Yup, that time of year again … here are a few of my favorite picks for under the tree!
Ahhhhh the holidays. Chocolate beckons around every corner like the sirens to Ulysses (how his naked ears were tortured!) … mistletoe provides unwanted amorous opportunities … the sun sets too early and rises too late … and all that pressure to gift … (can you tell I'm in the throes of holiday shopping?)
Personally, I don't put a tree in my house—the house is just wayyyyy too small! But were I to do so, I would like it to be decked with pairs of 5.10 rock shoes! At the top, shining like my own personal star of Bethlehem, would be the Velcro VCS, as that shoe has provided me light when all paths seemed dark … um, yahhhh, anyway … ;-)
Short of my shoe-draped tree fantasy, another great gift for these longggggg coldddddddd so-not-climbing-in-a-sport-top nights is a book. I thought I'd share a few of my favorites with anyone who might be looking for a gift for the climbing enthusiast.
Postcards From The Ledge: This is a great collection of tales from Greg Child. Greg has a fantastically engaging writing style. Even if you are a devout boulderer, his tales of alpine ascents will hold you rapt.
High Infatuation: Steph Davis' first, in what we hope will be a long line of great reads. Like "Postcards", this is essays and tales that give one an insight into not just the travails of the climbing life and expedition climbing, but also into the heart and soul of one of our greatest female climbers. (Look out for a reissue and updated High Infatuation AND her next book, coming soon!)
Desert Rock, First Edition: Eric Bjornstad. We used to have a joke when this was the only guide-book in circulation for this area: "Do not follow this book or you will get lost, confused, killed or worse." Yes, some of the actual climbing info in this book is a titch off, but the text is great. Written in the days when TEAMWORK meant something in climbing, Eric went to great lengths to provide as much info as possible about HOW the ascents were done, not just the rack and rating. If you love climbing and desert history (not to mention actual literacy in a guidebook), this is a must-must-must-have. Warning: It will cost you. This is long out of print and hard to find. Prepare to drop a Benjie. Or two.
Girl on the Rocks and Vertical World: Katie Brown's first two books (we hope there will be more) are both great reads. In Vertical World, we get an insight into the minds and lives of many of the climbing world's most notable athletes in the conversational profiles she presents. Girl on the Rocks has a similar vibe in its interview style, but this time we get to meet "regular Joes" or in this case, "Janes", who share with us just how important climbing is to them, recreational enthusiasts, as it is to the aforementioned pros. But we also get superb exposes on technique and training. NEWSFLASH: NOT just for the gal on your list. Anybody will enjoy this read and everybody should read it!
One Move Too Many: Everything you've ever wanted to know (or not) about how and why we lead ourselves down the road to physical destruction on the rock!
Better Bouldering, Two: John Sherman's most recent. I am an unabashed fan of "Verm's" writing--be it articles or books. And this one is great and useful to any climber, whether you boulder or not. John is passionate and thoughtful about his topic. The guest spots are nice as well! But I would be remiss not to mention Stone Crusade—it is NOT-too-be-missed. In fact, my copy seems to be missing, which is heartbreaking. It was even signed. Sigh. As an addendum, I would also say John's guide to Hueco Tanks is a great read. As is Sherman Exposed. What can I say? I said I was a fan!