/ Dovestones Main Quarry

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tony howard on 18 Aug 2013
We went to Dovies Q today & did Mike's Meander, once a classic VS. I guess it hasn't been climbed for 20 years. maybe more. Apart from the crack being choked there were rhododendrons and huge earth overhangs. The last pitch fell into the bottom of the quarry years ago, but its left arete is still hanging in there (literally). So lots of fun! (Some new nuts in the arete, how did they get there? Not via Mike's Meander anyway). Dovies Main (aka Death Quarry) is maybe England's biggest grit crag and probably has best adventures on grit yet was mostly left out of new guide! A shame. Cleaned up (major effort required) there's still some good routes in there. Did A-lu-te also, first pitch is same grade as 2nd, about 4b, not 3a!
Al Evans on 18 Aug 2013
In reply to tony howard: Its sad it's been neglected, there was a great route there that there was a picture of in the guide, a big corner. It inspired me to go there and I went a few times and never regretted the visits. In the early 60's it was just about the nearest place you could get to from Sheffield/Manchester with routes as long as those in the 'Pass'.
PS, Was it called Titans Groove?
Tom V - on 18 Aug 2013
In reply to Al Evans:

Titan's is no more, alas. The routes to its left, though not the biggest in the quarry, used to be some of the best(Tower of Babel, Little Unicorn).

Initiation Groove was the Cenotaph of the quarry.
Martin Bennett - on 18 Aug 2013
In reply to tony howard:

Mike's Meander, once a classic VS. I guess it hasn't been climbed for 20 years. maybe more.

20 years (or more) ago? That'd be me then - my guide book note tells me I did it in April 1991, oddly enough with a "Mike". That day we also looked at Titan's Groove but instead did the left hand variant "Tower of Babel" which we reckoned 3* not just the 2* in the guide.

It seems we went back in Sept 1998 and did another three quality Hard VSs. In between I went with a novice climber in '95 and did Waterfall climb and A-lut-e - both excellent climbs. Not so the instantly forgettable "Ultima Ratio" which (my infallible note book tells me) I did in 1966 with another novice, during a Didsbury College geography field trip.

Anybody any idea of the origin of the name "A-lu-te"?

bill briggs1 - on 18 Aug 2013
In reply to Al Evans:

And the girdle was like climbing on Cloggy.
tetley - on 18 Aug 2013
In reply to tony howard:
These routes have been climbed recently .... but in winter conditions mainly. MM was climbed this winter (graded VI) and a number of other routes have been seeing traffic thanks to the cold winters ...all good sport.
Did several of the routes in the summer over the last two yrs as well, some are very dirty, but others do remain clean due to the sunny aspect.
Don't suppose many bolt clippers are too interested though!!
Simon Caldwell - on 18 Aug 2013
In reply to Martin Bennett:
I did Ultima Ratio a couple of months ago and thought it well worth the star it's given in the new guide (though not the upgrade - VDiff was fair, Severe is OTT).
After many years meaning to go, I've been twice this summer, and am inspired for several more visits.
Offwidth - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to tony howard:

I do find it a bit odd that the place doesn't get more traffic (I'd never expect queues). Huge routes from VD, the biggest straight up ones on grit and the popular lines are not too dirty or vegetated. It dries pretty quick after rain at this time of year. The walk-in isnt so long or so steep. In the sun in the afternoon and exposed to any westerlies so midges ofetn kept at bay. It is more like a mountain venue than a crag, with the big boulderfield underneath and care required with rock in a few places even on the classics.

I think we need to take up the Rhododendren issue through access channels: if the buggers get more than a foothold they will eat the whole crag. Chris and I removed about 15 or so shoots each wandering back to the base of the crag.
Simon Caldwell - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> I do find it a bit odd that the place doesn't get more traffic

I suspect the dire warnings in the guidebooks have a lot to do with it. The new guide is better in this respect.

Perhaps the coverage it's had on UKC recently will help.
Offwidth - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to Toreador:

The last Chew guide made it clear the Waterfall Climb area was sound enough: the sort of people likely to go up there wouldn't have missed that.
Al Evans on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to bill briggs1:
> (In reply to Al Evans)
>
> And the girdle was like climbing on Cloggy.

Ah yes the girdle, truly magnificent, took us a whole day at a leisurely pace, much longer than Joes original 4.5hours.
I also remember up on the edge Jim Campbell returning Hanging Crack to its supposed original free state, a route I chose not to follow :-)
Martin Bennett - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to Toreador:
> (In reply to Martin Bennett)
> I did Ultima Ratio a couple of months ago and thought it well worth the star it's given in the new guide (though not the upgrade - VDiff was fair, Severe is OTT).

Maybe I was a bit dismissive of the route - "instantly forgettable" should perhaps have read "I can't remember much about it after 47 years"! I do remember it was graded Diff though.

tony howard on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to Al Evans and all others!:

Routes just left of Titans were excellent and are still climbable. The girdle was excellent and once billed as 'hardest expedition on grit', I think. It was extended by Billy Birch and me to Double Girdle, 1000ft (not many of those on grit). Sadly the middle fell out of both along with that other old classic, White Slab. Jericho Wall used to be another great route but now festooned in heather. MM could be cleaned (we did a lot, but more needed) and we guessed those nuts up its top left might be from winter. good effort! The sad thing is that all these routes are not in the new so-called 'definitive' guide. Not many will trouble to search for the pdf on BMC website. Still, it's nice we still have it to ourselves after all these years! And Cowburydale is another recommended crag missed out of the guide. Well worth a visit, still some new lines to do - I hear Malc Baxter has been recently and Con Carey... see BMC page https://www.thebmc.co.uk/downloads/Rock%20Climbing/Guidebooks which has both pdf links on it. Enjoy!
tony howard on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

"I do find it a bit odd that the place doesn't get more traffic", you say, but I guess it's a sign of the times.People want clean safe rock - or am I wrong? Not being in the book doesn't help either. But it's all good stuff if you want to move on from small crags to bigger things. Today Death Quarry, tomorrow Gogarth!
By the ay, we saw your pulled-up Rododendrons. You are probably right.Good thinking, it's bad enough with all the heather without Himalayan bushes taking over as well!
Tom V - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to tony howard:

I think Jericho is/was the best route in the quarry. If not quite the Left Wall to Initiation's Cenotaph, it still presented me with the best lead of my early days. Sorry to hear it's been overgrown.
Offwidth - on 20 Aug 2013
In reply to tony howard:

Rhododendron are a nightmare if they take over; Ive helped cleaning at Turning Stone and its desperate. I spend a good 20% of my climbing time removing heather and bracken from routes: much easier work! I hadnt realised how bad the situation was in the area until this summer. I think an organised clearance is needed and it would help the climbs if they have the stuff growing on them.
johncoxmysteriously - on 20 Aug 2013
In reply to tony howard:

Disgraceful if it has been left out of the definitive guidebook - 'definitive' doesn't mean 'suitable for modern tastes'.

Off topic, loved your book.

jcm
Simon Caldwell - on 20 Aug 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> The last Chew guide made it clear the Waterfall Climb area was sound enough: the sort of people likely to go up there wouldn't have missed that.

It does if you read that far - it's 3 sentences in and follows a warning IN CAPITAL LETTERS about loose rock elsewhere. The first sentence mentions radical change to parts of the main quarry due to rockfall.

Most climbers need very little encouragement to avoid trying somewhere new! Just look at the effect that negative guidebook descriptions of Wharncliff and Agden Rocher had to their popularity (Agden to a lesser extent as I don't think it was ever that popular).
Offwidth - on 20 Aug 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

It's not left out of the guidebook it's just been put in an electronic appendix. Are you volunteering to help with a clean-up so to help make sure more goes in next time?
Offwidth - on 20 Aug 2013
In reply to Toreador:

I take you point but it's part of the world we live in thet we have to let dim folk know very explicitly about risk. You could argue the BMC disclaimer might stop one reading past the frontispiece! I had faith enough folk would get past the warnings.

Its hard to assess how many people would have been to the crag recently. There was another party there on the same day who were not part of the informal CVC meet I was involved with, plus evidence of some very recent gardening.
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tony howard on 20 Aug 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously: totally agree re the guidebook - and thanks for compliment
tony howard on 20 Aug 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to johncoxmysteriously)
>
> It's not left out of the guidebook it's just been put in an electronic appendix. Are you volunteering to help with a clean-up so to help make sure more goes in next time?

re 'an electronic appendix' I doubt many will bother to make the effort. But other stuff in the quarry was also missed. Sideshow top pitch for example. It's even in the topo photo - good jamming crack finish to Feb if you like that sort of thing!
Might do a few more in quarry just for the hell of it, though a 'clean-up can be a thankless task - Mick S and I cleaned routes in Den to R of Tartarus - all better than you might think - but they weren't put in the book either. And dare I mention Cowbury yet again. Best thing since sliced bread, but no luck there either. Hard life!

Tom V - on 20 Aug 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

I don't know about "disgraceful" JCM, and I am very much aware of the amount of work that went into OTM, but the arguments presented to me about the exclusion of the greater part of the quarry were
1) lack of interest
2) lack of space.

I think the lack of interest is bound to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, and the fact that 4 pages were given to Black Tor Boulders makes me wonder seriously about priorities and space.

Frank the Husky - on 21 Aug 2013
In reply to all those still grumbling about the exclusion of various crags especially Dovestones Main Quarry: I've explained why the decision was made quite a few times on here. Complain if you must, but at least do me and the team the favour of giving equal mention to the outstanding and exhaustive work that's gone on in the rest of the guide. Yeah, we missed stuff out but now it's time to move on.

If it's still an issue for you, then write me a full, up to date and thoroughly researched script to the whole crag (which means climbing every line and getting consensus on the grades from other paries who've done the lines within the previous 12 months, remembering to be honest about the quality and stability of the routes of course) and when the reprint comes round I will insist on its inclusion.

Email me on kinderguide@hotmail.com to get the style & formatting guidelines that you'll need and we'll take it from there.
tony howard on 21 Aug 2013
In reply to Frank the Husky:
> (In reply to all those still grumbling about the exclusion of various crags write me a full, up to date to the whole crag and when the reprint comes round I will insist on its inclusion.
>
> Email me on kinderguide@hotmail.com to get the style & formatting guidelines that you'll need and we'll take it from there.

Good, nice looking book, yes, but sending in a thoroughly researched script is exactly what we did for Cowburydale - in fact we sent text, photos and topos in 4 or in 5 times, as we kept getting the message, "sorry I lost the CD". Finally, after maybe 2 years of that, it was too late. Great shame. Good crag, nice place, rarely visited and our cleaning efforts going to waste. Infinitely better than Rough Knarr which is in the book but on private land and the owner is extremely grumpy!
I suspect it will be a long time before a reprint but suggest 2 books would not only be better but would make more money for BMC.
Wiley Coyote - on 21 Aug 2013
In reply to tony howard:

All this stuff about rockfall, disappearing routes. rhodies 'huge earth overhangs' etc is not really selling it to me, lads :-)
Simon Caldwell - on 21 Aug 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> It's not left out of the guidebook it's just been put in an electronic appendix.

Fair enough. There's not a great incentive to look for it though - "Lots of the Main Quarry is now falling away and is not covered here. See the BMC web site for full details".

Simon Caldwell - on 21 Aug 2013
In reply to Frank the Husky:
I understand the decision to exclude much of the main quarry, even though as you're aware I disagree with it.
But what was the reasoning behind missing out some of the lower left quarry without even mentioning that they're on the website? Instability, or something else? In particular, Joggled Crack (VS 4c with a * in the old guide) - I didn't fancy trying it and getting half way up to discover it was about to collapse or something!

The main disappointment with the new guide is that I didn't manage to get to some of the "needs a dry summer" crags before the weather crapped out. Can you try to arrange a dry autumn as well please?
Offwidth - on 22 Aug 2013
In reply to tony howard: Cowburydale is also a free download on the BMC site. I can't comment if its non-inclusion was justified, being on the margins according to people I trust, as I have to own up to the fact that it's still on my to-visit list. I'm not at all convinced this makes it significantly less of a 'pull', as my experience is too few climbers would visit such a venue whatever you did.It’s clearly advertised as available for those with the guide; being a web based guide means it can be updated and it will become more current if its as good as you say, and finally there are some odd folk who are very keen on free downloads to avoid buying guides. I also think you are a applying a good bit of poetic licence to say its infinitely better than Rough Knarr as it is included in OTM (where I've been 3 times, only the best third is described and in just two pages, and with nearly half the routes rightly given a single star and some truly shite stuff rightly ignored). Some activists with a love for their local favourites were always going to feel snubbed with the necessary editorial juggling to fit everything in one volume (a proved sensible decision in my view, having seen what has already happened to sales in comparison with Kinder and Chew). The new guides do seem to have worked (a reprint was not predicted so quickly either for the Roaches and sales are heading in a similar direction for others) .

In my personal extensive BMC work I've seen loads of worthwhile venues in all the current guides get spruced up then within a couple of years mostly fall back into dirty vegetated state, whether they get full treatment or not. Modern climbers on the whole simply lack the adventure and community spirit they should have: if one in a hundred was like you or I (or the other small minority of exemplorary folk), these venues would be squeaky clean and busy. So don’t blame this on the key volunteers, working as hard as they possibly can within their remit, trying to stem the tide drifting to the same old popular venues, all whilst holding down a day job. It's not like the job was difficult enough... Toreador's "2nd best UK guide ever" is produced under all these conflicting pressures and then the team take hits on esoterica for the sins of the community... great incentive for the next time round, eh?
Simon Caldwell - on 22 Aug 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> great incentive for the next time round, eh?

better lots of complaints/suggestions for improvement, than just being ignored ;-)
Offwidth - on 22 Aug 2013
In reply to Toreador:

I wasnt answering you this time: you never suggested or appeared to support a view that any such exclusion was a disgrace.
Simon Caldwell - on 22 Aug 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
disappointment rather than disgrace.
disgrace would be if it had been bolted :)

I still wouldn't mind if someone called something I'd written "a disgrace", at least it would show they'd bothered to buy/read it ;-)
Al Evans on 22 Aug 2013
In reply to Offwidth: The huge difference between BMC and CC guides to Rockfax is that they are definitive, if the senior guidewriters lose this then they have, well, they have just lost it.
Frank the Husky - on 22 Aug 2013
In reply to tony howard: Hi Tony. Although this thread is about Dovestones Quarry, let's go with it.

As you, Di, Mick and others developed most of Cowburydale it's inevitable that you view the crag through a particularly favourable lens. For instance, I believe all the new routes I've ever done (particularly at Fair Head) are the best ever. I even told Ricky Bell that once, and he politely managed not to fall out of his chair. Of course I was pissed up on Guiness and euphoria at the time and, having invested money and weeks of my time cleaning and birthing the routes, they felt very special, but that's my skewed personal view. I empathise with your feelings of annoyance towards me and my failure to include your crag in the guide. I'm sure I'd feel the same way in your shoes.

I climbed at Cowbury 4 times with a changing cast of characters after you sent me the script. More than half the routes we climbed were loose and/or dirty, with many cracks containing soil/rock debris. We pulled off a number of blocks of varying sizes, as well as a huge overhanging flake to the right of Six Steps to Heaven, which had moved significantly in less than a week. I don't agree that your cleaning efforts have gone to waste, but we held the view that more cleaning was necessary before we'd go back. The Chequerboard Wall was good and reminiscent of John Henry Quarry. Having climbed there to get a sense of the place for the guide, none of us have been back in 5 years despite the sunny aspect and easy access. In my personal opinion, it's not infinitely better than Rough Knarr. None of the above is to denigrate either the crag or your efforts, but it's a fair point of view from people who do not have an emotional investment in the crag.

It's clear that I hold one view about DQ and CDQ and others hold a different one and never the twain shall meet. Offwidth has been factual and eloquent as usual (again) and I thank him for that.

Perhaps it was a massive mistake not to include full scripts for both places, but I had to make decisions and decisions I made. I take full responsibility...even for the decisions that I didn't make and that came from the BMC and its Guidebook Committee - both of which I'm no longer involved with.

Without my flawed efforts there'd be no exclusions to complain about (because there'd be no guide), so perhaps consider OtM's present incarnation a first step to getting everything right.
tony howard on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote:
> (In reply to tony howard)
>
> All this stuff about rockfall, disappearing routes. rhodies 'huge earth overhangs' etc is not really selling it to me, lads :-)

Nowt like a bit of old fashioned adventure climbing!
tony howard on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to Toreador:
> (In reply to Frank the Husky)
what was the reasoning behind missing out some of the lower left quarry without even mentioning that they're on the website? Instability, or something else? In particular, Joggled Crack (VS 4c with a * in the old guide) - I didn't fancy trying it and getting half way up to discover it was about to collapse or something!

Good route, Joggled Crack, as are the routes (mostly added since previous guide) on either side of it. As safe as it gets in Dovies Q (if that reassures you!)

tony howard on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to Offwidth: Hi - and thanks for the feedback. Did most of the routes in Rough Knarr with Rimmon lads in early 60s. Been back since new guide and got kicked out twice - owner isn't a happy man!
I'm not blaming anyone really. Once upon a time crags were not expected to be thoroughly clean and safe before they made it into a book. Too much Health and Safety if you ask me! But such is life, crags come and go (take much of Lancashire rock for instance!) Or is that another mess I'm getting myself into? Still, I know a decent crag when I see one. Keep on rockin'...
tony howard on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to Al Evans: Hi Al, how goes it? Problem with 'definitive' is that to in order to be definitive some crags are relegated to BMC website and I suspect they get ignored though some think otherwise. Really 'Over the Moors' should be 2 books with all the crags in. Easier to handle, and more dosh for BMC.
tony howard on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to Frank the Husky: Well, as I just said, I know a nice crag when I see one. And Cowbury is nice. It's going to have loose rock here and there, it's the nature of grit quarries. It'll clean up with use. Just don't wear your best posey t-shirt, it might get dusty! Just a shame that it might go back to being overgrown after any efforts we - and you - put in to smarten it up a bit. Same in Dovies Q really. That will never be safe, but sad that routes like Jericho Wall are now heather covered, it was a great climb - as was said in this forum, like being in The Pass. Ah well....
Offwidth - on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to Al Evans:

Point 1. I've never seen a definitive definitive guide to anywhere. Having been an editor and having general editorial interest I've done extensive research and talked to many knowledgeable people. All sorts of minor stuff gets left out of guides, usually for excellent reasons, sometimes by mistake and sometimes for reasons that remain unclear to me but must involve some form of local politics. None of this makes the guidebooks concerned dishonest in their definitive label.

Point 2. These routes are available in web pdf downloads which is an appendix to the guide. This was an experiment discussed and sgreed at our local BMC area meetings. It is an experiment I would encourage any editor to follow if they have poor and/or severe access affected crags as it frees space to make the guide more interesting and useful.

Point 3 Rockfax are nigh on definitive for large sections of the best grit crags. Just count how many routes they miss out at the Popular End. Stanage sells and Rockfax know that. The Amber Valley chapter that the BMC team spent months cleaning, fighting Rhodies, lovingly documenting and ensuring the focus was on the best lines, gets a section of a page in Rockfax. We didnt apply such tlc to Harthill Quarry which has massively loose tops (above good climbs) and brambly rubbish tip bottoms and big access problems: it became a web downlaod. I also climbed stuff ('lines' would flatter by a large margin) in tens of pits, crumbling outcrops and even found a 4' sit-start problem in the middle of a golf course on a snowy day; all of which I could have written up, but for the sanity of the climbing public i decided not to, like the editors before me.

Point 4 You have been around long enough to know this, so why the fuss?
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Offwidth - on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to tony howard:

Yet the right-hand bay of Rough Knarr that is described in OtM has good solid climbs with some unique character. In what sense is Cowbury infinitely better than that? Both Dovies Q and Cowbury are part of the guide in a web pdf as part of an experiment agreed through BMC area meetings. Dovies main got in the state that it is whilst a definite guide existed with full descriptions and many stars so all the evidence points to an unimaginative majority of climbers, not editors being the problem here. I've probably stripped Heather from approaching a thousand routes by now: when I get round to the likes of Jerico Wall (an area high on my priority list when the YMC guides are finished later this year) I'll just do it again then.

Al Evans on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to Offwidth: Sorry Offwidth, it was not meant as a criticism of you or your team, and it seems like you have electronically tried to offset all my missgivings. But 'definitive' guides by the authorative organisations have been the mainstay of all my 50+ years in climbing and I'm sad if they are relegated to just be competition for the 'easy to use guides', which I do myself buy as I think Rockfax are very good, and the Ground Up Gogarth guide was excellent and just about CC standard in it's history reporting.
It's just that a loss that may not be able to be breached will occur if the 'definitive' guides are lost to their original intention purely for the matter of money and commercialism. Perhaps a lottery grant to the definitive is the answer.
Offwidth - on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to Al Evans:

Your not listening. These guides are some of the most definitive definitive guides ever. The stuff on the web is tiny compared to the new stuff that has gone in.
Al Evans on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to Offwidth: Ok, sorry I'm not listening, maybe it's just that I required some convincing.
tony howard on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to Al Evans: Hi Al, someone else not listening either. Just got this email: nice to see the fire you’ve lit on UK rock talk (dove stones quarry). For its historical context alone it should have been included, its one of the best adventure crags around the northwest and for all seasons. I have over the years enjoyed climbing there in sun, rain, snow and bloody fog. What ever happed to the best sport in the world that crags get airbrushed out of history cause they’re dangerous?

So we are not the only ones that think "out of sight, out of mind" re online info.

Next time, perhaps?
craig h - on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to tony howard:

I'll agree with it being one of the best adventure crags in the Northwest, I have done a fair few routes in the quarries and enjoyed nearly all of them to date, and have only felt the need to back off 1 climb due to loose rock.

Offwidth - on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to craig h:

In part of the preparation for OtM I've enjoyed my time on numerous big moorland crags that despite full inclusion in cheap and available definitive guides somehow ended up with 3 star routes getting heavily overgrown. I've climbed at places like Crowden where loose rock is arguably more common and have rarely had to back off. There is no excuse for the best of these routes not to have good traffic, yet nothing happened. If the routes went in we would have had lots of "another classic sadly chocked with heather" descriptions and subsequent grade warnings because not enough people cared to push to clean them up in all the years the guide was in production.

Maybe the bunfight will actually get enough traffic back to improve this impressive venue, but I very much doubt it. Its clear some folk are insistent on blaming the current guide for something that is really the responsibility of all of us, whilst ignoring the key point that the guides still exist, can be easily updated if a clean up is organised, and are all free to boot.

This guide included way more bouldering, has introduced new crags, many new climbs and almost as many previously ignored old climbs all in a very much more user-friendly package. It is clearer where crags stay clean and where they might become (or are) vegetated. It even has this very same quarry included in the winter climbs section (also described for the first time).

Anyway back to something more useful: as a local what's your take on this sudden influx of Rhododendrons?
tony howard on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to Offwidth: I guess this chat is winding down now, but it's been interesting. Let's hope it roused some people to have more than a look at the quarry before heading off to other crags. No complaints about the guide, though you are mistaken when you say it's the first time that winter climbs have been included - they were in Moorland Grit, another good book.

Re Rhododendrons, a search on the web revealed, "Rhododendron is a non-indigenous evergreen shrub. It was introduced into the British Isles around 1763 as a cultivated flowering plant and was widely planted in gardens, parks and estates. It was also planted extensively in Victorian hunting estates, particularly in western coastal areas, under woodland canopies and on heathland areas to provide shelter for game species. Although the flowers are attractive, it is an aggressive coloniser that reduces the biodiversity value of a site; it obstructs the regeneration of woodlands and once established is difficult to eradicate.
Offwidth - on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to tony howard:

I'd missed Dovestones had winter climbs in that guide. I knew wilderness gully mam tor etc had been in before.
Jonny2vests - on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to Al Evans:
> (In reply to Offwidth) Ok, sorry I'm not listening, maybe it's just that I required some convincing.

Well if you lived in the UK Al, you'd realise that the exact opposite of what you're trying to say is true; the current batch of BMC guides are more inclusive than ever. I'm probably pointing out the bleeding obvious here, but being definitive gets harder and harder as time goes by, as the number of venues and routes increases.
Offwidth - on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:

If only that were true. I know the history... some stuff always got ignored. As an example Wharncliffe had 100 routes at the turn of the 19th century. It just wasn't fashionable to put in short solo (bouldery) crags for a good while. Even on included crags I've found good polished routes not described.
Jonny2vests - on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests)
>
> If only that were true.

If only what were true? I'm not suggesting older guides were more definitive, merely that is was easier to be definitive.

Offwidth - on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:

If only it was true that things were more definitive then. In the earliest peak definitive guides links were made to crags not described. Although it was easier still in Al's time to be more definitive they still knowingly left lots out (like all the routes that went missing at Wharncliffe) and they allowed grades of lesser routes to get rather muddled because the leading edge and focus obviously shifted to harder stuff. Also most of the history was missing. The previous series of BMC guides made serious efforts to put things right and they set the model how to handle stuff like FA information. So i think there is too much of 'rose tinted spectacles' in Al's viewpoint. Things are much better documented and graded now than they have ever been. Some argue too well documented, removing a lot of the adventure.
Jonny2vests - on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

That's nice dear, as long as you know that's not my argument. Your making me think twice about sticking up for you :-)
Al Evans on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests)
So i think there is too much of 'rose tinted spectacles' in Al's viewpoint. Things are much better documented and graded now than they have ever been. Some argue too well documented, removing a lot of the adventure.

There is a difference between hold to hold info and history, don't try and lay that one on to me and my generation, all I'm saying is if a route was done it should be in the guide, a proper route that is not some poxy sit start to Cenotaph Corner.
Mick Ward - on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to tony howard:

> (In reply to Al Evans) What ever happed to the best sport in the world that crags get airbrushed out of history cause they’re dangerous?

As far as I know, the original descriptions (and grades) for the routes at Langcliffe Quarry have persisted through several limestone guides. But at least the place was included. Fair enough, if you want to climb on the main face, you have to be fully prepared to die - but you'll have great memories (well, assuming you have any memories at all!)

In your case, obviously Dovestones stood you in good stead for the Troll Wall. I remember reading an article you wrote in Climber about growing up there in the mid 1960s, working through the Rock and Ice stuff and doing the FA of White Slab. It was great! Although I've never yet made it to the crag(it's strangely hard to find partners) I know I just have to go (and I'm nowadays the biggest coward imaginable).

A crag of character?

Mick

Al Evans on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to Mick Ward: As I know from experience you are one of the biggest cowards I know who is an excellent climber, however you are one of the best companions on the crag, from experience of a few years ago you would seriously not like climbing in DMQ Mick :-)
BTW, no disrespect Mick, I still think you are a star :-)
Offwidth - on 24 Aug 2013
In reply to Al Evans:

Well as I said, quite a lot of known routes were not in guides in your time and that was down to editorial decisions (and these were proper routes, not poxy sit starts) and frankly I probably would have made similar editorial decision if I was operating then (so I'm not laying anything on your generation as such). Comparing those old editorial decisions to that made with Dovies in OtM, in Martin's case, the routes are still available on a pdf (which if the crag is redeveloped soon, will turn into an advantage), as part of an experiment agreed at BMC area meetings. Another difference between then and now is that people can get away with posting poorly argued points on the internet that wouldn't even have got close to being accepted as a letter in the mags.
Offwidth - on 24 Aug 2013
In reply to Mick Ward:

A crag of character sadly neglected by climbers. I've cleaned on 3 lines there in the last month and will be back when guidebook work elsewhere is done. Same situation with Kinder Great Wall, Nether Tor, Ashop Edge, Ravenstones.....
Offwidth - on 24 Aug 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:

Yes I do know that but you were being unnecessarily kind to Al when his thinking was lazy. Since when did you think I needed people to stick up for me ;-)
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Tom V - on 24 Aug 2013
In reply to tony howard:
I wonder if the hint that there are some first class bivvy boulders in the area below Main and Lower Right might make it more attractive to some. The other good bivvies we used to enjoy were below Standing Stones.
Offwidth - on 24 Aug 2013
In reply to Tom V:

There are some huge holes under the boulders in the main area. I nearly fell in one making room to take a photo, I was glad I didn't.

"used to enjoy" is the problem, if more people like Tony went up there the best bits of the crag would be clean and we wouldn't be having this discussion. As for the boulders you 'dissed' earlier, someone loved them enough to get them in, if only Dovies main had had a similar champion; given the rockfalls really we are only talking 10-20 routes to get the best lines in in a revamped pdf. If Rhodies are on the climbs its also quite urgent, once they get established we will have lost the crag.
Al Evans on 24 Aug 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests)
>
> Yes I do know that but you were being unnecessarily kind to Al when his thinking was lazy. Since when did you think I needed people to stick up for me ;-)

Hey, I've been kind to you on this thread, a lot kinder than you to me, I think you are being oversensitive.
Doghouse - on 24 Aug 2013
In reply to Frank the Husky: + anyone else on here part of the guidebook teams.. .

Really interesting thread and great to see the passions and emotions of the climbing community coming to the fore but I just wanted say to those involved in producing the guides. . .very well done indeed. I, for one really do appreciate all your efforts not just for producing such amazing books but also for all your efforts in keeping less popular crags to the fore.
Offwidth - on 24 Aug 2013
In reply to Al Evans:

I'd much rather people know about the guide and get off there arses and do something about Dovies main than be kind to me. Sure I'm oversensitive: great crags going to seed and some of those who've done most to stem this get it in the neck for twaddle around how definitive it is. I also think Rhododendrons are devil's spawn on crags, having spent weeks of my life cleaning at Turning Stone (and the odd day at places like Eavestone etc) and its scary seeing them up there given the apathy that got such a great place overgrown in the first place. Spain Manchester isn't so expensive these days... why not take a holiday?
tony howard on 24 Aug 2013
In reply to Mick Ward:
> (In reply to tony howard)
if you want to climb on the main face, you have to be fully prepared to die - but you'll have great memories (well, assuming you have any memories at all!) In your case, obviously Dovestones stood you in good stead for the Troll Wall. I remember reading an article you wrote in Climber about growing up there in the mid 1960s, working through the Rock and Ice stuff and doing the FA of White Slab.
>
> A crag of character?
>
A Crag of character indeed - a bit like the once notorious Barry Kershaw - stick your fist in at your peril! We didn't do the FA of White Slab, but it was very early after the Rock & Ice lads. Then, as you say, onwards and upwards. TW a piece of cake after Death Quarry!





tony howard on 24 Aug 2013
In reply to Tom V: happy nights under Lwr right bivy boulder, esp when petrol stove erupted!
Tom V - on 24 Aug 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
Well, it's a bit awkward trying to put a point of view forward when I don't actually climb any more because ultimately someone will say if I'm not prepared to get off my arse and clean up Jericho Wall then I have nothing to say worth listening to.
Nevertheless, I didn't set out to "diss" anyone's favourite boulder field but felt that, in the greater scheme of things, a crag with the presence and history of The Quarries got a bit short changed in the guidebook in comparison with all sorts of very minor crags and outcrops.

Tom V - on 24 Aug 2013
In reply to tony howard:

Fair bit of chipping had gone on, as I recall....
Mick Ward - on 24 Aug 2013
In reply to tony howard:

Sorry (senility got in the way!) the article mentioned you doing White Slab after the Rock and Ice. But it really conveyed that feeling of growing up in an area and pushing 'always a little further'... It obviously had an impact on me if I can remember it some 45 years later.

< Monster thread digression > Tis rumoured that Barry Kershaw (respect and RIP but shudder!) once had a duel with Patsy Walsh. Rules very simple: hand(s?) on opponent's testicles. Squeeze for all you're worth. (Ouch!!!) Does anybody know if this actually happened and, if so, who gave in first?

Mick
tony howard on 25 Aug 2013
In reply to Tom V:
> (In reply to tony howard)
>
> Fair bit of chipping had gone on, as I recall....

Not sure what you are referring to there, lost the thread. Chipping where?
tony howard on 25 Aug 2013
In reply to Tom V:
> (In reply to Offwidth)
in the greater scheme of things, a crag with the presence and history of The Quarries got a bit short changed in the guidebook in comparison with all sorts of very minor crags and outcrops.

Like that grot hole near Kinder car park in Hayfield, so bad I've forgotten it's name. Bramble covered and loose. Broadbottom also needs a good clean-up to be worthwhile. Off craggin' now, tara.

Tom V - on 25 Aug 2013
In reply to tony howard:
On one of the bivvy boulders. Perhaps you dossed in a different hole.
tony howard on 25 Aug 2013
In reply to Mick Ward:
> (In reply to tony howard)
< Monster thread digression > Tis rumoured that Barry Kershaw (respect and RIP but shudder!) once had a duel with Patsy Walsh. Rules very simple: hand(s?) on opponent's testicles. Squeeze for all you're worth. (Ouch!!!) Does anybody know if this actually happened and, if so, who gave in first?
>
> Mick

Not sure about that, though all things possible with Barry, who was one of the 2 lads I started climbing with, and a volatile character to say the least. Rumour also had it he arm wrestled Henry Barber at an Al Harris do, and lost so broke a beer glass on table and offered a repeat contest over the shards of glass, which Henry refused as it could have buggered up his hand. But I wasn't there on that occasion, so who knows...

Offwidth - on 26 Aug 2013
In reply to tony howard:

Something positive: Chris Tan is looking to organise a clean up in October through Chew Valley Cragsmen. Looking forward to see all those keen on reversing any "disgrace". You don't need to climb as there are plenty of the Rhodies on walking terrain.
Frank the Husky - on 26 Aug 2013
In reply to Offwidth: Well, that's good news. I can always rely on Chris to put his money where his mouth is. I imagine there'll be a full compliment of the dissatisfied there with their secateurs, trowels and crowbars. I'll talk to my conservation contacts and find out the best way of dealing with Rhodies. No one has yet emailed me to say they will take on the challenge of writing up DQ in full, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time.
I like it when people use the word "disgrace"; it says so much about so many things.
tony howard on 26 Aug 2013
In reply to Offwidth: Hi might see you there though could be away - all depends on weather! Thanks for the chat!
tony howard on 26 Aug 2013
In reply to Frank the Husky:
> (In reply to Offwidth) Well, that's good news. No one has yet emailed me to say they will take on the challenge of writing up DQ in full, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time.

Rumour had it that Con C was doing it for book, but obviously not! A big undertaking. It never was this vegetated, maybe it's cos there are no longer a million chimneys belching smoke?

Tom V - on 26 Aug 2013
In reply to Frank the Husky:
Put things in proportion. One person used the word "disgrace" and straight away I tried to correct him, even though I was on his side of the camp. Not for the first time but here goes: Even though a faction is disappointed with the omission of a large number of routes at the Quarry we are in awe of the amount of work you and your peers have put into producing OTM and we compliment you on your achievement.

If you choose October as your gardening day I will definitely make one, even though I don't climb any more.
Perhaps someone will haul me up Waterfall.
Mick Ward - on 26 Aug 2013
In reply to Tom V:
> (In reply to Frank the Husky)

> we are in awe of the amount of work you and your peers have put into producing OTM and we compliment you on your achievement.

Absolutely. Hundreds of miles south, I pick OTM from the bookshelves, delightedly read a few pages at random and replace it with a sense of wonder.

A few days later, I do the same again.

mick
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deepstar - on 26 Aug 2013
In reply to Mick Ward:
> (In reply to Tom V)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> Absolutely. Hundreds of miles south, I pick OTM from the bookshelves, delightedly read a few pages at random and replace it with a sense of wonder.
>
> A few days later, I do the same again.
>
> mick
Is there a chance you keep your guide books in the Loo Mick?
Mick Ward - on 26 Aug 2013
In reply to deepstar:

Only the ones I need a few hours later!

Mick
Frank the Husky - on 27 Aug 2013
In reply to tony howard: Hi Tony, I don't think Con climbs any more. I think he has been domesticated by the formidable and delightful Janice. I haven't heard from him in years and years and years. A proper Kinder legend!
Frank the Husky - on 27 Aug 2013
In reply to Tom V: Hi Tom, thanks for the "reigning in", and I'm sure you're right. I simply gave up reading this thread for a few days because it's an old subject for me, and I wasn't really connecting the dots. You'd be surprised at the huge amount of criticism I've received over this book from a number of prominent (in their own minds!) people who you'd have thought knew better. Some of the criticism (and I'm talking pages and pages and pages) was actually quite personal. As and when we meet and you're interested I will name names, but if I do so on here one of them is likely to issue sad threats to sue me for libel/slander, and I have better things to do than feed someone's misplaced ego.

In the same vein, you'll be interested to know that only you and about 7 others - outside of the guidebook team - are the only ones who've actually said "Thank you" (either in private communications or publicly on here) and that has meant a great deal to me. So perhaps any "criticism" is maginfied through that particular looking glass. I am getting grouchy in my middle age. However, as an antidote, every so often I read your email where you describe your reaction on reading Ammon Wrigley's poem "Home", in the West Nab section, to Mrs V over dinner, and something that simple makes me understand, yet again, that it was all completely worth it.
Mick Ward - on 27 Aug 2013
In reply to Frank the Husky:

> ...it was all completely worth it.

Martin, I've never met you and have no idea what hell you went through for OTM. (Certainly Brian could not speak more highly of you and that's a testimonial I'd take to the bank.)

OK, I may be out of touch with recent guidebooks (live out in the sticks, no climbing shops, etc) but... I've been reading guidebooks for nearly 50 years now. OTM is the best I've ever seen.

For instance: so many guidebooks poorly portray history. ('History is all the stories of the world.') OTM beautifully integrates it. The history, the images, the text... it all resonates with us.

You've thrown down a gauntlet for what guidebooks could be.

Whatever it cost, it was worth it. Until your dying day, be proud of OTM.

Mick



Offwidth - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Mick Ward:

Interesting that one man would say that and another would angrily compile pages of mistakes (including a whole list for something that could have been said in a line: an accidental shift of FA dates for routes at the start of one of the Kinder chapters). I guess the book was produced with love dominating over pedantry and yet arouses both audiences. Of course freeing space for 'spirit' was one of the other benefits of using web guides.
Simon Caldwell - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> Something positive: Chris Tan is looking to organise a clean up in October through Chew Valley Cragsmen

Excellent, will try to be there - can someone update the thread with details?
lummox - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Frank the Husky: Dear Rev. - can I massage your ego further by adding my thanks to the motley crew for putting the guide together ? It really is inspiring and I hope to go down there next summer, small children permitting, maybe in the company of The Badger, Big Chris and others.

't listen to the nasty wasty men- or just feed them to Frank !
Darren Jackson - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Mick Ward:
>
> You've thrown down a gauntlet for what guidebooks could be.
>
> Whatever it cost, it was worth it. Until your dying day, be proud of OTM.

Hear, hear!... OTM is an excellent guidebook and a credit to all those who put the effort in to getting it published for the benefit of the rest of us.

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