Hangdog Days

Conflict, Change, and the Race for 5.14

  • 320 pages
  • Mountaineers Books
  • 978-1-68051-232-8
  • Apr 1, 2019

Paperback / softback
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  • Fast-paced history-cum-memoir about rock climbing in the wild-and-wooly ’80s
  • Highlights ground-breaking achievements from the era
Hangdog Days chronicles the era when rock climbing exploded in popularity, attracting a new generation of talented climbers eager to reach new heights via harder routes and faster ascents. This contentious, often humorous period gave rise to sport climbing, climbing gyms, and competitive climbing--indelibly changing the culture of the sport, transforming it into what we know today.

One of those young climbers, writer Jeff Smoot, traces the development over time of traditional climbing "rules," enforced first through peer pressure, then later through intimidation and sabotage. In the late ’70s, several climbers began introducing new tricks including "hangdogging"-- hanging on gear to practice moves--considered cheating by the old guard. As more climbers broke ranks with traditional style, this new gymnastic approach pushed the limits of climbing from 5.12 to 5.13. When French climber Jean-Baptiste Tribout ascended the 5.14a To Bolt or Not to Be at Smith Rock in 1986, he broke a previously thought impenetrable barrier. John Bachar, Todd Skinner, Ray Jardine, Lynn Hill, Mark Hudon, Tony Yaniro, Alan Watts, and others star in this lively period of the sport.


  • 320 pages
  • Mountaineers Books
  • 978-1-68051-232-8
  • Apr 1, 2019

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