Guidebooks: To Be or Not To Be?

Posted on: July 23, 2008

Guidebooks hold the promises of many climbs. We rely on them to entice us, to provide us with the right beta for the chosen route, to give us a rough timeline for the ascent. In the author's word, we trust. Surely, it would be a much greater adventure to set out with no information, but people have spent the time to write a book on an area, and I like to reward their hard work and support the community by spending the money and buying the topo.

Most of the time, the money is well spent. As the climb unfolds, I am grateful for the author's words of guidance. Other times, there is so little information, that I wonder why I bothered getting the guidebook. I would have done as good of a job without the guidebook. Worse though, is when the content is misleading, to a point where you even wonder if the author actually did do the climb himself. Granted, I have not written a guidebook myself and I am sure that it can be difficult to engage in such a task. Yet, if the guidebook is repeatedly mistaken on the approach, the aspect, the length and the difficulty of the climb, then why am I carrying it around with me in the first place, not to mention, why did I buy it?


So, I wonder, why call a guidebook, a guidebook, if its content is not there to help guide you in the mountains or on a climb? I strongly believe that a guidebook should offer accurate information or not be at all. So please, authors, make sure you do the climb and take the right notes before publishing misleading information. Your credibility is on the line.

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