Oh-lala! A squeeky fresh copy of “The Black Book – Select Lines from Grand Teton National Park” by Conor Miller showed up yesterday and I haven’t been this excited about a ski book for a long time. I saw an early draft at the last OR Show, and although it was about 180 degrees outside, it made me want to immediately pack up my skis and head up to the Tetons.
The premise of The Black Book is simple – a collection of high quality photos of skiing lines in the Grand Teton National Park. The Tetons are a complex range and it can be difficult to pick out lines as they often twist & turn such that you can only see part of them at any one time. Even when you are actually on the mountain, route finding can be tricky to the newcomer as your view is limited and the physical descriptions often sound the same. “Climb up a snowfield until it turns to a narrow couloir with a chockstone at the top” could describe quite a few lines in the Tetons. Years ago, Teton climbing guidebook author Leigh Ortenburger said “I’m not going to publish any new routes where people just got lost trying to find something else!” The same goes for skiing – it can be difficult, if not dangerous, to find your way around in the Tetons.
One of the great things about The Black Book versus a climbing guide is that the photos were taken from a skier’s perspective and during the winter when the lines are filled it. Conor also caters to the inner workings of a Ski Mountaineering mind by using big pictures and small words which is really all you need. Just remember the sharp end of mountains should be pointing up and you’ll be able to figure out the plot of The Black Book. As an added bonus, many of the lines that Sparky over at TetonTele.com refers to are shown here, so you can figure out what the hell he is talking about.
Another cool aspect of The Black Book is that it is printed on-demand through Blurb.com, which means it can be easily updated and when you order one, you’re assured it is the latest version. Contact Conor directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to order a copy. I’m not sure what the price is, but considering the cost of getting lost and blowing a weekend trip out to the Tetons, it will seem cheap.
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Category: Gear Reviews