The first edition of Indian Creek, A Climbing Guide, by David Bloom, set the new standard for guidebooks, with incredible photography and top notch print quality. It was the kind of book that you’d want to keep on your coffee table and pick up to drool over time and time again. This edition continues that style, and features even more breathtaking photos of the area from top photographers like Andrew Burr, Celine Serbo and John Dickey. Also new is a star rating system, giving you a better idea of which climbs are the most classic at a given cliff. Of course, a two star climb at the Creek would often be the best pitch at many other areas across the country, but I digress. The book documents about one hundred new routes, and there are several new walls, including the Sinbad Wall, Shock and Awe Buttress and the Selfish Wall. There are also some new essays by notable Creek personalities, and it seems the old ones that sprayed about the party scene have been removed in the face of an increasingly tenuous access situation there.
Now, before I go any further, let me just state that I love Indian Creek and I love guidebooks, and I wanted to be able to rave about how great this 2nd edition is… But when I came across a section in the back called “Bonus Crags, Route’s and Boulders,” I began to have my doubts. This briefly lists and gives directions to about eight other NEW walls, some with 10 to 20 routes each. Well WTF? Why aren’t these documented in the book? I think if there were eight more walls, and maybe another hundred or so routes, it would have really been a major upgrade from the first edition.
Another thing I noticed was some pretty shoddy descriptions, like “one bolt” (that’s really all it says, and there’s more detailed info for the climb readily available on Mountain Project), and there’s no info for a route given 5.14, which I assume is the only route of it’s grade in the Creek. Isn’t that noteworthy enough to get some info about it?
I obviously don’t have all the facts, and I appreciate how much work writing a guidebook is, but right or wrong, all these observations came together to give me a sense that this book was put together in a rush and should have been given more time to come to full fruition.
The bottom line is that as far as guidebooks go in general, this is a great one. If you don’t already own the first edition, I’d highly recommend it. However, if you DO already have the first edition, it’s a toss up as to whether you’ll get much out of this new edition. The new photos are great, the stars are nice, and there ARE new climbs, but I’m just not sure if there’s enough new information for me to throw down for it. Your mileage may vary, and if you want to check it out you can buy the book from Sharp End Publishing.