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Canyoneering: The San Rafael Swell Paperback – October 1, 2000
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Steve Allen's commitment to exploring every nook and cranny in southern Utah's vast network of maze-like canyons has granted him legendary status. His guide to the San Rafael Swell is the first volume in a three-part series that will captivate both novice hikers and elite rock climbers alike. Unlike many guides, Allen takes time to discuss the Swell's rich history, which undoubtedly lends itself to the reader's greater appreciation for the land. But this guide is not a misty-eyed overview. Allen knows that canyoneering leads hikers into confusing territory, so his landmark descriptions are presented in meticulous detail. He covers 63 separate adventures and manages to cover them with a skillful writer's grace and a mad scientist's penchant for detail. --Ben Tiffany
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Top Customer Reviews
By comparison, my feeling is that Kelsey is a mad man. We refer to his book when planning and delight in the harrowing accounts of rapping into 'keepers.' I was more agro when I was younger and might have tried some of that "back in the day," but Allen is our go-to guy in the field.
Author Allen has turned out a masterpiece. The book extensively covers all the things previously discussed, and a lot more, too. Especially interesting is the history of the region. The maps and hikes/tours are clearly described, although I would have preferred measuring in terms of distance rather than time. Quite obvious is Allen's enthusiasm for the place, an enthusiasm brought out in the text. The pictures are good, but I would have preferred some of them in color, given the fantastic breadth of colorful formations in this region.
I used the book last May in a brief Jeep tour of the Swell, and found it to be very accurate. I recommend the book highly to anyone who wants to see/explore this magnificent region.
Route descriptions for this part of the world should be in units of time rather than units of length. Not all 5 mile roads in the San Rafael are created equal.
We've hiked 5 or 6 routes in Steve's book. With proper pre-trip planning, we've always been safe and never seriously lost (we've just experienced temporary navigational inconveniences, so far!)
Opposite of Kelsey, difficulties seem to be over exagerated, rather than underexagerated. It would be nic if all authors used the same terminology for diffiuclt and easy, but this will likely never happen.
Steve seems to skip over some fantastic stuff, in favor of some more mundane stuff on some hikes, but all you have to do is do some side trips. To get the most out of this (or any) book, leave the paint by numbers route description on occasion and do some exploring on you own.
I would still highly recommend the book. It's a great source of info.