun.

I have to say that the new Williams Trapps guide is an amazing work and resource but I still find that as a taller climber I find Swain's grades and protection ratings (for the most part) more accurate for me. Of course there are plenty of examples where things are just plain wrong. One of the biggest discrepancies at Millbrook is the route description and line for High Plains Drifter.

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#38556 - 07/20/08 06:14 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: cfrac]
Jim Lawyer Offline
member

Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 157
Loc: Pompey, NY
I used the Extreme Angels books during a recent trip to the Tower and Needles. My opinion:

Pros:
* Clear.
* Well laid out, routes easy to find.
* Tear-out cards were handy for a Tower-newby like me. Nice laminated coating too, so they didn't wear out with my sweating.
* Stories and history were interesting.
* Full color is pretty sweet.
* Rather fun and fresh, at least at first. Very eye catching.

Cons:
* Heavy, thick pages.
* Lots of wasted space from unnecessary art, giant topos that could easily be reduced in size, and just plain empty space. The Needles book has a 7 page index that can easily fit on a single page.
* Wasted space and thick pages mean unnecessary bulk and weight. I believe these books could be 1/3 of their present size without any loss in clarity.
* Old photos didn't do justice to the areas. Sure, a few historical photos are cool, but how many butt shots do you need? The photo reproduction looks grainy and flat, not cutting edge as its price would suggest. These areas have been beautifully photographed by amazing photographers, so it's not due to lack of material.
* Wacky art was a novelty, but it wore off. Much of it is unrelated to climbing. After a while, I was just wishing that that space was used for rad and inspiring route photos.
* I couldn't buy the Tower guide at the NPS shop at the trailhead. (I was told this was because it has "porn". I'm not affended, but apparently some people are.)
* In the case of Needles -- frustratingly incomplete. When you summit one of the spires and see all those cool-looking routes around you, it sucks that they aren't in the guidebook. The book also has mostly moderate routes -- 5.10 and under. Where are all the classic hard routes?

With the ultra-thoroughness of Dick and Todd's offerings (and in such a small, portable size too), it's difficult to understand why the Gunks needs another guidebook. Having said that, I placed my order because I'm curious.

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#38557 - 07/20/08 07:20 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Jim Lawyer]
Alex Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/00
Posts: 191
A assume their Gunks guide will be a lot like their Needles guide: just a small selection of routes, of interest more for visiting climbers not locals. Yosemite and Eldorado will likely be next!

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#38558 - 07/20/08 07:27 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Alex]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
 Originally Posted By: Alex
Yosemite and Eldorado will likely be next!

Red Rocks! You forgot Red Rocks! An area that's just crying out for it's 36th guidebook!
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#38561 - 07/21/08 01:22 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: MarcC]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2675
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
Is Dick's "Classic Climbs" guide still available? Seems to fit a similar niche.
I am most impressed with the "Trad Guide To J-Tree" which has 60 climbs from 5.5 to 5.9. Perfect for an area with an immense guide and that I'll probably get to only occaisionally. The color photos are glossy, sharp and very helpful. Maybe not a bad evolution in the guides, but hard to imagine anything nearly as well researched and documented as the Grey Dick.

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#38562 - 07/21/08 01:33 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: chip]
Alex Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/00
Posts: 191
I do hope we get some porn too! The Vulgarians certainly deserve some cut and paste skin pics.

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#38563 - 07/21/08 01:43 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Alex]
Mark Heyman Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 1123
Loc: South Jersey (Pinelands)
To each his own, but I’ll buy a guide book to most any decent area I only might go to. What I’ve read here has not made me enthusiastic for any of these. In fact despite what sounds like limited but very accurate content, they still seem like books for me to avoid.

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#38567 - 07/21/08 02:03 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: ShakesALot]
Doug Offline
member

Registered: 12/29/06
Posts: 174
 Originally Posted By: ShakesALot
Wonder when the Dick's guide to the Near's is coming out?


Me too

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#38571 - 07/21/08 03:33 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: chip]
quanto_the_mad Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/14/02
Posts: 2628
Loc: brooklyn
 Originally Posted By: chip
Is Dick's "Classic Climbs" guide still available? Seems to fit a similar niche.


Do you mean the "Gunks Select"? They've been OOP for years. Now that the Grey Dick is out, they're starting to pop up on used book sites, but for a while they were very rare.
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#38616 - 07/23/08 10:16 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: quanto_the_mad]
Alex Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/00
Posts: 191
You can check out a sampler at http://www.extremeangles.com/gunksclimbingguidebook.html

The hit "see what's inside"



Edited by Alex (07/23/08 10:18 PM)

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#38623 - 07/24/08 12:12 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Alex]
Elwood54 Offline
journeyman

Registered: 10/11/05
Posts: 72
Loc: NYC
isn't Minty a 5.3?

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#38629 - 07/24/08 01:40 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Elwood54]
Dillbag Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/02/06
Posts: 1130
Loc: "The Town"
Yes, but probably not the bizarre way that they recommend doing...
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#38630 - 07/24/08 02:13 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Dillbag]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2675
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
I've always liked the color photos of routes. Much easier to follow. The overview maps appear well done as well. Doesn't mean the route descriptions are any better and I'm sure some would decry the loss of adventure. Makes sense for a guide covering a smattering of climbs but costing a fair bit. I'm sure many will be sold.

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#38632 - 07/24/08 11:52 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: chip]
Dillbag Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/02/06
Posts: 1130
Loc: "The Town"
I understand having both a color photo and a route map to make a multi-pitch route easier to find... But the Gerdi block? Seems kinda silly...

And the comments before about wasted space! Now I get it... Why TWO of the same picture on the same page? It's a bizarre format!

Will I look at one in R&S when they come in? Yes... Will I buy one? Nope, probably not... With couple copies of the Swain, a grey & black Dick... And the select... Who needs ANOTHER book?
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#38641 - 07/24/08 01:28 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Dillbag]
Coppertone Online   content
old hand

Registered: 08/17/00
Posts: 1055
Loc: Newtown, CT
I am sure this is more for the visiting climber. I have not used a guide book in the Gunks in about 10 years.

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#38649 - 07/24/08 05:40 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Coppertone]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Based on the sample, this is a kludged-together piece of crap that deserves to be boycotted by anyone who even remotely appreciates the hard work and dedication that Dick put into his guides. The sample is characterized by inaccuracies, omissions, bizarre choices, and a profligate enthusiasm for space-wasting irrelevancies.

Further comments:

Pros:

The overview maps are well done with excellent selection of details.

Color shots of the cliff are potentially more helpful than black and white, but the quality seems to be low. (This may, however, be an artifact of the .pdf reproduction rather than a feature of the book)


Cons:

Page 42. The blurry aerial shot of the Brat area has three rectangles labeled A, B, and C. Of these, the rock in B and C is totally obscured by trees, rendering them useless for any identification purposes.

Page 48 - 49. Two whole pages devoted to the Dirty Gerdie block? Although photos, and diagrams, and descriptions can helpfully complement each other, here they are almost entirely redundant, wasting at least one of the two pages with information that adds nothing. OK, they aren't completely redundant, since the drawing tells you where to place your black Alien on Dirty Gerdie and, for the convenience of the impaired leader, indicate the location (as of the guidebook creation date) of three fixed pins. Moreover, what appears to be a sloppy approach to route description surfaces here; the verbal description and the route drawing for Red Cabbage depict the start differently from the lines drawn in the photo. The only thing less useful than redundant information is redundant information that contradicts itself.

Pointless and space-consuming redundancy doesn't end with the route descriptions here, as half a page is consumed by a picture, repeated twice, of a young rugby-shirted of Russ Clune. In order to hold the attention of what the author must think is today's ADD-afflicted climber, one of these shots is sepia-toned and the other in ordinary color. The picture itself is an insipid shot of Russ topping out after the business on the Gill Egg. Blah!

Page 126: Another blurry aerial shot, this one labeled "Friends Wall." Surely the centerpiece of the selected routes is Snooky's Return, so why "Friends?" An extremely minor point, but indicative, I think, of the lack of thought that seems to characterize the entire enterprise.

Adding insult to injury, the author completely misses the excellent second 5.8 pitch of Snooky's Return, instead sending people up and right a few feet from Minty. Given the availability of accurate information, getting things like this wrong indicates an attitude close to cavalier disregard.

On this same "Friends Wall," the author apparently did not choose to include a climb, Beginner's Delight, that many many people think is the best 5.3 in the Gunks. This omission is utterly bizarre in view of the inclusion of the author's private rerouted version of the first pitch of the far-from-classic Bag's End, now tarted up with an outlandish three stars, omitting even a mention of the second and third pitches, where all the actual climbing happens. In my opinion, the incomprehensible choices in this sample together with the major inaccuracies disqualify the author from making the kinds of choices a visiting climber expects from a "selected" guide.

Page 128: The pursuit of wasted space continues unabated, with once again half a page devoted to, first, an uncaptioned photo of a belayer in tights and rugby shirt leaning against a tree, and a large picture of the "Minty Warren Trophy" awarded in the St. Francis, Ontario Midget Legion House League hockey team. The brain fart leading to the inclusion of a paragraph and color picture seems to be that the trophy has the same name as the "Minty" in the first ascent party.

Last page: A photo of Arrow, captioned "A fine example of rap-bolting in the Gunks." Considering that Arrow and Sente are the only examples of rap-bolting in the Gunks (together with one or two aid-bolting examples), I guess it is a very fine example indeed, but the caption certainly gives an impression that alludes to some alternate reality.

All in all, this looks like a winner in the Pimp My Guide contest but a giant leap backwards in guidebooks.

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#38651 - 07/24/08 06:56 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
Dillbag Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/02/06
Posts: 1130
Loc: "The Town"
WOOHOO!

RG YOU SAID IT!

I am recommending R&S put this up as the "Review" when the book comes out!
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#38653 - 07/24/08 08:46 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
Smike Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
Thank god, finally a guide with a four star rating for route quality in the gunks. We have been oppressed with a measly 3 star system in the gunks for years. We still pale in comparison to the Dack new 5 ***** rating system.... can’t have it all I guess.

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#38655 - 07/24/08 10:03 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
retr2327 Offline
member

Registered: 06/14/07
Posts: 108
"Moreover, what appears to be a sloppy approach to route description surfaces here; the verbal description and the route drawing for Red Cabbage depict the start differently from the lines drawn in the photo. The only thing less useful than redundant information is redundant information that contradicts itself."

You mean like rating Herdie Gerdie 5.8 in the route description superimposed on the picture, but 5.5 in the route superimposed on the diagram of the block? And since when does Nerdie Gerdie go as far to the right as they show it in the picture (not the diagram, which is closer to accurate)?

What a piece of crap.

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#38657 - 07/24/08 10:34 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Dillbag]
empicard Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/29/01
Posts: 2954
Loc: LI, NY
RG- Tell us what you really think. I mean, really, don't hold back...
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Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

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#38665 - 07/25/08 10:59 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: ShakesALot]
talus Offline
veteran

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 1259
might be appealing for the plastic pullers that use the word Dab in their vocab
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#38666 - 07/25/08 11:32 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: talus]
caver Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 01/11/03
Posts: 260
Loc: High Falls
Thanks RG for stating what many of us were thinking after being appalled by the sample pages.....!

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#38668 - 07/25/08 12:09 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: caver]
felix m Offline
journeyman

Registered: 05/01/06
Posts: 63
You guys crack me up. Goldstone, that opening paragraph is a piece of work. For the life of me I can't see why anyone else would bother writing another Gunks guide. Dick has spent a lifetime tirelessly climbing & documenting Trapps climbing here and approaches it through a most intimate knowlege of the routes. How many years of experience are we talking here? Hell, I hear he's even still scratching out "classics" from the depths of the Nears. I can't believe there will be any wasted space in the new NT Guide. Indeed, if he choses to re-write a route descripition, straighten a line, change a route name or any other historical info no big deal. He's earned that right, and I for one am ok with that. Contrast that with the work of these 2 imposters....

Now, without knowing of their guidebook endeavor, I will confess to casually knowing Zach & Rachel and find them to be the nicest of people, Damn, Rachel even tirelessly belayed my 8 year old on that basterdized version of snooky's. Yeah, in my book they are pretty cool people, and so is Dick Williams, and we should all be greatful to have the choices we have. As for me I'm still using a found copy of Swain's original that my 20 year old colored in, although I keep hoping to find a new Williams.

BTW that photo of Clune is great. Man, Adida's Countrys were the greatest shoe ever. Dick Shockley soloed all his pop's routes here in them.

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#38681 - 07/26/08 04:32 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: felix m]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Felix, I agree with most of what you say. I don't know the authors but bear them no personal ill will and am happy to stipulate that they are indeed the nicest of people. I think that Extreme Angles has performed a public service by reprinting Dumais' book on the Gunks, and their stopgap guides to the Needles and Devils Tower provide current information at a time when better works are out of print. But as you say, the standard for completeness and accuracy in the Gunks is very high, and I find it as incomprehensible as you do that someone would cavalierly toss together another guide to an area that is so well and expertly covered by in-print material.

And beyond the Gunks, we have the beautiful examples of Jerry Handren's guide to Red Rock and Jim Lawyer's and Jeremy Haas's guide to the Adirondack Rock as examples of meticulous care in preparation and superb attention to useful and relevant production values. These guys have shown the way, and one might be pardoned for hoping that other authors would build on their examples of excellence.

When you put a work in the public domain, the work is destined to be judged on its merits, not on the niceness of the creators, and I find almost no merit in the sample, neither when judged by itself nor certainly not when compared to the exemplars mentioned above. ShakesAlot thinks I was overly harsh; I can only respond by saying that I restrained myself.

One of the things I didn't mention was the price: for what I suspect are relatively few routes and an extravagant helping of full-color fluff, you pay $35. Handren's book is $36, Lawyer's is $37. Grey Dick, with 495 routes, written over a 3-year period by a guy who went out six days a week and either led or followed every pitch in preparation for the revision, is $29.95. Maybe if The Gunks cost $10 you could say you get what you pay for and it's good for the visiting climber. But to have to pay more for far less is beyond belief---I really can't grasp what the authors could have been thinking.

Perhaps the book itself is better (although somehow I doubt it); I made it very clear that my comments applied to the sample.

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#38690 - 07/27/08 08:43 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
dalguard Offline
veteran

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1515
Loc: CT
I'm waiting for the SuperTopo.

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#38796 - 08/02/08 07:19 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: dalguard]
Jim Lawyer Offline
member

Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 157
Loc: Pompey, NY
I searched around the Extreme Angles web site for the "sample"...where is it? I must be overlooking something...or was it taken down?

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#38797 - 08/03/08 01:44 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Jim Lawyer]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Jim, it looks like they took it down. By the way, I met Zach and Rachel in the Near Trapps a week ago and they are indeed very nice people (and they could certainly could have been pardoned for failing to be nice to me). We had a bit of a discussion, which I at least thought was cordial, though I cannot report any meeting of the minds. They did explain to me what they are trying to do, but I think either they if they choose to or else their guidebook when it comes out should do the talking.

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#39091 - 08/14/08 02:15 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
tradgunkie Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/10/03
Posts: 38
 Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
They did explain to me what they are trying to do, but I think either they if they choose to or else their guidebook when it comes out should do the talking.


Well said. Let's let the guidebook do the talking. As a first edition, there are bound to be typos and errors. Not everyone can be Dick Williams, and as anyone can see from the approach of the new book, Zach and Rachel aren't trying to be.

I'm assuming that they're trying to appeal to the new generation of climbers as well as visiting climbers looking for select routes to make the most of their time here.

Dick Williams has hinted that the Near Trapps guide will be the last guidebook that he writes for the Gunks.

The question I'd like to ask is who is going to publish the next generation of guides? Could this be the duo we're looking at? I don't know, but at least they're giving it a go.
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#39093 - 08/14/08 04:08 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: tradgunkie]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
 Originally Posted By: tradgunkie
Let's let the guidebook do the talking. As a first edition, there are bound to be typos and errors. Not everyone can be Dick Williams, and as anyone can see from the approach of the new book, Zach and Rachel aren't trying to be.

Yeah, but getting the second pitch of a well documented route not a little bit incorrect but totally and completely wrong is a lot more than just some "typos and errors". If they can't get Snooky's correct in both words and photograph, what of other routes that are popular but a bit devious in where they go?
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#39096 - 08/14/08 11:27 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: tradgunkie]
talus Offline
veteran

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 1259
 Originally Posted By: tradgunkie

I'm assuming that they're trying to appeal to the new generation of climbers as well as visiting climbers looking for select routes to make the most of their time here.



DAB
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#39101 - 08/14/08 02:04 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: MarcC]
tradgunkie Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/10/03
Posts: 38
 Originally Posted By: MarcC
If they can't get Snooky's correct in both words and photograph, what of other routes that are popular but a bit devious in where they go?


We should know by this weekend.
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#39109 - 08/14/08 06:30 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: tradgunkie]
RangerRob Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 3764
Loc: Ulster County, NY
Heaven forbid someone should have to....(shriek!!!).....take responsibility for their own climbing actions!!! PLEASE....say it isn't so!!!! What are we going to do if the guidebook is wrong? How can we possibly climb with inaccurate information?? Oh the horror...the HORROR!!!!

RR

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#39112 - 08/14/08 08:09 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: budman]
d-elvis Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/26/00
Posts: 3650
Loc: Central PA
I for one, think the new guide should have GPS coordinates for each hold
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#39113 - 08/14/08 08:12 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: RangerRob]
Smike Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
 Originally Posted By: RangerRob
How can we possibly climb with inaccurate information?? Oh the horror...the HORROR!!!!

RR
'

How? You should be able to answer that, when you look up at the leader armed with nothing but Gold Camelot’s for the ….um…Red size crack for last 40’ of the pitch. “ all it takes it Gold dude, don’t need nothing else….leave those Red’s on the ground”

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#39116 - 08/15/08 03:49 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: RangerRob]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
 Originally Posted By: RangerRob
Heaven forbid someone should have to....(shriek!!!).....take responsibility for their own climbing actions!!! PLEASE....say it isn't so!!!! What are we going to do if the guidebook is wrong? How can we possibly climb with inaccurate information?? Oh the horror...the HORROR!!!!


All the exclamations, capitalized pleading, and multiple punctuation marks can't hide the irrelevance of this mock consternation to the issue of guidebook accuracy. Yes, climbers are responsible, ultimately, for finding their own way. But someone who proposes to guide them in this endeavor also has a responsibility to provide good information, and certainly can't excuse gross failures of accuracy by appealing to this sort of misdirection.

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#39117 - 08/15/08 10:59 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: RangerRob]
talus Offline
veteran

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 1259
 Originally Posted By: RangerRob
Heaven forbid someone should have to....(shriek!!!).....take responsibility for their own climbing actions!!! PLEASE....say it isn't so!!!! What are we going to do if the guidebook is wrong? How can we possibly climb with inaccurate information?? Oh the horror...the HORROR!!!!

RR


maybe this guide will have better beta for tough shift
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John Okner Photography

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#39118 - 08/15/08 12:35 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
mworking Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/26/04
Posts: 764
Well stated (RG).

It’s one thing to head up into the unknown. It is another to head up a route described as in your guide book 5.8G and find your self in 5.10 territory. This isn’t to say that climber should not shoulder responsibility for what they do. I think most of us expect to get off route once in a while and have to recover despite having a good guide book.

What I am ask and answer is what good is guide book if it is inaccurate. None. It’s a waste and an inconvenience at best. Guess if we want to use a guide book then it is our first responsibility to learn what ones are good. I like this thread because it will help others do that and support those who put effort into providing a quality product.

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#39121 - 08/15/08 09:32 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: mworking]
RangerRob Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 3764
Loc: Ulster County, NY
oooh! Touche John, touche! I like your style...fuckhead. Anyway, I had a chance to peruse it today and I didn't find any examples of routes being downgraded, other than Middle Earth. Quite the contrary, a lot of the easier routes have been upgraded in this book considerably. Examples include Modern Times as 10b, Shockley's Ceiling as a 5.8, Laurel as a 5.9, Never never land as an 11b, and many others. When you look at the routes that have been upgraded you begin to realize that a crack climber wrote this book. Anything in the easy and moderate range that has to do with overhangs or delicate face climbing was grossly upgraded. Baby as a 5.8+??? According to his book, Modern Times is just as hard as Doubleissima, harder than Simple Suff, and waaay harder than Double Crack. It's really quite absurd. At first, I thought this whol ething was a really bad publicity stunt, but seeing the book firsthand I actually realized that the authors really meant it to be a serious guidebook. The only good thing about the book is the fresh infusion of pictures that have not been seen in a guidebook, of which there a lot.

RR

P.S. They did get the Dangler, at 5.10a, exactly right however \:\)

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#39122 - 08/15/08 09:40 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: mworking]
tradgunkie Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/10/03
Posts: 38
 Originally Posted By: mworking
What I am ask and answer is what good is guide book if it is inaccurate. None. It’s a waste and an inconvenience at best. Guess if we want to use a guide book then it is our first responsibility to learn what ones are good. I like this thread because it will help others do that and support those who put effort into providing a quality product.


I spoke with the author earlier today and asked him specifically about the second pitch of Snooky's. He said that there are a number of routes in this new guide that don't follow the traditional lines. This is explained in the "how to use this guide" section of the book.

Their attempt is to create climbs that flow better, and in some cases routes that can be done in one pitch instead of two or three.

He said that what they're doing has been done with guidebooks in the past. Sometimes the traditional route is a bit awkward, and a cleaner more natural line exists.

Now I'm sure this will enrage purists who think a climb should only follow the first ascents lines, but I'm eager to try a few of these lines and see if they are indeed better than the traditional lines.
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#39124 - 08/16/08 12:51 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: tradgunkie]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
 Originally Posted By: tradgunkie
He said that what they're doing has been done with guidebooks in the past. Sometimes the traditional route is a bit awkward, and a cleaner more natural line exists.

Now I'm sure this will enrage purists who think a climb should only follow the first ascents lines, but I'm eager to try a few of these lines and see if they are indeed better than the traditional lines.

If they're gonna call it the same name, then it should be the original line unless the FA agrees to the rerouting or it's very clearly indicated that it's been rerouted, or "now more popular this way" or give it a new name.

The grade inflation otoh is a total joke. Have these authors ever climbed other routes in other areas at those grades for comparison? Hell, if they're upping NNL to 11b, what other 11b's have they done? (And if they really think it's 11b, man are they going to be rudely surprised at what's considered 5.9 on the GPA or in the Meadows!)
_________________________
- Marc

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#39125 - 08/16/08 01:30 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: MarcC]
tradgunkie Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/10/03
Posts: 38
 Originally Posted By: MarcC
If they're gonna call it the same name, then it should be the original line unless the FA agrees to the rerouting or it's very clearly indicated that it's been rerouted, or "now more popular this way" or give it a new name.

The grade inflation otoh is a total joke. Have these authors ever climbed other routes in other areas at those grades for comparison?


Well I haven't seen the book yet, so neither of us can say whether or not the route names remain the same, or if the reader is alerted to whether or not the line deviates from the first ascent. However is was mentioned that the author makes it clear in a section of the book that this was done. Until I do get my hands on a copy, I'll keep myself from jumping to conclusions.

As for the authors, they've climbed in many, many areas of the Country. Zach Orenzach has summited El Cap, climbed Devils Tower a ton, climbed extensively in the South Dakota Needles, throughout Colorado and Utah, not to mention spending most of his teenage years at the Gunks and traveling in the Deep South. I'd say he's a pretty good judge when it comes to nailing down a grade.

Everyone here knows the Gunks' reputation for stiff grading. It's one of my favorite things about the Gunks. It stings even me to know that some of this tradition is being lost, but people in this thread were getting upset that the guidebook might have inaccurate information that could mislead a climber off the route. If accuracy is what a guidebook is being held to, it would be disingenuous to ignore sandbagged grades just for the sake of tradition.

Is Shockley's the same difficulty as Rhododendron or the variation roof on the first pitch of Bunny?

I don't necessarily think Never Never Land is an 11, but it's no more of an 11 than On Any Monday is.
_________________________
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#39126 - 08/16/08 03:03 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: RangerRob]
Mark Heyman Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 1123
Loc: South Jersey (Pinelands)
 Originally Posted By: RangerRob
a lot of the easier routes have been upgraded in this book considerably. Examples include Modern Times as 10b, Shockley's Ceiling as a 5.8, Laurel as a 5.9...Baby as a 5.8+



I always knew I was solid on 5.8 or 5.9. I'll have to buy one to prove it! Uhh, when's the next one comming out? I want to be solid on 5.10.


Edited by Mark Heyman (08/16/08 03:04 AM)

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#39127 - 08/16/08 03:48 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Mark Heyman]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
I haven't seen the guide, just the preview which they took down after my lambasting. I for one would not be all that offended by some upgrading here and there, I have argued that many Gunks routes deserve higher grades. But changing grades only works if the net result is better consistency across the board. That would be the critical test in my opinion, not what one particular grade is or is not. Putting Modern Times and Doubleissima in the same grade, if that is true, seems absurd to me. And even though I just said the absolute grade isn't so critical, you just can't bump Never Never Land all the way up to the 5.11 category; it just isn't that hard.

Another unfortunate side-effect of regrading climbs that are just a selection of the published routes is that those regraded routes have to coexist not only with the limited content of the new guidebook, but also with all the rest of the published routes. There ought to be a very good argument for purposely creating this kind of confusion, but I don't know what it is.

As for arbitrarily rerouting climbs, I think it is questionable to do that in the Gunks without saying what you are up to. Williams introduced "link-ups" as a much better way to deal with this issue.

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#39128 - 08/16/08 04:43 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: tradgunkie]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
 Originally Posted By: tradgunkie
Well I haven't seen the book yet, so neither of us can say whether or not the route names remain the same, or if the reader is alerted to whether or not the line deviates from the first ascent.


Yes, we did. There was a sample set of pages on the book's site that were taken down immediately after several of us called bullshit. In the case of Snookey's, yes the route name remained the same, but on a totally different line.

 Originally Posted By: tradgunkie
As for the authors, they've climbed in many, many areas of the Country. Zach Orenzach has summited El Cap, climbed Devils Tower a ton, climbed extensively in the South Dakota Needles, throughout Colorado and Utah, not to mention spending most of his teenage years at the Gunks and traveling in the Deep South. I'd say he's a pretty good judge when it comes to nailing down a grade.


So he may have climbed in many different areas. But if he's jumping routes 2 and 3 grades, he's obviously pretty inept at "nailing down a grade". The regradings he proposes aren't even consistent within the Gunks with other routes of the same grade. Laurel is as difficult as Roseland? Never Never Land as difficult as The Yellow Wall and significantly harder than Transcon? Unless you're smoking crack, nope.

 Originally Posted By: tradgunkie
Everyone here knows the Gunks' reputation for stiff grading. It's one of my favorite things about the Gunks. It stings even me to know that some of this tradition is being lost, but people in this thread were getting upset that the guidebook might have inaccurate information that could mislead a climber off the route. If accuracy is what a guidebook is being held to, it would be disingenuous to ignore sandbagged grades just for the sake of tradition.


That was true 30 years ago, but much of that sandbagging and stiff grading started to be straightened out with the 1980 red Williams guide, and was further brought into line with the rest of the world in each subsequent Swain and Williams guide ever since. The reason people still think the Gunks are stiffly rated is because so many routes have powerful cruxes over bulges, overhangs, and roofs. If you come from other areas you might not have mastered the sometimes unique techniques. That doesn't make the climbs harder, just different until you understand how to approach them. The same can be said if you learned at and spent all your time at the Gunks and then are faced with the endless friction slabs of Whitehorse, the strange eyebrows of Looking Glass, or the smooth parallel splitters of Indian Creek.

Sure, if you exclusively use jams and climb it like an overhanging crack, you can make Shockley's a 10b. But if you do that instead of using a layback and the buckets, you're a moron. If you're writing a guidebook and you bump up the grade of Shockley's excessively, you're displaying your lack of climbing vision for the world to see.

 Originally Posted By: tradgunkie
Is Shockley's the same difficulty as Rhododendron or the variation roof on the first pitch of Bunny?


Yes to the former, since it's basically the same move, and no to the latter - it's easier (the holds are much bigger and closer together).

 Originally Posted By: tradgunkie
I don't necessarily think Never Never Land is an 11,...


That's 'cause it isn't. It's easier than a wealth of Yosemite 10c's and 10d's (and even some 10b's) - Needle and Spoon, Hogwash, Fingertips Direct, Ciebola, Get Slick, and Table of Contents all immediately come to mind. And it's far easier than Green Dragon.
_________________________
- Marc

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#39133 - 08/17/08 01:18 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: RangerRob]
Smike Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
 Originally Posted By: RangerRob
Examples include Modern Times as 10b, Shockley's Ceiling as a 5.8, Laurel as a 5.9, Never never land as an 11b


Haha awesome! Well the grades are spot on if you're 4'1" tall...maybe...

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#39136 - 08/18/08 01:54 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Smike]
Dillbag Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/02/06
Posts: 1130
Loc: "The Town"
And smike would know! \:D
_________________________
...anethum graveolens cucumis sativus!

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#39151 - 08/19/08 02:30 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Dillbag]
Climb_On Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/11/08
Posts: 11
Loc: Pennsylvania
I received my copy of "The Gunks" today via Priority Mail. The following review reflects my perspective as a new lead climber who is trying to make his way through the Gunks without getting too lost or too banged up.

Pros:
- Overview maps are clearly marked and make it easy to get to any climb.
- Color photos. Some of the "action photos" are just filler, but the photos of the cliffs are actually quite useful, especially when placed next to the . . .
- Topos. The topographical maps are outstanding. They make it easy to follow the climbs. For example, I climbed Belly Roll last weekend. When coming of the chimney I found myself to the left of the route, but didn't realize I had to walk right at that point (I ended up climbing a face somewhere on Dennis, much harder than the 5.4 I had signed up for). The topo here makes it clear to step right after the crack on Belly Roll. This point is probably lost on those of you who have climbed for years, but it is helpful to a new leader.
- Descent Routes. Yes, I've seen the threads on this board about how rappelling is a waste and that you should just walk down to the Uberfall. But for the rest of us, the authors of this book take the time to describe not just how to get to the top of the climb, but how to get down again. Nice touch.
- Interesting pieces of Gunks history.

Cons:
- Non-comprehensive. This guide is meant to highlight climbs the authors feel are some of the best. Thus, it is more suitable for visitors than for those who want to spend substantial time climbing the many varied routes the Gunks has to offer.
- Route variants listed as norms. The route given for Betty is not the classic 5.3 climb, but instead is turned into a 5.7 climb by sending the climber over an overhang. Its fine for the authors to list their favorite way up, but it would be more helpful if they made it clear that their climb is a variant.
- Confusing contradictions in skill designations. Betty is listed as 5.3 on page 80 (the classic rating), then listed as 5.6 on the title on page 82, then described with a 5.7 overhang in the text. A confusing mess, in my opinion. Likewise Middle Earth is listed as a 5.5 climb, but the route description takes the climber over a 5.8 roof. Why?
- Ads. The book contains numerous ads. Not a huge deal, but something to note.

In summary, this visually beautiful book will likely sell well to travelers making brief visits to the Gunks, and may actually serve them well. A beginning leader such as me will find the pictures and topos helpful in planning climbs, but ONLY in conjunction with cross-referencing descriptions in Williams and/or Swain's guides. More experienced climbers may enjoy some of the history, but will probably find little else new here.

I'm glad I purchased a copy and would like to thank the authors, Zach Orenczak and Rachael Lynn, for putting forth the effort to make another guide. If you are reading my post, then my request for a future addition would be to continue the winning-combination of a color cliff photograph alongside topo description - and please be clear when listing 5.x skill levels.

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#39156 - 08/19/08 02:07 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Climb_On]
Jim Lawyer Offline
member

Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 157
Loc: Pompey, NY
I too received my new guidebook. I was more impressed than I thought, but remain disappointed overall. First the good stuff:

* The book has many cliff photos taken from the climber's perspective while at the base of the cliff. Good idea, as this is what you see when you're walking the carriage road.
* An emphasis on information getting to the Gunks for out-of-staters -- i.e., the use taxis, trains, airports, motels, and so on. Living within driving distance, I haven't seen this stuff before.
* Topos are good because they show fixed gear, hints, and other beta like never before. On the other hand, they need work and are difficult to match with the actual rock. For example, all corners and roofs are drawn the same, so you can't distinguish the large roofs from the small ones. Props for even trying, as the Gunks rock is SO featured, that a good topo would take eons.
* Props for showing local climbers (Rich G, etc) on routes. Visiting climbers are likely to actually meet these people, so awesome move here.
* Nice to see Siacca getting some attention. He's a local fixture.
* Many of the photos are fresh -- unique perspectives on classic routes. The photo reproduction is quite good (better than their other books, in my opinion). I especially like the photo of Mike Law and his lycra package...classic!!!
* The funky style is fresh, catchy, and interesting to browse. They've toned it down a bit from their other books, which is a good thing, and replaced many filler pieces with actual climbing shots. Good move.
* The book is funny and edgy. The writing style flows easily, and is fun to read.

Now for the bad stuff:

* Lots of great photos, but many are of routes NOT documented in the book. There's nothing more frustrating than seeing an inspiring photo, getting all psyched, then realizing that it's on some other cliff not covered by the book. To name a few -- King of Swing (the title page photo) on Millbrook, Persistance (two-page spread) at Lost City, No Exit (two-page spread) at Skytop (WTF??), Atrificial Intelligence (full page), Nector Vector (two-page spread) at Millbrook, Gill Egg, Gravity's Rainbow (full page) at Lost City, Project X (full page) at Giant's Workshop, "Belay Hangout" (looks like Skytop), and Vandals (two-page spread) at Skytop. These photos get me psyched to climb on the OTHER cliffs. The dude cranking the crux of V3, right next to the route description of V3 is really good -- this is how it's done.
* Useless photos, like the two-page spread of the Catskills, people changing a tire, people swimming at Coxing Kill, a duplicated picture of Laurel and Hardy at a beach somewhere, guy rolling cigarettes, full page NYC ticker tape parade. Sure, some of the photos go along with a story, but the wasted space is glaring. And I understand about setting the "mood", but these seemed over the top. No wonder they need tear-offs so you don't have to lug the book.
* The book uses a style that repeats photos on the same page, with a slightly different tint, presumably for artistic reasons. This takes up space and adds nothing, in my opinion -- like the dude in pink pants answering a phone, repeated three times for some reason.
* There's a two-page spread on the Mental Block. My opinion, but that's a lot of space for mediocre climbs in an otherwise "select" book.
* Fit and finish issues -- lots of typos, like the second sentence of the Introduction and hanging headings (i.e., a heading at the bottom of a column with nothing below it). These are prevalent throughout...something that a good read by a third party could pick up.
* Very little on the preserve and the history. The book paints an unflattering picture that the preserve is doing things not in the interest of climbers, and encourages climbers to speak out. Perhaps true, but I don't think enough credit is given to the preserve for allowing climbers to use the property, a rarity these days.
* What's up with the beta on buying pot? Nothing against it, but printing that in a guidebook? WTF?
* The book has advertising, but it's not overwhelming. In fact, I think this was done in good taste. However, it would be nice if the advertising was targeted to local businesses and stuff that Gunks climbers would need/use. (The advertisement for a bed and breakfast at Devil's Tower seems misplaced.)
* Some photo diagrams are useless. I'm all for photos with lines, but, for example, the CoEx Wall on page 112 has lines drawn on a tree and you can't see the rock anywhere behind the lines. This photo serves almost no purpose.
* Page 148, the photo is Balrog, but doesn't indicate so. Just a small oversight.
* Changing of the grades: This has been discussed on this forum, but I just don't get it. Never Never Land is not .11b, and neither is Balrog or Erect Direction. Nor is Modern Times .10b/c. I agree with CoEx being .11a -- it's about time. But that's only a letter grade bump. These authors are obviously experienced Gunks climbers, but, come on, some of these grade bumps are simply wrong. Grade issues have been discussed by thousands of climbers for 30 years (just browse this forum), and consensus simply doesn't support the bumps.
* Gear recommendation includes hybrids Aliens. Never used 'em, nor has anyone I climb with. Seems like a specialty item, not a you-need-two-of-these type item. And not recommending double ropes? I know...lots of people use a single rope, and even I do on occasion. But this is only after very intimate knowledge of the routes and knowing exactly where to place pro to reduce rope drag. I still think the Gunks are an ideal place for double ropes.
* Some of the "hilarious" stories I found uninteresting. I was expecting some real doozies, as the Gunks has a rich history and amazing local color. But what I got was Siacca giving Rachael a cupcake and some dude from Laramie whose cat jumped out a window.
* No pitch beta -- The pitches are missing difficulty and protection grades. For a book with better beta, seems like a glaring omission.
* It's overpriced for what you get.

So, having said all that, I recommend this book. It's a good read, and the color photos alone make this a great addition to any guidebook collection. I'm not sure I'll use it in the field, though, as Williams' guide is far superior field tool.

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#39160 - 08/19/08 03:04 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: dalguard]
greyalien Offline
journeyman

Registered: 05/06/05
Posts: 86
Loc: Central NJ and Upstate NY
 Originally Posted By: dalguard
I'm waiting for the SuperTopo.


I think its only a matter of time. This piece of garbage is a supertopo wanna be.
_________________________
- Will

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#39161 - 08/19/08 03:09 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: greyalien]
Smike Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
"So, having said all that, I recommend this book."

You do? Given the details of the review's thus so far regarding the mis-information / errors, I would find it hard to recommend. Maybe I’m missing something and the book is to be filed under fiction? I know first hand how difficult it can be to put together a guide with decent consistent information (Helping out with the PA Ice guide was interesting to say the least with almost zero reference material) but the gunks?

Also I have a few guides that feature some awesome images, but yet no mention of said route. That one burns me to no end. WFT on that one…

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#39162 - 08/19/08 03:33 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Jim Lawyer]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2675
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
Jim, that is one great review. Obvoiusly you bring a unique perspective and your experience is evident. They should have hired you as a consultant/editor.
I will buy this guide, if only to make the climbs more recognizable to me that I always seem to forget, as well as complete my collection (other than the Gran guide someone stole out of my pack many years ago. Not that I'm bitter or anything). I highly value the much closer, color photos, but completely understand why Dick would not be able to include that kind of detail in a book we would still want to carry to the cliff.

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#39164 - 08/19/08 03:47 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Smike]
Jim Lawyer Offline
member

Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 157
Loc: Pompey, NY
 Quote:
"So, having said all that, I recommend this book."

You do?


Yes, I do. Like I said, many of the climbing photos are awesome. And, despite all the negatives, it's still a fun read. I probably won't use it in the field, though.

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#39165 - 08/19/08 03:53 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Jim Lawyer]
Smike Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
 Originally Posted By: Jim Lawyer


Yes, I do. Like I said, many of the climbing photos are awesome. And, despite all the negatives, it's still a fun read. I probably won't use it in the field, though.


Sounds more like a recommendation as a coffee table book. I'll check it out, as I don't want to pass total judgment without see it first hand.

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#39166 - 08/19/08 04:52 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Jim Lawyer]
ShakesALot Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 04/19/04
Posts: 257
Loc: NJ
 Originally Posted By: Jim Lawyer
 Quote:
"So, having said all that, I recommend this book."

You do?


Yes, I do. Like I said, many of the climbing photos are awesome. And, despite all the negatives, it's still a fun read. I probably won't use it in the field, though.


Agreed, I looked at it in R&S the other day and bought it. Worth it for the pictures.

I doubt I'll take it to the cliff and yes it has many inaccuracies, strange grading "updates" and silent re-routing of routes as lots of you have pointed out. That said, I like the approach, it just wasn't executed as consistently as it should have been and if they spent another 8 hours proofing it with a local it could have been a lot better.

Deniso - great job on the pictures, congratulations... I'll be looking out for them on the GTR thread ;\)

Regarding price - it costs 17% more than the "revised" Grey Williams guidebook published 4 years ago with no color pictures.

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#39169 - 08/19/08 06:15 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: ShakesALot]
Dillbag Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/02/06
Posts: 1130
Loc: "The Town"
So... How many routes does this cover? Is it more comprehensive than the Williams Select?
_________________________
...anethum graveolens cucumis sativus!

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#39171 - 08/19/08 11:27 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Dillbag]
Big Jimmy Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/19/08
Posts: 6
Loc: Hotel Millbrook
Many folks are saying that they are buying this book for the pictures. If you want a picture book, buy Dumais' book. This "guidebook" deserves to be boycotted. The upgrading is more than just ridiculous, it's disrespectful. The book should be titled, "How the Gunks feels to me: A journey of ineptitude."

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#39172 - 08/19/08 11:49 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Alex]
Kevin Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 11/17/99
Posts: 201
FYI, the new guidebook is available at the EMS on Rte 9 in Poughkeepsie.

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#39173 - 08/20/08 12:29 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Kevin]
learningtolead Offline
old hand

Registered: 04/16/02
Posts: 981
Loc: a wanna be kerhonkson-er
So Jim, if they produced a guidebook of the same style and quality for the adirondacks and it had the same pros and cons, would you buy it? I just kind of feel like it's disrespectful to the folks who spend so much time and energy producing a thoroughly researched and documented guide so I wouldn't. If you would buy it after having produced the researched and documented variety, then i can totally understand your recommendation to buy the new gunks guide.

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#39175 - 08/20/08 12:41 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Kevin]
caver Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 01/11/03
Posts: 260
Loc: High Falls
it's disrespectful. The book should be titled, "How the Gunks feels to me: A journey of ineptitude."
ditto..........
Williams' Guide books rule, I will never even consider this new attempt.........

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#39176 - 08/20/08 03:22 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: caver]
Coppertone Online   content
old hand

Registered: 08/17/00
Posts: 1055
Loc: Newtown, CT
I can understand trying a new approach and trying out new ideas for a fresh perspective. This should not include haphazardly regrading climbs in a rediculous fashion. Coex at 11.a is one thing, but making Never Never Land 11.b, harder than Comedy, Coex, Graveyard, Matinee and many others is simply stupid. Modern Times is 10b and the same as Falled on Account of Strain, Star Action, Transcon, Welcome to the Gunks, Doublissima and Try Again, have these guys actually done any of these climbs? Creating your own new routes and keeping the name the same as the original classic is also crazy. I do not doubt that allot of work went into this, but obviously not nearly enough.

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#39178 - 08/20/08 06:58 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Kevin]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
I've been worrying that my initial reaction to the preview of the guide was too harsh, as ShakesAlot said. In particular, I'm sorry I called it a "piece of crap," which, if not at all extreme for internet posting, nonetheless violates my personal standards of discourse. So I went out and bought it, hoping to find the real thing better than the preview. And indeed, there are some things that are better than I realized. First, there are a bunch of very nice climbing photos. Second, the organization of the cliff into regions delineated by photographed carriage-road landmarks is a nice tweak of the carriage road guide that is printed as a "crawl" along the bottom of the cliff photos in Grey Dick. And third, in some cases a picture of the climbs from the base makes it clear where the routes go.

Unfortunately, that's about it. The rest is even worse than I imagined, so bad that it would take multiple posts to cover it all. So I'm just going to forget about the esthetics, the layout, the inclusion of pages and pages and PAGES of irrelevant fluff. When all is said and done, the thing is supposed to be a guidebook, but it is so riddled with errors, inconsistencies, and questionable grading that it should never have been released---at present it needs a major editorial effort just to fix the typos and internal conflicts.

I think things start off badly right away. The title is The Gunks-A Climber's Guide to the Shawangunks. In terms of what you get, the subtitle should be "Selected Climbs in the Trapps," because that is all that is covered. Since only one of the first seven climbing photos is actually in the Trapps, a browser could be pardoned for thinking that the the guide is more comprehensive, but the coverage diagrams that follow, which end at the Slime Wall, should correct that misimpression.

The first text you encounter is a more dire version of the standard disclaimers all guidebook authors are obliged to include. But this is the biggest laundry list of the authors' potential failings I've ever seen, and not a word about making any effort to be as accurate as possible.

In order to emphasize just how unreliable the contents might be, the disclaimer goes on to say that the book "contains information that is nothing more than a compilation of opinions about climbing the rock climbs in the Black Hills Needles." This sets the tone for the pervasive lack of attention to detail that follows.

The next thing that appears is acknowledgements. It is a matter of common decency to thank the folks who helped you produce your work. Williams has a page of acknowledgements thanking thirty or so people and apologizing the omissions he fears are inevitable. Lawyer-Hasse record their indebtedness to more than 300 people. Orenczak-Lynn say, "thanks to all who contributed knowledge, stories, belays, and photos." In view of all the errors, the knowledge-contributors, if there were any, are probably just as happy to remain anonymous.

On to the route descriptions. In general, the route lines sketched in on the photos are rough approximations and make little effort to follow the details of the climb. The topos are more descriptive, but don't work as well in the Gunks as they do in areas where the rock features are more geometric and independent. And there are some areas that don't have topos, in which case the approximate route lines by themselves are inadequate, and as well as some descriptions that have neither topos nor route photos. Gunks rock has so many details at so many different scales that it is hard to provide useful data with a few lines, and some of the topos just give up and leave large white areas with no details to guide where the lines are drawn.

My sense from reading the routes is that the authors just don't know the area that well; this is the only explanation for some of their choices. By far the most egregious routing error I noticed is in the description of Maria, which sends the party up what the topo accurately describes as a "mud slope," completely avoiding the overhang on the last pitch that is the crown jewel of the route. In my original comments I noted the unfortunate rerouting of Snooky's Return onto Minty, therby missing out on some excellent climbing. Climbers on Drunkard's Delight are instructed to traverse over and finish on Sixish, rather than complete a perfectly good third pitch directly above, and the third pitch of sixish is then described incorrectly. The same thing happens with Classic; the excellent second pitch corner isn't mentioned and the party is instructed to traverse over and finish on the much less interesting and esthetic Jackie second pitch. The nice 5.8 first pitch of Blackout is ignored and the party is instructed to climb up Betty, and the second pitch description seems to be missing the top part. The City Lights second pitch description forgets to mention moving right soon after the top of the right-facing corner. I could go on and on, but the point should be clear by now, and I leave it to others to discover the mistakes further down the cliff.

Grading is where everything totally falls apart. There are inconsistencies between the topos, route descriptions, and photo captions on almost every page. The topo grading is especially high, many of us will be overjoyed to learn how good we really are. A few examples:

Dirty Gerdie description, 5.8+, topo 5.9.

Bunny description, 5.4, topo 5.7.

Retribution description, 5.10b, topo 5.10c.

Belly Roll description 5.4, topo 5.5.

Jane description, 5.6, topo 5.7.

Betty photo caption, 5.3, description, 5.6 but but the text says two moves are 5.7. The only grade on the topo is 5.5.

City Lights photo caption, 5.7, description, 5.8-, topo, 5.8. (The topo also labels a walk across a ledge as a "slippery traverse.")

Frog's Head photo caption, 5.6, description, 5.6-, topo 5.7.

Maria photo caption, 5.6, description, 5.6+, topo 5.7 (and this doesn't include the top overhang).

Drunkard's Delight Description 5.8-, topo 5.8+.

Shockley's Ceiling description, 5.8+ with bulge above 5.8, topo ceiling 5.9+ with bulge above 5.9.

Something Interesting description 5.7+, but text says top corner has 5.8 move. Topo says that same move is 5.9. At the top, the description and topo send the climber up a dirty corner, bypassing a two-bolt rap anchor on a ledge before the choss starts.

Higher Stannard description, 5.9-, but the text says 5.9+, topo 5.10a.

Coexistence description 5.11a, topo 5.11d.

Star Action description 5.10b, topo 5.11a.

This should be enough to indicate systemic inaccuracy, not just an occasional goof. I ain't even gonna get into whether some of these grades make sense in this universe.

Then there is the matter of history. As far as I can tell, the authors just make up whatever they want. There is a whole page entitled "The Truth About Pitons" that is laden with false statements and historical misunderstandings. Apparently, the authors think their audience will be edified to learn that modern efforts are more intense because now gear must be fiddled in when previously "you could walk up to the cliff with a rope and a rack of slings." What total bull.

Then there is the comment that Baby "is not the walk-up it once was since the large chockstone at the crux dislodged from the crack, making the crux much more difficult." Since the topo indicates 5.8 on the second pitch, one has to wonder just how gigantic this chockstone must have been to have eliminated all that difficulty. But the reality is that there wasn't a chockstone there originally, someone carried one up and placed it, and eventually someone else returned the climb to its original condition, which of course is not 5.8.

Arrow is characterized as "one of the first of many rap-bolted routes in the Gunks." Where do these guys get this stuff from? As far as I know, there are two rap-bolted routes, Arrow and Sente. There are a few other bolts placed with aid.

Given the fact that the authors seem to have no fixed idea of what the grade of many climbs is, it is not surprising that there is no index by grade in the back, and the alphabetical listing of climbs does not have their grades. You're a visiting climber and want to climb a nice 5.6? Thumb through every page, sparky.

Finally, there is the matter of price. Grey Dick at $29.95 has 495 routes. at about 6 cents a route. Adirondack Rock at $36.99 has about 2000 routes at less than 2 cents a route. In The Gunks, you are paying a very hefty premium for the manifold irrelvancies, many in color, that I haven't the energy to mention. The $35 price gets you 204 routes at about 17 cents per route. And with this premium price comes all the inaccuracies just described.

Jim Lawyer, in his very kind review, says that he recommends the book but wouldn't actually bring it to the cliffs. ShakesAlot agrees. Good call there, guys.


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#39180 - 08/20/08 03:16 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
Dillbag Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/02/06
Posts: 1130
Loc: "The Town"
WOW!

I can't WAIT to actually see this thing... It sounds like a train wreck, I expect there will be people creating a traffic jam at R&S rubbernecking at the book...
_________________________
...anethum graveolens cucumis sativus!

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#39181 - 08/20/08 04:58 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Dillbag]
strat Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/30/01
Posts: 4242
I think it's especially hysterical RG, that you shelled out the money to buy this, seemingly for the sole purpose of having the credibility of owning it, so you could shred it.

I'm sure there are some tricky differential equations that need solving!

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#39182 - 08/20/08 05:10 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: strat]
tradgunkie Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/10/03
Posts: 38
 Originally Posted By: strat
I think it's especially hysterical RG, that you shelled out the money to buy this, seemingly for the sole purpose of having the credibility of owning it, so you could shred it.


If Rich doesn't want it, I'll buy if from him for $10. That is if he hasn't literally shredded it by now.
_________________________
http://www.theuberfall.com

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#39183 - 08/20/08 05:45 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: tradgunkie]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Strat, glad to have contributed to your daily dose of amusement. Perhaps, in gratitude for the merriment I've provided, you would like to send a small contribution to defray my expenses? Your tips are my wages.

Trad, thanks for the offer, but it'll go into my guidebook collection, where it won't be lonely, since I've got the famously error-riddled Roxanna Brock Red Rocks guide and the original Ortenburger guide to the Tetons, whose incomprehensible descriptions led to my first fiasc...er...new routes.

Plus, whenever I get a little down about the decline in ability that comes with age, I can just open up The Gunks and instantly be up to four grades better. The ego boost (no matter how bogus) is easily worth the purchase price, and I am, after all, supporting the publisher of Dumais lovely picture book of the Gunks.

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#39188 - 08/20/08 09:21 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
BillH Offline
journeyman

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 59
Loc: Maryland
Richard, I too have that origninal Ortenberger guide. It got me up the Grand my one and only time (Petzoldt Ridge). Care to share the story of your "new route." Bill
_________________________
Bill Hutchins
Hutbill@comcast.net
http://www.reliclife.blogspot.com

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#39190 - 08/20/08 10:20 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
 Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
...and the original Ortenburger guide to the Tetons, whose incomprehensible descriptions led to my first fiasc...er...new routes.

I know one former Trust ranger who regularly referred to it as the Ortenbungler guide.
_________________________
- Marc

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#39193 - 08/21/08 01:33 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: MarcC]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Bill, we were trying to do the East Ridge of Teewinot, but ended up climbing something on the North side. We described it in the Jenny Lake ranger logbook, and I saw it listed as either a route or perhaps a variation in subsequent Ortenburger editions. Whether this insignificant bungle has survived in modern Teton guides I cannot say.

Although I don't, think, in retrospect, that the Ortenburger guide was very good, one should note that much of Teton rock has a jumbled structure that is very hard to describe, and at the time the majority of my rock-climbing experience came from the 60-foot bluffs of Devil's Lake, Wisconsin. It's amusing to make fun of the guide as I did, and as Mark has mentioned I'm not the only person who thought it was opaque, but our own inexperience in the mountain environment is more to blame than any failure of clarity on Ortenburger's part. It was, after all, the East Ridge. How effin' hard is it to follow a damn ridge to the top?

I believe we continued to blunder up a route or two on the south side of Disappointment Peak and, a little later, climbed a variation of a route I'm blanking on by McCarthy and Chouinard on one of the South buttresses of Mt. Moran.

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#39198 - 08/21/08 05:50 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
BillH Offline
journeyman

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 59
Loc: Maryland
Richard, thanks for the story. My very small experience suggests that Teton ridges can be pretty big and confusing. Up close they look more like vast expanses of jumbled rock than ridges.

This thread has made me think about how unusually good the William's guides are. Are there any other climbing areas that have guidebooks written over a period of 35 years by the same top-flight climber who has climbed virtually every pitch he describes? They are comprehensive; clear and accurate (based on my limited expereince and the comments of many others); consistent in level of detail, format and (most importantly) grading*; and chock full of interesting quotes, as well as history of and love for the area. The gray Dick not only helps me find my way around the Trapps, but also reacqainted me with the the hard men I idolized whan I climbed as kid in the 60s and, when I returned to climbng after a 35 year layoff, introduced me to the people, events and traditions I missed while away. The book gives me a sense of being "rooted" in the place and is a huge part of what the Gunks mean to me. Moreover, it is produced in the "old" format: just small and flexible enough to put in your pocket or hang on your rack. We are spoiled.

* Of course we can all quibble over certain climbs. I think High E is a grade easier than Baby (I don't have much off-width technique), but the fact that such minor differences stand out only demonstrates, at least in my mind, how consistent William's grading is overall.
_________________________
Bill Hutchins
Hutbill@comcast.net
http://www.reliclife.blogspot.com

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#39252 - 08/24/08 03:07 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
pedestrian Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/05/02
Posts: 2244
Loc: a heavily fortified bunker!
 Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
the famously error-riddled Roxanna Brock Red Rocks guide


Hey, she may not know how to write a guidebook, but she sure knows how to, umm, stick-clip:

http://www.susanica.com/photo/32

Since when did stick clipping become "advanced" spurt technique? ;\)

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#39253 - 08/24/08 03:27 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: pedestrian]
tradgunkie Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/10/03
Posts: 38
I can't believe anyone would pay money to take an advanced sport climbing class. Definitely a basic class, but what else is there to learn beyond that?
_________________________
http://www.theuberfall.com

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#39261 - 08/25/08 02:38 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: tradgunkie]
Dillbag Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/02/06
Posts: 1130
Loc: "The Town"
Stick clipping... DUH!
_________________________
...anethum graveolens cucumis sativus!

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#39328 - 08/28/08 02:41 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
MurphysLaw Offline
gumby

Registered: 03/12/02
Posts: 2308
Loc: Hudson Valley, NY
<< and eventually someone else returned the climb to its original condition >>

Dr. Iris hare here is all about maintaining historical route integrity.


Modern Times 10b?? SWEET!!!
_________________________
"Flailing?" "Flail on!"

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#39332 - 08/28/08 04:23 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: MurphysLaw]
Coppertone Online   content
old hand

Registered: 08/17/00
Posts: 1055
Loc: Newtown, CT
 Originally Posted By: MurphysLaw
<< and eventually someone else returned the climb to its original condition >>

Dr. Iris hare here is all about maintaining historical route integrity.


Modern Times 10b?? SWEET!!!


Did Doublissima last week and was going to finish on Modern Times, but we decided two consecutive pitches of 5.10 would be too stiff.

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#39340 - 08/28/08 08:40 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Coppertone]
elizaclimb Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/25/08
Posts: 5

This is ridiculous! My future bumper sticker reads: "Keep it real! Stick with Dick!"

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#39350 - 08/29/08 06:57 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: elizaclimb]
nerdom Offline
Pooh-Bah *

Registered: 09/07/01
Posts: 2483
Loc: Davis Sq., MA
 Originally Posted By: elizaclimb

This is ridiculous! My future bumper sticker reads: "Keep it real! Stick with Dick!"


Hmmm, might offend some lesbians, no? ;\)
_________________________
we're all living proof that nothing lasts

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#39352 - 08/29/08 09:22 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Alex]
tallgirlnyc Offline
member

Registered: 05/12/08
Posts: 194
Loc: Cold Spring NY
I think ultimately that the authors should have quoted the original Williams or Swain rating before giving their own opinion. Ditto for route changes-not cool unless duly noted. My quick perusal of the guide book made me wonder if they had actually climbed all the routes they highlighted.
Also, the sheer size of the thing when it only has a "selection" of 'gunks climbs makes me think it should live in a bookshelf instead of inside a pack.

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#39353 - 08/29/08 09:47 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: tallgirlnyc]
tradgunkie Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/10/03
Posts: 38
 Originally Posted By: tallgirlnyc
My quick perusal of the guide book made me wonder if they had actually climbed all the routes they highlighted.
Also, the sheer size of the thing when it only has a "selection" of 'gunks climbs makes me think it should live in a bookshelf instead of inside a pack.


I can tell you without a doubt that the authors climbed every route they covered in the guide with the exception of a few of the 5.12s. I agree that some of their route grades are too inflated, but I think many of the grade changes were justified.

I have an interview on my site with the author if you'd like more info.
_________________________
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#39354 - 08/29/08 10:12 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: tradgunkie]
Dana Offline
addict

Registered: 07/13/00
Posts: 619
" . . . but I think many of the grade changes were justified."

I'm curious; what grade changes do you think were accurate?

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#39355 - 08/29/08 10:51 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Dana]
redtag Offline
journeyman

Registered: 06/26/07
Posts: 98
sounds like the only thing this guidebook is good for is wiping your ass or starting your campfire...

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#39356 - 08/29/08 11:15 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Dana]
tradgunkie Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/10/03
Posts: 38
 Originally Posted By: Dana
" . . . but I think many of the grade changes were justified."

I'm curious; what grade changes do you think were accurate?


I can't be in complete agreement with exact grades since it's been a few years since I've climbed some of the routes. I'm no expert, I'm just an ordinary climber, but some of the climbs feel harder than the grades Swain and Williams have in their guides.

I've already mentioned that I think Shockley's isn't a 5.6. It sure felt to be around an 8 each time I did it.

Laurel has a 5.8/5.9 boulder problem on it. It's easy to dismiss since it's the first move. I'd probably lean towards 5.8, but I'm tall and I believe it's harder for shorter people.

Raubenheimer Special feels like an easy 8 to me. Again it's a boulder problem so it's seems cheap to give the whole route a 5.8 when the rest of it is so much easier but that's how it's done.

I haven't been on Baby in a long time, but I vividly remember the time I first did it 10 years ago. I was leading 5.12 at the time and thought Baby would be a good cruise. I was pretty shocked at how hard a 5.6 could be. Now maybe I was missing a key hold or clueless on the particular offwidth technique required.

The Dangler at 5.10a? Seems about right.

Coexistence at 5.11a? Seems about right.

Balrog at 5.11b? I don't know, maybe 10d.

Modern Times is burly. It gives me almost as much of a workout that Doubleissma does. Is it 5.10? I don't know, but 5.9 even seems slightly soft for it. Probably 5.9.

Dogs in Heat was actually downgraded correctly (my opinion of course)to 5.10d. I'm surprised no one has mentioned this.

Most of the climbs in the book have the same grade as the Grey Dick. I don't really care to take a count, but the grades that were changed only reflect a small portion climbs in the guide.

As for the weight of the guide, I agree that it will probably bow to the Grey Dick guide for frequent Gunks' climbers. The scope of the guide doesn't make sense for someone who gets out to the cliff every weekend. The interesting thing though is that some of these climber bought it anyway just because they like to have every Gunks guide.
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#39357 - 08/30/08 10:22 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: tradgunkie]
pedestrian Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/05/02
Posts: 2244
Loc: a heavily fortified bunker!
dogs in heat was never .11 in any guidebook I know of.

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#39358 - 08/30/08 11:22 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: pedestrian]
Mike Rawdon Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/29/99
Posts: 4275
Loc: Poughkeepsie
 Originally Posted By: pedestrian
dogs in heat was never .11 in any guidebook I know of.


Grey Dick: Dogs in Heat 11a PG.

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#39359 - 08/30/08 01:44 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Mike Rawdon]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Changing the grades of climbs is one thing; we can argue about this forever and everyone I know has their list of climbs that need regrading. But a major failing of The Gunks is that the authors are so unsure of their ratings that they have to regrade their own grades. The list of grading inconsistencies that I posted earlier between topos, route descriptions, and photo diagrams is just a sample of the fog of uncertainty that blankets this "guide."

Another example, one that I didn't mention earlier, of the lack of care that went into this work is the fact that, in many cases, the topos fail to indicate where the climbing that gives the climb its grade actually is.

For example,

Double Chin, 5.5. No indication on topo of where the 5.5 is.

Baby 5.8. No grade anywhere on first pitch. Impression from topo is that the 5.8 occurs on the second pitch only. Also, the topo describes the short offwidth section as a layback, thereby certifying gunks face-climbing incompetence.

Easy Overhang, 5.4. Topo has no grade on it anywhere.

Son of Easy O, 5.8. Topo has no grade anywhere on the second pitch.

Pas de Deux, 5.8. Topo has no grade on it anywhere.

Strictly from Nowhere,5.8+. Only grade on topo is a 5.4 section of the second pitch.

Something Interesting, 5.7+. No grade anywhere on the first pitch.

Birdie Party, 5.10b. No grade anywhere on topo. By the way, neither the topo nor the description indicates a second pitch (or continuation of the first pitch over the ceiling), so that 5.10b rating is for the section of the climb up to the bolts.

Mother's Day Party, 5.10b. No grade anywhere on topo.

Graveyard Shift, 5.10d. No grade anywhere on topo.

Tough Shift 5.10c. No grade on the topo at either of the route's crux sections. The topo leads the climber off-route over a ceiling marked 10d/11a.

Hijeck's Horror, 5.8. No 5.8 climbing indicated on topo, which only shows some 5.7 climbing higher up.

Raunchy, 5.8. No grade anywhere on the topo.

Etc., etc., etc. It goes on and on this way.

The authors' say that their topos "allow for a slew of beta to be added without cluttering up the cliff photos," but apparently that slew doesn't include where you'll find the hardest climbing, although we get a walk across a ledge labeled a "slippery traverse," and are treated to such helpful notations as "breakfast," "spicy taco," "hell yeah," "big-ass chimney" and "big-ass block." (Is there some sort of fetish thing going on here?) Now I'm not a fan of topos for Gunks rock anyway, but if you are claiming to help climbers by providing a "slew of beta," it seems to me that the absolute very least you could do is to notify leaders where the hard parts are.

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#39360 - 08/30/08 03:04 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: tradgunkie]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
 Originally Posted By: tradgunkie
I've already mentioned that I think Shockley's isn't a 5.6. It sure felt to be around an 8 each time I did it.

Laurel has a 5.8/5.9 boulder problem on it. It's easy to dismiss since it's the first move. I'd probably lean towards 5.8, but I'm tall and I believe it's harder for shorter people.

Raubenheimer Special feels like an easy 8 to me. Again it's a boulder problem so it's seems cheap to give the whole route a 5.8 when the rest of it is so much easier but that's how it's done.

Sounds like you and the authors are either not very familiar with 5.8 or you're engaging in a lot of ego gratification via grade inflation.

 Quote:
I haven't been on Baby in a long time, but I vividly remember the time I first did it 10 years ago. I was leading 5.12 at the time and thought Baby would be a good cruise. I was pretty shocked at how hard a 5.6 could be. Now maybe I was missing a key hold or clueless on the particular offwidth technique required.

Yes, clueless. Even if you can manage an overhanging 5.12 crimp and sloper-fest, if you've never done offwidth, 5.6 can sure feel hard. That doesn't make it a 5.8; it just illuminates a technique missing from your quiver.
_________________________
- Marc

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#39361 - 08/30/08 03:10 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
 Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
Baby 5.8. No grade anywhere on first pitch. Impression from topo is that the 5.8 occurs on the second pitch only. Also, the topo describes the short offwidth section as a layback, thereby certifying gunks face-climbing incompetence.

I had always done Baby with a layback, and thought it kind of burly for the grade (but still far easier than any of the 5.8s I had done to that point). Then in 1977 I took my first trip to Yosemite, came back, and cruised Baby with an arm-bar or two without thinking about it - and realized it was far easier that way.
_________________________
- Marc

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#39362 - 08/30/08 03:52 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: MarcC]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
 Originally Posted By: MarcC
....in 1977 I took my first trip to Yosemite, came back, and cruised Baby with an arm-bar or two...


...together with some foot jams and heel-toes.

You can bet your big-ass guidebook that Fritz didn't layback that thing.

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#39363 - 08/30/08 03:55 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: MarcC]
tradgunkie Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/10/03
Posts: 38
 Originally Posted By: MarcC
Sounds like you and the authors are either not very familiar with 5.8 or you're engaging in a lot of ego gratification via grade inflation.


I'm familiar with 5.8 both at the Gunks and beyond. It always humors me to climb 5.8s at other areas and notice how many of them feel like some of the 5.6s at the Gunks.

 Originally Posted By: MarcC
Yes, clueless. Even if you can manage an overhanging 5.12 crimp and sloper-fest, if you've never done offwidth, 5.6 can sure feel hard. That doesn't make it a 5.8; it just illuminates a technique missing from your quiver.


Fair play. I've done many offwidths since. I'll put it on my ticklist to go and see how this compares with my distant memory.
_________________________
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#39364 - 08/30/08 04:08 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: tradgunkie]
talus Offline
veteran

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 1259
are you f'in kidding me Baby a 5.8. it's 5.6 for sure. you pull up stuff a leg in and it's over. yes i was schooled at Vedauwoo.

plain and simple this guide book is stupid imo
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John Okner Photography

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#39365 - 08/30/08 04:53 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: talus]
tradgunkie Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/10/03
Posts: 38
 Originally Posted By: talus
yes i was schooled at Vedauwoo.

plain and simple this guide book is stupid imo


So were the authors of the guidebook, but I know you take personal satisfaction that you're a better climber than Zach.
_________________________
http://www.theuberfall.com

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#39369 - 08/30/08 09:15 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: tradgunkie]
Coppertone Online   content
old hand

Registered: 08/17/00
Posts: 1055
Loc: Newtown, CT
 Originally Posted By: tradgunkie
 Originally Posted By: talus
yes i was schooled at Vedauwoo.

plain and simple this guide book is stupid imo


So were the authors of the guidebook, but I know you take personal satisfaction that you're a better climber than Zach.


It is so completely transparent that you are both a shill for the authors and looking to drum up some traffic for you site that sees none other than yourself. Plain and simple this guide book is sloppy, lacking in both consistency and quality and completely unnecessary due to the presence of the existing detailed, thorough and well thought out books by Dick. My four year old could have proof read this and found half of the mistakes. This is a sad excuse to make some quick money instead of working for a living.

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#39372 - 08/30/08 11:36 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Coppertone]
tradgunkie Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/10/03
Posts: 38
 Originally Posted By: Coppertone
It is so completely transparent that you are both a shill for the authors and looking to drum up some traffic for you site that sees none other than yourself.


I've been coming to these messageboards long before my join date suggests. I came on here because I finally had an opinion about something I read on Gunks.com. Are you telling me I'm not welcome to hang with the Gunks.com crew?

I'm here to play Devils Advocate to many people who I felt were picking up the guide, thumbing through it and looking for reasons to not like the guide. Some people were even bashing the book before it even came out or without even looking at it.

The book has its problems sure, I've already said that it does. All I'm saying is that I don't find the grades in the new guide a big deal. Goldstone's approach to looking at things objectively has impressed me. The guide suffers from inconsistencies between the description to the topos. This to me is the biggest problem the guidebook suffers from, but only a few posters have taken the time to mention that.

When William's Grey guide came out, I shouted its praises because I loved the book, I still think it's the gold standard of Gunks guidebooks. I'd link you to my review, but I don't want you to think I'm drumming up traffic for my site.

You can call me what you want, but I'm no shill for this book. If I wanted to drum up traffic for my site, don't you think I'd have done that three years ago?
_________________________
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#39377 - 08/31/08 12:28 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: tradgunkie]
talus Offline
veteran

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 1259
 Originally Posted By: tradgunkie
So were the authors of the guidebook, but I know you take personal satisfaction that you're a better climber than Zach.


yup that's what i meant. yes i know, we knew each from when I lived in Wyo.

i did check out the guide and it has beautifully constructed pages and photos. for the beginner climber that will be visiting the gunks, imo it is the great guide.
_________________________
John Okner Photography

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#39378 - 08/31/08 02:14 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: talus]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Tradgunkie, just for the record, I bashed the guidebook before it came out because the authors posted a sample. My bashing clearly and repeatedly stated that it was based on the sample and referred to aspects of that sample. Perhaps as a result of those comments, the sample was taken down from their site.

I haven't gotten into the grading issues, hell, two of my routes have been upgraded, so I'm lookin' good in the neighborhood. But some of the changes are so far off base as to be absurd.

As for starting out biased, I think you have a point. As I said before, there isn't a crag in the country less in need of another guidebook, so my immediate reaction was, "this is going to have to be pretty special to justify its existence." Well, the nice shots notwithstanding, the book doesn't even live up to what I would think of as bare minimum standards for a guidebook.

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#39379 - 08/31/08 03:52 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: talus]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
 Originally Posted By: talus
for the beginner climber that will be visiting the gunks, imo it is the great guide.

I feel quite the opposite, especially considering the regradings. Don't you think that someone who does Laurel and Shockley's, both incorrectly upgraded to 5.8, are really gonna get spanked pretty badly when they decide to try some of the other 8's that weren't upgraded? Or perhaps an "easy" 9, like Ant's Line? Depending on route selection, that can actually get dangerous.
_________________________
- Marc

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#39380 - 08/31/08 03:58 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: tradgunkie]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
 Originally Posted By: tradgunkie
Some people were even bashing the book before it even came out or without even looking at it.

As Rich mentioned, a lot of us justifiably bashed the book based on the sample pages posted on the book's site. The pages that were quickly taken down after the negative comments here.

And while you claim not to be shilling for the book, you've repeatedly defended the author when a number of people said he was full of crap on quite a number of things. Even this most recent post of yours has quite the defensive tone.
_________________________
- Marc

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#39383 - 08/31/08 07:37 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: MarcC]
tradgunkie Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/10/03
Posts: 38
Ok, I take back what I said about people bashing the book prior to its release. Perhaps bashing was too strong a word.

 Originally Posted By: MarcC
[quote=tradgunkie] Even this most recent post of yours has quite the defensive tone.


Fair enough, but if someone goes after me I'm going to defend my stance.
_________________________
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#39384 - 09/01/08 03:38 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: tradgunkie]
Mark Heyman Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 1123
Loc: South Jersey (Pinelands)
 Quote:
Originally Posted By: Dana
"…but I think many of the grade changes were justified."

I'm curious; what grade changes do you think were accurate?

 Quote:
I've already mentioned that I think Shockley's isn't a 5.6. It sure felt to be around an 8 each time I did it.


First time leading it I can understand, but each time? It’s a one move wonder, and it’s only difficult because of the visible hold is so enticing, but just out of reach. Few will search for another until they are exasperated.

 Quote:
I haven't been on Baby in a long time, but I vividly remember the time I first did it 10 years ago. I was leading 5.12 at the time and thought Baby would be a good cruise. I was pretty shocked at how hard a 5.6 could be. Now maybe I was missing a key hold or clueless on the particular offwidth technique required.


When I was a only semi-solid 5.5 leader I backed off it. I knew
I was getting to be a 5.6 leader when I went back and led Baby.

 Quote:
I can't be in complete agreement with exact grades since it's been a few years since I've climbed some of the routes. I'm no expert, I'm just an ordinary climber, but some of the climbs feel harder than the grades Swain and Williams have in their guides.


If you want to change a the grading of a route at the Gunks, then to be consistent you have to change the rest too. Besides Gunks grades are the correct grades! Some places other are simply over graded, not the other way round! \:\)


Edited by Mark Heyman (09/01/08 11:46 AM)

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#39386 - 09/01/08 09:11 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Mark Heyman]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
 Originally Posted By: tradgunkie
I can tell you without a doubt that the authors climbed every route they covered in the guide with the exception of a few of the 5.12s


And when they went the wrong way, they recorded that as the route without bothering to check the accurate descriptions that already exist.

 Originally Posted By: tradgunkie
Most of the climbs in the book have the same grade as the Grey Dick. I don't really care to take a count, but the grades that were changed only reflect a small portion climbs in the guide.


There are about 45 grade changes out of about 200 routes; to me that represents a significant regrading policy. Well, "policy" is probably not the right term, perhaps if they missed the appropriate sequence or used the wrong technique (e.g. laybacking Baby), then they recorded the grade of their mistakes as the grade of the route.

Of course, given the pervasive fog of errors, it is hard to know what to call a grade change---I'm counting the highest grade given for the route in the various competing formats (descriptions, photo captions, and topos). Most of the time, the highest grade appears in the topos. Since the authors make a big deal about the utility of the topos and their importance as a distinguishing feature of their guide, it certainly makes sense to view these topo grades as definitive, remembering that in this work nothing really is.

Maybe I'll post all 45 at some point so we can all argue about them. Some of the more interesting ones are


Bunny, 5.7.

Jackie, 5.7.

Pink Laurel, 5.10b.

Betty, 5.7 (from the description).

Baby, 5.8.

Easy O, 5.4.

Frogshead, 5.7.

Shockley's 5.9+ (and the bulge above the ceiling is 5.9).

Something Interesting 5.9.

Birdie Party up to bolts 5.10b.

Coexistence, 5.11d.

Star Action, 5.11a.

Friends and Lovers, 5.10c.

Madam G's, 5.7/5.8.

Finger Locks, 5.8.

Gory Thumb, 5.10a.

V3, 5.8+ (from the description).

Balrog, 5.11b/c.

Never-Never Land, 5.11b.

Wise Crack 5.8+.

Limelight 5.8+.

Arrow pitch 1: 5.7, pitch 2 overhang, 5.9, top left of bolt, 5.10, top right of bolt, 5.11b.

Erect Direction, 5.11c.

CCK 5.9.

Modern Times, 5.10b/c.

Falled on Account of Strain p1: 5.10b.

No doubt, some of these are typos and, in some cases, are probably the grades of pitches that aren't included as part of the route. If there were one or two goofs like this, no one would think anything of it, but in this book the scale of inattention to critical detail is unprecedented. I can't claim to be an expert on guidebooks, but I've obviously used a few in fifty years of climbing, and I've never seen anything even remotely close to this.

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#39387 - 09/01/08 11:54 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
Smike Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
Ok, just to be clear I did take a look at the book this past Sunday. (Trying to stay out of R&S these days, as I tend to develop D-Elvis like instincts upon entry)

The best part of the guide is the by far the photos, awesome selection and great work by Dennis O’Conner. It could almost stand on that alone as that’s the one area that is lacking in all other guides in the gunks (Past and present). The ground level photos for finding routes is nice approach. It’s like some people need to ‘see’ it as no amount of words can get them a clear idea.

The inconsistencies and typos are a big deal and are counter to what the author stated in the interview posted. The grade inflation on some routes is startling and for some unknown reason…random. The biggest issue with Gunks ratings vs most other places in the world is the gunks routes tend to be beta intensive (if you do the route exactly the right way the grand is spot on, if you mess up the sequence then it can feel, or be much harder)

But for the list posted above by RG, I now have no fringing idea what logic was used to explain all that???


Edited by Smike (09/02/08 01:12 PM)

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#39388 - 09/02/08 01:35 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Smike]
Coppertone Online   content
old hand

Registered: 08/17/00
Posts: 1055
Loc: Newtown, CT
I will have to let my wife know that her first 5.9 lead, Friends and Lovers, is actually 10.c. She will be thrilled. Good to know that my first 5.10, Never Neverland is actually 11.b. I had no idea I was so strong. This book is either going to get someone hurt or prevent someone from doing a great number of classic routes.

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#39391 - 09/02/08 11:48 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Smike]
Mark Heyman Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 1123
Loc: South Jersey (Pinelands)
 Originally Posted By: Smike
The inconsistencies and typos are a big deal and are counter to what the author stated in the interview that Zack posted. The grade inflation on some routes is startling and for some unknown reason…random. The biggest issue with Gunks ratings vs most other places in the world is the gunks routes tend to be beta intensive (if you do the route exactly the right way the grand is spot on, if you mess up the sequence then it can feel, or be much harder)


Agreed, which makes the authors ignorant and arrogant thinking that they know better than long established grades. The Gunks isn’t a gym there the routes are taken down “soon” after a grade consensus is reached if it ever is.

When I climb a route and find it hard for the grade I don’t re-grade it. Eventually I try again to figure out the easier way –after all I have a Williams guide book and can pretty much depend on it!

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#39392 - 09/02/08 01:12 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Mark Heyman]
Jim Lawyer Offline
member

Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 157
Loc: Pompey, NY
 Quote:
The biggest issue with Gunks ratings vs most other places in the world is the gunks routes tend to be beta intensive (if you do the route exactly the right way the grand is spot on, if you mess up the sequence then it can feel, or be much harder)


An issue guidebook authors deal with is whether grades should reflect an onsight attempt, or the easiest way to climb a route (after climbing it, say, 10 times). I prefer grades for the onsight, but that's just me. Another characteristic of Gunks routes is that they often "feel" harder -- exposure, roofs, and tricky gear -- even though the technical moves are easier. To me, this head game is what makes the Gunks so enjoyable and challenging.

Perhaps these authors (although extremely poorly and inconsistently) are trying to take these factors into account?

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#39393 - 09/02/08 02:16 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Jim Lawyer]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2675
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
Good point, Jim, although it is pretty hard to justify grading Betty higher than the 5.3 it is. I think that the competition of our world is what makes it great and reveals excellence. In this case, the photos are a nice touch but it is Dick's excellence being revealled. Perhaps the photos can be incorporated with Dick's work in the future, such as when Swain added the carriage road art/trailhead info and Dick upgraded the same in his next work.

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#39396 - 09/02/08 03:03 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Jim Lawyer]
Smike Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
I tend to agree with that Logic Jim, but its hard to say that the onsight of say Madam G’s would change much in that its only which 5.5 jug you grab in the sea of jugs, not if.

Of course you could use that logic to say the skill level for the climber could be low enough to justify how the grades ‘feel’ above. Not knowing author at all, I have no comment. Of course that then makes the guide somewhat of less value for anyone that does not match the height and skill level of the author.


Edited by Smike (09/02/08 03:06 PM)

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#39399 - 09/02/08 03:14 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: chip]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
I think Jim's point is quite important. Ideally, the grade should help the leader to estimate the level of difficulty they'll experience leading the route. This includes not only the onsight issue but also, especially on steep terrain, the effects of fatigue from placing gear on the overall sense of difficulty.

There are, of course, many problems with trying to achieve this. Logically, if there is a 5.7 sequence for a crux, then it shouldn't be graded harder just because you might do something else---the difficulty is a 5.7 difficulty and that's that. The idea that the rock has an intrinsic difficulty independent of who is climbing it is certainly an assumption of the grading system. But the system doesn't serve leaders well if, say, 90% of them miss the optimum sequence.

On the other hand, if you try to concoct an onsight grade, you somehow have to figure out just how badly most folks are likely to screw up the optimum sequence and/or how tired they'll be from placing the amount of protection they need.

Rockfax, in their online guides to European sport climbing, take the position that grades up to a certain level---I can't remember whether it is 5.10, 5.11, or 5.12, represent the difficulty of onsighting and grades above level that represent the redpoint difficulty, the assumption being that almost everyone will be in redpoint mode after a certain point.

Personally, I think bumping a grade upward if the pro is strenuous to place and/or if the optimum sequence is very obscure is a good idea. It alerts leaders to the real experience they are likely to have, rather than promising a theoretically accurate lower level of difficulty they are unlikely to enjoy.

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#39400 - 09/02/08 03:23 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2675
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
"Rockfax, in their online guides to European sport climbing, take the position that grades up to a certain level---I can't remember whether it is 5.10, 5.11, or 5.12, represent the difficulty of onsighting and grades above level that represent the redpoint difficulty, the assumption being that almost everyone will be in redpoint mode after a certain point."

Er, doesn't everyone start red-pointing at 5.8, like me?

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#39401 - 09/02/08 03:28 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
talus Offline
veteran

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 1259
Balrog, 5.11b/c.

there is a way to make this climb 5.8 at the crux
_________________________
John Okner Photography

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#39402 - 09/02/08 03:32 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
Smike Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
That all sounds good in theory RG, but given the wild swings in grading in the book and the outright typos, it’s hard to say if any of that logic was the intent.

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#39405 - 09/02/08 05:42 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Smike]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Yes Smike, I'm afraid I wasn't defending the new Gunks guide (it is indefensible in its present form), just saying that I can think of very good arguments for grades that aren't quite so tied to optimal beta, even though it is clear that assigning such grades is problematic.

I think grading in general is in a bad state because guidebook writers haven't set up generic example climbs, something I think, if memory serves, that Wilts did at Tahquitz when he invented the decimal system. In the Gunks, you might have three example climbs for each grade, lets say a slab climb (in-balance angle), a steep face climb (including possibly corners and stemming---out-of-balance angle) and of course a ceiling climb. Grades could then be assigned, and arguments promulgated on, a communal list of examples. This is way better than the usual "uhhh, that felt like hard 5.9 to me..." context-free grading pronouncement.

Visitors to the area could tick the examples (no R-rated examples please...) and then have a good idea what to expect from the grades. Arguments about sandbagging or softness could be localized to the example climbs (and left there).

Now I have to say that I need an age factor too. Some kind of Geezer Grading. Everything is starting to seem harder than I remember it.

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#39408 - 09/02/08 06:45 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
gunkie Offline
member

Registered: 07/19/00
Posts: 120
Loc: New Hope, PA
Apparently, I'm a really good climber. And good looking, too.

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#39409 - 09/02/08 06:52 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: gunkie]
quanto_the_mad Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/14/02
Posts: 2628
Loc: brooklyn
And I was a 5.8 leader long before everyone said I was. I knew the Fingerlocks layback was at least 5.8...
_________________________


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#39411 - 09/02/08 07:10 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: quanto_the_mad]
pedestrian Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/05/02
Posts: 2244
Loc: a heavily fortified bunker!
On our way back from Rumney this weekend, we stopped at the EMS in Hadley, MA. They had copies of this new "guidebook" for sale, but no other Gunks guide. Hope that's not indicative of the new retail trend for the northeast.

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#39414 - 09/02/08 07:48 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: talus]
Mike Rawdon Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/29/99
Posts: 4275
Loc: Poughkeepsie
 Originally Posted By: talus
Balrog, 5.11b/c.

there is a way to make this climb 5.8 at the crux


Having participated in a hang-or-fall fest on the crux, when 4 or 5 5.10-capable climbers struggled with the route, I would say that your 5.8 move is not at all obvious and should not be the grade. Of course it's not mid 11 either.

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#39417 - 09/02/08 09:04 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Mike Rawdon]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
McCarthy and I made the first ascent of Balrog back in the Iron Age. Neither of us fell on it, but we didn't find it anywhere near 5.8 either. I think we probably had enough sense to call it 5.10, but we certainly didn't think we had broken through any barriers, which we sure would have if the climb was really 5.11.

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#39419 - 09/02/08 10:25 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
BrianRI Offline
newbie

Registered: 06/10/05
Posts: 29
 Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
Now I have to say that I need an age factor too. Some kind of Geezer Grading. Everything is starting to seem harder than I remember it.


I think some of this grade creep can be attributed to the shear numbers of people climbing a route and polishing the rock. Laurel is a good example. It is shiny slick now. I climbed City Lights the other day and hadn't climbed it in 12 or 15 years. The rock is way slicker which you can tell just by looking at it. Williams did kick it up a notch from 5.7 to 5.8- in the Grey Dick which is appropriate. However, even with the slick rock some of those "new" grades in the new guidebook are absurd.

Another old geezer.

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#39420 - 09/02/08 10:33 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
Jannette Offline

Cliffmama
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 10/03/00
Posts: 2224
Loc: Gardiner, NY
"I think Jim's point is quite important. Ideally, the grade should help the leader to estimate the level of difficulty they'll experience leading the route. This includes not only the onsight issue but also, especially on steep terrain, the effects of fatigue from placing gear on the overall sense of difficulty."

I think Modern Times is a good example of a climb that can be 5.8 if you know the moves and it them just right - otherwise it seems much harder. But if you throw in a slight variation, like slinging that tree before the crux, or not adding in the final 3 feet of traversing before doing the mantle, you're in for a much harder climb. Someone on the onsight could easily find themselves in 5.9 territory without the beta or good fortune to avoid the harder variations. Plus, if your arms tire easily, like mine, you're looking at a big runout through the crux section if you can't stop and place gear halfway. I had to race through the crux moves before I could place gear or I would have run out of steam.

Jannette

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#39422 - 09/02/08 11:51 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: BrianRI]
pedestrian Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/05/02
Posts: 2244
Loc: a heavily fortified bunker!
 Originally Posted By: BrianRI
I think some of this grade creep can be attributed to the shear numbers of people climbing a route and polishing the rock.


As a self-described geezer, do you spend a lot of time in gyms?

I think perhaps this trend towards inflation has a lot to do with gym and sport climbers. I see a lot of appallingly incorrect (inflated) grades at my gym, and some of the stuff I've been on at Rumney and the New seems a little soft as well, if only to the extent that the mere presence of bolts makes protecting the moves physically easier... the authors of the guidebook in question are clearly the new kids on the block among Gunks guidebook authors; are they young enough that their earliest climbing experiences were shaped by a badly-grading gym, or sport?

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#39423 - 09/03/08 01:38 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: pedestrian]
tradgunkie Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/10/03
Posts: 38
 Originally Posted By: pedestrian
the authors of the guidebook in question are clearly the new kids on the block among Gunks guidebook authors; are they young enough that their earliest climbing experiences were shaped by a badly-grading gym, or sport?


One of the authors, Zach Orenczak, learned to climb at the Gunks. He spent all four of his high school years at the Gunks and also traveled to some southern sandstone of New River, Obed, and Red River. He then went to college in Wyoming and climbed throughout that area, mostly trad stuff. He's been developing some bolted sport areas lately, perhaps that has softened him up.

Just speculation, but I'm wondering if upon returning to the Gunks, he felt that the grades here are stiffer than ones he's seen in his travels.

I don't know Rachel Lynn that well, but I'm sure she spends little time in the gym.
_________________________
http://www.theuberfall.com

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#39425 - 09/03/08 03:12 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: tradgunkie]
redtag Offline
journeyman

Registered: 06/26/07
Posts: 98
so fcuking what???? ...just because he's travelled or he learned to climb here doesnt mean he has a clue...

i've travelled all over the place too, and i learned to climb in the gunks...and i find this new guidebook to be a bound and glossy piece of dogshit...

the grade inflation is just pure bullshit - dumbing it down at its worst - clearly pandering to the whining new-school noobs who need their egos to be stroked to keep their dollars flowing into the climbing industries pockets...

the authors knew this dogshit would sell based on the fancy publishing and 'topos' and didnt care whether the quality of the content was high or not or if they did care have no idea about what quality is...it seems that the motivation for this guidebook was a combination of ego and greed...no desire to serve the climbing community, no consideration of local tradition, no care toward good style or good ethics, no respect for consistency or accuracy, and no attention to detail...others have already detailed some of the poor work that went into this book so i wont bother to belabor that point any longer

consensus gunks grades, as presented by williams or swain, are and have been consistent and fair...gunks climbs are graded harder than some areas and softer than others...thats life...

and whats this crap about climbs being harder if you dont have the right beta??? well DUH!!!!....you can make any climb several grades harder if YOU'RE NOT CLIMBING IT WELL.....if you don't onsight 10s very well, and always screw up the sequence because the climb is too hard that doesnt make the climb an 11 or 12...its makes YOU NOT A GOOD ONSIGHT CLIMBER AT THE 5.10 LEVEL....climb some more 10s and you'll get there...do more pushups...eat fewer donuts.....having bad or no beta on a climb doesnt change the grade of the climb....some people actually read the rock well...they actually onsight well...and they actually enjoy onsighting....

this book should find its way to the round file, not to the book shelf, or the backpack

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#39430 - 09/03/08 01:52 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: tradgunkie]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
 Originally Posted By: tradgunkie
He spent all four of his high school years at the Gunks and also traveled to some southern sandstone of New River, Obed, and Red River. He then went to college in Wyoming and climbed throughout that area, mostly trad stuff.


High school, you say? All four years?

I'm so impressed.

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#39433 - 09/03/08 02:56 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: BrianRI]
Frank Florence Offline
addict

Registered: 01/05/00
Posts: 528
Loc: moved to Bend
BrianRI made the point that I hear more and more frequently about the Trapps, that the routes are getting polished and therefore are harder. Honestly, while there may presently be a few examples of that, I don't think that's the case for the vast majority of Trapps climbs, and the polishing is even less prevalent at the other Gunks cliffs. But it is a potential worth considering if use is focused on a relatively small number of climbs.

Concern over polished routes illustrates a useful characteristics of a guidebook that seems to be lacking here. While I haven't read any more of this new guidebook other than what was on the web briefly, it seems to be strongly focused on the climbs that are already the most popular. Hey, let's have every Uberfall route as slick as the Herdie-Gerdie block.

And whether or not all these routes end up polished, how about some relief from the crowds? Does this guide attempt to describe hidden gems, enjoyable link-ups, or simply a little variety? As far as I can tell, the new guide stands in stark contrast to how DW's latest guide helped spread the word on many very good but less frequently climbed routes, giving us all a chance to get scared in new places and thinning the hordes in the process. I happily anticipate the same treatment for the Nears.

Maybe hanging out in line at the base of crowded routes suits the readers of this new guide. I'd rather climb.

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#39434 - 09/03/08 03:00 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Julie]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Ped, I spend an evening or two a week in the gym. I'd be backing off 5.4's if I didn't. But my gym's grades ain't soft. Mostly they are inconsistent, reflecting the strengths, weaknesses, and experience of the setter, who probably boulders V10. By and large, I find the routes to be undergraded, but that may be a reflection of my geezerly decline. Whatever the reality, you couldn't blame "grade inflation" on anything I've observed in the gym.

Whether sport climbing has softened grades or not is beyond my level of expertise; the (perhaps sad) fact of the matter is that I have never done even one sport climb, unless you want to count something like Dream of Wild Turkeys, which does have closely bolted 5.9--5.10 together with typically run-out 5.8 offwidth.

As for the authors being too young to know a real grade when they see it, I accept the stipulation that they are experienced and well-travelled, so that naivete can't be the explanation for their choice of gunks grades. In any case, I hope I have made it clear that a case can be made for raising some classic gunks grades, so that a certain amount of "inflation," applied consistently with a clearly stated rationale, wouldn't be a bad thing in my opinion.

Furthermore, although I have been (I believe justifiably) harsh in my criticism of this new guide, I don't want any part of the tendency to ascribe base motives to the authors. Quite the contrary. I think it is possible to peer past the crap and see a concept shimmering in the distance. I don't think I'd like this particular concept even if it was effectively achieved, but that dislike would boil down to a matter of taste and philosophy, and others might quite properly see things differently.

Ultimately, what makes The Gunks by far the worst guidebook I've ever seen is not the concept but the execution. If there is a "whatever" culture spreading in our world, this could be its bible. The thing that is on the shelves is a first draft that is desperately in need of an editor and of a team of expert critical readers. In putting this first draft out, the authors have failed to exercise the due diligence required of someone who is a provider of critical information, and frankly, this offends me, both as an academic who believes passionately in making an effort to get things right, and as a climber who expects a guidebook to provide, well, guidance you can put some trust in.

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#39436 - 09/03/08 03:35 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
bird Offline
stranger

Registered: 07/18/05
Posts: 4
Loc: NY
I'm a bit late to this discussion, but just thumbed through the book at R&I. I can't believe Shockley's is 5.8+ what a crock. When I first climbed it in ~1981, it was rated 5.5, now 5.6. Part of what makes the Gunks the Gunks is the conservative ratings. As for bad beta leading to higher grades that's bunk. Last weekend on Jackie I "missed" a hold and had to back down a few feet on one section. Had I kept going, the climb would have probably felt like 5.7 or 8 to me. Should that change the rating? Absolutely not. I agree with the previous post that typos and misinformation are inexcusable, put out work you can be proud of, not something that's "close enough".
Anyway, I hope the marketplace sorts this out and this is the first and last printing of this lame guide.

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#39440 - 09/03/08 04:44 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
Timbo Offline
addict

Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 694
Loc: Delaware
 Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
The thing that is on the shelves is a first draft that is desperately in need of an editor and of a team of expert critical readers. In putting this first draft out, the authors have failed to exercise the due diligence required of someone who is a provider of critical information, and frankly, this offends me, both as an academic who believes passionately in making an effort to get things right, and as a climber who expects a guidebook to provide, well, guidance you can put some trust in.


As a professional writer (technical reports), I agree 100 percent with Rich. It drives me nuts when I see poor writing, with numerous grammar and spelling errors, in "professional" publications.

But an interesting point occured to me. The previous black, grey, and rainbow (Select) Dicks were chock full of bad grammar and mispellings (most were corrected in the recent Trapps Guide). And annoying as they were to me as a writer, I found them quaint and indicative of part of the author's down-home character fused into the guide. I believe the previous guides were self published (someone correct me if I am wrong). I am more than willing to forgive some grammar and language quirks in such cases. But (and this is the big but) I do not recall any inconsistencies in grades or route descriptions throughout the book.

So, the big differences here are:
1) This new guide is published by a "legit" publishing company. Someone should have given this thing a thorough edit. If someone did, then that person should be sacked by Ralph the Wonder Llama because they are not very good at their job.

2) All (or almost all) errors in Dicks' previous guides were grammar or spelling, not route information inconsistencies.

So, if you are going to publish a slick, picture-laden, corporate-publishing-company climbing guide, you damn well should get a decent editor to review it.
TS
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#39444 - 09/03/08 05:38 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Timbo]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Timbo, I believe in grammar and spelling too but am willing to be forgiving in something like a guidebook. This guidebook also has a bunch of layout problems---I didn't even want to get into that. But when it comes to the handling or mishandling of the hard data at the core of the guidebook's purpose, then I think a far more stringent standard of correctness is only natural and appropriate.

As for the "legitimacy" of the publishing company, I think it may just be the authors' business. So it is probably appropriate to view this guide as self-published too, with whatever slack you want to cut for that. Still, in my view, self-publishing does not relieve a guidebook author from the demands of due diligence.

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#39446 - 09/03/08 06:06 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
d-elvis Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/26/00
Posts: 3650
Loc: Central PA
To chime in, first page disclaimers aside, if you negligently (or intentionally) misrepresent or disregard the grade of a route in a guidebook at a nationally known and popular climbing area when historical consensus and other established guidebooks have the grade otherwise, this may be actionable should someone hurt themselves relying on the grade stated in the "guide".
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#39448 - 09/03/08 06:27 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: d-elvis]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
God, I hate lawyers sometimes.

The authors, perhaps in a moment of self-awareness, have included the most comprehensive legal notice I've seen about assumption of risk. (Too bad the notice refers to climbing in the Black Hills rather than the Gunks though.) In any case, since their grades all tend to the high side, it is hard to imagine how someone relying on them could succeed in claiming to be hurt because the climb turned out to be easier than advertised.

Frankly, if anyone anywhere managed to get to court with a lawsuit against a guidebook publisher for erroneous information, I and, I imagine, horde of other climbers would volunteer our services as witness for the defense.

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#39452 - 09/03/08 07:21 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
 Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
...since their grades all tend to the high side, it is hard to imagine how someone relying on them could succeed in claiming to be hurt because the climb turned out to be easier than advertised.

As I alluded to up-thread a-ways... what happens when a climber who, using the new book, does Bunny, Laurel, and Shockleys and, thinking they are now a fairly solid 5.8 leader, gets on one of the 5.8s that hasn't been incorrectly upgraded? Something like Son of Easy O, with hard moves close to the ground,that may be tricky for some to protect, and they deck? The problem isn't finding a route easier than graded, it's finding a route a lot harder than other routes of supposedly the same grade.
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#39458 - 09/03/08 07:50 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: pedestrian]
BrianRI Offline
newbie

Registered: 06/10/05
Posts: 29
 Originally Posted By: pedestrian
 Originally Posted By: BrianRI
I think some of this grade creep can be attributed to the shear numbers of people climbing a route and polishing the rock.


As a self-described geezer, do you spend a lot of time in gyms?

I think perhaps this trend towards inflation has a lot to do with gym and sport climbers. I see a lot of appallingly incorrect (inflated) grades at my gym, and some of the stuff I've been on at Rumney and the New seems a little soft as well, if only to the extent that the mere presence of bolts makes protecting the moves physically easier... the authors of the guidebook in question are clearly the new kids on the block among Gunks guidebook authors; are they young enough that their earliest climbing experiences were shaped by a badly-grading gym, or sport?

I hardly go to gyms. I think you may have mis-read my post. I called the "new" grades "absurd." However, if a hold should break off or the rock becomes highly polished it is appropriate to re-grade a route in a new guidebook as Willims did with City Lights. That is not the case with the new guidebook.

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#39462 - 09/03/08 11:02 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: BrianRI]
bird Offline
stranger

Registered: 07/18/05
Posts: 4
Loc: NY
How the heck did Bunny become 5.8?

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#39465 - 09/04/08 12:14 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: bird]
gunkie Offline
member

Registered: 07/19/00
Posts: 120
Loc: New Hope, PA
 Originally Posted By: bird
How the heck did Bunny become 5.8?


Sandbag. It's at least 5.10.

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#39466 - 09/04/08 12:20 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: bird]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
 Originally Posted By: bird
How the heck did Bunny become 5.8?

It didn't - the new guide has it at 5.7* - my post may have suggested it was**. So to clear up any confusion, replace my mention of Bunny with Baby up-thread.

*: maybe the authors did the variant overhang, which is about easy 7, instead of going around it to the left to keep it at 5.4, the way the original route went? If so, then why not call it a variant, like Dick and Todd did in all their guides?

**: I attribute that to old-fart memory and inept typing thanks to a broken finger (and a Lortab).
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- Marc

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#39469 - 09/04/08 03:10 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: MarcC]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
 Originally Posted By: MarcC
what happens when a climber who, using the new book, does Bunny, Laurel, and Shockleys and, thinking they are now a fairly solid 5.8 leader, gets on one of the 5.8s that hasn't been incorrectly upgraded? Something like Son of Easy O, with hard moves close to the ground,that may be tricky for some to protect, and they deck?


As it turns out, the starting move on Son of EO is up to 5.9 in the new guide, so not to worry.

Y'know guys, much as I dislike the sloppiness of this guide, and as ready as I am to agree that the authors have, in some way, failed in their obligation to climbers, I really don't think it possible to blame accidents on overgrading. Climbers still bear the responsibility for their actions and have no business even suggesting that a guidebook has caused their personal errors in judgement. I'm quite sure there are enough guidebook anomalies in the world to get half the climbing population killed if climbers were really so gullible and callous about their lives. So lets not head down the road that this or any other guidebook is going to get someone hurt. In climbing, people get themselves hurt, and that's the end of that story.

I didn't get hurt, but I did fall off a 5.10 move on Dream of Wild Turkeys when a cam caught on my pants cuff during a very delicate high step. The guidebook, the cam manufacturer, and the pant fabricator all bear responsibility for this potential disaster. EMS, who sold me the pants without providing any assumption of risk warning for high steps, has the deep pockets here, so I guess I'll sue them for mental distress and loss of face. I can always go after Black Diamond for making such catchy cams and Handren for not warning about the high-step cam-snagging move later. Wish me luck, I gotta pay for my daughter's senior year.

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#39487 - 09/04/08 03:48 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: rg@ofmc]
Coppertone Online   content
old hand

Registered: 08/17/00
Posts: 1055
Loc: Newtown, CT
 Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc

I didn't get hurt, but I did fall off a 5.10 move on Dream of Wild Turkeys when a cam caught on my pants cuff during a very delicate high step. The guidebook, the cam manufacturer, and the pant fabricator all bear responsibility for this potential disaster. EMS, who sold me the pants without providing any assumption of risk warning for high steps, has the deep pockets here, so I guess I'll sue them for mental distress and loss of face. I can always go after Black Diamond for making such catchy cams and Handren for not warning about the high-step cam-snagging move later. Wish me luck, I gotta pay for my daughter's senior year.


C'mon Rich that is 100% your fault I told to do Yellow Brick Road.

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#39492 - 09/04/08 04:50 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Coppertone]
dalguard Offline
veteran

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1515
Loc: CT
I think we all develop a comfort zone around the rating the climbs had when we first climbed them. We set them in stone, even though the routes quite possibly had different grades prior to our climbing them and may go on to have different grades afterwards. For example, to me Pink Laurel is 5.9 and the first pitch of Mother's Day Party is 5.10. I'm not sure those ratings appear in any guidebook anywhere; they're simply what I was told when I first got on them and I'm deadset on them now.

I recommended Pink Laurel to someone as a good 5.9 for them to try. I think I mentioned the guidebook rated the route as 5.8 and something about a hold that had supposedly broken off. Nevertheless, they came back to me complaining about being sandbagged because it was so stiff for 5.8. Well, duh. It's not 5.8. To me, that rating is just a typo. But if Pink Laurel became 5.10 tomorrow I'd argue the upgrade just as strenuously (much as I can't bear the upgrading of Bonnie's to 5.9). Whatever I choose to believe is right. Ipso facto.

Now we all need to learn to get over ourselves and recognize that the ratings we have cemented in our brains are more fluid outside our brains.

The new guidebook is pretty. I won't buy one because I already have 3 Gunks guidebooks and don't read on the toilet, but it's cute and harmless and, did I say?, pretty.

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#39501 - 09/04/08 07:42 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: dalguard]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
 Originally Posted By: dalguard
I think we all develop a comfort zone around the rating the climbs had when we first climbed them. We set them in stone, even though the routes quite possibly had different grades prior to our climbing them and may go on to have different grades afterwards.

Sure, grades are subjective, and a 5.8 for me might be a 9 for you, but a guidebook is supposedly a consensus rating, not one author's opinion. If ratings in a new guide are being adjusted by a half-grade (ie: + or - or a single letter), that's within the subjective grey area or can account for polished holds. But when routes jump 2 or 3 grades, and mostly upwards, there is something suspect (assuming it's not because holds have broken, like Dis Mantle and Mac-Reppy going from 8 to 10b and 11a, respectively).
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#39675 - 09/12/08 02:16 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Dillbag]
empicard Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/29/01
Posts: 2954
Loc: LI, NY
On the subject of errors in guidebooks, I would like to point out that even the great and mighty Black Dick is not without faults. In the Nears/Millbrook Guidebook, on page 56, is the description of Gelsa, FA 1942 Fritz Wiessner, Beckett Howorth, and George Temple. On page 57 is a photograph of Hans Kraus on First Ascent of Gelsa.

what what what? An Error? MY GOD.

(PS - WILLIAMS GUIDEBOOKS RULE. THEY ARE THE GOLD STANDARD TO WHICH ALL OTHER GUNKS GUIDEBOOKS SHOULD BE COMPARED. DW, YOU ROCK. both figuratively, and quite obviously, literally.)
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#39689 - 09/12/08 01:55 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: empicard]
budman Offline
stranger

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 17
Loc: UT.
As I said in the beginning headed back to climb at Gunks, will be there in a week or so and was looking forward to the new guide book. As I just recieved mine last night,I was at least able to page through it and ck out some of the info. Used the one for Devils Tower. Info was accurate and good reading for my partner who had never been there before. Can't say as to the Needles guide as I didn't get there. As to the new Gunks guide, maybe it should have been called Trapped or something funny but it's all about marketing and people know The Gunks. Liked the photos, route related as well as the others. As to the gradings, some of the grades that were changed were bench marks by which I judged other climbs. But I know what they are and why. Dang the grade change on Low Exposure. According to Swain it was 11-, now it's 10+. Oh well I'm not as good of climber as I thought. At this point we now have three guides to one of the best climbing areas. The Library of Dick, Swain's pocket version to all of the Gunks and the noobies guide. Hopefully with all these pages of input the next edition will have some changes for the better. After reading alot of the comments on this thread I guess it's kinda like the bees on Layback. Step on their territory and their gonna get pissed. Remember it's only a GUIDE not a substitution for good judgement. Oh yeah, if you don't use the guide it's an adventure.
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#39706 - 09/13/08 12:38 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: budman]
Coppertone Online   content
old hand

Registered: 08/17/00
Posts: 1055
Loc: Newtown, CT
 Originally Posted By: budman
. Remember it's only a GUIDE not a substitution for good judgement. Oh yeah, if you don't use the guide it's an adventure.


Yes but this I would not call this a Guide, but rather a Midguide due to all of the poor and inaccurate information.


Edited by Coppertone (09/13/08 12:38 AM)

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#39707 - 09/13/08 12:57 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Coppertone]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
 Originally Posted By: budman
...route related as well as the others [sic]...

This is just plain false. I gave a number of examples, that are far beyond the inaccuracy of other guides. You too will discover them if you move beyond a perfunctory glance at the contents.

 Originally Posted By: budman
After reading alot of the comments on this thread I guess it's kinda like the bees on Layback. Step on their territory and their gonna get pissed.


Well, I posted a bunch of objective lists, and could continue with a bunch more, but after a while it starts to seem like piling on. If you want to put such observations into the category of inevitable natural events, absolving the authors from any responsibility for their manifold errors, inaccuracies, and inconsistencies by suggesting the "yellow jackets" were bound to attack anyway, then of course that is your right and privilege.

Do go enjoy Maria with the new "mud slope" finish though, and get back to us.

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#39712 - 09/13/08 04:21 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: budman]
Coppertone Online   content
old hand

Registered: 08/17/00
Posts: 1055
Loc: Newtown, CT
 Originally Posted By: budman
As Step on their territory and their gonna get pissed.


Using that kind of logic you would think that any new guide book for an established area would meet tremendous criticism from the local community. That is not the case here. A terrible piece of work is being judged as just that a terrible piece of work. When the new Handren guide book came out for Red Rocks it received nothing but praise from the local community as well as visiting climbers. This is because it, unlike the new Gunks book, was well researched, thorough, accurate and overall extremely well done. I for one would have loved for a new guide book with a different approach to have been great, but unfortunately that is not what we received.

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#39750 - 09/15/08 05:24 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Coppertone]
budman Offline
stranger

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 17
Loc: UT.
Coppertone and rg

Sorry I was totally unaware that the approach and route photos would not get you to the base of the cliff as well as the rap descriptions would lead you on so perilous journey never to return. Different people, different appeals. I definitely buy Playboy for the photos, no doubt about. Same for climbing. Never was the intellectual type, not such a good memory for the word. But visual and tactile bring out the best in some people and lead them down a different path. Still wander the desert looking for that line that appeals to me and not the average climber. Also take beta from friends who have done routes with little more than an approximate fix, key piece of beta or gear and "you should be able to do it". I just don't expect alot except to have fun. The rest I leave up to the busy bees. Some people will like this guide even with it's short commings. So far I'm drawn to investigate it's worth. Like I said if the authors are listening they will probably have pencile in hand. As to Marie, been alot of years and hadn't thought of doing it but I'll put it on my list of things to do. Hope to see you all out there having fun.
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#39775 - 09/16/08 02:39 AM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: budman]
acdnyc Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 11/10/04
Posts: 208
Loc: NYC/Kerhonkson
Is this the guide with all the pictures? Man, it's almost like someones myspace page. All the pics...I won't by one but all the kids passing through town. Feel sorry for Dick. He's gonna loose a lot of money to the funny pages of Gunks guides.
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#39792 - 09/16/08 02:16 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: acdnyc]
JenRed Offline
newbie

Registered: 01/29/07
Posts: 47
You don't honestly believe Dick will loose money over this new book... or do you? I'm barely a climber and even I know the difference between a "good guide book" and a "GREAT GUIDE BOOK"... I just thought I'd add my 2 cents!!!

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#39794 - 09/16/08 02:57 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: JenRed]
Smike Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
I have to say I think Williams guide books are some the best researched and thoroughly accurate and descriptive guides in the business. Williams guides are the workhorse of guides with very little if any fluff.

Before I ever see foot on the gunk’s I purchased a guide buy Williams. I didn’t exactly get much of a feel for what this place would look like, and be like. It’s certainly not the first thing I grab to show someone who has never been to the gunk’s what this place is like. I think Williams intent was produce the most comprehensive guide of route information in small compact version and with little visual media. And has done that in spades.

With that said, I feel there is absolutely room for another guide to do what the new gunk’s guide try to do (and in my opinion failed)

Two Examples of this are:

Winter Dance
http://www.firstascentpress.com/winter-dance.html

and
Indian Creek - A Climbing Guide
by David Bloom

http://books.wildernet.com/sho132.html


They are as much as a guide as they are a incredibly beautiful photo books. As an ice climber if you don’t get 100% psyched to buy a plane ticket and head over Montana after sitting on the can reading Winter Dance you need to turn in your axes. They inspire through an impressive array of color photos and topos.

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#39795 - 09/16/08 03:38 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Smike]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2675
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
I believe the sheer volume of routes is the limiting factor for what Dick has put together. There is definite room for other guides as an addendum of route and cliff photos or for a certain grade range of climbing. Areas like Red Rocks and J-Tree have many more routes and consequently you see how hard it can be to follow or even carry a comprehensive guide, as so much less detail is possible.
I love the "Trad guide to Joshua Tree" because it gives me great, color photos in an area where I find it sometimes difficult to find my route. The cost for such a small book is proportionately bigger but easily justified by the imparted guidance. I agree that something along these lines would fit well at the gunks and suspect that the new authors could do well to just clean up the first version and get it right.

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#39839 - 09/17/08 02:01 PM Re: new guidebook in August? [Re: Smike]
budman Offline
stranger

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 17
Loc: UT.
Being from Moab your example of Bloom's guide hit a nerve. You express much of how I feel about the new Gunks Guide. Lacking as it may be, it was a new approach to a well documented area. Bloom's guide, even though it has what I seek in a guide stepped over some boundries for me. Many of the areas listed that were not in the old guides was like documenting Lost City. If you wanted to experience these areas you went out and explored or talked to friends or climbers who had been there before. That is now lost. Also the grade changes and poor gear beta are an issue. Have to admit though the approach the guide took using Great Photos is what I want to see and to me is special as I see many of the characters that have influenced my climbing and the positive ethics of the climbing in The Creek. Hopefully it will also have a good effect on the new climbers coming here for the first time.
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