My limited time bouldering in California involved sweat-soaked approaches through unwieldy manzanita only to reach holdless slabs or too-sunny, splitter-cracked highballs. I would've preferred that rabid dogs eat my pancreas, truthfully, than motivate. So when I spied SuperTopo's (supertopo.com) newest guides, Yosemite Bouldering ($28) And Bay Area Bouldering ($25), I realized I'd been duped (and bad). California hosts infinite bouldering, with plum line after plum line requiring, in some instances, no more than a guidebook and a little psych to find. These — your guidebooks; psych provided within.
Yosemite Bouldering by guidebook veteran Matt Wilder, comes loaded with snappy images, the bare minimum of "spreta," and solid insider 411 on the Valley's vast cache of world-class granite blocs (see "I Boulderer," No. 262). This book can help plan an unforgettable trip to the big-wall mecca, without your ever having to touch a rope. Shocking. Inside find info on Cathedral, Candyland, Ahwahnee, Camp 4, and Sentinel boulders, and so much more, topo'd properly and with solid road and trail maps.
And the Bay Area — what I'd assumed offered only "make-do" chossy eliminates — actually inspires. The region boasts varied rock, West Coast ambiance, plenty of tall stuff, and freakville people-watching (Berkeley, this means you). Chris Sumit's guide makes for a suitable carry-on when gliding into San Fran for a short stop or out on a casual daytrip. Many of the 600-plus problems featured have not been documented before, so it's a great tool for locals, as well. Areas of note include Castle Rock, Mickey's Beach, the Berkeley staples (Indian and Mortar rocks), Turtle Rock, and other bite-sized nuggetinos.