Kootenay Craggin'

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The West Kootenay region in south-central British Columbia is one of North America’s most beautiful mountain areas, and there’s now a rock-climbing guidebook that does justice to its splendor. Written by local climbers Vince Hempsall and Aaron Kristiansen, West Kootenay Rock Guide describes 22 areas and more than 400 routes — from Nelson, to Slocan City, to Castlegar — and includes day-trip alpine climbs in the Valhalla Mountain Range. (All these areas are located less than four hours north of Spokane, Washington.) This beautifully designed book features full-color pages and stunning photos throughout. (Simply look at Melissa Welsh’s picture of Mount Gimli on the back cover and you can’t help but drool!) The easy-to-use guide also has photo topos overlaid with color-coded route lines. The descriptions are spot on, but it would have been beneficial to list the lengths of the few single-pitch routes over 30 metres. Also, a few of the routes were inaccurately credited. That said, West Kootenay Rock Guide is one of the tightest, most elegant climbing guides in Canada. I highly recommend it.

—Rik Logtenberg