Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Don't Believe Everything You Read

Tip of that hat to Rob Dillon for this quote on the thankless job of writing a guidebook, snatched from a Mountain Project post: "I once met Don Reid, author of the Yosemite guide. The poor guy. Immediately upon letting on that he was in fact THAT Donny Reid, he issued what was obviously a much-practiced statement: 'Whatever happened, I'm sorry.'"

Dillon was commenting on a climb in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, a place notorious for vague and confusing route descriptions. Sometimes, the route descriptions for the Black are confusing even if all the facts are correct. I once wrote a "Classic" story describing the ├╝ber-classic Scenic Cruise route for Rock & Ice, and I worked hard to make sure my description was as clear and accurate as possible. (I've climbed the route twice, and I looked at every topo and description I could find before crafting my own.) When the article was prepared for layout, then-publisher and editor-in-chief George Bracksieck wrote a photo caption suggesting a high traverse well above the Scenic Cruise's notorious Pegmatite Traverse. "But George," I argued, "I don't even know if it will go that way! I've never heard of anyone going that way." But he insisted, and that's the way it was printed. As it turns out, there is in fact a high traverse, but it's harder than the Pegmatite Traverse and at least as scary. Whatever happened, I'm sorry.


Nicola Martinez said...

Yo Will, I'm Nick from Brazil and I'm heading to Canmore for a short trip with my girlfriend Susie
(you might know her), I've been Base jumping for 6 months and would be nice to huck something around there... Do you know any local people or base sites around... Susie talked with your wife about it... I'm going back to California on the 1st. Drop me a line...
Thank's a lot

Anonymous said...


That traverse goes, but I can't recommend it. Downclimbing no-pro 5.9+ face to the belay leaves the second (that was me) in a tough spot.

I climbed the SC day before yesterday for the second time and I think we got it right: muy tranquilo compared to the last time.