/ New Costa Blanca Rockfax review

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Wiley Coyote - on 24 Mar 2013
Let me say upfront I've not even seen the guide so I've no idea if it's good, bad or indifferent (or indeed, the best guide ever produced in this arm of the galaxy. However reading the review did make me wonder how much faith others would put in a review when the co-author and publisher of the book also happens to own the site?
is2 - on 24 Mar 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote:
> Let me say upfront I've not even seen the guide so I've no idea if it's good, bad or indifferent (or indeed, the best guide ever produced in this arm of the galaxy. However reading the review did make me wonder how much faith others would put in a review when the co-author and publisher of the book also happens to own the site?

Bought, it just used it for a week and in my opinion the review is much more positive than my experience of it. However if it was my business I would be promoting positive reviews of my product. A bit of a no brainer really.
The Ivanator - on 24 Mar 2013
In reply to is2: True that is hard to rely on the neutrality of a review of a Rockfax product on UKC, but have to say I think the new guide looks fantastic. Not sure what more you'd want or expect from a guide to the area.
Wiley Coyote - on 24 Mar 2013
In reply to is2:
> (In reply to Wiley Coyote)
> [...]
>
However if it was my business I would be promoting positive reviews of my product. A bit of a no brainer really.

Well up to a point. You can promote and publicise without reviewing. Some companies, my own former employers among them, had a policy of never reviewing their own products on their own platforms precisely because it might jeopardise credibility while not really getting that positive a result because readers would dismiss the reviews as free puffs. Hence my wondering whether we had been over-scrupulous or whether readers take reviews like this at face value.

In reply to Wiley Coyote:

It is a bit of a no win for us though isn't it?

All I would say is that I think you would struggle to find a bad, or even mediocre, review of any Rockfax guide, in any magazine or web site, for at least the last 10 years and probably longer.

Alan
AJM - on 25 Mar 2013
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

To balance that though based on the forum comments and crag conversations I've seen or had it looks like the reviewers and the users have had different experiences for at least one I can think of (chorro).
Wiley Coyote - on 25 Mar 2013
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:
> (In reply to Wiley Coyote)
>
> It is a bit of a no win for us though isn't it?
>
Exactly. That is why I raised the issue and, I suppose, used the thread for a bit of impromptu (tho since I'm now retired, somewhat academic) research. I banned reviews of our own stuff because I thought it was a no win. A good review would be dismissed and the worst case scenario was to commission a review which then came back as bad. What do you do then? Publish a review trashing your own product or spike it and risk word getting out that you supressed it? And let's face it, someone who has written a bad review for the publisher is probably not the sort of person to keep quiet if it is pinned. As you say, no win.
You've taken a different - and quite possibly correct - view so I was interested to hear what readers thought. Maybe I used to worry too much and they really don't care.

Ged Desforges - on 25 Mar 2013
In reply to AJM: add Côte d'Azur to that. A worrying number of major errors in the verdon section, as well as elsewhere.
In reply to Wiley Coyote:

All bad reviews have the potential to have a negative impact on income, whether or not we publish the product being reviewed. This is the nature of small media businesses that rely on advertising.

In my experience though, if a review is constructive, then the vast majority of our advertisers are responsible and they accept what is published. We don't go for hatchet-jobs which is the thing that most advertisers won't stand for - quite rightly in my opinion.

As an example, the small mention of the El Chorro guide above is a good case in point. The guide itself is in fact a perfectly decent guide and better than any other available, however it suffered from a small issue that was completely out of our control. The local climbers rebolted a few key routes after the book had been published and extended them. This meant that a small number of our descriptions had incorrect route length data. This wasn't brought up in a review, but it has been mentioned on some threads. In response we changed the way we indicate route lengths by dropping the individual lengths per route and just putting general indicators on the topos. In effect, we have responded to the review, albeit a review on the forums. (We also produce an update BTW - http://www.rockfax.com/climbing-guides/miniguides/el-chorro-update/ ).

Alan
In reply to Ged Desforges:

> add Côte d'Azur to that. A worrying number of major errors in the verdon section, as well as elsewhere.

I would be really useful if you could let me know about any errors, major or minor, for next time around, either via the database or directly. Oddly there are virtually no comments for the Verdon on the database at the mo.


Chris
Steve Crowe - on 25 Mar 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs:

I am just writing my review of the very impressive SPAIN: Costa Blanca Rock Fax and I was pondering whether to mention the description of route 3. Watermark at Wildside. You state "It is not possible with a 75m rope"?

Of course it is, we used a 70m rope as, you can rebelay halfway down.

(My real point is that you should have mentioned what length rope is needed?)

Route 4. El viaje de Chihiro is described as a 40m project but then has a 35m symbol on the diagram.

... Orihuela is not in Murcia.

I could go on... I am sure there are many more typos but

Overall I think it is impressive how many routes/descriptions have been included in 450 pages and that is only half the crags in the area!

The page layout is much less cluttered than in the past too, so the guidebook team have obviously taken on board some of my previous constructive criticism!
bpmclimb - on 25 Mar 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote:
> However reading the review did make me wonder how much faith others would put in a review when the co-author and publisher of the book also happens to own the site?

No faith at all, in my view. They're hardly going to give a negative presentation of their own product. I bought the new CB book because I wanted an up-to-date guide to the area, and Rockfax have proved reliable in the past. Advance publicity material makes interesting reading, and tells you (hopefully) what's included and what isn't, but I don't think it should be confused with a proper, independent review.


paul__in_sheffield - on 25 Mar 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote: I was out on the Costa Blanca at the end of January, but too early for the new edition. Heading out with the new guide this Friday and absolutely stoked after a couple of weeks scrutinizing it. The transition in content from the previous edition is significant, and really well produced.
Sadly, no Easter Eggs this time.....or are there??
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

> Sadly, no Easter Eggs this time.....or are there??

Of course there are, we have inserted 100 'obvious' mistakes - Steve has already found 3 as above. Send us the full list and you will receive a special prize.


Chris

:-)
In reply to Chris Craggs:
> Of course there are, we have inserted 100 'obvious' mistakes - Steve has already found 3 as above. Send us the full list and you will receive a special prize.

Although if we admitted that Orihuela wasn't in Murcia then we might get done under trade descriptions for all our books.

Murcia isn't in the Costa Blanca
The Verdon isn't on the Cote d'Azur
Half the Peak Limestone crags aren't in the 'Peak District'
Half the El Chorro crags aren't in El Chorro
Merseyside Sandstone is hardly western grit

and the list goes on ...

Alan
Steve Crowe - on 25 Mar 2013
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

So is the Costa Blanca Ridges mini guide free to anyone who purchases Costa Blanca climbs, regardless of where it is bought from or does that offer only apply to direct sales?
In reply to Steve Crowe:
> So is the Costa Blanca Ridges mini guide free to anyone who purchases Costa Blanca climbs, regardless of where it is bought from or does that offer only apply to direct sales?

No, it is only for Rockfax web site purchases made after 16 February. I have now clarified this on the RF site.

Alan
gav - on 25 Mar 2013
In reply to Steve Crowe:
> I could go on... I am sure there are many more typos but
>
> Overall I think it is impressive how many routes/descriptions have been included in 450 pages and that is only half the crags in the area!

I noticed a few typos/editing issues also (some pages have the stars/style icons in blue, some in pink), as well as a seemingly missing approach section for Toix Este (it tells you how to get to the crag from the parking, but not how to get to the parking. And the Maryvilla road map is less detailed than the previous version)?
dan gibson - on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote: In the accommadation section there's a typo error for the page number that leads you to the Compass West ad.
I guess the world is Orange after all.
Sam Mayfield - on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to dan gibson:

:0)

"like"

ads.ukclimbing.com
Rich Mayfield - on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Here's one for you Alan! Merseyside Sandstone, Pex Hill isn't a hill at all, it's a hole in the ground! But you realy can't blame RF for that.

We've not had any serious moans about it yet, we've sold over 20 copies so far.

One thing I would like to point out is the difficulty in producing topos for large cliffs. Puig for example, no matter where you take the photo from the top is 800m or half a mile further away from the base. So lines can never really be that accurate or the photo that detailed.
Stone Muppet - on 26 Mar 2013
Well here's a quick review based on a week's trip.

Usual rockfax format makes finding the crags and routes easy.

Usual wrongfax errors means descriptions sometimes need taking with a pinch of salt. The old Costa Blanca/Mallorca/Chorro guide had loads of these for example - this recent one does seem better and the photo topos etc do help mitigate the problem. Just remember to apply your common sense, it's only a guide.

Overall I'd definitely recommend it, use it etc. Had a great week and it took me straight to all the good routes!
fatbuoybazza - on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to Stone Muppet:

Totally agree with you Mr Muppet, common sense helps..

Thought the review was a bit weird since the reviewer hadn't used the new guide first hand tho!..

I found a couple of small errors whilst out there last week, but only for a small number of routes.

On the whole, it's a very good guide and so was the last one, and without it, I doubt I'd have set foot in such a fantastic area..
I've found that over the last six years of visiting the that a road map of the area is a worthwhile investment too..
Mark Harding - on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:
> (In reply to Wiley Coyote)
>
> It is a bit of a no win for us though isn't it?
>
> All I would say is that I think you would struggle to find a bad, or even mediocre, review of any Rockfax guide, in any magazine or web site, for at least the last 10 years and probably longer.
>
> Alan

I think, at the end of the day you just have to look at which guidebook the majority of climbers on the Costa Blanca are using...it's the Rockfax and that's every nationality.When dealing with such a huge area there will inevitably be some mistakes but generally these are minor.I've not checked this guide out "in the field" but I've been going to the area for ages and couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy. From what I know of the region it's a valuable addition.

paul__in_sheffield - on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs:
> (In reply to paul__in_sheffield)
>
> [...]
>
> Of course there are, we have inserted 100 'obvious' mistakes - Steve has already found 3 as above. Send us the full list and you will receive a special prize.
>
What's the 'special prize' Chris, a copy of the Third Edition?
Paul
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:
> (In reply to Chris Craggs)
> [...]
> What's the 'special prize' Chris, a copy of the Third Edition?
> Paul

A complimentary copy of all of my future books.


Chris
jon on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs:
> (In reply to paul__in_sheffield)
> [...]
>
> A complimentary copy of all of my future books.
>
>
> Chris

Bloody hell, does this mean you're retiring Chris?

ksjs - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH: I know I sound like a broken record but you made a comment, in relation to the latest Pembroke Rockfax, that was something along the lines of "Well, all guides have mistakes, we're fine with that." Scroll to the end of this:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=431533&v=1#x6121057

Maybe it's just my reading of it but I was amazed at what seemed like such a throwaway attitude. No surprise though really, just look at the many concrete examples quoted in that thread.

And your general point about reviews is moot, I read so many reviews (not only for outdoor gear but for film etc) and there seems to be a trend towards not being able to be negative (or even honest or objective) in the review. Advertisers, looking after each other, ensuring the next payment etc all seem to play a part in diluting reviews and making them less than neutral.
In reply to ksjs:
>
>
> Maybe it's just my reading of it but I was amazed at what seemed like such a throwaway attitude. No surprise though really, just look at the many concrete examples quoted in that thread.
>

"Many concrete examples quoted"? How many errors are actually listed above? I think there are 6 listed including the fact that Oriheula isn't in Murcia (we put it in that section for a very good reason, maps that are less detailed than last time and some odd colours.


Chris
ksjs - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs: I was talking about the examples quoted in the thread I linked to; I was recently back from Pembroke when I posted on that thread - the percentage of routes I did with description / info errors was too high.

Look at petejh's post (18th Nov) a few above mine on the same thread, not just typos, just plain wrong.
Darron - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Apologies if you are already aware of this Chris but the route pictured on page 443 is not Pepe Blai but route 16 Pic Pic.
Out there at the min and have enjoyed the new guide. Please don't go much lower on the index font size or I'll need a mag glass as well as specs!
In reply to Darron:
> (In reply to Chris Craggs)
>
> Apologies if you are already aware of this Chris but the route pictured on page 443 is not Pepe Blai but route 16 Pic Pic.
> Out there at the min and have enjoyed the new guide. Please don't go much lower on the index font size or I'll need a mag glass as well as specs!

Yes I was aware of that mistake, the caption somehow got carried over from the last guide. Glad you are enjoying the guide and the area.


Chris
fizzpup - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs:
Just got back the new guide is awesome, found some places I wouldn't have got to on the old one and had some really memorable days out good work!
Steve Crowe - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Steve Crowe:
> (In reply to Chris Craggs)
>
> I am just writing my review of the very impressive SPAIN: Costa Blanca Rock Fax and I was pondering whether to mention the description of route 3. Watermark at Wildside. You state "It is not possible with a 75m rope"?
>
> Of course it is, we used a 70m rope as, you can rebelay halfway down.
>
> (My real point is that you should have mentioned what length rope is needed?)
>
> Route 4. El viaje de Chihiro is described as a 40m project but then has a 35m symbol on the diagram.
>
> ... Orihuela is not in Murcia.
>
> I could go on... I am sure there are many more typos but
>
> Overall I think it is impressive how many routes/descriptions have been included in 450 pages and that is only half the crags in the area!
>
> The page layout is much less cluttered than in the past too, so the guidebook team have obviously taken on board some of my previous constructive criticism!

I have posted my review here: http://www.climbonline.co.uk/reviews.htm
mutt - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Chris, did you visit Guadalest before writing the guidbook? We read the guide and travel for 1hr 1/2 to get there. Climbed at Castillo. Your guide gives every route stars. We found the environment to be a complete hole! Buiders rubbish everywhere. The routes were dangerous. There obviously been a lot of rock cleaning by the locals but the limestone is still extremely loose. on Sang Trait and Contes i Llegendes the bolts are drilled into obviously dangerous rock. The Fall if it happened would lacerate anyone who fell on the slab. Fortunately the routes are (until the last bolt ) all a grade or 3 easier than the guidebook indicates.

I can understand that a new venue might not have been documented as well as the established areas but surely, if you are accepting the words of the locals (who I suspect are a little biased) your guide should make it clear if the information hasn't been checked. CC guides have a sword symbol to indicate unreliable information.

Having said that the information about the more established areas we visited couldn't be faulted - so please take my comments in the paragraph above to be my only criticism.
In reply to mutt: I did these routes not so long ago and thought they were fine.
In reply to mutt: Maybe the builders rubbish is a recent addition?
In reply to mutt:

Which sectors at Guadalest did you climb on? Just Castillo or any of the others?

Alan
In reply to mutt:
> (In reply to Chris Craggs)
>
> Chris, did you visit Guadalest before writing the guidbook? We read the guide and travel for 1hr 1/2 to get there. Climbed at Castillo. Your guide gives every route stars. We found the environment to be a complete hole! Buiders rubbish everywhere. The routes were dangerous. There obviously been a lot of rock cleaning by the locals but the limestone is still extremely loose. on Sang Trait and Contes i Llegendes the bolts are drilled into obviously dangerous rock. The Fall if it happened would lacerate anyone who fell on the slab. Fortunately the routes are (until the last bolt ) all a grade or 3 easier than the guidebook indicates.
>
> I can understand that a new venue might not have been documented as well as the established areas but surely, if you are accepting the words of the locals (who I suspect are a little biased) your guide should make it clear if the information hasn't been checked. CC guides have a sword symbol to indicate unreliable information.
>
> Having said that the information about the more established areas we visited couldn't be faulted - so please take my comments in the paragraph above to be my only criticism.


I have done all the routes on Castillo except the one on the far right (there is a shot of me in the book climbing there!), the grades and stars were based on doing the routes and felt about right at the time. The last time I climbed there was just over a year ago. Not sure what has happened since.


Chris
Jonny2vests - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to mutt:

Maybe there's development going on there? It was a nice little crag in 2011. La Senda del parabolt was one of the routes of the trip.
mutt - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Just Castillo. We gave up in disgust! The builders rubble was pretty well established and well trodden. Perhaps others will rate these routes on the Rockfax website and we'll have a better idea. My 5th trip out to Spain climbing, and Castillo, whilst being in a beautiful location Really does not live up the description in the guide, neither does it stand up against any of the more established crags.

We headed for castillo actually because of the stars as we had only one day planned for Guadalest. Even if the rest of the Guadalest crags are better - the guidebook is misleading, we'd have had a better day at almost any other crag on Costa Blanca.

I really can't see how anyone would rate these routes. Putting the loose rock aside the difficulty on the routes is all over the place - easy, easy, easy, very hard. When so many of the costa blanca crags have great routes that sustain the grade from first move to last, the routes at castillo are nowhere by comparison.

Like I say - lets wait for more climbers to rate the routes.I'm sure the next edition will take a more measured view on these routes.
In reply to mutt:

Did you read my reply above?


Chris
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Both the routes you mention have a had a few ascents:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=59879
http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=59880

Not much sign of builders' rubble here:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=109680

I suspect they have been working on the castle and dumping the debris over the wall,

Chris
JimmyKay - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs:

I was going to start a new thread but then noticed this.

Would like to say - that the approaches to the crags are absolutely fantastic. They are so easy to follow and the distances are perfect and just what you need. If it says drive 4.8km and turn left onto a gravel track - you do it and you get there. Really really impressed.

In reply to mutt:

There are 9 routes at Castillo and 157 routes at Guadalest overall. I think you have severely mis-judged the crag based on your experience on a few routes. It does sound like there has been some building work as well which will have impacted on the place I am sure.

I suggest you vote on the routes on the RF database here - http://www.rockfax.com/databases/results_buttress.html?id=1488

The current opinions registered there appear to favour the star rating in the current guide.

Please don't make the mistake of assuming that when a guidebook is different to your opinion, the only viable reason is because the information hasn't been 'checked'.

Alan
mutt - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:
> (In reply to mutt)
>
> There are 9 routes at Castillo and 157 routes at Guadalest overall. I think you have severely mis-judged the crag based on your experience on a few routes. It does sound like there has been some building work as well which will have impacted on the place I am sure.
>
> I suggest you vote on the routes on the RF database here - http://www.rockfax.com/databases/results_buttress.html?id=1488
>
> The current opinions registered there appear to favour the star rating in the current guide.
>
> Please don't make the mistake of assuming that when a guidebook is different to your opinion, the only viable reason is because the information hasn't been 'checked'.
>
> Alan

Alan, I think you need to read the comments on the link you have posted. let me quote a few for you

'Not sure how this gets two stars.'

'The description and grade for this route are both wrong (imho).....'

'... Not a clear line and a duff route - i'd leave out of any updates'

'Not worth 2 stars. Unbalanced, scrappy climbing eventually leads to a rather more impressive couple of finishing moves, which are tough for the grade.'

'Plod and plod some more and enjoy the sun. Climbers equivalent to sitting on beach. Wake up for the top move avoiding the wasps nest (in crack) that is presently there!!'

'loose and unpleasant. large areas of rock scarring are rather unsettling. the climbing is easy until the last bolt.' (that one is mine)

'Start behind the bush! 2 distinct cruxes but not enough good climbing on it to be 2*.'


so it seems I'm not alone in thinking this is a pretty crap set of routes to be so liberally sprinkled with stars!

GrahamD - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:

> ... have to say I think the new guide looks fantastic. Not sure what more you'd want or expect from a guide to the area.

Accuracy, mainly. Much as I'm a fan of the Rockfax presentation, my experience with other guides is that the level of checking doesn't always match the presentation.

Asking for descriptions of errors is missing the point - I shouldn't be spending my holidays proof reading a guide.

Sorry, this is a more general rant - I've no idea how good or bad this particular guide is.

In reply to mutt:

Oh come on Matthew, quoting your own comments and selective picking of other people's comments ignoring the ones that contradict them. A poor effort!

The point is not whether or not these routes are actually any good, the point is that it is quite obvious that others disagree with your assessment. This doesn't mean you are wrong, nor that they are right, it means that there are valid different opinions on the quality of these routes.

As I said above, don't interpret a difference from your opinion as an indication that something hasn't been checked.

In this case I can assure you that these routes were all climbed, probably more than once, and the result in the book is what the authors (in this case Chris) felt about them. I climbed a number of the routes on Penya l'Alcala and I thought the were brilliant - slightly dodgy rock in places but superb formations and texture.

Alan
mutt - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I posted them here for your convenience. Go and look for yourself. you will find that the greater majority of comments are backing up my view that the stars are not warranted ....

I am quite capable of being objective about routes thank you.

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