Book to read on the sierras
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Benjamin Ingalls
(Bingalls) - F
Book to read on the sierras on 03/17/2014 14:09:13 MDT Print View

I'm looking for a book to read to give me a better understanding of backpacking in the sierras

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Book to read on the sierras on 03/17/2014 14:27:49 MDT Print View

Humm. Believe it or not, may be a bit too broad a question. What you do mean?

Trails and routes:

Sierra South, and Sierra North guide books. (probably one or both of these if you are planning a fist trip)
Sierra High Route, Steve Roper (maybe this is too ambitious until after you are much more experienced in the area)
Any of the JMT guides (great for everything about the area, except the other specific routes)

(all of the above have some discussion of weather, gear, etc. before the route details.)

Mountains to climb:

The High Sierra, R. J. Secor

Natural History:

The Secret Sierra, David Gilligan
Geology of the sierra Nevada, Mary Hill (really fantastic book, probably have to buy used)
The Sierra Nevada, (Sierra Club Guide) S. Whitney (might also be out of print)

Regular History:

History of the Sierra Nevada, F. Farquhar (a bit dry)
Discovery of the Yosemite, Lafayette Bunnell
Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada, Clarence King (nice historical record of exploration of highest part of sierra)

Possibly one or more or the better JMT blog/trail journals would give you a very good idea what it is like to backpack, not to mention the omnipresent JMT gear lists on here.

The list goes on and on -there was someone on here that compiled a bibliography just about the JMT and it was pretty huge - I think over 50 books on the JMT alone.

If you are starting from absolute zero then IMHO the first thing to read is "My first summer in the Sierra", John Muir. Nothing about gear or techniques that any sane person would be able to imitate, but essential reading nonetheless.

Edited by millonas on 03/17/2014 15:57:44 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Book to read on the sierras on 03/17/2014 14:42:09 MDT Print View

" "My first summer in the Sierra", John Muir. "

Yes, that is available for free, online, and it is a quick read.

I read it and then wandered around on foot in Yosemite until I found the places where Muir described it in the 1860's.

--B.G.--

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Re: Book to read on the sierras on 03/17/2014 14:47:48 MDT Print View

Bob,

Did you also enter the Tuolumne canyon directly down 3000 ft south face - best as I can tell somewhere north of ten lakes - like JM? That, more than any other of the crazy shit he did, is the one that makes me laugh/cringe the most!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Book to read on the sierras on 03/17/2014 15:27:51 MDT Print View

No, I'm not quite that crazy. I have been up the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne before, and it was pleasant. I've been to Ten Lakes many times, and I have gone over to look down the cliff, and I didn't like what I saw.

I read the First Summer and then found the spot in Yosemite Creek where he must have herded the sheep across. In Dana Meadows, you can still see where the old wagon trail crossed it. Just across from the pass, you can see the Basque carvings on a tree. Yes, old JM would be spinning in his grave if he saw what the place looked like now.

--B.G.--

Benjamin Ingalls
(Bingalls) - F
Thanks on 03/17/2014 15:35:50 MDT Print View

Thanks for the reading suggests, Now I'm off to amazon. I've got my first summer off as a teacher and I want to explore. I have done 3 trips in the sierras in my life but have mostly spent my time backpacking in the coastal mountains for fear of the snow. Embarassing right. I gotta do some reading on general backpacking in the snow as well.

Aloha,

Ben

M G
(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
http://www.amazon.com/Sierra-Nevada-California-Academy-Sciences/dp/159714052X on 03/17/2014 16:22:56 MDT Print View

Highly recommend you get this field guide:
http://www.amazon.com/Sierra-Nevada-California-Academy-Sciences/dp/159714052X

if you are into birds he does a bird guide as well


Some good books to read:
http://www.amazon.com/Last-Season-P-S-Eric-Blehm/dp/0060583010/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1395094705&sr=1-1&keywords=last+season
http://www.amazon.com/Missing-Minarets-Search-Walter-Starr/dp/1930238185/ref=pd_sim_b_24?ie=UTF8&refRID=0KGKFNK32D2XA61RKEKD
http://www.amazon.com/Early-Days-Range-Light-Mountaineers/dp/1582436169/ref=pd_sim_b_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=1RYGPZ2RKNVM40MMCWR0

And I found this very interesting and not dry at all:
http://www.amazon.com/History-Sierra-Nevada-Francis-Farquhar/dp/0520253957



Maps:
http://www.imusgeographics.com/sierra-nevada-map
http://www.amazon.com/California-Road-Recreation-Atlas-Benchmark/dp/0929591496

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Book to read on the sierras on 03/17/2014 18:14:49 MDT Print View

" "My first summer in the Sierra", John Muir. "

Yes, that is available for free, online, and it is a quick read.

I read it and then wandered around on foot in Yosemite until I found the places where Muir described it in the 1860's.

--B.G.--

--------------------------------------------------

You can add "The Yosemite" and "The Mountains of California" both by Muir.

Add some maps and follow Bob's methodology. You should be "good to go." Forget all the other books.

This is how adventures are made :)

Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
Clarence King on 03/18/2014 09:17:21 MDT Print View

Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada: history, geology, and story-telling at the highest level.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: http://www.amazon.com/Sierra-Nevada-California-Academy-Sciences/dp/159714052X on 03/18/2014 18:42:18 MDT Print View

"And I found this very interesting and not dry at all:
http://www.amazon.com/History-Sierra-Nevada-Francis-Farquhar/dp/0520253957"

I agree, the subject matter of the book is definitely very interesting. By "dry" in this case I just mean Farquhar is not a great writer - not like say, Wallace Stegner- who wrote several very authoritative histories, but also knew how to write great prose. On the other hand, that is probably way too high a standard.

Should also mention here "A journal of ramblings through the high sierra of california", Joseph Le Conte.

Basically the story of a geology professor who takes a journey with some of his students across the sierra from one side to the other, and back. Written just after JM's first summer, but published way before JMs book. JM makes an appearance as well in the journey. There is a certain amount of perhaps unintentional humor as these were a bunch of enthusiastic "city folk". The descriptions are very good, and tend to focus on things JM might tend to gloss over in his ecstatic reveries. A very good historical record of what it was like, and who lived in the area, during the 1870's.

Edited by millonas on 03/18/2014 18:55:03 MDT.

M G
(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
One more on 03/18/2014 19:11:32 MDT Print View

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0804737037/ref=pd_aw_sbs_b_30

The historic overview of how the range was mapped is well worth digging this out of a library for.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
one to both read and look at on 03/20/2014 09:58:48 MDT Print View

This will give you inspiration as well as a feel for what it's like - it's more than just a photo gallery, has a nice story to it as well:

http://www.amazon.com/Walk-Sky-Dittli/dp/0944197841/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1395330910&sr=8-1&keywords=john+dittli

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: One more on 03/20/2014 19:08:35 MDT Print View

The last one MG recommended is great (+1) if you like geology. Its a shame it is not in print any more. I guess books like that come under the heading of labors of love.

Not the original topic but there is an equivalently wonderful book about Utah geology:

http://www.amazon.com/Geology-Occasional-Museum-Natural-History/dp/0940378051/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1395363855&sr=8-2&keywords=geology+of+utah

also out of print I guess. Both of these books are like review articles that got out of hand. So from my point of view just right. :-)

Edited by millonas on 03/20/2014 19:12:44 MDT.