Lander Rock Climbs, 2011 Edition
Steve Bechtel, Elemental Climbing
PURCHASE THIS ITEM
This 2011 edition (re-titled "Lander Rock Climbs" due to the inclusion of several trad areas) features a whopping 250+ new routes and eleven new crags, bringing the updated route total to over a thousand excellent lines. The book is the most current guide to Todd Skinner's legenday stomping grounds of Wild Iris and Sinks Canyon, but also includes numerous lesser-know areas near Lander like Baldwin Creek and Fossil Hill. The guide has something for everyone with 112 5.13s and sixteen 5.14s (up to 5.14c) to keep the hardiest of hard men busy for years, and roughly 350 routes rated 5.10 and below to keep their entourage happy as well.
The original guide was among the most visually striking and easy to use guides available in the country. The new guide is every bit as stunning and user-friendly with several key additions, including detailed area maps, inspiring climbing photography to get you psyched, and precise phto-topos of neary every inch of cliff (in particular, new topos of the Killer Cave, Moss Cave, Rodeo Wave and Rising From the Plains make it easy for the unitiated to make sense of these previously-confounding crags).
Key additions to the new book include the exceedingly popular Sandstone Butress crag (featuring nearly 100 trad routes--single & multi-pitch included) in sinks canyon, the new granite crags at the top of the canyon, THE place to find shade in Sinks Canyon, and a previously undisclosed limestone crag near Wild Iris, the secret home to Lander's best 5.12a. And of course, all the sick new 5.14's BJ Tilden has put down in the last 5 years (meaning its no longer necessary to scour his 8a.nu score card for beta!).
As for the original, this edition also includes comprehensive First Ascent information, an alphabetical route index, and a by-grade tick-list that will leave you overwhelmed and anxious to get strong! The compact format has been maintained, complete with rounded corners and sturdy construction that make it easy to shove in the top of your pack or even in the pocket of your Prana shorts. Each area overview includes detailed approach instructions, cliff orientation, and an exceedingly useful break-down of routes by grade.
The introduction covers comprehensive beta for the city of Lander, easily the most climber-friendly town in the nation. This section includes brief descriptions for each of the best restaurants in town, tells you where to find other dirtbag necessities like free camping, internet access, the latest issue of Rock & Ice, a new pair of rock shoes, even a cheap shower (hint, hint). A section on maintaining access and how you can give back to the climbing community are there for good measure as well.
As a lover of climbing history, I would love to see a chapter on Lander climbing history. However, realizing that an area as rich in legend as Lander would require a book in its own right, I can understand the desire to leave it for a separate volume. Fortunately for all of us, I hear Steve is working on one of those at this very moment. The guide is not in color, but this book is a great example of how black & white photos, when done right, can be every bit as informative as color (though not quite as fun to look at).
Overall, this is an outstanding work and a must-have for climbers of all abilities. If you've never been to Lander, now is the time to book your trip and enjoy the best limestone in America (ya, ya, Dolomite; whatever). It won't be long before Steve, Bob, Tom & BJ have added another 100 high-quality routes to the area.
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