References – Web Sites

Web sites come and go rapidly, so please contact us if you find a broken link or have suggestions for other useful links.

NPS logo

U.S. Parks

canada parks logo

Canadian Parks

Earth

Other sites

W1

Canyonlands NP

W14

Assiniboine PP

W20

Climbing Guide to the Cirque of the Unclimbables (Bell)

W2

Denali NP & Preserve

W15

Banff NP

W21

Current Climbing conditions in the Canadian Rockies and Columbia Mtns.

W3

Glacier Bay NP & Preserve

W16

Jasper NP

W22

The Yosemite Rock Page

W4

Grand Teton NP

W17

Glacier NP

W24

Waterfall Ice in the Canadian Rockies

W5

Mount Rainier NP

W18

Yoho NP

W25

Big Wall Page (Middendorf)

W6

North Cascades NP

W19

Mt. Robson PP

W26

Squamish Chief Online Rock Climber’s Guide (Woodsworth)

W7

Rocky Mountain NP

W20

Stawamus (Squamish) Chief Provincial Park

W29

Climbing Mt. McKinley (Bayne)

W8

Sequoia & Kings Canyon NP

W30

Canadian Ice conditions (Gadd)

W9

Yosemite NP

W32

Supertopo

W10

Zion NP

W34

Climbing Boulder

W11

Black Canyon NP

W35

Valdez Ice

W36

Cody Ice

W37

Wyoming Waterfall Ice Roundup

W38

Whitney-Gilman Route Guide

W39

Castleton Tower Preservation Initiative

W40

Inyo National Forest (Access to east side of Sierras)

References – Informational

Additional sources of information that will enhance your experience by giving you a historical and/or regional perspective of the climbs in this collection.

Author

Title

Publisher

Year

I1

Steve Roper, Allen Steck Fifty Classic Climbs of North America Sierra Club Books, San Francisco, CA

1979

I2

Chris Jones Climbing in North America University of California Press, Berkeley, CA

1976

I3

Steve Roper Camp 4 – Recollections of a Yosemite Rock Climber The Mountaineers, Seattle, WA

1994

I4

Katy Cassidy, Earl Wiggins Canyon Country Climbs Pruett Publishing Co., Boulder, CO

1989

I5

Layton Lor Beyond the Vertical Alpine House, Boulder, CO

1983

I6

John F. Garden The Bugaboos – An Alpine History Footprint Publishing Co. Ltd., Revelstoke, BC

1987

I8

David Roberts Mountain of my Fear The Vanguard Press, New York, NY
/ OR: reissue edition: Mountaineers Books

1968
/ 1991

I9

Chic Scott Pushing the Limits – The Story of Canadian Mountaineering Rocky Mountain Books, Calgary, AB

2000

I10

Mark Kroese Fifty Favorite Climbs The Mountaineers Books, Seattle, WA

2001

I11

Sean Isaac “The Route – The South Ridge of Mt. Gimli” “Gripped – Canada’s Climbing Magazine”, p. 44

v03.03, June/July 2001

I12

Bill Sherwonit Alaska Ascents Alaska Northwest Books, Anchorage, AK

1996

Guide Books

The descriptions and trip reports associated with this project may not be adequate for locating and accomplishing many of the climbs. I strongly recommend acquiring at least the guidebook recommended here. Buy all these guides to support hard-working but starving guidebook authors! (Clicking on a title will take you to the order page on Amazon.com.)

Author

Title

Publisher

Year

G1

Stewart Green Rock Climbing Colorado Falcon Press, Helena, MT

1995

G2

Lou Dawson Dawson’s Guide to Colorado’s Fourteeners – Volume 1 The Northern Peaks Blue Clover Press, Monument, CO

1994

G3

Lou Dawson Dawson’s Guide to Colorado’s Fourteeners – Volume 2 The Southern Peaks Blue Clover Press, Monument, CO

1994

G4

Todd Swain Rock Climbing – Red Rocks Falcon Press, Helena, MT

2000

G5

Don Reid, Chris Falkenstein Rock Climbing Yosemite’s Select Falcon Press, Helena, MT

1998

G6

Don Reid, Chris Falkenstein Rock Climbs of Tuolumne Meadows Falcon Press, Helena, MT

2001

G7

Cameron M. Burns Selected Climbs in the American Southwest Chockstone Press, Evergreen, CO

2000

G8

John Harlin III Classic Rock Climbs No. 7
Devil’s Tower, Black Hill, Needles
Falcon Press, Helena, MT

1996

G9

Jim Nelson, Peter Potterfield Selected Climbs in the Cascades The Mountaineers, Seattle, WA

1993

G10

Don Serl The Waddington Guide Elaho Publishing, Squamish, BC

2003

G11

John Moynier, Claude Fiddler Falcon Guide Climbing California’s High Sierra: The Classic Climbs on Rock and Ice Falcon Press, Helena, MT

2002

G12

Chris Atkinson, Marc Piche’ The Bugaboos – One of the World’s Great Alpine Rockclimbing Centres Elaho Publishing, Squamish, BC

2003

G13

Joe Kelsey Climbing and Hiking – Wind River Mountains Chockstone Press, Evergreen, CO

1994

G14

Richard Rossiter Teton Classics Chockstone Press, Evergreen, CO

1994

G15

Sean Dougherty Selected Alpine Climbs in the Canadian Rockies Rocky Mountain Books, Calgary, Alberta

1991

G16

Joe Josephson Waterfall Ice – Climbs in the Canadian Rockies (3rd Ed.) Rocky Mountain Books, Calgary, Alberta

1994

G17

R.J. Secor Mexico’s Volcanoes – A Climbing Guide (2nd Ed.) The Mountaineers, Seattle, WA

1993

G18

Colby Coombs Denali’s West Buttress. A Climber’s Guide to Mt. McKinley’s Classic Route The Mountaineers, Seattle, WA

1997

G19

Jonathon Waterman High Alaska – A Historical Guide to Denali, Mount Foraker & Mount Hunter American Alpine Club, New York, NY

1995

G20

George Bell “Climbing in the Cirque”, Canadian Alpine Journal, Volume 79, 1996 The Alpine Club of Canada, Canmore, Alberta

1996

G21

Andy Selter “The great white fright” – (Guide to Mt. Robson) Climbing Magazine # 172

Nov, 1997

G22

Greg Crouch “High & Wild – The Ruthless Gorge” Climbing Magazine # 181

Dec, 1998

G23

John Middendorf Zion National Park – a Rock & Ice Guide Rock & Ice Magazine #66

Mar/Apr, 1995

G24

Tim Toula “A Better Way to Die” – Climber’s Guide to Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon Chockstone Press, Evergreen, CO

1996

G25

Randy Vogel, Bob Gaines Tahquitz & Suicide Chockstone Press, Evergreen, CO

1993

G26

Cameron M. Burns Colorado Ice Climbers Guide Chockstone Press, Evergreen, CO

1997

G27

Jeff Jackson Mexico Rock Texas Mountain Guides

1999

G28

Chris McNamara Yosemite Big Walls: Supertopos Supertopos, LLC

2000

G29

Mark Weber “No Small Potatoes” (Guide to Elephant’s Perch) Climbing Magazine # 204, p.52

June, 2001

G30

Dennis R. Jackson Rock Climbing New Mexico & Texas Falcon Press, Helena, MT

1996

G31

Andrew Embick Blue Ice and Black Gold Valdez Alpine Books

1989

G32

David Black Ice Climbing Utah Falcon Press, Helena, MT

2001

G33

Kevin McLane The Squamish Guide Elaho Publishing

2004

G34

Ed Webster Rock Climbs in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, 2nd Ed. Mountain Imagery

1987

G35

Chris McNamara Yosemite Ultra Classics (e-book) Supertopo

2002

G36

Chris McNamara Tuolumne Sierra Select (e-book) Supertopo

2002

G37

Chris McNamara High Sierra Select (e-book) Supertopo

2002

G38

Chris McNamara Lover’s Leap Select (e-book) Supertopo

2002

G39

Chris McNamara Desert Towers Select (e-book) Supertopo

2002

G40

Chris McNamara Red Rocks Select (e-book) Supertopo

2002

G41

Dave Jones Selkirks South Elaho Publishing

2001

Charlotte Dome South Face Regular Route

Some of the most interesting, colorful, and climbable rock anywhere, set in spectacular Kings Canyon National Park. Finding the correct start is key to an enjoyable climb – many variations and totally independent climbs have been done on the broad buttress by climbers assuming they were on this classic route. Stories of very difficult moves above long runouts are common. Follow the SuperTopo referenced here carefully, and you’ll be rewarded with one of the finest climbing experiences at this difficulty level on the continent. This one must be earned through a long approach, either from the west from Kings Canyon, or over the crest of the Sierras from the east via Kearsarge Pass. The latter is recommended.

Location:

Kings Canyon Nat’l Park, California, USA

References:

G37, I1, W32

Type / Rating

Alpine Rock / IV, 5.7

Route Description:

See references

Seriousness:

Trip Reports:

Halladay 9/05
Peterson 6/95
Bindner 7/99

First Ascent:

C. Jones, G. Rowell, F. Beckey, October 1970.

Also on the CD-ROM:

33 high-res images of this climb, USGS topo maps

Keeler Needle Harding Route

Offering clean white granite climbing in the high country of California’s Sierra Nevada Range, this climb is typically characterized as “One of the best climbs I’ve ever done” by climbers who have experienced it. The “Needle” is part of the Mt. Whitney escarpment and only appears to be a separate feature from below. The climb is characterized by continuous 5.7 to 5.9 pitches, punctuated by two 5.10 pitches, all at considerable altitude. The first ascent was one of the first to bring big wall techniques to the high country. The history of development includes some of the most notable climbers of their generations. The climb can be done in a day by a fast party, but you’ll want a high camp because of the considerable approach. A good bivouac ledge is available for more leisurely ascents. The most likely descent is via Whitney’s Mountaineer’s route (3rd class) on the NE side to get back to your camp. Access to this very popular area (because of Mt. Whitney) is tightly controlled – you must contact the Forest Service in Lone Pine for bivouac permits.

Location:

Kings Canyon National Park, Sierra Nevada Range, California

References:

G11, W8

Type / Rating

Alpine Rock / V, 5.9 A3 to 5.10+

Route Description:

On the CD

Seriousness:

Trip Reports:

None yet – submit yours!

First Ascent:

W. Harding, G. Denny, R. McKnight, F. Gronberg, July 1960. FFA: G. Rowell, C. Vandiver, G. Wiltsie

Also on the CD-ROM:

28 high-res images of this climb, USGS topo map

Mount Huntington West Face, Harvard Route

his is one of the most challenging routes in this collection, offering spectacular difficult climbing on rock, snow, and ice in an expeditionary atmosphere. The first ascent of this route by a group of relatively inexperienced but intensely driven student climbers from Harvard was immortalized in Dave Roberts’ gripping book “Mountain of My Fear”.

Location:

Denali Nat’l Park, Alaska, USA

References:

I1, I2, I8, I12, W2

Type / Rating

Alpine Mixed / VI, 5.9A2, mixed – Alaska Grade 5

Route Description:

On the CD

Seriousness:

Trip Reports:

Fitzgerald, 05/05

First Ascent:

Dave Roberts, Don Jensen, Ed Bernd, and Matt Hale, June 29-July 30, 1965

Also on the CD-ROM:

32 high-res images of this climb, USGS topo map

Half Dome Northwest Face, Regular Route

The most popular route on one of Yosemite’s most famous features – the vertical face that makes this Dome a “half” rather than a whole. A great route by the legendary Royal Robbins that opened a new chapter in American rock climbing. Suffers from crowding and trashing now. A common target for speed ascents, but the average team will still spend a night or two on the wall.

Location:

Yosemite Nat’l Park, California, USA

References:

G5, G28, I1, I2, I3, W9, W32

Type / Rating

Lowland Rock (big wall) / VI, 5.9, A2 (and up)

Route Description:

On the CD

Seriousness:

Trip Reports:

Drixelius 7/95
Patterson 5/00
Wright 6/01

First Ascent:

R. Robbins, J. Gallwas, M. Sherrick, June 24-28, 1957

Also on the CD-ROM:

22 high-res images of this climb, USGS topo map

Bugaboo Spire Northeast Ridge

This is the most popular route in the Bugaboos for many good reasons: perfect rock, spectacular surroundings, and excellent climbing at a moderate difficulty level characterize the route. The first five pitches offer the some of the finest moderate alpine rock climbing of any route in this collection, and the rest are also high quality, just much easier and thus less memorable. However, this route is famous for epics and unplanned bivouacs due to far too many climbers underestimating it. It is quite long when the complex descent is factored in, and you’ll need route finding skills, experience with climbing efficiently and rapidly, glacier travel skills, and a plan for what to do when it storms. Retreat is not a good option once you are above the first part of the ridge.

If you are unsure about being able to pull this off in a day, consider climbing the Kain route first (the SE Ridge, partially visible as the left skyline in the photo.) It is considerably easier, and serves as the descent for the NE Ridge. It is also a quality climb, and classic in the historical sense as the celebrated first ascent route by Conrad Kain. However, the fifth-class climbing is limited to only a few short pitches, so it nearly as attractive as the NE Ridge for the experienced technical climber.

Location:

Bugaboo Prov. Park, British Columbia, Canada

References:

G12, I1, I2, I6, I9, W21

Type / Rating

Alpine Rock (with substantial glacier travel on approach & descent) / IV, 5.7

Route Description:

On the CD

Seriousness:

Trip Reports:

Clark 8/01
Larson 8/93

First Ascent:

D. Croft, J. Turner, D. Sykes, & D. Isles, August 8, 1958

On the CD-ROM:

28 high-res images of this climb

How to become part of the project

This project was the work of many people. It will always be unfinished, because there are always more and better photographs, reports of trips yet untaken, and climbs yet undiscovered. I can’t climb and document all the routes that belong in this collection in one lifetime (and I think I’m only going to get one), so continued participation from the climbing community is not only welcomed, it is crucial to keeping this a useful resource. Here is how you can participate:

Trip Reports: The simplest thing to do is type it up in a word processor so you have spell checking available, then paste it into an e-mail to me. You could also attach the file to an e-mail if it is in Microsoft Word or Adobe Exchange (pdf) format. I will exercise editorial prerogative, which can range from corrections of typos to substantial rewrite, to rejection of the report if I don’t think the content is appropriate. I will eliminate gross profanity or other material I feel will be too objectionable. I believe in the First Amendment, but I don’t want to spend my time responding to indignant readers. If you wish to review the edited results before I post it, please indicate so in your e-mail. Otherwise, I will assume you give me carte blanche editorial authority.

The minimum information needed besides the narrative or story is:

Feature Name
Route Name
Author’s Name
Date(s) of Trip (at least month & year)
Full names of participants

If you don’t mind being contacted by readers for further beta or feedback, include your e-mail address and/or web site URL.

New Route Nominations: Send an e-mail with your nomination(s). First, read the page “Why These Climbs” for general guidance on what qualifies a climb for this collection. To this, I would add the following:

1) The route should be of substantial length – 500 feet (150m) is suggested as minimum. There are too many thousands of excellent short climbs on the continent to allow covering them. However, in the spirit of inclusion, I hope to add a few climbs east of the Missisippi that wouldn’t otherwise qualify. These will be the best routes in the most important and historically significant areas.

2) The route must be recognized, at least locally, as a “plum” – one you would recommend to your friends. If someone were to ask you what the best climbs at a particular area are, these should leap immediately to mind. Consistent quality is the key here.

3) Classic climbs are not test pieces at the limits of the sport. They may have been when first established, but by the time they can be considered “classic”, they should be within the abilities of a reasonable percentage of competent, committed climbers. The original Roper and Steck list did not require any climbing above 5.9. Since standards have dramatically increased since 1979, a more modern list should extend higher. 5.11 rock or grade V ice seems a good compromise.

4) The route should be relatively safe, meaning that reasonable protection and belay anchors are available, and the objective hazards are not extreme. Few climbers would refer to a climb that is notorious for runouts, bad rock, avalanche danger, and the like as a classic.

5) There should be something unique about the route. Ideally, it is the best in its area, which is itself a quality climbing area with many more excellent routes. Yosemite Valley is heavily represented because it has so much excellent climbing. However, one must ask how many routes are appropriate for a single destination. There are hundreds of excellent climbing areas on the continent, and I am interested in seeing more representation from areas that are currently ignored, even if the route is not as outstanding by itself as, for example, yet another Yosemite big wall. Part of the fun of “chasing the list” is the exposure to such diverse geography, geology, and culture. Currently, I’m seeking nominations for the eastern half of the continent (Baffin Island, anyone?), Mexico, and the unrepresented ranges in Alaska.

6) The route must have stood the test of time to be considered “classic.” There is no fixed rule to this, but 10 years and enough ascents to have consensus in the community is a minimum. I frequently see a new route declared an “instant classic,” but that is an oxymoron. Conversely, the Volkswagen Beetle was considered by many to be an ugly, unimportant car when first introduced.

If you think your favorite route satisfies all these highly selective criteria, send an e-mail and we’ll discuss it. I’m usually very receptive, especially if you have the photos and are willing to put a little work into making it happen. Even if you don’t have the photos and information, I’m still interested in hearing your nominations; if enough votes accumulate for a particular climb, I’m likely to put out a call for photos, or go check out the route myself.

About the Images

The Clark photos:

Most of the photographs on this CD were taken by Gary or Lynn Clark. Others were contributed by fellow climbers, many of whom responded to my queries in the UseNet news group rec.climbing. All photos up until mid-2002 were taken with 35mm cameras on either Kodak or Fuji slide film, with Fuji Velvia giving the best overall results. We have gone through a lot of 35mm cameras over the years, including Pentax and Canon SLRs and Pentax, Leica, Contax, and Olympus compact cameras. In mid-2002 I converted to digital cameras (Canon), and don’t currently plan to use film again.

With very few exceptions all shots were handheld, and were taken in the regular process of doing the climb; thus they are from the perspective of the lead climber or belayer.

Producing the digital images:

I scan both slides and negatives using a Canon 2700F slide scanner, then use Adobe PhotoShop software to crop, adjust brightness levels, and retouch dust and scratches. Often I adjust color balance; e.g., shots taken on a big shady face or early in the morning will always appear blue, and shots on snow often have excessive magenta. Occasionally I apply digital filters to improve sharpness or decrease graininess. The most obvious advantages of digital photography are: (1) no film or processing cost, (2) no waiting for processing, (3) no retouching, (4) instant editing in the camera, and (5) no scanning. I’m yet to discover any disadvantages.

The final images are saved in JPEG format at “Hi” (6O) quality for the CD-ROM at two different resolutions: 1024 pixels on the longest dimension, and 675 pixels for quick perusal or viewing on a small screen. For the web site, Medium (30) quality jpeg images are used at 550 pixels on the long dimension.