/ ARTICLES 2008: What do you want to see?
I Want That Job! - A series on the most desirable climbing jobs, from mountain guides to climbing wall owners and lots in between.
Europe's 'Super Routes' - details of some of the best routes in Europe, in a similar style to the 'Brandler Hasse' article.
The Ethics of Trad climbing - a look in to the UK's grading system.
If these are way off the mark or sound good, let me know. Please post up any suggestions you've got and we can discuss the potentials on this thread. I'd prefer not to write a first hand account of what it feels like to try and onsight the Indian Face! Everything else considered...
Also, if you have an idea for an article, or have written something - please send it in - all material is greatfully received.
Happy New Year,
It would be nice to have a UK climbing destination "sold" to us once a month say. Where, what sort of climbing, a bit of history, a bit about the local climbers, et.c.
And maybe a worldwide one every 3 months?
Forgot to say: happy new year!
Please would you look into reproducing some of the great articles from history, and also opening some up to a wider audience? Reproducing the Simon Yates one that was originally published in the AJ was a good idea. I think you should do more of that; plus an acknowledgment of where it was originally published and when. Along the lines of "Games Climbers Play".
I also think you should do more ongoing reader-submission type things. The "my first lead" thing is excellent and maybe you could publish the twenty or so best in a booklet that people could buy. Other suggestions are "my most memorable epic," "benighted," and a poetry competition on a given theme.
As far as articles for you to do are concerned; I prefer biographical ones. You could start with some of the more interesting posters on here; Norrie, Paraffin, Sutty, Al Evans and please ask them about their epics and most memorable days on the hill. Ask them to tell fireside stories of times gone by. I am always bemused by interviews of interesting mountaineers that totally fail to get at what it is that makes the person interesting in the first place.
I agree with you on the first lead and poetry competition.
> I Ask them to tell fireside stories of times gone by.
You will find some in this lot I think;
Read most of them. Insatiable appetite for stories.
Some you cannot print due to involving others who may not like their names mentioned. I try to avoid using partners names on here apart from when they get in touch and mention the incidents. Some I plain forget, but that is old age and senilty.;-(
I talked to someone for hours on Tuesday but will her name come to mind, no but her two other sisters and brother do.
Aye tho I would suspect most articles on here, written by anyone with a smidgin of respect, would have have been discussed, and details agreed between parties involved before submittal. No reason any future tales of adventure should not follow same.
The super routes one sounds wicked.
Maybe you can't give us the 'first hand onsight attempt of indian face' one, but the same idea on an E7 would be interesting.
Just for balance, I got bored of the first lead ones after reading about 5 of them.
Well researched "destination articles" would go down very well. I know this might not be possible for you personally to do all the time for obvious reasons, but I'm sure there are a number of people out there who fit the traveller-writer-climber bill.
I'll do a Tegness Quarry article in time for when the BMC Froggatt Guide comes out - you will, I'm sure, all love it!
How about the 10 best E2's in Britain. A different climber could write up their favourite E2 and why each week. I'm sure it would be an interesting series and provoke lots of debate.
Could be repeatede with V Diff, VS, E5 VI and V.
Maybe more writing competitions as well, the lead one produced some great stuff, but a lot of boring pap too-perhaps only publishing the 3 best or something if you were doing regular comps?
I wrote a short piece a while ago and sent it in, but not heard anything back.... has it been relegated to the cyber scrap heap?
Cheers for the suggestions, very helpful. The I want That Job! articles are coming soon, with an interview style, hopefully detailing a few thoughts of the person in the job and not just a 'Job Spec'.
If anyone has sent in articles recently (like Sam) then thanks - we've been a bit snowed under with the My First Leads - but everything is stored away, don't worry.
I'll get back to work!
Jack, hello, happy new year, i'd like to see well written trip reports, at all levels, with the information that is needed to maybe some day get to some of these places
also when you see Dave P, or any of the other guys from that time in the desert pass on my regards
Hi Jack; the Dream Job series sounds quite, er, useful. Will your own be featured?
I'd also like more tales from the front-line of cutting edge activity; I am all too aware of what punters do.
Otherwise, all good; keep it coming!
A month in the life of a guide in the dog days may be useful to all those dreaming of becoming one. October and November cannot be very busy so little money coming in.
First two ideas are good. Third rather routine but if the site doesn't already have such an explanation then why not?
> Third rather routine but if the site doesn't already have such an explanation then why not?
You mean, "The Ethics of Trad climbing - a look in to the UK's grading system."
No one as far as I know, in any climbing media, has deconstructed the UK trad grading system - in an honest and practical manner - Jack's the man for the job.
It needs doing as it is a mess and is constantly misapplied, misunderstood and abused.
Hopefully jcm you will find it far from "rather routine."
But don't get me going - I'm busy!
An article on sexy lady climbers with lots of photos.....
I'd like to see a bit more about what is happening outside the UK a bit more - brief profiles of some top European climbers would be interesting for a start.
I like the idea of Europes 'super routes' - these needn't all be super hard routes, either.
> Climbing Fitties!!!
lol - you joke i assume but the hit counter would be ticking over in a blur
i think someone mentioned this further up but something funny would be nice
If you (or anyone) has any specific route suggestions then fire them in. I liked the Frendo Spur article here: http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=475
I'd like to include some routes in the 'Super Hard' category as I think that details and photo's of hard routes are inspirational on many levels - but a wide variety of routes both grade-wise, area-wise and rock/ice/snow-wise is what I'm aiming for.
Jack, I know this will sound like a negative question and me moaning, but if I didn't think lots of other people felt the same way I wouldn't say it.
In a nutshell UKC's articles aren't as good as many of planetfear's (excepting their formulaic holiday destination ones). How often do we refer training queries to their archive, for example. Even when they do something as unoriginal as a silly list of the top ten best jammed nuts in the UK, they seem to do it well. Even Andy K has pissed all over you with his one man band operation (though he more or less wrote all his articles semi-professionally for the mags) - and if one was cynical you might say he gave you the one about Cairngorm deaths because it didn't meet the standard of his others. There's the odd good one, like Pat Littlejohn's and Nick Bullock's but in general I've stopped reading them (so clearly I'm coming at this from a little position of ignorance). I only have a look if something catch's my eye, and in a sense I can find what I want, am happy with it, and can ignore what I don't like, so if other people genuinely want to read 78 tales of people's first leads and then enjoy them, then this is no complaint at all, the site works.
Many of the ones I have read, read like additions to a student club's annual journal.
Like I said, I can find the good ones, but there's always something in the back of your mind that tells you there might be a good one you've missed, and I don't want to have to read 10 shit ones in order to find 1 that's worthwhile, on the off chance.
Maybe you could extend the photo voting system to articles? I know this might not be popular, but it would certainly be something new and exciting, that the mags could never do, and people could opt out. If anything, just the same as the photos, this would help distinguish between ones people put up because they mean something to those who were there, or fill a niche, and those that genuinely appeal to a large audience, that are essential browsing.
A lot of my comments describe the situation before you started, and I know you struggle for content. If someone says `why don't you write one then Paz?' - the answer is because it would only be of about the standard of a club journal article. In an articel I don't want to pose a profound and inciteful question, only to answer it myself or realise I was talking cobbler two weeks afterwards (like I do with my posts). It takes a lot of work to bring something up to a really good standard, and I think you should direct your efforts in this area. I leave you with two cliche's: sometimes less is more, and quality not quantity.
> If someone says `why don't you write one then Paz?' - the answer is because it would only be of about the standard of a club journal article. It takes a lot of work to bring something up to a really good standard,
Surely the role of a good Editor is to work with the author on the original piece to ensure the quality. There is more to that partnership than submitting some raw material, the Editor running a spell check and then publish it. It does take a lot of work and time but that load should be shared between the two. Why don't the two of you give it a go?
> Jack, I know this will sound like a negative question and me moaning, but if I didn't think lots of other people felt the same way I wouldn't say it.
You have reputation for moaning and being negative Paz - one of your most endearing qualities.
We have had many great articles at UKC over the last year - including training articles; both by well know and unknown climbers.
But yes we need to do lots more and like you suggest by experts. It is my job, one of them, to find the money, via advertising, to fund that and I am succeeding.
Don't put yourself down, I'm sure you could write something great for UKC.
We also have most active News page in the British climbing media which we constantly get praise for and the readership of that page is sky high - and you can comment and break news.
Our Gear page is developing quite nicely, and is independent - and you can comment on gear reviews.
The Photo Gallery is the biggest climbing gallery in the world - as an aside it is constantly perused by photo editors and outdoor companies for material.
The enthusiast media is changing at a rapid rate. Great changes are afoot; be patient.
Thanks for your comments.
Hi Glyn, I can't give an exact answer, I guess it depends on too many variables. The simple answer is: 'As soon as we can', or 'When it fits in with other articles'. Eg. We wouldn't want to publish 2 grit bouldering articles at the same time - when we could save one and spread them out.
Also the amount of editing needed is a factor. If a piece is well written, no mistakes, submitted via the submit function and has pictures well sized then it will go up more quickly than one that needs several hours work - but we do welcome all of the submissions.
Cheers for the thoughts, it can be hard to post negative comments - so good effort.
Personally I don't think we need a voting system for the articles, I think that it isn't too difficult to pick and choose which ones will be of interest. I would like to see a better way of archiving them and searching through them as we get more and more - especially the destination articles, those will be a great resource.
The beauty of the web is that we don't have the limited print space of a magazine and we can publish more. This is essential in bringing grass roots writing in to the UK climbing media. Writers develop, just like climbers and I think that if as a 17 year old - I penned an article and it got voted 'rubbish' that would be a shame. We need to break away from the same 10 writers in the print media and open ourselves up to the information sharing possibilities of the web.
Horse is right - Editors and writers work together - I'll be doing both roles, as a staff writer and as an editor. I'll also be supporting anyone who sends in material and hopefully we'll get writers developing with us at UKC. I promise I won't send your article back with big red pen on it!
I'd be really interested in getting multiple authors on one article - say a destination article, comments in the forum that are then edited by the staff here and added to the original - utilising knowledge from all the users, almost like a Wiki - but more formal and edited. Any ideas on an area to start that off?
I know you say there are a few good articles but not all posts are directed to PF.
is a very good example of internal reference.
Since I can remember climbers have always criticised the climbing media of the day and often with good reason.
There are two main challenges to any climbing media these days.
First is that the climbing community has diverse interests, especially compared to 20 years ago, we are certainly more specialised; some going bouldering only, some are obsessed by sport climbing, some only interested in long routes in the mountains etc.
The crux here is that it is very hard to please everyone all the time. But like Jack said above we have more flexibility here than in print, and more space!
The second is economics. The climbing community is tiny compared to other sports/pastimes/lifestyles and those who sell to climbers have limited budgets for advertising and it is advertising which directly funds the climbing media. These budgets these days are directed in to more creative ways of reaching climbers than just the climbing media. In short the climbing media has less money to pay contributors.
If you you want a climbing media that covers all bases, from training to destinations, to interviews, to timely news - climbers must join together and help....often that is like herding cats.
> You mean, "The Ethics of Trad climbing - a look in to the UK's grading system."
> No one as far as I know, in any climbing media, has deconstructed the UK trad grading system - in an honest and practical manner - Jack's the man for the job.
> It needs doing as it is a mess and is constantly misapplied, misunderstood and abused.
Agree with the last point but otherwise beg to differ Mick. I posted a longish reply on here ( http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=61210 ) about it then expanded it, and subsequently extended it on my website - http://www.aqvi55.dsl.pipex.com/climb/uk_grades.htm . History; alternatives that have fallen by the wayside; the correct way to compare UK grades with the French system; and much more!
Charmed I'm sure. I think it was you or Craggs who so accurately first painted me as negative, where as obviously I don't see it like that. I'd just say I tell it like it is. And I'd say you have a reputation for creating hype, as we have just witnessed.
In reply to Mick and Jack.
I do appreciate that writing and publishing articles isn't as simple as reading them. It'll be interesting to see where it goes - look forward to it. I thought I'd give you some feedback and point out that content isn't just measured by word count.
> I'd just say I tell it like it is.
As you see it, that is all you can ever do, and it is appreciated.
We do know that.
And anyway, I'm sure you remember the monthly threads regularly bemoaning the quality of OTE. The fact that these have stopped and folk are complaining about you instead means they've stopped reading hard copies and are using UKC instead.
Do you pay people for submitting an article that is subsequently published?
I'm not asking this because I have a manuscript upstairs gathering dust, I'm just curious. I would pressume (wrongly?) that a magazine would pay (a small fee?) for a published article and was wondering how you compare. Also was the "First Lead" thing a competition? And is there a prize?
I'm sure the answers to these questions could be found by ferreting around the site but I'm lazy and you seem to be available to comment so "Carpe de Mick" as they say...
Oh and P.S. I seldom read the articles, don't know why they just never seem to grab me and I tend to come straight to the forum.
However here are a few personal thoughts about article likes/dislikes:
I'm not very interested in training/ropework etc type articles.
I like some "Areas to Visit" style pieces as long as they are well written and not just a we-went-to-this-place-for-a-week-and-here-is-a-list-of-the-routes-we-did-which-we-liked-and-a-location-of-the-nearest-campsite but something inspiring.
Stories of climbing derring-do. Hard trad is my poison of choice, but I can see where the excitement could come in mad winter stuff. Bouldering and sport perhaps lacks the edge to be truly gripping in written form.
Unless the writing is astonishingly well written it will need photos. These would have to be relevant and good quality.
What I mean by that is that sometime a sentence takes the whole of my screen or is cut in 2 because the picture is placed next to it, et.c.
Have you ever considered "justifying" the text: as in, fitting it into columns of equal width, if that makes sense. Makes for a much more comfortable/clearer reading imho.
Finding the articles in the news page is awkward too, for me anyway.
Re the content: I agree with Jack about widening the pool of writers to non-professional writers. Some of the contributions to the recent competition were not necessarily well-written, or the experience not that exciting, but 1 detail would make it worth reading: the age of the writer or a specific expression used gave a better idea of the tapestry of people and how different they are from each others, et.c. It was also clear that it was part of a competition organised for the readers so it's normal that the quality varies a lot.
Outside of the competition articles, everything else must be well written to catch people's attention for longer than the first 2 sentences, I think. In a sense, internet browsing is just that: short attention span, need for "breaking news", et.c.
I'm a writer/journo but I rarely ever read climbing media becasue its poor journalism. Climbing is a cult, almost a large clique (its certainly more cliquey than other sports) hence those that write within it tend to be climbers first, writers second.
I wrote a piece on becoming a climber from scratch and I think it wasn't bad... it was for an entertainments website, and perhaps that is a perspective that is required, something that is more accessible rather than appealing just to people who already know everything about climbing culture.
I would quite like to see more information on what options there are to get into new forms of climbing... perhaps interviews with alpinists, aimed at novices who want to know how to get into alpinism or ice climbing or whatever.
I'd also like to see interviews and stories of people for whom climbing has changed their life or outlook - rather than just guys who can climb E10s. Interviews with people who have overcome disabilities to learn to climb, or have emotional stories attached to climbing.
I'd be quite happy to write some more on climbing for ukclimbing.com, I do a lot of entertainment writing for the web so can make my submissions accessible - e-mail me if you'd like to see some portfolio or my CV
Also, I think it would be a really good idea to cover some hobbies and professions that often go along with climbing - such as photography, geography, geology and all the other things that get a person outdoors. More coverage on mainstream topical events like Doctors on Everest would be cool, I'm sure interviews would be possible on request for the people involved in that - particularly at the time they are seeking media exposure.
> Also, I think it would be a really good idea to cover some hobbies and professions that often go along with climbing - such as photography,
a bit like........?
>No one as far as I know, in any climbing media, has deconstructed the UK trad grading system
You reckon?? I'm staggered.
I don't know about honest or practical. I haven't seen much one could call intelligent on the subject, certainly.
I don't know the man, but I will look out for the article.
My thread the other day was an attempt at trying to get some discussion on this subject going but only a few people seemed to see that.
If your going to do climbing destination Make your include a range of routes at a spread of grades. Some for the supermen and for the mere mortals amoung us.
I reckon a few n more beginners articles would be nice including a what to include on my first rack. errr what else. Maybe a climbing on a budget article this question seems to pop up a lot on the forum
>Maybe a climbing on a budget article this question seems to pop up a lot on the forum
Now you're talking. An expert's guide to faredodging, bin-stealing, and sleeping in woodsheds. Bring it on.
A '2007 Climbing Year Review' was promised.
Have I missed it?
> A '2007 Climbing Year Review' was promised.
> Have I missed it?
Being rolled out 21st January.
Nick Bullock on UK Alps.
Stuart Littlefair on UK Sport
Tom Dixon on UK Bouldering
Jack Geldard on UK Trad and UK Headpointing.
We are working on them now - amongst other things.
... that'll be a short section then!
> ... that'll be a short section then!
Woops.....Nick Bullock on UK Alpinists in the Alps.
>"Nick Bullock on UK Alps.
Stuart Littlefair on UK Sport
Tom Dixon on UK Bouldering
Jack Geldard on UK Trad and UK Headpointing."
Sounds like you're giving the artical the full treatment. Looking forward to it.
"ARTICLES 2008: What do you want to see?"
How about you get Andy Nisbet to knock up a 2007/08 UK Winter Climbing review around May time?
> "ARTICLES 2008: What do you want to see?"
> How about you get Andy Nisbet to knock up a 2007/08 UK Winter Climbing review around May time?
Discussed that yesterday JLS - good thinking.
I'll like to see some articles raising the profile of all the crags that have been cleaned recently. Cheddar and Wintours have have been well done by Martin Crocker. But I've also spotted clean ups at Chudleigh, Penallta, Abbey Butress, Bwlch y Moch, Gogarth Upper Tier, Some odd spots in Lancs and the Midlands, Helsby, Wooley edge Quarry for starters, plus there's loads of new stuff on the slate crying out for more climbers
> Nick Bullock on UK Alps.
> Stuart Littlefair on UK Sport
> Tom Dixon on UK Bouldering
> Jack Geldard on UK Trad and UK Headpointing.
They sound good. Look forward to them.
Those are more web editor features - I was thinking along the lines of something more aimed at a photographer... i.e. the differences between lenses, lens filters, kit for sport shots...
I'd wonder how many climbers have purchased DLSR cameras without knowing how to get the best of them.
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