Book Review: Select Peaks of Greater Yellowstone By Thomas Turiano
If you’re planning to ski any cool lines or bag any peaks in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem you need a copy of Thomas Turiano’s Select Peaks of the Greater Yellowstone: A Mountaineering History and Guide. Originally published in 2003, this book is the absolute best place to find beta on mountaineering or ski mountaineering in a unique and incredible area like the Greater Yellowstone.
Whether you’re a ski mountaineer, backcountry skier, peak bagger, history buff, day hiker, local, or visitor, Select Peaks is one of the most comprehensive historical guidebooks you will ever see. Whenever I am planning a mountaineering trip, this is the first place I go to. Next I try the Internet.
The book obviously focuses on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem of WY, MT, and ID. In its 490 pages it explores 107 peaks in 13 different mountain ranges. For each peak and every range, Turiano writes about the history, geology, notable ascents and descents, names, route information, stories, mountain statistics, and other nitty gritty details. Filled with useful beta and fun trivia, it’s a must read before any adventure.
When you read this book, you’ll wonder how Turiano discovered the facts he wrote about. The details are fascinating and there is a lifetime of research in these pages. Did you know that Alex Lowe stopped a devastating fall with a Black Diamond whippet while skiing the Y Couloir on Black Mountain? Or that Mark Newcomb was the first to ski the northwest couloir of Teewinot in freeheel gear in 1996? Read about amazing details like these and other fascinating facts when you read Select Peaks.
It’s challenging to read Turiano’s book cover to cover. Instead this is a reference book for mountain adventures. Pick a peak or range and learn about routes, history, and culture. Each range is complete with a map and range specific details. Nearly 400 photos help to bring the ranges, the mountains, the routes, and the pioneering trappers and mountaineers who explored them to life. The mountain ranges that Turiano writes about include:
- Western Beartooth
- Eastern Beartooth
- Northern Absaroka
- Southwest Absaroka
- Southeast Absaroka
- Wind River
- Gros Ventre
- Salt River
- Snake River
Turiano includes trophy peaks like Granite Peak in the Beartooths, the Grand Teton in the Teton Range, and Gannet Peak in the Wind Rivers alongside lesser known peaks like Koch Peak in the Madison Range, Ramshorn Peak in the Gallatin Range, or Mount Fitzpatrick in the Salt River Range. You can find a sortable list of the 107 peaks featured in the book on PeakBagger.com. Routes include easy scrambles to bag summits and other routes are technical ski mountaineering lines that only elite mountaineers should attempt. It covers the spectrum.
Select Peaks features an excellent introduction too. It explores mountaineering, land ownership, geology, and wildlife (an important topic in a zone with a massive grizzly population). The quote by Mark Biel about bear spray is especially inspiring “It’s kind of like Tabasco sauce. You like it on your scrambled eggs, but you don’t like it in your eyes.” Bear spray is a must for this region.
If you are heading to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, pick up a copy of Select Peaks. Unfortunately, it’s out of print and nearly impossible to find. If you have a copy hang on to it – or try to sell it for $200+ on Amazon.
Alternatively you can buy a digital copy of Select Peaks of Greater Yellowstone on Turiano’s website for around $29 bucks with shipping included. Print it yourself or download it to your smartphone and you’re good to go – at a reasonable price.
Thank you Mr. Turiano for writing such a in-depth tome about mountaineering in the Greater Yellowstone. Many of the ski descents featured on AMountainJourney.com are chosen from this book. The others are on my bucket list. Plus, the book is updated on Turiano’s web forum.
Find your copy of Select Peaks of the Greater Yellowstone: A Mountaineering History and Guide at:
According to Thomas Turiano’s website, SelectPeaks.com, he is a guide, author, speaker, guitarist, and adventure consultant. He has a wealth of knowledge and plenty of well respected experience in the Greater Yellowstone area and has written several books including:
- Jackson Hole Backcountry Skier’s Guide: South
- Teton Skiing: A History and Guide
- Select Peaks of the Greater Yellowstone: A Mountaineering History and Guide
Select Peaks of the Greater Yellowstone: A Mountaineering History and Guide Quick Facts
- 13 Ranges
- 107 Peaks
- 23 Maps
- Nearly 400 Photos
Check out a few samples of Select Peaks available as promos:
- Grand Teton
- Granite Peak
You can find other samples online that prove how valuable this book can be to a beta-hungry mountaineer. Buy your copy today.