Climbing California's High Sierra

— John Moynier & Claude Fiddler

If you're looking strictly for a guidebook, Climbing California's High Sierra is perhaps best reserved for technical rock climbers. John Moynier has a reputation for minimalism when it comes to route descriptions (and especially route details), and that trait is certainly evident here.

However, bypassing Climbing also means missing out on Moynier's extraordinary anectodal knowledge of the Sierra—the climbs, the routes, the climbers, and the history. Moynier also sneaks in backcountry skiing information here and there, particularly when those descents rank among the Sierra's most technical.

Climbing California's High Sierra - Moynier/Fiddler

Reading between the lines, you'll find instructions on how to find many of the Sierra's hidden treasures.

At the very least, you'll get a broad introduction to the Sierra's rock climbing possibilities, from the classics to more current, state-of-the-art sends.

Scramblers (such as myself) should be advised that there are relatively few non-technical routes in the book.

You'll find a smattering of Class 3 climbs, but certainly the bulk of the listed routes are rated higher in difficulty.

While their number is small, however, the book does offer the ambitious scrambler a list of lists several obscure but magnificent Class 3 and IV routes. If technical climbing is your passion, this is the book for you. The authors include pitch-by-pitch notes on many of the most challenging lines—information that will be wholly inscrutable to everyone else.

Climbing California's High Sierra may not offer much information on local history, geology, or mountain lore, but when it does you likely won't find this information anywhere else. For this reason, I always check my copy before I head off into hills to see what Moynier and Fiddler have to say about my intended target.

Yes, this is a climbing book, pure and simple. If you're looking for the most comprehensive compilation of technical rock and ice routes in the Sierra, this is your guidebook.

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