Guidebook gold

The Indian Creek guide is a personal fave. I read all of the essays the night before my first day of climbing there.

Some recent climbing escapades with old or just lousy guidebooks have reminded me that a good guidebook is gold.

Earlier this summer, Sharp End Publishing sent me a copy of their latest Flatirons guide (Climbing Boulder’s Flatirons, by Jason Haas) to review.

So far, I’d say it’s killer. The Flatirons usually baffle the hell out of me, but I haven’t gotten lost yet with this book.

But, transparency: I can’t say I’ve given the book a thorough testing yet. The heat has been keeping me away from the Flatirons lately. But my experience so far has been that this book is a way more helpful navigation tool than the three other Flatirons guidebooks I’ve collected over the years. Getting there is half the fun in the Flatirons, and this book — again, so far — has good maps and directions. You might not get a photo of every climb, but the descriptions usually tell you what you need to know…unlike the copy of “Heel and Toe” I recently borrowed for my first trip to Vedauwoo.

We noticed a curious repetition in the route descriptions: many of them had what the author dubbed “a surprising finish.”

If I wanted to be surprised, would I be consulting a guidebook?!?

The guidebook also proved useless for making gear decisions on our first two climbs. Luckily, we could see from the ground it was wrong and thus ignored it and took the kitchen sink. Carrying extra gear is always good training, right? For what, I’m not sure, but anyway…

Sharp End (right here in Boulder, people) has put out some great books in the past few years, so, I’m going to editorialize: Give them your book-buying love. Even though they didn’t ask yours truly to be in the Women of Climbing calendar. OK, I know, Alex Puccio is way hotter than me and sends like nobody’s business. And I would totally fear showing my flab in the sports-bra shot. Um, and I’m not a famous climber. Or even a good climber. Whatever, they could have at least asked. It would be an honor just to be nominated, right?

Enough neurotic antics. One last thing: Boulderers, you should be psyched to hear that they’re going to have some bouldering guides out soon for nearby areas, so stay tuned.

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