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Sport Climbing: From Top Rope to Redpoint, Techniques for Climbing Success Paperback – October 30, 2009

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Sport Climbing: From Top Rope to Redpoint, Techniques for Climbing Success + Rock Climbing: Mastering Basic Skills (Mountaineers Outdoor Experts) + Climbing Self Rescue: Improvising Solutions for Serious Situations (Mountaineers Outdoor Expert)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Andrew Bisharat is a senior editor at Rock and Ice magazine and he couldn't be better suited to write about sport climbing. He is an accomplished, versatile climber and an equally accomplished author. Bisharat's clear descriptions along with plentiful and instructive photographs provide thorough coverage of the sport. It's all there and all nicely done: history, gear, climbing moves, falling, belaying, motivation, and more." --2010 National Outdoor Book Award, Best Instructional

About the Author

Andrew Bisharat is a senior editor of Rock and Ice magazine, and author of climbing's most popular column, "Tuesday Night Bouldering" as well as its offshoot, the weekly TNB eBlast. He is a retired dirtbag and an all-around climber with difficult ascents in bouldering, sport, trad, alpine, mixed and big-wall. However, he is most proud of jumping from climbing 5.12a to redpointing 5.14a while working a full-time 40-hour-per-week job. He lives in Carbondale, Colorado, and dreams of coming out of dirtbag retirement and once again climbing full-time.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Mountaineers Books; 1 edition (October 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594852707
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594852701
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #621,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Big H on January 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
Sport Climbing: From Top Rope to Redpoint, Techniques for Climbing Success unfolds in a logical progression, from a detailed history of sport climbing, through movement and gear, and then on to more advanced techniques. I could go on and on about the many things I liked, but instead I'll share a few of the snippets that really stood out to me.

Technique

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.

Belaying

"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.

Strategy

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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By massclimber on February 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bisharat's book is introduced by one of the best climbers in the field, and for good reason. It's a book that is valuable to both the novice and experienced climber. Bisharat makes the sport accessible to new climbers, especially in the area of gear, which can seem overwhelming to those who come in with little background knowledge. His clear explanations are well-supported by the pictures. Some of the later chapters are especially relevant to more experienced climbers, and get anyone, regardless of expertise, psyched to climb. Bisharat's book is every bit as well-written as his pieces for Rock and Ice, and it is definitely a worthwhile addition to your collection.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By GearFlogger.net on January 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
Readers of Rock and Ice magazine are familiar with Andrew Bisharat's spleen-of-consciousness writing. He takes a first try at the long form in his book Sport Climbing: From Top Rope to Redpoint, Techniques for Climbing Success. The result is a bit of a mixed bag: some good advice, somewhat disorganized, ultimately unsure of its audience and with some glaring omissions.

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.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Old Dog on January 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
Sport Climbing by Andrew Bisharat is quite simply the best modern compendium on this most popular form of rock climbing. The book is well-written, with an entertaining history section and concise advice on all relevant aspects of the discipline. If you're looking for a book that lays out techniques that will help you climb better, and more safely, then you will not find a better manual than this.

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.
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