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Phil Watts Library

Untitled Document

The Godfather of Marquette Climbing

While teaching at Northern Michigan University for 38 years, Phil became an internationally acclaimed rock climbing and mountaineering researcher. He authored 111 papers/presentations that are primarily in the areas of rock climbing/mountaineering and Nordic skiing. He was twice selected to give the opening keynote lecture at the International Conference on Science and Technology in Climbing and Mountaineering as well as the keynote address at the 3rd Congress of the International Rock Climbing Research Association.

Dr. Phil Watts
Dr. Phil Watts
Dr. Phil Watts

Locally known as the “Godfather of Marquette Climbing”, he was a catalyst for the climbing scene in Marquette, teaching over a thousand people to climb during university courses, and many more who were introduced to the sport by his students who were affected by his research. Phil was instrumental in bringing the first climbing wall to NMU in 1990, developing the youth climbing program “Toon Busters”, and was the first faculty advisor for the South Superior Climbing Club.

Phil also was a pioneer in developing local climbing crags. Starting in the early 1980’s he discovered and put up many first ascents at the AAA Wall, Cliffs Ridge, Slugg’s Bluff, Negaunee Slab, Incarceration Crag, and Phil’s Hill.

In 1996, Phil authored the Outdoor Pursuits Series book Rock Climbing.

Phil was also a co-founder of the Upper Peninsula Climbers Coalition, which is an Access Fund affiliate. He was the UPCC’s first President and during his time on the board, Phil led the effort to securing access to Presque Isle, and the recent acquisition of the now climber owned Slugg’s Bluff.

A very detailed and organized person, Phil kept extensive notes on all of his climbing adventures big and small. In 2022, he did a limited publishment of “A partially complete story of the climbing side of his life”, Collecting Butterflies: Four Decades of Climbing Notes Volume 1 and 2.

Phil also was an accomplished mountaineer with a passion for the North Cascades. From the mid 80’s through the 2000’s saw Phil on the summit of many of the Cascade’s classic peaks.

Phil will always be remembered in our hearts for, his kindness, a lover of pancakes, mochas and ice cream, but most of all, a great friend, mentor, educator, and leader to our climbing community. He will be sorely missed.

In typical Phil fashion, Phil donated his climbing guidebook collection to the Upper Peninsula climbing community which will be permanently stored at Down wind Sports in Marquette. The U.P. climbing community will be forever in debt to Phils dedication and generosity to Upper Peninsula climbing.

Phils kindness and desire to share his passion has inspired many others climbers to follow in his footsteps and and this collection continues to grow with the support of the community that Phil loved so much.

Available Guidebooks
Guidebook: Sportklettern Heute
Guidebook: Sky Valley
Guidebook: Routes and Rocks in the MT. Challenger Quadrangle
Guidebook: Flatiron Classics
Guidebook: The High Peaks
Guidebook: Climbers Guide to the Olympic Mountains
Guidebook: Cascade Alpine Guide Columbia River to Stevens Pass
Guidebook: Washington Rock Climbs
Guidebook: Washington Weekend Rock
Guidebook: Selected Alpine Climbs in the Canadian Rockies
Guidebook: Cascade Alpine Guide Rainy Pass to Fraser River
Guidebook: Summit Guide to the Cascade Volcanoes
Guidebook: Sport Climbs in the Canadian Rockies
Guidebook: Rockclimbing in Scotland
Guidebook: Llanberis Pass
Guidebook: Rock Climbing Shelf Road
Guidebook: North Table Mountain Rock Climbs at the Golden Cliffs
Guidebook: Shelf Road Rock A Complete Climbing Reference
Guidebook: Boulder Climbs North
Guidebook: Boulder Climbs South
Guidebook: Lumpy Ridge Estes Park Rock Climbs
Guidebook: Rocky Mountain National Park The Climbers Guide
Guidebook: Rock Climbing Colorado
Guidebook: 1995 Boulder Sport Climbing Guide
Guidebook: Heel and Toe The Climbs of Greater Vedauwoo
Guidebook: Teton Classics
Guidebook: Horseshoe Canyon Ranch
Guidebook: Exotic Rock
Guidebook: Wind River Mountains
Guidebook: A Climbers Guide to the Teton Range
Guidebook: Bugaboo Rock A Climbers Guide
Guidebook: A Guide to Climbing & Hiking in Southwestern British Columbia
Guidebook: Cascade Alpine Guide Stevens Pass to Rainy Pass
Wasatch Tours
Denali National Park
This is Alta
Olympic Mountains Trail Guide
Guidebook: Cascade Alpine Guide Columbia River to Stevens Pass
Guidebook: Selected Climbs in the Cascades Volume II
Guidebook: Selected Climbs in the Cascades
Guidebook: Adventure Guide to Mount Rainer
Guidebook: Oregon High A Climbing Guide
Guidebook: City of Rocks Idaho
Guidebook: Rock Climbing Montana
Guidebook: The Trad Guide to Joshua Tree
Guidebook: Rock Climbing Guide Joshua Tree
Guidebook: Yosemite Topropes
Guidebook: Yosemite Free Climbs
Guidebook: Yosemite Select
Guidebook: Climbers Guide to Pilot Mountain State Park
Guidebook: Clear Creek Canyon Rock Climbs
Guidebook: South Platte and Garden of the Gods
Guidebook: Climbers Guide to Southern California
Guidebook: SoCal Select
Guidebook: Bishop Area Rock Climbs
Guidebook: Classic Rock Climbs Bishop & Mammoth Areas
Guidebook: Owens River Gorge Climbs
Guidebook: A Selection of Sport Climbing in Red Rocks
Guidebook: Rock Climbing Utah's Wasatch Range
Guidebook: Red Rocks Select
Guidebook: Fun Climbs Red Rocks
Guidebook: Rock Climbing Arizona
Guidebook: The Climbers Guide to North America Rocky Mountain Rocky Mountain Rocks Climbs
Guidebook: Logan Canyon climbs
Guidebook: Rock Climbing Red Rocks
Guidebook: 50 Short Climbs in the Midwest
Guidebook: Red River Gorge North
Guidebook: New River Gorge Rock Climbs
Guidebook: Climbers Guide to Devils Lake 3rd Edition
Guidebook: Devils Lake a Climbing Guide
A Climbers Guide to Glacier National Park
Devils Tower National Monument A Climbers Guide
Wasatch Trails
Guidebook: Marquette County Rock Climbing
Guidebook: Rock Climbing Minnesota and Wisconsin
Guidebook: Rock Climbs of Tuolumne Medows
Guidebook: Southern Sierra Rock Climbing Domelands
Guidebook: Sierra Classics 100 Best Climbs in the High Sierra
Guidebook: Climbers Guide to Tahoe Rock
Guidebook: Seneca The Climbers Guide
Guidebook: Rock Climbing Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland
Guidebook: Rock climbing Guide Spearfish Canyon Limestone
Guidebook: A Ice Climbers Guide to Munising Michigan JJ & BT
Guidebook: Ice Climbs of the Lake Superior Region A Compendium
Guidebook: Hueco Tanks
Guidebook: Sportklettern Heute
Mt. McKinley Climber's Handbook
Climbing and Hiking in Ecuador
Bugaboo Rock A Climbers Guide
The Needles of Rushmore
Mexico's Volcanoes A Climbing Guide
Sport Climbing in New Mexico
Hikers and Climbers Guide to the SandiasHiking South Dakota's Black Hills Country
Black Hills Needles Selected Free Climbs
Touch the Sky The Needles in the Black Hills of South Dakota
Rushmore Needles Climbing Guide
Teton Skiing A History & Guide to the Teton Range
Free Climbs of Devils Tower
High Uinta Trails