/ 100 Classic Climbs in North Wales guidebook

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Steve Ashton - on 03 Mar 2008
Just like to sound out something. The guidebook 100 Classic Climbs in North Wales, first printed 20 years ago, has been out of print for some time and there are no plans for a revised edition. A couple of years ago, I did an e-book version of the 100 Classic Climbs Yorkshire & Peak District Grit for Rockfax, which is available on that site. The thing is, I don't have the time - and I don't think it appropriate - to update the North Wales book or do a proper e-book version. But I know that some people still refer to the guide for route inspiration. Given that the copyright has reverted to me, I'm considering scanning it directly as a PDF and making is generally available for free (somewhere - haven't thought about that). One handy feature of this guide is that routes (or pairs of routes) appear over a single double-page spread. Very convenient for printing out just a couple of pages to take with you on a weekend trip & maybe read in the pub the night before to flesh out the definitive guide info. For those who haven't seen this book (pretty ancient now), it uses topo-like route diagrams for route-finding while the text gives a bit of flavour about the route's atmosphere (not everyone's idea of what a guide should be, I admit; also some of the grades may seem a bit quirky). What I don't want to do, though, is undermine the hard work of anyone who has written/is writing an up-to-date selected guide for N Wales (I'm a bit out of touch these days). I'd be grateful for suggestions and advice on this, thanks.
Jonno on 03 Mar 2008 - user-54452e41.lns4-c11.dsl.pol.co.uk
In reply to Steve Ashton:

Go for it. There's a new classic north Wales compendium on the shelves which is pretty recent....and pretty expensive ?

Your old guide is bit of a classic in it's way. The humorous tone was pretty unique in a world of po faced guide book writing.

An on-line free job would be much appreciated I would imagine.
Gordon Stainforth - on 03 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton:

I urge you to make it available again, Steve, as a pdf download - it's an absolute classic, with beautifully written, often very amusing, thumbnail descriptions of each route. Don't worry about other guidebooks!
Dom Whillans on 03 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton:
i'd like to quote arnie...
"DO IT!"
Glyn Jones - on 03 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton: thumbs up from here.
Flicka - on 03 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton:

I think yours is different enough from what's available not to fight with it. Be good to be able to have a read of the descriptions in it. I had a mate who had it and I looked at a few but never had the chance to read it properly. I reckon it would make good bathtime reading actually so would probably print off bits for that! :)
Mooncat - on 03 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton:

Please do it, I can't imagine you'd be treading on any toes because the format's so different to any other guides.
David Hooper - on 03 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton: Go for it Steve - an absolute classic.
Wish you was still writing to liven up our bland climbing mags with their endless advertorials.
Wingman on 03 Mar 2008 - host86-129-70-22.range86-129.btcentralplus.com
In reply to Steve Ashton:

Please do it - one of my friends has a copy and we love it! :-)
James Moyle - on 03 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton: Ditto
Anonymous on 03 Mar 2008 - 212.137.70.194 whois?
In reply to Steve Ashton:

Do it. I love that guidebook. As a low grade leader it was fantastic to have the routes described as they would appear to a low grade leader, as opposed to 'follow the obvious line to the top' style.

Ruth (not logged on)

Snorkers on 03 Mar 2008 - 192.135.77.104 whois?
In reply to Steve Ashton:

Steve, your guides to Wales, the Peak/Yorks and the Lakes were an inspiration. I loved the way you hammed up the route descriptions and catered to the individual leader's experience at each grade. Fantastic. The +/- grades and topos were good, although it was mainly the humour that made them so distinctive. I've certainly got my money's worth over the years and still have plenty of routes left to do. Whatever you decide, I just wanted to say I really enjoyed them and thanks for doing something different and entertaining with the guidebook format.
icnoble on 03 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/1852230207/ref=dp_olp_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1204581946&sr=8...

Just been onto Amazon and there are 4 copies for sale, one for 123!!
FoCkerWOLf on 03 Mar 2008 - 80-193-195-253.cable.ubr12.azte.blueyonder.co.uk
In reply to Steve Ashton:

Still use your guide

Its great and should be made available

go for it
Ian McNeill - on 03 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton:

very nice book thumbs up - can asssit with web side side of things if you want help, contact me to discuss.
Joss - on 03 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton:

Great idea Steve. You could have links to it on the North Wales Wiki web pages..
Mark Morris - on 03 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton: Amazing coincidence that I was browsing this book this evening looking for inspiration for a trip to North Wales. Excellent book, one of the first guides I bought, and sadly one of my least climbed on!

Was wondering how many I could honestly have a go at to complete these days? Fitness and weather will decide!
Mark
boswelox on 03 Mar 2008 - 78.149.188.19 whois?
In reply to Steve Ashton:

Our names are almost the same and I'm from North Wales...how odd
Ropeboy - on 04 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton:

Hi Steve,

I really enjoyed that guide, it gave me real inspiration as a begineer!

J :-)
boswelox on 04 Mar 2008 - 78.149.188.19 whois?
In reply to Ropeboy:

Yep, we used it when we were starting out. Think I have a very tatty copy in the attic.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Postmanpat on 04 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton:

I well remember when it first came out my climbing partner (a noted poster on this site) and I sitting in the pub reading out excerpts from this guide aloud and chortling together.I still take it to the bath with me from time to time (the guide,not the partner).

Would be great for it to be made available again.
Chris F - on 04 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton: As far as I know, this is the latest select guide for N Wales http://www.groundupclimbing.com/media.asp

If you wanted you could drop them a line?
John Lisle - on 04 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton:

Hi Steve

As someone who has bought and enjoyed a couple of your guides I just want to applaud your approach - both the idea of making it freely available and the sensitivity to other writers.

An idea - ask one of the MRTs to put it on their site, with an optional PayPal donation button?

John
ksjs - on 04 Mar 2008
In reply to Jonno: not expensive, worth every penny - the best UK guide available.
Jonno on 04 Mar 2008 - user-544570e2.lns6-c11.dsl.pol.co.uk
In reply to Chris F:
> (In reply to Steve Ashton) As far as I know, this is the latest select guide for N Wales http://www.groundupclimbing.com/media.asp
>
> If you wanted you could drop them a line?>>>

Why should he want to drop them a line. He doesn't need their permission to publish a guide he owns copyright on and which preceded their twenty five quid tome by twenty years ???

Al Evans on 04 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton:
I'm considering scanning it directly as a PDF and making is generally available for free (somewhere - haven't thought about that).

Have you considered approaching the CC?
Oceanic - on 04 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton:

'Philistines in rockboots will have to descend a scree couloir left of the arete'

Definitely my favourite line in a guide book.
Jonno on 04 Mar 2008 - user-544570e2.lns6-c11.dsl.pol.co.uk
In reply to Al Evans:
> (In reply to Steve Ashton)
> I'm considering scanning it directly as a PDF and making is generally available for free (somewhere - haven't thought about that).
>
> Have you considered approaching the CC?>>>


The CC have a number of guide book irons in the fire at the moment although I think in future it would be a good idea for the CC to follow the F&R lead and publish a classic compendium.

Steve's job is too quirky for the CC and would be better on the net or privately re-published

Chris F - on 04 Mar 2008
In reply to Jonno:
> (In reply to Chris F)
> [...]
>
> Why should he want to drop them a line. He doesn't need their permission to publish a guide he owns copyright on and which preceded their twenty five quid tome by twenty years ???

"What I don't want to do, though, is undermine the hard work of anyone who has written/is writing an up-to-date selected guide for N Wales (I'm a bit out of touch these days). I'd be grateful for suggestions and advice on this, thanks."

Or does that make too much sense????

Jonno on 04 Mar 2008 - user-544570e2.lns6-c11.dsl.pol.co.uk
In reply to Chris F:
."
>
> Or does that make too much sense????>>


Not really.... Steves' job is light years away from the glossy Ground-up book. Can't see how an ebook which is coming from a totally different direction will put anyone's nose out of joint.

Steve owns his own copyright..he can do what he likes.

Chris F - on 04 Mar 2008
In reply to Jonno: Oh god. Is it really that difficult? Steve asked the question about what recent guidebooks have been written, so i told him.

I KNOW he can do what he likes, but assumed he was asking out of courtesy. Is courtesy a foreign concept to you?
Jonno on 04 Mar 2008 - user-544570e2.lns6-c11.dsl.pol.co.uk
In reply to Chris F:


He ends by asking for advice. 99% are saying Go for it. The great unwashed UKC public don't appear too bothered about standing on Ground-Ups toes ?
mike123 - on 04 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton: hi steve, as so many people have said this guide was an inspiration to my early climbing days and helped me to get better.i ve never realy ticked guide books but for many years i had a mental tick list of the 100. i applaud your idea to publish for free but also wonder how much it would cost to privatly publish a proper edition for people to cherish. you could give away a cd with the pdf on for people to print pages off and take with them. is nt there somebody on here who could tell you about the ins and outs of a private publication ? have you approached rockfax to re publish it ? however it came about it would be great to see it in print again.
mike
SteveM - on 04 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton:

Please please please publish it again. I'd even be happy to pay a small fee for a downloadable PDF like the mini-guides available from Rockfax.

I love the format & content of the "100 classic climbs in..." series. The gritstone one is providing my hit list for local climbing around Leeds & Sheffield.

For what it's worth I own the recent Ground Up select guide to N Wales and most of the definitive guides too. Having a "reprint" of you book wouldn't have stopped me buying any of those I already have.
rehab21 on 04 Mar 2008 - 208.51.44.100 whois?
In reply to icnoble:
> (In reply to Steve Ashton) http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/1852230207/ref=dp_olp_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1204581946&sr=8...
>
> Just been onto Amazon and there are 4 copies for sale, one for 123!!

Anyone want to buy my old copy? I'll knock off the postage, so you'll save 2.75.
Offwidth - on 04 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton:

Steve this is probably my favorite guidebook ever. I lost mine a few years back on a club trip and got a new (old) one for Xmas after Lynn found one on Ebay that didnt cost a small fortune (from somewhere in Europe) and I was so chuffed. I would like to grab your signature one day for this and the peak guide; as would my good friend Nigel who loves his peak guide more than anyone healthy should. I'd be gobsmacked if you couldnt sell pdfs.
Mark Morris - on 04 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton: Think everyone feels the same about this Steve, would take a while to scan well, but I think we'd all like to download a copy so we can print the pages we want for a route. I think most would be willing to pay to, the paypal suggestion seems good.

Mark
Just Another Dave - on 04 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton: Yep, like everyone else here, it inspired all my early climbing, and still forms the bulk of my "mental ticklist"...

Just thought I'd say, almost 20 years later, that I've just come back from scotland having seen, in a hut, a copy of the "100 classics in Scotland" with all the same topos and text style.. -Why haven't I seen that before? -I am now inspired to get into winter climbing in a way that i've been failing to for years!

I'd pay too.
Steve Ashton - on 05 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton:

Many thanks for all these supportive comments and suggestions. I think nostalgia is playing a part here - I've just looked through the book and it's a bit of mixed bag to be honest and best regarded as an historical oddity. Plus, space was always a problem with the layout so it's all a bit cramped. Anyway, looks like it can be hosted as a free download (discussing this with a generous organisation at the moment) so I'll you know when that's set up.
Thanks again. I knew this was the place to come for ideas.
Pursued by a bear - on 05 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton:

> I've just looked through the book and it's a bit of mixed bag to be honest and best regarded as an historical oddity.

An oddity? Only insofar as a book that mixes advice, insight and humour and has a refreshing individualism that surely reflects its author's personality is odd, and if that's the case, would that everything was just as peculiar.


> Plus, space was always a problem with the layout so it's all a bit cramped.

I don't see that as an issue myself. There was always sufficient white space on each page to make things understandable.


> Anyway, looks like it can be hosted as a free download (discussing this with a generous organisation at the moment) so I'll you know when that's set up.

Sounds good. How about setting up an honesty box-type link on the site inviting people to contribute to mountain rescue in north Wales if they download it?

T.


ads.ukclimbing.com
In reply to Steve Ashton:

Hi Steve,

As your co-writer on the Lake District volume, I would be delighted to host your North Wales book as a free download on the Needle Sports website. Feel free to ring or email me.

Hope you are keeping well,

Stephen
Glyn - on 06 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton: Fantastic idea, go for it. I would be over the moon. I live in North Wales and have never seen it. Sounds like a classic
LakesWinter on 06 Mar 2008
In reply to Stephen Reid: The Lakes one is top, I really enjoy using it!
Gordon Stainforth - on 06 Mar 2008
In reply to MattG:

I think the Welsh one has the best writing. I say 'best' because there was a Peak one too.
Kipper - on 06 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton:

"The Book of Doom" as it's known to myself and climbing partners :-)

We always use in in conjunction with a definitive guide, even if just for a laugh.
Traveller - on 17 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton: Please please please write another guidebook if ever you get chance - perhaps for Scotland or somewhere? Climbing in Wales, we use your guide both to select routes (the way the book describes each climb for someone whose top grade is that climb is superb) and while on the crag. We've now got so used to the topos that they are much more use than route descriptions in other guides, and the descriptions themselves are genuis! Great entertainment in the pub.

Honestly, this book brought a whole new aspect to our North Wales climbing experience. Our mission is to eventually climb them all.
Skyfall - on 17 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton:

Just seen this thread and would add my admiration for the guide. This is THE guide I turn to for inspiration in N Wales. Oddly perhaps in these days of photo everything, the route topos work extremely well and I have often deliberately used your guide in terms of route finding in preference to one of the more modern guides.

The text was also superb. Dream of White Horses would not be the same without it. Luckily, I did get further than looking it and didn't turn back :) But that's the beauty of your N Wales guide, it made every route seem like an adventure, which they are of course, regardless as to grade.

I am not sure there would any point in updating it, unless you were to expand it and add some colour photos alongside. If you did, it might sell surprisingly well. I am not a fan of more recent Welsh guides generally (with one or two honourable exceptions).
Skyfall - on 17 Mar 2008
Steve, before you dash off down the pdf download'able version of your original text, I would simply stress that a lot of people do regard this as an absolute classic which stands up well to any modern guide. I still often use it side by side with (and often in preference to) another guide as I trust the topos, and enjoy the route descriptions!

I do think there could be a place for an updated version of this. Don't Supertopo in the US use similar diagrams and they are pretty big over there I believe. If you took your original text, added a few more routes maybe (?), and threw in some nice photos, I think you'd be amazed at the response from todays' climbing public.

I also have your Lakes and Peaks versions, neither quite as good for some reason I can't quite put my finger on. But I still use them.

Regardless, thanks anyway for the inspiration and genuine practical assistance in route finding.

Snorkers on 18 Mar 2008 - S0106001b11cca465.cg.shawcable.net
In reply to JonC: That's the first time I've seen someone deliberately refer to 'Peaks' on here and get it right! Written by Steves, of course (Jackson and Ashton).
Simon Caldwell - on 18 Mar 2008
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> I say 'best' because there was a Peak one too

Two - a Peak limestone and a Peak+Yorkshire gritstone (which for many years was the best one on the market).

I'll add a "me too" to the general praise for the books. Given their apparently universal popularity, it's surprising that they ever went out of print!
Steve Ashton - on 18 Mar 2008
In reply to JonC:
> I do think there could be a place for an updated version of this.... If you took your original text, added a few more routes maybe (?), and threw in some nice photos, I think you'd be amazed at the response from todays' climbing public.

Sadly, I'm too feeble these days to write new guides or even update this one - hence the idea to 'archive' it somewhere. There's a possibility of this - still waiting for confirmation.
Many thanks again for kind words (blushes).



Steve Ashton - on 18 Mar 2008
In reply to Toreador:
For the record, there were 5 guides in the series: Scotland (Central & Souther Highlands); Lake District; Yorkshire & The Peak District (limestones); Yorks & Peak (Gritstone); and North Wales. I was the series editor but only wrote the last two. Originally there were going to be volumes for NE Scotland and South West/South Wales, but these never materialised. Ditto guides for alpine areas in similar format. Can't recall why, now.
Offwidth - on 26 Mar 2008
In reply to Steve Ashton:

"I think nostalgia is playing a part here" - Good nostalgia in the sense of a couple of great guidebooks that are inspiring, even today, and certainly demand a very high second hand price.

"I've just looked through the book and it's a bit of mixed bag to be honest and best regarded as an historical oddity. Plus, space was always a problem with the layout so it's all a bit cramped." - They were fun, compact, easier to use than competitors and still add interest in selecting and climbing the routes and looking back with a well earned pint.
In reply to Offwidth:
> They were fun, compact, easier to use than competitors

and also very flattering. I remember whichever of the Idwal slab routes I have done, being with Steve's book. I cruised the bit with ease (ok, so it is only a Vdiff) but seeing it described as "death defying padding" or something like that in the book made it feel much more exciting!

Steve - the Southern Scotland one was seminal to me and quite a few mates who were at Glasgow Uni in the early 90s. I suspect I knew quite a few of the description by heart! I hope they are all available at some point to inspire future bumblies from Cader Idris to Ben Nevis.

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