Moff was at a sale of part of a large personnal collection the other day and a whole bundle of original hand-written well known new route submissions were on sale. Do guidebook producers sell these things off after a while or do they just get appropriated??
In reply to Frank the Husky: Martin, could someone explain to us west country bumpkins who and what? It is a subject in which both of us (Pylon and I) have a legitimate general interest, albeit not related to that particular transaction.
If this is true then it's a complete traversty. New route submissions were not intended for Geoff personally but for the GB committee and as such should have remained the property of the BMC. Vital archive material could have been lost here, for what reason I do not comprehend - a fraction of the total of >£100K before auctioneer costs. It's just sad - a big mistake.
I'd say that this is of interest not only to regional activists but to the whole cimbing public. I don't know anyone involved (so far as I can tell from what's been posted), but if it's true, the phrase "Selling off the family silver" comes to mind.
In reply to Graham Hoey: I don't think it's just new route submissions; we knew that at least one of the Stoney route books was missing and there were rumours that it had been taken during guidebook research. If I'm right then the folder of information that I saw a few months ago was full of cut-up pieces of that book, and had some important historical routes and ethical points of the day.
> (In reply to Phil Kelly and others)
> "Property is theft" aside, whose property are new route descriptions once submitted?
It's not a case of whose property are they - but these items were most definitely NOT the property of the seller.
There can't be much complaint about letters being sold that someone owns or has been sent, but (and I'm making a bit of a guess here) if the auction lot included the folder items that I saw a few months ago, then this was unique and historical information, gathered together during guidebook work.
If anyone wants to know where one of the missing Stoney Middleton new route books is - this probably answers the question.
In reply to Offwidth: If true, this stinks. Geoff should not have sold these books which were never his property in the first place. I've written a "semi official" complaint to the BMC CEO and President who I have no doubt will be along to set out the facts.
It raises a question about how all this material should be preserved. I've got several boxes and ring binders of correspondence about Yorkshire new routes going back to the 1960s. Some really interesting letters between the likes of Pete Livesey and the guidebook editors of the day and several on other controversial and locally notorious issues such as contentious claims for new E6s and E7s from a climber who had never before been seen to climb anything harder than VS! Perhaps a part time job for a BMC archivist to sift, catalogue and file on a national basis to preserve it all in one searchable library?
It does indeed. The worst of all possible worlds is that it gets sold to a private collector who won't allow any access.
It's pretty easy to scan such material and store it on an electronic database linked to the BMC. Phil Kelly and Graham Hoey are doing just that for a lot of material in the Peak area. I think it's important to store it 'as is', warts and all.
A much bigger project is that a lot of older climbers have first hand memories that we might lose soon. I'd love to see these folk interviewed for a UK wide electronic archive.
What is the whole story here. It's hard to digest for someone new to the issue. Have i picked it up right, that someone called Geoff auctioned off a collection of original route descriptions? How did Geoff come to have these route descriptions? Were they sent to him by the first ascentionists to aid in the collation of a guidebook? If so, then I'd say they are legitimately his to sell. In the same way if someone sent me a letter, i'd be entitled to do with that letter what i wanted.
Therefore, my view on his entitlement to sell the route descriptions depends on the means by which he came to possess them.
> Were they sent to him by the first ascentionists to aid in the collation of a guidebook?
I don't know the answer to what exactly has happened, but I don't know that I agree anyway - guidebook editors are generally acting as agents for the CC/BMC/whoever, I'd have thought. But I suspect (a) the suspicion is that these were new-route books which are in a rather different category, and (b) the issue is not perceived so much as a legal but a moral one - guardians of climbing's history abusing their position; something like that.
It does strike me as pretty poor, I must say.
But who could have bought them? Surely no-one would be interested in them for any other purpose than using them as part of history in some way, would they?
Firstly I think it should be made clear that I don't think anyone posting here as yet knows yet what exactly has been sold or the attitude of the seller or purchaser. All we have are the auction Lot summaries.
When first I heard about the Lot(s) and posted this thread I was more interested in the generality of such things, as I want to see such records preserved electronically for the climbing community at large (open public access can be an issue though, for various reasons). I'd also like to to hear what other climbing groups publishing definitive guides intend to do with their similar old paper archives (feel free to email me direct if anyone wants to let me know anything but not directly on this thread).
I think legal entitlement is not always the same as it being a good idea morally. As an editor acting on behalf of an organisation my view is most climbers who write to you with information for a guidebook do so with you as a proxy for that organisation and it's usually obvious when a letter is directly to you. Selling the former would certainly be as a minimum morally wrong as they should be handed on to whomsoever takes over your role; the latter depends on the privacy issues of what was said.
It turns out subsequently that an additional problem in this case is Phil and Graham were actively trying to electronically archive some material from the same collection, if some of this has been sold it would be pretty low, but we don't know yet.
As for collectors, some are really exceptionally helpful to editors, but others less so and a few want items very much for themselves.
In reply to Dave Musgrove: Hi Dave, If the YMC does not have an archive for all that stuff, the County Council Archive might accept it. A lot of the FRCC's more valuable items are in the county archive at Kendal.
It's still in safe hands here at the moment and I've spoken to Phil Kelly today about the scanning project the peak crew are on with. This is probably just the reminder I needed to get it all out again and get it back into some semblence of order. I did once have it all filed pretty neatly but digital scanning and archiving is probably the most logical next step in today's world. I'll also talk to MHT again which may be the logical final repository for the original paper copies - if they have the staff and space.
Can those who have been involved in expressing strong opinions on this thread please contact the person referred to as Geoff directly. If you want an email address then contact me directly alan [at] ukclimbing.com
Please don't post any more on this thread until you have done this.
I have been caught in the middle of this one.
The irony of UKC/Rockfax being the potential fall guy in a ding-dong argument between BMC stalwarts hasn't escaped me.