Interview conducted by Vera Kaikobad L. Ac.
Editor of the Facebook page: 'An Interview With'.
Editor-in-Chief of ClimbSkiBoulderMagazine.com Interview © Vera Kaikobad L. Ac.
All images © of the designated photographer and used with Chris Summit's written permission.
Bay Area Bouldering SuperTopo Guidebook Front Cover by Chris Summit.
Photo Credit: Jerry Dodrill.
An Interview with the author of the SuperTopo books, Chris Summit.
Editor: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us about your book, great to have you with us today.
So, how did you come upon the idea for your Supertopo books?
Chris Summit: I actually have made 7 climbing guidebooks. My first two were self-published. The very first was just a small stapled together pamphlet type book for Mount St. Helena.
The second was Wine Country Rocks for local spots around my hometown Santa Rosa in Northern California. I have discovered and developed a lot of new climbing and bouldering areas around Northern California, so making guidebooks to share all my finds with the world kind of goes hand in hand.
My final inspiration for making Wine Country Rocks was when I was working at Vertex climbing gym and the original owners Mark and Janet said that I should either make a book for all the new local rocks, or they would. So I did. Then it didn't really make a lot of money, so after about a decade I quit making it.
Editor: What happened then?
Chris Summit: About a year or so after that, I heard that an old climbing student of mine and friend, Chris McNamara, who I taught at the first rock gym I worked at, Class 5 Fitness in Marin County, in the early 1990's had become a famous big wall climber in Yosemite and started the SuperTopo guidebook company.
I also heard that he was looking for someone to make a Bay Area Bouldering Guidebook. I was (and still am) really into bouldering myself, and I had found and done a lot of local bouldering first ascents, so I thought this could be a great job for me.
I also needed more work so it was a perfect thing to do then. It also helped me kind of make up for a lot of lost years financially when I just climbed all the time and got into debt. I felt that all the experience and time spent climbing might pay off at least a little.
The books were also a way to make my passion into my job and share what I enjoy with the world. I needed something on my resume as well, after just working at rock gyms and being a semi-climbingbum for over a decade. Since then the books have worked out well and I am now updating them all with brand new info.
I am also the shipping manager now for all the books we make at SuperTopo and Video Editor for Outdoor Gear Lab so it is all finally starting to pay off.
Editor: That's awesome! Congratulations, Chris! So, which areas do your books cover? And how long have you been working on them?
Chris Summit: I currently make books for areas around my home in Northern California; Bay Area Bouldering, Bay Area Top Ropes and Northern Caifornia Bouldering as well as the soon to be out of print Tuolumne Bouldering are all by SuperTopo.
With Maximus Press and Tom Slater I made California Roadtrip: A Climber's Guide, Northern California. Bay Area Bouldering has been the #1 best-selling extreme sport book in the world on Amazon and is usually in the top 100 on the best-seller lists.
I am very proud of that. I am making the first major eBook update to Bay Area Bouldering currently. The new eBook will be coming soon with new areas and many classic new problems on the coast from Big Sur to Fort Ross and at many inland, such as Castle Rock, Squaw Rock and Sugarloaf Ridge.
I made the Mount St. Helena guide in the early 1990's and then Wine Country Rocks in the mid 90's and it lasted about 10 years. Soon after that, I started working for SuperTopo and have been ever since.
Editor: What are your favorite areas to climb?
Chris Summit: My most favorite areas to climb are the spots I have not found yet, that keep my imagination alive and my fire for exploration burning hot. Other than those I really love my local Sonoma Coast, the vast uncharted rocks in nearby Mendocino County and of course the Sierras. Oh, and limestone, I love any good limestone!
Editor: That's cool! Where can climbers order your book? Is there a link?
Chris Summit: All of our SuperTopo books are available on SuperTopo.com. California Roadtrip A Climber's Guide, Northern California is available at MaximusPress.com and all of them are for sale on Amazon.
Thanks, Chris. You've made it so much easier for climbers and boulderers to find their favorite spots in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. Great job, indeed.
I'm adding links below, so that fans of your work can easily order your books.
On the Cover: Chris Summit
Author of the SuperTopo Guidebooks
Cover Date: November 6th, 2014