Indian Creek Climbing Guide (Camalot Edition) Review

I had something else written for this, but like that angry email you sent in a fit of rage and then wished you could take back, I opted for this version instead. I did have a very strong response to this book, but I’m going to try to be much more objective about it, and let you draw your own conclusions.

Whenever a new guidebook comes out, most people who have the current version want to know whether the new one is worth another $32.95. So here are the stats for the new Indian Creek guidebook:

  • New routes: Around 100.
  • New walls: 0
  • New photos: 4, the rest are all the same from the previous edition.
  • New essays: 0
  • Camalot Edition: Because so many people now use Camalots, the idea was to put the recommended gear in Camalot sizes, as opposed to the historical use of Friends. The problem with this is that there are crack sizes that fit in between Camalots, and any Creek veteran knows that it’s best to have other cams, like Wild Country Friends or equivalent, to cover the gaps. For example, a #3 Friend is a really baggy #2 Camalot, but not big enough for a #3 Camalot (unless you want to go home without it), and in Wingate sandstone, you don’t want your cams tipped out, even a little bit.

In the gear section of the book, it says that where Friends are needed it will be noted in the gear list for the climb. However, flipping through the book you’ll find that only eleven climbs are listed as needing Friends. I can tell you without a doubt that this is simply beyond false, and if people follow this recommendation, they are either going to get a bunch of cams stuck that are a little too big for the crack, or they are going to be looking down at tipped out cams wishing they had something in between. Friends may not be as popular as Camalots, but their sizes most closely approximate the size of the crack. So a 2” crack takes #2 Friends. It might also take tight #1 Camalots, but maybe not. Also, listing gear in inches is the standard in guidebooks for trad climbing areas across the country, and I don’t see why Indian Creek should be any different.

Beyond this, errors, typos and inaccuracies are hard to completely eliminate from any guidebook, no matter how many people are involved in the editing process, though some of the ones in this book seem like they should have been caught.

That’s what I’ve observed, hopefully this will help you make an informed decision about whether or not to upgrade to this version of the book. If you are interested in purchasing it, you can do so on the Sharp End website.

5 Responses to Indian Creek Climbing Guide (Camalot Edition) Review

  1. Did he at least include correct driving and approach beta for the Wall and the Cliffs of Insanity, or is that stuff still wrong too?

    Lizzy April 16, 2013 at 11:03 am
  2. Good thing there’s Mountain Project for decent gear beta…

    mtsplitski April 16, 2013 at 11:50 am
  3. Seems like a step in the wrong direction. Folks who regularly climb in IC are among the few who actually know the difference between a 2″ crack and a 2.5″, and have no trouble deciding which units to throw on the rack. Inches may be an archaic standard, but at least they don’t change and can be converted into anyone’s rack. Camalots have changed size a couple times so far- how many times have you heard the question ‘new 4s or old 4s?

    At least the ‘my bros and I party so hard here’ essays are gone.

    rob in Pb April 22, 2013 at 2:12 pm
  4. Maybe everyone should just exclusively use link cams in the creek. Problem solved! The only drawback of this that I can think up is 5 years from now you wont be able to climb Pente because of all the hopelessly overcammed gold link cams in the crack 😉

    Kevin April 23, 2013 at 8:58 am
  5. I happen to like Camalots, and find that Metoleous cams are great at Indian Creek. I have never been fond of WC friends with their still pretty rigid stems and hard to use thumb placement, I know the newer ones have the BD type loop now. The main problem with the IC Bloom book and any Super Topo book is that they have the sizes totally wrong. I will not go so OCD as to give you my own chart, just get out a tape measure or ruler and check for yourself the overall and optimal range and you will find quickly that the size charts are wrong. So , yes always carry the in-between sizes, aliens for small and Metoleous for small hands/big hands between #1, #2, #3 and #4 Camalots.

    geoff georges December 10, 2014 at 8:33 pm
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