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Learning to Rock Climb in 1981

Learning to Rock Climb
Michael Loughman, Sierra Club Books, San
Francisco, 1981

In 1981, Michael Loughman published his large format book Learning to Rock Climb.  His wife Amy "demonstrated the art with such spirit and beauty" that the book is a pleasure to own today.  The book was dedicated to rock climbing pioneers Glen Dawson, Chuck Wilts Royal Robins, Mark Powell and Chuck Pratt.  Yvon Chouinard called Learning to Rock Climb  "A very practical, commonsense approach to learning to climb."

While you will note that we have come a long way, Baby, almost all of the techniques in the book are useful today, especially in Light and Fast, Trained and Experienced traditional mountaineering.  A fourth class route may be protected using a rope alone, or with a few runners and carabiners to anchor from natural features; climbers need to know these early techniques developed at Tahquitz Rock and Yosemite into the 1970s.  Seat harnesses are not mentioned in the book.

Belaying the leader in 1981
Amy, belaying the leader in 1981.
(There are a ton of dangerous technical problems here.
Do you know what they are?)

Belaying the follower in 1981
Amy belaying the follower in fine form.

Bouldering in 1981
Amy Loughman bouldering over an overhang in the stylish climbing duds of the day.
Note that Bouldering was practiced carefully and without crash pads in those days.

--On Belay! Bob Speik
Copyright© 2000-2003 by Robert Speik. All rights reserved.



Read more
What is the best harness?

What is the best belay device?

What do you carry on your harness?
What is Light and Fast alpine style?


Read about belaying and rappelling in this book!


    Climbing is Dangerous: Stack the Odds in Your Favor - 

    Check your knots and harness buckle -
    Inspect your gear and replace as necessary -
    Know your partners and their habits -
    Check your belay - are you sure you're on? -
    Read all warnings - they can save your life -
    Fixed gear is unreliable - back it up when possible -
    Keep an eye on the weather -
    Rock breaks - check your holds -
    Always double check your rappel system -
    Remember, safety is your responsibility!