If you’ve been up to the crag this season, chances are one of the books you used to find the perfect climb was award-winning — but you just didn’t know it at the time.
As of this month, the recently-published Squamish Rockclimbs was declared the best guidebook at the 2018 Banff Mountain Book Competition Awards.
The prize recognizes co-authors Kevin McLane and Andrew Boyd for their painstaking efforts at chronicling Squamish’s rock climbing lore.
“As Canada’s preeminent world-class climbing locale, Squamish deserves the exact, loving treatment that Kevin McLane and Andrew Boyd gives it in their guidebook, Squamish Rockclimbs,” wrote Ian Welsted, one of the judges in the competition.
“Eschewing commercial pressures for brevity and select guidebooks, we are fortunate that McLane and Boyd continue to produce this comprehensive guide to all the known climbs. Enhanced by essays chronicling the local climbing history and ethic, the volume is the reference of record and an essential tool alike.”
In a conversation with The Chief, McLane said that he was glad the judges recognized his and his co-author’s work.
“More and more climbers’ guide books have commercial advertising in them and are selective — you know, only a relatively small number of the routes,” he said. “That’s all driven by commercial reasons.”
However, he said Squamish Rockclimbs managed to buck those trends, and that, along with comprehensive research of the area’s climbing history, helped the book stand out from the rest.
Writing the book was a process that lasted years. McLane and Boyd tracked down many of the climbers who put up first ascents since McLane’s last book came out in 2005.
There was a lot of new material to work in since then, said McLane, who’s been climbing in Squamish since 1972.
The long-time local climber noted this book was written with an emphasis on fostering a sense of adventure.
“The book was arranged in a way to encourage people to explore the unknowns, to respect rock as an adversary to contest against, and to enjoy adventure,” said McLane.
He said the style of the book promotes that philosophy as an alternative to the collector’s mindset of frantically checking routes off a list.
“The overviews and the descriptions of the crags, in particular, were portraying them as places to discover,” said McLane.
As this book is the first edition, McLane said he’ll be working on more guidebooks. The next is expected to be a sport climbing guide that’s slated for release next year.