/ OI NEWS: Rockfax Announce New Book to North Wales
Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/news.php?id=5552
Exciting to see, but not sure what the USP is over NW Rock with almost identical crag coverage. If you had NWR, would you need the Rockfax unless you simply liked owning duplicate books for the photos and the tickage (which I do!)
My other thought is that this guidebook will be stashed down the jumper a lot due to the high number of multipitch crags and seacliffs covered. I find the W Country Rockfax a bit thick for that purpose. Bigger is not necessarily better.
Oh, and one final thought. W Country Climbs is excellent but its major flaw was the coverage of Swanage/Portland (duplicated in Dorset RF) and Lundy (complete waste of space) adding to the thickness. I hope that including redundant pages for the sake of it is not policy.
IIRC the Lundy section more or less spends a few pages saying "go to Lundy, it's great, but you'll want to buy a proper guidebook before you go there."
I generally agree with Owen's point, anyway: it's good news and I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with, but I'm hoping that they've managed to find a way of differentiating it from the Ground Up guide...
> Oh, and one final thought. W Country Climbs is excellent but its major flaw was the coverage of Swanage/Portland (duplicated in Dorset RF) and Lundy (complete waste of space) adding to the thickness. I hope that including redundant pages for the sake of it is not policy.
The size of the latest Rockfax books is something we are aware of. Our intention this time is to release the book at the same time as an App version (for iOS and Android). We haven't decided yet how we are going to sell the app version but it may well be that we can link it to book purchases some how.
The reason we included the Lundy section in WCC was to alert people to the area. Virtually everyone goes there for a week and we couldn't give a week's worth of climbing so we just thought we'd highlight it and point people at the CC guide.
I don't see that the Dorset section is a waste of space for people who don't own the Dorset Rockfax. It does what selected guidebooks do, points new or occasional visitors at the best crags and lines.
The new Rockfax will of course have some overlap of coverage although we are including different routes and crags including some easier venues and Mid-Wales, but no Llyen. Additionally we use larger photo-topos and the style of the guides is different I think.
North Wales is a big area though and I am sure it can support both guides if both are available at the same time. Our Classics book has sold well since 2010 so we do know what the market wants.
Nice cover shot. i remember those moves very well!
Do you think? 'Workmanlike', at best, I would have said. Bordering on 'dull and cliched'.
I actually like the shot with the climber and the photographer more, but maybe the appeal is mostly seeing both photos side by side.
To clarify on my blunt comment, I thought Lundy was a waste of space because Rockfaxes are supposed to be used at the crag, not to showcase a crag which you wouldn't be using the guidebook itself for.
I thought Dorset was redundant because it is the first time that an area is covered by two separate guides. For me, who has the Dorset RFs, I thought it just added to the weight. A raiding northerner may think differently.
Either way, looking forward to the book. I'll be buying it anyway, but have come to expect a still warm copy and free postage from the publisher!
I like the LW cover as, for the mid-grade climber, it is the difinitive route in the region.
Looking forward to leafing through a copy and if it looks good with great photos and clear photo diagrams (which I'm sure it will do) I will get a copy, even though I already have the Ground Up guide and a full set of the CC guides. For me the USP of Rockfax is the inspirational, eye catching and very professional visual presentation in the more recent guides. Pembroke, South West Climbs and Lofoten are all fantastic.
The CC are catching up but this is where the larger format of ROckfax really helps. Of course the larger format makes it less suitable for taking on the route with you but these days it's easy enough to take a good quality photo with a phone and/or camera, plus you can always take the smaller CC guide as well.
Keep up the good work! Now you just need to do one for the Lakes, that would really piss off the FRCC ;-)
By the way, E6 6b for Lord of the Flies - a bit of a departure from convention?
Great cover shot by the way, though yes it does look scarily steep! A good choice - inspirational for women and for men, well...
Grond IS NOT E3. It is not even E2.
I'd say E2 is fair. Anyway, one of the best grit jamming cracks around! In the same way that 10 Degrees North and Plexus (or is it Nexus?) are some of the best grit slabs at those grades.
> I'd say E2 is fair. Anyway, one of the best grit jamming cracks around! In the same way that 10 Degrees North and Plexus (or is it Nexus?) are some of the best grit slabs at those grades.
You need help!
Grit? Good grief....
Nevertheless good work and I look forward to reading it!
Obviously it isn't really grit but it's very grit like.
Ta for clarifying the Grim Jim finish to Cemetery Gates. I think this is better than the original since it maintains the 5b grade and you can string it as a single pitch if you have 60m ropes.
That was our original plan back in 2011 however there was then a plan for an alternative guidebook to North Wales Limestone from another publisher. Unlike North Wales as a whole, NWL isn't big enough to support two guidebooks so we decided to change plans and build on the coverage we had begun with North Wales Classics with this new book.
Another thing that many people don't seem to comprehend when discussing guidebooks is that every book has a print run and a life span. North Wales Classics has only a year or so to run and we won't be reprinting that. NWR dates from 2005 and is probably also nearing the end of its second print run.
its a shame not reprinting the classics, the size of the guide makes it *great*.
i look up /read routes in one of my 4 guides and carry the classics guide up the hill/route.
Alan, if you are going to talk about Ground Up books try to stick to the facts. The first edition of NWR came out in 2007, the second edition (and it is a second edition rather than a re-print because we made significant changes, corrections, updates, added extra routes etc, it even has an entirely different cover to emphasize the point) was published in 2009.
We still have plenty of copies left - it's an excellent guidebook and I'm very proud of it. You might be happy to write off one of your own productions (North Wales Classics) as having reached the end of its life span but please don't try and suggest the same is true for NWR, no matter how convenient that notion might be for the commercial prospects of NWClimbs.
To do so is a cheap shot, and surely you're better than that?
Apologies. Now I have bothered to check, the copy I have here says October 2006.
It is a fine book and I am sure it will continue to sell well and you are justified in feeling proud of it.
Which crags are you including from Mid Wales?
Thanks for that, I emailed a load of aerial photographs of the cliffs around the orme's and haven't heard anything since. Anyone looking at producing a new guide of the area PLEASE get in contact with me.
Drop me an email if you plan to do another edition of NWR (Best guide book around) I have lots of images that would be very interesting to you. We circled the Orme at low altitude and I got shots of all the crags that would otherwise need a boat to photograph otherwise.
erm yes, ... Mark is away this week and I haven't been able to get the list off him. When he gets back I will add it to the info sheets.
The problem with photos taken from the air (or sea) is that they often bear little resemblance to what you see when you're stood at the foot of the crag.
Yes this is often true although I'd still love to see them.
flying_climber - I have emailed you
Quite a lot of the Orme, particularly around the Light House Crags has shear drops straight into the sea. You would have to be either flying or sailing (from a distance) to get a good view really. The images I have are also very high-res, You can zoom in a spot climbers and even there ropes from an altitude of 500ft.
I just had a flick through NWR and it looks like a boat has been used on a few cliffs around the orme (Ed. 2006 Page; 510, 529. Also the CC have used extensive sea based photography in both the Swange and Portland guidebook.
I can also see, in the future drones will be used alot in guidebook photography.
P.S Just had a dig through and I have a lot of the Gogarth area as well.
Just uploading them to my skydrive - I will send them over when its done.
Is this guide more accurate than the 'North Wales Classics - Pokketz' guide that had loads of mistakes in with grades, descriptions etc?
I can't give you a date, but i have seen some bits of the new NW limestone guide. it's looking brilliant and all the hard work has been done. Just the slow, boring and tedious bit to go now...
If you know of any errors in the NW Classics book other than the 10 listed in this update http://www.rockfax.com/climbing-guides/miniguides/north-wales-classics-update/ then please let us know.
Literacy and clarity are so important if you are publishing guidebooks.
> erm yes, ... Mark is away this week and I haven't been able to get the list off him. When he gets back I will add it to the info sheets.
You are not quite sure which crags will be in your next guidebook? Really?
I look forward to seeing them. If you have any others of North Wales Crags even not for the guide, I might be interested in buying them off you as I am currently thinking of decorating my new house with crag shots from the area.
I am sure Alan will send over any images, although I am not working on the Limestone section.
> Apologies. Now I have bothered to check, the copy I have here says October 2006.
Could Mr. Panton clarify this discrepancy?
I am pretty sure we are only including the old classics that are still bolted in Dalis hole (Launching pad and Holy...), and describing the approach via Dalis wall and down the descent to california tunnel, with a warning against climbing/damaging the fence and too many climbers using the area at the same time. I think it is important that we include this access information so no one makes a mistake simply because they are unaware of access information/issues here.
We are also putting in some of hidden wall and dali's slab, although a I saw a picture a few days ago and a friend reported a large section of this has fallen down in the last few months so this might be dropped when I get up there to have a look at what is left.
On the plus side the slate section of this guide will give us the opportunity to put your awesome multipitch sport routes in Twll Mawr into a guide and include a topo, along with the peppermint tower sports routes. Which reminds me, I need to know where the rock bottom line goes so I can take a crag shot that includes it, as not got round to climbing it yet.
> If you know of any errors in the NW Classics book other than the 10 listed in this update http://www.rockfax.com/climbing-guides/miniguides/north-wales-classics-update/ then please let us know.
why is the top pitch on The Cracks given 4c and then 5a for Lorraine ? page 97
Thanks for that, now sorted.
> Could Mr. Panton clarify this discrepancy?
The printing was delayed but I forgot to change the Oct 06 date on the title page.
The books arrived in Llanberis in February 2007 - I know because I was there:
It's a minor point perhaps, but it is in Alan's interest to suggest that NWR is an 'old' book, even though it was significantly improved with the second edition in 2009 (for example, larger topos that bleed off the edge of the page).
I agree wholeheartedly.
The cynic in me also thinks that the timing of this guide has been made to pre-empt the forth coming definitive north wales limestone guidebook. Surely it is no co-incidence that the the NWL sections are definitive to the crags covered, whilst the rest of the guide (even honeypot crags like Tremadog) are only selective.
Actually this guidebook has been being planned and written for two years. We started back in 2011 after we abandoned our own North Wales Limestone project owing to a second book being proposed from another publisher. From the seeds of that though, and inspired by Mark Glaister's brilliant West Country Climbs book, we decided that we would like to do a bigger and better job that had been started with North Wales Classics in 2010.
We have got to the stage now that we can be fairly sure about when we can publish it which is why we have announced it this week. This is our way of managing the delays many guidebooks suffer from as they near the finishing line. We have now reached the stage where we know what work is to be done still and can predict accurately when the book will be available.
The coverage is our usual mix of selected crags but include most of the routes people do on those crags. (Using UKC logbooks is a great way of finding out which routes are climbed). This does tend to mean that the quality bar is lower for sport routes than for trad routes but these are the routes people do. The coverage for the Ormes is Upper Pen Trwyn, Lower Pen Trwyn, Castell y Gwynt, Craig y Don and the Diamond. We are also including Castle Inn Quarry and Penmaen Head. Considering we were working with a definitive guidebook text for most of these sections when we started (they were already finished back in 2011) I would estimate that the coverage has been cut by around 50% in terms of pages.
Perhaps it's an old story now, but we (climbers) owe a lot to Rockfax for revolutionising guidebooks and the rapid improvements in guides generally probably wouldn't have happened if it hadn't been done on a commercial basis first. Whilst I understand Simon's comment above, when all is said and done, Ground Up's NWR is a commercially produced guide too and I see no reason why it should be exempt from a little bit of friendly competition.
The main criticism is simply the disproportionate coverage of the limestone relative to the other, arguably more popular areas in light of a new definitive limestone coming out. This means that it'll be direct competition for the new definitive guide which is being produced by volunteers in aid of the local bolt fund, ie, not commercially produced.
Lets not forget that without the bolt fund and local volunteers (mainly those associated with the guide) most of the crags and routes wouldn't have the shiny new bolts and/or lower offs they do now, the amount of work gone into this cannot be underestimated. For example, the whole of the Diamond, and the majority of Castel y Gwynt have been rejuvenated in this way.
To be fair to Rockfax, as Alan rightly points out, they initially pulled out of doing a NW Limestone book to allow for the production of the volunteer definitive guide (even though significant work and therefore man hours had already been invested) so why they are now including so much limestone coverage in this new select guide is a little bewildering and it is easy for it all to seem a little underhand perhaps.
The implications of such comprehensive coverage to the sales of the definitive guide are obvious.
Of course you could say that's business, and to a certain extent you'd be right, except for one very important point; that the hundreds of man hours re equipping the Ormes, the fundraising and donations for the bolt fund to pay for the bolts isn't business, it's pure good will, a lot of which has been done specifically with the new guide in mind.
I urge Rockfax to build on this further by showing some more good will of their own, that is making the limestone section of their select guidebook just a little more 'select', just like they have for the other areas.
Agree totally. Well put.
Though a new guidebook to an area is usually a good thing, I think that couldn't be further from the truth in this case. It strikes me that after Rockfax didn't get their way with a definitive NW limestone guide they went away to sulk, then had the realisation that if they add a few other bits in they can claim it's not a guide to NW limestone, whilst still being basically a direct competitor to the (far superior, no doubt, because the routes actually get climbed and checked...every single one of them) volunteer produced definitive guide.
My respect for Rockfax has been waning quite rapidly over the last couple of years and this is the final nail in the coffin (I'm planning to email you directly, Alan, with what the other nails were). I certainly wouldn't be upset to see this guidebook not sell a single copy, and in fact, I hope it doesn't sell a single copy. I hope the climbing community realises that they shouldn't be supporting guidebooks like this, they should be supporting the local, volunteer produced guides which are not done for profit but for love. All of the profits from the soon to be published volunteer guide are going straight back into the NW bolt fund. And quite rightly so.
Oh, and for what it's worth: I think the cover photo is a load of crap. It's a standard, everyday shot showing very little of anything, and certainly not showing anything of the environment or atmosphere of climbing in North Wales. It's a bog standard photo of a climber, on a rock. Great.
'Bothered' to check the facts?
Sometimes, the details matter ...
FWIW I agree on that. I've never understood the E2 it gets in the CC guides.
I quite like the proposed New Rockfax cover photo, although the additional context offered by the "photographer in action" shot in the article is great ...could the cover be a wraparound shot with more of the road winding away through the pass on the reverse?
When the 1997 NWL RF sold out in 2008 I didn't know quite what to do since we were fully committed doing other books and I couldn't possibly re-author a new book. Wales local at the time Jack G had only just come on board at UKC but not as an RF author and he was too busy anyway. So I offered the full document, albeit in a rather dated format, to Simon Panton since I thought Ground-Up would be the logical people to do the new guide. Simon told me then that Ground-up would be producing a North Wales Limestone guide in 2009 and he said he would think about the offer of the files.
In the end I didn't hear back from Simon and it appears that their proposed guide dropped off their schedule. With Jack living there though and keen to get involved we started putting together a fully definitive guide in 2010 (I can't remember when exactly). Jack did loads of work on Upper Pen Trwyn, LPT, and the Diamond.
Then in November 2010 Pete Harrison announced a new definitive local guide to NWL produced by an independent publisher (himself I think) but with links to Ground-up.
Announcement here - http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=433625
and Grubes corroborates some of this here http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=438644#x6176646
We thought about the prospect of 2 definitive guides since we could have easily produced our guidebook and, at that time, Petejh seemed perfectly happy to pitch his book against a fully definitive rival. I am not sure which book would have appeared first but I suspect ours would since the other one still isn't available and ours would have been there in 2011. Whether Petejh would have then gone on to produce his or not, I don't know but his rhetoric at the time suggested he would.
So we took the decision to drop that book - http://www.rockfax.com/news/2011/01/31/change-of-plans-for-north-wales-limestone/ . This was based on pure economics, we didn't think it was worthwhile producing a second book to an area that was a low-selling area that appeared to be getting a definitive guide anyway in the near future.
Then in June 2011 we announced the full North Wales Climbs guide - http://www.rockfax.com/news/2011/06/06/north-wales-climbs/
and here http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=462111
which we hoped to get out in 2012. This was a logcial step considering North Wales Classics had sold well but suffered from its small format, and that we already had the Ormes to add to the full book.
Well things got delayed, as they do in guidebooks, so here we are in 2013 planning on getting the book out. We haven't increased our coverage of NWL in fact we have reduced it by around 80% from the template document that Jack had started work on. We are including most sport routes on the crags we cover though since that is our normal policy since these are the routes that tend to get climbed, which is around 250 odd routes on the Great Orme for example.
Apart from the delay and what is documented above, nothing has changed in our plans for NWClimbs since we announced it back in 2011. We haven't been keeping quiet and we have mentioned it several times since, then we waited until we can be sure of the publication date before the final announcement. This is standard procedure which we use with every guidebook. If we forecast them too much in advance then we end up with the inevitable delayed publication dates.
With regard to donations to bolt funds
We gave money in the past to the North Wales Bolt Fund and we are happy to do so again in the future and will do after we have broken even from this new book which may take a year or so. We have also set up http://www.ukboltfund.org which has been extremely successful in many areas. I have checked yesterday and since it was set up, there have been 86 attempted donations made to the NWBF via that page. That is likely to be around £400 to £500 (I can't check the actual amounts) if everyone gave a fiver. We will push this initiative in the new book as well and continue to promote it across UKC and Rockfax sites.
We have also recently added a point-of-sale donation system onto the Rockfax site which has started to pick up donations from people who buy books direct. They can choose the local bolt fund or the ACT when they buy but so far most have been choosing the ACT. Hopefully this will gather momentum as we move on and I will certainly include the NWBF in the list.
Is this correct, rockfax have raised (through personal donations, not sales) only £400 to £500 for bolts. Is that it? Even at £5 per bolt that's only 100. Not going to make much of a dent with that.. Portland must have 1000's on its own.
What percentage of Rockfax's actual profit (not donations) goes on local bolt funds? (Portland, NW, Foreign crags) Simply saying "in the past" we were happy to give money makes it obvious there is no policy to give back to the community, that buy your guidebooks and in the end pay your wages.
> Is this correct, rockfax have raised (through personal donations, not sales) only £400 to £500 for bolts. Is that it? Even at £5 per bolt that's only 100. Not going to make much of a dent with that.. Portland must have 1000's on its own.
I believe it says that the £4-500 was for the North Wales Bolt Fund.
Fair point, Alan was only talking about the NW fund. Its still from community donation rather then a rockfax policy of donation though. Lets try again, What percentage of the actual Rockfax guide profits are given to these Bolt funds (is there a policy)?
Alan simply saying
Doesn't really give much away.
Why are you singling out Rockfax? Why not bully the manufacturers of approach shoes, climbing clothes, chalk, rucsacs etc etc into donating money? It could be argued that they all benefit directly or indirectly. Personally I think that Rockfax have made a fabulous donation to the climbing community with their guidebooks.
Saying gear manufacturer's should be giving money is a good point (and they should(who to is another topic)) but in the end they are not releasing specific area related gear. Say Five-ten released a specific "Portland" climbing shoe they would be taking advantage of the Portland bolts to sell their shoes so a donation to the Portland bolt-fund would seem appropriate. As rockfax are in the same way talking advantage of the NW bolts (there wouldn't be as many climbs to put in there guide) then a large donation seems appropriate.
Ground UP have done this AS WELL as directly raising money for the bolt fund. Read some blog/website posts from foreign climbing destinations covered with rockfax guides....
I don't have to, I live in one of them. This is a far more complex issue here than you think and varies dramatically from one area to another and is irrelevant to the issue being discussed here.
Fair Jon, I will do some reading. Did rockfax donate any money to your local bolt fund?
At this point I'm leaving this topic, it will just end up with another banning.
Well we don't really make much profit which is why we focussed our attention in recent years on using our resources to publicise and spread the word. If we do make profit it tends to go towards subsidising UKC, but occasionally we are in a position to make donations although these tend to be from me personally rather than Rockfax the company.
Since we set up http://www.ukboltfund.org in late 2010 there have been 830 completions across all the various funds which could be around £4000 (this figure is pure speculation though since I don't have access to the actual figures). I was actually wrong in my calculation for NWBF, it turns out to have been 129 completions so maybe nearer £600 to £650.
I have written a couple of articles on bolt funds.
Dec 2010 - http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=3311
and a follow-up here
Apr 2012 - http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=4578
In all my discussions the people involved with the bolt funds consistently said that the one thing they need more than money is people to do the work. This isn't to say they are all swimming in cash, they aren't, but it does indicate that there are ways to help even if you can't make a donation. Having said that, bolting is also a tricky business and requires skill and practice to get it right.
In terms of funds though, there is plenty on offer from the BMC whose better bolts campaign and bolting workshops from Dan Middleton are an excellent initiative - https://www.thebmc.co.uk/better-bolts-campaign-2011
Firstly, your flying_climber profile has never been banned before, and secondly, we would never ban or remove post like this. It amazes me sometimes why people think that we would. Just stick 'rockfax bolt funds' into the message text box on Forums search and select 'older messages' if you don't believe me.
Thanks Alan, lots of reading to do.
If anyone needs a hand bolting down at Portland drop me an email.
Alan this is my third account... ;-)
P.S Please don't ban me again I don't want to set up a forth email address.
On this point, it does seem ridiculous that Pete Harrison cannot comment on this thread and I need to go to the other channel to read his side of this debate.
The other side of the story can be found here.
Once again, you really don't seem to get it do you?
Try putting 'UKBouldering' into our search to bust another myth.
Well that's a different matter and not connected with anything he posted on UKC Forums, but I get the impression the feeling is mutual.
Just did, what am I even looking for?
His side of the story, from the other thread, is that the whole saga, which ended with his complaint to the information commissioner about your/UKCs handling of personal data, started with you banning him from the forums over comments he made about the level of research done for the most recent Rockfax North Wales Limestone guide.
From what I've quoted above, it sounds like you would disagree that his comments and your subsequent banning him was the catalyst for that?
Well there is a huge difference between asking what might be perceived as an awkward question (as t_f_c did above) and making blatant libellous and untrue statements on a public forum which we would remove if they were made about any other business anyway. However, even that would be a misrepresentation of the facts in this case but I don't discuss this sort of thing on the forums so email me if you are desperate to find out more (it really isn't worth it though).
No, the forums search - http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/info/search.php?forum=0&dates=1&name=&topic=&body=u...
That's 700 mentions of a web site that we supposedly don't allow to be mentioned on UKC.
Would you care to respond directly to Pete's comments that
For the record I have no involvement in this issue and no axe to grind, only that I want to see a reasonable debate of the issue so I can make an informed decision on which guide I want to support.
It sounds, from an outsiders and non legal perspective, that the specific phrase he mentions would fall very much into the "matter of opinion" rather than "blatant libellous and untrue" category especially if backed up with examples at least one of which has been provided - there's presumably no fixed definition of hard work or lack of so its an opinion rather than a definite. But it sounds like you're both in agreement as to the trigger for his current state of banned-ness.
Are the numbers quoted on that thread, which are a mix of your own quoted above (250 routes in and around LPT), plus some guesses at another 100 or so for Castle Inn and other lime crags, 350 out of a total "word from the authors is" of 1000 routes accurate, nearly accurate or miles out? At the moment I feel at least like clear info would help me judge better what to think - a select guide to north Wales with over a third of its coverage from the Ormes feels at least like a massively heavier lime-weighting than the other selected guides in the past (ground up, Paul Williams etc). Is it? Do you know how they break down?
As I stated above, we originally planned a full guide to North Wales Limestone. The old InDesign document I have here has 234 pages allocated to it. The current page allocation in North Wales Climbs is 76. I hate the word definitive since I don't think any guide is ever definitive, but we were covering all the important crags. We had already taken the decision not to list the banned routes so this would probably rule it out as being 'definitive' for some purists.
When the alternative guide was announced, it was happy to pit itself against our dedicated guide, the A55 guide and the NWR selection (plus the CC 1987 guide which I think you can still buy and is almost worth the money as a collector's piece). So now the competition is minus one dedicated guide, plus one more selective.
Even if you were under the impression, when announcing your book, that we were going to produce a 76 page guidebook (when did Rockfax last produce a 76 page Rockfax?) then the competition is at least the same now as it was when entering the arena.
For what its worth, if it were my full guidebook to NWL in this same competition arena, then I wouldn't have the slightest hesitation in publishing it. I might restructure the finances a bit, but I am sure it would have a place in the market and could sell well enough (assuming it is a decent book, which it sounds like it is) and generate funds for the NWBF.
460 pages (at present), 76 limestone. I haven't got a quick method for counting the routes I'm afraid, but don't forget that Rockfax do selected crag/buttress guides, not selected route guides. Also, people choose trad routes, but they choose sport areas, hence it is frustrating to arrive at a sport crag with 10 lines and only have info for 3 of them.
Thanks Alan. Overall, would you say the assessment that you will be providing extensive coverage of the popular areas, was reasonably accurate?
I assume you are referring to NWL specifically here, in which case the answer is yes, but then that is the case with all our guides where sport climbing is concerned.
If you do work it out, it would be really nice to know. Pages aren't going to be a good proxy since you can probably fit 40-50 short routes across certain double page spreads (the sort of layout used for the previous dorset guide for example or for some of the french rockfaxes) whereas your two mountain example pages have a total of 13 routes across 4 pages - and essentially all of the long routes which will eat up page space are trad so distort that weighting (except maybe some of the multipitch slate sport which I assume will be in?).
I certainly wouldn't characterise your approach as always "selected buttresses" any more Alan - certainly not for West Country Climbs and certainly not this one either! Your Cromlech page is nowhere close to definitive and (I would bet) every crag in WCC wasn't either. That makes perfect logical sense for trad guides since as you say people don't care about having every line in, so i wouldnt criticise the decision at all, but you can't try and pretend this guide is about selecting buttresses - you're cherry picking routes the same as all selected guide publishers do. I take your point about including all the sport lines on a buttress, it does make life easier for the end user, but if you then pick almost all the buttresses as well, which it sounds like round LPT you might be, you can see where people start to get suspicious that it looks, walks and talks every so nearly like a definitive?
I am struggling for time actually and I think I have answered these points above. I won't be online again for a few days after this.
It does remind me of an incident after we published the 1997 North Wales guidebook. I was responding then (possibly on the early version of this forum) to someone who had said that Rockfax couldn't do a definitive guide and I said, "but what about North Wales Limestone?". Their reply was, "you can't count that, it doesn't have Craig y Forwen in it!"
> In all my discussions the people involved with the bolt funds consistently said that the one thing they need more than money is people to do the work. This isn't to say they are all swimming in cash, they aren't, but it does indicate that there are ways to help even if you can't make a donation. Having said that, bolting is also a tricky business and requires skill and practice to get it right.
As the most active route restoration* practitioner on Hard Peak Limestone for the last 10 years (Gary does a sterling job covering the rest of the grade spectrum) I would like to back up this comment made by Alan. Of course I can only speak for the Peak bolt fund. Funding has NEVER been the issue here and with the fantastic support of the BMC better bolts campaign I have a large stash of gear in my cellar accumulating cobwebs.
Last year we had a bolting work shop at Raven Tor which was in my opinion an F ing waste of time! F all will come of it. Not wanting to be disrespectful to the people that attended, but they were hardly the sort that were active on the Peak scene.
Let me explain, in the Peak it is generally the harder routes that need reequipping. The history behind this is because the vast majoring of the routes below 7C were put up by Mr Gibson. Sometimes it is clear to see that his routes have just been a number and little love had been put into them. On the other hand he has ensured that the routes that people will climb have had a good re clean and bolt, in effect creating a legacy.
Many of the harder routes in the peak have not had this treatment and that is predominantly why the Peak bolt Fund was created.
There is a topic on UKB called "Peak Bolt Fund discussions"
Reading it makes me F ing sick. They all seem so keen to get there hands dirty but it is all F ing bollox.
There are too many consumers.
*Restoration: The practice of ensuring the route remains climbable/worthwhile/safe often using copious amounts of resin as is often required on Peak Lime.
Well that'll be easy to lug up multi-pitch routes! Do economics rule out producing such a guide as a bundle of pocketz-size guides?
It was a point of interest rather than anything else. My guess is that as a number of routes it will seem proportionally more than it does as a number of pages even once you've corrected for the "dead" pages at the start and end (ie the non-route pages such as index, graded list, introductory blurb and what have you).
I think the point I raised about it being a selected routes guide is in direct opposition to your claim it is a selected buttresses guide, which is clearly just not the case based on the example pages presented so far and on WCC, so I'm not sure how you've answered that but I guess it's unanswerable really so probably not much more to say.
As to its definitive ness, you seem to have confirmed it will be as near to definitive for large chunks of the lime (given i seem to recall from above youve said you have used the databases to guide your route selection and are essentially definitive on buttresses for the sport stuff that effectively means almost all of the vaguely popular sport and as a byproduct most of the popular trad, above the road for example, since they often sit side by side?) as makes no difference.
To an extent that could be seen/interpreted to support Petes point that after withdrawing from producing a definitive to compete with the one which is produced by the local community in order to support the bolt fund you're now going to pop nearly definitive information back out on the market in the form of a selected guide that happens to be not very selective for one key area. I'm sure that the portrayal above is probably a difference of opinion between yourself and the team producing the definitive, or a result of poor communication of exactly what you're producing on here, but that's the way it's can be interpreted right now. You've said you've reduced the page count dramatically (how much due to the introductory blurb and whatever i don't really know, presumably some but only you really know) but yet you've also confirmed to Quiddity that the coverage is essentially definitive for large areas of the lime sport? Either one of those isn't quite right or the number of pages is not very closely linked to the amount of coverage provided.
In terms of your anecdote, I guess it helps illustrate your point which I guess is that you get slated whatever you do. However, there comes a point where "definitive enough" is going to make "definitive" seem like an investment not worth making, and in this case where (uniquely in the UK in terms of the definitive guides whose areas you cover?) the definitive guide essentially exists solely to support the bolt fund and area redevelopment, I think it's a different case from if you're competing for sales with CC or BMC or whatever definitives. And the question that I'm still unable to get any kind of sensible answer to is whether your guide is in the "light grey" area where you can claim its selected enough it might draw in visitors and hence have no impact on or boost sales of the local guide, or whether its "dark grey" where it provides so much coverage that there's no more incentive left to buy the definitive. Too many different metrics of measurement means there's lots of stats being thrown around which contain surprisingly little helpful information.
Shouldn't you also point out (as is the norm with diatribes like this) that Rockfax are making it uneconomical for definitive/volunteer guidebooks to be produced in future and they will all disappear? That's what was stated regarding Lancashire, and Northumberland, and NE England. Though the claims are let down rather by the fact that the Lancashire coverage was in Western Grit, and the BMC have just published the best ever guide to the area. And Northumberland/NE England were in Northern Grit, along with Yorkshire gritstone, which has just seen volume 1 published of the most comprehensive ever guidebook to the area, a contender for best guidebook of the decade.
It's easy to use Rockfax as an excuse. It's slightly harder, but better in the long run, to use them as an incentive.
Incentive to do what? If you look at the sample pages on UKB they look easily Rockfax quality in terms of layout standard already and one would assume that they will surpass it in terms of the knowledge contained within given the role the author plays in redeveloping the area.
Ive not got Northern England, but i got the impression it was a traditional selected guide (as i think Western Grit was for Lancashire?). At the moment it seems very unclear as to whether this one offers some sort of heavily cut down coverage as suggested by Alan's quoted reductions in page counts or whether its got nearly definitive coverage of large areas which is what some of his words and some of the numbers provided might suggest.
For me the key question is what it does to the funding of the redevelopment, competition in itself doesn't bother me in the slightest and has benefitted the end consumers of UK guidebooks.
Well I for one am really depressed by this news as inevitably it spells bad news for Ground Up and it shows Rockfax to be uncaring about the climbing community. It is one thing to identify a market opportunity where there is no, or a low quality, product and another completely different thing to go after a great product (NWR) that Rockfax will probably be able to well outsell based on its much better known brand.
What will this book offer that NWR doesn't? well apart from debatably knackering the new local activist limestone guide. It seems to have pretty well the same routes on the well known cliffs, i'm sure that it will have some great photos but if the cover photo is anything to go by then they will just be the same standard photos of the same routes. I'd be slightly less depressed if Rockfax were using the cover shot to inspire people to do a fab route they might not know about but boy who doesn't know about left wall and want to do it?
Alan says there's room in the market for 2 selected guides to this area. I have no idea of the figures but I just cannot see that. Most people will choose a reasonable product from the brand they know best regardless of the quality of the competition. Ground Up are producing some great guides, and I would imagine not big sellers, in the gogarth north and slate guides and this must be made much easier with the sales of NWR to support them. All of this will be put at risk by Rockfax wanting to muscle in on a well served market purely to make money.
Personally I don't like people failing but I really hope this book does fail though realistically it will sell and Rockfax will proclaim it as a triumph of consumer choice regardless of the long term effect on our community.
> For me the key question is what it does to the funding of the redevelopment, competition in itself doesn't bother me in the slightest and has benefitted the end consumers of UK guidebooks.
It's the competition that is the problem. I'm sure 90% of climbers out there would rather buy a voluntary collaborative guide than a commercial organisation's who have clearly seized upon an opportunity to the detriment of the volunteers who have worked extremely hard re-equipping the routes.
With respect, you comments are not really engaging with what the issue is here. Have you read the UKB thread? I know naff all about lancashire especially, but your example is flawed in that there are quite a few years between the publication of the rockfax and the definitive. People are much more willing to update their guidebook to an area after a few years than they are to buy two guides to the same area at the same time. Here there is a situation where the Rockfax will more or less coincide with the definitive. If they both arrived in the shops at the same time, and the rockfax had coverage of, say 90% of the routes that see 90% of ascents, how many people do you think would buy both?
This appears to be a very different issue from straightforward competition. Here you are looking at competition between a straightforward commercially produced guide, and a guide whose production is integrated with local climbing community efforts to redevelop an entire climbing area, it is not a level playing field. While Alan makes snide comments about how long the local guide has taken to produce, the fact is that they are checking and extensively rebolting for inclusion in the guide, from which the whole climbing community benefits. The volunteers are motivated by producing a guidebook which will showcase their work and put funds back into the local area. Rockfax argue that 'business is business', which it is for them, but I take the point that climbing is not a business for most people, including the NW lime volunteers, who are not running a business but putting in work to benefit the entire community.
In reply to the comment further up, this is more than just 'the usual suspects' damning Rockfax whatever they do. I have no particular agenda in this, I am just trying to make the case for the opposing view as this thread is understandably skewed toward one side of the argument. As a disinterested observer with no stake in either Rockfax or the NWL area, from the arguments made on here and on UKB, I cannot see how the business decision to include extensive coverage of NWL sport routes in the Rockfax is in the best interests of the climbing community.
Some fairly unhappy people out there, and rightly so.
Yes, business is business. But when you're "competition" is a bunch of people doing it for no financial gain, with the sole aim being to improve the crags out there, AND doing a better job than the Rockfax books, then it seems a bit of a poor show for Rockfax to do this (not for the first time).
The new comprehensive guide coming out looks like it will be great, and I'll be buying that safe in the knowledge that my money will be going to looking after the crags that we'll be climbing on.
I agree with this opinion, found on "the other channel"
After the huge amount of work that Pete has done on the re-equipping front, the idea of setting out to undermine his not-for-profit, NWBF-supporting guide is frankly, outrageous.
+1 to what Ged said two posts up.
Just to reinforce what has already been said. From a consumer point of view I'm not sure what this guidebook contributes in light of the duplicated material to the Ground-Up guide. I'm sure Rockfax will sell a lot of units, which is probably their greatest concern. It seems strange to me why they opted for a North Wales guide rather than a Lakes guide. The Lakes FRCC selected climbs guide is now 10 years old and looking in need of a revamp.
Could RF not rename their new book NORTH WALES TRAD and leave the bolted buttresses to the competition?
That would slim what is sure to be an impractically heavy book and allow the little guys to achieve their sales.
Certainly I'd be more likely to buy something more like that. I think there are quite a lot of people who aren't that bothered by sport in general and hard sport in particular and who'd like a guidebook with more coverage of interesting and out of the way low-to-mid-grade trad lines and only a few of the more fat-traddy friendly sport crags. Effectively something like a much expanded North Wales Classics, which wouldn't step on the toes of the NW Limestone definitive and would also feel a bit more distinct from the Ground Up North Wales guide.
There have always been multiple selected guides to North Wales - I own the Ashton guide, the Williams guide and the Ground Up guide. I guess North Wales is one of the most popular rock climbing destinations in the UK, so its not surprising it attracts lots of guidebooks.
Hmm, the Williams one dated from the 1980s, a couple of decades before the Ground Up. The Ashton one is a quirky and different one covering only 100 climbs, more like a "classic rock" book.
So, there haven't been multiple competing guides that are contemporaneous, the way the Ground Up and Rockfax are likely to be.
Anyway, I thought you were an ardent free market thatcherite? You're not suggesting that publishers get government mandated monopoly periods on a region are you? ;)
The Ashton guide actually has 100 chapters, but most of those page spreads have three or four routes on them. I think its fair to say that all of those selected guides stopped me from buying any of the definitive guides though - but this is something that Rockfax always get criticised for but I don't remember anyone criticising Ground Up when that book came out.
The Williams guide was/is a very dated product sold by a large company who had had decades to recoup their investment on that guide.
Not in all things, there are plenty of areas of life where competition is inappropriate. The fact is that for guide data creation (as opposed to data presentation in books) the vast majority is done on a volunteer, non-profit or meagre-profit basis. Almost no guide is ever a from-scratch effort, all of them build on previous ones.
For most areas there is insufficient market for competition in definitive or near-definitive guides. Some areas can perhaps sustain more than one selective, but often a selective subsidises marginally-viable definitives. If competition between selectives removes that subsidy then the community doesn't benefit from having competing selectives.
So who decides when a company is worthy of protection and when they have sufficiently recouped their investment.
I thought this was now known to not be true.
Don't forget the Ron James selected guide. It predated all of them.
Personally I think the hand drawn crag diagrams are way clearer than a photo topo for a big cliff (often taken from a compromised viewpoint with the crag top forshortened)as they can emphasise the features the climber actually sees.
I can't help but feel the whole thing is a personal vendetta against one of the volunteer equippers over on the forum that I shalln't repeat the name of!
There's been a lot of focus in this thread on North Wales Limestone but that's actually a relatively small section of the new guide book. It happens to cover the same territory as the volunteer comprehensive guide but that's no different to the rest of North Wales, which is covered by the CC guides and the Ground Up North Gogarth guide. So why all this focus on the limestone? I suspect most people go to North Wales for the trad and not for the (mostly) bolted limestone. I would have thought that anyone who is really interested in the limestone will get the comprehensive guide once it comes out. Conversely, I would have thought that the people who will be buying the Rockfax will be buying it primarily for the selected trad routes and not for the limestone coverage. I bet that if there were very limited or even no coverage of the limestone, the Rockfax sales would not be affected that much. I know I'm making assumptions here but I've got an idea of the average climber who goes to North Wales and it isn't someone who hangs out on the Ormes on a regular basis! Perhaps locals and people from Liverpool and Manchester do but for most people it's a rainy day venue rather than a destination in itself.
Secondly, Rockfax are a commercial organisation and are free to produce guide books to any area they like if they think there is a market opportunity there. They aren't the only commercial outfit making some money out of it - think of the gear manufacturers and the outdoor instructors. Oh and Ground Up! If someone creates a good quality product that other people want to buy, good on them, be they the CC, Ground Up, Rockfax or a bunch of local activists.
Because their coverage of the limestone seems to be (note the "seems") covering nearly all the worthwhile routes, and thus competing head-on with the definitive, whereas it is not doing that so directly in the other areas.
Exactly. However the sales of the local definitive are likely to take quite a hit, especially if the Rockfax coverage turns out to be more rather than less comprehensive, as Alan has hinted above. To reiterate, volunteers are checking every route and extensively rebolting, for inclusion in the not-for-profit definitive, the proceeds of which are going directly back into the bolt fund. This, given your assessment quoted above, is exactly why this action seems mean spirited at the very least.
From the sample pages on UKB, the quality of the local guide seems to be similar quality to the latest Rockfax guides. However the less obvious point is that the accuracy of the information and the state of the bolts will have been checked by volunteers, a selfless action from which everybody benefits. However, irrespective of the quality of the guides, the Rockfax is likely to have wider sales (because of its trad coverage) and the strength of the brand - and once people already have comprehensive coverage of the lime, how many will then buy the definitive as well? As you yourself have said, probably not occasional visitors.
Rockfax certainly have every right to publish but the misgiving of a lot of people is that the decision to include NWL is not in the best interest of climbers.
> Because their coverage of the limestone seems to be (note the "seems") covering nearly all the worthwhile routes, and thus competing head-on with the definitive, whereas it is not doing that so directly in the other areas.
including selected info on other crags in North Wales. A defininte USP over the up-coming definitive guide that has yet to be published. A USP that most un-informed climbers will, quite innocently see as a benefit over it!
That's my very cynical opinion of it, anyhow!
That is a fair point. I read the UKB thread after posting this and if the route numbers in there are to be believed, there is a disproportionate skew towards NWL. I suspect the reason is that Rockfax originally planned a new NWL guide (let's not forget that they've already brought one out, in fact I think it's the 'current' guide to the area, though I might be wrong). Perhaps they then decided to do a selected guide for all of NW but didn't want to throw away the work already done.
Alan gives his rationale earlier in this thread, saying that for sports crags their policy is to be more comprehensive.
Perhaps the answer is for Rockfax to strip out a fair few of the limestone routes, leaving just the best ones, as with the rest of the guide. I doubt that would lead to significantly lower sales and would appease the local activists. Of course they are not obliged to do that but it would be a nice goodwill gesture.
Anyway, I think the really interesting routes to do on the Ormes are the trad sea cliffs... For someone from Birmingham and further away (as opposed to North Wales and the Manchester / Liverpool areas), going all the way to Llandudno for a bit of sport climbing isn't that appealing. Not for people who are primarily trad climbers anway, but perhaps we are in a minority these days... a whole different discussion!
> Perhaps the answer is for Rockfax to strip out a fair few of the limestone routes, leaving just the best ones, as with the rest of the guide. I doubt that would lead to significantly lower sales and would appease the local activists. Of course they are not obliged to do that but it would be a nice goodwill gesture.
I suspect it's gone past the point of goodwill gestures. The die has been cast and I highly doubt given Alan and Pete's relationship that Alan will back track on this sticky issue!
Just had a read back through posts, in an earlier one Alan says;
According to this then Rockfax don't really make any profit so contributing to bolt funds is too expensive as a company policy....
I know which one I will be purchasing.
Good will, that is an interesting concept. The UKB thread is full of bitter vitriol, unpleasant comments and a general air of malice.
> Perhaps the answer is for Rockfax to strip out a fair few of the limestone routes, leaving just the best ones, as with the rest of the guide.
Arguably a book with fairly thorough coverage of a couple of major limestone crags would be the best for everyone - serious sport climbers are probably going to get the definitive anyway and a lot of people (including me, tbh) are going to view any coverage of limestone sport in an area where they mainly go to do mountain trad as a bit of a waste of space, but if they do try it as a bad weather option and decide they want more then they might end up getting the definitive.
But I'm guessing it's too late for this sort of talk now...
> The UKB thread is full of bitter vitriol
For good reasons judging by the statements made by both interested parties.
Personally, I see it more like this
> Personally, I see it more like this
> towards those who are trying to undermine the hard work and financial input of volunteers, whereas it is full of goodwill and appreciation of the volunteers themselves
To all those who can't be bothered to read this thread all you need to know is:
Man makes a derogatory comment on UKC about a Rockfax guide book.
said man gets banned and rightly requests his personal information (logbook info) to be sent to him in a formal request.
UKC moderator (who happened to be an author of the guide the man made a comment about) gets the hump and illegally deletes man's data.
Man complains to ICO re the matter. This is upheld and apparently p1sses off UKC Mod so much they decide to release a selective, definitive guide for North Wales knowing Man is releasing one too after previously stating the area couldn't sustain two guides.
I think that's the gist of the situation as I see it!
> Perhaps the answer is for Rockfax to strip out a fair few of the limestone routes, leaving just the best ones, as with the rest of the guide. I doubt that would lead to significantly lower sales and would appease the local activists.
This seems like one of the most reasonable suggestions and I believe there is precedent for this in Rockfax West Country guide book. Rather than include most of Cheddar only a dozen or so routes are mentioned along with a bit of information about the local guidebook. However I don't know whether this was done to free up space or to appease Crocker and the local activists.
One thing people seem to be missing from my posts above is this:
When the alternative guide was announced, it was happy to pit itself against our dedicated 234 page guide, the A55 guide and the NWR selection). So now the competition is minus one dedicated guide, plus one more selective.
Even if you were under the impression as seems to be being claimed, when announcing the alternative book, that we were going to produce a 76 page guidebook (when did Rockfax last produce a 76 page Rockfax?) then the competition is at least the same now as it was when entering the arena ( in reality actually much smaller)..
We then withdrew plans for our full guide and announced the NWC guide with clear plans which are exactly the same as the ones we are now re-announcing.
As I also stated above, I would be totally confident of publishing this other definitve guidebook in the proposed current market and, without wishing to pll rank here, I do know a bit about guidebook sales patterns.
> Me too. On that note, I am out of this discussion as it's apparent all this is futile as Rockfax have made their bed and are going to lay in it not matter how uncomfortable it's going to be.
> To all those who can't be bothered to read this thread all you need to know is:
> Man makes a .........
> Sh1t-storm ensues.
> I think that's the gist of the situation as I see it!
This is actually a pretty offensive post and completely untrue. I will not discuss this matter on the forums but plase email me directly if you wish to.
Alan, I don't think anybody is for one second saying that you don't know how to make money out of guidebooks. Quite the opposite in fact.
The pertinent point for me is that your limestone sport coverage is (by your own admission) almost comprehensive.
Your guide would not be possible without the vast time and effort that's been put in by volunteers to check and re-equip these routes and crags.
Disregarding any background I think it's incredibly cynical to pre-empt the volunteer guide, especially because their guide will give back to the climbing community.
I will not be buying your north wales guide and I would encourage anyone else to wait for the volunteer produced comprehensive guide if they're interested in limestone sport, or one of the other excellent guides for anything else.
I would also urge any retailers reading not to stock this new rockfax.
<shrugs shoulders and googles>
Of course you choose not to quote what Pete said about his actual actions:
"It was depressingly petty but I followed it through on principle. "
"I fully realise how petty it is and I felt a little bad taking up an important organization's time".
He also described Alan as acting like an "arse" so states he started acting as an "arse back". It doesn't sound like Pete is particularly proud of that part of the saga. People should maybe read the full UKBouldering thread because they won't get a full sense of the issue by reading your tabloid-worthy 'synopsis' here.
> Don't forget the Ron James selected guide. It predated all of them.
Yes, that excellent guide of 1970, 'Rock Climbing in Wales', was the first of its kind. I don't recall it ruffling any feathers. But the present issue is clearly a lot more complicated and inclines me to support the CC position.
I was using Steve Ashton's guide on Sunday. If you know what route you want to do, it works better than most modern guides and usually gives you a laugh in the process. Some great one-liners.
Having followed this thread and reviewed the same on the other site I can say that even after all of that I am not in a position to truly be able to judge what has gone on here. After all, a good proportion of this has gone on behind the scenes between a small group of people who are independently giving us snippets of their story.
It's also moot in many ways - this is a commercial world and we, as consumers, are free to make our choices. We may decide to buy Rockfax or we may decide to buy the alternative(s), and we will each have our own reasons for doing so.
I personally feel that any important messages in the debate (bolt funds for example, or the discussions about whether the market can sustain "x" number of guides) have been lost in a lot of petty name calling, vitriol and supposition.
Let's be honest, as soon as you decide to take a company and invent new and insulting names for it to try to boost your argument, you have strayed into what is at best childish and at worst is potentially libellous. Why do people need to call it xxxfax, xxxxfax or whatever? Is this a school playground?
I'm a huge fan of climbing guidebooks and have a massive collection of my own. Rockfax are a big part of that for obvious reasons and they deserve credit for pushing things forward. But let's remember that they are a commercial venture with a staff of enthusiastic climbers. You can argue all day long about whether or not you feel that they are being parasitic or not acting in good faith, but it doesn't change the fact that they are operating in a marketplace and are entitled to trade. The particulars of this individual case are patchy in my eyes and I certainly won't be making a judgement based on the outpourings I have seen on two long threads. I will make my own judgement as and when the time comes and for my own reasons.
Personally I'm a fan of the A55 guide which is a beautifully produced and compact work which now, sadly, is unlikely to be extended to a 3rd edition because of OTHER guides that will corner their little part of the market. For me this is a real shame.
The other shame is that a large number of active climbers can descend into such nastiness and name calling in an arena that we all love.
Any climbing guide book, unless it is the first of an area, will be building on the work done by people who came before. Nobody has the monopoly on the foundations that are already in place - the routes themselves. This is something we have to accept. The best way to distinguish yourself from the competition is in the production of your work, the price and some USPs. For example, if a guide pointed out that a certain % would go to the bolting fund I think that would appeal. Also the contents of the book ASIDE from the climbing are important. My example for this is the Ground Up Llanberis Slate guide where the "Diary of a Slatehead" entries are simply sublime and to me are a fantastic addition that you just don't see with Rockfax.
At the end of the day we live in a world of choice - whoever makes that choice the easiest will probably find that they sell a huge number of guides, and good luck to them. In fact, good luck to anyone who works hard to produce a climbing guide - I've done a few myself and it's hard work and more akin to a labour of love than a money making exercise.
> I was using Steve Ashton's guide on Sunday. If you know what route you want to do, it works better than most modern guides and usually gives you a laugh in the process. Some great one-liners.
Sure; absolutely gorgeous book.
I'm not sure if it's been missed by you (apologies for the drum banging if not) but all the "profits" from the new definitive are going to the bolt fund and it's being written by the people who are actually re-equipping the routes and climbing/checking them. They may profit from previous guides but are also putting in the lions share of the work out on the crags to bring the routes back to a climbable state. Are the Rockfax team doing the same?
As far as I’m aware the Rockfax team hasn’t been involved in the re-equipping and as yet haven’t promised anything to the North Wales Bolt Fund. I shan’t comment on their checking as I don't know whether they are out climbing all the routes that will be in their guide.
The main point is, have you seen the sample pages posted on UKB. They look fantastic!
It's a very decent thing to do but doesn't give it an automatic right to exist over and above an alternative.
I agree it's a better way to get more people to contribute to a bolt fund, but there is no obligation. How many people go to sports venues and never ever contribute to the cost?
At the start of this year I paid for and bolted 2 new routes in North Wales - I don't think that makes me any better or more morally elevated climber and I don't begrudge anyone doing the routes who has never paid a penny. I guess that's the way of things.
If I had spent a small fortune I may feel differently about things, but writing a climbing guide is always a gamble.
Yes, the pictures do look fantastic! If the guide samples are anything to go by then it will be hugely successful on its own merits irrespective of Rockfax.
I am certain I never said our coverage of the NWL sport was 'comprehensive'. I think I said 20% of the coverage and 234 pages reduced to 76.
Crags that are going in:
Upper Pen Trwyn - Mayfair Wall to End of the Road
Lower Pen Trwyn
Castel y Gwynt - 9 routes
Castle Inn Quarry
Crags which we haven't decided yet :
Little Orme - Craig y Don, The Diamond
Crags which are not going in NWClimbs but which were going in the original book we had planned and which presumably are going in the other planned book:
Llandudno Crags - Tramstation, Empire Crags, Elephants Cave
Parisellas - Dumbell Flyer, Mumbo Jumbo
Pigeons Cave, Cockelshell Bay, Hamburger Buttress,
Surprise Zawn, Wonder wall, Turdon Gorge, Un-named crag, Craig Pen Gogarth
Observatory Buttress, St Tudnos, Central Buttress, Crescent Buttress
Manor Crag, Allotment, meadow, Atlanta-detritus, great Zawn
Notice board Crag, The gallery, Llandulas Cave
So do you believe me when I say that I don't think that there is a problem here and at there is plenty of room in the market for both books? If you don't, what are you basing your assessment on?
How do you reconcile this with what you yourself say here?
Sorry Alan but you are not being very consistent on whether or not you think the market will support two guides to this area. I can see why some interpret it as being disingenuous when you then say:
I was referring to two definitive/full guidebooks, not a definitive and a set of selective guidebooks. Obviously the area can support a single definitive and selective(s) since it has done previously.
Historically selective guidebooks have actually supported definitive guidebook sales to an extent especially where the definitive is a good book.
Once again this point comes back to just how comprehensive is the 'extensive' Rockfax coverage that is policy for the crags that you cover, and your implication was certainly that it would be more rather than less, particularly if you consider how much you are including on a proportion-of-ascents basis rather than simply number of routes.
Would you agree that Misha's point here:
Is a reasonable suggestion?
> I am certain I never said our coverage of the NWL sport was 'comprehensive'.
OK, to clarify it's comprehensive on nwl for the areas most people visit, is that right? What then is the incentive for most people to buy the truly comprehensive guide? You will be reducing the sales of a guide that is giving back to the climbing community, and a guide that is a driving force for the huge amount of work that's taken place on these crags.
As I said above it's incredibly cynical to take advantage of the years of work that volunteers have put in, work that you have not contributed to in any meaningful way.
> OK, to clarify it's comprehensive on nwl for the areas most people visit, is that right?
I don't know about the relative popularity of the different areas of NWL, but unless the other areas are really just obscuro esoterica, this seems to be putting it a bit strongly.
* They don't climb trad, don't want to spend money on a load of trad routes they aren't interested in.
* They already have a good selected guide to the trad stuff or a bunch of definitives, don't want to spend money on a load of trad routes they aren't interested in.
* They're a regular visitor to the limestone, and don't want to be stuck with just the most popular areas.
* They generally like buying guidebooks.
As far as I can see, the main sales you might lose are the occasional visiting traddies who might see coastal limestone as an iffy weather option (and who don't already have the Ground Up book). But they're more likely to just go to Tremadoc or Gogarth rather than fork out for a whole new definitive to a sport area they don't plan on visiting very much anyway.
This sounds exactly like the claims that were made about Eastern Grit, and proved by experience to be completely unfounded.
> Good will, that is an interesting concept. The UKB thread is full of bitter vitriol, unpleasant comments and a general air of malice.
You forgot your own advice. Again.
What work was done to those crags that's comparable in financial cost and man hours to the amount of work done redeveloping North wales lime?
> What work was done to those crags that's comparable in financial cost and man hours to the amount of work done redeveloping North wales lime?
A very good point!
Yellow Wall is one of the easiest, most obvious and best known (non-LPT) walls around yet:
- Cornhollio gets a trad grade despite being a sport route (it's even 7b in the UKC logbook)
- there is no mention of wires (useful on both Pirates and String of Pearls for example)
- the description for String of Pearls utterly fails to capture any of the essence of what is the classic of that wall; from what the description says you'd think it was a wall climb and while it sort of is, its nature is more that of a slab with a steeper finish
- the line is wrong for Badger Badger
- there is no FA for Badger Badger or Cornholio
This is one small section, a section Rockfax choose to release as a sample yet there is so much wrong with it. This says everything you need to know about the level of effort Rockfax make, virtually none.
This is why Rockfax has zero right to undermine Pete's work / the definitive. Rockfax should also be ashamed at the level of basic errors in their production. This is a recurring theme and the apparent attitude of 'pile em high sell em cheap' falls very short of what the area deserves and the level of inspiration genuine guidebooks attain.
None of this even touches on the potential damage to North Wales Rock's market. Another guide produced with a level of detail and passion that Rockfax, based on all the evidence I've seen, can't come close to.
Respectfully, guides to the most popular crags in the UK were never going to struggle to sell. Yet Eastern grit and VG selectives have almost certainly reduced BMC definitive sales and the extra effort required to produce the commercially competitive high quality guides, cost the BMC in production expense (and publication delays).
I don't resent Eastern Grit at all as it was the first to do the crags I started climbing on and love well and is properly researched and broadly accurate. It also pushed us to produce the definitive guides through the BMC that I wanted to be involved with, rather than doing them on the cheap.
For the less popular areas overmuch direct competition can potentially damage exisiting volunteer led efforts. I'd hope Alan can sit down and think about the balance in this case (when the fuss dies down) as I think he probably has it wrong.
I asked if you would be
and your reply was
You can split hairs about the difference between 'extensive' and 'comprehensive' if you like.
Also the percentages of routes included are probably a misleading figure, the really pertinent question is what % of ascents do the included routes account for?
In fact it wasn't hard to do with logbook data and a spreadsheet, so I had a look - out of 19521 ascents listed on the relevant crags (not incl Parasellas or the crags you listed as unsure) 16104 are on crags going in the guide - ie. the 20% of the routes you are covering account for 82.5% of the traffic. This, to my mind, supports the accusation that you are creaming off the easiest to document and most commercially viable areas, which will significantly impact the market for the definitive once people already own the rockfax.
Apologies if I missed something here, and with respect, isn't what you are saying above the very point of a select guide - the routes with the most ticks in the most popular spots?
If I was going to do a select guide to Stanage for example, I would focus on a large number of areas that had the most ticks.
As Rockfax's stated policy is to offer comprehensive coverage of the selected areas they cover, the accusation is that the guide is being pitched as as-good-as-definitive for the areas of primary interest for a large proportion of the target market, and this accusation seems to be borne out by the facts.
A better example than your Stanage one is the Dorset 2005 rockfax. Although its coverage of Portland was technically selective, in practice it was as-good-as-definitive as it contained virtually every route that the vast majority of climbers had any interest in.
I see, thank you.
If you don't, by your own admission, know why did you think it important to give us your (incorrect) view?
The fact is most of the climbing on the Ormes takes place between the start of the Marine drive and the 'end of the road'. It's easily accessible after work or on the way to N Wales for the weekend. It's where people go to wait for the tide for LPT which is probably the next most popular venue and contains most of the routes which people actually travel from outside the area to climb. The most popular lower grade venues are Castle Inn and, more recently, Penmaen head. By covering these areas I'd say Rockfax have over 90% of the climbing covered (by that I mean total ascents not number of routes). To do guides for these areas probably takes 30% of the research effort, if that, because they are so accessible, you could do the marine drive without stepping out of the car! This is the low hanging fruit that appeals to both climbers and Rockfax and it makes commercial sense to stop there, putting in the extra effort would not yield many more sales but covering *all* the low hanging fruit will have a detrimental effect on the bolt fund guide book. Rockfax could have cut back on coverage which would not cost them any sales but would result in increased revenue for the bolt fund. Instead Rockfax chose to knowingly undermine the bolt fund guide book and deliberately cost the bolt fund money. Only Rockfax know why. ....
I think this is a good question given the emphasis Mike Doyle gives in the book to bolt funds and profits going to such funds.
I said in an earlier post that this looked like the death of any future A55 update.
I believe it covers the whole limestone area including those in the A55 guide. As to the second part of the question, about consent, I have no idea I'm afraid.
I see - I take it that includes Dyserth, Castle Inn, Gopp, Llandullas etc?
Two points on that - firstly it probably does mean the end of a mini A55 future guide.
It also means there are areas not proposed to be covered by Rockfax.
Good work Chris. Definitely another contender for our "About" section http://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php/page,about_ukb.html but unfortunately we already have a "bitter-lads-in-cellars vibe". Got any other pejorative adjectives up your sleeve?
Think so. As for your points - I think everyone with knowledge of the area knows Alan's guide isn't definitive, he has said so himself, the issue being whether it's too definitive by virtue of choosing to include the most popular crags (iirc he says he is including some stuff at castle inn at least?). So that isn't revelatory at all.
Regarding what happens to the A55 climbs guide, then unless the author was giving more to the bolt fund than Pete proposes to (difficult since he says he is donating all profits so presumably can be matched but not bettered) then it's not something that concerns me really. The bolt fund will benefit either way.
First of all thank you for your kind words about the A55 Sport Climbs guide. Thats the sort of payback I value along with seeing people out at the crags with the guide.
To answer your question, as far as I am concerned, there will be a third edition of the A55 guide at some point in the future. Having said that I fully support the forthcoming NWL guide authored by local activists Pete (the banned) Harrison and Andy Boorman.
It should be appreciated how much work has gone into re-equipping and new routing as well as checking of routes for the new guide by local climbers and activists and which has been fully supported by the North Wales bolt fund. All of this is entirely unpaid and all the profits from the guide will go to the North Wales bolt fund. The whole concept is about climbers doing it for themselves as well as for the wider climbing community.
The profits generated will mean more re-equipping and more new routes which will be in the interests of the climbing community rather than swelling the profits of Rockfax.
The new NWL guide itself has been something of a marathon journey but even though amateurs are compiling it, anyone who has seen sample pages will agree that it is a top quality product and up there with the best. Hopefully it will be out before the Autumn.
Despite Alan James' pages of meally-mouthed words there is little justification for the new Rockfax guide other than more profits for Rockfax. There is already a selected guide to North Wales in GroundUp's excellent North Wales Rock and that will be supplemented by the forthcoming NWL guide - so it can't be to plug a gap in the market. GroundUp are an outfit of locals with a real feel and passion for the area and who produce very high quality guides. They deserve to be supported. The area is also very well served by a number of CC definitive guides.
By the way, more money has been donated from the modest royalties of "A55 Sport Climbs" to the North Wales bolt fund than Rockfax say they have donated.
Rockfax's cherry picking of the best of the Ormes (and to a lessor extent the A55 crags) will inevitably result in less money for the bolt fund.
The guide book buying public have a choice. Buy the new Rockfax guide and contribute to their profits or support the work of the local climbing community and the North Wales bolt fund and buy the forthcoming North Wales Limestone Guide and the GroundUp North Wales Rock guide (if you haven't already got one).
Do not buy the Rockfax North Wales Climbs guide.
Delighted to hear that there will be a 3rd Edition of A55. I felt that it may be under threat, but clearly not, and I personally would buy one (especially as I did a couple of new routes there!)
well said Michael.
I think it can also be said (IMO) that the quality of the GroundUp NWR, Llanberis Slate and North Wales Winter (and I'm sure the others too, but I don't own them) exceed that of any Rockfax publication I've seen.
I look forward to seeing more of the same in NWL.
Toby, WTF has happened to 'smug and superior'?
Well said Mike, I'm glad you're fully behind the Bolt Fund produced guide. Just one point to note (and this is obviously not to undermine your contribution) but Rockfax have not given anything to the bolt fund, the money Alan was talking about earlier are contributions by individuals using the web page Rockfax have set up, so they helped faciliate the donation not made a donation.
> Michael Doyle
Hear hear! Or maybe make that any Rockfax guide if you can help it. Not the sort of company we need to be supporting in the climbing world methinks. I shall be avoiding them in the future as much as possible.
Ah, okay, that makes more sense.
Put like that it does seem like a bit of a dick move.
> Hear hear! Or maybe make that any Rockfax guide if you can help it. Not the sort of company we need to be supporting in the climbing world methinks. I shall be avoiding them in the future as much as possible.
Careful, you don't represent every person in the climbing world.
I think that no matter what your opinion, actively encouraging people to commercially damage Rockfax on this site or any other is taking things way too far.
You'd best delete your profile and stop posting then.
Do you not support boycotts in general as a pressure tool, or do you just think in this case that its OTT? I'm curious. They seem a fairly mainstream way for customers to exercise power in this world, not something that's as beyond the pale as you make it sound...
I've never really understood this argument. Someone who doesn't climb there regularly isn't going to buy the definitive guides (OK, I would, but I'm the exception). If there isn't a selective guide then they'll borrow one, or download something from the web, or buy something cheap second hand.
Someone who climbs regularly in an area is going to want the definitive guide sooner or later. The new Yorkshire guide is only just out, but I've seen more copies at the crag than I have of the Rockfax guide.
Really? It doesn't seem to have held back the Yorkshire guidebook team. Less than 3 years from the launch of the project to the publication of volume 1 (which on its own is significantly bigger than the previous edition).
I think there are ways of going about such things and a public row between various parties across two websites has led to more questions than answers and certainly hasn't given me reason to encourage others to act in such a way.
I think that if the NWL guide is as good as it looks then it will be a triumph. Creating a "war" with Rockfax causes a lot more harm than you realise - not just to the profits of a couple of people but far beyond.
The personal relations between the publishers aside (I have never knowingly met either of them, so don't really care), I think actually that continual pressure on the subject has given a lot more clarity to what Rockfaxs guide will actually include, so in that sense I think its actually answered some of the questions - I certainly feel a lot better informed now about the degree of overlap between the two guides than I was previously. I not sure what big questions you think the discussion so far has prevented anyone answering?
And whilst there might be a war between the two publishers, if you wanted to be dramatic about it, ordinary punters choosing to vote with their feet and encouraging others to do likewise isn't a war is it - were consumers at war with Starbucks over tax, or supermarkets over battery chickens/horsemeat/whatever, or boycotting products from countries they disapprove of? To me that's just democracy in action - negative public pressure comes as a result of doing things that chunks of the public disapprove of.
And do tell, what are these wider harms you think the chap in question is stirring up? I can see wider harms from the funding to the bolt fund drying up, for sure, but you are implying that the harms are from the opposite outcome...?
If you climb in an country with no guidebook, or out of date not very good guidebooks, I think you get a different perspective on the seemingly never ending UK "guidebook wars". The UK must be about the best served country in the world for climbing guidebooks, in no small part I suppose because you have choices on what to buy. Nevertheless, there is something deeply weird about how these "scandals" just keep coming with guidebook production.
But I'm also not sure about what the real accusation is here - that Alan is using (and perhaps risking?) his commercial venture to 'punish' Pete for reporting him to the authorities on another matter? Or that Rockfax are capitalist fat cats exploiting climbing to make a quick buck? Both have been made. I guess the two aren't necessarily mutually exclusive but would require a surprising combination of top notch Machiavellian and business skills.
I suspect the "competition" between the two books is actually a lot less zero-sum for the Bolt Fund for example than is being suggested.
The call wasn't just to boycott this guide but all Rockfax guides. That harms guidebook writers who are nothing to do with this publication. It also stops smaller guides being used - ones to more niche areas. Some smaller "labour of love" guides would suffer through a blanket boycott.
I totally agree with the concept of consumers voting with their feet - as I would do, but some of the language on the sites and the suggested lengths of the "war" are too much in my view - more akin to a hate campaign.
As I've said already, I'm delighted about a 3rd A55 guide, also the NWL samples look superb - they should triumph, and they deserve to do so independently of the bitter row elsewhere.
> Not sure. Perhaps rejected as being too, er, smug.
Never did it for me and was a bit rich coming from an Etonian barrister
You're ignoring their contribution to the development of guide books with photo topos, approach diagrams, professional presentation, etc. I think the climbing world owes the quality of modern guide books to Rockfax. That's not to say that we wouldn't have got there eventually anyway but it would have taken a lot longer because without the Rockfax competition and/or inspiration there wouldn't have been the incentive or the vision for the CC and the BMC etc to improve. I'm sure others will disagree.
Also, Rockfax does fill important gaps in the market. South West Climbs (the CC have only just published their selected guide to the Bristol area and Cornwall is way off), Peaks Limestone, Pembroke (before the new CC guides came out), Grit East and West (again, before the new CC guides came out). Also overseas destinations, Rjukan and Lofoten for a start.
I've got GroundUp's excellent North Wales Rock and I'll buy the forthcoming North Wales Limestone Guide. I don't need and will certainly not be buying this shoddy offering!
I think the issue is with the fact that the area was deemed too small to support 2 definitives only a few years back, and yet now a commercial guidebook is being released to compete with a non-commercial guidebook which exists to help fund the area regeneration which, after some tortuous wranglings with how you measure it, appears to include routes which cover 80% of the actual ascents made in the area and will be essentially definitive (of unbanned routes) for two of the largest areas (upper and lower pen trwyn) and include chunks from a number of the other popular ones too. Technically of course this is a selective guide competing against a definitive one, but when the coverage is so exhaustive in certain areas its leading people to remember that there was only room for one definitive guide only a few years back. And given the differences in funding models and core purposes, it matters in this case more so than if it were a CC guide for example.
Usually I'd agree with you about a selective not being a zero sum calculation with definitive guide sales, but there comes a point when its "selective" rather than selective, if you see my distinction.
As to Alan's reasons, I wouldn't wish to speculate and to be honest I also don't really care why he has made the decisions he has.
I don't think it really matters - I think some of their guides are dead useful as well so on that we probably aren't miles apart. It was your initial taking of issue that I responded to, which was that you didn't want people to "commercially damage Rockfax" that I thought was strange since it seems to defy the point of even a limited boycott on that one book.
I think perhaps I would reword it to express commercially damaging Rockfax across the board rather than encouraging others to buy alternatives to the new guide.
A blanket campaign against Rockfax is unhelpful.
Very well said Michael
I understand that sales of Ground Up's very good and popular selective guide help to finance the less popular but very good comprehensive guides to slate and Gogarth North.
I'm really looking forward to Ground Up's (hopefully) forthcoming Gogarth South book - especially with all the development that has gone on since the previous CC guide.
If sales of the proposed new Rockfax selective guide take more sales from Ground Up then appearance of Gogarth South seems ever further away.
With their proposed new North Wales guide Rockfax's claim that sales of their selective guide boost sales of local guides seems to be getting harder to substantiate.
I have absolutely no need for yet another selected guide to North Wales, particularly as I have all of the definitive guides anyway. But given some of the comments in this thread I'm very tempted to by a copy anyway.
> I have absolutely no need for yet another selected guide to North Wales, particularly as I have all of the definitive guides anyway. But given some of the comments in this thread I'm very tempted to by a copy anyway.
Aren't you a big man, ey....
Personally I think the issue is that the local activists (Pete et al) have spent a lot of time and effort on preparing the ground for their guide by re-equipping many routes that had fallen into disrepair if not downright dangerousness. Their efforts seem to have been highly altruistic as any profit from the guide was going to be reinvested in the area to continue to make it an attractive destination for the wider climbing community.
Then, as if by magic, as soon as the routes have been put into decent condition (by someone else's effort and investment), along comes this new guide to take advantage of the situation and syphon off money that could have been raised to continue the re equipping and development. There might not be a personal vendetta, but there definitely seems to be a level of parasitism that needs to be called out (especially as there does not seem to be much of a contribution to re bolting coming out of the RF coffers).
There are also longer term questions to be asked. If there is less money going into the bolt fund and if the locals feel their hard work has been hijacked for others to make a profit, what is likely to be the outcome in a few years time when the routes again need re equipping? Will they go through all this again and give up their free time to do a load of work knowing that it is going to benefit a commercial organisation (that they dislike)? I wouldn't, and ultimately if they were to take the same attitude the area will once more fall into the disrepair that it was prior to them starting their re-bolting campaign.
No one enjoys climbing on manky bolts, so if people want North Wales crags to have more than a brief renaissance, they should vote with their wallets when deciding which of the two books to buy; one that will benefit the local area, has had the routes checked (and no inaccuracies) and looks great or one that will have less benefit to the long term sustainability of routes in the area.
The first point is obvious. If you can't see it I deapair. What would the climbers with only EG have purchased? You seriously think the guides have produced a new market or the vast amjority have both?
On YMC get Robin to agree to that he gave up huge amounts of time. Niall, Moff and I helped the team directly and it would obviously have been a lot quicker to produce a less glossy volume.
haha you f*ckin dick
I wont be buying this book, and from the sound of it nor will many others.
As for some comments above about Rockfax contributing to guidebooks in general with photo topos and that this should be recognised etc etc...the CC and BMC have more than caught up. In fact, in my view, they have overtaken Rockfax by quite a margin in terms of guidebook quality. The more recent BMC and CC guides that I have purchased have been brilliant - to the point that I have sold many of my old Rockfax guides.
In many ways, the great work of recent CC and BMC guidebook authors now means that it's Rockfax playing catch-up. Perhaps this, in part, explains why Rockfax seem to be keen to make a quick buck on the back of other people's hard work in this instance.
It sounds like, having read both sides of the argument, that this proposed book could realistically reduce sales of the North Wales Limestone guide, which seems to be the work of some very altruistic and self-giving locals who have spent a lot of time and money making sure the routes in their guide are in the best possible shape. If Mr James and co can't accept that it's a bit crap, to say the least, to launch this book despite that, then I can only hope that most people will choose the definitive as simply the better quality guidebook.
I will also not be buying the Rockfax
i, explains why Rockfax seem to be keen to make a quick buck on the back of other people's hard work in this instance.
Is this fair, really? How quick is a quick buck and how long does it take to produce a guide? Having done one myself I know the time it takes and the dedication.
The assumption being thrown around the sites appears to be as follows:
"Rockfax, through motives of profit and retribution have decided to take advantage of others work in a cynical manner to rush out an inferior quality guide to market ahead of a competitor and parasitically siphon off funds intended for a bolt fund and into their own pockets."
Could I ask that if you believe this to be true that you put it directly to Rockfax themselves. Why not try asking Alan directly, I'm sure he would take the time to respond.
Secondly. Given the anti-Rockfax sentiment being thrown around I hope you are aware that without Rockfax there would be no UKC and all the content it provides free of charge.
Rockfax have transformed guides and the way we look at them and now there is a lot of competition. If you believe they are a force for evil perhaps you could ask the various businesses in Rjukan for example.
I don't know the full story here and I suspect very few do. Personally I will buy whichever guidebook best suits my needs - probably the NWL given what I already have, but we will see.
If the NWL local activists' motivations are so pure (having spent many many hours hanging on ab ropes, scrubbing at rock and scraping out cracks, to clean dozens of new routes - I suspect there is also a bit of ego and local pride at play - being honest I know that's part of my motivations) I would hope they would just be happy that new people are visiting "their" cliffs regardless of how they get there. I hope they are putting the effort into the area because they love climbing there. Yes, someone might find a way to monetize that, DMM or Petzl selling quickdraws, whoever owns Marine Drive and charges the toll, campsite and B&B owners, and even Rockfax (and I hope some of those businesses give something to the bolt fund) but surely that is secondary?
How about just boycotting any of their books which are covered by local or comprehensive guides. Local guides frequently contribute to the local scene and bear local character, and comprehensive guides contribute to the area by getting traffic on a wider variety of routes rather than polishing a few while others grow over. Buying either also helps avoid monopoly. Many people buy rockfax because it's standardised and a name they know, even when rockfax isn't the best guide available.
If, like me, you take umbridge with Rockfax's behaviour, then you might also try to avoid them as much as possible. I wouldn't expect people to choose not to climb, rather than buy their guides - if that's the only option.
> "Rockfax, through motives of profit and retribution have decided to take advantage of others work in a cynical manner to rush out an inferior quality guide to market ahead of a competitor and parasitically siphon off funds intended for a bolt fund and into their own pockets."
> Could I ask that if you believe this to be true that you put it directly to Rockfax themselves. Why not try asking Alan directly, I'm sure he would take the time to respond.
Doesn't this strike you as a bit like one of those "have you ever been a member of the communist party or any other banned organisation" questions?
They were separate companies a few years ago. Do you know for sure that there is a subsidy? You seem very sure.
I'm quite sure I know what the answers I would be told are - after all I'm pretty sure Alan has clarified both so far already this thread. My problem is that given the levels of verbal games that have gone on so far about whether guides are definitive, comprehensive, selective and so on, and the statistical joy of how the levels of coverage appear under each different metric, be that routes, pages, ascents and so on, I'm in somewhat a cynical mood.
I never guessed ;)
You can call me a cynic if you like but this thread does seem to carry a lot of responses by unfamiliar posters whose only listed thread responses are this one. Where did they all come from all of a sudden? I wonder.
Sure, and I have Littlejohn's book, but it isn't really the same by modern guide book standards. I like colour photo topos and professional quality colour layout with photos and approach diagrams etc... As for Pembroke, may be so but I came out in 2010 and the CC have only just released the last two volumes. Also, to buy all the five volumes would cost about 4 or 5 times as much as the one Rockfax. The committed Pembroke climbers will get the definitives. Those who go there only occasionally will probably opt for the Rockfax - there's loads to do even in that one book. I have (but have not yet used!) the first two CC guides and will probably get the other ones but that would be more because they are more portable and I like to support the CC, rather than due to the comprehensive coverage.
Or they could go trad climbing... No need to fund bolts!
Whilst honesty is a great thing, I'm not sure what your sexual orientation has to do with the current guidebook debate ;)
I agree, I doubt there are actually that many people interested in NWL outside the local area. Those who actually go there regularly may well get the definitive anyway. As for the Rockfax, might as well trim down the NWL section to appease the locals and slim down the book to save weight! I don't suppose most people buying it will be buying it for the sport routes.
LOL! The trouble with using a phone...
It's not a great secret, surely - they usually post somewhere else but have taken the trouble to register and post here because they feel strongly about this subject. I don't see much to be cynical about there, whatever one's feelings on the subject under discussion.
The part Rockfax plays in the continued existence of UkC is utterly crucial. Obviously it was set up by funds from Rockfax and Rock and Run. Until 2008 when I bought Andy H out, it was subsidised almost exclusively by the two companies. After that when it was run as a separate business, we began to make the advertising more successful so that UKC funded the hosting and general maintenance itself but all development and content was still pretty much funded from Rockfax.
In 2010 Rockfax bought UKC. Since then, and the hard work done by Mick Ryan in particular, we have managed to make it much more profitable, but this has also required taking on 4 permanent staff plus two 1/2 time staff, so 5 salaries in total. The financial contribution from Rockfax is still significant although UKC can repay that with advertising ( like this thread !)
Everyone who buys a Rockfax helps support UKC.
Alan, if this website is not suitably profitable then you're doing something wrong.
From looking at the sample pages of the two books I think the choice is clear as to which guidebook will be the superior and better researched product. And that's before the other apparent unpleasantness is examined.
People will buy your book, Alan. RockFax, for better or worse, is a familiar face to many in the market and it has mass appeal. In saying that I mean it will appeal to the masses, i.e. the many who do not care enough about climbing to think that doing it in the company of a soulful and lovingly accomplished guide is a valuable part of the experience.
Ah, the masses. Ignorant proles, the lot of them - can't trust 'em can you?
I would suspect that the "soulful" people making new routes, particularly routes that take extensive cleaning and/or the graft of bolting, would just be happy for a small part of the masses to come and enjoy climbing their routes (or the routes they maintain). Otherwise why no cynicism that this is all about the keeping the bolt fund topped up so that some people's hobby doesn't cost them so much?
That is a particularly poor attitide in my opinion. Have you actuallu climbed at the Orme or the surrounding areas much? Did you ever see the state of the bolts and how many crags were pretty much unusable before Pete and all the others starting re-bolting and sorting everything out? You are talking about thousands of pounds and thousands of hours for no gain whatsoever apart from doing it because they wanted to.
I personally have benefited from this as have everyone who has climbed there recently. The guide is not a profit making venture and the attitude that it is just to make someone's hobby cheaper is rubbish. I won't buy the rockfax guide not because I have some vendetta or dislike the guides in general but simply because I would like to make a small contribution to the development and funding of further development of an area that I have loved climbing at.
If you can't see that one guide will help the area and is pretty much a selfless act of hard work and generosity and the other is simply a professional company trying to make a profit then I despair!
I am surprised this thread has been allowed to last so long.
> I am surprised this thread has been allowed to last so long.
I'm not. Rockfax/UKC are in Catch 22 now. Imagine the outcry if it got pulled.
I'm surprised there isn't a social media campaign.
Oh come on Alan. This is a deeply cynical move to deflect criticism given you are losing the argument over NW lime.
Rockfax and UKC exist as a business so that you and other employees can make a living. I have no problem with this but the exact subsidy from Rockfax to UKC is a decision of your business model - let's remember how useful people filling in logbooks and writing comments in the databases is to being able to produce guidebooks - is it is not something you do altruistically for the benefit the climbing community. The people who use UKC are the product, we are not the beneficiaries. If you take the attitude that 'business is business' in your guidebook production, (and this has been your basis of defending your actions over the NWL issue) why not be clear on this point?
To try to insinuate that supporting UKC via Rockfax is an equivalent ethical choice to supporting the NW lime guidebook where the volunteers are contributing their own unpaid time and in many cases paying out of their own pockets to produce the climbing infrastructure that your guidebook depends on, is a deeply cynical comparison.
I don't think most people reading this thread are quite as credulous as you take them for.
> What exactly?
> Ah, the masses. Ignorant proles, the lot of them - can't trust 'em can you?
> I would suspect that the "soulful" people making new routes, particularly routes that take extensive cleaning and/or the graft of bolting, would just be happy for a small part of the masses to come and enjoy climbing their routes (or the routes they maintain). Otherwise why no cynicism that this is all about the keeping the bolt fund topped up so that some people's hobby doesn't cost them so much?
Having done little bit of work with the Yorkshire Bolt fund many years ago and doing a few new self funded routes of my own both in England and France I will happily admit that ego and the buzz of other people enjoying your routes plays a big part in it.
As to your second point about having your hobby subsidesed - bollocks! (For want of a better word)
As if anyone would answer in the affirmative way to a question like that! People going on about the benefits of competition seem to forget that even in the harsh world of business, investment in improving the quality of existing products is protected from competition in order for them to recoup said investment. As I see it, this situation has similar overtones, work has been done to make an area attractive and someone else has jumped in to take advantage of that hard work.
“I doubt there are actually that many people interested in NWL outside the local area. ……I don't suppose most people buying it will be buying it for the sport routes”
“There are a lot of UK climbers who just won't be very interested in NWL “
So why put so many routes in? You would think that a poverty stricken organisation might be targeting profitable segments of the market! At the very least they would be trying to keep costs down by omitting non-essential elements of the guide. I am pretty sure that the lime is regarded as a money-maker or else it wouldn’t be in.
“If the NWL local activists' motivations are so pure (having spent many many hours hanging on ab ropes, scrubbing at rock and scraping out cracks, to clean dozens of new routes - I suspect there is also a bit of ego and local pride at play - being honest I know that's part of my motivations) I would hope they would just be happy that new people are visiting "their" cliffs regardless of how they get there. I hope they are putting the effort into the area because they love climbing there. “
The difference here is that they have not been doing new routes or projects; they have been giving up their time to re-equip other people’s routes. Let’s face it, who would really prefer giving up a days climbing to go to Trewyn or wherever to replace a load of bolts on some routes they had no emotional investment in.. I am sure the locals will be happy to see an increase in traffic, but they need that traffic to help them keep the area in good condition (through guide book sales). I think this is the main issue (as I have said before) as RF does not appear to be contributing much.
“Or they could go trad climbing... No need to fund bolts!”
The sort of sentiment that makes this site so generally irritating.
My point is I know exactly how much work cleaning and preparing route is (where I climb, it's the wire brushing that is the hardest work - shockhorror!) and although I haven't put bolts in myself, I've help friends clean routes before bolting and clean the holes before gluing. It's a lot of graft, but the best (and only, really) reward is to see people enjoying the routes and I suspect that the Rockfax guide will make that more likely not less. That's why I don't think this is a zero sum thing. I've got the Ground Up guide which has some of those Limestone routes in it; that makes me more likely to climb there than less. I drove around Marine Drive years back with my wife but we didn't climb anything because we didn't have a guide and didn't know if there was anything we could do. Now I'd know where to find the easier stuff. And perhaps others in that situation will do similar then find they enjoy it, go there again and buy the comprehensive guide.
Looks like your normal sharp analysis is blunted for once by some Rockfax passion there. So what if the climbers enjoy developing this area or get some subsidy for their bolts, the huge effort and cost is still real and the outcome is a massive benefit for the climbing community. Are you serious that we should be cynical about such activists? It seems obvious to me that future efforts like this will clearly be affected if another publisher steps at the last moment and mops up all the cream. On the other hand careful selective inclusion can help such guides and I'd hope the 'competing' publishers could negotiate a reasonable position to achieve that for the good of climbing.
Rockfax/UKC are now the big fish in this situation and although they undeniably do much good for the community I think it very likely they have overstepped the mark here. When they first started producing guides in aeas covered by the BMC and CC they were the cocky small fish taking on vested interest and problematic product: the resulting competition clearly ended up benefitting guidebook production as a whole. The competition can work without damage, as it does with Eastern Grit and the old Snowdonia select, so I really hope they don't become what they stood up against in the beginning.
Beside possibly bringing new climbers to the area to do the routes?
Completely separate to this guidebook debate, it seems to me looking at Portland as an example, bolting as many 4s, 5s and 6as and bs as possible is the way to bring more and more climbers to an area. My feeling is that the NWL is geologically inclined towards tougher routes, but possibly the locals know some places that might work that way?
As jcm said a fair few are regulars on other forums who either don't post on this one or don't post on this one any more. If they feel strongly about the issue then for better or worse UKC is the place where their post will reach the widest audience and therefore also the largest number of undecideds.
As for my cynicism, given Alan has said somewhere below that Rockfax subsidises UKC but that UKC can repay this with advertising, that's the sort of comment that tweaks my cynicism-o-meter because it's said in a way that makes it sound completely transparent (one subsidizes the other) but what it actually means is very opaque (the subsidy then being repaid in advertising, that sounds to me more like a quasi-commercial exchange).
So yes, I'm a tired embittered cynic on this one because I've seen what Alan has said in the thread and how it eventually developed further down and so my level of trust in him has taken a hit.
Reading your posts you seem to be approaching this from a new routers perspective, and you're probably right to say that seeing people enjoying your new routes is a benefit for the money, time and effort you put in.
A monstrous chunk of the work here is reequipping though - yes people pit in time and enjoy their hard work and enjoy others enjoying their hard work, but when it comes to the cost that's where the Bolt fund is important. From what Pete has said it took several days but also about £1600 to install the access line for the diamond, and that's before you start the reboltimg work to get the routes back into shape.
That's why the money aspect is more crucial to my mind than just whether you get reward from seeing people enjoying your hard work. I'd need a lot of people to really enjoy it for that amount of cash!!!
Perhaps your description of the situation is right, I don't know, but the cynicism was all one way. Of course I don't believe that this is someone trying to save money on their bolting projects; but the immediate questioning of motives was only done one way. People can make mistakes, there can be misunderstandings, people can see the same thing differently - but starting from a presumption that someone is out to do you harm for personal reasons is rarely right or helpful. But as you say, Rockfax is big enough to fight their own battles!
Maybe what is wrong here is the apparent assumption that the bolt fund should be funded by guide book sales. I accept that overseas it is common for such things to happen but there the guidebooks are very basic and less costly and it is often the only style of climbing in the area (not a mix of sports and trad). If the bolt fund were properly advertised and funding from other sources sought, it might well generate sufficient revenue all on its own. If that is the 'only' thing winding people up, there are solutions other than trying to block Rockfax from producing a guide.
I'd agree if presumption was the starting point, but are you really sure it was (I suspect some offline discussion before the UKB thread started)? Your a big UKC regular and occasional contributer to articles and UKC/Rockfax are the same thing. I'm similar, in case you think I'm getting at you.
Why not talk to your locals and get together to do your own guide?
Basic and less costly certainly wouldn't be my description of a lot of continental guides - I've used some very good ones, and I've bought some very expensive ones!
I don't know whether perceptions of whether its right or wrong for guidebooks to fund bolt funds is terribly relevant to be honest - we are where we are, one guide is and one guide isn't and those are facts which aren't likely to change. I don't doubt for a minute that the bolt fund has other sources of income as well, but nevertheless the locals seem to feel that the extra funding offered by the guidebook surpluses is useful/necessary, and they know a lot more about the amount of work that needs doing and the amount of other funding they get to make that call than I do.
Long term you might be right, there's a lot of bolts across the uk which will ultimately need replacing and that's maybe going to require a mindset shift in how its funded, but that's a very different timeframe from how to fund the redevelopment work they're doing right now.
Here's how I see it. Rockfax have done a lot of good for the climbing community (the tense there being deliberate), with Eastern Grit being a landmark guide. And, for example, Rockfax is currently the only sensible option for Peak Limestone, and for the occasional visitor to Pembroke. I have about a dozen Rockfaxes on my shelves, and generally support Rockfax.
But the Rockfax model -- which is essentially all about presentation of information -- depends on the existence of a non-Rockfax volunteer base who are creating the information, checking and cleaning routes, re-bolting, looking after ab-points etc. And a lot of that tends to revolve around non-Rockfax guides.
Thus, nowadays, with Rockfax being a very major player, it is in Rockfax's long-term interests to encourage that volunteer base, and to do so by sensible giving space to alternative guides, with sufficient communication and discussion to that end. Rockfax's omission of Cheddar from SW Climbs is a good example of them doing that.
Email Alan and offer to write it!
I think ( from reading both threads ) that what is upsetting people is they they have put the time and effort into re-equipping the area and making it more popular.
Rockfax said they wouldn't do a definitive guide to these areas, now the area is becoming more popular they are, unless you believe the statistics of pages, routes and percentages we are being blinded with.So some see it as cashing in on the hard work done by the locals.
The guidebook is being produced to fund the continuing development and maintenance of the area, which now may be affected by a guide book that will keep all of its profits for itself, unless Alan has just forgotten to answer the question of what percentage of the profits from this book will go to local climbing ?
Not to forget that for a long time, the only guide available for NW limestone was the original Rockfax ! As a very occasional visitor its still the only guide I have to the area.
Pretty well said i think.
BTW as pointed out further up the post we are the non rockfax volunteer base every time we log climbs on UKC ;-)
I think it's the other way round. It is anticipated that this area will become more popular because all this rebolting and cleaning has now been done.
>We gave money in the past to the North Wales Bolt Fund and we are happy to do so again in the future and will do after we have broken even from this new book which may take a year or so.
Irrespective of any of the other arguments on this thread this is for me the key issue here - what exactly do Rockfax put back into the areas the profit from?
Why not simply publish details of every payment Rockfax/ UKC make to bolt funds? That would silence a few here. I am not interested in payments you surmise others might have made through a few links you have posted - give us straightforward figures of your direct contribution. This would be a great marketing opportunity too (certainly seems to work for Patagonia) - I can't think why you aren't doing it already. Well, that is unless the amounts are embarrassingly small. But I'm sure that's not the case.
Given the retained profits you declare to Companies house each year (£215,000 for UKC as at Dec 2011) it hardly sounds like the struggling outfit that needs propping up by Rockfax you describe, but I'm sure there are good reasons for that too.
Interesting point Adam, and what appears to be a deafening silence in reply!
> Interesting point Adam, and what appears to be a deafening silence in reply!
Perhaps approaching Alan directly would be a way of ensuring that this IS a deafening silence rather than him off doing something else with his time?
and yes I know it won't cost them a lot. But it does make it simple for people to contribute. I assume the new book will publicise the site further.
I wonder if any Rockfax boycotts will extend to rejecting donations made via that site?
On Peak Rock, or the Paul Nunn guide, or Steve Ashton's.
To be fair, Alan is abroad with only intermittent internet contact.
I simply think that Adam has raised a good point and I don't suppose Alan is the only one who could answer it. But nobody is saying anything, and I can't believe that none of the relevant people are watching this thread.
If you truly feel that it's fair to expect Rockfax to be hanging onto your every demand then I think your expectations are a little high. Again, try contacting them directly rather than posting and expecting an immediate response - I did speak to them, and it was very informative.
Speaking to Alan hasn't made me choose one guide over another, but it has told me that there is a lot more to this than is clear from the posts of 2 different websites. It certainly hasn't convinced me that I should be slagging anybody off, trying to undermine anybody's work or that anybody is a Hooded Claw in all of this.
> and yes I know it won't cost them a lot. But it does make it simple for people to contribute.
From running my own websites I would budget less than £200 all in for ukboltfund.org - its a day's setup from any compentent website designer, plus ongoing hosting costs which would be non-existent for a company already running its own servers, plus a few hours maintenance a year. I'm not knocking it at all - but facilitating others' contributions is not the same as contributing.
Isn't Alan more or less sole proprietor of UKC/Rockfax these days, with the others being employees? If so then Alan is likely the only one who could answer it.
In reply to Rampikino:
Of course he can make this public if he chooses.
So did Rockfax tell you this stuff in confidence?!
The question of Rockfax funding bolt funds was answered by Alan already.
So basically after they have paid themselves all a nice wage, moved money to UKC they have no money left(really?)! Donations to the bolt fund are from Alan's OWN pocket. Maybe someone fells just a little bit of guilt.....
Adam, you have worded this (maybe deliberately, I don't know) to make it sound as though the company showed profits of £215k in 2011. A quick look at the accounts shows that the retained profits hardly moved between 2010 and 2011 (actually they fell slightly) and that those are historic profits. Hardly megabucks for what is quite an old business now. Of course, as the accounts are abbreviated, there is no detailed info so it's all a bit meaningless.
However, my point being, I really don't think you can use this as evidence that they are raking it in.
It was a conversation between Alan and myself and I won't be reproducing it for a number of reasons, not least because I haven't sought permission to do so. If Alan wants to say more then that's up to him, but he isn't obliged to. I genuinely suggest that if someone feels that they have a right to insult Alan, make accusations about his actions or motives or try to undermine his work then the least they could do is ask him DIRECTLY to respond to such accusations - otherwise it is simply biased and lacking in a sense of proportion.
But of course it is so much easier to dismiss this approach and continue with the accusations.
For what it's worth. I'm certain that I would also like to see Rockfax be clearer about how they help contribute to bolting funds, and I would encourage them to put a proportion of the profits into bolting funds, but at the end of the day they are a commercial enterprise and they are not obliged to - which leads back to the same point that a consumer can make their own choice.
And just a quick question - genuinely out of interest. Given the massive amount of bolting at huge expense done in Clwyd by Mr Gibson, when Clwyd Limestone popped up did the same arguments and objections happen then? This is a genuine question as I don't know.
I think the key issues are that and how much impact the Rockfax selective guide is actually going to have on sales of the definitive.
As far as I can see, the main market for the Rockfax is likely to be occasional visitors who mainly climb trad but might go for a bit of bolt clipping as an alternative to Tremadoc if the mountains are cold and wet, whereas the obvious market for the NWL definitive is going to be locals, regular visitors and people who mostly climb sport.
I'm not saying that it'll be a negligible impact - occasional visitors will gradually become regular visitors and might end up wanting the definitive guide - and on the balance I'm still unimpressed by the decision of what to include, but I think it might be being blown out of proportion a bit. Even without the controversy, most people who want a guidebook to North Wales Limestone are presumably going to favour a guidebook that gives them everything on North Wales Limestone over one that gives them the most popular bits of North Wales Limestone and then 350 pages of trad that they either don't care about or already have guidebooks for.
That sounds like an attempt to makes something seem sinister when it is not. It was an email conversation between Alan and myself, nothing confidential, but certainly a private email conversation. Try it yourself - really, try it.
>Given the massive amount of bolting at huge expense done in Clwyd by Mr Gibson, when Clwyd Limestone popped up did the same arguments and objections happen then?
Eh? Gibson wasn't doing a guide to Clwyd limestone, surely?
Is 'I'm cranky' not around anymore? Five UKC points to anyone who gets the anagram....
> >Given the massive amount of bolting at huge expense done in Clwyd by Mr Gibson, when Clwyd Limestone popped up did the same arguments and objections happen then?
> Eh? Gibson wasn't doing a guide to Clwyd limestone, surely?
My question was more around whether Rockfax came under fire over producing a guide to an area that had been equipped by someone else and whether Rockfax made any funds available to cover any of the bolting costs. Afer all, areas like Trevor fell nicely into the hands of Rockfax on the back of all this good work didn't they?
That would be Mick, and I don't know.
Really, Alan said they have to subsidise UKC with the 'profits' from rockfax guides.. It looks pretty profitable from the company house figures.
Something doesn't add up here.....
Why don't you read some of the background info on this affair that is actually contained in this thread and the one on UKB. Otherwise you're making meaningless comparisons and telling us about the secret conversations you're privy to but can't talk about.
Read my last post. UKClimbing Ltd made a small loss in 2011 (the last accounts filed). Of course, that could be due to salaries paid out (you can't tell from the abbreviated accounts on Co's House) but it certainly didn't make the £215k profit I think most people will have read into Adam's post. The £215k is historic retained profits and over 50% of this is reflected on the balance sheet as stock.
Thanks for clarifying.
Silly person. I spoke to Alan over email via this site which anyone can do. Nothing to see here except in your imagination. Do you believe in chemtrails too?
And yes, I have read the UKB thread at length. My views across a number of posts have not changed at all.
I don't get your point. OPR is BMC and the other two will have similarly detracted to some extent from the income from BMC guides (even though I see them once in a blue moon and neither is available in shops). To be fair to the SA guide, it was perhaps a model selective guide in that it was very careful in its choice of route and nearly everyone I knew who purchased it later got another guide to the area, as it was so inspiring (same with his Snowdonia guide).
My point is that EG does compete on almost equal terms with the eastern edge BMC guides (at least from from what I see at the crag) and so I think it clearly reduces BMC purchases directly. Unlike the SA guide the coverage is such that only bibliophiles and those keen to the area will buy both sets. As I said before I'm OK with EG as it is well researched and came first (as PGE) in the high quality colour topo stakes and so led the way to what I helped produce for the BMC.
Really?! Good Lord. I would have agreed with you had you said 'utterly useless' instead of 'inspiring'.
I didn't intend to mislead anyone - I used the term 'retained profit'. Even if the retained profit reduced slightly between '10 and '11, it doesn't mean they made a loss, nor strike me as a particularly unhealthy balance sheet. But I'll admit accounting is rarely simple...
> My point is that EG does compete on almost equal terms with the eastern edge BMC guides (at least from from what I see at the crag) and so I think it clearly reduces BMC purchases directly. Unlike the SA guide the coverage is such that only bibliophiles and those keen to the area will buy both sets.
Yeah, that tallies with my experience. On the other hand, some selectives - eg the Rockfax North Wales Classics - seem to mostly be handy because they give you something to do in a wider range of areas while you're still building up your collection of definitives.
The question is really where the new guide will fall on that spectrum, ie if you see someone next year climbing at LPT or wherever with the Rockfax book, will that be someone who would otherwise have bought the definitive if they didn't have the Rockfax, or someone who would otherwise have gone climbing somewhere else?
I think it was usage of "each year" which is suggestive of it being an annual profit. Certainly, at least one reader who posted above took that to be your meaning.
Er, sorry but it almost certainly means they made an accounting loss on the P&L in 2011. I have myself said that doesn't mean much as you could produce an accounting loss by paying out more remuneration but we don't of course know that.
Interestingly, I see that Rockfax Ltd (a 100% subsid of UK Climbing Ltd) shows no activity whatsoever. So, unless there is another company I'm not aware of (quite possible as I've not bothered looking further), it may be that all activity (ie. UKC and Rockfax) may be run through the one company. Just speculation but, if that were true, it would mean that the two sides to the business aren't independent in any real sense. It would also mean that the overall business did make a small loss in 2011 (at least in an accounting sense).
People have been putting questions directly to Alan, in public on this thread.
People have also been insulting him and accusing him of all sorts on this thread. Try speaking to him directly. Go on, try it. Really. Just try it.
Stop diverting, stop trying to squirm out of it and just try it.
Stop these attempts to drag the conversation off elsewhere and contact Alan, through the email that is avialable on this site, directly and ask him direct questions.
You could have done it already in the time it has taken me to post this response
> Read my last post.UKClimbing Ltd made a small loss in 2011 (the last accounts filed). Of course, that could be due to salaries paid out (you can't tell from the abbreviated accounts on Co's House) but it certainly didn't make the £215k profit I think most people will have read into Adam's post. The £215k is historic retained profits and over 50% of this is reflected on the balance sheet as stock.
I'm going to regret this but I can't let it go unanswered.
You're correct except for one important fact. Reserves are not just affected by salaries (which affect profit) but also by dividends paid to shareholders (which do not).
Yes it is impossible to say what the profit of the company was in the year but to state categorically that it made a loss is incorrect as we don't know how much money was taken out.
Adam is correct that the balance sheet appears to show a very strong position (31/12/11) with over £60k in the bank and a net "value" of over £215k without considering goodwill or intangible assets (the value of the websites). The stock value should also not be an issue provided nobody is overstating the valuation (unlikely as this would just increase tax liabilities and shouldn't be necessary considering liquidity).
The earlier point about one income stream supporting the other is moot really as it's all run through one company so the results are consolidated in these accounts.
Apologies for typos etc I'm on my phone and this site is a bitch to write on. Oh and yes, I'm an accounts geek and I love this shit.
Also, relying on the contributions of the publishers of whichever guidebook you choose to buy, is not the same as making a direct donation yourself.
Anyone who would buy the Rockfax guide but decides they want to boycott it, could contribute just as much to the bolt fund by buying it anyway and choosing to make an additional donation.
> People have been putting questions directly to Alan, in public on this thread.
I believe (as someone said higher up the thread) that he is out of the UK at the moment, possibly caught up in the air-traffic control strike in France.
Maybe he's just not replying because of the general air of malice on this thread.
Have you had a personal email conversation with Pete.... If not
> Stop diverting, stop trying to squirm out of it and just try it.
> Maybe he's just not replying because of the general air of malice on this thread.
That's pretty much my point - I think I would personally find it more sensible to respond to individual and polite requests rather than try to engage in some of the heavy and weighted accusations on this thread.
And that's before you even look at the tone on the other site.
I don't feel I need to - the accusations are all being aimed at Alan/Rockfax and those were ones I wanted answers to. I think Pete's position is very clear and easy to follow frankly and I have nothing that I feel I need an answer to.
I actually think there's very little malice on the recent posts in this thread. Adam asked a simple question about actual bolt fund donations from UKC/Rockfax which is clearly relevant to what is being discussed. I agreed with him and noted there doesn't seem to be a reply (he may well be out of contact and will answer later). Quite why you're getting so hot and bothered about it all is perplexing.
Funny and Silly. Why thankyou!
> Also, relying on the contributions of the publishers of whichever guidebook you choose to buy, is not the same as making a direct donation yourself.
Except the definitive will donate ALL profits to the bolt fund. So buying that IS a donation.
You are right about recent posts - nothing too horrendous there, but the overwhelming line on UKC has not been pleasant at all to Alan, and has included direct accusations which, on the face of it, are very serious and pretty nasty.
Personally I'm not hot and bothered at all as this is not aimed at me, but I am saddened by the whole thing as when it comes down to it we are all in the same sport for the love of it and just want to enjoy it.
> That's pretty much my point - I think I would personally find it more sensible to respond to individual and polite requests rather than try to engage in some of the heavy and weighted accusations on this thread.
> And that's before you even look at the tone on the other site.
Thanks for reminding me why I don't post on here. I didn't think it would be so quick.
Sorry, that was facetious. It's just that I thought it was a pretty obvious joke if you'd read the whole thread and saw who I was replying to.
I forgot where I was.
> Thus, nowadays, with Rockfax being a very major player, it is in Rockfax's long-term interests to encourage that volunteer base, and to do so by sensible giving space to alternative guides, with sufficient communication and discussion to that end. Rockfax's omission of Cheddar from SW Climbs is a good example of them doing that.
Rockfax's guides are only rarely produced by committed locals. The business model works because they take a lot of the information produced by local climbing communities and adding some value (nice topos, stars, access maps etc). As a result the business model is, at heart, parasitic. This makes Rockfax vulnerable to how it is perceived by the climbing community. If Rockfax doesn't give enough back there's a risk that people will stop buying the guides, or that local developers keep crags secret (as happens in some areas of france and spain). The conclusion - it is in Rockfax's *own interest* not to piss off local developers too much.
This is something that POD has done pretty well with his Tarragona Climbs guide. If you look in the margalef section, for example, it's clear that POD has put enough in for a casual visitor, whilst leaving several excellent sectors out. It's explicitly stated that this is to encourage people to buy the local guide.
I suggest it wouldn't massively impact sales of Rockfax's guide to remove a few crags from the limestone section (maybe the Diamond, Penmaen Head, Gwynt), but it would go a long way towards restoring relations with the climbing community. For that reason I think it's probably in Rockfax's own best interest...
Ahh I see.
Well I'm no member of UKB but I understand that the moderation of UKB vs UKC is very different and it would appear that the forums are done very differently.
Having looked at the long UKB thread, some of it does appear a bit out of the school playground, e.g. Users coming on UKC to have a go and then going over to UKB to boast about what they just said. Maybe it's just me...
As I said earlier, the whole thing saddens me.
So it's (a) buy the definitive (which benefits the bolt fund), plus another selective to cover the majority of what's in Rockfax. Or (b) buy Rockfax and make a donation to the bolt fund.
Or buy the definitive but don't buy a new selective at all because either you've already got a selective, or you've already got most of the definitives or you aren't interested in mountain trad.
As you will know then, dividends are usually shown in the P&L as well, albeit post tax, either (historically at least) on the face of the P&L or more commonly nowadays as a note. "Profit" means different things to different people - it rather depends where you draw the line. I agree, both will hit reserves and the real point is that for an OMB, it's the same thing (where salary can be swapped for dividends). Therefore, it's pretty much irrelevant to this discussion in what form the profits (whatever they were) were distributed.
As above, agreed re profits in a technical sense but the point is that, whether money was extracted by way of salary or dividend, there was a reduction in retained reserves and the balance sheet fell. If this were to continue, your assessment of a strong balance sheet would change. Not having looked back to earlier accounting periods, I can't say what the trend is. But a drop in the B/S with little real asset backing is rarely a good thing.
The thing is, I am not really interested in a private chat from Alan, I am interested in how Rockfax justify their actions on this issue in a public forum. Given the extent to which Alan's comments have shown to be deeply misleading under closer scrutiny*, I am sure you will understand. If Alan doesn't want to disclose things in public then that is the face of rockfax he wants his customers to see.
Also I think you will find the vast majority of critical comment on this thread has been civil, reasonable, and substantiated with facts.
* see above references to '20% of the coverage' and 'rockfax doesn't really make a profit'
yes but in any of those cases you wouldn't be buying the rockfax anyway :)
+1 to your opinion
> As you will know then, dividends are usually shown in the P&L as well, albeit post tax, either (historically at least) on the face of the P&L or more commonly nowadays as a note. "Profit" means different things to different people - it rather depends where you draw the line. I agree, both will hit reserves and the real point is that for an OMB, it's the same thing (where salary can be swapped for dividends). Therefore, it's pretty much irrelevant to this discussion in what form the profits (whatever they were) were distributed.
My point was that stating that the company "made a small loss" not only means a lot in the context of this thread, but is misleading and a total guess.
It's actually not irrelevant at all as it could be the difference between the company making £120k profit, paying £20k in tax and a £104k dividend to it's one shareholder and it actually making a £4k loss, paying no tax and no dividend.
The two same things could have happened looking at that balance sheet as could a million others.
Again, I hate to be rude but this is nonsense. There is only one shareholder so the company assets are technically those of the individual. It is purely down to tax planning as to how much you leave in the comapny and how much you pay yourself. A £4k adjustment on a B/S value of over £200k could be anything and is absloutely immaterial.
As mentioned, provided the stock figure isn't overvalued and things are being reported correctly, this is a very strong balance sheet. I'm not sure what you mean by "little real asset backing" but £68,315 in the bank plus debtors/stock looks more than ok to me. It's generally incorrect valuation of Fixed Assets (property etc) that are the concern these days. No problem with that here.
The fact that the intrinsic value of the company based on it's profitibility, market presence, name etc (Goodwill) is not included (as it shouldn't be) and there is no value shown for the other intangible assets (the websites, also correct accounting policy if you want to do it that way) only improves the overall positive view one should have of the business at that date.
In short, if this isn't a healthy looking position for a one man band Ltd company then all but about three of the hundreds I deal with are screwed (clue, they're not).
+2 from me
> Really?! Good Lord. I would have agreed with you had you said 'utterly useless' instead of 'inspiring'.
You sure your not thinking of the Nunn guide. I cant see how the Ashton guide could be regarded as useless in any respect very clear and quite funny
I am not sure why you are being quite so rude (despite being sorry for it). However, and I'm in a rush (clients you know)...
But is is exactly the same thing isn't it. One is above the line, the other below. But same actual result for an OMB. That was my precise point.
Well, hating to be rude, you do know (I assume) that this is complete nonsense. The assets are legally and beneficially those of the company.
Yeh, I do valuations too.
The point is whether it is currently profitable and we don't know.
Hope your hundreds of one man bands keep you busy!
> yes but in any of those cases you wouldn't be buying the rockfax anyway :)
And, of course, 'we' all have bought them, haven't 'we'? Knowing full well what the production model is - get the locals to do the donkey-work and then re-package it in a sexy format. That is exactly why they got all of the plaudits that they did. They made good looking guides by using the knowledge and work of others. Everywhere. (Some of those route descriptions in the NEW North Wales Rockfax look surprisingly familiar - Left Wall; did I really read 'the most fallen off route in Wales'? That phrase is surely copyright Paul Williams c. 1990 for god's sake!) And 'we' bought them by the piggin' shed-load for years for Spain and France (Majorca gets a bye - they've never ever had anything like a decent guidebook ever). I'll hold my hand up and say I've never bought a UK Rockfax apart from - North Wales Limestone :-) - ever, on that basis. Any more hands going up?
Its interesting comparing the reactions coming out in this thread with the one regarding the French reaction to 'topo vampires' in the South of France a couple of years back. The majority opinion then seemed to be 'Yaaawn. Oversensitive Frogs. Cant expect me to buy three or four local guides can you. Rockfax doin' great job. Great lookin' guides. Anyway the commune buys the bolts.....'
You know what? 'We don't like it up us', do we? (apologies to Perry and Simpson).
Still. It's interesting watching the bandwagon roll. Enjoy.
I was trying to make things more clear for those who don't understand accounts and would be completely mislead by your statement that the company "made a small loss".
"The assets are legally and beneficially those of the company." Yeah yeah that's right. The company which is 100% owned by 1 person.
Again, just trying to make things simple for people who aren't accountants.
But hey, what was my first line? Goodbye.
On the basis that a four minute delay in response by Alan James was classified as a 'deafening silence' (he was probably having a dump) I hereby declare that a 25 minute lack of response to my post above marks many of you on this thread out as total hypocrites.
You've all bought the product when it suited you and when someone kicks off about somewhere closer to home you swing into line like sheep. There's quite a few posts up above in this long and tedious thread actually extolling the virtues of the Rockfaxes that cover the Peak. There ARE definitive guides there as well!
And the very next Rockfax that comes out to a European area you want to go to? You know what you are going to do, don't you?
Oh, yes you do!
P.S. What I'd really like is to see a Rockfax / Versante Sud /Panico showdown. All the same model really. Rockfax for Arco anyone?
It's not the only question that has been evaded by the anti-Rockfax brigade.
Sadly a number of people posting here want to pillory Alan on the website and not bother at all to have the simple courtesy of asking him his view themselves.
A rather crass and cowardly approach in my view - safety in numbers eh? I'm bored senseless with the holier-than-thou rubbish now. I've made my point and I'm out.
You need to do a bit of research about the genesis of Eastern Grit. For a start.
I've never bought one. I'm sure there are plenty of others like me. I don't see it a particularly useful question though, as the what goes on behind the scenes is not at all obvious to the customer in the shop.
I'll be honest and say I carry no torch for Rockfax/Alan. I'm not really concerned about his reasoning/motivation. He wants to make a living. Hey, we all do. I think that 'topo vampire' IS a good description, however :-)
BUT I'm very pissed at the total hypocrisy of many posting on here. The ones that have a bookshelf full of Rockfax guides but are now getting their knickers twisted and wet about coverage of some sport crags on N Wales Limestone.
The ones who wouldn't even move a friggin' finger to contribute to a bolt fund here. Never mind the Costa Blanca...
Eastern Grit? They made a guidebook out of absolutely 'F' all did they?
You mean there were no descriptions available before that. No volunteers had spent time producing BMC guides with names, heights, grades, access details, first ascent details. I am aware there was a hiatus and that a crag author decided to jump ship; I think?
But it is refreshing to see someone sort of defending Rockfax on this thread. Well done!
> ukboltfund.org... I'm not knocking it at all - but facilitating others' contributions is not the same as contributing.
I completely agree - facilitating others' contributions isn't the same as contributing. Nevertheless I'd argue that Alan deserves credit for ukboltfund.org. The original idea was mine, mooted on these forums. As nobody seemed interested, I forgot about it. A year or so later, Alan contacted me and (very courteously) asked if it was OK to run it. He made it happen. The credit is his. I'd like to think it was done out of altruistic, not cynical motives.
AND.... while I'm on roll; where is the breakdown of the financial model of the putative North Wales Limestone? 'All profits will go the the bolt fund?' That will be the bolt fund that is funding the development/re-bolting activities of the guidebook writer? Nothing personal in this you understand.
Is that AFTER all origination/production costs are met? Or is there a certain amount going to the fund per copy sold from day 1? Will the accounts be published on UKC (seems to be the growing thing) in terms of cost of production and income generated? Who oversees the accounts?
According to this thread all these things should be in the public (i.e UKC) domain.
I bought the RF Lakes Bouldering guide when i was young and innocent. By that i mean i didn't know they'd scuppered Greg Chapman's plan to produce one himself. No money for bolts involved in that one but Greg is a huge driving force behind developing and accounting for much of the Lake's bouldering scene and was daft enough to put it on the web.
I then bought an El Chorro guide but that was/will be my last as it was a rushed and badly checked guide in my opinion, had errors in it that were the exact same errors in the Andalucia guide ( and not ones where people may argue over half a grade but typo errors like 6a instead of 7a ) and undermined the local guide where all profits go to the bolt fund. However the local guide is a bit crap and not well marketed in all fairness.
I use UKC a lot and kind of wish they could monetise this site enough so that they could not produce guidebooks in a capitalist way but still update the good ones they have done.
I think it would be reasonable to see that Pete gets his money back on publication first and then all the profits go to the bolting etc.
He has shelled out a large wodge of cash himself with no expected recompence on the bolting so it'd be a bit harsh to expect him to be out ofpocket on the guide too.
I'll go on the other channel and ask - we may even get an open and honest answer.
I've got several local Costa Blanca guides, none of which I'd have bought if the Rockfax guide hadn't encouraged me to go there.
Back in Wales, I bought the definitive slate guide after being tempted to try it by the selection in the ground up selective guide.
My first Peak guide was OPR - I liked the area so much that I've now got the full set of BMC (and Rockfax) guides.
I'm sure I can't be the only one who's ended up buying a definitive guide as a direct result of getting a selective one.
If it is the case that UKC wouldn't exist without the Rockfax subsidy or at least not without being a paid for service, all these people who are criticising Rockfax might as well shut up if they value the benefits of UKC (articles, logs, forums). Perhaps they don't value it though and just come here to moan about Rockfax...
I have some sympathy for the volunteer guide book team but at the end of the day no one is forcing them to bolt and rebolt NWL sport routes. Yes, they put in time and effort and that's great but it's their choice to go and do that. If the bolt fund runs out of money, they can just stop bolting. It's not like it's their livelihoods are at stake here. Do we really need hundreds of NWL sport routes? Perhaps the locals need that but then it's up to them to finance that. I bet the vast majority of people who go climbing in North Wales hardly ever venture out on NWL, if ever at all. This is a storm in a teacup really apart from a few locals who have a direct interest in developing loads of NWL sport routes and a few others who have jumped on the anti-Rockfax wagon.
> I have some sympathy for the volunteer guide book team but at the end of the day no one is forcing them to bolt and rebolt NWL sport routes. Yes, they put in time and effort and that's great but it's their choice to go and do that. If the bolt fund runs out of money, they can just stop bolting. It's not like it's their livelihoods are at stake here. Do we really need hundreds of NWL sport routes? Perhaps the locals need that but then it's up to them to finance that. I bet the vast majority of people who go climbing in North Wales hardly ever venture out on NWL, if ever at all. This is a storm in a teacup really apart from a few locals who have a direct interest in developing loads of NWL sport routes and a few others who have jumped on the anti-Rockfax wagon.
Difficult to know where to start with a response like this. Firstly yes Pete and the others bolting could just stop but that would leave a large number of climbers who use climb on the various limestone crags in North Wales in a much poorer position. They have re-bolted numerous crags across the area and enabled access to a number of brilliant crags that were much harder to access with dubious equipment in place. No it isn't their livelihood and I think that is the issue here - they are doing it for free and a large number of people are benefitting from it. Rockfax have done virtually noting to contribute to the area and as far as I can see are riding on the back of a lot of hard work by others.
As to whether we need lots of new limestone sport routes in North Wales. I really don't understand your point. It seems to me a good thing that some people are keen to develop new routes, are happy to put their time in cleaning and developing new areas and put a large amount of personal money into bolting new areas. If we can find a way to help them fund them through a locally produced guide book then I can't see anything bad about this and don't understand why you wouldn't think it is better than Rockfax coming in and producing a guide that contributes nothing back to the local area??
Your final point about storm in a teacup, just a few locals and anti-rockfax wagon I also find strange. I have no axe to grind with rockfax. I have bought several of their guides and overall I think they have revolutionised guide book design. I am not particularly local to the area but have climbed there a fair bit and I would prefer that if a guide book is produced for the area that it would help develop the area further. I also don't think this is about a fundamental problem with rockfax. I just think that to bring out a North Wales guide that covers the majority of the routes in the popular areas at the same time as the definitive guide is going to be produced is extremely likely to scupper sales of the definitive guide and is a fairly cynical move.
I get the sentiment but my point is that if the local activists run out of money and can't put up or rebolt a few more dozen routes, that might be a big deal to the local activists but it's no big deal to most people as there can't be that many people outside the 'local' area who go climbing there (and I'd include Liverpool as 'local' as it isn't that far away, unlike say Birmingham from where the Peaks or Clwyd are closer for sport). Harsh as it sounds, it's market forces: if there aren't enough people who will put money into the bolting (whether by direct donations or by buying the guide book), the bolting will come to an end until such time as money is available again. For the occasional visitor there will still be lots of routes to do. Hence storm in a teacup.
I can see the argument that Rockfax is being parasitic and I'd encourage them to drop some of the NWL sport routes to appease the cynics and also because people buying a selected trad routes guide really don't need 76 pages of sport! But I think the argument is based on a false premise that the Rockfax will lead to lower sales of the definitive. As others have said, the markets for these two guides are surely very different.
I would have thought the Rockfax is primarily aimed at people who mostly climb trad and who either don't yet have the CC guides (but might buy them later), or already have the CC guides but are happy to buy the Rockfax as well. These people probably mostly don't do much or even any sport climbing. They would appreciate having NWL sport in the guide so they have an alternative to Tremadog on an inclement day, but it wouldn't be their main reason for buying the Rockfax - they would probably buy it even if there were no sport routes in it at all.
Whereas the definitive is aimed at people who go sport climbing on NWL often enough to actually need a definitive. They will probably wait till the definitive comes out because that's what they need and also because they probably won't be that interested in the selected trad routes, either because they don't really do trad or because they're actually experienced trad climbers (who train on NWL sport) who already have the CC guides.
You might say that in that case why are Rockfax putting all the sport routes in? I don't know, ask Alan that! Perhaps my perception of the market is completely wrong but I'm just going by the climbers I know - most wouldn't get the Rockfax for the sport routes and the ones who might actually be interested in the sport routes would probably wait for the definitive.
> I bought the RF Lakes Bouldering guide when i was young and innocent. By that i mean i didn't know they'd scuppered Greg Chapman's plan to produce one himself. No money for bolts involved in that one but Greg is a huge driving force behind developing and accounting for much of the Lake's bouldering scene and was daft enough to put it on the web.
Sorry, but I'm not going to let this pass, as this thread demonstrates that such unsubstantiated claims can rapidly become regarded as fact. I requote my response to a similar insinuation about Lakes Bouldering made back in 2007:
A good proportion of it clearly owes a debt to Greg - and this is well acknowledged in the text - along with other help Greg gave us.
- A large proportion came directly from the people who had developed certain areas and kindly passed their information on to us and to Greg & Lakesbloc. Clearly a website is going to be able to publish this much more quickly than a printed book, so it appeared there first.
- Another significant proportion is about areas discovered and/or developed by myself and my co-author and which was shared with Greg. This includes significant venues like Ladstones, Long Crag, Cold Pike, the V Crag and others. Again, information about these areas inevitably appeared on the web long before we were able to go to print.
Greg's site has developed into a fantastic resource of which he should be proud, but the situation in 2003 when we started the guide was quite different.
It's a pity that you didn't check your facts with, for example Greg or myself before making your post.
I can't be bothered to copy and paste but it looks like Pete has commented on your post on the other thread.
In reply to whoever it was who was commenting on how the "profits go to bolt fund" model actually works:
He has commented on that as well.
> Well I'm no member of UKB but I understand that the moderation of UKB vs UKC is very different
That's correct. For example, UKB has a much higher standard for comment on accounting issues ...
> I get the sentiment but my point is that if the local activists run out of money and can't put up or rebolt a few more dozen routes, that might be a big deal to the local activists but it's no big deal to most people as there can't be that many people outside the 'local' area who go climbing there (and I'd include Liverpool as 'local' as it isn't that far away, unlike say Birmingham from where the Peaks or Clwyd are closer for sport). Harsh as it sounds, it's market forces: if there aren't enough people who will put money into the bolting (whether by direct donations or by buying the guide book), the bolting will come to an end until such time as money is available again. For the occasional visitor there will still be lots of routes to do. Hence storm in a teacup.
I kind of agree with the rest of your post. The only thing I would say is that if not that many people would be interested in north wales limetsone sport why put the majority of routes into a selective guide of the area? More than likely because a lot of people climb on north wales limetsone...
I actually live down near Birmingham now and still count it as valuable that people are going out and bolting up new routes at the orme in the same way that I am keen that locals to other areas such as the peak, clwyd, portland etc are going out and developing new areas and routes in their area. Whenever I and anyone like me vsiit these areas we benefit from new routes and areas there. So I would prefer that there was a way of using guidebook sales to fund some part of the bolting and development. I think this about all areas in the UK regardless of how local I am to that area. I think your posts mostly show you aren't interested in sport climbing in North Wales and therefore can't understand the point that for sport areas to develop they need committed new routes developers and that this costs a lot of money for bolts. As a community if we can find a way to support these people through guidebook sales then we will all benefit from this. If a professional guidebook company comes along and includes the majority of routes in the majority of popular areas and publishes their selective guide at the same time as the new definitive guide is about to be published then this will affect funds available for the people developing new routes and hence us all.
If you aren't interested in sport climbing - fair enough. However I think that you are allowing your own lack of interest in it to affect your judgement about how this situation will affect a failry significant number of people. Lots of people visit the orme and surrounding crags every week and weekend and benefit from all the new crag development, re-bolted new routes and new access approaches. Many of these people are only casual visitors and probably would prefer to be in the mountains on the trad which is great. They benefit from all the development but are probably unlikely to buy a definitive guide if a new selctive guide is published at exactly the same time which contains most routes and areas that they are likely to go to. Therefore sales of the new definitive guide are likely to be less, less money will go to the developers, less new areas will get developed and all of us including casual visitors using the area as a wet weather alternative will suffer.
As I said above I don't have an axe to grind about Rockfax. I just think in this case it is about timing of publication and the number of routes and areas included. With a little bit of compromise I don't think there would be an issue. For example delay the selective guide - let Pete publish the definitive first and also take out a few crags and a fair few routes.
> , it's market forces: if there aren't enough people who will put money into the bolting (whether by direct donations or by buying the guide book), the bolting will come to an end until such time as money is available again.
What has market forces got to do with a bunch of climbers bolting their local crags for the love of the sport? It is has nothing to do with market forces. It is philanthropy.
Mostly what I take away from your posts is you don't really value sport climbing and don't see the point in supporting bolt funds in general, in which case I can see why this issue does not seem a big deal to you. (I note you have logged quite a few sport routes so you clearly have no problem with actually going sport climbing however)
In case you can't be bothered to go over the other side, Pete has replied to you directly:
And also more generally to clarify the point when you and a few others are using 'bolting' and 'rebolting' interchangeably:
I think this is a really fair point and important point.
BTW did you used to be Plexiglass-Nick? Gets dreadfully confusing when people who have been around forever by one name change it! It just confuses the doddery elderly such as myself. :)
yes I did, not trying to conceal anything just fancied a name change!
This sounds ace, and its worth the wait if places like this are gonna get equipped again ready for the guide.
No, no - of course not! I just always feel bit thick when after a year or so of following some "new person" sensible postings, you click on their profile picture or something (as I just did with yours) and realise it is someone's sensible postings you've read for years previously. :)
BTW, I've now googled your current name so have learnt my new bit of knowledge for the day, although I still don't know if your inspiration comes from Aquinas, Shakespeare or Clive Barker. ;)
Meanwhile back to the bolt fund. I wonder if any local authorities in the UK contribute? After all it is increasing both the attractions of an area to 'tourists' and the leisure facilites for locals.
> I've got several local Costa Blanca guides, none of which I'd have bought if the Rockfax guide hadn't encouraged me to go there.
> Back in Wales, I bought the definitive slate guide after being tempted to try it by the selection in the ground up selective guide.
> My first Peak guide was OPR - I liked the area so much that I've now got the full set of BMC (and Rockfax) guides.
> I'm sure I can't be the only one who's ended up buying a definitive guide as a direct result of getting a selective one.
Isn't this the central point in this debate?
A good selected guide will bring people to an area (with all the secondary benefits to the local economy) and actually stimulate sales of the definitive guides.
The complaint is not really that RF are doing a selected guide to the area, but that they are putting so much of NWL in (full coverage of LPT, etc) that the guide will not encourage sales of the definitive.
Absolutely! The selection of routes in my Ron James guide to N Wales was limited and I got a lot more from gradually collecting the definitive guides.
However sales of Ground Up's excellent Gogarth North and Slate guides seem to have been limited by the success of it's selective guide - which probably gives most climbers all they need for Gogarth and Slate
I did talk to Greg about it briefly years ago, i don't know him, and to me he was very pissed off that the guide was done just before he was planning on releasing his. However as i say that was based on one e mail conversation years ago.
If i remember rightly ( i no longer have the guide ) he does get a mention in the guide part way through the acknowledgements.
When you say: " a large proportion came directly from..... Greg and Lakesbloc. " Does that mean he gave you permission to use the info off Lakesbloc ? If so that puts a new light on it i was not aware of and negates a lot of the rumours you mention. It would be interesting to know. As you say these things can 'become' fact very easily.
There is now a website as well that is being provided free too.
In reply to andyathome: Hi Andy. The 'business model' is this:
* by - biscuit ? on - 21:04 Thu
In reply to andyathome:
I think it would be reasonable to see that Pete gets his money back on publication first and then all the profits go to the bolting etc.
And that's it. I am not making a penny from this guide. Neither is Andy Boorman my co-author. Once printing costs and paying photographers is done, all money will be directed somewhere else, not to me or Andy. I'm lucky that I don't need to make a living from climbing, I have a well-paying job. I'm doing this because I want to, god knows I wonder why sometimes, I'll probably never touch a guidebook after this is printed and I just want to go and lie on a beach by myself for a week when it's finished. Please ask away with anything you want to related to the book - I've really got nothing to hide.
*Edit - Andy - you're welcome to view the bank statements, please do, remind me after it goes to print and I'll gladly let you see what goes where.
*Edit - I had thought I'd pay off the production costs first. Then all money to the bolt fund. I dunno though, it's not like it's written down in any plan anywhere - it's in my head.
If it seems a bit weird that I'd give up 3 years of my life to do this than, yeah, I'd agree I guess it is weird. As weird as any hard project that seems like a great idea at the time and which sucks you in and makes you want to create something of value. That's the same reason I re-equip - I actually love the feeling of making a completely unknown but obviously brilliant route climbable again - it's almost like a short-cut to the feeling you get when you do a good new route. Because if you already know it's a supposedly awesome route but which hasn't been climbed for ever because of rubbish dangerous bolts - well, you know it's very likely to have satisfying outcome after you've finished re-bolting. You don't get that with new routing, sometimes they're a bit rubbish but you don't always know until the end. I prefer to do new routes, it's hard to find the open space in the UK to do that but the Ormes still has some good territory to explore. The best explanation I've ever heard for the joy gotten from the creative process of new-routing is by Randy Leavitt in his brilliant interview here about developing Clark Mountain: http://enormocast.com/episode-18-randy-leavitt-slackers-need-not-apply/
I understand you are away from an internet connection, however it would be appreciated if you could take the time to clarify this point, because I feel it is important for your customers and users of this site to understand the extent of Rockfax's material contribution to local bolt funds since you have made a point of it on this thread.
On the other side (http://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php/topic,22459.msg410877) it has been alleged that:
Further up this thread you asserted that:
Please could you comment on the factual accuracy of these two, seemingly irreconcilable, statements, and indicate whether Rockfax, UKClimbing, or you personally have in fact made any donation to the NW bolt fund (rather than just being in a position to make a donation).
I hope you will be pleased for the opportunity to publicly address this point and definitively clear up any misunderstanding.
Sorry for the delay in responses. I was stuck in airports yesterday with my iPad and dubious wifis. Things have ballooned a bit since I last looked at the thread and I haven't time today to go through everything in detail. I reiterate the offer to answer any specific question by email alan [at] ukclimbing.com . One of the reasons I prefer to do this is that it leads to a more detailed conversation that is less likely to be sound-bited out of context by people intent on mis-quoting. However I will still try and answer a few pertinent points here.
Accounts - yes, UKClimbing Limited is the single company that runs both. It is actually the old Rockfax Limited which we switched names on when Rockfax bought UKC. Rockfax Limited (the old UKClimbing.com Limited) is just there as a dormant company.
I'll deal with some of the other issues in separate replies.
I think the North Wales Bolt Fund was set up in 2008 after starting as the North Wales Slate Bolt Fund. Our books to North Wales Limestone were in 1992 (when the first set of bolts were still being put in by FAs) and in 1997. In the early years after publication when the majority of the books sales were made, I paid for some supplies by getting invoices sent to me from local bolters. I haven't got the paperwork for this anymore, I can't remember who it was, and I never had any feedback from anyone about it. It wasn't a huge amount. The book essentially sold out in 2005 although there were small online sales, 27 copies a year or so, up to 2008/9.
So, the answer is that my statement was misleading in that I said NWBF but this was actually before it existed as a fund - apologies for that. Whilst we haven't made any donations to the NWBF since it was set up in 2008, we haven't made any money from North Wales Limestone in that time either.
Thanks Alan. Would you also agree your statement was heavily misleading in that this:
implies multiple and ongoing contributions, whereas by your own account there have not been any since circa 1992?
> That has been there since yesterday. The guy that builds The Send apps set it up.
Quick facts check for you.
According to the thread on UkB Steve Golley registered the domains on June 11th, a few days ago, and put up the pages you can see there yesterday?
> Thanks Alan. Would you also agree your statement was heavily misleading in that this:
> implies multiple and ongoing contributions, whereas by your own account there have not been any since circa 1992?
Since the years immediately following 1997, to be fair. And I don't see that Alan implied ongoing contributions. He said he'd made some in the past.
Well I'll give you that
to me, this certainly implies, if not actually says, donations (plural) that tend (present tense) to be from Alan rather than Rockfax, although I note the distinction that it does not actually say donations were made, merely [Rockfax] are occasionally in a position to make them.
I cannot see how this was typed accidentally to be honest and in its original context seems pretty clearly intended to mislead. I think this is pretty low.
>I cannot see how this was typed accidentally to be honest and in its original context seems pretty clearly intended to mislead. I think this is pretty low.
I don't see that at all. It seems to me that the question Alan was answering was
"What percentage of Rockfax's actual profit (not donations) goes on local bolt funds? (Portland, NW, Foreign crags"
Portland and foreign crags have had much more recent RF guidebooks to bolted crags than NWL, and it may or may not be that RF have made further donations to other bolt funds from the profits of other guides since 1997.
See post above about NW Bolt Funds.
I will be honest here; I haven't got records, I don't know of many amounts and it won't be nearly enough to keep some people happy. We have done quite a lot in Dorset with by publishing Ben Stokes excellent update (around £1000 to the DBF) and obviously much of the original book payments went direct to Pete Oxley who deserved every penny. Paying him less to pay a bolt fund would have been bizarre.
I am certainly happy to look at a more substantial commitment in this case towards the NWBF. I am currently investigating what the options are.
Ok on re-reading you are right that is the context of that statement - I will retract that point with apologies.
I would be curious to know the extent of dotations to other bolt funds, if Alan would care to disclose this.
Well I personally have made donations to bolt funds but only small amounts.
I certainly would be substantially reassured if this commitment were ongoing and made systematically and transparently to areas Rockfax publishes guides to, including in Europe.
This is starting to make me feel a bit sick. Why the witch hunt? I haven't donated to the north wales bolt fund, I imagine most here haven't. Especially as it was only set up in 2008! Hardly oxfam is it?
How about people donate to the homeless, the starving, the suffering people in society? It's rich that people are whinging about bolt funds unless half of their salary in going into Africa. You're privileged to be in a position to moan about it. This people aren't starving or dying, they're out climbing and enjoying themselves, they wouldn't do it if they wern't. If the bolt fund runs out of money, they will just have to do more climbing or put in themselves for their hobby. One of my nuts is a bit bent, can rockfax please donate money as it happened climbing western grit!
You're asking for charity, not for anyone that is suffering or needy but to sustain your hobby. Get your own wallet out.
Sigh. Read the whole thread and the thread on the other side:
> Sigh. Read the whole thread and the thread on the other side:
I have already read both threads.
I'm not sure that Quiddity is profiting from the work of the Kalymnos bolt fund though as Rockfax will be from the North Wales Bolt fund.
Well done for the strawman though, it's in no way a tired and boring way of arguing on the net and derailing threads.
Also, you're anonymous as well. Unless Mr & Mrs Wolfo did call their son (guessing) r0x0r.
I don't think my real name is relevant to the argument I am making on here but e-mail me through the forum if you want to know. I have bought 2 editions of the Kaly guidebook which I feel is an appropriate contribution given how much I have used them. You are welcome to inspect them if you like.
I'm not going to have time to go back through everything that was posted while I was away so if you want replies to things asked above, then please re-ask them below.
since when is <20% a majority?
When the sub 20% refers to page count rather than number of routes or ascents I would guess. It's >80% of the logged ascents and almost all of the unbanned routes at LPT and UPT if memory serves?
> This is starting to make me feel a bit sick. Why the witch hunt? I haven't donated to the north wales bolt fund, I imagine most here haven't. Especially as it was only set up in 2008! Hardly oxfam is it?
The oxfam analogy doesn't work.
Bolt funds are about people who use equipment, contributing to the cost of that equipment. Guidebooks are an obvious way of people who use the equipment contributing towards it's cost.
> I'm not sure that Quiddity is profiting from the work of the Kalymnos bolt fund though as Rockfax will be from the North Wales Bolt fund.
> Well done for the strawman though, it's in no way a tired and boring way of arguing on the net and derailing threads.
> Also, you're anonymous as well. Unless Mr & Mrs Wolfo did call their son (guessing) r0x0r.
Yes it's much easier to write comments off than consider them. I am anonymous, but I'm also not attacking a real person i.e Alan in this case. I would be happy to reveal my name if I was asking for money, you can quote me on this.
Of course he's not profiting financially, but I'm obviously pointing out that most people here visit where ever they wish and don't even think about bolt funds and the like. Are they taking advantage of the area? Could they have not thrown 20 quid of the hundreds of pounds alotted for their holiday to the people who have made it possible? UKC has done a lot to bring bolting funds into the light and Alan a lot more than most if not all of the people here moaning about it. Its easier to attack someone for not doing enough than to actually do something yourself.
So you have bought two guidebooks... thats clearly not a donation but buying a guidebook. I have lots of guidebooks but I don't kid myself that I have 'donated the money in exchange for a guidebook', I have wanted and used the guidebooks and therefore bought them. You are saying you have actually donated nothing.
For many crags, especially abroad, buying the guidebook is the expected method of supporting the bolt fund. The surpluses from the guidebook are recycled into the area development and maintenance.
Hopefully this clarifies why buying the guidebooks when abroad most often does form a donation to the bolt fund. It's how the locals expect people to support the fund, which also helps explain why in some places they are very much against selected guides such as the Rockfax guides or the German ones whose name temporarily escapes me.
> The oxfam analogy doesn't work.
> Bolt funds are about people who use equipment, contributing to the cost of that equipment. Guidebooks are an obvious way of people who use the equipment contributing towards it's cost.
It's not an analogy, I am talking about the insignifiance of this whole debate. So much time into bitching about giving money to fund peoples hobbys. Rockfax are a company, who make guidebooks of areas in order to make a profit. They have no obligation to give money to people who want to put up bolts in there spare time, this is their hobby. If I start cleaning crags up in my spare time, will I expect to be compensated by rockfax?
There is one thing I'd be interested in knowing. A few people pointed out that because of the way Rockfax works, the company has a substantial self-interest in keeping local activists "on-side". Personally I think an offer to remove two or three sectors from the the Limestone section of the guide would go a long way towards this, and probably wouldn't hurt sales significantly/at all.
Leaving aside whether you want to do this, is it too late to do so?
> Hopefully this clarifies why buying the guidebooks when abroad most often does form a donation to the bolt fund.
Yes but its the guidebook make who makes the donation not the person. I have bought windows in the past, bill gates is charitable, therefore I have donated. This statement isn't true either, my part is taking part in a transaction for something I want. I'm not giving the money away freely (donating) I am buying something with it.
In response to the last few posts above;
I'd save your bickering for another time. Alan has stated he is willing to answer questions.
Now is this threads window of opportunity - so use it.
> In response to the last few posts above;
> I'd save your bickering for another time. Alan has stated he is willing to answer questions.
> Now is this threads window of opportunity - so use it.
Sure, I will.
Alan, can you put a option on your website for people to pay an extra fiver for the guidebook which will then go to the bolt fund? Honest question.
> It's not an analogy, I am talking about the insignifiance of this whole debate.
So much time into bitching about giving money to fund peoples hobbys. Rockfax are a company, who make guidebooks of areas in order to make a profit.
In this instance they can only do this because of the effort of the bolt fund
They have no obligation to give money to people who want to put up bolts in there spare time, this is their hobby. of course they aren't obliged to, but the argument is that they seem to be only releasing a guidebook on the back of the efforts of the bolt fund, without supporting it as well, whereas the local guide is produced so that the fund can remain sustainable
If I start cleaning crags up in my spare time, will I expect to be compensated by rockfax?
Shut up now you're boring.
I am currently trying to sort something out and am hopefully in contact with people involved with the bolt fund.
Already there and has been for about 6 months. So far a bit of money has been raised for the Dorset fund and the ACT.
And it was an analogy, so you can hopefully add that to the list of things you've learned today.
Somehow this has become far too much about the money.
The key point is that volunteers have put a lot of time and effort into re-equipping routes and crags to make them accessible and part of this is producing a comprehensive guidebook to the area. They have checked and documented every route along the way.
Rockfax, not just Alan, have contributed nothing meaningful in the way of time, work, knowledge or equipment to this redevelopment effort, and their guide would not be possible without it, yet they are seeking to take advantage of the volunteer work for Rockfax's own financial gain and that will be at the expense of the comprehensive guide and the volunteer effort.
Rockfax should not be producing a select guide that includes over 80% of the sport climbing done in the area, particularly when there are apparently a number of mistakes on the only shown page.
A select guide should mean just that!
If the guidebook writer or software developer or whatever has discretion in the amount they donate then I would see it as a donation they make from their income. When there is a defined policy in advance ("all surpluses support the bolt fund", "£1 of the cover price goes to charity" or whatever) then the discretion is in the hands of the purchaser whether to support or not, so to my mind they are making the donation (at the same time as they buy a product, and usually the donation comes from paying more for the product than otherwise might be necessary) and the merchant/author/whatever is the conduit or facilitator.
> Personally I think an offer to remove two or three sectors from the the Limestone section of the guide would go a long way towards this, and probably wouldn't hurt sales significantly/at all.
> If it's insignificant stay out of it.
You have seen a bandwagon a jumped on it, well done you, but don't get aggressive because someone has dared question the mob. How much have you donated to the bolt fund?
Rockfax has bolt funds plastered all over its website, and people are donating to bolt funds who otherwise wouldn't. It is quite possible that the inclusion of the limestone in the guide will bring more donations than not, so climb off your high horse.
It might be a small point here but I regard the production of two definitive limestone guides since the last definitive CC guide as something worth time, work and knowledge. This latest guide is building on the work I did in 1997 which built on the work Steve Mayers and Mick Ryan did in 1992. Without our guides, the new definitive guide would be quite a bit more effort I think.
This may not contribute to the redevelopment effort directly, but it does contribute to the guidebook being planned to support this effort.
> There is one thing I'd be interested in knowing. A few people pointed out that because of the way Rockfax works, the company has a substantial self-interest in keeping local activists "on-side". Personally I think an offer to remove two or three sectors from the the Limestone section of the guide would go a long way towards this, and probably wouldn't hurt sales significantly/at all.
Haven't read all the thread but this appears to be the original issue and may have been lost a bit in all the more general Rockfax does this / that backwards and forwards. Covering the whole of Upper Pen Trwyn / LPT etc in a supposed selective guide of Wales does seem somewhat out of balance and its pretty obvious that this could impact the local definitive guide. It would seem much better to provide a more selective coverage - this could maybe be done by covering all routes in particular sectors (making the guide logical and easy to use) but being selective about which by sectors to include. Pen Trwyn (and crags further down the road) and Penmaen head would seem to naturally fit this kind of treatment, maybe not so easy for LPT.
BTW The PO'D/Dani Andrada guide to Tarragona crags is very specific about doing this in areas like Margalef and it seems to work well.
> You have seen a bandwagon a jumped on it, well done you, but don't get aggressive because someone has dared question the mob. How much have you donated to the bolt fund?
B) I got annoyed because you were arguing about something else and wittering on about Africa.
Quite possible, yes. But not as likely as the definitive guide donating ALL profits to the fund. Did you read my post? It doesn't look like you understood it if you did. Anyway, I thought you didn't care. I'm done answering you.
> Somehow this has become far too much about the money.
> The key point is that volunteers have put a lot of time and effort into re-equipping routes and crags to make them accessible and part of this is producing a comprehensive guidebook to the area. They have checked and documented every route along the way.
Okay this is more reasonable debate, but as you say these are volunteers, who probably want to make the place more attractive for guidebooks and increased use and
that is exactly what they have done. So they have suceeded? 2 guidebooks coming soon. Why shouldn't their hard work be in more guidebooks?
>Rockfax, not just Alan, have contributed nothing meaningful in the way of time, work, knowledge or equipment to this redevelopment effort, and their guide would not be possible without it, yet they are seeking to take advantage of the volunteer work for Rockfax's own financial gain and that will be at the expense of the comprehensive guide and the volunteer effort.
The rockfax is bringing in more exposure to the area, they actively promote bolt funds, this whole debate will probably result in more sales for the comprehensive guide than it would have anyway. I'd never heard of it until now. Rockfax hasn't brought out the book yet, so we're yet to see the impact. I think people have been a bit simplistic and naive, painting rockfax as the evil company. They are a comercial company and employ people who expect to be able to feed their kids and naturally have higher overheads than an volunteer operation. They have to make a profit and can't give it all away, though they have helped in other ways.
> A select guide should mean just that!
How do you know the percentage of climbs/crags covered? (honest question).
Obviously it wouldn't matter if it was a bit too definitive if it were not for the competition.
To recap about contributions to the bolt fund:
The forthcoming NWL definitive is donating all its proceeds to the bolt fund.
Rockfax makes virtually no direct contribution to the bolt fund and its production is only possible because of the voluntary work done by those producing the definitive.
Alan was challenged on the preceding point and he stated that Rockfax had made contributions to the bolt fund in the past.
This point was examined and in fact there have been no contributions since at least 1997 which Alan has now said he will address.
I agree that this is a sideshow from the main issue which is whether the proposed Rockfax guide is 'as good as definitive' for the main areas of NWL (which, from the list of crags going in the guide, which Alan has listed above) seems to be the case.
It is reasonable to surmise that this will affect sales of the definitive guide.
People are deeply unhappy about this given that the definitive is being produced for the benefit of the bolt fund and the Rockfax is commercial.
I am not jumping on any sort of bandwagon, my criticism on this thread has been very specifically over their actions regarding their forthcoming NWC guide. I have a number of rockfax guidebooks, and I think some of them (eg. Dorset) are very good books and I certainly don't begrudge anyone making a living.
I think you need to read my post again carefully as it answers your questions.
> this whole debate will probably result in more sales for the comprehensive guide than it would have anyway.
This is the whole crux of the argument, that because the Rockfax is to be definitive for the popular sectors, it will make the volunteer definitive guide redundant unless you are a truly dedicated local.
Read the thread. Someone did the research based on the UKC logbooks.
> A) Not really. I joined the bandwagon because I climb on NW Limestone a lot.
> B) I got annoyed because you were arguing about something else and wittering on about Africa.
> C) £20.
> Quite possible, yes. But not as likely as the definitive guide donating ALL profits to the fund. Did you read my post? It doesn't look like you understood it if you did. Anyway, I thought you didn't care. I'm done answering you.
How was the donation given btw? You're clearly still upset, all I was trying to do is put a little bit of perpective into this thread. It's all very nice that you're getting mad about what you do on a sunny summer weekend, whether or not your bolts are brand spanking new but other people have much bigger problems more deserving of money and time. Not saying that this shouldn't be discussed, but a bolt fund is pretty far down on the worlds list of priorities so save your rage for something worth it. I think I'm being fairly measured here and think you should try to do the same, I know its internet but these are real people you are talking to. Anyway lets get back on track to your hobby Chris, hope I didn't annoy you too much.
> To recap about contributions to the bolt fund:
> The forthcoming NWL definitive is donating all its proceeds to the bolt fund.
> Rockfax makes virtually no direct contribution to the bolt fund and its production is only possible because of the voluntary work done by those producing the definitive.
> Alan was challenged on the preceding point and he stated that Rockfax had made contributions to the bolt fund in the past.
> This point was examined and in fact there have been no contributions since at least 1997 which Alan has now said he will address.
What if the definitive struggles to break even anyway? Without rockfax's involvement, are we talking about efficacy or intention here? As Alan said the limestone guidebook hasn't been making a profit, so why would the definitive be any different? Do you think it's possible that the area could become more popular and thus the potential for more funding if included as a part of a larger work which includes trad? With Alans involvent with other bolt funds, is it possible that rockfax would have done similar things for welsh limestone as they have done elsewhere?
> It is reasonable to surmise that this will affect sales of the definitive guide.
> People are deeply unhappy about this given that the definitive is being produced for the benefit of the bolt fund and the Rockfax is commercial.
Do you think there is any room for comercial guidebooks? Should all areas be take over by volunteers?
It would work well if the local guides were easier to get hold of. When we were there a couple of months ago, the local shop only had the POD book. We were told where to find a copy of one of the other guides, which would have involved a round trip of an hour, and they weren't sure what the opening hours were.
> This is the whole crux of the argument, that because the Rockfax is to be definitive for the popular sectors, it will make the volunteer definitive guide redundant unless you are a truly dedicated local.
Again, this is something I'm not (yet) convinced by for two reasons:
i) because it assumes that everyone who ends up using the Rockfax guide for the limestone would have bought the definitive if the Rockfax didn't exist - I'm not sure that this is true, I think a lot of them (ie visiting trad punters looking for an alternative to Tremadoc when the mountain crags are wet) probably just wouldn't go to the area at all, and
ii) because it assumes that the Rockfax guide is a better option for everyone but "a truly dedicated local", when in fact the extra limestone routes in the definitive are going to be more valuable than the 350 pages of trad in the Rockfax for anyone who already has a good selective guide for the trad, anyone who already has most of the definitives for the trad, or for any of the increasing number of people who aren't interested in climbing trad at all.
Clearly there are people to whom neither of these applies, and I'd feel a lot happier about Rockfax's ethics if they reduced the amount of limestone coverage to make the second group bigger (while making it a lighter and hence better book for mountain trad), but I think (and hope) that people are exaggerating the effect it's going to have...
We had no problems getting the Margalef guide from the (very smart) new refugio in the village - low tech but lots of details, up to date (2011 I think) and with access to the latest updated topos to a copy new lines from while drinking a coffee!
Though actually agree with you in general, it can sometimes be a bit of an adventure finding where to buy the local guides.
Which would give the wrong answer since those logbooks have loads of routes in them. Even the RF databases (which I think are the ones you meant) have loads more routes in them than we aren't including simply because they were uploaded when we were planning a definitive guide.
I have recounted and juggled the pages a bit and it is around 250 routes. It is the popular routes on the popular buttresses, but then it wouldn't be a very good selective guide if it wasn't. It won't seriously effect the sales of the definitive guide and any small impact will be more than made up by donations we will be making.
There is no real change here to what we have been planning all along although I have put more thought into the matter of the bolt fund donations and I am currently trying to discuss that with a few people.
>i) because it assumes that everyone who ends up using the Rockfax guide for the limestone would have bought the definitive if the Rockfax didn't exist - I'm not sure that this is true,
Hardly 'everyone'. 'A significant number of', let's say.
Personally I suspect that the sort of unimaginative punter who operates out of selective guides would be highly unlikely to get a definitive NWL anyway and that the definitive (which I am sure will be brilliant) will do just fine. I hope so. But nobody really knows.
There's also a fair bit of trad on NWL which the definitive will cover. Personally I'm rather looking forward to that; trad NWL I suspect is presently rather in the position Gogarth was in in 1965, and it would be great to think that suitable coverage/cleaning/soloing on video of that could cause a bit of a revival.
But where does the £X come from? If it's from the amount that Rockfax charge the distributor for each copy then it's likely to add between £3 & £5 to the cover price. If it's from the shops' end of the chain then there's the cost (time and admin) of putting it through the books (sic) in a way that satisfies HMRC. Maybe put a donation slip in to each copy. I don't know how it's done on the continent.
Storm in a teacup then?
I think you're right.
Though for "unimaginative punter" I'd substitute "occasional visitor or climber who prefers the mountains".
Occasional Climber Goat
The 400 figure (out of a total of 1000) was the number of sport routes (as said by one of the guide authors) in the whole of the NWClimbs guide, not just the Ormes and the A55 crags. That 400 will presumably include a big chunk of the sport routes documented in the recently published Llanberis Slate guide.
Just to be clear, not all Ormes routes are sport - there are plenty of trad routes there mixed in with the clip ups.
Alan, is the 250 figure for the Ormes, or does it include the A55 crags as well?
If it doesn't then you are going to have to include a huge amount of sport routes in the slate quarries to reach the 400 sport route quota.
250 is the latest figure for the total number of routes, trad and sport, included in the North Wales limestone section. This includes Castle Inn and Penmaen Head. This too could change, as it has done over the last week as I have reviewed the document, but it is unlikely to get much less than this.
Crags - UPT, LPT, Castel y Gwynt, Castle Inn, Penmaen Head
All other figures can be ignored, including my own - apologies there for misleading in some of the higher posts. The document is work in progress which is why the precise figures are not always clear. Sometimes we will finalise a page and have a bit of space, hence chop a few routes, other times the opposite happens.
So, no Diamond or Craig y Don on Little Orme?
And just to clarify what I said in the previous post, I meant say:
"If it 'does' then you are going to have to include a huge amount of sport routes in the slate quarries to reach the 400 sport route quota."
No, I hadn't re-worked those since Jack's orignal effort so we probably won't anymore.
> "If it 'does' then you are going to have to include a huge amount of sport routes in the slate quarries to reach the 400 sport route quota."
Ok, yes I see. Not sure where the 400 came from. I haven't counted the Slate routes.
Sorry to be stupid but i must be missing it:
"A good proportion of it clearly owes a debt to Greg - and this is well acknowledged in the text - along with other help Greg gave us.
- A large proportion came directly from the people who had developed certain areas and kindly passed their information on to us and to Greg & Lakesbloc. Clearly a website is going to be able to publish this much more quickly than a printed book, so it appeared there first."
You said that it owes a debt to him and other help he gave you and that people passed info to him that he put on his website.
That doesn't answer my question. Did Greg knowingly allow you to use his resources to make the Lakes bouldering guide ?
I remember the clear acknowledgement being a single mention along with many other people in the same paragraph. As i say though i don't have the guide anymore so i hold my hands up i may be wrong but i don't remember it saying anywhere that the info was taken from Lakesbloc.
You're right that this is a rumour that did the rounds at the time and it'd be great to put it to bed. I guess the reason that people think this is because he was supposedly making his own guide and then RF pipped him to it as they were much better set up to publish a guide quickly. If it's all a rumour it's quite a bad/damaging one to you guys.
We're off topic though so i am more than happy for you to e mail me if you want.
Thanks for pointing out the response. Pets makes a very good point about the uniquely adventurous sport routes on the Ormes - it's not all about Marine Drive roadside stuff. I look forward to getting the definitive so I can get a better idea of what's out there. But I do think hat people who are interested in the adveturous routes (sport or trad) and the wealth of other sport routes will get the definitive regardless of the Rockfax coming out. I bet the Rockfax doesn't even have most of the really interesting stuff. And most of the people getting the Rockfax won't be that interested in NWL anyway, whether the trad or the sport.
I agree it would be good of Rockfax to reduce the NWL coverage. And I doubt it would hit their sales much.
> We're off topic though so i am more than happy for you to e mail me if you want.
If its so damaging then wouldn't he put out a statement on rockfax's behalf? Or directly reply to the very public manner you have continued said damaging rumour. Perhaps we are just gossiping now? People do love a scandal now don't they ;).
Of course we met Greg several times and discussed the Lakesbloc info, the guide and the new areas that he had developed and were on his website. As he was employed by my co-author on the guidebook at the time (and still is afaik) this was rather easy to arrange...
He also kindly gave us a copy of his personal spreadsheet of the graded list of the harder problems in the area.
Also went bouldering with Greg - plus Andy and I introduced him to a few new discoveries we had made, and he climbed many lines that were too hard for us. I notice you chose not to quote this part of my post.
Lakesbloc and Greg are well credited in the guide - your memory is faulty.
Finally, as far as I can recall 10 years later, Greg had no plans to produce a printed guide at the time that we started on our book. If he did, then we certainly weren't aware of it - and the suggestion that we set out to cash in on/copy Greg's work is frankly offensive. For my part, I think naive enthusiasm would be a better description of my motivation.
Thanks very much. A very clear and open answer.
Apologies if my memory was faulty about the acknowledgements and i will do my best to set as many people straight as i can.
It's amazing how these things start and then become true.
Finally i apologise if what i said caused you offence. I am glad to be set straight.
Thanks for your apology.
I think the worst aspect of this thread has been the ridiculous aspersions cast on the brilliant Rockfax authors I have working for me.
People like Chris Craggs who surely must be one of the best-qualified authors around for Peak area, gritstone and winter-sun venues - local to these areas, involved in guidebook work for over 30 years and totally dedicated to every area he writes about. Mark Glaister, incredibly hard-working and diligent climber whose West Country Climbs is one of the finest guidebooks around and oozes his personal intimate knowledge of the area in which he has climbed 90% of the routes.
When people say that we use others to do our work they obviously haven't witnessed Adrian Berry dedicating months on end, living out a van, beavering away documenting vast areas.
When they say we don't do anything for the areas, then how does that sound to someone like Pete Oxley - has anyone done more for a single area than him - Lee Proctor in the Clwyd, Jon and Anne Arran in the Ariege, Thorbjorn Enevold and Jon Haukvassen - both Norwegian local guides in the areas they cover.
Then there are others like Daimon Beail who has put years of exploration into the deep water soloing in Mallorca, finding new areas and carefully documenting them and publicising it in every way he can. Or the World's most experienced deep water soloist Mike Roberson who has travelled the planet seeking out the best DWS locations to cover in his Deep Water book.
Obviously Jonathan in the Lakes has also already been defending himself against the unwarranted accusations. We also have Jack Geldard and Mark Reeves both of whom have years of climbing and guiding experience in North Wales and who know the areas they write about as well as anybody.
So, yes, your apology is welcome and perhaps an example a few others could follow.
For my part I want to make it clear that my criticism has specifically been about Rockfax's policy on NWL coverage in the forthcoming guidebook, and I have been very careful in not commenting on my view of Rockfax in general or on any specific authors.
Indeed I agree that some of your guides are excellently researched. The Dorset guide, for example, particularly the 2005 edition which I believe Pete Oxley was heavily involved in, I think is excellent and very well researched. This of course reflects the fact that he was a key developer and local activist, equipped a massive proportion of routes in the guide and indeed established the bolt fund, putting him in an ideal position to write a well researched guide book.
My experience of the accuracy of certain Rockfax guides to Europe is less positive. Indeed at times I have been lowered to the end of a 70m rope on a route described as be 24m long and I have climbed countless routes where it becomes clear that the Rockfax description is based on speculation from the ground (or possibly the van), whoever wrote it having clearly never been on it. In the past you have deflected criticism on here with the reasoning that the authors can't possibly be expected to climb every single line to check them. I don't doubt that your authors do a huge amount of work but I agree that for a single person to check every route in a ~400 page guidebook on a realistic schedule, this is impractical. However, and Stu Littlefair makes the point better than I can, at some point somebody has to do exactly this, and unless your authors are prepared to start from scratch then they are depending on the work that others, usually locals, have put in in documenting an area to say nothing of maintaining the fixed gear; in many cases this work is done with the aim that it will directly support the local bolting via guidebook sales, as opposed to a competing commercial guidebook with no commitment to the area. At the very least where local volunteers are prepared to put this work in then they should be supported and not undermined.
I have apologised above where I feel I have overstepped the mark, but I think this is a valid criticism.
Well I don't really want to get into the non-UK guide discussion here but briefly...
The point you (and Stu) make is not a question of whether RF authors should put more effort into writing their books (they couldn't), it is whether the climbers want large-area selected-crag guidebooks to overseas climbing destinations.
I'd possibly suggest you are overstating your case when you talk about the accuracy of rockfax guidebooks.
I recently climbed Special K at Stoney Middleton. Your guide promised that the initial wall and bulge had poor gear. Having laced the lower section with good gear I was left questioning where your guidebook team got their information from.
This route is suffering a huge lack of attention possibly due to the misleading route description that has appeared in the last two rockfax guides.
I also don't really want to go into it again so let's not. However a) you brought it up, and b) I think the context is relevant as the NWL is a specific example of a wider issue. What makes this example different is that for once it's possible to have a debate about it as the local activists have been articulate and passionate on the subject.
I don't believe it's a binary either/or choice, as he has already argued:
It's also about making a definitive guide unprofitable by cherry-picking the popular crags. No definitive guide means no recorded history, no descriptions of crags where you can go to avoid crowds, etc.etc... How many people visiting this website have had a great day out visiting an obscure crag somewhere; I suspect most people and without the definitive guidebook, this is the sort of climbing experience that is threatened just as much as climbing on decent bolts rather than rotten gear.
> I'd possibly suggest you are overstating your case when you talk about the accuracy of rockfax guidebooks.
I'd also suggest that the case is over-stated when it comes to some foreign guidebooks - the provence guide being a good example from my own experience. Lots of routes listed and named, given star ratings etc, and nice, easy-to-follow colour topos. BUT, lots of routes given 3 stars with no description (lots of examples at Orpierre, Ceuse etc). If an author is going to give the 3-star rating to a particular route I'd expect them to have climbed it (or at least had a mate who'd climbed it who could identify what was actually so marvellous about that particular route). Assuming the author has climbed the route why not give some sort of description as to why it's worth 3 stars. Also lots of routes given no stars that anyone in their right mind who'd actually climbed them would know are excellent - and in many cases - much better than those mentioned above that were awarded 3 stars with no description.
Anticipating Alan's response that an assessment of the quality of a route will always be, to some degree, subjective - it was clear that for SOME crags in that guide the author had only climbed/checked a small handful of climbs and had then probably used the local topo and a quick look up at the route to give them names and an idea of quality.
Of course we should all put back into the places that we go and climb, but rockfax as a guidebook company has put quite a bit back into raising the profile of bolt funds, numerous articles and plastering bolt funds over their websites. You're having this discussion right now courtesy of rockfax and UKC. Of course Rockfax could raise the price of their books so we are all mandatory donating through buying their guides, or we could donate that money seperately to the bolt fund. What would you prefer?
Also, to the 80% of people on this site that don't sport climb, they also do a great job of dealing with serious access issues and preservation of certain endangered species. This forum has been a great conduit for the BMC to get their oar in on the above topics and of course BMC themselves do a fantastic job. We all climb off the backs of the BMC staff who secure access arrangements and who are also often volunteers. How much of the profits of other book are going to the BMC?
At the moment you're obviously criticisng Rockfax for their lack of contribution to north welsh limestone bolt fund. But I don't believe that have actually published a book for that area while that fund has existed. Their North Wales limestone is now 16 years old. Should they donate the profits from the peak guidebooks?
I believe the other party has been quite ungracious and immature about the whole ordeal. They could have welcomed the competition and of course the greater exposure and traffic it will provide for this area thus hopefully more funding. If both books are of good quality then they should both sell well. I'm not sure why Pete was happy to compete with a definitive guide but not with a guide containing less routes of the area. Could you clarify?
I think its great that there's a book donating all the profits to this one bolt fund, and I also think its great that there is a UK company who are also having more far reaching positive effects on climbing in this country and are also making a profit and employing people. I wouldn't regret buying either book, but you should try work together rather than tearing real people and companies down behind a veil of anonymity. Have a little class.
Anyone who can't wait for these guidebooks can also donate directly to these funds, it's the best way of getting 100% of your money to them.
Well I suppose that makes a change from the accusations that descriptions are lifted from the local guides ;-)
> This route is suffering a huge lack of attention possibly due to the misleading route description that has appeared in the last two rockfax guides.
It came from my, admittedly dated, attempt on the same route, where I couldn't find a runner to hang a quickdraw on. Stoney is a moveable feast though so perhaps things and gear have changed but if you expect us to attempt every E5 as a going concern before producing a book then you will be waiting a long time between editions.
Which brings me back to the choice - guidebooks, linking with public feedback databases, where not every route is specifically checked between editions but they appear, are updated in many aspects, and are, most importantly, available; or 1987 for your last Stoney guide.
> This is something that POD has done pretty well with his Tarragona Climbs guide. If you look in the margalef section, for example, it's clear that POD has put enough in for a casual visitor, whilst leaving several excellent sectors out. It's explicitly stated that this is to encourage people to buy the local guide.
A statement which could be made about every single Rockfax to Spain and France, .... and North Wales Climbs.
Some Rockfax guides contain more historic information (name and date of FA) than some definitive guides.
You mean like Laddow, Shining Clough, Kinder, Ramshaw, Wilderness Rocks, Curbar, Gardoms, Chatsworth, Chevin, Eastby, Simon's Seat, Crag Willas, Ravan's Scar, Highcliffe Nab, Park Nab (to pick just a few examples from the Rockfax gritstone guides).
I support what Toreador has said above and also I remember when writing PGE I went to Dovestones Tor on a perfect day and soloed all the main routes for the guide. The crag was deserted, the routes were dirty and neglected yet fully covered in consistently-available definitive guides. A year later I went back on a similar day and there were 10 teams there with copies of PGE.
Available and erroneous or unavailable! What a choice.
Damn, I am breaking my self-imposed ban from posting on this silly bitch-fest of a thread, but feel I must having just read your ill-informed and naive comments.
> At the moment you're obviously criticisng Rockfax for their lack of contribution to north welsh limestone bolt fund. But I don't believe that have actually published a book for that area while that fund has existed. Their North Wales limestone is now 16 years old. Should they donate the profits from the peak guidebooks?
> I believe the other party has been quite ungracious and immature about the whole ordeal. They could have welcomed the competition and of course the greater exposure and traffic it will provide for this area thus hopefully more funding. If both books are of good quality then they should both sell well.
> I think its great that there's a book donating all the profits to this one bolt fund, and I also think its great that there is a UK company who are also having more far reaching positive effects on climbing in this country and are also making a profit and employing people. I wouldn't regret buying either book, but you should try work together rather than tearing real people and companies down behind a veil of anonymity. Have a little class.
Work together? Oh deary me ...! I refer back to the need for you to do your homework.
Anonimity? Is r0x0r.wolfo your real name?
> Anyone who can't wait for these guidebooks can also donate directly to these funds, it's the best way of getting 100% of your money to them.
And before you ask, I have no axe to grind either way and very much doubt if I'll buy either guide. I have also donated £30 to the NWBF in the last 12 months.
Which guide are you going to buy (as if we can't guess) and how much have you donated?
(My real name - You'll be pleased to see that I have some class.)
> It came from my, admittedly dated, attempt on the same route, where I couldn't find a runner to hang a quickdraw on. Stoney is a moveable feast though so perhaps things and gear have changed but if you expect us to attempt every E5 as a going concern before producing a book then you will be waiting a long time between editions.
Perhaps it's just me, but if you are going to produce a guidebook and describe a route therein, I WOULD expect some level of accuracy. If the author hasn't personally climbed the route recently enough to write a reasonably accurate description of what's involved then surely they should at least talk to someone who has. Otherwise, it seems that you're saying that you're writing a guidebook which isn't going to be much of a guide to a fairly large proportion of the routes it contains.
It's not just Brown's comments about the route at Stoney, but also my own experience with Rockfax's Provence guide that make me question how well-researched and accurate these books really are.
My conclusion: There's really no substitute to guidebooks based on great local knowledge and just a love for a particular climbing area, especially when you know that purchasing those guidebooks will put money directly into the pockets of locals who were involved in equipping/re-equipping the routes in the guide...obviously much better than books written by people who are really occasional visitors to an area.
I would like to personally thank you and the other authors for the inspiration provided by Peak Gritsone East and several other rockfax guides
As mentioned above I (and many others) wouldn't have gone to Dovestone Tor without my first guide book PGE or managed to get many friends there who all loved it (or to a good few other venues). Now I go there with a battered and well loved copy of the BMC guide whilst the rockfax stays at home only to be used for reference and ticking off in much to the annoyance of my girlfriend. When I first started climbing almost everyone at the eastern edges seemed to have the Rockfax PGE guide now over 10 years on so many people are walking around with the latest editions of the BMC excellent guides. Whilst the occasional visitor and many locals who don't get out as much are still well served by the latest Rockfax Peak Gritstone guide (also at home).
If local activists/BMC are so worried about guide book sales lost due to Peak Gritstone maybe a similar quality book should be produced to replace ON PEAK ROCK (also own this). There seems to be little mention on this thread of this particular book taking sales away from the local guides:
http://www.v-publishing.co.uk/books/rock-climbing-guidebooks/peak-district-climbing.html (also own)
or that now the BMC guides cover all the bouldering too (on the gristone anyway given the lack of limestone guides) that this: http://www.v-publishing.co.uk/books/rock-climbing-guidebooks/peak-district-bouldering-second-edition... bouldering guide takes sales from the BMC guides either!!
Recently I've bought the 3 of the definitive guides to Pembroke, the first volume of the Yorkshire guide, the Northumberland guide, the outdated BMC Lancashire guide, the excellent Cheshire sandstone guide all due to first having owned Rockfax guides to the areas. In North Wales I've got 4 or 5 of the definitive guides there having first bought the selective guide first by Ground Up. Many of my friends have followed a similar path.
Even though in some of these areas I and most of my friends haven't climbed much beyond what the Rockfax guides or North Wales Rock covers which in many cases is almost definitive it shows that selective guides don't mean less definitive guide book sales.
Personally I think If Pete's guide is as good as the sample pages show people visiting the area after buying the rockfax guide are now more likely to buy his guide having sampled what is on offer and probably seen other locals at the crags with Pete's guide (and the extra coverage on this thread :-) ). Personally I get asked all the time in the Peak by people to look at my BMC guides and I'm always happy to show them and encourage them if they are a regular visitor to by the definitive guides but understand the expense of buying all the BMC guides to the Peak area (plus the limestone ones that are not even released!). But when the guides are so good and it looks like pete's will fall into this category it is much easier to justify. Was good to see the new Rockfax peak limestone last year and noticed the increased traffic at some venues. In time I'm sure this will lead to more BMC limestone guides being sold when it is finally released :)
(not checking scripts for the BMC Ravensdale area due to two broken ankles and a wrist)
... and looking forward to both guides but Petes in particular for some better coverage or other wet weather options!
> Well I don't really want to get into the non-UK guide discussion here but briefly...
> The point you (and Stu) make is not a question of whether RF authors should put more effort into writing their books (they couldn't), it is whether the climbers want large-area selected-crag guidebooks to overseas climbing destinations.
Yes - I think that's exactly right. The two things that Rockfax have done really well over the last decade is bring out selective guides to large areas, and to bring out guides on quick timescales (no 20 year wait between editions)! These are clearly good things for climbers!
It's clearly not economically possible to achieve this combination without drawing heavily on source material produced by local activists, and for a fraction of routes to rely on this entirely. My posts were really meant to point this out, and not necessarily to imply criticism. Rockfax-style guides fill a real need for climbers and are a good thing (tm)! it is, however, true that the way they are produced opens up the potential for conflct with the local climbers...
I actually did put that page in front of several people who have climbed it in recent times. We do that with most pages. We also allow anyone, including yourself, to comment online via our two databases. The databases system has been incredibly successful in allowing input from many more people than any committee-based system did and has been an area where I have invested a lot of money over the years.
> My conclusion: There's really no substitute to guidebooks based on great local knowledge and just a love for a particular climbing area, especially when you know that purchasing those guidebooks will put money directly into the pockets of locals who were involved in equipping/re-equipping the routes in the guide...obviously much better than books written by people who are really occasional visitors to an area.
Of course locally-produced guidebooks are always 100% accurate, easy-to-follow, innovative, well designed, easy to buy and never out of print.
> It's clearly not economically possible to achieve this combination without drawing heavily on source material produced by local activists, and for a fraction of routes to rely on this entirely. My posts were really meant to point this out, and not necessarily to imply criticism. Rockfax-style guides fill a real need for climbers and are a good thing (tm)! it is, however, true that the way they are produced opens up the potential for conflct with the local climbers...
I would absolutely agree with this. Resolving the conflict between commercial necessities and laudable volunteer efforts is not easy and has given me headaches for 21 years now.
If i'm wrong i hold my hands up and i was wrong.
I had heard the story from people i trusted to be 'in the know' in the Lakes climbing scene so believed it.
I am glad to see that something positive seems to be coming from this thread.
Please be careful how you argue your point.
By this logic, the authors of the new North Wales Rockfax should be Pete Harrison and Andy Boorman
> By this logic, the authors of the new North Wales Rockfax should be Pete Harrison and Andy Boorman
Don't understand what you are saying here.
That might be because the Peak bouldering guide *was* a local guide written by a massively experienced local guidebook team that had, at a rough guess, been bouldering in the Peak for a combined period of 50 years, with input from many of the other most active peak boulderers. It was started as a labour of love precisely because there was no accurate, comprehensive and up to date documentation of Peak bouldering.
Dave, thanks; I went to donate (from the link on the new website) and noticed it wasn't the 'North Wales Bolt Fun', but the 'North Wales Limestone Bolt Fund'. Could you just confirm which is which, what they support, or if they are the same thing?
Also, I noticed in the latest issue of 'Climb' the following - '...being converted from forgotten neglected trad routes into retro-bolted warm ups...'. Is this being done by individuals, or supported by (one of) the bolt funds?
If you click the link right through it goes to the North Wales Bolt Fund.
> If you click the link right through it goes to the North Wales Bolt Fund.
Thanks. I'd still like to know the difference (if there is one).
> Damn, I am breaking my self-imposed ban from posting on this silly bitch-fest of a thread, but feel I must having just read your ill-informed and naive comments.
Okay I do not know bold so I will just have to try space it so you can read this okay. Insults and filler, good start.
Unless you're willing to actually contradict what I've said, don't just tell me to "check my facts" or that i haven't read the thread. This means nothing, what 'facts' are wrong exactly?
Another "check your facts comment" please either say something or don't.
I never said they wern't real people, I never slagged anyone off, I think it's great what they're doing. I'm sure he can defend himself, although I'd say the 95% of other people who have replied to this thread don't need your help... Is there a point here?
... can you please be specific?
Of course if it makes it easier my name is Daniel, if you feel I'm taking pot shots at anyone or their livelyhood I am fully willing to post my full name, unlike others I have nothing to hide.
Sorry, I will tell people not donate to the bolt fund? I don't understand what your problem with me saying this is?
Well thats great, but obviously judging by the dying thread 'who has actually donate' you're in the minority.
> (My real name - You'll be pleased to see that I have some class.)
Yes, more than most. I'm going to level with you here, I'm open to what you have to say. The problem is, you haven't actually said anything. Why break your silence for some bitchy soundbites? I've read both threads and I'm not reading over 500 replies again. Most of it is opinion and very little of it is 'fact', if you are privvy to these facts then it should be quite simple to state them.
P.S I've not even decided what guide I'll get, I've already got the selected ground up guide.
Hopefully your next post will be much more informative :).
The frustrating thing is that all your points have been debated at length further up the thread. However Pete Harrison has taken the time to write you a line by line reply on the other thread:
Its the usual discussion that happens when RockFax release a guide. In this case the new RF North Wales select includes a large number of routes in the NW limestone areas. There is already a local comprehensive guide in production for these areas and is due for release at the end of the summer. The local guide writers have put extensive and expensive work into re-bolting before this guide is released and all profits from this guide will go to the bolt fund. It looks like Rockfax have timed their release, allowing them to 'cash in' on the work done without contributing anything them-self to the bolt fund. There are also concerns that a select guidbook with very comprehensive coverage of one area will damage the sales of this local guide, and as such reduce the amount of money the bolt fund will receive. Rockfax don't have a company policy to give back to the local funds because they don't make enough profit. As such the only donations made are 'personally' from Alan himself. This has annoyed people a lot....
Think that's about it.
If you missed it - Pete has written a post for you.
And you're showing you maturity by not arguing or discussing anything but looking at my profile and throwing out bad insults. What have you actually said here? Nothing.
Shall I reply to Pete here? Is this what we're doing now? I can talk to him directly via email if he wishes.
> Don't understand what you are saying here.
I'm sure what the climbing goat meant is that the RockFax Dorset guide (I have it) is excellent because it benefitted from Pete Oxley's unparalleled first hand knowledge of the area. Any North Wales Limestone guide will only achieve the same standard if it benefits from the local knowledge acquired by the "Pete Oxley's" of the North Wales Limestone scene. If I've read these threads correctly that's Pete Harrison and his colleagues, not the RockFax authors.
This and the parallel thread are very sad in my view. If the aim is to produce guide books that best serve the climbing community, then it would be good to see a burying of hatchets here, and a coming together of the various protagonists (RockFax, CC and Ground Up included). In my view, the outcome those of us who climb in North Wales would prefer is one definitive guidebook set, and one selective guide, that are the most up to date, authoritative and best presented that can be produced. In return we should be willing to dip into our pockets to ensure proper reimbursement of expenses to those who put in the work, whether it be researching, writing, bolting, or indeed publishing.
The issue of timing is a curious one. I am not sure where people got the idea that we weren't publishing a North Wales guide this year since we have been quite clear about that for some time (links to various blog items have been posted above).
Also, I have no idea where people got the idea that the other NWL guide WAS appearing this autumn. I certainly didn't know and I am not aware of a date ever having been made public in recent months. There appear to have been several rumoured dates going back over the last few years:
March 2011 here - http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=433625
Early summer 2011 here - http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=460708
I am sure there have been a few more recent rumours but. let's face it, how many guidebooks are 'just about to appear' for months and even years before they actually do. I honestly had no knowledge of the book being any more imminent now than it was in 2011 and it never crossed our minds when publishing our book. Our schedule is far more planned than that. eg. I know now which books we are planning in 2015.
I should also add that I am in negotiation with the people behind the NWBF and we are hopefully coming to an arrangement that should suit everyone and, yes, it does involved RF/UKC contributing money to the bolt fund.
I climb in North Wales and don't mind how many guidebooks there are.
Out of interest, which of the many existing selected guides would you choose as the one to keep?
... I was asking what he preferred, obviously it's quite novel that I have said something and its been quoted and replied to on another website. I can see now that direct would be better as everything I say is twisted by proxys like yourself. Can someone PM me his email? Will have a look for it myself now.
> I climb in North Wales and don't mind how many guidebooks there are.
> Out of interest, which of the many existing selected guides would you choose as the one to keep?
Well, over the years I've had Ron James, Paul Williams and Ground Up (as well as definitive CC guides to the areas I visit most). Each has served me well in their time, but I don't think they were ever seriously competing against each other at the same time.
I'm not sure the market, even in a prime area like North Wales, would support two selective guides at the same time, both of which are well researched and of high quality. I'm not against competition in general, but I fear that in this case dividing the financial returns in half would mean both publications having only half the investment in research and presentation. Ground Up have the field at the moment, their 2nd edition is still current, their research and presentation are excellent (the result I presume of considerable investment) and I'm not convinced it serves the climbing community well for RockFax to muscle in at this point.
Of course, if Ground Up indicate that they wish to focus elsewhere, rather than produce a third edition, then the field would be open for RockFax without detriment to us the customers. And I have no issue with RockFax taking on areas where the current alternative coverage is out of date and/or out-dated in presentation, such as was the case with Dorset or Peak Limestone. Neither do I object to commercial guides building on the work of previous authors, provided this is properly acknowledged, both in print, and through appropriate donations (bolt funds, access funds etc) where the previous work was done by volunteers.
I'm aware that there are other guides around that could be called "selective guides" to North Wales, such as RockFax's current pocket guide, or Greystone's scrambles and easy climbs guide, but I wouldn't see these as significant competition to Ground Up for regular climbers.
You have the information source the wrong way round here. The current existing definitive guidebook was written by me and published by Rockfax in 1997 (based on one by Steve Mayers, also Rockfax 1992). This is the base information source for our guide and the other definitive one.
Of course we do rely on the hard work put in by the local volunteers, the NWBF and the BMC for the areas we cover - some of UPT, LPT some of Gwynt, some of Castle Inn, and Penanen Head - which is why we are supporting the NWBF with a financial contribution.
My understanding is that much of the more recent work is on areas not in our book especially near the lighthouse where I have heard there are many new sport routes. I for one am looking forward to seeing that book in print as well.
It's disappointing that you seem to antagonise and undermine other guidebook authors and this situation particularly looks like revenge for a personal slight.
Thanks for that. I would add that both I and Toreador mentioned VG in our earlier threads and as we were almost the only people talking about that sub-topic, I'm not sure what Graham meant by implying the discussion was just on PGE (I'll forgive him though as he's a nice guy and its a long thread). Also, I'll repeat my view that the Peak situation is very different from the North Wales Limestone in that the market is a lot bigger so definitive production isn't effected in the same way (that it might be there); that in any case Rockfax got there 1st (with PGE) in terms of a (wide-scope selective) guide in a modern format (as did your team with Peak Bouldering) and that the local climbers feeding in to PGE knew the area well enough to produce a broadly accurate guide (to roughly the same level as the definitives... which is not always the case crag-by-crag in some of their guides elsewhere).
I take Alan's point that inclusion of less popular but good crags in their guides does help improve traffic and information will improve with comments on the database but this would be much improved if they made it clear in the introduction to such crags that the area is not well travelled and not all checked by the team and so to be extra cautious with information (esp grades) and route conditions. As an example, if someone from the team soloed some of the less well travelled Moorland easier routes in WG, like Alan did for Dovestone Tor (where the grades and descriptions were OK), I'm sure a lot of the remaining problems there would have been evident.
Although the flipside of this is that the trade-off for not being definitive is very different: a lot of people who might have been considering the Stanage definitive will think that the coverage of Burbage, Froggat, Black Rocks etc in Eastern Grit is a major bonus, whereas for one reason or another, many people who would look at buying the NWL definitive would consider the 350ish pages of other stuff in the Rockfax to be a waste of space for their purposes.
That is indeed a flipside. Those people you describe are almost certainly in the majority and wouldn't buy either guide for NWL (and hence wont want it there, so it is another important market issue suggesting putting less NWL in). The important market issue affecting the definitive is what will those who want an occasional guide for NWL buy: with the new Rockfax they get the rest as a bonus and won't need the definitive. I like many here think there should be a renegotiation.
PGE was published in 2001. On Peak Rock was published in 1993. So I'm not quite sure in what sense they got there first?
> PGE was published in 2001. On Peak Rock was published in 1993. So I'm not quite sure in what sense they got there first?
Paul Nunn's "Rock Climbing in the Peak District" had a 4th edition out by 1987, according to Amazon.
First modern style colour topo guide to that area focussing on good quality information and useability. As a BMC volume co-editor and guidebook worker I fully acknowledge they helped pave the way for the style of BMC Peak District guides I've worked on. Would it have happened soon after anyhow? Probably but they were there first and the BMC might have cut more corners without the competition so I might mot have been so interested in the projects. The Nunn guide was hard to use and I and others still call it "guess a grade". I also think Steve Ashton's 100 grit classics guide was masterful but B&W and very selective and On Peak Rock another B&W sketch topo guide was also amazing; for their time these were as good as it got.
I liked the way On Peak Rock classified crags in sections like "winter warmth", "away from the heat", "family picnics" instead of the usual spatial method.
> The Nunn guide was hard to use and I and others still call it "guess a grade".
We called it 'The Suicide Guide'.
The main thing about was that it wasn't consistantly a sandbag so you could get lured into a false sense of security before being really dumped badly.
I quite like having it to hand (I have the one with the pink dust jacket, quite an early one I think) just to keep my feet on the ground.
Another point which I don't think has been made above (apologies if I've missed it) is about the format of the new book. The Rockfax format is brilliant for sport climbs and single pitch outcrop routes, and I've got most of those, but for multi-pitch routes where you have to carry the book up the climb (eg Gogarth, Cloggy, Lliwedd), it's rubbish. I've had to carry West Country Climbs up routes and it's a total pain. It's clearly one way for Rockfax to encourage sales of the definitive guides! Rockfax seem to acknowledge this with the North Wales Classics book which is one of the "Pokketz" editions, and the info page says "The handy pocket format means you can carry the book easily up the routes, yet the full page photo-diagrams beautifully showcase the cliffs in perfect detail." There are at least 3 selective guides to Snowdonia in compact form which fit into a standard guidebook pouch - Rockfax NWR, Ground Up, and the old Paul Williams (which is still perfectly useable), which all contain all the classic routes, so I'm at a bit of a loss as to why anyone would get the bulky new one. Of course, if you're climbing on Cloggy with the nice slim CC definitive guide you'll have room for a couple of energy bars in the pouch as well!
I've already got 2 of those selectives, so I'm afraid I won't be getting the new Rockfax - I'll get the new Limestone guide for definitive and up-to-date coverage of that.
Well, to be honest, I don't think they have anything to defend. They are all diligent and knowledgeable authors who are happy to be judged by the work they produce. We decided that, owing to certain agendas that were obvious from the beginning on this thread, I would do all the public answering on the forums. Having said that, they are all welcome to reply if they wish.
There is no doubt that this is going to be a big guide and you probably won't want to carry it up a route with you. The alternative is to photo the page (something many climbers do with all guidebooks these days) or use our app version which we are intending on releasing at the same time.
will this be just an iphone app or will there be an android option like TheSend (http: //thesend.co.uk/apps.php)?
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:
So he's not banned then?
Android as well.
I was talking about my authors who were the ones the questioner was asking about.
Higher up you said to readdress any concerns as you were not going to read the entire thread. I think the limestone concerns have been pretty fully addressed above so people have the info to make up their own minds. However I'm not aware of you particularly addressing the selective v selective issue. I would be very interested in any further comment on this issue, in particular why you think there is room for 2 selectives.
I thought this concern was well put above (by martin?). As background I own loads of rockfax books and don't actually see much bile and anti-rockfax sentiment in this discussion, just a lot of concern over the possible effects of this book.
"Well, over the years I've had Ron James, Paul Williams and Ground Up (as well as definitive CC guides to the areas I visit most). Each has served me well in their time, but I don't think they were ever seriously competing against each other at the same time.
I'm not sure the market, even in a prime area like North Wales, would support two selective guides at the same time, both of which are well researched and of high quality. I'm not against competition in general, but I fear that in this case dividing the financial returns in half would mean both publications having only half the investment in research and presentation. Ground Up have the field at the moment, their 2nd edition is still current, their research and presentation are excellent (the result I presume of considerable investment) and I'm not convinced it serves the climbing community well for RockFax to muscle in at this point.
Of course, if Ground Up indicate that they wish to focus elsewhere, rather than produce a third edition, then the field would be open for RockFax without detriment to us the customers. And I have no issue with RockFax taking on areas where the current alternative coverage is out of date and/or out-dated in presentation, such as was the case with Dorset or Peak Limestone. Neither do I object to commercial guides building on the work of previous authors, provided this is properly acknowledged, both in print, and through appropriate donations (bolt funds, access funds etc) where the previous work was done by volunteers.
I'm aware that there are other guides around that could be called "selective guides" to North Wales, such as RockFax's current pocket guide, or Greystone's scrambles and easy climbs guide, but I wouldn't see these as significant competition to Ground Up for regular climbers."
what are your thoughts?
>Well, I don’t know what Alan’s thoughts are, but mine are that selected guides to North Wales are nothing more than potboilers which are produced for no other reason than commercial gain and have to be prepared to compete against each other on that basis. I doubt if Alan would put it quite like that, but clearly that’s his attitude too.
The effect of them on definitive guides however is something which needs to be thought about more carefully.
There are a few basic points that I can make on this issue and I will refer to definitive and selective guides since, as JCM points out, definitives are probably more vulnerable.
I can't think of many books which haven't appeared because of a Rockfax selective guide. There are a few areas like Clwyd (Cicerone, ?), North Wales Limestone (CC 1987), Peak Limestone (BMC 1987, 1998) where we actually filled the void rather than nudged out the opposition, but I would have thought these books would be regarded as positive services rather than aggressive competition.
There are other areas where this has been stated in the past which I am not aware of any long term problems. The South West (arguably less of a cachet than North Wales) now has a second CC selective guide in addition to our WCC. Pembroke is just completing its full set of five fine definitive guides despite the selective Rockfax. There are definitive guides appearing in the North West, and the Peak should soon have as fine a set of guidebooks as it has ever had once the limestone set are completed; and this is in direct competition to the full and pretty comprehensive Rockfax coverage for the same area, plus a Vertebrate selective, and On Peak Rock which I think is still available. Another area where this was stated was North Wales 3 years ago when we brought out our North Wales Classics (search for threads on that). Again, this absolutely hasn't happened.
I also think that more open competition in guidebooks has brought a huge improvement in the standard of publications. If we (or anyone else) was to compromise coverage to suit the competitors then this edge of competition would be removed. I have lots of ideas as to how to produce guidebooks. Anyone who looks at our books knows that we progress from edition to edition with refinements, improvements, new features tried out. I have ideas how we can improve on the coverage for North Wales and we are implementing these improvements in our new book. We are investing in Apps as well and hope to have a fantastic app to use in conjunction with the new guidebook (and all our old books as well).
All these developments are positive for climbers and they are there for other publishers to respond to. Yes, I am aware that there is always an issue between commercial operations against volunteer operations, but that isn't the case with the selective guidebooks to North Wales. Ground-Up are big boys, I am sure they can look after themselves.
So, the bottom line is that I think North Wales is plenty big enough for 2 (or more) good selective guides and, if it isn't, that would create a big problem for me.
There is a significant difference with Ground-Up as they are also producing definitive guides. That is obviously their decision, and I have no insider info, but one would suspect that this is not hugely profitable and to some extent North Wales Rock will be subsiding the production of the Gogarth guides. Competition in the select guides might be the difference between them being able to afford this subsidy, or not.
As you say, they are big boys and as a commercial operation must exist in the real world. But as discussed above, the climbing guidebook world isn't an entirely free market and if we want quality definitive guidebooks at some point someone has to run a loss-making/ volunteer based operation.
The fact that Ground-Up choose to put something back in this way is perhaps the reason they aren't being excoriated on here.
Rockfax have also produced definitive guides - Clwyd, and Loften (pretty much), plus NWL 1997 and we were in the middle of producing one after Ground-up hadn't produced one in 2006 to 2009 after they said they would.
No-one needs to run a loss-making operation. It is perfectly possible to produce a guidebook to anywhere that makes money, you just need to produce the right product.
I have always said that I am happy to look after a definitive record for any area if the current record holder drops out (as we did in the Clwyd). I should also point out that Rockfax/UKC have done way more than anyone else in the World in terms of creating a permanent digital record of climbing in the UK and further afield.
So given all off this good behaviour, why not extend it and talk to the NWL team? Seems to me the risk is all on their side if you turn out wrong and you can afford to clip the coverage a little.
It would be very good if we knew whether that was the case or not because it seems be a supposition that some are quite ready to make in this case. Personally I hope Simon P. has found that his company can make a reasonable profit from producing just great guidebooks, both definitive and selective. Surely there will be better definitive guides in the future if this is the case.
I have been talking to them since the middle of last week. The coverage is clipped. The donation to the NWBF is committed to.
I have said this at least three times on the thread above I think.
Its a long thread. I guess what you haven't said is if talking has worked and produced a position they can now agree with.
> Rockfax have also produced definitive guides - Clwyd, and Loften (pretty much), plus NWL 1997 and we were in the middle of producing one after Ground-up hadn't produced one in 2006 to 2009 after they said they would.
> No-one needs to run a loss-making operation. It is perfectly possible to produce a guidebook to anywhere that makes money, you just need to produce the right product.
> I have always said that I am happy to look after a definitive record for any area if the current record holder drops out (as we did in the Clwyd). I should also point out that Rockfax/UKC have done way more than anyone else in the World in terms of creating a permanent digital record of climbing in the UK and further afield.
I’m sure you do this just to wind me up, but can you please stop spreading untruths about Ground Up. You did it at the start of this thread (with regard to when NWR was published) and now you are doing it again. We did not have any serious intention of producing a NWL guide until 2008/9 (there was even talk of a CC/Ground Up collaboration), and that idea quickly mutated into a split between the A55 crags and the Ormes (which for various reasons was eventually dropped and Mike went on to produce his well received A55 guide independently).
Here’s a related news item on our website from 2009:
NWL was definitely not on our radar back in 2006 - we were far too busy with other projects back then.
As for the notion of loss making definitive guides – well, some guides are harder to make than others and we’ve certainly picked some tricky projects. Gogarth North and South (the latter hopefully soon to be published), Llanberis Slate, North Wales Winter Climbing – these are all very complex books requiring a huge amount of research and background work. The sheer volume of new routes is a challenge in itself, as is the fact that you are dealing with some very primitive source material for the existing routes. They are also all, it may surprise some people to know, not great sellers.
The simple truth is that North Wales Rock has been the engine for Ground Up – it has allowed us to make difficult definitive guides such as these.
Work is also well advanced on a 2nd edition of the North Wales Bouldering guide – this is also a very complex and difficult book (there has been an enormous amount of development since 2004; there are over 600 news items on the North Wales Bouldering website since it was set up in the aftermath of the launch of the 1st edition).
That website is a great resource (at the time I didn’t quite realise how useful it would be further down the line). Nonetheless, I don’t have the luxury of other people’s work to use as a reference (quite a different situation to the Peak, I’m sure you would agree).
Consequently, building up the script, topos, image bank is a fairly epic task which has absorbed a lot of time and resources. This will hopefully be strong seller, but nothing is certain, especially in the current economic climate.
And, finally, going back to that 400 sport : 600 trad routes figure that I mentioned earlier in the thread – you said you had no idea where this came from. I find that very hard to believe given that it was expressed very clearly by one of the NWClimbs authors to a friend of mine. How can it be possible that you are unaware of the basic concept of a book that you are editing? It just struck me as a strange assertion to make.
> You have the information source the wrong way round here. The current existing definitive guidebook was written by me and published by Rockfax in 1997 (based on one by Steve Mayers, also Rockfax 1992). This is the base information source for our guide and the other definitive one.
Sorry to be a pedant but as I have the book in front of me, Steve Mayers writes in the Rockfax FAX 02 North Wales Limestone in the acknowledgement section at the back and I quote "The most important acknowledgement must be to Andy Pollitt for his previous excellent guides to the area and also Roland Edwards for his initial guide published back in 1975. These have obviously been a valuable source of reference."
So presumably Pollitt's and Edwards are the base information.
That's why I wont buy rockfax guides, but on a limited budget save a little longer to buy BMC/SMC/FRCC/CC guides.
> That's why I wont buy rockfax guides, but on a limited budget save a little longer to buy BMC/SMC/FRCC/CC guides.
That might feel like a noble sentiment, but there are some pretty big cases where Rockfax are the ONLY guide covering an area. Take Peak limestone, its in the second busiest national park in the world, yet the definitive guide has been out of print for aeons. Then there's Clywd and stuff abroad etc. So saving a little longer might mean you don't get to climb there for a significant part of your climbing career.
In the case of N Wales Lime though, I would fully support the definitive if I still lived in the UK, and not buy the Rockfax.
In a recent camptocamp thread http://www.camptocamp.org/forums/viewtopic.php?id=238169 a guy is looking for topos to crags in the south of France. He's already bought three topos at 30€ each but still hasn't got just the info he needs. This particular post made me chuckle:
> Ceci dit, pour le Cap Dramont, le topo des Anglais à l'avantage d'être correct, à la différence du topo des locaux.
Which rather goes against the various comments made above about the overseas Rockfaxes being inaccurate compared to the local guides. Seems the answer is 'it depends'.
On the whole, it sounds like Alan is now in touch with the local activists and a mutually acceptable solution will hopefully be found. As others have said, a good quality selective guide can actually encourage people to go and buy the definitives by getting people interested in an area. However this doesn't work as well if the 'selective' coverage is actually fairly extensive. This point has been made above by various people in relation to the original plans for the NWL coverage and it's a fair point (unlike a lot of the not so reasonable Rockfax bashing on this thread).
> As for the notion of loss making definitive guides – well, some guides are harder to make than others and we’ve certainly picked some tricky projects. Gogarth North and South (the latter hopefully soon to be published), Llanberis Slate, North Wales Winter Climbing – these are all very complex books requiring a huge amount of research and background work. The sheer volume of new routes is a challenge in itself, as is the fact that you are dealing with some very primitive source material for the existing routes. They are also all, it may surprise some people to know, not great sellers.
> The simple truth is that North Wales Rock has been the engine for Ground Up – it has allowed us to make difficult definitive guides such as these.
'Gentleman's agreements' are fairly common in very minor industries were direct competition doesn't help anybody (as I believe it to be the case here, and I can't see the Competition Commission ever getting round to rock climbing guidebooks). There's obviously more to this.... shame, as it isn't in the interests of us punters.
> Rockfax have also produced definitive guides - Clwyd ...>
I'm not normally pedantic, but you are making a sweeping statement here that simply isn't true.
The Clwyd Rockfax isn't definitive. It isn't definitive because:
a. The coverage for World's End isn't definitive ...
b. The coverage for Trevor Rocks isn't definitive ...
c. The coverage for Llanymynech Quarry isn't definitive ...
d. Pandy Outcrop, Independance Quarry and Carreg y Byg are all excluded ...
Let's be clear about this. The Clwyd Rockfax is a selective guide which also happens to have definitive coverage of a number of more popular crags.
Does this sound somewhat familiar in the context of this present debate?
> a. The coverage for World's End isn't definitive ...
> b. The coverage for Trevor Rocks isn't definitive ...
> c. The coverage for Llanymynech Quarry isn't definitive ...
> d. Pandy Outcrop, Independance Quarry and Carreg y Byg are all excluded ...
> Let's be clear about this. The Clwyd Rockfax is a selective guide which also happens to have definitive coverage of a number of more popular crags.
Well that is why I don't like the word definitive. You could say exactly the same thing about every guidebook that claims to be definitive; there will always be omissions in all of them. This is pretty much the same point as someone made earlier when I pointed out that our last North Wales Limestone guide was deemed not to be definitive because it didn't contain Craig y Forwen.
The Clwyd Limestone guide is what it is - a very useful guide for an area that hadn't had a guide for years and needed one badly.
I see no relevance to the context of this current debate.
> Well that is why I don't like the word definitive. You could say exactly the same thing about every guidebook that claims to be definitive; there will always be omissions in all of them. This is pretty much the same point as someone made earlier when I pointed out that our last North Wales Limestone guide was deemed not to be definitive because it didn't contain Craig y Forwen.
No, you can smokescreen as much as you like, you specifically said that Clwyd Rockfax was *definitive*. What I conclude from this is that you clearly have a pretty flexible definition of 'definitive' when it comes to your own guides ...
> The Clwyd Limestone guide is what it is - a very useful guide for an area that hadn't had a guide for years and needed one badly.
No argument there, but you have just contradicted yourself as, by your own admission, it's hardly the definitive guide you claimed it to be.
> I see no relevance to the context of this current debate.
This is where we'll simply agree to disagree. Others can draw their own conclusions.
Well if you read a bit further you will see that I introduce the discussion about definitiveness with my caveats stated above as well. I merely use the word 'definitive' further down to distinguish what is quite obviously a very different approach to coverage than our normal truely-selective books and to save clarifying it every time.
In the case of Peak Limestone, for example, our book is selective, but it covers way more than North Wales Limestone, and a bit less than Clwyd coverage. Eastern and Western Grit are a bit below Peak Limestone, etc.
In the case of Clwyd there are a small handful of routes not included (a fair few new ones as well now I think) and it is certainly the nearest to being comprehensive (better word maybe) than any of our other books.
Our North Wales Limestone coverage in our selective guide will have a fraction of the total coverage and isn't definitive on the buttresses it covers. I spent quite a lot of time yesterday adding pointers to undescribed buttresses and routes in the text pointing at the proposed 'definitive' guide.
> Well if you read a bit further you will see that I introduce the discussion about definitiveness with my caveats stated above as well. I merely use the word 'definitive' further down to distinguish what is quite obviously a very different approach to coverage than our normal truely-selective books and to save clarifying it every time.
> In the case of Clwyd there are a small handful of routes not included (a fair few new ones as well now I think) and it is certainly the nearest to being comprehensive (better word maybe) than any of our other books.
Again, I must point out that your 'small handful' equates to literally hundreds of routes. Again, another sweeping, off-hand statement presented as *fact*.
> Our North Wales Limestone coverage in our selective guide will have a fraction of the total coverage and isn't definitive on the buttresses it covers. I spent quite a lot of time yesterday adding pointers to undescribed buttresses and routes in the text pointing at the proposed 'definitive' guide.
Good to hear that some progress is being made in the right direction with regards to NWL.
Also to go back to your assertion that you could see no relevance between the Clwyd situation and the current debate, the fact is that Rockfax cherry picked Llanymynech and consequently there has been no definitive guide to the crag and presumably never will be again. So, there is every relevance to the current debate as this was one of the main arguments being deployed against your proposed definitive coverage of the most popular NWL crags.
I haven't posted yet but I stand very much againist the RockFax selective guide. I'm hoping as Alan has stated above "The coverage is clipped". I'll be buying the NWL definitive.
I'm a Clwyd local myself, i'm pretty sure the Clwyd Limestone guide covered all the routes at Llanymynech at the time it was released (2005). A lot of routes were added/retro-bolted after the guide came out.
Mark and Lee are also working on a new Clwyd Limestone guide. I'm not sure what is/isn't to be included though.
I have been asked to clarify this statement. In essence it is true but it might be seen that the coverage being clipped was a consequence of the on-going discussion implying agreement from the other side. This isn't the case, the coverage being clipped was my own decision since I hadn't received a reply from them when writing the above post.
Really? Did they exist at the time the guide was written?
> Really? Did they exist at the time the guide was written?
I think when Dave says hundreds this is a little exaggerated...
Every crag in the Eglwyseg has had more routes added since the guide in 2005.
"d. Pandy Outcrop, Independence Quarry and Carreg y Byg are all excluded ..."
Pandy Outcrop isn't Limestone I’m pretty sure it's Igneous?
Independence Quarry was developed after the guide came out.
Carreg y Byg isn't in the Clwyd or North Wales.
I'm guess the decisions for what goes in the Clwyd guide are down to Mark and Lee? Both of which do a great job.
I think this is pretty irrelevant to the current discussion...
> Really? Did they exist at the time the guide was written?
Yes, all were in existence pre-2005. My ball-park figure would be around 225 'missing' climbs - and that may be conservative estimate.
If we just consider Llanymynech, Carreg y Byg and Pandy, there are around 125 climbs not described in the "definitive" Clwyd Limestone Rockfax. I reckon that there must be a similar number not accounted for on the Llangollen escarpment too. The only way you can be sure is to painstakingly cross-reference the Rockfax with the old definitive guidebooks - i.e. Gary Dickinson's Clwyd Rock and Doug Kerr's Rock Climbs in the West Midlands, both published by Cicerone - as well as look at Gary Gibson's website.
Presumably these climbs (and cliffs) simply weren't 'popular' enough in 2005 to be cherry-picked for the Rockfax.
Clwyd Limestone was once covered definitively. Then along came Rockfax, which ISN'T definitive, much as Rockfax would like you to believe otherwise. Furthermore, the existence of the Clwyd Rockfax means that it simply isn't in anyone's interest to now produce a truly definitive guide.
You may not think that this is anything to make a fuss about, but in certain areas, selective guides such as the Clwyd Limestone Rockfax do lead to the death of a fully definitive coverage and I think this is a lamentable loss.
Finally, IMHO, the authors of the new NWL definitive guide had every right to be concerned by the number of NWL routes/ crags being included in the new North/ Mid Wales Rockfax as history has a habit of repeating itself...
So you are saying there is no agreement on content as yet. It seems to me would be much better if this could be sorted out with agreement, both for the climbing community and for your commercial reputation. Why not find someone independant that both sides can trust to help negotiate a compromise position?
I have it on good authority that Pandy's being included in Clwyd Limestone Rockfax Mk 2, whether it be igneous of not (and you're dead right, it isn't limestone.)
> FWIW, I think otherwise (see above). But at the end of the day, will my opinion, or yours, make any difference?
As a climbing community our collective opinions matter a lot and will and have made a difference.
If no one had queried how much coverage was to be in the "selective" NW guide would Alan of ever made the decision to change it? I doubt it.
> As a climbing community our collective opinions matter a lot and will and have made a difference.
> If no one had queried how much coverage was to be in the "selective" NW guide would Alan of ever made the decision to change it? I doubt it.
I honestly admire your optimism Luke and deep-down I hope you're right. Personally I'm not prepared to commit myself yet as we still have no idea as to the scale of the 'paring back' because the nature or extent of the changes simply haven't been made public.
What I meant by my comment was that my present impression of Mr James, rightly or wrongly and based entirely on his responses to this thread, is that he appears to be the sort of person who isn't easily influenced by public opinion, nor by counter-arguments backed up with irrefutable facts. I may be entirely wrong and I may be doing him a total disservice, but for what it's worth, that's the impression he's given me.
However, if he has indeed made significant changes on the strength of opinion expressed on this thread then that's a very good and commendable act, which also means that the community spirit within climbing that you refer to is alive and well.
I suppose we shall just have to wait and see.
OK, I see your point here about close-to-definitive guides. Perhaps it would be good if guides of this sort took on the responsibility of at least mentioning areas not included. The BMC "Moors" guide sometimes relegates minor crags to online downloads, or to a brief mention and summary in the text, so is "definitive" in mentions even if not quite so in featured routes.
There are plenty of other "definitive" guides that don't include all crags, or sometimes all routes at a crag. There are one or two instances where the Rockfax Eastern grit selective guide includes more routes than the BMC definitive.
There aren't many definitive guides that include every single route at every single crag, though that's the direction they are headed. The closest I can think of is Vol 1 Yorkshire Gritstone.
I completely agree with this but I replied because I felt the situation was incomparable to the Clwyd guide as i'm pretty sure it's written exclusively by Mark/Lee. I'd be suprised if Alan has any input into the content of it?
I hope so.
Alan - Can you clarify what changes have been made to the number of routes included in what areas?
The only routes developed at the time of publication along the Trevor escarpment were on Compact wall and in the main quarry. Gary actually developed the rest of Trevor just after the guide had gone to press. Independence quarry had not been developed at all.
The Inclusion of Llanymynech was debated at the time between myself and Mark and we finally decided to include it based on the fact it was relatively close to the rest of the climbing and it had some good routes in a very different style to any others included in the guide. Llanymynech was covered selectively with all the sports routes at the time of press covered and the trad routes on both Black and Nomad Walls.
There has been a tremendous amount of development in the area and this will be covered in the second edition of the guide.
If you were to compare the routes listed in the Rockfax with either the Dickinson guide or for that matter the very old Cathcart guide you will see some omissions/differences. This was because some routes/walls had become completely overgrown and other routes had been written up as different routes in different guides! This was particularly prevalent at Maeshafn.
I have personally climbed around 75-80% of the routes listed in the guide. There will be some other omissions and errors but producing a completely error free book of any description is an almost impossible task.
None of this has any relevance in my opinion to the debate in hand regarding the new NWL guide. I have very strong personal opinions on this but reserve the right to keep these opinions to myself or my close friends. I have responded on this forum to put the facts in place regarding the routes covered by the Clwyd Rockfax.
Best wishes, Lee
"There are one or two instances where the Rockfax Eastern grit selective guide includes more routes than the BMC definitive." I think you mean some routes or minor buttresses not fuly described in the BMC definitives, not more routes for the crag as a whole, as I can't think of any crags like that. The biggest instance of leaving routes out of the BMC I can think of is the Xmas stuff on Bbamnford which is pretty minor as routes go.
Yes, that's what I mean. The main one being some of the "number" routes at Baslow. Not saying it was necessarily wrong to omit them, just an example of where "definitive" isn't the same thing as "complete".
There are one or two where a route is missing completely from to definitive with no hint of its existence - but this is most likely to be a mistake rather than deliberate decision.
Some of the fractional number routes at Baslow Gullies Wall are not routes any any normal sense of the word as they are incredibly artificial micro-eliminates, some of the more independant of which are graded but unnamed in the BMC text. Lots of other 'routes' like that or the Xmas routes (clear lines but very short) or things like vegetated gullies with the odd graded move are sometimes left out or left unnamed deliberately. A rare example of one that should have been in is the High Neb Girdle.
Definitive guides never included 'angels dancing on pinheads' and in that sense you could argue rather pointlessly that none are complete. They should include all the worthwhile lines not banned and an outline mention of stuff not included, with reasons why. Imagine what would happen to say the SMC guides if the same treatment that occurred with Gullies Wall in EG was transferred there.
Correct although we will discuss the content, but Clwyd wasn't an area I had much experience in. I remember now the discussion now on Llanymynech which was exactly as Lee has described above.
Upper Pen Trwyn - 9 out of 18 buttresses dropped
LPT - thinned
Castel y Gwynt - 9 routes down to 6
Little Orme - Dropped completely
Castle Inn - 3 out of 6 buttresses dropped
Penmaen Head - Haven't looked yet
10% page allocation to North Wales Lime which is the same as North Wales Rock.
Well done Alan, sounds like a very fair compromise, I wish now I hadn't burnt all my Rockfax guides in protest :-)
For me, the most surmising thing to come out of all this is the fact that there are 6 buttresses in Castle Inn quarry!
Hear hear; good to hear you've reached a workable compromise.
I was surmised myself. But then again, I like surmises. H :)
This sounds like a reasonable compromise. Respect for listening and taking people's views on board.
According to our 'internal documents' Clwyd Limestone is due out some time towards the end of next year. I think Mark is busy with the Welsh guide and Yorkshire Limestone before then.
I may be cynical but I think some of the statements above probably need a bit of clarification before people can get too excited about your “changes of heart”. As I read through the thread, some of you comments appear so carefully worded that they could have come from a spin doctor of politician.
“Upper Pen Trwyn - 9 out of 18 buttresses dropped “
Which buttresses have you left in? As I remember it, there was never much more that 8 decent buttresses anyway, so you could still cover most of the good parts of the crag. This would still have a potential impact for the NWBF/NWL guide.
“LPT – thinned”
What does this mean? How many routes have been dropped? You could get rid of Liquid Amber and Big Bang and call your coverage thinned. This would have little impact on your product in relation to your target market and still impact on sales of NWL.
You keep going on about pages but, really a tally of routes (PT and LPT) would be much more informative in letting people decide how much impact your guide will have on the definitive one.
“In negotiation” just sounds to me like short hand for “keep the lid on this situation until everyone forgets about it”, especially if (as I understand it) any donations are only going to be forthcoming once you have “covered your costs”. This could mean never, depending how aggressive you are with your accounting.
Fundamentally though, the main issue to me is the sense of fair play that seems to be lacking. The locals have invested heavily in the area and you are now seeking to capitalise on their hard work, potentially diverting thousands of pounds away from the bolt fund. At the end of the day the definitive guide has no mouths to feed and therefore lower costs, money will start going to the bolt fund sooner, this has got to be a good thing for the local area.
As Ian said the main issue is the sense of fair play that is lacking.
I don't think there has been a compromise made yet.
I really don't see why you feel the need to cover Pen Trwyn, LPT and Penmaen Head to the extent you are if the guidebook is to be "selective".
Especially after saying you didn't want to damage the prospects of the definitive guidebook and also stated the area cannot economically support two guidebooks previously.
What is your reason for doing it? Seeing as going ahead with what is planned will directly impact the donations to the bolt fund and the local scene I can't see any logical reason myself.
> Bolt fund
> “In negotiation” just sounds to me like short hand for “keep the lid on this situation until everyone forgets about it”, especially if (as I understand it) any donations are only going to be forthcoming once you have “covered your costs”. This could mean never, depending how aggressive you are with your accounting.
Afterall, even Alan admitted a similar thing earlier in the thread when he posted "We gave money in the past to the North Wales Bolt Fund and we are happy to do so again in the future and will do after we have broken even from this new book which may take a year or so."
Sorry, did I miss something?
Yes, but I didn't see that as a cheap shot.
Why not? Surely saying that they'll donate a potential £1500 is a good thing, isn't it?
> Why not? Surely saying that they'll donate a potential £1500 is a good thing, isn't it?
And that I have recognised as commendable.
It still does not require the need to highlight that NWL will take up to 2 years before it starts contributing to the fund in the announcement.
I don't have to pay any staff, 90% of the photographs used in the definitive guide have been given freely despite me offering to pay the going rate to the amazing photographers who took them, any overheads connected to this guidebook are virtually nil. Based on my low overheads and low initial outlay, printing costs and expected number of sales, the definitive guidebook should be making profit after 1 year. If I take up all the advertising being offered the book could be profitable within the first year. Thereafter it should provide a sustainable level of income for the bolt fund totaling approx £10000 over the next 15 years.
But you've overlooked (or failed to acknowledge) the most important factor - we're producing an App version of North Wales Limestone: The Definitive Guide, for iPhone and Android. This will be released at the same time as the printed guidebook. This App will be making profit from day 1. This profit will also go to the bolt fund.
I've forgotten, did I mention TheSend guidebook Apps? You should check them out, there's a free taster of NW Limestone App here!: http://thesend.co.uk/apps/northwaleslimestone.php
So there will be NWL funding for the bolts from day 1 from the app so the announcement is incorrect and IMHO inappropriate.
Some people will find fault whatever you do.
Well that's even better. They'll have so many bolts they'll be running out of rock. I think you're reading a fair bit more into this than me.
"However, the North Wales Bolt Fund is a very active bolt fund which has spent over £12,000 over the last few years" very little/if any of which has come directly from rockfax, who are now seeking to capitalise on this investment for the bargain price of £1500 and a bit more at some time in the future.
The comment about no money from the NWL guide going to the bolt fund for "1 or 2 years" is wilfully misleading. Pete states that it should be paying out by the end of year 1.
> I think you're reading a fair bit more into this than me.
Maybe you are right. How could I even consider a guidebook publisher would state that with his book the funding will support local activists straight away whereas if you buy the other book it will not fund the local activists for another 2.5 years.
Nope, you are right, I must be reading a fair bit more into this.
> "However, the North Wales Bolt Fund is a very active bolt fund which has spent over £12,000 over the last few years" very little/if any of which has come directly from rockfax, who are now seeking to capitalise on this investment for the bargain price of £1500 and a bit more at some time in the future.
> The comment about no money from the NWL guide going to the bolt fund for "1 or 2 years" is wilfully misleading. Pete states that it should be paying out by the end of year 1.
Don't shoot the messenger. I have zip to do with the North Wales guide but thought your comments that creative accounting would mean it likely that no money would be forthcoming was a bit misleading.
> Some people will find fault whatever you do.
> Some people will find fault whatever you do.
or not do.
> Maybe you are right. How could I even consider a guidebook publisher would state that with his book the funding will support local activists straight away whereas if you buy the other book it will not fund the local activists for another 2.5 years.
> Nope, you are right, I must be reading a fair bit more into this.
How does "1 or 2" equal 2.5? Maybe you are exaggerating...
So my post should read
Maybe you are right. How could I even consider a guidebook publisher would state that with his book the funding will support local activists straight away whereas if you buy the other book it will not fund the local activists for another 2 years.
Nope, you are right, I must be reading a fair bit more into this.
What dya think?
Quote from: rockfax
The funds provided by the new definitive book may well ultimately provide some much needed cash for the North Wales Bolt Fund but this is unlikely to happen for a year or two due to the initial publishing costs needing to be met first.
I can almost feel the clenched-teeth reluctance with which that was typed.
I don't have to pay any staff (you do), 90% of the photographs used in the definitive guide have been given freely despite me offering to pay the going rate to the amazing photographers who took them, any overheads connected to this guidebook are virtually nil. Based on my low overheads and low initial outlay, printing costs and expected number of sales, the definitive guidebook should be making profit after 1 year. If I take up all the advertising being offered the book could be profitable within the first year. Thereafter it should provide a sustainable level of income for the bolt fund totaling approx £10000 over the next 15 years.
But you've overlooked (or failed to acknowledge) the most important factor - we're producing an App version of North Wales Limestone: The Definitive Guide, for iPhone and Android. This will be released at the same time as the printed guidebook. This App will be making profit from day 1. This profit will also go to the bolt fund.
I've forgotten, did I mention TheSend guidebook Apps? You should check them out, there's a free taster of NW Limestone App here!: http://thesend.co.uk/apps/northwaleslimestone.php
Of course, it shouldn't be forgotten that the definitive guide would be even quicker to make a profit if there wasn't competition from a guidebook publisher cynically purporting to be producing a 'Select Guide' which contains absurdly disproportionate coverage of the most popular NW Limestone routes.
You still haven't given any comprehensible reason for why you've chosen to do this Alan - why would you make what's turning out to be such an ill-judged move? The only two motives I or anyone else can come up with are: you think you will sell more books if they contain extensive coverage of three of the most popular NW Limestone crags - which, if true, exposes as outright lies everything you've stated up to now about not wanting to damage the prospects of the definitive guidebook - remember it was you who stated the area cannot economically support two guidebooks;
you're sore and bitter about backing out of your NW Lime guide in 2010 and still angry with me for 'getting one over on you' by making a legitimate complaint about you to the ICO - i.e. you're doing this as some kind of retaliatory grudge and, despite giving impressions to the contrary, you always planned to try to undermine the definitive guide with your own preemptively released book containing extensive limestone coverage. If that were true it show's you up as deceptive, cynical and not giving a damn about the overall good of the wider NW limestone area.
Either of the above reasons could be true but whatever the reason is, you're screwing up yours and your company's image and reputation as a result of it.
As far as can be gathered without Alan providing clarity, the limestone route-count in the rockfax NW Climbs is still 250 out of the total 1000 routes. It works out as all the worthwhile routes on LPT, Pen Trwyn and Penmaen Head, and the most popular on Castle Inn. The only crag in his NW Lime coverage that could be called genuinely selective is Castell y Gwynt - 6 routes.
According to rockfax the NW Climbs guidebook will contain 1000 routes spread over 55 crags.
250 of those routes (the NW Limestone ones) are to be found on 5 crags.
That leaves 750 routes spread between the remaining 50 crags in N.Wales. The maths would suggest these remaining 50 crags should therefore contain 2500 routes, going by the coverage given to NW lime.
Neither Andy Boorman, the co-author of the definitive guide, nor the person who runs the bolt fund wish to get involved in public online discussions with Alan. But both have given Alan their views. I don't think they'd mind me stating here that they neither of them are in favour of rockfax's current plan. Andy will post his considered view on here, but he wants to see if Alan can clarify the route count for LPT and Pen Trwyn first.
Cherry picking! I included a decent chunk. Obviously I was asking about that specific part rather than indiscriminately posting a wall of text. I assume you believe that section does not put him in the best light?
Logic of this is either could also be not true as well.
> Logic of this is either could also be not true as well.
Or both. Which do you think he's suggesting?
In what way is "the end of year 1" different from (the bottom end of) "1 to 2 years"?
> In what way is "the end of year 1" different from (the bottom end of) "1 to 2 years"?
Not really different but as the app will pay from day 1 the end of year 1 or 1 to 2 years argument is moot.
> Not really different but as the app will pay from day 1 the end of year 1 or 1 to 2 years argument is moot.
The argument was that rockfax were being 'willfully' misleading in saying it will take one to two years for the guidebook(!) to cover its publishing costs. The guide book author believes it will do this in one year, thus little difference in estimates. Rockfax has coincided closely with pete's own estimatations thus has mislead no one like the person suggested.
The time it takes a guidebook to 'cover its costs' depends on:
a) the print bill
b) the cover price
c) how many get sold
a) & b) might be known but c) will be pure guesswork. Even people who know the business well, make mistakes in there estimation of break-even time, usually it takes longer than you expect.
Well it's 100%/50% difference depending upon how you call it. Either way it is a big difference.
> Well it's 100%/50% difference depending upon how you call it. Either way it is a big difference.
You mean 0-50/100%. It's not either or, if they start making a profit after one year one week then there would be <2% difference and it would still lie within rockfax's estimate. This only matters if Pete's estimates are not accurate, as if they make a profit in a year then rockfax is bang on. If they are late with making profits then would we criticise rockfax for being correct?
As Craggs has just stated, time will ultimately tell, and often it takes longer than expected to make a profit.
Jesus after being publicly shamed into donating to the bolt fund, Rockfax still trying to spin one over the definitive team. That last paragraph is pathetic.
This was intended as a positive gesture since I am aware of the costs of publishing and also know exactly how long a guidebook to a small area can take to break even. Since I have no knowledge of the actual system the book is using to generate funds i assumed it would be cover outgoings first, then concentrate on the donations since that is the most sensible from a cashflow point of view.
My offer to make payments early was simply trying to help. If people are interpreting it as a slight against the other book then that was not my intention.
In the end, if both books are generating funds from day 1 then that is a good thing isn't it?
Additionally, we always intended to make a contribution to the NWBF from the proceeds of this book. This discussion has helped crystallise that.
If people are interpreting said statement as a slight will you be keeping it?
Well, if Alan, or anyone else, wants to know how the definitive guidebook is going to go about contributing, then they only have to read the thread on the other site.
Are you on the rota for keeping this thread alive as some people seem to be doing? It's almost an orchestrated campaign.
After all, this was done to death previously and yet here you are again trying to scrape the very bottom of a very empty barrel.
> Well, if Alan, or anyone else, wants to know how the definitive guidebook is going to go about contributing, then they only have to read the thread on the other site.
Or even contact the guidebook authors and the manager of the bolt fund and get it from the horse's mouth directly?
I'm not sure how an announcement by Rockfax, linked by Chris Craggs thereby revitalising said thread, made on Monday has been done to death within 5 days seeing as Alan has only replied today.
Are you the arbitrator of UKC threads and have the authority to kick threads into the tall grass?
In reply to grumpybearpantsclimbinggoat:
Ahh yes, the old forums classic - when confronted simply throw silly throwaway barbs around. Immature.
If you take a liesurely stroll back through the thread you will see that the question of how long the book(s) would take to contribute to the fund/pay for themselves have been done to death. Hence my point.
It is patently clear to me that a number of posters have some kind of agenda of keeping this subject alive via this post, not because of any "truth" or "justice", but as a way of constantly attempting to drag Alan's/Rockfax's name through the mud. At times it feels like a deliberate and orchestrated campaign.
There is an enormous red-herring here being perpetrated not by Alan or Rockfax but by others, and it doesn't take long to uncover it. Frankly it's petty and trivial but along the way has resulted in this willful attempt to slander the likes of Alan.
Whilst there is a dearth of information about book contributions we also have a post from Alan stating "Since I have no knowledge of the actual system the book is using to generate funds".
You accuse me of colluding with others and having an agenda to keep the thread alive in an attempt to slander Alan and drag his name through the mud?
1. I have close friends within climbing - not one of them is discussing this with me - if others have agenda/collusions it is nowt to do with me.
2. I wouldn't be replying if the announcement had not been posted by a UKC associate.
3. I am interested in truth (which is not patently clear to you). Alan has replied to my questions (here and overseas) either identifying his position or clarifying understanding.
4. What is petty/trivial to you can be important to others.
5. Do you mind pointing out the silly immature barbs? As far as my post to you was concerned, you accuse me and I point out you don't have be involved, what barb is that in comparison to being accused of barrel scraping?
6. There is a reply to this topic button - it is being used. You want a thread to die - get the reply button removed.
I think you are getting a bit emotive. Certainly I and some others here would simply like Alan to continue in dialogue with the authors, as a negotiated settlement (to avoid a likely larger level of ongoing resentment if things stay as they are), would be better for climbing. Pete raised the point on the other channel that about 250 routes out of 1000 does seem a lot given NWL is a comparative backwater to the many big name areas in and around Snowdonia and he would like Rockfax to reduce this number, and if this is true, it still seems to me to be a live issue, that I'd hope Alan will still look at.
I think it might even help overall sales as, irrespective of any ongoing fallout from this issue, most occasional climbers, who are the likely biggest group who might buy such a selective guide, are usually not interested in the NWL area (quite a few of them also liked the old pocket format).
> You accuse me of colluding with others and having an agenda to keep the thread alive in an attempt to slander Alan and drag his name through the mud?
No I didn't, that's twisting my words. I offered an opinion that some on UKC appeared to be doing this. If you inferred that I was meaning you personally then that's purely by accident.
As you have proven yourself willing to twist my words then there's little more to say.
After all, this was done to death previously and yet here you are again trying to scrape the very bottom of a very empty barrel.
Goatbearpantsgrump' response - You accuse me of colluding with others and having an agenda to keep the thread alive in an attempt to slander Alan and drag his name through the mud?
Rampikino's reply - No I didn't, that's twisting my words. I offered an opinion that some on UKC appeared to be doing this. If you inferred that I was meaning you personally then that's purely by accident.
Dr Metal Arms diagnosis - Rampikino's fully insane!
I ASKED if he/she was on a rota and I made an opinion that he/she was scraping the bottom of the barrel. That is NOT the same as accusing someone of colluding with others and having an agenda. The two things are DIFFERENT. If you can't see that then don't post.
Read ALL posts before you start spouting your nonsense.
If you can point out where I accused him/her directly of colluding with others and having an agend a to slander Alan and drag his name through the mud then I will apologise. But you can't because I didn't.
Ok, this is getting a bit out of control and petty. I have been desperately trying to avoid closing this thread since I know how that will be interpreted, however I do now think that the debate has been going around in circles for the last week or so.
I am now going to close this thread. As ever, anyone wishing to pursue this discussion any further is welcome to email me direct.
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