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One Million Mountains

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Fresh off a 2007 trip to the Outback, I was eager to see the Australian climber Keith Lockwood’s new coffee-table book on the beloved “Piles”: Arapiles: A Million Mountains ($84.95 Aus, arapilesbook.com). Packed with beautiful, full color images of the red-sandstone formation, Lockwood’s book showcases more than just the climbing. Covered is Araps’ 400-million-year history, including stints as a stone island in the South Sea, as a cultural center for the aboriginal Djurid balug clan, and, most recently, home to the activities of white newcomers. Of course, there’s the climbing history, too: the earliest forays (1963) up through Wolfgang Güllich’s Punks in the Gym (the world’s first 5.14a; 1985), and beyond. Lockwood’s book reawakened the sense of magic I felt as, surrounded by garrulous birds, I paid slack from the legendary crag’s sandy base.

—Justin Roth