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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. ItÂ’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!)
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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 Online   content
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.
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- 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
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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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