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Memoir of 1970’s Ontario Rock Climbing: Chaundy-Smart, A Youth Wasted Climbing

Dave Chaundy-Smart was one of the leading Canadian climbers in the 1980s. Along with Sam Cohen, Smart started Gripped Magazine in the late 90s. His forthcoming book titled A Youth Wasted Climbing will be available mid-2015.

Chaundy-Smart’s description of his youth has all the understatement and dry wit of Steinbeck’s Cannery Row. There is a natural rhythm to the book that makes it a joy to read: pure and simple. Bloody brilliant.” – Paul Pritchard, author of Deep Play and The Totem Pole, 1997 and 1999 winner of the Boardman-Tasker Prize.

In the mid to late 70s, a group of California-trained climbers led by George Manson were living in Ontario. Manson’s energy was a driving force for Dave and his brother Reg to learn hard climbing or die trying. The Smart brothers made a number of trips to Yosemite before turning their attention to Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment.

Dave Smart and Harry Hoediono on top of Half Dome  Photo Dave Smart Collection
Dave Smart and Harry Hoediono on top of Half Dome Photo Dave Smart Collection

Dave and Reg were at the forefront of Ontario’s climbing throughout the 80s. Dave developed many of the most difficult routes in Ontario at the time, including Cristina’s World 5.12d at Old Baldy, which took 14 days of projecting. Over the years, he established more than 600 routes in Ontario, such as High Society 5.10d, Sister Morphine and Moby Fly 5.11. He ushered in the era of Ontario sport climbing with his route Moby Fly 5.11a and published four guidebooks. The first of which was in 1981, he followed it with another in 1985 and then 1988, before his select Ontario’s Finest Rock Climbs hit the shelves in 1998.

In high school, Dave’s vice-principal told him he was wasting his youth by climbing. 

In Dave’s memoir, A Youth Wasted Climbing, he tells the story of how he and Reg spent the last years of the 1970s fighting suburban boredom by becoming full-time climbers. Dave relives the simpler days of climbing, from dangerous routes and underage tomfoolery to questionable climbing techniques. Don’t miss this must-read by, as Chic Scott said, “One of the leading figures in Ontario rock climbing throughout the 80s.”

A Youth Wasted Climbing is being published by Rocky Mountain Books. For more information, visit here.


A Youth Wasted Climbing, published by Rocky Mountain Books

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