I was wandering through our local landmark bookstore on Saturday, and, as usual, found myself browsing the climbing reference and guide section (I’ve mentioned my fondness for old outdoor books before). This time I scored some great finds: “Advanced Rockcraft” by Royal Robbins (1973), “A Climbing Guide to Oregon” by Nicholas A. Dodge (1975), and “Rocky Butte Quarry: A Climbing Guide to Urban Rock” by Mike Pajunas and Bob McGown (1989). They inspired some summer climbing and blogging projects, but what really caught my eye was a copy of Jeff Thomas’ “Oregon High” (1991).
“Oregon High” is the foremost guide to Oregon’s eight highest peaks. Currently there isn’t another book on the market anywhere near as comprehensive on the subject. If you want to supplement the information available in “Oregon High” you’ll have to purchase at least 4-6 different books, even then you’ll be missing a lot. Most current guides cover the most popular routes, but finding information on lesser known routes and variations is difficult, even with the internet. “Oregon High” also had some of the best pictures, history, and route descriptions I’ve found.
It is no surprise that it is a highly sought after piece of work, even now, more than 20 years after it was published. Almost all the climbers I know have a copy, but anyone who doesn’t will find it very difficult to hunt one down. There has never been a second edition, and I don’t know when the last printing was. I do know that it hasn’t been available from a book distributor since 2007. Once in a while I stumble across a copy at a book store and buy it to give it to a friend. I was prepared to do so again this weekend, but I was intimidated by the price tag!
I see Jeff Thomas every so often when I do research in the Mazama Library. I usually (and probably obnoxiously) ask him if he has plans for a second edition. Sadly, he doesn’t. I, and all folks at the shop, encourage you to splurge if you find a copy of “Oregon High.”

Do you own a copy? Tell us what you think of it. Do you want to see a second edition? Leave a comment. Who knows, maybe we’ll Jeff (or someone else) to start the project!


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