Art Gran


Art Gran authored a Climbing Guide in 1964. It was the first guide book for the Shawangunks. Imagine climbing in the 1950s and early 1960s at this rather large climbing area and the names and descriptions of climbs were passed around mostly through word of mouth. There were likely some notebooks that were passed back and forth among Appalacian Mountain Club and college mountaineering club members. But in those early days, being able to find your way around and to lead climb in the Gunks must have been a big deal indeed.

Art Gran was the first mentor to the CCOC climbers (Roman Sadowy,  Al DeMaria, Claude Suhl & Pete Geiser). They became known as Art’s boys and in return they called him Dad. He had an important influence on the group and early on Art helped them buck prevailing AMC certification requirements. Here are a couple of paragraphs from Art Gran's. A Climber's Guide to the Shawangunks, Published by the American Alpine Club, 1964, p18.

"When I started climbing in the Shawangunks, the AMC had reached the high point of its training program by the introduction of qualified seconds training. At this time, the AMC would have sixty people registered on a weekend, the colleges would have about eight and there would be three independents. These figures soon rose to 100 AMC, fifteen college and four independents. Although I had experience, I started from the bottom working my way up the scale with the Club. However, the Club did not have enough leaders who were willing to participate in its elaborate training program, the whole thing was starting to bog down, and my progress was so slow that I decided to come up in the late winter on my own. I first came with Lester Germer and later with my new friend, Howard Friedman. Although I continued on the Club's program and eventually became an unlimited leader (which meant I could pass other people as leaders for the Club).

In 1957 I started bringing up a number of beginners from the City College Outdoor Club. When we climbed together, we did not do so as part of the AMC trip; this more or less started the growth of the independent movement, and it soon mushroomed to gigantic proportions. The original group, known as “The Vulgarians,” did not discourage outsiders from participating, but welcomed anyone who could take it. Thus, the independent climbers eventually became the largest single group in the area, which very much changed the entire atmosphere.”

Art Gran

(aka Dad to the CCOC boys)

The first guidebook by Art Gran

published in 1964