March 11, 2009

Book Review: Girl on the Rocks
by Katie Brown

While looking at climbing route guides at the library I came across Katie Brown's "Girl on the Rocks: A Woman's Guide to Climbing with Strength, Grace, and Courage" and I can't lie my initial thought was 'Oh! Pretty Pictures.' I figured this book would have some useful information, knowing that Katie is a Boulder, CO based climber who began climbing before she was even a teenager. Katie is also active in the climbing community as the Enthusiast-in-Chief of, an online climbing community.

I myself have only been climbing about 2 1/2 years so I gobble up every bit of climbing literature I can get my hands on. When I started reading "Girl on the Rocks" I thought it might be a little under my skill level. The beginning is a great introduction into the sport of climbing and how to get started and I thought that might be the scope of the book. However I kept reading on because the pictures were excellent and I liked the tone of the book.

Then I got to the chapter that addresses fear when climbing. The honesty of this section really appealed to me. I catch myself wondering sometimes "Am I nuts for climbing?" Sometimes it hits me while I am 15 feet off the ground, other times its while buying gear and worrying about kilonewtons. This chapter taught me I am not alone in my fear, and it doesn't mean I am not cut out for this sport. Katie speaks to her own fears and you also learn about other professional climber's fears (and joys) in interviews peppered through out the book.

The section on overcoming fear and the pretty pictures are enough to make this book a worthwhile read for me, but then I hit the Advanced Techniques Chapter. Here's where the great visuals of hand jams, heel hooks, and other techniques really helped me feel like I am ready to move up a level. I had the 'Wow, I can do that!' moment. Following the techniques sections are tips and a schedule for training. Another helpful area for the novice climber who is ready to kick it up.

I think this book is a great tool for girls and women who want to get into climbing or are ready to move into lead climbing. The attention to detail is strong without micro-focusing to the point of losing the readers interest. Check it out at your local library or consider adding it to your collection. Available at Amazon
for $14.96.

1 comment:

Nielle said...

interesting that even pro climbers have those fears.