The Black Book

| August 26, 2009

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.


Three little skiers climbing up the Hourglass Couloir on Nez Perce.

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.

The Southeast face of Teewinot.  Go there, ski that.

The Southeast face of Teewinot. Go there, ski that.

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 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, which means it can be easily updated and when you order one, you’re assured it is the latest version.  Contact Conor directly at 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

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (12)

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  1. Ralph S. says:

    Here is a link to the book on blurb:

    Looks like about three weeks to get one via blurb. Wonder if Conor has a stash of preprinted…?…

  2. randosteve says:

    Low blow man… ;)

  3. Andrew says:

    Hehe. I’ll see if I can get you a pro deal on a copy to make up for it. ;)

  4. randosteve says:

    Guess Conor’s got something against his local media outlets?

    Hey Conor…


  5. Bob says:

    Cool, except that I’m trying to order the book via and I can’t seem to get it to work. Have people been able to get to their shopping cart after clicking to purchase a copy?

    Maybe it’s a mac thing…

  6. Bob says:

    Never mind, I figured it out. Instead of using the link that Ralph S. posted above, I used this one:

    Book ordered. Thanks for the pointer, Andrew.

  7. Conor says:

    You can email me at for a book. It’ll be $32 that way with tax and shipping included. I order batches at a time and get a reduced printing/shipping rate for that. There’s no pro-deals Steve. I’m not making any dough on these. But I’ll trade you a book for your tools in the swap-shop. Nothing against local media outlets, but the books are expensive to print and I don’t want to print more than I can sell.
    Lastly, if anybody wants a 16×20 or 20×30 of any of the pictures in the book (the cover shot is my favorite) I can do that for 90% of the pictures. Those would cost $30 and $40 to have printed, taxed and shipped.

  8. randosteve says:

    I’m not looking for a pro deal Conor…I was more offering my services to help promote your new project…so you might actually be able to make some money from it. Good luck with it!

    But man…I sure wish you wouldn’t publish pictures of the southern range…it’s nice to have it to yourself and a few friends.

    Sound familiar? ;) Welcome to the slippery slope.

  9. Conor says:

    Haha, you got me Steve. My comment does sound like more of a complaint than my intention was. But regarding your comment above, that doesn’t read too kindly either. I never had any big plans to sell the book, just to give them to buddies. I think it’d be frowned upon to sell a ton of them so I never thought about advertising. I’m not making money off them so it doesn’t matter much to me how many I sell. And if I’m not making money, why spend money on advertising? I’m just stoked people are interested because it’s taken so much time. I’m sure you feel the same way about tetonat.

  10. OMR says:

    Looks like a great book. The Teton’s are unmatched for terrain. And it’s interesting to see the territory ‘marking’ in the Teton’s (Rando Steve and Conor).

    It’s still going on in the Wasatch, even when you can take UTA to the trailheads. Moguls in Cardiac and somehow one group has prioroity over another? It’s fun to watch the posturing and scent-marking.

    All I can say, take the road less travelled – there is plenty of un-tapped terrain if willing to work for it. I’ve found that intruders come and go, but overtime they stay away from long, grungy approaches, even when the rewards are great.

  11. randosteve says:

    It’s all good Conor…just razzing you a little. Andrew here is the King of that stuff, so I’m just trying to keep up. He started it anyway with the tele reference. Book reviews are free at…so you know.

    We should make some turns together this winter…if it ever freaking gets here.

  12. brian says:

    Yo, Drew, totally had me there with the TetonTele link. Laughed my ass off. Couldn’t figure why I had never heard of it. Glad Steve caught it…deserves every bit of it! Book looks like a must-have for us local Teton skiers. Sweet.

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