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Book Review: Climbing California's High Sierra

Climbing California's High Sierra

By John Moynier and Claude Fiddler

A Falcon Guide, The Globe Pequot Press, ISBN 0-7627-1085-3

Reviewed by Rick Booth January, 2002 

I have used the book Sierra Classics, 100 Best Climbs in the High Sierra
for years.† The book Climbing California's High Sierra is the second
edition to the original book by Moynier and Fiddler.† Since one of my quirks
is collecting guidebooks I now own both of these books.† I was curious to see
if the second edition was an improvement over the first edition.

The second edition is a different book than the first edition.† The first noticeable
change is the list of routes has been changed.† In some cases routes and peaks
were dropped completely and several new routes and peaks have been added.† In
other cases older routes were replaced with newer routes.† The newer routes
are all harder than the original routes and there are no longer 100 routes but
now 101.† In most cases, the routes from the first edition survived to make
it to the second edition.

There are many improvements in the second edition.† There are more photos with
the routes marked out which should make them easier to find.† The topos from
the original edition also made it to the second edition.† These are of average
accuracy, however, the topo for the Third Pillar of Dana is better than the
one in the Tuolumne guide.† The word descriptions are no better than the first
edition.† In the author's defense, it is their position that the adventure is
reduced if super accurate data is provided.† I would like to see a hint at any
weird gear that might be needed for any of the alpine rock climbs.† It is handy
to know whether or not a #5 Camalot is needed!† The introductory material has
been expanded and updated.

So is this guidebook for you?† It depends on your interest.† The focus of this
guidebook is primarily technical alpine routes and the routes are in general
difficult.† Of the 101 routes only 33 are rated 5.4 or less and this includes
the class four snow and ice routes.† There are 59 routes that are 5.8 or easier
which leaves 42 routes that fall in the 5.9 and up category.† This includes
the class five ice routes.† So, if you are looking for a guidebook that discusses
what are probably the better alpine technical routes in the Sierra then this
book should work.† In terms of finding the routes the second edition should
work better.† As for route descriptions you are on your own.† My approach has
been to use the book for suggestions for interesting routes in the Sierras.†
It is sometimes difficult to find a good route in the main text of R.J. Secor's
guidebook without patiently plowing through it.

The price is listed as $30 but may be available over the internet for less.