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Climbing California's High Sierra: The Classic Climbs on Rock and Ice (Climbing Mountains Series) Paperback – December 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Series: Climbing Mountains Series
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Globe Pequot Press; 2nd edition (December 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762710853
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762710850
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #869,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Named the Range of Light by John Muir and rising 10,000 feet on its eastern side, California's High Sierra has attracted climbers for more than a century. These mountains are home to clean granite, easy approaches, and classic routes to the summits of the highest peaks in the continental United States.Climbing California's High Sierra provides the information needed to scale more than 100 of California's most challenging peaks. The climbs range from scrambles up Mount Stanford, to snow and rock routes on Red Slate Mountain, to technical routes on Mount Whitney. Look inside for detailed descriptions of routes, alternative routes, and descents. You'll also find: a brief history of climbing in the Sierra; descriptions of first ascents; maps, photos, drawings, and photo overlays of routes.Use this guide to discover the rewards and challenges of climbing California's High Sierra. (6 x 9, 448 pages, b&w photos, maps)

About the Author

John Moynier is a veteran climber and author of Avalanche Aware, The Basic Essentials of Climbing, and two guidebooks. Claude Fiddler is a well-respected Sierra rock climber.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By C. Harris on January 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is the 2nd edition of Moynier's and Fiddler's High Sierra "best of" guide. John Moynier and Claude Fiddler are very experienced Sierra climbers/guides with hundreds of routes and dozens of firsts to their respective credits. The authors have painstakenly selected over 100 outstanding routes ranging from moderate class 3 peak bagging exercises to Grade V walls and Grade VI linkup routes. The represented climbs are among the most popular and most sought after climbs in the range. Climbers of all skills and goals will benefit from this guide. They provide topos, verbal approach, climbing and descent descriptions and a rich historical perspective on climbing in the Range of Light.
Improvements in this guide include more detailed topos, a larger selection of alternate routes, more historical anecdotes, and a refined selection of climbs.
While this book is an excellent stand alone guide, many climbers would benefit from RJ Secor's Peaks, Passes and Trails as a companion guide.
I rate this book 5 of 5. Most climbing guidebooks are dry material... just the facts Ma'am. But this one colors all of the technical data with stories of old heros and epic struggles. Buy it so these guys will be tempted to write more!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Becker on November 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is THE book to get ideas on what to climb. It's aimed at serious (but not elite) rock climbers and mountaineers. There are plenty of 5.9, 5.10 routes, but also many 3rd class routes, so even non technical climbers can get some use from the book. It has a few ice routes (in the Palisades and Evolutions), but focuses on rock. Most rock routes in the book are hard by my standards (and use sandbagged trad grades), but most are 5.10 and under.

The book does not waste a lot of paper on the route descriptions, which some people may not like. It's the "anti-SuperTopo". Here's a sample route description of the class 3 East Arete on Mt. Carl Heller:

"Route: From the end of George Creek Road, follow the rough route up the George Creek drainage to the lake below the east ridge of Mt. Carl Heller. From here, the route follows the obvious crest of the knife-edged ridge over steps (Class 3) to the summit.

"Descent: Descend the south ridge (Class 3-4) until you can follow easier terrain down the west face. Cross back over Vacation Pass to reach the lake."

(The approach to George Creek was described at the beginning of the section).

So, short and to-the-point. It's not always a bad thing, but just don't expect a flowery route description. Given the terse style, the lengthy history sections are a bit out of place, but usually interesting.

I would agree with Bob Rockwell's review, but it might be worth mentioning that Bob Rockwell is quoted in the book, so presumably he knows at least one of the authors.

So, if you want ideas of what to climb, use this book. If you want route descriptions, look for them elsewhere.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 27, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is more a collection of climbing history and anectodes than a profound guide book. In particular for easier climbs (less than 5.9) the technical route description is usually less than 2 sentences. Consistent information on wall height, number of pitches, typical climbing times, rock quality and necessary gear are missing completely. Only for some routes (mostly rated 5.10a or higher or very popular ascents in the Mt. Whitney range) handdrawn topos are provided that let you guess some of the details in advance. The only valuable information available for EVERY route is a photo of the mountain with the line of ascent.
In case of a third edition the authors should familiarize with international standards. A more formal approach will prevent neglecting the large number of climbs that they have NOT done by themselves.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bob R on December 13, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is actually the second edition to "Sierra Classics: 100 Best Climbs in the High Sierra," although it has a new name. I gave the first one 5 stars and I feel just as strongly about this one. There has been some minor tweaking of the route selections, but the total number described is about the same.

There is more narrative in this edition, and it is smoother reading. Way more than just a guide book, the many historical notes make the book very entertaining reading. I think that many people, picking it up to find out about a particular peak or route, will extend their visit and end up reading it cover to cover.

There are more topos than before, and rock climbers will appreciate that. Personally, I prefer the thrill of discovery in the Sierra, and would rather work out the details on my own.

As with the first edition, I am familiar with a number of the routes described in the book, and the authors have done a fine job of selection. While most of them are 5th class, class 3 and 4 climbs are also represented. So there is something for everyone.
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