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 Books/Movies

Stone Crusade,
A Historical Guide to Bouldering in America


by John Sherman

American Alpine Club, Golden, Colorado; 1994, 452 pages, softcover

“A classic that establishes the historical richness of bouldering’s neglected evolution and should make this activity mainstream. It is full of telling anecdotes and crisply written descriptions of prime boulders and leading personalities, present or past, plus excellent access data to every location coast-to-coast”
“American Alpine Journal” 1995, p.  358

“What is the great American contribution to the sport of climbing? Not big walls, not drooped picks, not even Friends, The answer is bouldering. Among the games that climbers play, bouldering is the one that came to fruition right here in the US of A, well ahead of any other country. Ask a foreign free climber to name a boulder problem, and Yosemite’s Midnight Lightning will pop up faster than a ranger can cite you for illegal camping. (…)

Sherman’s labour of love, though he’d be reluctant to publicly admit to such an emotion, spans an entire continent, 40 years of history and dozens of unforgettable characters. Unearthing the real story behind the big names and bringing to light the undeservedly forgotten ones, he flashes out the bouldering scene with a prose style that’s kept too many imitators in assignments for too long. Is this style objective, coolly sorting out the good, the bad and the ugly with a clear head and impartial attitude? Sorry folks, this is a crusade, not a government report. (…)
What’s it going to take to get you, the mildly interested but impecunious consumer of climbing literature, to shell out 40 clams for this book? It might be the overview of every major publicly accessible bouldering area in the country, complete with directions, difficulty, summary and camping notes. And, for absolutely no extra money, indeed for a total cost well under half a climbing shoe, you will be amused, shocked and awestruck with stories of the problems and climbers who made them happen.”
Peter Beal, „Rock & Ice”, 1995, May/April, No. 66, p. 120


“Sherman’s writing is lively, full of funny, unexpected comments and metaphors. His trademark vulgarity is here tepid and infrequent, almost overly so. (…)
In the end, my cynicism was unfounded, and if I ignored the cover price I gave Stone Crusade a big  thumbs-up. It’s amazingly well researched, useful, eclectic, earthy but tasteful. The book brings together little-known history from across the country and ties it together to give the first coherent account of American bouldering, past, present, and future”.
Jeff Achey, “Climbing” 1995, March 15-May 1, No. 151, p. 151

 

 

 
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