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Today's word on journalism

Monday, October 22, 2007

Can’t Scare the Old Gray Lady:

"Good journalism for an intelligent general audience is hard. And we’re really good at it. Taking on The Times is not as easy as waving a credit card and proclaiming yourself 'fair and balanced. . . .' We have every reason to feel confident that we can hold our own if [Rupert] Murdoch decides to build The Journal beyond its business-reader base. In all the Murdoch parlor-gaming, I don’t hear anyone suggesting that he would attempt to match the depth of our coverage in culture, science, education, health, religion, sports, lifestyle, etc., etc. Not to mention business coverage that even devout Journal readers find they can’t afford to miss."

-- Bill Keller, editor, New York Times, on Murdoch’s promised Wall Street Journal challenge to Times national dominance, Oct. 16, 2007

Know your rock before you climb -- or suffer the consequences

TRANSFORMER CORRIDOR: Finally, after a long search, the goal is at hand. / Photo by Christy Jensen

By Christy Jensen

September 26, 2006 | "Thanks so much for helping us out, man; I didn't know what I was getting myself into when I started that climb. I really should get a guidebook for Logan Canyon."

That was the Nike-clad man my friends had just helped down from The Fairy, a 5.9 route at Betagraph, a climbing spot in Logan Canyon that the man had been lead climbing.


Tahitian Rock. / Photo by Christy Jensen

Logan Canyon is known in the climbing community to have some of the best climbing in Utah -- and the world. But if you don't have a guidebook or any climbing resources, Logan Canyon can be a treacherous and fatal place.

It is dangerous to climb without a guidebook or guide who knows the area you are climbing in. If you don't know the level of what you are climbing, not only can you be out $100 or more in quick draws and other gear, but you might be out of your mind as well.

Guidebooks provide vital information about the area where you want to climb: How long the route is, if it is "trad" (traditional) climbing or sport climbing, the level of the climb, the location, what to look out for in the surrounding area, and a picture of the rock.

Not all guidebooks include this information, but you will at least have the location and level of a climb in any given book. Web sites such as can give up-to-date information on climbing locations.

Some guidebooks are very accurate and fool proof. Guidebooks such as Northern Utah Limestone Climbing fit into the accurate category, showing you every bolted route in Logan Canyon and Green Canyon.

My luck with good guidebooks ends with the northern Utah book. While preparing for a weekend at the City of Rocks in Almo, Idaho, I asked Micah Soelberg, an experienced climber and friend of mine, about a good guidebook for the area.

He said, "A guidebook for the City of Rocks? Sure, they exist but they might as well be in Chinese for all the good they will do you."

I took his advice but my weekend climbing companions brushed it off and bought a guidebook anyway.

We planned what we wanted to climb using the guidebook as we drove to Idaho, only to have our plans ruined when we discovered that our book did not tell us if the climb was sport or trad climbing, or how much rope was required. We went from rock to rock talking to climbers and asking where all the sport climbing was since there clearly was none where we wanted to climb.

A few climbers gave us vague directions to where we should go. Some didn't know what they were talking about. We found that the more people we asked, the better we got to know the area by a combination of looking at the book and talking.

After two hours of driving, hiking, and asking around about sport climbing, we found what we were looking for, Transformer Corridor, popular with sport climbers. The rest of our weekend was semi-successful and we were able to climb Tahitian Rocks later, but our weekend could have been better had we researched online and actually read about the City of Rocks more than two hours before going.

You can never go wrong doing a little research before climbing. It could save your life.

It doesn't matter if you are climbing in the City of Rocks or Logan Canyon. Know your limits and your area.



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