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How do you use a printed guidebook?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ratagonia, Jul 24, 2021.

  1. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I am (once again) diving into the production of a second edition Zion Guidebook.

    First edition was 2006. The world has changed a lot since then, just as the canyons in Zion, and Zion itself have changed a lot since then. So I ask myself, in 2021, what is the role of a printed guidebook? I don't know.

    How do you use, would you use, a printed guidebook to Zion?

    What would you like to see IN the guidebook? What are the most important attributes / functions?

    Answer here or email me direct at Ratagonia@gmail.com

    Thanks.

    Tom
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  2. NevadaSlots

    NevadaSlots

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  3. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    ?
  4. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    History. No better repository for first descent stories and thoughts from the pioneers than a guidebook.

    Good pile of nice photo's for bumping up the psych.

    I really like the Euro style canyon topo thing. Written descriptions are great, but, a one page topo option would be nice to snap a pic or photocopy of for the actual canyon descent.

    Good maps for the approach and egress.

    Local info on lodging, food, the hang between canyons.

    Color. Rounded corners (instead of squared off). Nice size for a photocopy. Good binding that doesn't blow apart.
    Kuenn, Dan H, yetigonecrazy1 and 3 others like this.
  5. vanyoneer

    vanyoneer

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    I've been reading Canyon Collective since it's invention, at the time (mid 2000s) as a high school kid from a different part of the country. I forgot about canyoneering for a while (15 years +/-) but rediscovered it when it was feasible for me to actually participate.

    If it isn't obvious, this and other forums peaked back in the 2000s. I ruminate on how the forum is "a" source of info (a nostalgic one to me personally), but not "the" source. And i longingly keep the faith wishing it could still be "The Source" but each time I log on evidence suggests that there won't be a mobilization of folk flooding into here as there was back then. I make do reading the yahoo archives.

    I blindly stumbled across this site:

    https://www.math.utah.edu/~sfolias/canyontales/

    which by the date in the below quote, 2008, is evidence of how much passion there was back then.

    Stefanos Folias and Dave Pimental, you compiled these stories from the forums, do you guys still exist on the forums? Why don't you post anymore if so?

    Tom you wrote the below literature in 2006, and people in 2021 have to dig for it buried in some obscure Utah mathematic-hosted website compiled 13 years ago.

    https://www.math.utah.edu/~sfolias/canyontales/tale/?i=zionjihad

    There is gold literature out there for every route in Zion, it's just buried. And if my observations about forum activity slacking off are true, then the brilliant literature isn't being written. Today's gold remains undocumented in people's experiences. Those good pieces of literature from the past are becoming archaeological finds.

    My understanding is that the "black book" of Zion has become one such buried archaeological artifact. Isn't that the coolest book that has ever existed in this country?

    I guess long story short, Tom you could write another Kelsey style guide and make it as bland as that guy is, but if you change your perception of what goes in this book, we want to read Tom's black book.

    TLDR to answer the question what is the role of a guidebook in 2021: it's Tom's "black book".
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2021
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  6. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Thank you Vanyoneer...

    There are some selections from The Black Book available here:
    https://www.canyoneeringusa.com/utah-canyoneering-history#the-black-book-header

    Tom
  7. stefan

    stefan wandering utahn

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    yes do exist and post periodically. very glad you found the site, thanks. the part you quote was written/dated when the canyon tales site was first shared but the site has continued to be updated every so often since then (and will continue to be--my humblest apologies for the slow pace). canyon tales was partly inspired by the canyons yahoo group archives--a wealth of information indeed in there, always worth exploring.
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  8. Sutitan

    Sutitan

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    Sometimes I like having a guide book to just sit and read about other canyons. Colorful descriptions and information unique information about geology is always appreciated. I'll typically sit and read through some either on lazy weekends, or on longer canyon trips while laying down in my tent at night. My wife also tends to browse while I drive.

    Also, as someone who loves photography, I'm a bit mixed on too many photos in guide books. When taking people into new canyons to them, I try tell them to avoid looking at photos/videos online so they're a bit more surprised when we reach a notably pretty area of a canyon.

    As far as key information, I mostly just look for longest rap, # of raps (with heights), and estimated duration. With Zion, I imagine information on water temperature would be useful to many.

    Im excited to see the end result. Best of luck with the book, Tom.
  9. DaveWyo1

    DaveWyo1

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    Stefanos Folias and Dave Pimental, you compiled these stories from the forums, do you guys still exist on the forums? Why don't you post anymore if so?


    Yeah, I'm still here too. I look in just about every day. I don't post anymore because I have nothing useful to say. I don't do many canyons these days.
  10. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    The old book was fine. Just put in some updates about stuff that has changed and add a few well known Zion canyons that weren't in it.

    I agree that history is much more fun than a blow by blow description of the canyon. Frankly, these days I want a GPS point at the top of the canyon, the longest rappel length and any notable obstacles (stemming, potholes) and that's about it. But most of those buying a guidebook are going to want a lot more beta than that.

    Take out that line about Mystery being your favorite Zion canyon if you would please. I'm sure it has contributed dramatically to its popularity and thus the difficulty in getting a permit. And of course include info about the landslide!
  11. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    - Which landslide?
  12. Craig_C

    Craig_C

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    We've had your guide book for several years in our family. My daughter Ellie and I make notes in it when we finish a canyon. It's been read over and over. We tried taking it to pine creek early on in our canyoneering endeavor, that was a mistake. Now we usually read it at the breakfast table or focus on a certain description for our chosen upcoming expedition. Sometimes we've even committed essential beta to memory and now we leave the book home where it stays dry. I really credit your book for having introduced us canyoneering. I think it's fun to just read on the days when we're not hiking. It has been fundamental in the development of our opinions on important topics regarding how we care for our wilderness. It's not a religious book, but we read it more than the Bible. I think a physical book available at the visitor center giftshop is essentially the gateway drug. And it's wonderful opportunity to influence the newcomer in positive ways. In my opinion there is a lot of beta online and the interweb is well suited to catalogue huge piles of details and allow users to merely access what's pertinent to each trip or individual. But a book is by far the best way to get started. I've recommended your book to all my friends and I'll get a new one if you ever make one. The stories are AMAZING! Browsing your book is almost as exciting as traversing a canyon itself. The anticipation is at least as much of the trip as the actual hiking is.
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  13. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    Tom's original Zion guide is way more than canyon beta-
    A near perfect introduction to the ethics, hazards, and joys of canyoneering Zion.
    Had a huge impact on me. Looking forward to the updated version!
  14. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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  15. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    My 2 cents
    A second to: Pioneers & history, local amenities, gold digging, psych-bait, limited beta (too much can be confusing/superfluous), photos, enjoyment reading. Moderation, i.e. not too much. Don't want to feel like I'm taking a drink from a fire hydrant.

    Nice to have: spiral binding, digital access if you've purchased the book (yes, tough to protect from revenue loss, piracy), and landowner relations.

    Although we'd all like more gold that vanyoneer makes reference to, discovering it is part of the fun, for me at least. When it's all in one place (back of the book answers) it can take away some of the planning allure. I find perspectives, learning about and researching, almost as much fun as the real deal...almost. And when the actual event lives up to (often exceeds) the pre-journey homework - ah yes - that's what keeps one coming back for more.

    As an outsider (living miles away) pre-trip literature is key. You want to get the most out of each trip. Accomplished via good planning resources.

    Thanks to all who work to educate the community via published expertise and experience.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2021
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  16. Divisadero

    Divisadero

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    The only canyoneering guidebook I've used is Steve Allen's Canyoneering 3, which is equal parts wonderful and frustrating. But I've got a good collection of guidebooks for backcountry skiing, mountaineering, and climbing. Here's what I like:

    (1) Consistent and detailed assessment of difficulty. More than anything else, I want to know if whether I can handle the mountain/climb/canyon. For instance, some of those older climbing guides . . . let's just say I'm a much bigger wuss than the hardmen climbing in Yosemite in the 80's.

    (2) High-quality mountain/canyon photography. I'm less interested in, say, an artistic photo of a floating leaf than I am of photos of the route itself. The photos should serve two functions. First: Inspiration. I have been inspired by photos of certain mountains, ski lines, climbs, etc. to become a better skier/climber. Second: Beta. The photos should help the read recognize key features and/or landmarks of the route.

    (3) Good maps. This is becoming less important in the age of smartphones, but good topo showing the trailhead, ascent, and descent lines is still invaluable.

    (4) General beta. Time estimates, distance, special gear needs, permit requirements, etc.

    (5) Backstories/anecdotes. I always enjoy a little history, so long as it takes a backseat to everything above.

    The guidebook that best meets the foregoing is Backcountry Skiing the Eastern Sierra out of Wolverine Press. I've spent dozens of hours pouring over the first and second editions. If there was a similar book for Zion, I'd buy it. (The companion Rakkup app for smartphones is also great.)

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
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  17. Moab Kevin

    Moab Kevin

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    I use guidebooks, electronic or paper, to find route descriptions (mostly just to R1), to figure out what length and qty of ropes to bring and if there's any special considerations like, "this rap can only be done with a wanker" or "must stem way past where you think in order to".

    Also the pictures; who am I kidding. Great for inspiration. Like.. hmm what should we do this weekend? browse browse. Or throw it the rig when going to be in the area "just in case"
    ratagonia likes this.
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