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Hangdog Days

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About the Author

Jeff Smoot has always lived close to his outdoor passion, from writing for climbing magazines to researching and writing guidebooks, to serving on Seattle's Camp Long Advisory Council, which supports outdoor education and opportunities for disadvantaged and underserved youth. He is the founder of Camp Long's annual Mountain Fest, celebrating Seattle's rich climbing history and culture. A semi-retired attorney, he has served as Chair of the Washington State Bar Association Law Clerk Board and is a regular speaker at legal education seminars. Jeff lives in Seattle.


"Hangdog Days" by Washington-based climber Jeff Smoot details rock climbing's often hilarious growing pains of the 1970s and 1980s. The parallels between then and now struck me, even as our sport has changed tremendously. Now it's the same conflict, different issues; the same challenge, higher bar; the same stakes, different rules.--Chris Weidner "The Daily Camera" An engaging account of the changes that took place in American rock climbing in the '70s and '80s told with great verve, through the stories of some fascinating characters from died-in-the-wool bottom-up traditionalists to top-down rap-bolters.-- "2019 Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature shortlist" As a direct result of the people and climbing Smoot describes, we have sport climbing, gyms, comps, bouldering as we know it, and so many other things that were once unthinkable and that now form the bedrock of all serious climbing efforts. As such, I highly recommend this sensitive and fascinating account to anyone interested in how we got here.--David Smart, Gripped founding editor "Ontario Climbing" If you climbed during that era, you'll turn each page eagerly to find out what happens next (even though you know). If you didn't, you'll likely do the same.... In many ways, Hangdog Days reads as the great American climbing novel. Smoot accepts Todd [Skinner]'s call to join him, and brings us along.--Tom Valis "Gripped" Impressively informative, exceptionally well written, thoroughly engaging in organization and presentation, Hangdog Days: Conflict, Change, and the Race for 5.14 is an extraordinary and unique sports history that is unreservedly recommended.--Micah Andrew "Midwest Book Review" In his book Hangdog Days, Jeff Smoot chronicles the controversial method of "hangdogging" a climbing route and the debate that raged during the 1980s in climbing circles about this method.... Part history and part memoir, Smoot's book uses his personal experiences as a climber and freelance rock-climbing magazine writer as the vehicle to narrate the sport's rocky transition from the purview of a few grizzled climbers to a phenomenon that attracted younger and more eager climbers wanting to climb harder routes once thought impossible to scale. Smoot's story incorporates the biggest names of the era--everyone from John Bachar to Todd Skinner to Lynn Hill. Each one adds to the debate about the ethics of hangdogging a route.--Eric Patterson "Foreword Reviews" It's awesome. Highly recommend it.--Chris Kalous "The Enormocast" Smoot does an incredible job of making the reader question their own climbing ethics and wonder what the future holds for our crags. If you're into reading on the history of specific climbs or nerding out about Yosemite/Joshua Tree/Smith Rock, this one's for you.-- "monopkt." Smoot effortlessly weaves his own experiences through a wildly colorful historical record filled with fistfights, sabotaged routes, and even death threats.... Hangdog Days is at its heart a tribute to Skinner and the groundbreaking (and yes, sometimes controversial) ways he helped redefine the sport itself.--Shawnte Salabert "Adventure Journal" Smoot tracks the evolution of climbing, from the early hard free climbs of Yosemite to indoor climbing gyms, and introduces readers to climbing luminaries like John Bachar, Alan Watts, Lynn Hill, and Hugh Herr (a double amputee), and he delves into his relationship with a charismatic free climber, Todd Skinner, to whom the book is dedicated...this crisply written memoir provides solid information on a crucial historical period in a sport of increasing popularity.--Brenda Barrera "Booklist" This rollicking book is a welcome trip back to the 1980s, the decade of greatest change--and conflict--in America, when resting on the rope and rap bolting were taboo.... With engaging writing and research, Smoot's book is a pleasure, even as it details the uglier incidents (bolt wars, Yosemite rope-shitting, Index crack-greasing!) in American climbing. Without the 1980s, our sport would not be where it is today, a lesson Hangdog Days artfully conveys.-- "Climbing" Hangdog Days recalls the colorful personalities and ethical struggles that spurred a revolution in rock climbing. This fun trip back in time will motivate you to climb harder.--Paul Piana, climber and writer Full of Homeric characters, epic struggles, heroes and heartbreaks, all played out on an international stage--fans of adventure narratives can't do much better than Hangdog Days.--John Long, writer and climber In Hangdog Days, Jeff Smoot offers an enlightening behind-the-scenes perspective on this fantastic era and its memorable characters. I was climbing in the areas he describes where and while these scenes were playing out. He captures them vividly.--Hans Florine, climber and writer Powerful, moving, compelling, outrageous, fascinating--Hangdog Days captures eighties climbing perfectly. If you're a climber and you can read, this book's for you.--Cam Burns, writer and editor Well-researched and fun with flashes of neon--Smoot's Hangdog Days captures all the wild color of climbing in the late '70s through the '80s.--Lynn Hill, climber

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