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Yosemite Sport Climbs and Top Ropes Review
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By John McNamee
Administrator
From Littleton, CO
Jul 20, 2010
Artist Tears P3

Yosemite Sport Climbs and Top Ropes


By Chris Van Leuven and Chris McNamara (Publisher: Supertopo)


Price: $19.95. Hardcopy and PDF



My first visit to Yosemite took place back in the early 80s. I went there to climb walls, to pound pins, to hook across blank oceans of rock, and to go places I had only visited through the words and images captured in The Vertical World of Yosemite, Yosemite Climber and Mountain Magazine.†Sure, I did a bunch of free climbing as well, but that wasnít the main attraction for me.

Times change and several years ago bouldering guides started to appear and now we have a sport-climbing and top-rope guide! When I first heard about this guide I thought "You've gotta be kidding me. A sport-climbing and top-rope guide for the valley? No way! Who would buy that?"

However, when Chris McNamara emailed to ask me to take a look at it and post a review on Mountain Project, I asked myself "why not?" I would be a reasonably unbiased reviewer because I never go to Yosemite for sport-climbing or top-roping!

Each Supertopo guidebook is based on a tried-and-true formula: great attention to detail, enough history to bring the book to life, eye-popping pictures and plenty of information for first-time visitors. Over the years, Supertopo has redefined the notion of a topo.

Yosemite Sport Climbs and Top Ropes continues that tradition, with over 200 of the best top ropes and sport climbs that range from 30 feet to multi-pitch sport climbs. To be clear, when I talk about sport climbs I donít mean the modern-day clip-ups that you might find at Clear Creek or Shelf Road in Colorado. Sport climbing in Yosemite in many cases still means taking along a small rack of wires and cams for intermediate protection. Otherwise you may find yourself a long ways above protection.

The introduction provides ample information for first time climbers, as well as nuggets of information for seasoned veterans, on a range of topics including travel, weather, camping, internet, food, park rules and of course, living with bears.

Pete Takeda wrote the history section, which shares his experience from his long tenure in Yosemite and in particular, information about Chapel Wall. Al Swanson provides insight into the sport climbing that took place during the early 90s at the base of the North Face of the Lower Cathedral, a.k.a. The Mecca.

There are 25 areas covered in the guide and many of them are well-known such as Sunnyside Bench, Church Bowl, Chapel Wall, and New Diversions Cliff, etc. Others, like The Cookie Sheet, make a nice addition with more than a dozen moderate slab routes.†A†comprehensive appendix that includes lists of routes by ratings and by name makes it a snap to find routes you'll like.



The publishing quality of the guide is on par with other Supertopo guide books and that of other publishers such as the SharpEnd books. Attention to detail is very high.† If I was nitpicking, the cover photo seems like a strange choice because it doesnít really smack you between the eyes to make you want to pick up and buy the book. (Check out the Supertopo Zion Climbing: Free and Clean if you want to see what I mean). Advertisements seem to be on the increase these days and although I donít like them and think they distract a little bit from the guide, I accept that they are a necessary evil to keep prices down. Fortunately, they are placed at the start of the guide so they donít interfere with route information.

Although itís not a ďcoffee tableĒ book per se, thatís where it is in my home right now, together with the latest issue of Velonews, Climbing Magazine and Alpinist. My wife, who is a keen rock climber when the weather is nice and the rock is warm, but who isn't a fan of haul bags and racks that weigh 30 pounds, took one look at the book over breakfast last week and said ďI thought there was no easy sport climbing in Yosemite. When are we going?Ē †

The next time I get a chance to visit Yosemite Iíll be taking this book with me. It fulfills a niche by providing a great selection of climbs with widely varying aspects and elevation, from one to many pitches, that don't require a climber to to be bogged down with gear.†

Although Yosemite is world-famous for its walls, I was pleasantly surprised by by the selection of routes in the guide. Iím looking forward to not driving with my blinkers on next time and making the best use of my precious time.

Yosemite Sport Climbs and Top Ropes can be purchased directly from†Supertopo

Disclaimer
Supertopo provided me a copy of this guidebook for reviewing purposes.


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By saxfiend
Administrator
From Decatur, GA
Jul 20, 2010
Relaxing at the P1 belay of Fruit Loops at Rumblin...
Nice review, John. I have to admit though, seeing a guidebook about sport climbs and topropes at Yosemite makes me think of the old joke about bouldering at the Gunks, heh heh!

JL

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By Joe Simonsen
Jul 21, 2010
Banshee RRG 5.11c
There is a joke about bouldering in the Gunks? I need to hear this now. I always joked about the bouldering there instinctively. I did not know there was a standard here.

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By Malcolm Daly
From Boulder, CO
Jul 21, 2010
So are the bolt routes on the Royal Arches Slabs (Shakey Flakes, Greasy But Groovy etc.) and the Middle Cathedral Apron (Black Primo, Freewheeling) now called sport routes? What about the routes on Glacier Point Apron? Are those called sport routes too? Back in the day, I took a 120 footer on one of those sport routes. And I didn't skip any clips.

That's going to bite some people in the ass for sure.

Climb safe,
Mal

BTW: Can't wait to buy one of the books.

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By saxfiend
Administrator
From Decatur, GA
Jul 21, 2010
Relaxing at the P1 belay of Fruit Loops at Rumblin...
Joe Simonsen wrote:
There is a joke about bouldering in the Gunks? I need to hear this now. I always joked about the bouldering there instinctively. I did not know there was a standard here.

Bouldering at the Gunks is like masturbating in a brothel. :-)

JL

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By caughtinside
From Oakland CA
Jul 22, 2010
so... this review is based on looking at the book and not actually using it to find climbs?

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By Brian Snider
From NorCal
Jul 23, 2010
Me
So I got the book and it has a lot of good bata in it but they should have named it routes you can top rope after leading other routes. Or sport climbs for bad asses with huge balls or maybe mixed sport/ trad that can then be top roped. On the plus side it has lots of detailed Info and nice pics. The PDF is nice and you can send it to all your friends I believe it comes with updates to. Good buy and now I no right where to go next time I'm there.

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By J. Albers
From Colorado
Jul 23, 2010
Bucky
Brian Snider wrote:
The PDF is nice and you can send it to all your friends I believe it comes with updates to.


Yeah, I mean, why would anyone buy the book when they can just steal it. No worries, I'm sure that the authors won't mind....its not like it took a lot of effort to put the book together.

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By Rob Dillon
Jul 25, 2010
Lemme get this straight...reviewer never got closer than Colorado to the area in question?

In sum:

Nice production values, history, seems like a slick deal. Can't say much about the actual beta.


Shit, send me a copy and I'll tell ya all about it.

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By Squish
From Lakewood
Jul 28, 2010
Me
J. Albers wrote:
Yeah, I mean, why would anyone buy the book when they can just steal it. No worries, I'm sure that the authors won't mind....its not like it took a lot of effort to put the book together.


Exactly, I mean I know Chris Van Leuven personally and I'm sure all the time he spent at Yos researching for the book doesn't really mean anything to him...

Brian's comment really urkes me...

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By Brian Snider
From NorCal
Jul 28, 2010
Me
I'm not saying that I have or won't send it to my friends but it is my PDF I bought it and never signed any thing saying I wouldn't share it. Seems if the author was that concerned they wouldn't have sent me a downloadable version. Does this mean I can't share the hard copy either. Besides in this day and age every one should know if you put something on the interwebs it's almost guaranteed to copied and shared. Now if I was selling it that would be wrong and I would be breaking the law. If the author would like me to send him the PDF back please have him contact me. I would also thank him for having the sweetest job ever and he could thank me for spreading the word.

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By Ian Stewart
Jul 28, 2010
Brian Snider wrote:
I'm not saying that I have or won't send it to my friends but it is my PDF I bought it and never signed any thing saying I wouldn't share it.


That is one of the dumbest posts I've ever seen. First of all, you don't have to 'sign anything'...it's THE LAW. I never signed anything that said I won't stab somebody, but you'd best know I'm going to jail if I stab somebody.

Brian Snider wrote:
Seems if the author was that concerned they wouldn't have sent me a downloadable version. Does this mean I can't share the hard copy either. Besides in this day and age every one should know if you put something on the interwebs it's almost guaranteed to copied and shared.


Right...and "she was just asking to get raped by wearing that outfit", right? Just because breaking the law is easy doesn't mean it gives you the right to do it.

Brian Snider wrote:
Now if I was selling it that would be wrong and I would be breaking the law.


Distributing copies of copyrighted digital data, regardless of whether or not you make a profit, is still illegal. Look up the DMCA.

Brian Snider wrote:
If the author would like me to send him the PDF back please have him contact me.


It's a digital file...you don't need to "send it back"...someday maybe you'll understand...but probably not.

Brian Snider wrote:
I would also thank him for having the sweetest job ever and he could thank me for spreading the word.


I wouldn't consider emailing his book to all your friends "spreading the word". Every copy you make means one less book he sells, which means less money in his pocket. Even if it was the "sweetest job ever", it doesn't mean you steal from him.

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By Brian Snider
From NorCal
Jul 28, 2010
Me
Ok sorry you must be a lawyer I will no longer rape murder or share files.

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By Sirius
From Oakland, CA
Aug 3, 2010
Moving through the crux lock - now that's micro be...
Oh man, Ian, are you this ridiculous in person or just on the internet?

Stabbing, raping, forwarding a PDF - one of these doesn't belong with the others.

And you opened your post by attacking the intelligence of some other guy?

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By Ian Stewart
Aug 3, 2010
You guys both missed the point. Of course piracy isn't as serious as rape or assault, but the fact is that they are all illegal. You don't have to be lawyer to know that, and I'm not. Whether or not you want to steal the book is up to you, but in an often community driven sport like this, I would have hoped there'd be a bit more class. You wouldn't steal someone's gear, so why would you steal their book?

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By Brian Snider
From NorCal
Apr 4, 2011
Me
I have not climbed any sport routes in Yosemite. I would suggest buying the Super Topo Yosemite free climbs, it has all the same info plus more.. Besides who wants to sport climb in Yosemite.

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By J. Albers
From Colorado
Apr 5, 2011
Bucky
Brian Snider wrote:
I would suggest buying the Super Topo Yosemite free climbs, it has all the same info plus more..


Completely false.


Brian Snider wrote:
Besides who wants to sport climb in Yosemite.


The book covers more than just "sport" routes. For instance, it covers the Cookie Sheet and Parkline Slab which, while having bolts, are most definitely not sport climbing venues.

Overall, the book is pretty poorly done. Some of the info is wrong and the organization of some sections/routes is poorly thought out. That said, the book contains the most up to date information that is currently available (aside from what is on MP). Moreover, the book will indeed get you to the crag and give you some basic information; just don't expect it to be on par with one of the Maximus Press books or a guide like Jerry Handren's RR book.

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By J. Albers
From Colorado
Apr 5, 2011
Bucky
Robert Hulsy wrote:
Has anyone climbed said sport routes? Not to distract from the intellectual property debate...


What exactly do you want to know?

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By CJP
Mar 16, 2012
Why are so many rock climbers cheap as#es? Not all, but sooo many! They will spend endless cash on cigarettes, pot, and booze, but not on a book to support their fellow climber. I don't get it.

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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Mar 17, 2012
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.
CJP wrote:
Why are so many rock climbers cheap as#es? Not all, but sooo many! They will spend endless cash on cigarettes, pot, and booze, but not on a book to support their fellow climber. I don't get it.


Good question. First, because they are short-sighted, and care only about instant gratification. They fail to realize that stealing from "fellow climbers" results in less incentive to produce quality products and/or services for climbers in the future.

Second, they view anyone that tries to sell a product or a service as "The Man", who they believe should be fucked over at all times for any reason, regardless of the first point.

How many climbers out there have snuck into a climbing gym? Victimless crime right? Followed up by thread after thread of "Why are there no climbing gyms in _______?"

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By Ryan Hill
From Oakland, CA
Mar 17, 2012
Monomaniac wrote:
Good question. First, because they are short-sighted, and care only about instant gratification. They fail to realize that stealing from "fellow climbers" results in less incentive to produce quality products and/or services for climbers in the future. Second, they view anyone that tries to sell a product or a service as "The Man", who they believe should be fucked over at all times for any reason, regardless of the first point. How many climbers out there have snuck into a climbing gym? Victimless crime right? Followed up by thread after thread of "Why are there no climbing gyms in _______?"


How is sharing a PDF that the author provided with the book any different than sharing the book that you bought? I lend books all the time (climbing guide books and others), no one seems to think me an asshole for doing such. Can someone please explain the difference?

Chances are if you like the PDF and use it enough then you will go ahead and purchase the book rather than printing out a few pages every time you go out climbing. Besides, showing up at a cliff with printed out pages of a guide-book will probably get you outed as a cheap-skate who is out trying to fuck over your fellow climbers.

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By rhyang
From San Jose, CA
Mar 17, 2012
21-August-2012: Me just before heading up the Twil...
Have climbed at the Cookie Sheet. When I went there I used the free topo from this thread -

supertopo.com/climbing/thread....

The book does add value in that it tells you two ropes are typically needed to descend (if you hadn't gathered that from reading the linked thread[s]). Picked up the book when Chris Mac was having a scratch & dent sale .. the local bay area REI's probably carry it and I'd also perused it while having lunch at the Priest Station Cafe (they have a nice selection of other climbing books).

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By Matt N
From Santa Barbara, CA
Mar 17, 2012
OTL
Ryan Hill wrote:
Can someone please explain the difference?


[go back a few years] Its like lending someone a CD/tape to borrow vs copying it for them.

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