Yosemite in the Fifities

- The Iron Age

By Dean Fidelman, John Long and Tom Alder

A Book Review

My book review for 'Yosemite in the Fifties: The Iron Age' by Dean Fidelman and John Long. (Thanks to Stephanie Ridge.)

This is, without a doubt, one of the most exquisitely put together rock-climbing masterpieces that I have been asked to review in a long time. Indeed, the sunrise of adventure sports in the United States was birthed in Yosemite, and this book provides the devoted climber as well as the non-climber with an impressive portfolio of beautifully chronicled first ascents and artful images that are the heart of this creation.

The climbers of the era depicted were pioneers in so many ways and it is critical that today’s generation of climbers, as well as the climbers and boulderers of generations to come, acquaint themselves with this tome. We are whisked off to a world that was the very foundation of big-wall climbing as we now know it, a time when sponsorships, modern climbing gear and safety devices were unheard of.

The well documented first ascents and the climbs of legends such as Warren Harding, Wayne Merry, George Whitmore, Royal Robbins, Bob Swift, Allen Steck, Mark Powell, Bill Feuerer, Nancy Brickford Miller, Tom Frost, Rich Calderwood, John Salathe, Yvon Chouinard still echo in the Valley, as the climbers of today scale the same epic granite walls that consumed the earlier climbers with an enduring passion.

Immerse yourself in a world where we are allowed to witness the initial vision, the tools, the difficulties, risks and perfect triumphs that give American rock-climbing’s rich history a perennial aura of power and personal achievement. This is truly marvelous work by Dean Fidelman, John Long and Tom Alder. Yosemite in the Fifties: The Iron Age is highly recommended, as is the companion book, Yosemite in the Sixties by Glen Denny and Yvon Chouinard.

Vera H. Kaikobad L. Ac.