Books

Sierra Summits: A Guide to 50 Peak Experiences in California’s Range of Light (2019)

YA cover web

Climb Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48 states. Hike to the top of Half Dome, Yosemite’s most coveted landmark. Or trek atop Mount Tallac, the majestic summit overlooking beautiful Lake Tahoe. Each of these adventures and dozens more beckon Sierra Nevada visitors of all ages. Hikers can summit each in a day, and sometimes in just a few hours, with a minimum of experience and gear.

More than 200 color photos, maps and graphics bring adventures to life. In addition, fascinating history and “Sierra Secrets” enhance every chapter. Outings suitable for cyclists, families with children, and hikers with dogs are profiled.

Winner of a National Outdoors Book Award and an Outdoor Writers Association of California best guidebook honor, “Sierra Summits” will help you discover amazing new experiences in the Range of Light.

Review: “A guidebook with heart”






Yosemite Adventures: 50 Spectacular Hikes, Climbs and Winter Treks (2014)

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“Wow, I want to go! With explicit directions, insider tips, gear lists, personal journals, awesome photos and maps, Yosemite Adventures tempts you to trek on the best of the best. You are drawn to travel the easy casual short trails or to graduate to the steep rock climbing dream walls.” – Marty McDonnell, Tuolumne River guide and California Outdoors Hall of Famer

Hike atop legendary giant El Capitan. Climb two different ways to the summit of Half Dome. Ski or snowshoe through a winter wonderland to rustic and free backcountry cabins. These journeys and dozens more come alive in “Yosemite Adventures: 50 Spectacular Hikes, Climbs and Winter Treks.”

Whether you want to walk back in time among ancient giant sequoias, backpack beside thundering waterfalls or test your climbing skills on glacier-carved granite, “Yosemite Adventures” suggests trips for every season and level of ability.

Five categories of activities each include outings suitable for those new to outdoors adventure and advanced choices for the experienced. With a great selection in Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows, the guide also describes little-known gems near Hetch Hetchy, Wawona and throughout the park.

Discover pristine Elizabeth Lake just a short walk from the road. Explore the incomparable Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River on an overnight odyssey. Or tie on your crampons and scale Mount Lyell, the highest mountain in the park. “Yosemite Adventures” shows you how, with dozens of insider tips, 50 maps and more than 100 color photos and graphics.

Author Matt Johanson draws upon 20 years of personal experiences to produce this ultimate guide to a Yosemite that only a few lucky visitors ever see.


Yosemite Epics: Tales of Adventure from America’s Greatest Playground (2011)

“In Yosemite Epics, Matt Johanson has assembled stories, told first hand by some of today’s top adventurers, of harrowing tales when they dodged a bullet in Yosemite. Strap yourself in. It’s quite a ride.” – Ron Erskine, outdoor columnist

A falling climber’s rope snaps thousands of feet above the ground. A free soloing climber, alone and unroped, attempts a terrifying do-or-die move. Two backcountry skiers awake in their tent to find themselves buried by an avalanche. A daring kayak venture helps an aging legend discover greater health and happiness.

These stories and more come to life in  a collection of first-person narratives from rock, snow, ice and whitewater. Thrilling yet thoughtful, the book explains the athletes’ motivations for their ambitious outings and shares valuable lessons learned from their experiences.

Featuring tales from Steve Roper, John Bachar, Royal Robbins, Lynn Hill, Hans Florine, Peter Croft, Tommy Caldwell and more. With illustrations from Christopher Hampson.


Review: “Full of tantalizing tales”







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Matt Johanson