Must-Read For Climbers: Yosemite Bouldering

At first, I was going to include YOSEMITE BOULDERING in my Gift Guide For Climbers; but, I quickly realized that this book did not belong on a list and deserved its very own spotlight. 

Although I have been climbing for over a decade, my only knowledge of bouldering pre-pandemic was from competing in local climbing gym competitions and watching fellow climbers move around on man/woman-made holds. It wasn’t until March that I started climbing outdoors. As many of us do, we quickly fall in love with outdoor bouldering. I made it my mission to be a student again and read everything there is to know about bouldering technique. From there, it was time to explore and create my bucket list for bouldering in some of the most famous climbing locations around the world. 

Next to Fontainebleau, France… Yosemite National Park, located in the heart of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains is one of the major capitals of bouldering. Many of us aspire to send it throughout Yosemite. 

Before you start daydreaming about your bouldering trip, I highly recommend you study the pages of YOSEMITE BOULDERING by James Lucas, Shannon Joslin and Kimbrough Moore

Researched and written by this incredible team of climbers, this book is beautiful in more ways than one. From the binding to the intro artwork and comprehensive boulder map drawings, it’s clear how much work went into this bouldering ‘textbook.’ 

By ‘textbook,’ I mean that all 463 pages of YOSEMITE BOULDERING seem to include everything one needs to know before setting foot in the paradise of over 1,300 boulder problems. 

Some of my favorite elements include:

  • A detailed history of Yosemite.
  • Travel tips from people who clearly know the area.
  • Safety & ‘Leave No Trace’ tips, from bear encounters to ‘what to do with your poop.’ 
  • Their list of the top 100 problems organized by grades: V0 to V13
  • Tiny boxes next to each problem. Check it when you send it!

Lucas, Joslin and Moore have the chapters split up by Yosemite area: LOWER VALLEY, NORTHSIDE, UPPER VALLEY and SOUTHSIDE. The index guides you to where you need or want to go depending on grade and area. 

Lucas actually lives in Yosemite Valley and free climbed El Capitan in a day. Joslin fell in love with Yosemite in the 2000s when she was studying feline genetics at UC Davis, and Moore is the writer of Black Mountain Bouldering. There’s certainly no better way to learn about this magical part of our Earth than from the climbers who love it the most. 

Whether you're gifting yourself or a fellow climber, this book is well worth its listing price: $49.00


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Review by Pamela Price, LATF USA's Vice President, bouldering enthusiast and American Ninja Warrior competitor. 

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