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NO SWEAT

Climbers, you're just left hanging

Joshua Tree The Complete Guide James Kaiser Destination Press, $19.95

October 21, 2003|Ryan Brandt

The limbs-askew yucca for which Joshua Tree National Park is named mirrors this oddly juxtaposed guidebook in which historical figures and places command inordinate amounts of space while details on hikes, climbs and park features are glossed over too quickly.

Guidebooks are supposed to help you have a more complete experience, but this text-laden volume requires such a commitment that you find yourself reading the drawn-out history of a local cowboy instead of learning about its famed rock-climbing and bouldering routes.

In fact, rather than address one of the park's most obvious attractions, "The Complete Guide" recommends that you buy a separate climbing guide.

Despite its drawbacks, a fantastic wildflower section, topographic trail maps and photographs depicting 50 hues of blue sky suggest you make the three-hour trip from L.A. to see the park's brilliance for yourself.

-- Ryan Brandt

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