CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Don Brooks.

Seattle, The Mountaineers, c1982.
Distributed by Douglas & Mclntyre.
173pp, paper, $9.95.
ISBN 0-89886-046-6.

Grades 11 and up.
Reviewed by Peter Ewens.

Volume 11 Number 3.
1983 May.

Don Brooks is no neophyte when it comes to rock climbing. His years of pursuing the "sport," the innumerable ascents and first ascents, plus his co-authorship of the Leavenworth guide (1975), have now all come together in his documentation of Washington Rock.

Brooks has kept his mandate clear; he shows where to climb not how to climb. After a short preface and introduction, he gets into the history of the climbing areas and of those whose names are affectionately synonymous with many of the pitches. The three areas of focus: Darring-ton, Index, and Leavenworth are dealt with in great illustrative detail. The prolific use of maps, illustrations, and route diagrams make this an excellent bookshelf reference for the next time one plans a visit to the area.

The text begins with a two-page overview that includes directions, history, nomenclature, climbing tips, and safety. The accompanying road map makes it impossible even for a visiting Canadian to get lost. Once one has located the area it is simply a question of selecting the climbs for the day. It is in this respect that Brooks' book shines. By the generous use of photographic-like illustrations, over-layed with the various routes it allows the reader to visualize the rock, pi ingredient that many guide books sadly lack. Adjacent to the "picture," is the reference to the actual routes. Brooks could be criticized for the sparse written descriptions, but he more than makes up for it with the pictorial outlays. He does classify the routes using the Yosemite decimal system and lets the reader know how many pitches plus what hardware to rack. Given the pictorial and the written, if climbers want to really take the guess work out of the challenge, they simply have to refer to the topographic or schematic map of the routes. These topos really are the essence of the guide. They are extremely easy to follow and have an absolute wealth of information, things such as natural features (trees, snags, bushes), rock features (flakes, overhangs, knobs, cracks), plus the degree of difficulty, number of pitches, rappel points, bolt placements, and belay stations.

Many of the climbs are rated 5.5 and up. If you have never worn a harness, do not know what a figure eight is, and if terms like "biner," "wedge," "chock," and "nut" are new to you, this book is not for you. On the other hand, if you have climbed and are looking for something that will take you to an area where you will not be turned back in disappointment, let Washington Rock be your guide.

Peter Ewens, Sutherland S.S., North Vancouver, BC.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works