/ PRODUCT NEWS: Peak Bouldering - Pre-order Special Offer
The new Peak Bouldering Rockfax guidebook is now available for pre-orders at a special offer price of £24.95 (RRP £29.95).
Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/news.php?id=6264
Still haven't ticked my way through the old one yet...
Agreed. Well done Rockfax.
Not to happy about this, not because its going to be a bad book because it wont be. But mainly for the fact that a me and a couple of friends are heading to the peaks the end of april, why couldn't it have come out at the start of april. :(
Go on tempt me! I have every Peak guide published since the late 80s and I've done pretty much everything I know about in my grades, up to V5. What new stuff will I find in this guide?
As a definitive author I suspect there will be some. The odd good venue missed the BMC rounds that Im pretty sure will make it, like the Oxstones (which is of course covered in VG's update). Will it be worth it for the man who has everything...most likely or they wont have purchased everything already. For the man who has all the BMC guides and a small pocket or serious performers...probably not. Newbie punters into bouldering...probably ideal.
Having prasied Rockfax now I have to critisise. I'd hoped (and asked) that they would leave out detailed problem information on the Woolpacks (as the BMC did deliberately): a place with scrittly surface rock so not the most pleasant to climb on and soft rock underneath so very prone to damage. The prospect of erosion and chalk up here on a very well used footpath area seems like too much risk for too little gain; lets hope the long walk-in keeps the crowds away. I strongly suspect they have gone ahead given they have a picture of Audrey on rock that makes the place
Back to Oxstones I have what may be the first grade complaint from the publicity photos. VG grade hard for their F5+ and Ive climbed this a few times so unless Rockfax have tightened up all their grades Oxecute'em is borderline V1/V2 and certainly UK 5c. Its a brilliant problem though so go try it.
I think the most appealing aspect of our new guide will be the presentation of the information. Yes, there are a lot of easier problems documented for the first time but it is the way the book is laid out that I hope people will like. It is a bit different especially in terms of the way we have treated bouldering circuits.
There is some sandy rock up at the Woolpacks but we deliberately only documented problems on the solid rock. We also make a point of telling people that they are likely to encounter sandy rock if they climb on other undocumented bits of rock, so in that sense, it is easier now for visitors to focus on the good sections of rock. Whatever happens the place is never going to get popular.
So you would give Oxecute'em a grade of V2 5c then?
So, have you guys checked any of the routes this time?
What solid rock? We must have different definitions. Some rock is a lot worse up there than other bits but I've not seen any I'd class as good.. There are loads of venues in the peak, even on Kinder, with better rock that you havent included all with less potential problems from erosion and upsetting ramblers, photographers etc with unwelcome chalk use. Thats all before the punters who do go up there inevitably start climbing and making claims on the stuff you havent listed.
Oxycute'em is 5c on the V1/V2 border.... either V grade will do as long as its consistent with your grading elsewhere in the guide. We have it as V1 5c on 'Offwidth'.
We have given it V2 5c. In actual fact we have given all 5c problems V2 since that is the grade conversion we have gone for in this guide. We went for a 1-1 translation in the lower V-gradess and UK tech grades to try and sort out some of the strange anomalies that have crept in by using different systems.
Indoors in most places it would be V3. I suspect V2 being consistent from your last guide unless you have tightened up. In your Yorkshire, guide V0+ unless it was at Shipley Glen when it might be 5a. This is why UK tech grades are so useful: way too many graders are clueless with font or V in this range and hence we have wildly inconsistent grading at low grades from venue to venue but lots of people climbing them (often getting frustrated) do know their UK tech.
Yes, I agree with that. This is why we have been very diligent with the lower grade problems in this book. Time and again we found the problems had bizarre V-grades. In this book we have pretty much thrown out the old notion of V-grade conversion, and stuck with UK tech grade and then matched that to a consistent V-grade instead. However we have changed the UK tech grade of loads of the lower grade problems after finding some wild over and under grading in places, much of which dated from our own Peak Bouldering Rockfax from 1998!
So with all this genuinely good work why risk leaving a bad taste with the Woolpacks? A very mediocre and sensitive venue hardly anyone will buy the guide for.
I don't believe that will be the case. We found a wild and interesting venue and climbed on rock more solid than many other crags covered.
In principle I have no objection to this but it does set a precedent that I can't see us being consistent with across the Peak area.
Do you think all guidebooks should leave out every problem, on every crag, with holds that have deteriorated over the last 2-3 years?
Strongly agree with this. I'm generally pleased to see a new Peak Bouldering guide and I'm sure it'll be excellent in many ways, but including the Woolpacks seems fairly pointless and rather irresponsible.
In terms of general crag deterioration I'm sure you have improved the advice to climbers in your introduction to help reduce this. However most minor venues need more traffic not less.
There are a tiny number of venues likely to cause upset. You chose this one and almost certainly left out crags that are better. Other than Wimberry, Hobson Moor and New Mill's, which are popular, what other moorland venues did go in? Coombs? Tintwistle? Black Tor? Alderman area? Dovestones Skyline? Standedge? Den Lane, Running Hill Pits, Pule Hill? Shooters Nab? West Nab? Most have some problems that need traffic to stay clean and even aside from our agreeing to disagree on rock quality none of the above are likely to cause conflict with ramblers and photographers.
Well boulders have already been photographed in their 'pristine' condition for the book. As to the hoards heading up there - I'm not convinced - though only time will tell.
I am also slighly puzzled why walkers are going to object to a few people scrambling on boulders, an activity that has gone on up there for a hundred years, do walkers on the Limestone Way complain about boulderers at Robin Hood's Stride, or do those heading up through the Plantation have a moan? A bit of a storm in a teacup I think,
Yet some do moan at Cratcliffe Top and RHS, which you would know if you were there more regularly. It's not so unlikley one of them got so annoyed with chalk they were responsible for causing the fairly recent hammering damage to problems (it certainly doesnt seem to be a climber from the damage which was more an eyesore on commonly chalked sections than ruinous to problems). My experience of the tiny amounts of climbing up at The Woolpacks is a few visible scratch lines from pebbles breaking off the surface on the nicer looking lines. Increase traffic many times and add chalk in an area popular for photographers and yes conflicts are possible. What I don't get is why include this venue when other equally wild and beautiful venues with no rock problems or conflict issues didn't make the cut.
Hi Alan, I know you can't be consistent across the Peak area if you remove the Woolpacks if there's erosion & damage in the wake of the guide. I'm not saying you have to be consistent, and there's no reason to be. Just do what you think best for the area if that turns out to be the case.
As for leaving out every problem on every crag that's deteriorated over the last 2-3 years I have no view, I'm only interested in The Woolpacks. What happens at Stanage or Froggatt means nothing to me (shock horror).
Well we did include quite a few of those other places you list as well.
The reason we included the Woolpacks is because Adrian, Audrey and Jamie made the effort to go up there and they thought that there was some great bouldering and that the rock they climbed was solid. They documented it and we put it in the book.
There will certainly be other areas with decent bouldering that we have missed for sure, but at 544 pages, I don't think anyone is going to complain that there isn't enough included.
You haven't said which ones are in? Some are forgivable exceptions but to include Woolpacks as wild and wonderful and miss crags which had a more problem free claim to that label would be rather odd. Also given the fuss I'd have thoght you would have gone yourself or sent someone healthily sceptical like Paul (he just so loves long walk-ins)... as it wouldnt be the first time enthusiasm got the better of folk and marred a guide.
Aww, thanks for that. Phew! I just hope those 8 Woolpacks pages haven't 'marred the guide' too much for you.
Of course all these places you think should have been included are in the Over the Moors guide. Has that had a big impact on visits?
My fault.... didn't scroll down far enough.
Let anyone go to Standedge and Woolpacks and tell me Woolpacks is a better addition (or would have sold you more books). Yes OtM has helped keep some venues a bit cleaner ...except maybe for West Nab which has been damaged by someone talentless and the timing may be related, so OtM may have informed the guilty punter. Most of the missing venues are better than Woolpacks in my view (and not so many boulderers will have been to any of them). Yes it marrs the book for me and 8 pages doesn't seem to square with only listing a few clean and solid problems that most of us who know the place seem to have overlooked.
Inclusion of an area in a guide does not necessary incur an increase in activity. The outlying areas and more remote ones are mainly visited by locals and those just wanting somewhere new to climb. But those who make the effort and travel a good distance for a weekendís bouldering will more often then not head to the more popular venues such as the Stanage plantation to tick 3 star classics as time is short on a flying visit. I included Cala Serena in my guide to Mallorca years ago but still I have soloed there many times in a small group and not seen any one else all week. Perhaps this is because Iím there out of season, but I can be guaranteed to find someone at Cala Barques.
Also Rockfax are selective guides and decisions to include and not include areas and lines are made for all kinds of reasons. Definitive guides are deservedly more text based with emphasis on historical aspects for complete listings of lines in an area. So the inclusion or lack of inclusion really is here nor there as people can find other areas easily if the so chose that may not be included in the
Rockfax publication. And as many people know, Rockfax guides are more than a list of problems on paper, Itís the transmission and presentation of information that will hopefully engage the reader beyond the pages of the particular area they are visiting.
If it's so poor climbing then what is the problem?
Potentally trashing the beautiful rock features with surface damage and polluting the area with chalk use. This will very likely be pissing off many people on a varaint of the Pennine way which goes right through it and might even become an access issue. Plus it will be likely annoying landscape photographers as its very photogenic. All past guidebooks have desisted from detailing problems here deliberatly to avoid traffic as it seems everyone who has climbed on it apart from the Rockfax team found a scritly surface with no real hard layer like most grit (whichmscratches when climbed), so a risk of realy significant damage if usage becomes a lot more common (Alan knows this: the situation hasn't come out of the blue, I've been asking on and off for months). Just like YMC, following tradition, are to produce their latest guide with no detail on the kebs ( due to the damage there on better quality but equally soft rock) I'd hoped Rockfax could do the same. The 'penalty' would be space to put another lovely and equally wild area in with no risk of annoying ramblers or the landowner and, as far as I can tell, on better rock (If I have missed something and the rock is good and the problems out of sight I will be the first with profuse apologies to the Rockfax team).
It's a little tricky to make a judgement here. It all seems to revolve around the quality of rock it seems.
Surely if the bouldering is mediocre and it's a longish walk in (around an hour?) this will put all but a few off? Someone on a UKC had a point: "Boulderers, with few exceptions are not motivated to walk that far, even for classics."
There's another debate of a maxim of undocumented places and the tradition around that. It's a more sensitive issue than I first thought though.
Damn, I forgot about the photographers. Hoards of them up there lurking around the boulders. Be a real shame to spoil their photos with a subject. And walkers as well, why should they have to be exposed to filthy climbers?
Then there is the environment itself. In addition to the chalk, there are the footprints in the peat, the heather squashed by those bouldering mats and the increase in carbon dioxide breathed out by those filthy panting climbers - terrible.
And of course the disproportionate unsustainable increase in guidebook sales caused by these 8 pages which will have a huge impact on inflation causing it to rise to a ridiculous level, catapulting the country back into a recession. This will then lead to a knock on effect plunging the Euro into crisis once more, only this time a crisis that the Germans can't save us from, since we will drag down the Dollar as well, resulting in economic meltdown around the globe, riots in the street, poverty, war and the end of civilisations as we know it.
If only we hadn't included the Woolpacks.
I'm dithering a bit about whether to get the guide or not (I only recently got the Vertebrate book, but don't like it that much) but I have to say your "who cares" attitude on this issue is putting me off quite significantly...
His knowledge and experience of guidebook production is getting me hard. Plus ca Change.
The Rockfax guide may well be selective in name but for a selective guide it will be the most definitive you can buy in a single volume for the Peak area and will include the vast majority of problems in all but the most obscure venues. I have no objections to any other venue inclusion, just the Woolpacks and on the grounds of rock quality and it being a sensitive area that the BMC definitives (and VG who publish an alternate bouldering guide) have always chosen not to document in detail. This place is not the back of beyond it is on a common variant of arguably the most well known upland public path in england and a few hundred metres flat walk from a crag with 3 star classic routes. Plenty of climbers go up there, most admire the weird rounded rocks and pass on their way, some experiment and (until Rockfax had a revelation on what we were all missing) to my knowledge they all seemed to discover it was not worth it. Anyway, as Alan has descended to angry sarcasm I think I have said enough.
The thing is:
Guidebooks don't ruin areas climbers do. I don't understand the 'I'm alright jack' attitude, I don't see a difference between a person who boulders there from local knowledge and someone with a guidebook in hand. It seems odd that visitation should be limited to the people you refer to as 'us' and the 'bad traffic' is everyone but yourself. Will you stop going, do your bit to preserve the rocks?
'We found a wild and interesting venue and climbed on rock more solid than many other crags covered.
How arrogant. the rockfax crew established this venue then? Never let guide book sales and a bit more cash get on the way of ethics eh. Reminds me of the N.Wales limestone guide.
It wasn't angry sarcasm, just sarcasm reacting to the hyperbole of your response.
We do actually care very much. We left out Eagle Tor, which has very sensitive access, because we thought that including it in the book might make that situation worse. The same for Eastwood Rocks although that one probably isn't quite as sensitive. I discussed the inclusion of every area with the BMC Access people. There was no request from them not to include the Woolpacks, only a request to make the issue of the rock quality clear, which is exactly what we have done. We also followed their advice on several other places like Bamford, RHS and Rowtor Rocks.
Checked with some of the BMC access team last night, including Henry. They still prefer the area is not included in detail. They did say if you decide to include details to the area to emphasise the soft rock.
One of the main things we are hoping to do with this guidebook is to demonstrate how much great lower and mid-grade bouldering there is in the Peak. The Woolpacks is not good for hard bouldering, but it is in a beautiful location and we have developed a nice couple of circuits that are only on the best bits of rock. For someone after a walk in a moorland setting who wants to chuck their rock shoes in and spend some time doing a few fun problems, then this will definitely appeal. The additional bonus of having the circuit shown means that they won't spend time on the really soft bits of rock.
It is never going to attract the hard core since there isn't enough to make it worth slogging up there with a bunch of pads, and it isn't in condition very often either ie. cold bouldering equals very cold, wet and boggy or frozen moorland. The hardest problems we have documented are a few V5 6C mantels, but the bulk of the problems are in the V0 to V3 range.
As a relevant aside; it is hard problems where erosion tends to become much more of a problem - check Rowtor Rocks for example. One user visit can equal 20 or 30 attempts on a single problem, where as one user visit on easy problems tends to mean 1 or 2 attempts at most.
Having said that, I am happy to keep a check on the situation and if there are rock erosion problems then we will look at addressing that in future publications.
The most polished or otherwise damaged problems I see are in the lower grades. Harder classics have more issues with over chalking but seem to hold up better except where pebbles pop or holds break. This maybe is because lower grade boulderers are often new and less careful with footwork and less aware of attempts to mitigate damage like the 10 commandments.
I still cant figure out where this good rock is so I need to see the script to see if I and everyone else warning of soft rock was wrong. If damage does increase noticeably I simply dont see how it is possible to put the genie back in the bottle. You say you care and follow access advice and yet this remains to be don't include details. Those who know the moors better than I still say there are several better venues than woolpacks where there would be no concerns.
I am quite pleased to see a new bouldering guide in the traditional portrait book format. Never understood why and don't really like landscape guides but for some reason that's what the last two have been.
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