Where the Wild Things Climb

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If you want back-bumper belaying, noisy crowds, and dirt-free routes, the Adirondacks are not for you. This upper-New York State park makes you work for its treasure of slabs, splitters, and blocs, with half the climbing lying wild and isolated more than a half-hour from the road. Which is as it should be: “Just as every little town doesn’t need a Wal-Mart, neither does every belay ledge need two shiny rings,” writes Adirondack-maven Don Mellor in the foreword of Adirondack Rock, a Rock Climber’s Guide ($37, adirondackrock.com ). This long-anticipated 652-page tome unlocks the park, with meticulous Beta, photos, diagrams, and even GPS coordinates, as well as historical vignettes. My favorite: in 1933, three boys attempted to FA the Case Route and got stuck halfway up. They tied their shoelaces to a sapling to keep from slipping off during the night while waiting for rescuers. The punch line? John Case had done the actual first ascent three days earlier. Said one father to his wayward lad, “If you ever do that again, I’m going to leave you there.”

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