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Sport Climbing: From Top Rope to Redpoint, Techniques for Climbing Success Paperback – October 30, 2009
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The chapter devoted to technique covered the basics, but also offered a few gems that I had never really thought of before, at least on a conscious level. One, "balance first, move second" talks about putting yourself in balance before reaching that next hold. Seems pretty basic, but as a tall climber, it's usually easier to focus on just reaching the next hold instead of worrying about balance.
"Aside from knowing how to safely operate the belay devices, giving a soft catch is the most important, and least understood, aspect of great belaying." Preach on brother. I remember a day at the Minimum Crag in Maple Canyon where we watched this climber repeatedly taking bone-jarring whippers on one of the classic steep routes there. His belayer kept him so tight, what should have been casual lobs into space instead were candidates for a broken ankle each time he pitched. It was almost unbearable to watch, when all the belayer had to do was jump at the right moment and give a soft catch. Everyone who ever belays anyone should read this section and put the advice into practice.
Many climbers want to be better at onsighting, but they simply try to just onsight harder routes. Bisharat states that in order to boost your onsight level, try to redpoint four routes that are four letter grades harder. So if you want to comfortably onsight 11a, redpoint four 12as.Read more ›
The first chapter of SC is great, covering the history of SC, how it differes from bouldering and traditional climbing, and even gets straight to the heart of the matter: climbing is about falling, failure and fear, no matter what level you're operating at. There are a number of nice psychological nuggets like this throughout the book, even if the author does let his yoga fetish go a bit too far, e.g. "Let any expectations float to the surface and evaporate in the sun." I don't know about you, but when I'm pumped out at a scary bolt it's all I can do to keep my expectations from squirting out my butt onto my belayer's head. The detailed strategy recommendations for onsighting and redpointing are likewise worthwhile.
The chapter on gear is decent, with helpful tips on when to retire different pieces, but gives incomplete advice like "wire gates are... less likely to come unclipped," and "don't clip your belay carabiner through the tie-in points" without explaining the why and why not (triaxial loading and gate lash respectively). On the other hand, great detail is given to SC-specific techniques like regaining your high point, stick clipping and cleaning a route. Even here, however, there is no mention of simply having the person following the route clean the draws, or walking to the top and setting an anchor, which even for SC can be useful.Read more ›
Gear heads and nigglers will undoubtedly focus on Bisharat's omission of in depth analysis. Thankfully, you will not find the words "triaxial loading" or "gate lash" in this book. Nor will you encounter tedious discussions of anchoring systems. And rightfully so. These subjects have no place in a how-to book on Sport Climbing, and including them would dilute the title and make it far less user-friendly. Such emphasis on technical jargon might impress fellow climbers, but it will not improve your climbing, which is, after all the thesis of this book.
Most helpful are Bisharat's first-hand strategies for redpointing and onsighting. Affirmations like "Let your expectations float to the surface and evaporate,"seem at first simplistic, but prove particularly useful when actually applied to the real world setting of the crag. The best climbers in the world (Lynn Hill, for example) cite these affirmations as key to their success.
If you're new to the sport, or an old horse looking for sure-fire time-tested methods to climb better, more safely and have more fun, then pick up Sport Climbing by Andrew Bisharat. It's far and away the best book yet published on the subject.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book serves as a coffee table read on sport climbing. It does not serve as a solid reference book. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Gchristo
Basic climbing knowledge. Great book for anyone who doesn't know what their doing. It provides a solid foundation of knowledge that every climber should have. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Shamir Ambrose
Bought this as a gift for a friend who is very into climbing...he wanted this book very badly because he had heard great things about it. Read morePublished on January 9, 2014 by Alyssa
Got a lot out of this book. Excellent for a beginner or novice, clear desciptions and really encouraging too. Recommend.Published on April 21, 2013 by Stephanie