Guidebook Spotlight: Rifle, Virgin Islands, Jackson Hole

I love climbing guidebooks. There’s something intriguing about thumbing through a book, imagining all the possibilities of routes unclimbed and places not yet visited. In this era of Mountain Project and so much beta available on the Internet, guidebooks have had to really step up their game to stay relevant, but many are successfully put together top notch beta, incredible full color photos and unique local flavor to produce books that are worthy of a spot on any road trippers shelf. There are three new ones that came across the Splitter Choss desk recently and we felt were worthy of checking out:

Rifle Mountain Park, Western Colorado Rock Climbs Volume 1

With over 100 new routes, all new photos, and improved beta, this book is well worth the upgrade from the previous guide. As a local, I’d gotten to the point where I pretty much knew about all the routes I’d want to climb on, and rarely had a book with me. The new guide, however, does a great job with upgraded star ratings and descriptions, as well as more accurate (read:less sandbagged) route grades, making the canyon feel like a new crag all over again. There’s improved cliff photos, all the beta you need on local amenities, ethics and even a little section on local flora, fauna and climbers. Add to that a healthy dose of humor, including the Men of Rifle Calendar (12 Months of Throbbing Gristle), and you’ve got an outstanding guidebook, no matter whether it lives in your pack or coffee table. It’s also worth noting this is Volume 1 of a two volume series, the latter of which will provide info on around 700 climbs in the surrounding area.
$26, 186 pages, full color, available from Wolverine Publishing. Download a sample here.

A Guide to Bouldering and Traveling in the Virgin Islands

I have never been to the Virgin Islands, and really don’t boulder much other than in the gym during the winter, but damn if this guidebook doesn’t make me want to change both of those things. One look at the cover and you’ll be saying, where is THAT? Sculpted granite boulders on white sand beaches and turquoise blue water, this place is real? Indeed, and Rich Crowder and Jonathon Wasser have put together a highly detailed resource for those looking to sample this bouldering paradise. Realizing that a trip to these islands isn’t just about the climbing, they’ve packed it with information from where to stay, other activities on the islands, even a section on tropical fish, and, of course, beta on the best bouldering the area has to offer. The photos are stunning, and were enough to motivate me to start pricing plane tickets. Maybe I do like bouldering after all.
$24.95, 144 pages, full color, available from Fixed Pin Publishing.

Rock Climbing Jackson Hole & Pinedale, Wyoming

I’ve spent a lot of time in Jackson during the winter, when the phenomenal skiing offers endless untracked snow and adventure. And on those trips I’d often find myself thinking about moving there, except I knew (or so I thought) the local cragging options weren’t that plentiful. Apparently, that’s not the case, as this new book showcases over 400 climbs at over 20 different areas in the Jackson and Pinedale region. As is the case with all these books, the top notch photography showcases the climbs in a way that makes you want to go there. With easy to read photo topos and plenty of beta, this is just the ticket for anyone looking for good cragging options in the Jackson area. And while it’s likely the smaller cliffs will always take a back seat to the greater alpine objectives people come to the Tetons for, it’s clear there is great potential for more and more excellent climbing that doesn’t require a multi-hour trudge up a big mountain.
$29.95, 208 pages, full color, available from, along with page samples.





2 Responses to Guidebook Spotlight: Rifle, Virgin Islands, Jackson Hole

  1. Thanks for these climbing guide book suggestions. I love guide books as well and have always wanted to climb in Western Colorado so will probably pick that one up.

    Rachel October 10, 2013 at 1:20 pm
  2. Don’t forget to look us up for the best way to boulder while living on a sailboat in the Virgin Islands!

    Capt. Charles January 8, 2014 at 4:10 pm
Locals Corner

Bulldog Creek Dog Walk (IV WI 4+)

Hayden Carpenter and Tom Bohanon recently repeated an obscure ice climb on the south side of Mt Sopris. Given a brief mention in Jack Robert’s ice guide, Bulldog Creek Walk is described as being 100 meters of WI 4. What they found was seven pitches of ice in a remote setting that makes for one […]

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