Monday, March 26, 2012

Maple Canyon Rock Climbing Guidebook

The hour approaches...

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"Dear Climbers,

It has been more than twelve years since the publication of Maple Canyon Rock Climbing, 3rd Edition. That edition featured about 225 routes for a new climbing area who's first developed routes appeared five short years prior.

Maple Canyon was born on the coattails of American Fork Canyon and arguably rose to fame faster than any other climbing area in the country, due largely to its near-perfect summer conditions and a singular climbing medium: the cobblestone matrix. In little more than eighteen months, "Maple" sprang from an obscure picnic site and party pad, barely known even to local residents, to a legitimate destination climbing area with revolutionary climbing. Magazine articles, advertisements, equipment catalogs and climbing videos all featured images and eye candy from this new and hard-to-belive climbing discovery. A world-changing invention called the Internet further fueled the appeal.

My twenties coincided with the infancy of Maple Canyon route development. The canyon was less than 15 minutes from my house; an in-your-face temptation too big to resist. My Maple Canyon drilling started in 1994 with Raindrops on Lichen, the first sport route in the canyon. Routes were developed at an astounding rate, established climbs and walls accumulated and it was logical for me to put the information into a guidebook. I published the first guidebook in 1995 eighteen months after the first route was drilled. A slap-dash update followed six months later and I published the second edition in 1997 while attending Utah State University. I graduated in May, settled back in Ephraim, drilling ensued and the third edition was published in 1999.

The new Millennium brought personal and familial responsibilities that replaced climbing as a priority. In 2003 I turned the Maple Canyon guidebook over to Darren Knezek. It would be impossible for me to keep up with the progression of the canyon. It warranted far more attention than I could give. For Darren, the pressures of life would delay publication of the fourth edition twelve years and Maple Canyon became Americas most famous sport climbing destination without a guidebook.

Darrens work has been monumental and the book you now hold represents a decade of meticulous record keeping, thousands of miles driven and tens of thousands spent on route development – sacrifices required of the author of any guidebook. What sets this guidebook apart from all others (that I am aware of) is that the author has climbed or "worked" all but 25 of the 600+ routes within it's covers. Combined with his own Maple route development and route development in Rock Canyon, southern Utah and the greater desert southwest, his achievements are colossal. Darren is in a position to give the reader insights, direction and guidance in a comprehensive manner unique to this guidebook. Combined with to-scale hybridized aerial photos/maps/topos and color photography this is one of the finest climbing guides available today.

I was twenty-two in 1994 when I published the first Maple guide. I turn forty the year this book is published, an almost a twenty year anniversary. During that time the road was improved, rebuilt and pavement laid to the mouth of the canyon. A new bridge and winter gate was installed. The campground was extended and improved twice and a day use/camping fee system implemented. A third improvement is scheduled for summer 2012. Three bathrooms were installed. The trail system was improved, rebuilt and foot bridges installed. Informative kiosks were built. Six hundred climbing routes were developed. Crowds now clogg the corridors on weekends and 20 different languages echo down the halls. During weekdays, early spring and late fall I have the canyon to myself like those first days of Maples infancy. I occasionally run into Bill Boyle or Darren Knezek or Jeff Pedersen or some uber-focused driller, but its mostly quiet and I generally drill alone, enjoying the solitude. There's something magic about the silence between new bolts.

It's my canyon. And it belongs to the Invisible Army of developers who thanklessly put their hearts into climbing here. It belongs to you. This guidebook is a cumulative, natural and complementary extension of everything that has come before it. It's a proud representation of Maple Canyon and her climbers. As author of four previous guidebooks to this amazing wonder I am very pleased with this new addition to the Maple Canyon legacy".
Jason Stevens, 2012
Ephraim, Utah

Author of:
Central Utah Climbing (Maple Canyon Rock Climbing 1st edition)
Maple Canyon Rock Climbing, second edition
Maple Canyon Rock Climbing, third edition
Maple Canyon Ice Climbing

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