Oct 25, 2011

Review: "Redpoint" Book

I had high expectations for Redpoint: The Self-Coached Climber's Guide to Redpoint and On-Site Climbing. My copy of their first offering, Self-Coached Climber, is falling apart from constant use. "Redpoint" did not disappoint. It covers all aspects of redpoint and onsight climbing. It is primarily focused on sport climbing with the occasional references to traditional climbing and bouldering. In additional to their extensive personal experience, their history of instruction enriches the book. The book is more than a collection of tactics. It a complete, systematic approach to performance oriented climbing. There are a range of insights, large and small, that can be gleamed from a close reading. Even experienced climbers will learn something.

The book really shines when it covers the mental game, an under-appreciated aspect of climbing. One important element they address is the fear of failure. That is the primary fear I see at the crag, especially for performance-orientated climbers. They give pragmatic advice to mitigate that fear.

They are proponents of video accelerated learning. They discuss the value of video taping climbs and subsequent movement analysis. The included dvd provides another perspective on the issues in the book.

There is a bonus section in the book on "The physics of falling." A fascinating read for the geeky climber.

There are couple of specific places where the offering falls short. The books drags when they describe in words what a short video clip could cover far better and quicker. On page 126, a picture caption states, "A climber properly outfitted for a redpoint attempt." The pictured climber has several quickdraws attached to the harness. The text on page 124 states, "The route is already equipped with draws, so a harness, shoes, and chalk bag with small hold brush are all you really need; leave everything else on the ground." The picture and text body don't agree. Additionally, the dvd didn't work on my computer (a macbook pro). I downloaded the assessment pdfs from here.

On a personal note, the book and dvd are full of references to New River Gorge, WV. I recently made my first pilgrimage there. It was fun to use many of the references (including play-by-play video sequences).

I would recommend picking up a copy after picking up The Self-Coached Climber first.