/ Gary Gibson reaches 4000 new routes
This is an incredible achievement and reward for his lifetime of new routing at what must be a huge financial cost in terms of fuel and bolts. Thank you Gary for the routes you have given us, well done and here's looking to 5000!
Apparently some are even quite good.
Apparently he hasn't actually climbed all of them though.
Yes - a phenomenal effort. That's a lot of routes let alone new ones. Great to see you at Pinfold recently. Re-equiping old ones (that only had the odd bolt or two previously) into decent climbs and finding new gaps too!
Just a quick look at SportsclimbsUk gives an insight into the range of venues and grades developed.
Hats off to the man!
We saw someone drilling at stoney last Monday and joked
"that's probably Garry Gibson putting up another route" turns out we were right.
Yes, a fantastic achievement, all things considered. Not everyone's so impressed though as he was placed a very lowly 98/100 in the '100 most influential climbers in Britain' list in June's Climb magazine. A not-so-subtle snub perhaps? (Mind you, the whole list was about as useful and objective as a graded list.)
It was pointed out many times that the list was in no particular order.
> It was pointed out many times that the list was in no particular order.
Hmm ... very curious. I've just re-read the article now and I couldn't find even one mention of the fact that the list wasn't in order of merit, not in the introductory paragraph nor in the editorial. If it wasn't intended to be viewed as a merit list, then surely it would have made sense to make it an alphabetical one.
Maybe you missed the thread on here at the time about the list? Certainly Ian Parnell made the point, but I agree it would have been a good idea to have said something in the introductory paragraph.
Which thread was it? Just had a quick search and couldn't find anything.
Thanks for pointing out that thread; I didn't see it at the time.
In it, 'TRip' says:
"Mark Valance - He invented Friends and Rocks FFS!"
For the sake of accuracy:
1. It's 'Vallance', not 'Valance'.
2. He didn't invent friends. Their inventor was Ray Jardine.
What a ridiculous statement.
> What a ridiculous statement.
I'll explain...it's a joke...Grits not bolted....'What's he ever done on Grit' is a well used phrase to put down good climbers in the UK....maybe I should have said 'what's he ever bolted on grit'....apologies if you don't like my attempt at humour!
> What a ridiculous statement.
What have you ever done on grit?
> What a ridiculous statement.
I would imagine L1-J had his tongue firmly in his cheek. Just in case not, then I'll nominate Peaches as a fine addition by Gary to the grit.
What's the consensus on all the recent bolting activity on Garage buttress BTW?
Gary has probably given more people good days climbing than anyone else. We are in his debt.
> Gary has probably given more people good days climbing than anyone else. We are in his debt
And about time his achievement was recognized by the givers of gongs (anyone listening at the BMC?)
Is there a list of these 4000?
Met him climbing today at Harpur Hill. Really nice bloke, and this is an amazing achievment.
Got to be worth a UKC Article? If not an article for one of the Climbing mags?
Think he deserves an OBE!!!??? ( Order of the Bolting Empire) although some of of his route done without bolts, and others bold, better not say OBE as "Old Big'Ead"
He has done a fantastic service for the climbing populace, and look forward to 4321???
> And about time his achievement was recognized by the givers of gongs (anyone listening at the BMC?)
What gongs are those? Le Spit d'or?
4000 blimey! I didn't know that the Stranglers had written so many songs ;o)
4000 blimey! I didn't know that the Stranglers had written so many songs ;o)
If it wasn't for Gibson, they would have split up and stopped playing years ago.
Met him today at Harpur Hill, I was a bit flummoxed trying to drop a top rope down 'Sumo' (7a), so I could get out my quickdraws after having to back down from it - he wanders over and points out a bolt in the rock a few metres back from the crag face, then pulls out a spanner and plate and proceeds to fit it to the bolt purely so I can use it for a top rope, commenting 'I put this bolt in when I set the route 10 years ago'. Realisation dawned and I spent the next few minutes being thankful. He told me he's spent over £50,000 on bolting gear in the time he's been doing it.
> He told me he's spent over £50,000 on bolting gear in the time he's been doing it.
Wow. He said he'd spent a lot when I talked to him but had no idea it was that much! Just so people know, you can donate to the fund on www.sportsclimbs.co.uk
I take it you have a very bad memory. I wonder if someone could tot up the number of trad starred routes he's put up. Hundreds at least.
I'd argue to Gary's detractors (and yes, he has 'em) that situations such as these provide a very accurate indicator indeed as to what a person is really like. Normally such instances go unreported; there's no kudos, no social gain. The person either gives freely or they don't. Gary gives freely - again and again and again.
Would think it would be well over that. Just messing around on Portland, I've probably got through about £5,000 (all my own money). Gary will have reached deep into his pockets. And there's the time - thousands and thousands of hours.
Re recognition: nobody in their right mind would put up 4,000 routes just for recognition. Equally it seems wrong that contributing so much (and all the re-equipping) should go unrecognised. Al Evans put up Joe Brown for an MBE (he'd already got an OBE; or maybe it was the other way round?) And, lo and behold, the powers that be actually took notice and issued it.
It would be nice if Al (or someone else?) did the same for Gary. And do the BMC issue gongs? Even if they don't, surely they could make an exception? Gary is, I'm sure we'll all agree, a special case.
For me though, more important than gongs, numbers of new routes, money or effort is how you behave with other climbers at the crag. That's the ultimate test of what a person's really like. Gary spent years having shit flung at him; it's massively to his credit that he stoically endured it and continues to contribute to the common good.
Yeah - even I'd agree with that.
As for the rest count me out.
He told me it was because he found the unknown more appealing than that which was already described, or something like that
'...that untravelled world...'
'Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!'
Better not to rust unburnished. Better to shine in use. Even if the business is a perilous one.
I like that :-)
Where is that from?
Alfred,Lord Tennyson : Ulysses
google is quite good these days :-p
Amazing! Thanks for all the routes Gary!
He's done plenty of hard grit, do you homework!
> 4000 blimey! I didn't know that the Stranglers had written so many songs ;o)
I mentioned one of his routes to him, and he could tell me when he climbed it and where he saw the Stranglers play that night, back in 79 !
His aim was a Stranglers track on every crag in the country - wonder which crags he hasn't put up a route on ?
> Apparently he hasn't actually climbed all of them though.
+1 for the gong.
£50k of his own money. what a legend.
Given permission to retro routes is fine but bolting over established routes and then a cursory mention in the guide is not really on. Perhaps that is not his fault but he more than anyone usually knows what has gone previously.
My route "don't talks to strangers" bolted over to give to 2 routes. "Procession" is actually Eddy Cochran or whatever it was called and Procession is actually Perilscope and is in the log book on this site.
So, he is more than Likely on 3898 for anyone who actually really cares.
Paul Mitchell should have a look at the wall to the left of. Rainsong as his old routes from Crags in the 80's got a bolt and renamed also. Maybe that was what's coming anyway in the future but renaming and taking the past for numbers don't count.
I'm pretty pissed off about the bolt thats clippable from the 3* VS Evasor.
Regarding nearby trad routes being affected - this can be tricky but take example of High Tor right wing. It seems no one climbed since the 90's and it got really overgrown and dirty. GG has cleaned it up really well and added the various sport routes - which here and there you can clip from the trad routes. It has been restored to an excellent venue. I doubt if many climb at Stoney West either - dont think Ive been there for 20 years, but can understand peoples annoyance if their routes have been bolted over.
> Apparently he hasn't actually climbed all of them though.
it would be good when someone of your obvious knowledge and experience comes out with such a statement for you to back these statements up with your facts. I obviously bow down to your superior climbing heritage and depth of experience, but would like to know wher you have got these facts from.
It's so true that there are so many crags that have been touched by the great man, his drill and his chisel. I think an ASBO might be more appropriate than an OBE though :)
Only last weekend I was up at Craig Yr Ysfa for the first time. A bastion of traditional Welsh mountain crag values I thought. One quick scan of the guide later I find "The Haunted", an E5 taking a plum line up a blank looking face...and how was this 'unknown' explored?
Of course, you know the answer already don't you...Gary had the vision to drill a hole and bang in a peg where everyone else had thought "too bold, leave it for someone better".
Astonishing stuff - well done to Gary
A top bloke too.
For me By far the most influential climber briatin has seen, as he has done more for climbing in britain than any superstar climber has ever done.
Great work gary i hope to read a indepth article about your success one day
I never said I knew he hadn't climbed all of them. Like someone else said I have heard these things from various people, hence the use of the word "apparently"
I don't know why you thought I assumed that I had superior climbing heritage or experience than Garry Gibson, what a ridiculous idea. Can you please read what people write as opposed to what you think they write.
> Gary has probably given more people good days climbing than anyone else. We are in his debt.
Mick, I would suggest that Joe Brown has him beat there.
Don't worry Quarryboy, Saun is just exposing his lack of knowledge or perhaps a selective memory.
> I never said I knew he hadn't climbed all of them. Like someone else said I have heard these things from various people, hence the use of the word "apparently"
Gary did admit this when he was guest speaker at a Black Pudding Team dinner, however I think he near as damn it did the ones he didn't really do properly.
Having said all that, and publishing the early picture above from Crags, I think Gary's contribution to UK climbing is only bettered by Joe Brown unless you are purely a sport climber when it probably exceeds it. As to quality of routes Joe wins hands down.
Well done Gary and thanks for some great experiences- Cithaeron - Widespread Ocean of Fear and Ace of Diamonds on Lundy were total class.
Not sure what my worst Gary experience was. Probably his dog eating my lunch at Chee Tor one day I felt a bit pissed off about that.
from the Staffs Grit guide (because I happen to have it on my desk)....
Diamond Wednesday, Schoolies, Something better change (NOT chipped by FA), Sparkle, War wound, Shortcomings, Sunstance, Poisonous Python, Crenation, Coldfinger, Hanging Around, Fred's café, Chicane Destination, Chicane, AM Anaesthetic, The Aspirant, Time to be had, Sennapod, Says gone by, Bad Poynt, Bed of Nails, National Hero, Graffiti, The Valve, Third Degree Burn, Wipers, Destination Venus, Heartbleed, Curvature, Between the Tiles, Definitive Gaze, Split Personality, The Sublime, Topaz, 39th Step, Genetix, Public Enemy Number One, Wrong Way Round, Chronicle, Microcosm, Inspiration Point, Carrion, The Thin Air, Circuit Breaker, Amaranth, Poison Gift, Licence to Run (1pt aid), Trebia, Swan Bank, Live Bait, Hallow to Our Men, Automatix, Strain Station, Entente Cordiale, Pebbles on a Wessex Beech, Slips.
And that's just The Roaches between '78 and '82.
A couple of weeks earlier he did his first lead on Right Route with gear I placed. GG was there and I didn't hear him laugh once. Turns out Gary was waiting for a mutual friend who wanted to do Sloth. Gary held the ropes and seconded the climb even though he must have done it about 3000 times already.
Congratulations, Gary on reaching 4K new routes. Amazing achievement.
Ace of Diamonds is a Steve Boydon and Paul Harrison route but Widespead Ocean of Fear is probably the best route I've led anywhere. I've done some of his other Garage Buttress routes recently too - there're petty good. Hats off to you Gary.
As to quality of routes Joe wins hands down.
Percentage wise you might well be right, but Brown did have the benefit of being in the 'right place at the right time' i.e. the best climber of his era and with oceans of unclimbed rock to choose from.
Gibson was never the best and in many cases had to make do with 'gap filling'. Saying that, he has probably (undoubtedly?) done more starred routes than Brown.
Perhaps for overall volume and quality, someone like Littlejohn or Crocker would be a better bet?
It would be interesting to see a list and perhaps include the likes of Littlejohn and Crocker. Brown's more discerning approach to new routes or Gibson's sledgehammer approach. To the average climber and thus the vast majority, Brown is definitely the better provider of quality routes.
Not that it really matters though...
So that begs the question, does the 4000 include ballpoint ascents or not?
Trivia question: -
What route does this quote refer to: "Gary's got a problem!"
New routing is not just an ego trip, it is also trying to put something back into the sport that you love, and yes it gives you satisfaction but I assure you, you always hope that your routes will give pleasure to others too.
Ban y Gor, btw, Al Evans.
Yes, nice one Gary. You'll be catching up Barry Clarke soon :)
Not quite sure why you have replied to me in such a manner. I'm fully appreciative of Gibson's routes, having enjoyed both trad and bolted routes that he has done. However, he has attracted some controversy through bolting Pembroke/Lundy and pro-claiming routes. To be fair, he wasn't the only top climber bolting the likes of Pembroke and I believe he eventually climbed the routes he claimed (think he claimed them to give him more time to climb them as his own. He'd spent time cleaning them and he didn't want them climbed by someone else - not sure about the route I referenced above though).
Additionally, I know full well that he nearly died (at Ban Y Gor), but at least it gave him an alternative Route naming source as opposed to his usual Stranglers song names...
Or should it be Penicillin...
4000 new routes deserves recognition simply for the sheer amount of effort and persistence involved, and he also deserves credit for having the strength of character to put up with the considerable amount of snipping he's had to contend with over the years.
>he also deserves credit for having the strength of character to put up with the considerable amount of snipping he's had to contend with over the years.
And, of course, condemnation for having deserved much of it.
Some really valid points being offered by both sides, I'm pleased it hasn't turned into a slinging match, not that gary would be bothered, he be out climbing probably on 4004 now
> Regarding nearby trad routes being affected - this can be tricky but take example of High Tor right wing. It seems no one climbed since the 90's and it got really overgrown and dirty. GG has cleaned it up really well and added the various sport routes - which here and there you can clip from the trad routes. It has been restored to an excellent venue. I doubt if many climb at Stoney West either - dont think Ive been there for 20 years, but can understand peoples annoyance if their routes have been bolted over.
One of the bolts on a High Tor sport route of his is clippable from the traverse on Highlight which I thought was a bit lame. Had it been placed a few feet lower that would not have been the case.
Ban-y-Gor, was it not?
> Ban-y-Gor, was it not?
I think I stand corrected.
Talked about this in the pub on a recent climbing trip and some interesting stuff came up:
I'm not sure how long he's been new-routing for, but let's say for argument's sake it's 40 years.
That's 100 routes per year, or approx 2 every week. I know some of them aren't bolted, but let's assume they are as I'm not sure of the numbers for sport/trad routes that Gary has put up.
I'm sure he has to work to make a living at some point, and, having done some new routing, I'm baffled by how anyone can find the time to put up this number of routes, especially if they are going to be great quality. It must take time hunting around for really great lines, great rock and moves that climb well. The sheer number of routes is even more baffling when I think about the travel time to get to the crags etc. Perhaps this explains why there are some of these routes that are not great quality, on poor rock, or with less than perfectly positioned bolts.
To some degree, to get to that number, you'd HAVE to focus on quantity rather than quality, which is perhaps a shame. Would it be preferable to have a lower number of great routes, on sound rock with perfect protection (if bolted)?
Anyone putting up that number of routes is bound to stumble on a few crackers, just based on probability, but they will also inevitably end up putting up routes on poor rock, or just routes that really aren't much good.
Is it a public service, or is it some bizarre obsession with bagging as many new routes as possible? I'm not sure.
'You throw enough balls at enough coconuts, you win a fish'
> Is it a public service, or is it some bizarre obsession with bagging as many new routes as possible? I'm not sure.
I had conversations with Gary when his "target", and I use that word in it's truest sense, was 3000. I firmly believe it's the latter but that doesn't detract from the achievement.
Interestingly I believe that there are climbers in the alps who have made far more significant contributions, certainly in terms of quality, and not that far behind in quantity, but in the context of multi-pitch routes not easy access short problems in quarries. Guys like Damilano and Piola for example. If you add together pitches rather than routes I suspect they may come out ahead.
No I mean Highlight on High Tor. It may well be the case on Evasor also but I don't remember one there, that was 7ish years ago mind.
> I had conversations with Gary when his "target", and I use that word in it's truest sense, was 3000.
I can't understand that sort of mentality i.e. just wanting to put up a fixed number of routes, regardless of quality. Reducing it to a numbers game is obviously going to detract from the overall quality. Each to their own I suppose.
Sorry, I was getting High Tor & Stoney muddled up. Anyway, it is the case on Evasor as well
I guess a reasonable analogy would be doing lots of routes in a day. The real satisfaction is moving efficiently over lots of ground, not the fact that you've ticked off so many hundred routes in a day. Similarly, I suspect Gary hasn't been going out and putting up new routes at such a rate purely so he can tell people he's put up 4000 new routes, I would guess it comes more from a deep enjoyment he gets from climbing new routes.
I'm not convinced. Especially when he apparently didn't even climb some of them. If he's putting them up for that reason, then wouldn't it be daft to then not even climb some of them?!
I'm not trying to detract from the "achievement", but just struggling to understand how it can be anything except a numbers game to put up routes at that sort of rate over such a long time period. From the admittedly small amount of new routing I have done recently, I'm struggling to understand how it's possible to seek out decent new lines on good rock with good climbing, travel to crags, drill, put in bolts, clean any loose rock etc etc at a rate of 2 new routes per week, every week, for 40 years.
Some of the poorer routes at places like Horseshoe also suggest (to me at least) that it aint all about quality, or enjoying the first ascent.
You ARE kidding, aren't you?
To put it another way, I don't see how anyone could average 2 FAs/week for 40 years if they didn't get some enjoyment from the act.
I'm not disputing the fact that the enjoys it. Of course he does in some way...otherwise he woudn't bother.
Anyway - enough said from me. Very little more to add.
Well said - couldn't have put it better myself.
Im also not suggesting that he's some sort of selfless god, going out every week to put up new routes for us to enjoy. Quite the opposite, really. I think he does it primarily because he enjoys it.
Of course but that is not my perception in Gary's case.
> Im also not suggesting that he's some sort of selfless god, going out every week to put up new routes for us to enjoy. Quite the opposite, really. I think he does it primarily because he enjoys it.
Only Gary knows the answer and again it's down to perception, a perception gained over many years of occassional contact and conversations.
> [> Anyone putting up that number of routes is bound to stumble on a few crackers]
> 'You throw enough balls at enough coconuts, you win a fish'
Not really related to the total number of routes but the 'quality' argument wins a bit of a red herring IMHO.
Going back in time when there was a lot of resistence to any bolting, saying the routes were tougher made a bit of sense as it helped overcome the dinosaur objections and made bolting more acceptable.
This, combined with the fact that people tended to bolt routes that were more challenging meant that there was little low end sport climbing to be done.
At the same time people complain about groups polishing/hogging well loved trad venues.
Surely the obvious thing to do would be to develop low end sport venues for groups and learners, to keep them away from other venues? Especially if those venues are quarries that can really be chipped, distorted, vandalised to make a range of routes?
Less kudos for gaining a rep for hard routes but a much greater contribution to the community as a whole?
Thus preserving areas like High Tor and Stoney, you mean ?
Hawkwing, Wishful Thinking, The Laughing Cavaliers...... Thank you Gary from one committed middle-grade traddie!
I met Gary and Hazel quite accidentally in 'non-climbing' circumstances whilst on holiday. They are great people and Gary has a wicked sense of humour. He's also a very genuine bloke who does a lot of work for others. I'm delighted that he's reached this milestone; just look at how many of his routes are classics!
Is there a list of all his routes anywhere so there would be no hours and hours spent trawling through the logbook on here and through various guidebooks?
Barry Clarke is catching him up.
Yep, there's one here:
'Gary' not 'Garry'...At the end of the day, I'd much prefer to view these routes as if 'Looking through Gary Gibson's eyes'. Could that be an 'advert' for the great man?
He's such a hell of a nice guy and such a total enthusiast that you have to warm to him, even though his new-routing fanaticism (much of it in quite grotty quarries) is off the scale and must blot out much else in his life.
Those were good days.....the same day my mate took a bolt of this alternator housing on his Austin allegro.....threaded some tape and wedged it somewhere in sauls crack.....good times!
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