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Item #: GB2412
CLIMBER'S GUIDE TO TAHQUITZ & SUICIDE ROCKS Chuck Wilts 1979 6th and last edition
By Wilts, Chuck
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Detailed Product Description
NY, AAC, 1979, 6th edition. 208 pp, route photos. The classic AAC guidebook for these 2 popular California rock climbing meccas. New Paperback. LATEST EDITION.
 
Tahquitz Climbing History

In the 1930s, the Rock Climbing Section (RCS) of the Sierra Club Members in California started a campaign to identify potential rock climbing locations in southern California. RCS member Jim Smith 'discovered' Tahquitz in June of 1935. The first fifth-class ascent ofTahquitz, The Trough (5.0), occurred in August of 1936 by Jim Smith, Bob Brinton, and Z. Jasaitis. A month later, Smith and Bill Rice quickly put up the now-classic route, Angel's Fright (5.4). In 1937, Dick Jones and Glen Dawson led a first ascent of The Mechanic's Route, one of the first 5.8s in the country. During the late 1930s, the movie Three On A Rope featured climbing at Tahquitz.

By 1940, about a dozen routes had been established. World War II slowed down development, but activity soon picked back up and fresh faces were seen at Tahquitz. Royal Robbins, a prominent member of the RCS, led the new surge in Tahquitz development in the 1950s. This new group of climbers eschewed some of the time-honored safety techniques of the past, which led to harder and harder climbs being developed, culminating with The Vampire in 1959. Though Robbins and Dave Rearick climbed it via aid technique (5.9 A3/4), it was free climbed in1973 (5.11a) by John Long et al. and is now considered one of the best free climbs in southern California.

With the help of new climbing shoe designs, route development in the1960s jumped well into 5.10 territory. Nearby Suicide Rock also started to be developed, resulting in another southern California classic, Valhalla (5.11a) in November of 1970.

The Yosemite Decimal System (YDS) of grading routes was developed at Tahquitz by members of the RCS of the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club in the 1950s. Royal Robbins in 1952 established what was then one of the hardest free climbs in the United States, Open Book. As new routes were constantly being discovered and climbed, the old method of rating climbs as either easy, moderate, or hard was quickly becoming useless. With the help of fellow RCS members Don Wilson and Chuck Wilts, the modern system of rating fifth-class climbing was developed, with the scale running from 5.0 to 5.9. Mark Powell, a local who frequented Yosemite, passed this system on to the climbers in Yosemite. By the early 1960s, the Yosemite Decimal System was the standard.

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