The history of classic climbing is updated

Climbers walk on slabs in the Trap Dyke above Avalanche Lake. Photo by Phil Brown.

At Laura and Guy Waterman Yankee Rock and Ice, a history of rock climbing in the North East, won praise when first published. But that was twenty-five years ago. A lot has happened since then, and so Stackpole Books recently published an updated edition.

For the new book, Laura Waterman (her husband is deceased) worked with New Hampshire climber Michael Wejchert to produce four additional chapters covering the climbing scene from 1990 to the present day.

The second edition.

Moreover, the authors define Northeast such as New England and New York State, so you will find many references to the Adirondacks (and Shawangunks) in these pages.

We plan to review the book for the Adirondack Explorer news magazine. For now, we just want to link to a few articles from the Explorer archives relating to the history of climbing in the Adirondacks. Yankee Rock and Ice also covers these topics.

The trap dike. The famous notch in the side of Mount Colden was first climbed in 1850 by Robert Clarke and Alexander Ralph. Clarke’s letter to his mother describing the ascent is one of the earliest written accounts of mountaineering in the United States. Click here to read our story of this historic ascent and our own Trap Dike adventure.

Fritz Wiessner. In the 1930s, he was arguably the nation’s most gifted rock climber and climber. He gets his own chapter in Yankee Rock and Ice. Wiessner is famous for his tough climbs in Connecticut and the Gunks, but he also established about 20 routes in the Adirondacks. One of the best is Empress on Chapel Pond Slab. Click here to read our story on the ascent of the Empress and another historic route on the slab.

Matt Horner. Fast forward to the present: Matt Horner is one of the best ice climbers in the Adirondacks. As noted in a recent message, he suffered a horrible accident in 2017, but he made a comeback. The new edition of Yankee Rock and Ice describes Horner’s efforts to repeat a notoriously difficult ice climb called Gorillas in the Mist on the cliffs of Poke-O-Moonshine. The book refers to an article by Explorer. Click here to read this article.

The second edition of Yankee Rock and Ice is 264 pages (softcover), with many black and white photos. Stackpole is selling the book on their website for $19.95. It is also found in regional bookstores.