|By John Jackson |
Dec 12, 2013
Thought I should add to this dialogue (Since I wrote the new North Tahoe guide and it seems there might be some confusion on why some things were done how they were) Writing a guidebook that documents over 1200 routes, by necessity, requires making some difficult decisions about how much to include and what to condense.
Several years before the N. Tahoe guide was published (when it was still only about 80% finished) the book was up to over 800 pages in length, and still growing. At that time in its layout development most of the routes had lengthy descriptions, similar to Supertopo books, etc. As well, most of the route descriptions were on the page next to the photo/topos, or on the next page, . After much feedback, as well as getting the printing costs of a full color book, it became untenable to consider publishing an 800+ page guidebook, both from the practicality of hauling such a large tome to the crags as well as from a financial/marketing decision.
After much soul searching I decided that I was unwilling to take out any of the crags/routes (except for the uncompleted section on Bowman/The Emeralds, which was seeing a boom in new development anyway, and a minor crag in the Carson area) The “Locals Guide” series would be about documenting EVERY known route in a region as part of the historical record, and to prevent needless retro bolting on obscure routes.
In order to trim the guide down, from an unwieldly 800+ pages, to a workable 497 pages it was decided to:
1) Remove all of the redundant, and probably unnecessary, long winded descriptions of many, but not all, of the routes and replace that with a very brief description of the predominate type/types of climbing to be found on the route. ie finger crack, hand crack, low angle slab, overhanging face etc. , along with rating, height, and whether it was completely bolt protected or not (Bolt counts for routes with more than 10 bolts)
Most of the routes in the North Tahoe region, unfortunately, are predominately less than a full pitch and it was decided that about 90% of the long winded descriptions could be gleaned from standing at the bottom of the route, while looking at the full page, color route overlays of where the route goes anyway. However, many of the longer descriptions for multi pitch routes were retained, as well as comments about unusual information on the shorter routes that might not be obvious from below. (A bit different from many “newer” guides that have long, redundant descriptions, of very obvious route information, for every route) Again, this was done out of necessity to reduce the page count.
2) Decreased the font size on the entire book.
3) For each cliff/crag: Grouped and relocated the route descriptions together onto the same page/pages and put them just prior to the photo-topos pages for that cliff, instead of having them next to each photo. This allowed the opportunity to retain FULL page, color photos and again reduce the page count. (Originally there were some route description pages with only a couple of routes listed on a whole page, due to some of the photos only having a couple of routes) This is the one compromise that I TRULY REGRET, as there has been much feedback about not liking to "flip back" several pages to match the photos with the route numbers on some of the larger crags.
4) Removed rack recommendations listed for every route description (Gear recommendations were only listed by size typically) Instead, the makeup of a “standard Tahoe rack” was listed in the “How to use this guidebook” with only the additional pro (Above and beyond the recommended ‘standard” rack) listed for many of the routes. As was stated in the “How to use this guidebook” section: USUALLY, most often, the routes without supplemental gear recommendations could be climbed with a “standard” rack, but “Always assess your own gear requirements before leading a route!”
5) Removed the alphabetical order route index, but retained the index that listed every route by rating, as well as the recommended route index.
These revisions reduced the guide size down to a manageable 497 pages, instead of a behemoth 800+ page tome……
As a side note:
The all new layout template for the newly printed “Locals Guide to Northeast California” features a layout with most/all route descriptions and photo-topos located on the same page. Also, most/all routes have gear size recommendations listed with each, FULL route description and all bolt locations noted. With a route count of ONLY around 700+ routes we were able to accomadate this layout AND keep the page count under 500 pages again. We are quite happy with this new book layout!
Regarding the binding on the N. Tahoe guide:
I’ve only been made aware of two bindings (in two years of sales) that have been defective. One was due to being left in a car in direct sunlight, on a HOT Sacramento day when it melted the binding glue that attached the cover to the, fully sewn together, binded pages. Guessing that the other bad binding I saw was due to this cause as well. (Both copies were promptly replaced btw).
Countless climbers have used this guide without any binding issues, but I will ask around to see if anyone else has seen this as a problem. If anyone has a book with a defective binding, they can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. In any case, Camp 4 Press is having a different plant print and bind their upcoming guide books (From being printed in Hong Kong/China to being printed in Korea for faster turnaround times) The new, super durable covers look great, btw.
As for the printing quality I will have to disagree with an above comment. The printing quality is of the BEST possible. I believe the comment was in reference to the two areas (Big Chief and Upper River Rock) which had a route numbering issue that was corrected BY HAND, and BEFORE a single copy was shipped out where some of the hand renumbering had the ink slightly smear. This again was NOT the printing, but an author obsessed with making sure all the info was accurate to the point of hiring someone to hand edit the numbering on EVERY copy on those two areas before they were distributed. (Seen many guidebooks with numerous mistakes, but never seen an author obsessed enough to hand correct them, even when they knew copies were still being shipped with mistakes)
Each “Locals Guide” by Camp 4 Press will certainly always be improved from the one before…and I appreciate any and all feedback.
Also.. I’ve been collecting input and new/obscure route info for a, distant, future 2nd edition. But I’m wrapped up assisting/publishing in several other guidebook projects the next couple of years before that will be looked at again.
Happy climbing all!