Friday, August 15, 2008

Our Letter to Falcon Publishing

I wanted to see Bob Horan's Colorado Boudering guide for myself before I formed my opinion about it. Last night I saw it at the Northern Colorado Climber's Coalition meeting. Here is the letter I wrote Falcon Publishing today.

Dear Scott Adams,
Last night, my wife, Ashley, and I were able to take a look at the new Colorado Bouldering Guide by Bob Horan at the Northern Colorado Climbers Coalition Meeting. We've been bouldering in this area for the last 12 years, we've met Bob Horan on a couple occasions, and we're generally in favor of guidebooks. About two years ago we were bouldering near Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. A man walked up and took some pictures of us. He later introduced himself as Bob Horan. We talked about his guidebooks, and he mentioned that it was his dream to do a bouldering guidebook to the whole state of Colorado, and that he was working on one. He asked if he could put a picture of us climbing in it. I answered that it was fine with me, and if he ever wanted me to read over sections for bouldering in the Ft. Collins area I was willing to do so. We exchanged e-mails, but I never heard from him again.
When I looked over his guide last night, I was impressed by the number of boulders Bob included. Many that I wasn't even aware of. Unfortunately, the guide has so many inaccuracies and omissions that I was also greatly upset by it. The first concern I have is that boulders on private land are included without any obvious way of knowing that they are private. Access to most of these private areas has not been secured by climbers, and the guidebook will have the effect of promoting trespassing. This will hurt the chances of law abiding boulderers ever gaining consent to climb at them. I highly doubt that Bob consulted private land owners about their land being included in the guide. A letter I saw from the U.S. Forest Service said they hadn't even been consulted about the inclusion of Designated Wilderness Areas.
One of my favorite bouldering areas is Poudre Canyon. We've been climbing there for years, and we know many of the boulderers who found and made first ascents of the problems there. I was shocked to see how many of the problem names and grades for the area were completely wrong. Bob found the boulders, but not knowing what the names or grades of many problems were, it appears that he made them up instead of consulting someone who did know. This shows total disrespect for the boulderers who took the time to find, clean, and establish the problems in the first place. They earned the right to name the problems, and Bob shouldn't change them. It is also disrespectful to the guidebook buyers who deserve accurate grades to plan their trips and measure their progress with, rather than arbitrary grades that appear to be simply guessed at.
Another disservice to the guidebook user are the many direction mistakes, and incorrect photo captions that will lead readers to be completely lost at worst, and very confused at the very least. Bob spent an incredible amount of time finding and photographing boulders. This work should serve as a foundation for a spectacular guidebook, but as it is, the book is so poorly done that Bob should be ashamed for considering it ready for release. Falcon's reputation will be very hurt if it is sold in it's present form. Bob did use the photo he took of me on the "Kine"(should probably be called the "Kind") boulder in the guide, but we didn't know he followed us to the next boulder that day. My wife is pictured climbing the Tommy's Arete found at Emerald. We didn't know he was there, and Bob didn't bother to put our names in the photo captions. As it is, I'm glad he didn't. We're embarrassed to be pictured in a guide that shows such blatant disrespect for private landowners and public land managers, first ascensionists, and guidebook users. I understand that it would be costly for Falcon to not release a guidebook that has already been printed. But, releasing a guide that is so poorly done will probably cost Falcon more in the long term. Climbers won't buy Falcon guides if they don't feel they can trust them. Please don't release this guide as it is currently written.

David and Ashley Lloyd


chuffer said...

Cooler heads will prevail ... or something like that.

Good job!

Seth said...

nice job david, i hope that our efforts are for not.

David said...

Thanks guys. I've heard that all the publisher wants to do is add a sheet of paper that says which boulders are on private land. This whole thing is such a mess. It's time to start talking to retailers, and getting them not to carry this book.

Jamie Emerson said...

Hey guys, this is a great letter, thanks for the support.