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Wasatch Rock Climbs

Wasatch Rock Climbs. Les Ellison and Brian Smoot. The American Alpine Club, New York, 1984. 302 pages, black and white photographs, sketch maps. $14.50.

This is an excellent guidebook that has been well received among Utah climbers. Visitors will find the descriptions and maps both accurate and useful. Locals will find a huge number of new route additions to explore compared with previous guides. All significant areas in the Wasatch granite are covered, including Little Cottonwood Canyon, Lone Peak and Big Willow Cirques, Bells Canyon, Ferguson Canyon, Hound’s Tooth, Pfeifferhom and Hogum Fork.

The authors, Les Ellison and Brian Smoot, who have climbed extensively throughout the Wasatch, were careful to seek a consensus on route ratings from other climbers, and they have checked out descriptions by personally climbing almost every route in this guidebook. George Lowe, an early pioneer in the Wasatch, wrote the foreword and Mike Bogart contributed a section on the geology. The authors and Dave Smith, who wrote the former guidebook, have written an interesting and readable summary on Wasatch climbing history. Clean climbing, concern for the environment, and a high standard of ethics for first ascents are appropriately emphasized.

The route photographs are numerous and well marked, adding significantly to the clarity of the guide. The climbing photographs are terrific and many are historical gems. Helpful route, cliff and grade indexes are included. As climbing activity continues to intensify on the Wasatch granite, with new routes and areas being explored, it is to be hoped that Ellison and Smoot will author future editions as needed.

David Black