/ Oldest, favourite & most obscure
Oldest = Climbers Club Lliwedd (1946)
Favourite = Climbers Club Ogwen (2010)
Most obscure = Bulgarian Alpine Club Vratsa Rocks (1987)
Most used = FRCC Great Langdale (1967)
This is out of both the definitive & selected.
Wondered what esoterica lies out there?
Oldest = Rock Climbing around Britain (or something like that) from the 50's
Favourite = Over the Moors (BMC)
Most obscure (and with the best climbing) = Klatterig Uskedalen by Bergen climing club
Most used = Ground up north wales
Must say Littlejohn's SW Climbs and Paul Williams' North Wales selection are peerless additions when it comes to the 'selected' guides
Oldest, Cwm Idwal, Menlove Edwards 1936
Favourite, North Devon and Cornwall, Iain Peters
Most Obscure, Avon, Ed Drummond (Gower by Jeremy Talbot is almost as out-there..)
Most used, Wye Valley, Cordee edition.
Current best toilet read, Over the Moors.
Oldest = Southern Sandstone (1989) (bought second hand)
Favourite = BMC Over the Moors or Ground Up Slate - both feel like windows into worlds as much as lists of routes.
Most Obscure = probably the OAC Tafrout guide
Most Used = Eastern Grit by a country mile.
Oldest = Laddow Area (1948) (OK, that was given to me)
My oldest used = South-East England (1956, revised 1960), E. C. Pyatt
Favourite = Llanberis North (1964), D.T. Roscoe
Most used - difficult to say, because most popular guides were continually updated. Probably Southern Sandstone (1981), Tim Daniells
Forgot to say my most obscure. Prob. Avon by Ed Drummond and the Gower by Jeremy Talbot.
Oldest - A roof climber's guide to Trinity (second edition), 1930
Favourite - The Roaches (BMC)
Most obscure - probably also the Trinity book
Most used - West Country Climb (Rockfax) or maybe Avon (CC)
Oldest - Bleaklow Area 1971 Paul Nunn, BMC
Favourite - North Wales Bouldering Simon Panton Ground UP
Most obscure - Hong Kong Bouldering / Rock Climbs Around Adelaide / High Over Buxton
Most used - The new Rockfax Peak District Bouldering
Most of guides are in storage so can't check. No idea which would be the most used as there were periods when e.g. NE outcrops would have one easily, others when Paul Nunn's Peak guide or Ron James Welsh guide.
But oddest is almost certainly Drummond's Avon guide but I have vague memories of a supplement
Oldest = 1950 Langdale, so older than me (and I've never actually used it as a guide although many of the descriptions are word for word the same as my most recent book)
Favourite = Ben Nevis Rock and Ice, it provides the most powerful memories rather than because of the book itself
Most Obscure = Graians East (1969) which I believe is the most up to date English guide to the Gran Paradiso area (North of England Rock Climbs is a close second for its rarity value)
Most Used = Probably Paul Williams Rock Climbing in Snowdonia, it was such a great book it took me years to get round to buying all the definitive guides.
Oldest: Gogarth P.Crew 1969, still useful for some routes, and has photo topos.
Favourite: Gogarth North, Ground Up.
Most Obscure:Cuba Climbing, or Rebuffat's 100 finest climbs in the Ecrins(french version)
Most Used: Gogarth, CC Guide.
And I would like to nominate a new category of "most wanted new guide" and my nomination is Gogarth South, Ground Up.
Nice new category....
Mine would be the new Dow FRCC guide
Oldest: FRCC Borrowdale 1953
Favourite: either Red Rocks, A Climber's Guide or Stetind And Narvik, Dancing On The Devil's Dancefloor, both for sheer inspirational loveliness
Most obscure: probably West Midlands Rock or Rock Climbing In Donegal
Most Used: probably the original Eastern Grit, though the definitive Stanage and Burbage, Millstone and Beyond would run it close
Great idea for a thread by the way.
Oldest = FRCC - Pillar Rock and Neighbourhood (1935)
Favourite = Climber's Club - Tremadog (2010)
Most obscure = Cordee - South Devon & Dartmoor
Most used = BMC - Lancashire Rock (Brick/Bible)
Oldest - Climbs on Gritstone: Laddow Area 1948
Oldest Used - Yorkshire Grit: Brown version with Alan Austin on Beeline on the cover
Favourite - Moorland Gritstone Chew Valley
Most Used - Moorland Gritstone Chew Valley
Yes, I live in Manchester! :-)
Glancing at the older stuff, I do find myself drawn to the guides featuring old-fashioned crag drawings...like "The Northern Lake District" Part 1, (1969) published by Cicerone...great line drawings by R.B. Evans
Oldest. British mountain climbs by George d Abraham 1948 followed by Rock climbing in Britain by J E B Wright 1958
Favourite and most used : Paul Williams Llanberis guide (it is falling apart now)
Obscure: either Helsby by Al Rouse or Llyn Peninsula Interim guide(climbers club) by Trevor Jones 1979
Oldest: 80s ish Western Grit
Favourite: 2013 FRCC Gable and Pillar
Most Obscure: CC Fairy Cave Quarry
Most Used: Eastern Grit
My new category would be "Guide I own I'd like to get more use from": 2014 FRCC Scafell and Wasdale.
Well, I've got British Mountain Climbs by George Abraham (though I think mine's about 1910), plus Haskett-Smith, plus Owen Glynne Jones's first guide book - but I wouldn't dream for a moment of claiming that I've ever used them as guidebooks. They're just really part of the climbing literature.
Yes agreed! They are just things that I've picked up in second hand bookstores and make interesting reading. Mine is the 6th edition in 1948.
Good one. Interesting, not many Rockfax guides listed yet.
Oldest: Without looking in the loft I'll go for Llanymynech by Gordon Caine and Roger Bennett (1970's I think)
Favourite: Original South West Climbs
Most obscure: Malta Rock Climbing
Most used: My memory, I don't carry guides any more
oldest - cloggy (1942)
Favourite - Gogarth (1990)
Most Obscure - Symonds Yat new climbs by Simon Oaker
Most used - Borrowdale (2000)
Oldest,Limestone Climbs in Southwest England, 1962
Favourite,Vallis Vale Quarry,1982
Most obscure,A Climbers Guide to pontesford Rocks,1962
Most used, Fairy Cave Quarry 2012
At a skim I spotted Peak Grit East, Eastern Grit, Western Grit & Peak Bouldering mentioned,
>> Obscure: either Helsby by Al Rouse or Llyn Peninsula Interim guide(climbers club) by Trevor Jones 1979
I recently used Rousey's 1976 Helsby guide to identify a route that the more recent photo-guides couldn't.
That's where I got my Laddow book and back issues of OTE from.
I still need a few of them for my collection...
That would have been Grant Jarvis. No, he's retired and gone now.
(Actually, I think he's died, sadly.)
Shame, but things move on.
Sad, though, because he was a central figure in the mteering book trade, and a great enthusiast.
Only went 2 or 3 times, I remember it as a great little shop.
The funny thing with the Laddow book that cracks me up, the chap stood on top of the Trinnacle looks just like my mate did about 15 years ago when he was somewhat thinner, everyone who sees it agrees!
Hi Gordon, Grant & Valerie, closed the shop several years ago.
Unfortunately Valerie died in January 2009.
Grant still deals in second hand from his home in Froggatt
Tony & Sarah (Good Thread)
Ooh, ouch, thanks for correcting me. Wasn't quite sure.
I've got a signed, by author and illustrator, 1st edition 57th copy of 250, of The Striding Dales by Halliwell Sutcliffe 1929.
More of a Hilltalk book. :-)
Hello Gordon, Jarvis Books still exists but it's online now
I have a feeling it's run by another family member now. I picked up a complete set of 'Crags' magazines and other stuff relatively recently. Still good prices and they have a stock list on-line. They are based not far from me in Froggatt, and might still allow customers to call (it's based at Grant's house.
Oldest: Scafell 1974
Favourite: Scottish Winter Climbs
Most obscure: Topo de la Vanoise 2006
Most used: Lake District Winter Climbs 2006
Oldest probably fell and rock journal 1926
Obscure , one of the old stanage guide 1989, there was a batch that were water damaged and were just full of blank pages!
Favourite , Llanberis 1987 Paul Williams
Most used, any of the Peak guides
Oldest: 1993 Leicestershire Guide
Most obscure: either the Shropshire Bouldering guide (not so much a book as a collection of laminated cards held together with string), or the Berghaus Wall topo
Favourite: Over the Moors
Most Used: Peak Grit East (now held together with gaffer tape)
Oldest/most obscure: Al Rouse Helsby Guide or Les Ainsworth Lancashire
Most used: Stanage
I have often thought that - as a recreational aside from my current work as an academic researcher - I wouldn't mind doing a PhD on an aspect of mountaineering (esp rock climbing) history. I'll probably leave this as an idea to pursue when I'm in my bath-chair, but the range of sources & ideas from this thread are giving me great good for thought. Thanks everyone for contributing
Meanwhile, (and after reading the Pete Livesey book recently) I have revisited his Lime Climbs pamphlet - an intriguing little publication
Oldest is also CC Lliwedd 1946 (have the CC Pass guide but no date - guessing 49, SMC Ben Nevis 54 and Glencoe 49) Friends grandfathers books. Oldest i bought would be Ron James selective to Wales hardback thing i reckon
obscure: the escarpment (niagara)
fav: steve ashton wales
most used . dunno eastern grit, or maybe NYM
Oldest = Laycock's Some Gritstone Climbs (1913) is probably the oldest that would be any use as a guidebook - not that I'd ever take it to the crag!
Favourite = Yorkshire Gritstone Volume 1(2012)
Most obscure = Rock Climbs in the Neighbourhood of Inverness (1938), or maybe one of the Easter Ross pamphlets from the 60s
Most used = Yorkshire Gritstone (1998)
Oldest: Lliwedd 1909. Signed by A W Andrews.
Favourite: Lundy. 2008. Paul Harrison
Most Obscure. Has to be the McInnes Scottish Selected Climbs in 2 Vols. Love his eccentric grading system and the vague of descriptions. Runner up: The CC Pyatt/Andrews Cornwall Guide 1950: full of poetry, walks, fauna, flora, geology and very few climbs!
Most used. Probably the FRCC Lakes series 1988-1998 when I was living in Cumbria.
Forgot the Lliwedd guide, that's my oldest (unsigned!)
Oldest - Guide des Alpes Valaisannes - 1947
Favourite - Rebuffat's 100 Best clkimbs in Mont Blanc Area, or if that doesn't count then BMC's Sheffield Froggat Area, 1965. Both inspired me in their respective areas.
Most Obscure - Kilimanjaro and East Africa
Most Used - BMC Stanage Millstone 1983
Rarest? - Stoney Middleton Dale, typed by G Birtles 1966
Just had a further root and have unturfed "A Climbers Guidfe to The Staffordshire Roaches and Hen Cloud Area" (Smith & Stokes, Aplha Mountaineering Club)1968
Classic - 162 climbs in total, including The Sloth at a nicely understated VS!!
Yes, I've got that. It's still a lovely little guidebook.
Oldest = British Mountain Climbs, The Abraham Brothers 19?? Published by Mills and Boon! More recently, Avon Gorge (1966) or Ron James (1970)
Favourite = Climbers Club Llanberis - the Paul Williams one
Most obscure = West Midlands Rock - even the title is an oxymoron
Most used = Yorkshire Grit
I don't know why you say this is obscure. It must have sold in quite large numbers, published by Constable. It went through at least two editions. I've still got mine. They are beautifully produced books, with copious excellent photographs.
Glad you mentioned Ron James, 1970. That was very nearly my favourite guidebook.
Strange format - not sure of the precise technical definition of it.
And I still am not absolutely sure what route Barbara is on (front cover)
Do you mean Barbara James? My edition of Ron James, Rock Climbing in Wales (1970) has a picture of a sling and a karabiner on the front.
I almost posted a comment querying if this was really obscure - when I moved to Scotland in the late 70s it was the only available guide to many crags, especially in the north and as you say well produced. But did you ever try to use it ? Compared to the Welsh & Lakes selected climbs from Constable, it was hopeless. Thankfully, the SMC finally published some decent guides to the northern Highlands.
Is bought, studied, dreamed & never used a category ? - Selected alpine climbs in the Canadian Rockies, bought while in Canada ski touring but I've never had the chance to go back in summer
Mine is the 1975 edition - 2nd I think; it has a green- wash photo of Barbara James on Cloggy but the route name is not given
Off topic, her own book, Itching to Climb, is well worth a read. Published by Matador (Leicester) who I'd never heard of before in the context of climbing publications
A "bought studied and dreamed" guide much closer to home for me was John Sumner's hard back Mid Wales guide from 1975 - published by West Col. Was looking at it the other night and it is in mint condition - regrettably
I have/had a copy of that, I think I've climbed something like 5-10 routes over a couple of visits just after it was published, then moved to Scotland & have never been back. But has it ever been updated ?
Martin Crocker & Terry Taylor's 2002 Climbers Club Meirionnydd guide would seem to be its natural successor - far more comprehensive too, though it doesn't really convey to me the wild & adventurous nature of the place
I recall a route on Gist Ddu many years ago one Spring - felt isolated indeed!
Oldest: Moulam's Tryfan & Glyder Fach (oldest that was in regular use, anyway). Its plastic cover now resembles a piece of opaque corrugated plastic packaging.
Favourite: The brown Yorkshire Gritstone guide with Austin on Beeline on the cover. Ever since using this guide for my gritstone baptism at Widdop, I understand what it's like for a devout Christian to receive guidance form the Holy Bible.
Most obscure: A 1960s pamphlet to Wilton Quarries published before the first proper Lancs guide came out. Seem to recall several current E3 routes being graded VS.
Most used: Ron James's Rock Climbing in Wales. I could recite lengthy passages from this guide, much to the delight, I imagine, of companions sharing sleepless alpine bivouacs. Surely, though, this was the most physically impractical guidebook ever produced. The Joe Brown helmet, I understand, was specifically designed in the early 1970s to combat a spate of head injuries sustained by climbers queuing below routes on the Ron James tick list.
Oldest - "Slate"
Favourite - "North Highlands - North" - 'cos I'm mentioned in it and have a few FA's
Most obscure - "Local guide to the Needles in the Black hills N. Dakota"
I recall having a 'Compton Climber' helmet as my original lid - and really lusted after the newly arrived JB helmet (even though it now seems to resemble a motorcycle helmety in its weight and size).
The Yorkshire Gritstone guide I have (with Austin on Beeline) is in facxt red (1975); it's stamped with the name of the shop I bought it from (Harry Robinson's, in Lancaster - I was mortified when I was in Lancaster 5 or 6 years ago to find only a hole where Harry's shop used to be).
Got very fond memories of my 'Yorkshire Pair (Austin's Grit & Frank Wilkinsons Lime...)
Ha-ha! I had one of those, too. If you stood five climbers shoulder to shoulder wearing Compton Climbers you could perform an impromptu Newton's Balls experiment.
Oldest - British Mountain Climbs 2nd edition 1923.
Oldest Used - Ian Clough's 1969 Guide to Winter Climbs Ben Nevis & Glencoe (used on my first ascent of Tower Ridge in 2005).
Favorite - Drummond's Extremely Severe in the Avon Gorge (complete with madcap grading system).
Most Obscure - 1978 New Climbs at Swanage.
Most Used - PGE (everything in the graded list up to VS ticked and around 1000 out of the 1900 routes climbed.)
This is a great thread and here is my contribution. 'My Favourite Guidebook' is mentioned in despatches, it is the Ron James - Rock Climbing in Wales. I have 2 copies of this - The original 'Grey with Karabiner a la Gordon S' and the later Green version. I started climbing with a University Group (East Anglia - OK stopping laughing in the cheap seats) and they had a selection of guides so I didn't need one. As my enthusiasm grew I wanted one of my own to tick routes in so I bought the Ron James guide (Snowdonia was a regular haunt of the UEA club - only 6 hours away with a pub stop!). Several years later I lent this guide to some friends who were going to N Wales and they brought it back in a trashed condition after a very wet trip but replaced it with the Green version.
It is great to re-read the entries to the climbs and recall those experiences and occasionally add new ones.
Thanks for this thread.
Oldest would be Laycock. Fave Steve Aston's 100 greatest Snowdonia: incredibly usable and beautifully written (Moorland grit or the latest YMC grit pairing next). Most used: the last but one Froggatt just pipping Chatsworth (this probably would have won but I cycled 2 copies) . Most obscure the pamphlet for Wappy Spring (Lindley Moor Edge).
With all these most used PGEs it must be someone's favorite as wel?
Cheers for the feedback.
Actually, I have always seen my guides as being better than photos. Its great to remninisce using the comments I've put in them, occasionally the blade of grass that my great second Johnny Hilton always used as a bookmark (some are still in place, nearly 30 years on!).
One thing I do remember is nearly always taking the guidebook into the pub for the celebratory pint - vividly etched is the avid re-reading in the ODG of my faltering progress up Cascade or of North Crag Eliminate, shattered after an evening ascent in The Golden Rule.
They seem even now to read like only yesterday!
One thing I do remember from my early days is writing out descriptions of climbs to take with me. I didn't have access to photocopying and the guides (Ron James in particular) were quite cumbersome. I still have a few of these cherished notes but nowadays I do appreciate my scanner that can create mini-guides in single sheet form to take on routes. The ticks are still lovingly applied to the books I am glad to say.
Time for a confession! I bought a copy of Paul Williams Snowdonia guide when my interest in climbing resurged a few years ago. I had done quite a bit in the area that was all recorded in my Ron James guide - extra notes included for climbs not described by the author! So my PW guide was unmarked ...... until a friend 'Hidden on UKC' said he was going to the area for a few days.
Before I lent it to him I went through the index and ticked all the routes I had done. He was most impressed but was this rather pathetic? I felt so but I remain at your mercy.
My Langdale (67) guide has a full tick next to Sword of Damocles - but I frigged it. I kept the tick in place as a 20 year old to impress someone in my Uni club. Shameful...its still there to remind me of my folly
Sounds perfectly normal. Being able to tick the route in the guidebook was the driving force behind the first twenty years of climbing for me.....
Really? Is there a meaningful difference between physically ticking a route in a guidebook and just knowing you've done it? I don't often record doing a route in any way.
Yup, and how can it, even then, be the driving force? The being-able-to-say-you've-done-it as somehow more important than the actual doing of it? No, of course not. We don't do things simply to have done them.
If the idea is a, the actual process of reallising it is b, and the successful achievement of the goal is c, we cannot say the whole process can be reduced simply to a/c without the b. Actually, while the whole a-b-c sequence is important, the essence of it, really, lies in the b, and not the c.
Time I went to bed.
Final thought: life is all b, and not the before and after (the a and c, the past and the future).
a, on its own, is just wishful thinking, while c, on its own, is just 'resting on one's laurels'.
I'm being facetious, of course, but...there is something deeply satisfying about ticking guidebooks......
To pick up on an earlier post.... I thought Hamlisch McInnes's Scottish Climbs was by far the most accurate information available well into the 90's. The grades usually made more sense than the existing adjectival ones (although above VI they were a bit of mess, as was the order of the day. )
I never used mine in the field because I had the Vol 1 & 2 combined edition but often returned home to find " we would have been OK if we'd taken Hamish!"
OK, I started the sub thread about ticking guidebooks so here is my final contribution. I started doing it as a way of recording what routes I had done, who with & when. It was a private record, never shared with others unless we used it on a climb together. It has never been a driving force for my climbing - enjoying the routes was the main aim. I don't keep a public UKC logbook but like many climbers I am pleased with some of my achievements and having them recognised by others does no harm. I think this was the reason that I ticked the routes before lending a guidebook to a friend and it was heart warming to get a positive reaction from him when he returned it.
South Post? ;-)
Oldest - Chamonix and the Range of Mont Blanc (Whymper 1896)
Favourite - Mont Blanc Range Volume 1 (Collomb 1976)
Most obscure - Hochgebirgfuhrer durch die Berner Alpen Band 4 (Dr H.Dubi 1908)
Most used (certainly most thumbed anyway!) - as "favourite"
Do we have a winner?!
Is the MB the little blue hard back?
I lost mine.
Yes. The 1896 is a first edition. I also have a 1903 edition. I was lucky enough to inherit these and many other old mountaineering books dating back to 1837 from a relative who collected them.
Good thread I will have to check later.
Meanwhile I not only tick my guide books but write comments and who I was with. Mainly because I have a shite memory
I take exception to that I'll have you know! My first new routes are all in that seminal tome! :-) (Plus one of the authors is above on this thread!) I actually have two West Mid's guide, the original one with Llanymynech on the cover and the second one with Pontesford on the front (and my amazing routes inside!).
Oldest = I have my Dad's southern sandstone which I think is early 50s.
Favourite = Stetind and Narvik - Dancing on the Devils Dancefloor, or maybe early 90s South Devon one for its comic genius and funny maps.
Most obscure = The original Finnish topo from Mountain Shop (a stapled together series of photocopied hand drawn topos, or perhaps even more obscure, the Finnish language guide to the Lyngen Alps in Norway.
Most used = in recent years www.27crags.com
Oldest = Well Haskett Smith's "Climbing in the British Isles" as the first published climbing guide in 1894 & 1895 would be the oldest but as it is a facsimile edition it probably doesn't count so I would go for "Climbs on Gritstone" Laddow Area by H C Parker 1948
Favourite = On Peak Rock (1996) or "Classic Climbs of Great Britain" by Bill Birkett (1988) I found both an inspiration.
Most obscure = "A climbers guide to Heighley Castle quarry" A R Blackman (1973)
Most Used = Also another favourite "Staffordshire Gritstone" (1989) well thumbed, ticked and well used with superb Phil Gibson illustrations and entertaining text
Just found my second nomination for most obscure -
"Climbing routes of St Catherine area in South Sinai" (2007)
Got a number of fairly obscure ones.
The original (1980) North of England guide
The Highrange Sports Scottish Outcrops guides from the mid 80's
plus my own Climbers Guide to the United Arab Emirates (aka the 'Book of Choss') - but that's only ever been done as a CD Rom.
I'm sure I've got a few more tucked away in boxes in the loft.
I think I've got that one, was it Highrange that was the shop down at the town end of Great Western Road? It was a funny shop full of weird gear even in the mid-90s. It might have been their guide that had Requiem in as VS/A1.
I suspect that for a few years those Highrange guides were my most used guidebooks - when I lived in Stirling evenings were always somewhere local (so the Highrange books) but weekends varied (Glencoe, Cairngorms, Lakes, Northumberland, Skye, Torridon etc)
At the weekend I found photocopied guides (each just a few pages) to Lérouville & Maron (near Nancy)while searching for something else
Re. Heighley Castle - was that Alan Blackman, of South Cheshire MC by any chance?
Looks like it - a MB guide of some considerable vintage (unless someone has - or was there ever one published - an earlier version?)
This has sent me scrambling for my guide books. Oldest very much used at time: 1957 Climbs on Gritstone: West Yorkshire area. ND (1961) Rock Climbs on the Mountain Limestone of Derbyshire. The old FRCC guides which includes my favourite, Great Langdale 1950 edn (reprint 1961) because it had KG at the top of its graded list (VS was top) and I was able to tick it as led. Glad to see the Ron James selected climbs (1970) is featuring: it has a photo taken by me in it of a FA!!
Most used are my Vallot guides but as this is under Rocktalk suppose my Littlejohn CC Pembroke Guide (1981)
Obscure (now but not then!) Rochers de Lescahaux et Pointe d'Andey (Geneva 1980). Does anyone climb there now?
Lower Amphitheatre Wall Girdle?
That is indeed very likely. It is hand stapled and partially typed and partially handwritten and includes a host of "upward" routes which would be damn near impossible to top out on (if they ever were).
Sadly even the superb traversing routes are now heading into the "impossible" as the crag gets overgrown with nettles and brambles. Its lack of traffic probably a result of the large "No climbing" notices which appeared a few years back. In the 90's it was a regular evening venue
Oldest: Rock Climber on The Cobbler, A Symposium, Nimlin, Humble & Williams. This excludes some early 20th century SMC mountain guides with climbing route sections.
Favourite: Rock Climbing Guide to the Cliffs of the North-East Coast of Scotland, Etchachan Club, Aberdeen, 1960.
Most obscure: Dewerstone, by Pete O'Sullivan, sometime around 1980. Paper cover with b&w print stuck on front cover. Missing from Alan Moss' brilliant book of British Climbing Guides.
All three categories
The Mountains of Cogne 1893 Yeld and Coolidge
Actually Alpe Graie Meridionale is probably obscurer.
Nice one! I think that wins most obscure pretty much hands down.
I actually heard about the existance of this guide last month and was meaning to drop Alan an email about it but I didn't have much info to go on other than author and a rough date. If you haven't already contacted Alan about it, I can give you his email as I'm certain he'd love to hear all about it.
I did mean to contact him (I have his email, thanks), but reckon I would have to scan half the guide first as it has so little info as to its origins in it & just haven't got round to it. Maybe I shall now.
Oldest Guide Books:
Climbers Club "South-East England" 1956
Fell & Rock Climbing Club (Bentley Beetham's Print) "Borrowdale" 1953
Fell & Rock Climbing Club "Great Langadale" 1950
Oldest Mountaineering Books:
"The Making of a Mountaineer" by GL Finch 1924
"On High Hills - Memoirs of the Alps" by Geoffrey Winthrop Young 1927
"Harrisons Rocks" Trevor Panther 1986
Fontainbleau "Escalades et Randonnees" 1986 ( I need to get it rebound!)
Oldest: Moors Crags Caves of the High Peak etc E a Baker 1900 - I cont it as a guidebook - first place they were recorded for the Peak I belive!
Favourite: Paul Williams blue Snowdonia guide
Most obscure: Andy Powell's NUMC hand written, photo-copied and staples Northumberland update c 1981/2
Hmm I see you've introduced another category (Oldest Mountaineering book). I can't compete with your 1924 offering - mine's a much more recent "Climber & Fellwalker in Lakeland" by Monkhouse & Williams.
Returning to 'selected' guides, no-one has yet mentioned (I don't think) Tim Noble's 1989 effort "Great VS Climbs in the Lake District": lovely picture of the crux section of Haste Not.
Oldest - Rock climbing in the peak district, Paul Nunn. 1975
Obscure - The trad guide to Joshua Tree
Fave - Rockfax eastern grit
Most used - see above
Pete O'Sullivan's still very much around and we see each other fairly frequently. Last time was at the launch party for the CC SW Climbs Vol 2 earlier in the summer. Quite a few guidebook authors past and present at that one, including Frank Cannings who produced a Xeroxed guide to the Great Zawn back in the day when he worked for the company.
I don't really think that very ancient historic guidebooks, that are part of one's mteering library collection, and of course one has never used as a guidebook, should come into this list. I have such things as Owen Glynn Jones's rock climbing in the English Lake District, Laycock's 1911 Climbs on Gritstone, the Abraham's British Mountain Climbs and also their Rock Climbing in Skye (as I'm sure many people here will have). But they're really part of the climbing literature, not guides in any modern sense.
Of the ones you list, I'd have said that Laycock is very much a guide in the modern sense, though gives rather more detail than is normal these days. You could certainly take it (or a photocopy) to the crag and use it to identify and climb the routes. Though you'd be in for a bit of a shock at most of the grades!
I agree about the others though, either too general or too heavy.
OK, then Cwm Idwal by J M Edwards 1946, which we would have used on my first foray into N Wales in 1955 or thereabouts. I notice that my grandfather added a note to the description of P3 of Hope which reads," Very good handhold in right crack 3/4 way up in narrow place above small chock stone". I guess the hold's still there even if the chock stone has gone?
Tennis Shoe. "Very Difficult in rubbers. Severe in nails"
Please say Hi to Pete next time you see him then. He may not remember me but I was one of a bunch of Exeter Uni climbers of late 70s to early 80s era, (I was Mick (Corser) then), including the likes of Kev Howett, Jon Tinker, Walter Phipps & Pete Vallely.
Even more obscure I have a bunch of typewritten pages listing routes from Dartmoor, Plymouth area, Culm Coast, Baggy, Valley of The Rocks, South Devon ((Hazard Quarry), Torbay & Lundy. Your name crops up a bit with 1981 entries, surprised we never met, but then maybe we did!
Nobody mentioned the Cram, Eilbeck & Roper selected guide (published by Constable). I just unearthed it - in a sorry state I'm afraid (well-used). Good book, alongside Nunn's Peak selection (which has been mentioned).
I've also thought of mentioning the thin, yellow Leicestershire Climbs book - by Ken Vickers. I used it to go pioneering at such esortic places as Barrow Hill Quarry. Don't know if it had Griff Quarry in it (near Nuneaton - probably not... Was there with Arnie Strapcans who was 16 at the time & even then you could tell he was going to be very good
I'll mention it then...
Favourite and most used: Cram, Eilbeck & Roper "Rock climbing in the lake district" - the best second hand book I've bought
Obsure: a ~1997 photocopied guide to "Lost Boys" near Japser
Hi, it's Alan Moss, yes please get in touch with me about the obscure Pete O'Sullivan Dewerstone, I would love to hear about it. The bibliography is still for sale from the BMC for I think £17. I have just self published a Supplement and am working on an Addendum to it, as there has been an avalanche of new old stuff.
I will done my oldest favourite etc as a separate post.
Right now for oldest etc:
Oldest: Both Haskett Smiths 1895 and 1895 and Laycock 1913
Favourite: Just has to be Laycock, I'm a gritstoner, but find a copy of Rock Climbs round London, H Courtney Bryson 1936 - a brilliant read and hilarious.
Obscure: There are so, so many but try these
A Climbing Guide to Pen Penmaen Llanfairfechan, 1950, Renshaw and Lewis (3 copies printed, one know to exist). I have a pdf of the update version from the 1970's.
Doe Grag, 1922, note the spelling, obviously a mistake that was corrected as most have Dow Crag on the cover.
Almscliff A Key to Climbs, 1949 ish, Harry Stembridge, one copy is know to exist, it's in Australia because I was out bid for it.
As far as I understand it, Doe is the authentic name for Dow Crag. When I lived up near there it was pronounced like it rhymed with 'so', suggesting that this is the case
Most obscure = "A climbers guide to Heighley Castle quarry" A R Blackman (1973)
Duncan, this is another guide I don't have the details of would you be willing to supply some details.
I know of Climbs on Heighley Quarry, June 1969 by D. O Hughes.
Heighley Quarry. Is that the same as Heighley Castle?
Not much else to add. Cover says "A climbers guide to Heighley Castle Quarry" and inside after the introduction it says A R Blackman January 1973
It is a slim hand stapled tome with typed and handwritten sections. It seems to have originated via Keele University Mountineering Club, and the South Cheshire Mountaineering Club.
Thanks - yes, its the same place. I remember it from back in the late '60's & wondered if it was still visible amidst the undergrowth.
Bought, studied, dreamed & never used: Climbing in the the Magic Islands by Ed Webster, 1994 (Lofoten)
Most obscure: Hruboskalsko volumes 1 & 2 (sandstone towers in the Czech Republic)
Most used: Swanage by Gordon Jenkin, 1986.
Well you have to get up real close now to see it. I climbed there a lot in the 90's it was great for pumpy traverses (and the occasional upward problem, there was even one you could top out on). Sadly last time I was there it was getting very overgrown with brambles and nettles though the bottom bay (the one sheltered from the rain) was still good. There was a photo of Johnny Dawes climbing it in one of the old Staffordshire guides.
It was certainly the nearest crag to Keele university
The Quellyn Area - An Interim Guide by Dance & Eglinton reprinted from the 1953-54 Manchester University Mountaineering Club journal.
A great read and some of the historic climbs even sound like they might be worth doing ;-)
Its a bit of a long shot, but, can anyone help with the following:
I m trying to track down copies of two Peak District guides published by the Karabiner Club in the 1940's. These are Pamphlet Guides to Hen Cloud and Skyline Buttress written by R. Desmond Stevens.
Does anyone have copies or know where copies my be.
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