I tend to have a systematic, organized, collector type personality. So when I really got hooked on rock climbing, I was pleased to find there were all kinds of things to collect.
Gear… oh how that shiny new gear can get the blood flowing. A new set of cam’s or nuts for your rack. Don’t get me started on shoes. I discovered my favorite shoes (to date) and in order to preserve them, got a “messing around” pair too, for my training and warm-ups. Holds for my homewall… yeah, I collect those too.
Ticks… and I don’t mean the blood sucking parasites. I mean a list of dream ascents. And the ability to check them off one at a time.
Climbing Partners… I’ve come to realize that one can never truly have enough climbing partners. For the shear fact that we all have crazy schedules, it is optimal to have lots of options when you need them. Plus, climbing is the ultimate social activity.
So when I got serious about climbing (which didn’t take long), knowing that it would bring me to many great locations, I decided that I would purchase the guidebook for that location. Even if I was only going to be there one time, I wanted the guidebook for the memories… and for the collection of course.
I haven’t been to as many climbing locations as I would have liked, but I would not trade any of those experiences for another. And there’s a bright side, there’s plenty of time left to add to the collection.
So here’s what I got so far, in the order of acquisition:
Naturally, first game Minnesota & Wisconsin.
Then, several summers during my college years, I climbed in Colorado.
My climbing trip to Arizona was a spring break adventure.
As a birthday gift a few years back, my wife conspired with my former college roommate/climbing buddy for a stellar surprise trip to Southern Illinois (Jackson Falls).
And then there was the amazing trip to the Red River Gorge.
That’s my collection. Its just getting started. I really want to get out to some more locations in the not so distant future. I’d like to add to my collection with guidebooks from:
~ Spearfish Canyon in South Dakota
~ Rumney in New Hampshire
~ New River Gorge in West Virginia
~ Smith Rock in Oregon
~ Squamish in British Columbia, Canada
~ And many more fantastic locations across the world (Spain, France, Australia, South Africa).
There is plenty of room on the bookshelf… and no shortage of desire to Collect.
What does your guidebook collection look like? Share in the comments your recommendations for the best guidebooks at your favorite locations.
~ Climb 4 Real ~
EDITED to Add: Two new guidebooks added to the collection. Brand new, hot off the presses is the “Field Guide to Minnesota Bouldering” and “Willow Climbing Guide”. The Minnesota Bouldering guidebook was co-written by Nic Oklobizja, Richard Cargill, Chris Craft, and Jon Marek. It has been long awaited and much needed in this area. It comes with full color photos and a rich history for each area. The Willow River guidebook, while short and sweet, also comes with a rich history of the climbing at Willow River as well as full color photos of the many link-ups in this very steep sport climbing area.