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CLIMB!, The History Of Rock Climbing In Colorado
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Contact: The Mountaineers
CLIMB!, The History Of Rock Climbing In Colorado<br />
Jeff Achey, Dudley Chelton, Bob Godfrey
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CLIMB!, The History Of Rock Climbing In Colorado
Jeff Achey, Dudley Chelton, Bob Godfrey
The Mountaineers

This book is the second edition of the original CLIMB! By Dudley Chelton and Bob Godfrey published in 1977. And it is much more. Jeff Achey has edited and condensed that original work and has added the history of cutting-edge rock climbing in Colorado between 1977 and the present.

I was living in Boulder when the first edition appeared. I was delighted with the book which had so much to say about the Boulder climbing scene. But some other climbing centers, like Colorado Springs and Aspen, were under-reported. Jeff Achey has corrected this weakness by writing about the dynamic climbing communities in those and other areas both before and after 1977.

In many cases Achey's condensation of the original has produced more readable texts. Godfrey's original ten page interview with Jim Erichson and Steve Wunch is reduced in the 2002 edition to a few paragraphs, mainly about Erichson's strict rules for his own climbing style. Remember "tainting"?

In the new material, I found the section called "Industrial Rock" the most entertaining, and shocking. If you are an old traditionalist who likes to feel righteous indignation, you should read about a crag in Clear Creek Canyon where the routes are "almost completely on chiseled and drilled holds." (p. 222) More shocking yet if you think of climbers as basically nice people is the behavior of the childish Vulgarians of Rifle when that area was being developed. "If we didn't like someone…, we'd sit in our cars and say horrible things about them, laughing as hard as we could with the windows rolled up, sometimes pointing. Eventually they'd go away." (p. 225) Civilization has returned to Rifle and the area is now on the elite circuit.

Conclusion:  The second edition of CLIMB! is a beautifully produced book. Jeff Achey's thoughtful editing and insightful writing show us when, why, and how rock climbing has changed over the decades. Young climbers will find it inspiring; old climbers need it to understand our ever-changing sport.

Details: 225 pp.; b&w and color photos,

George Hurley
June 2002

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