Yosemite Climbing History

Books and articles

  1. Arce, Gary, Defying Gravity - High Adventure on Yosemite's Walls, Wilderness Press, ~1995.
    From the John Muir climbs to the free ascent of the Nose by Lynn Hill.
  2. Bennett, Ed, "The Bay Chapter and the birth of modern rock climbing", [Sierra Club Rock Climbing Section of San Francisco Bay] RCS Yodeler, June 1999 local version
  3. Breedlove, Roger, "Middle Cathedral Commentary", Mountain #?, 1976.
    PDF version at supertopo.com (3.3 MB)
  4. Bridwell, Jim, "Brave New World", Mountain #31, 1973.
    Covers 1960-1973. Includes the first table of 5.10A, B, C, D subgrades, by type of climb. online transcribed version   scanned version with photos
  5. Bridwell, Jim, "The Innocent, the Ignorant, and the Insecure", Ascent, ~1973 (not 1974).
    Includes a table of 5.10A, B, C, D subgrades, by type of climb, similar to "Brave New World".
  6. Bridwell, Jim, Climbing Adventures, ~1998.
    Covers his climbs, in Yosemite and worldwide. Nose in a day, 1975 plain version
  7. Harding, Warren, Downward Bound, ~1975.
    A humorous treatment of his routes and characters on the scene.
  8. Hill, Lynn, "El Capitan's Nose Climbed Free", AAJ, 1994. online version
  9. Hudon, Mark, "Long, Hard and Free", Mountain #79, May/June, 1981. online version
  10. Hudon, Mark, and Max Jones, "State of the Art", Mountain #66,67, ~1979.
    Describes their "free as can be" climbs on big walls (Quarter Dome, Salathe' Wall, etc.) and other routes.
  11. Jones, Chris, Climbing in North America, ~1976.
  12. Jones, Max, "Long, Difficult Free Climbing", AAJ, 1981.
  13. Kor, Layton, Beyond the Vertical, 1983. Describes his climbs, in Yosemite and worldwide.
  14. Long, John, Rock Jocks, Wall Rats and Hangdogs, ~1997.
    A classic for the 70s-80s.
  15. Meyers, George, Yosemite Climber, 1979.
    Besides the many great photos of climbers in EBs, includes articles:
  16. Meyers, George, and Don Reid, Yosemite Climbs, 1987.
    The history section of this edition of the Yosemite guidebook (by Meyers) is very comprehensive -- the best overall reference for free climbing history. Later editions by Reid (1995, 1999) do not include this section; they state it will be published in a separate book.
  17. Roper, Steve, Camp 4: Recollections of a Yosemite Rockclimber, The Mountaineers, 1994.
  18. Roper, Steve, Climber's Guide to Yosemite, 1971.
  19. Rowell, Galen, The Vertical World of Yosemite, 1974.
    Reprints many classic articles from the Sierra Club Bulletin, mostly covering big walls. Includes some nice original photos.

Web pages

  1. Cummins, Clint, Long, Hard and Free, details on first ascents and repeats of long free climbs
    First Yosemite 5.11?, rec.climbing, 1999.
    List of 17 Deaths on El Capitan, rec.climbing, 2001.
    Historical Hardest Routes, worldwide, 2002.
    Owl Roof, Elephant's Eliminate - Free Ascents and Attempts, 2006.
    Roy Naasz accident, Lost Arrow Direct, April 1970
    Historical Yosemite Climbs 1994-2009
  2. Galic, Harv, Early Ascents of Half Dome
  3. Haan, Peter, The Salathe Wall Solo, American Alpine Journal, 1972.
  4. Haan, Peter, Recollections of the First Free Ascent of The Left Side of the Hourglass, rec.climbing, 1999, rev. 6/2003.
    An early and very bold 5.11 lead. May have had only one repeat (by Bridwell) until the development of large cams made it more protectable.
  5. Jensen, Richard, Wings of Steel facts about the climb and links to web forum discussions
  6. Michelitsch, Melissa, and Clint Cummins, Notable Yosemite climbs by women
  7. Yager, Ken Yosemite Climbing Association historic photos / virtual museum

Please send any comments or corrections to Clint Cummins: clint@leland.stanford.edu .