Climbs of North America
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Fifty Classic Climbs of North America

by Steve Roper and Allen Steck

San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1979; Diadem, 1979; 324 pages

“To those with a passion for active climbing or "armchair" participation, Fifty Classic Climbs may at first not seem like a meditative book. Its format, organization, and type style make it primarily an information source. Roper and Steck have presented a profile of what could be considered the Great American Dream climbs with a writing style that provides much Lebensraum for speculation and meditation. While reading, one is tempted to meditate: the challenge of the alpine adventure is always there; the dreams of the various pioneers sometimes filter through the narrative. (…)
The book is neatly organized by sections, and the logical format introduces order into the maze of regional climbing opportunities. Suggestions on seasons best for a climb, equipment needed, and time to allow will be found welcome inclusions in the text. The "notes on sources" near the end of the book makes for a refreshing method of presenting citations and the basis of research. (…)
Some of the pictures have dramatic tones, especially those of Washburn and Cooper, but there is a definite problem in attaining a consistent image quality for some of the "on route" photos. Despite the skill and patience taken in getting the best possible results, some of the location pictures do not fairly present the stimulation of the selected adventures. The best of the action photography is on the desert and the Yosemite climbs, where the climate is more benign and the need for hurry is less than in maritime climates.”
Fred Beckey, “American Alpine Journal” 1980, p. 663-665

“Similar in approach to the Wilson books of Britain or the Rebuffat books for the Alps, this one covers half a continent. The range of climbs is wide from the snows of Alaska to the sun-baked sandstone of the SW deserts. It will undoubtedly serve to point visitors from far off in the right direction. What it will do for American mountaineers is less certain; for them it would appear to cover too much ground too scantily. Each route is adequately treated with history, details of line and so forth. The pictures are good, but there is an awful lot of blank paper which might have been utilized to make them bigger; there are occasions when designers of books seem to lose sight of what books are really for the conveying of information.”
“Alpine Journal” 1980, p. 257

“As the title suggests there are some 50 routes of varying difficulty and style spread over the whole of the North American continent and it is aimed at giving the reader an insight to choice areas for climbing.
As it now seems possible to cross the Atlantic for the same price as a return London-Glasgow ticket from British Rail, it is not unreasonable to assume that many British climbers might be interested in touring North America, taking in a nice climb here and there. If that is the case, this book is ideal for just that purpose, although the maps are simple as simple goes but each area does give reference to more detailed maps and guidebooks etc, that may be required. (…)
As I have already said, if tripping in the States is your bag, then this is your book.”
Geoff Birtles, „Crags” 1980, February/March, No. 23, p. 38



See also
Great American
Rock Climbs
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