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Rock Climbs of Tuolumne Meadows

Rock Climbs of Tuolumne Meadows. Third Edition. Don Reid and Chris Falkenstein. Chockstone Press, Evergreen, CO, 1992. 180 pages, topos and black-and-white photos. $18.00.

If Yosemite Valley is the St. Peter’s of rock climbing, Tuolumne Meadows must be the Sistine Chapel—exquisite faces and ethereal views in a spiritually uplifting atmosphere. As the faithful know (and the guidebook illustrates), not much has changed in the Meadows; a few routes have been retrobolted, but many of the old, questionable quarter-inch bolts, along with R and X ratings, remain.

In the past, falling while leading has not been an option in Tuolumne. But that is changed with this guide which has a list of recommended sport climbs, with over 100 routes in the 5.11-5.13 range. The pilgrims who do not climb at these rarified grades will vie for the 10 sport climbs rated less than 5.10b or be humbled on the knobby, runout faces that characterize the Tuolumne experience.

Predicting your chances of meeting your maker is made easier by the authors’ use of question marks that tell the reader what they do and do not know about a route. After nearly every route’s name and rating are parentheses which enclose a protection grade (PG, R, X) and a quality rating (one to three stars). When the authors have not done the climb or have received less than reliable information, they’ve informed the reader by using (?, ?). Be prepared to pray if you embark on a route followed by these symbols.

Whether you’re a slab-mongering devotee, a recent convert or waiting to take your vows, this book will show you The Way. See you in the Meadows!

Sally Moser