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The Fine Art of Guidebook Interpretation

Submitted by lhwang on 2006-05-09 | Last Modified on 2010-02-26

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Maybe it's happened to you before... you misinterpret the guidebook entry, and you might as well have been relying on tea leaf readings or patterns in pig entrails for your beta. I believe catastrophes of this nature could be avoided if we were to implement a simple grading system for the interpretation of guidebook entries. Based on the YDS, such a system would provide valuable insight into the level of difficulty associated with using a particular guidebook entry to find a specific route. Included below are several representative photographic examples of a proposed grading system.

A great warm-up grade-5.8 guidebook consultation.
Yellow Wall at Barrier Mountain, Alberta.

A relatively straightforward grade-5.9 guidebook examination, executed during a short approach. Sean Dougherty's "Selected Alpine Climbs in the Canadian Rockies," also known as "The Book of Lies," kicks the grade up a notch.
On the way to Eisenhower Tower, Castle Mountain, Alberta.

An ultra-classic grade 5.10 here, with wild exposure and delicate moves on questionable rock.
Grassi Ridge, Wiwaxy, Alberta.

This heady testpiece 5.11 features a short but pumpy crux. The key is to ignore your partner
as she takes cheesy self-portraits.
Smith Rock, Oregon.

A technically demanding and committing grade 5.12 guidebook perusal, requiring superior route-finding skills in order to walk and read at the same time. Not for the faint of heart.
On the way to Sentinel Bluffs in the Ghost, Alberta.

Want to spray about your hardest guidebook onsights? PM me and I will amend the grading system as necessary.


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