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  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Exit 9, Vermont
    Posts
    502

    New rock climbing guidebook to Northern Vermont

    I'll post this in another forum or two as well. I just picked up a copy of "Tough Schist, rock Climbing in Northern Vermont" hot off the presses, and thought some folks here might be interested in it. Most people have seen the occasional photo in a magazine or mention by a local of climbing in Vermont, but few people have climbed in the area outside of ice season. Apart from some misinformation in a "best of" guide or two, 2 bouldering guidebooks and a few paper copies of someones route notes circulated amongst locals with promises of secrecy and consequences, there hasn't been a published rock climbing guidebook for Vermont, ever. This guide is written by Travis Peckham, who has been actively establishing and repeating all sorts of routes in the region and around the world for 20+ years--I don't think there is anyone with the insiders knowledge of the area that Travis has, so there is some interesting insight and history that I was especially interested in reading. The book covers 21 different climbing areas around Bolton, Smugglers Notch region, Marshfield and Groton State Park, Middlebury area, Wheeler Mountain and Mt Hor, Killington and some other Rutland-region spots. There are schist, granite, quartzite and limestone areas covered including the most traditional of the trad and the most modern sport climbs, and everything in between. It's 300-odd pages long including a route index, with chapters divided by region within the state, making it pretty easy to plan a climbing day or weekend. Cliff descriptions include both photographs with key routes shown, as well as good cliff topos, pitch by pitch route descriptions and a sprinkling of excellent full-color photographs, including a few historic photos and a good many first-ascent photos of surprisingly good quality--no grainy butt-shots here. Areas with insecure access have sometimes been mentioned in passing but are not included in the guide--as the former longtime president of CRAG-VT Travis would know as well as anyone. There are a few other areas not mentioned as well.
    Personally, my own philosophy has evolved from going out of my way to let people know about routes, to being more and more secretive as climbing has gained in popularity, so I always tend to greet a new climbing guidebook with trepidation, if not outright fear. Climbing here has always meant some exploring and some thrashing around to find the cliff and rarely includes running into anyone else, and as far as I'm concerned if you missed that part you haven't really gotten your money's worth. Any guidebook will draw new and more people to an area and the character will inevitably change as word gets out, trails are beaten down and routes are cleaned by traffic. However, I think this guide does a very good job of balancing that line between providing enough information to get to an area and find the route you want to do, and giving you so much info that the essential adventure and spirit of the area is diminished. In this case, there are no GPS coordinates given, directions to some of the cliffs are going to be hard to follow and route and gear beta is enough but not too much. I'm sure some will curse the directions to a few of the cliffs, but I find it somewhat refreshing in this time of iphone-powered navigation. Hopefully the breadth of the guide and the spirit of the area will encourage people to spread out, avoiding the parking and cliff congestion of other areas in the region. Kudos to Travis, I'd say it's a fine guidebook worthy of any climbers collection. If you are a Northeast climber I'd encourage you to pick up a copy through one of the local retailers and check it out. I'm pretty sure that the Outdoor Gear Exchange in Burlington, The Mountaineer in Keene Valley, Rock and Snow in New Paltz and IME in North Conway will all have copies within a few days, if they don't already, or you can purchase direct (and get a preview and a few photos) at http://www.vermontrock.com/

  2. #2
    Member spydermonkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Albany, NY
    Posts
    114
    Paragraphs, son!! I saw a little blurb online about the guidebook. I climb in NY usually and some ice in NH and beyond but that guidebook looked pretty awesome!

    Particularly, I want to know where the cover-shot was taken? What climb on what cliff? Looks big for VT, but it could be an angle-thing.

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    near Smuggs
    Posts
    765
    That route is ganesh which takes the right hand arÍte on the elephants head in smuggs. Definitely one of the most wildly exposed places in the northeast...

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