/ Peak guide books
Rockfax Wwstern Grit & Eastern Grit cover most of the crags in more than enough depth. Next on my list of things to buy (I currently have the peak district: climbing book too).
The BMC guides are the best, hands down.
They're beautifully produced definitive guides.
I would recommend the Rockfax for the casual visitor and the BMC guides for anyone who wants to really get to know the crags and explore the lesser known areas.
Ya looking through the BMC and Rockfax websites the BMC ones are more focused on a particular crag, with whole guides to Froggart and Stanage ect where as the Rockfax ones encompass a collection of crags. Got to say I like the Rockfax website with climber reviews of the routes.
Rockfax also do selected guides for the lower grades called pocketz. If you're on a tight budget they're good (they're only about a tenner)
Vertebrate also brought out a low grade climbing guide for the area, which also has the advantage of including some limestone.
Basically if you expect to rarely visit the area get one of the above guides. If you expect to become a regular visitor then you'll want the definitive guides.
Eastern and Western Grit have around 5000 of the best routes from area. Enough to keep you going for a good few years. All the major crags are covered in some detail.
> The BMC guides are the best, hands down.
Agreed. But given that you need five books just to cover the Grit, they are probably not the best investment for an occasional visitor. The Rockfax are probably the best bet as three will cover all climbing on grit and Limestone, plus you get Yorkshire limestone for free!
I have a soft spot for Rockfax Eastern Grit as I used it when I was learning to climb but the definitives are fantastic, with more indepth anecdotes and character.
Read some of the books in a shop and see what you prefer. In addition to the BMC definitive, Rockfax and VG, I'd still recommend the older style On Peak Rock still showing lots of character and even higher on the character stakes Steve Ashtons 100 classic climbs on gritstone if you can get one second hand. One thing that hasn't been mentioned is that the BMC definitive guides do give more to go at at lower grades. The offwidth website is also worth a look for those (based on our BMC work):
Better topos ;-)
The Rockfax is the only sensible option for Limestone at the moment. Personally I prefer having the definitive guides for grit but others prefer Rockfax somewhat more selective guides.
As a local, I would always take the definitives to the crag. However, a couple of my regular partners only had the Rockfax. It was quite rare for us to climb a route that was in the definitive that wasn't in the Rockfax.
Basically, I think it comes down to how often you climb in the Peak and how much you want to spend. The definitives have all the routes and most of the bouldering, but you need several books for the Eastern Peak where one Rockfax covers the lot. On the West, you would probably be better going for the definitive. Both Rockfax and BMC guides are excellent.
> As a local, I would always take the definitives to the crag. However, a couple of my regular partners only had the Rockfax. It was quite rare for us to climb a route that was in the definitive that wasn't in the Rockfax.
So you don't go exploring any of the quieter bits of crags, or go to venues not covered by Rockfax? I guess if I go out to do routes I nearly always do routes in the Rockfax, but the definitives are essential for going out soloing and bouldering.
Don't get me wrong - I am a total advocate of the definitives, but to give Rockfax its credit, the topos are generally better and the colour coding allows for easy reading. They have also managed to get all related climb descriptions on the same page as the topo, something not feasible in the definitive guide but it makes easy reading at the crag.
I am not a big fan of the larger Rockfax format and the quality of the cover means that my Western Grit guide is looking a bit sorry for itself these days where as the smaller definitive guides are holding up well.
The worst offenders were the Yorkshire grit hardbacks which are totally trashed now.
> So you don't go exploring any of the quieter bits of crags, or go to venues not covered by Rockfax? I guess if I go out to do routes I nearly always do routes in the Rockfax, but the definitives are essential for going out soloing and bouldering.
I actually agree with you. As I said, I always used the definitives for exactly the reasons you describe. But when out with partners, we tended to do more classic routes and sections of crags that were nearly always in the Rockfax. I don't think that this is because we are particulalrly unimaginitive, just that Rockfax has very good coverage of crags and routes that in my experience are usually popular for a reason, and there are so many routes that there isn't really much reason to try something a bit grubby and esoteric when there is a starred classic that I haven't done yet.
I don't think the BMC limestone guides could be called excellent these days.
Both guides include almost everything up to E9. Like you, I'd rather have a slimline up to HVS or E2 or whatever and then have a supplement for the serious bods.
> I don't think the BMC limestone guides could be called excellent these days.
I didn't realise they were still in print!
The latest at the last peak area was not "soon". If people are interested and haven't got any joy from contacting the BMC site they could always contact the area secretary Moff from these pages to raise it at the next meeting (or better still come along).
The topos are bigger but not always better... again for grit have a gander in a shop and see what your target crags look like. The limestone Rockfax IS way better than the old BMC guides.
I've got the BMC Roaches and Moorland Grit guides for western stuff and Eastern Grit for the eastern edges. They're all really good - you won't go far wrong with any of them!
Buy everything apart from On Peak Rock :-)
If you want the honeypots and queues then get the Rockfax. If you want more interesting stuff and some piece and quiet then get the definitives.
If you want to be enthused and exited, plan for future adventures and get a real feel for the history and the feel of the crag, the definitives are unmatched. Worth it for the photo captions alone. Quite often it's the tatty old rockfax that goes to the crag, but it's the definitives that live in the throne room and get you through the winter ;)
> Buy everything apart from On Peak Rock :-)
My favorite guide!...It reassures me I'm still a bumblie!
errr..while I'm here...I've been on the Rockfax databases...had a look at my localist crag..Windgather..
can someone please translate the description for Middle Triplet Crack..
"Steep but with a choice of biffos and good runners"
Note to self...buy a mouldering bat and weenie hat...or something like that.
Peace and quiet (usually complete solitude) can be found at many of the Rockfax crags: Kinder edges, Wilderness, Ravestones, Laddow, Shining Clough, Standing Stones, Alderman, Dovestone Tor, Baslow, Gardoms, Chatsworth...
Where with the moorland crags you will find all sorts of things wrong. Grades in particular. Eastern edges are and Staffs area Rockfax works but theye are not getting the feedback they need on Moorland. Next edition they can copy the BMC grades I guess.
I would never assume that a grade in a BMC guide is more accurate than anywhere else just because a few people on the guidebook team claim to have climbed it. A consensus needs a bit more than that.
"A consensus needs a bit more than that." Its the best you get on the moors away from the classics. So you'll have to lump it. I wasnt claiming perfect grading in the BMC guides (Offwidth gives our views) but where else did you get the grades from last time... Chris certainly didnt climb all those routes?
With every grade change, we look at all available sources and make a decision based on that. If the record of a route shows no real change until the latest edition of the guidebook then we would consider that on its merits and how dramatic it was before deciding on a change.
We never take our information from single sources, we use experience and accumulated data. This accumulated data usually includes all previous guides to an area, plus our various online databases.
> "A consensus needs a bit more than that." Its the best you get on the moors away from the classics. So you'll have to lump it. I wasnt claiming perfect grading in the BMC guides (Offwidth gives our views) but where else did you get the grades from last time... Chris certainly didnt climb all those routes?
The grades came from the RRGG (Rockfax Random Grade Generator), which works on an amazing algorithm that is top secret. I ensures we only need to check one route per crag. That really speeds up guidebook production, we could licence it to you if you want.
I'll do a list for you when I'm back from font to prove my point. The only change from the BMC old guides on many of the less well known routes is adding 4a to Severes using Chris's magic grade generator. Not all unchanged on Moorland for the new edition...his topo crag shots are much better in the new version... that involves some early mornings and hard work.
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