The Buildering Files: Historical Climbing Guides to Urban Ascents in Norman, Oklahoma

Publishing these guides online for posterity. If you are interested in buildering and buildering guides you will appreciate these. The Urban Climber was the first published guide for climbing on the OU campus. It was authored by Bernie Wire and Ramzy Telley. Though there is no copyright date on the version I have, based on the dates of some of the first ascents, I would guess that it was published in 1981 or 1982. The copy here is from a scanned copy of a photocopy of the original – which I think Tom from Backwoods loaned me one time years ago. At the time, Tom showed me an original copy of the small book. I wish I had a copy of it!


Years later, enchanted by buildering, I created my own guide, based in part on the original Urban Climber guide. I drew not only from the whimsical approach of the King Kong theme of the original guide but also from the exploits of other builderers further afield and with deeper historical roots. Namely, the brilliant and daring piece of work by none other than Whipplesnaith himself with The Night Climbers of Cambridge. I hand-created, as in, typed, printed, cut and pasted together a guide and produced just a handful of them. That was in 1997. I have the first edition of the book and what’s more, I recently happened on the original pages and have scanned and placed them here.


A quick word of warning: this article and these guides are for historical purposes only. I do not condone recommend or encourage the climbing of structures on campus. Climbing on OU property can result in fines for trespassing and possibly arrest and/or expulsion from school. Furthermore, climbing, and in particular, soloing (i.e. climbing unroped) is extremely dangerous and has a risk of serious injury or death. Be smart and use good judgement.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.