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Topic - guidebook "star system"

Alan Rubin - on 22 Jun 2012
I'm following up on a thread on the US Supertopo forum. The question was when was the "star system" for route quality first used in guidebooks. In the US it apparently was first used in two books published in 1980 (Rocky Heights by Jim Ericson and Tahquitz and Suicide Rocks by Randy Vogel). In his introduction Ericson specifically says that he "borrowed" the system from British guidebooks. In my limited collection of UK books, the earliest use of the system that I can find is in Ron James' Rock Climbing in Wales published in 1969. In his introduction James says that he is "introducing" the system to help infrequent visitors choose the best routes, which language implies that this was a new system. Does anyone on here know if this was indeed the first use of a star system in the UK to indicate route quality (for better or worse is another issue!!!)or, if not, can let me know which book(s) proceeded it? Was it used earlier in any books on the Continent or elsewhere? Minor trivia, I know, but still interesting to some of us.
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