/ Guidebooks for Eastern Grit
So my main question is Rockfax Grit East comprehensive enough or do I need/want to spend nearly four times the amount getting the three Froggat, Burbage and Stanage guides...? I would value the findings of other local regulars.
I'm not climbing hard routes so won't miss the newest desperates, but I'm not averse to some bouldering and am an "inveterate ticker" so, for example, at Curbar last week using my friends guide enjoyed soloing a couple of little cracks down the right end that weren't in my guides - the sort of thing you don't know about with a highly selective guide.
Spend the money on the BMCs. Rockfax is for visitors, it's easy to use but a bit soulless, and doesn't take you to the hidden delights of familiar places. The BMC guides are wonderful books. If you like soloing little routes, then the BMC guides are completely essential and the Rockfax completely useless for this sport.
Note in particular: the Baslow Highland Cow "bouldering" circuit; the obscurities around Stanage End; the pretty ropey looking Matlock quarries for those in search of something completely different, the little bouldering edges scattered around Chatsworth, etc, etc...
I am in much the same position but a year ahead! I bought the definitive guides and have not regretted it. Just imagine doing a route and not being able to tick it somewhere! The horror. They are also slightly better bound and better toilet reading due having more text and anecdotes and so on.
There are 2950 routes in Eastern Grit, enough to keep you busy for years. Put the money you save towards a couple of cams :-)
We have a spare copy of Eastern Grit (2006 edition) that you can have for a £5.
If you're local (rather than a weekend visitor) I'd also got for the BMC guide, I just think there's more to them, As well as more in them, obviously!
Alternately one could say buy the definitives as they are all works of loving detail and beauty which are easily worth missing out on a couple of new cams. Then unless you are stone broke get PGE as well for an second opinion (its a really classy guide for those who care little about the unpopular). Afterall a guidebook costs less than the cost of a journey for all but locals.
Possible conflict of interest here
Toby has more cams than anybody can ever possibly need. In fact now he's moved, meaning I've lost my regular trad partner, I need to buy some more to fill the gaps on my rack that Toby previously filled.
Seriously: the cost of any/all of these is lost in the noise of all your other expenses.
If you're seriously asking this question, then my suggestion is to browse the guides in any of the obvious shops in the Peak, and make your own assessment about what it is that suits you.
I'm not sure your advice is entirely unbiased Chris! ;-)
Souless - how cutting..and not true!
I'm going back to being a student for a year so not only will I not be earning, but I have to pay fees as well (bah humbug! Not in my day... etc.) So although you're sort of right about moving costing loads anyway (try getting car insurance when you've been abroad for over a decade!) I'm trying to be conservative in my discretionary spending. But on the other hand I had sort of presumed I'd go for the some of the comprehensive guides, and went in to Outside with that in mind, and it was then that I saw the Rockfax, flicked through it and thought it looked surprisingly comprehensive. Clearly there can't be as much in one volume as in three, but my question was really more about how easily you spot the difference when this is your local area.
Oh, you old romantic, you. :-) Dangerously, I'm actually starting to think that I don't have enough coverage in the small cam sizes - although arguably that's just me being a wuss.
BTW, You don't have my Stetind guide do you? We've finally finished the unpacking and I was, arguably in a sad manner, if lovingly, arranging my guidebook bookshelf by latitude (we start on the left with Kvaløya, go down through Scandinavia, the SMC guides, the English and Welsh guides, a few Euro guides and end up on the right with Arapiles), but the beautiful Stetind guide is missing. Can't think who else I could have lent it to.
edit - scratch that about Stetind. Just found it, hurrah! Lurking disctretely between a 90s text book on NATO and history of Saudi Arabian Wahhabism - not sure how I missed it before!
I wrote Eastern Grit with the idea that it would suffice for the occasional visitor and the keen local climber alike (there was a lot less choice when we started out) by trying to include all the decent routes on all the decent crags. There isn't much bouldering in there (not really my thing) but the number of good routes that are missing is pretty minimal.
Message me and I'll see if I can do you a deal ;-)
You're a climber living in Sheffield? It's a no-brainer you'll need the definitives.
Might as well buy them now as you're going to end up getting them anyway.
Also isn't a new edition of Eastern Grit coming out soon? If you get one now it'll be out-dated pretty soon.
Eastern grit is a great book for someone visiting maybe once a month but for a local you'll definitely want the definitives.
If you're really skint you can go a long way with just using the logbooks on here. All the popular routes have photos and descriptions and you can get 3G at almost all the crags (ok it's a bit iffy at Agden Rocher).
Jon, no, no, no! The guy needs PGE, and doesn't need to go looking for obscurities on quiet bits of crag!
Ok I'm being selfish .......and the bouldering circuits in the definitive guides are brilliant.
That's interesting, I'm finding much UK phone coverage generally a bit ropey after living in Finland, where you can normally tut in a slightly annoyed way when you only get 3G reception, not 4. ;) Also yet to work out which signal indicators on my new phone mean which signal! At Curbar yesterday I was getting "H+" which I think is 4G in places, and then a few metres away it was losing any data signal - my phone calls this "G".
I guess things are moving towards mobile devices for climbing guides - for a few years now in Finland we've mainly used 27crags.com (even though its horrible to navigate on a phone) and I doubt anyone will make another book there now, but it sort of relies on having a reliable data connection. I wonder if the coverage here in the UK is still to variable to make that possible?
Cheers for the tip Jon. I suppose this stuff is also in the bouldering guide? My friend (who also recently moved back here from Finland!) has bought the newest bouldering guide and said he'd lend me his slightly older version.
Chris is wrong IMHO about trying to include all the decent routes on the decent crags (more all the popular climbs on the popular crags) but he is right that its less of a selective guide and more in direct competition with the definitives.
The Rockfax bouldering guide has plenty of good circuits and excellent coverage I just think the bumbly grades around V0- to V2 are too often a bit random (noticably worse than the last guide, which was broadly fine with the exception of the odd typo) after the slightly too mechanistic transfer to the new duel grading system and so the next version is the one to buy, once they have sorted this out. Bouldering grades indicate to me how hard a problem is once you have sussed it and hence the grade isn't linked to flashability nor linearly related to the tech grade (sustained problems at a particular tech grade should get a higher bouldering grade than one move wonders) but Rockfax locked them together, so a BMC sustained V2 5b might become anything from a Rockfax V0+ 5b (very wrong) to a V2 Font 6a (a correct grade! ).
You really can't stop yourself can you?
Some of us actually believe there are more than a tiny minority of decent crags missed and the same for decent climbs on included crags. Having a different opinion is not the same as carping and arguably detracts less from the excellent guidebook you have produced (up with the best Ive ever seen for a selective guide) than being dismissive to honest critique.
If your short on money, without a doubt rockfax and a bit of common sense
With a bit of common sense it is easy to work out where all the filler ins and soloing routes are from the ukc crag section
Been in sheffield for 2 years now and worked for me
definitives for a local, you'll end up getting them anyway - maybe buy one at a time if you're skint and keep using On Peak Rock for stuff outside the guides.
definitives have bouldering in too, the rockfax bouldering book is very good too though.
How much is that mobile contract annually that lets you use logbooks at the crag? Do you drive there?? If you are broke, buy second hand or if you must buy new go to events where the books are discounted ( like for the BMC the recent Stanage festival) or you can possibly win them (like the BMC peak agm / annual quiz ....where the very top teams already have a copy).
I see your point but I doubt anyone has a mobile contract just so they can use their phone at crags, just as you will need petrol to get to cliffs regardless of what book is in your bag.
Sure but plenty of climbers are way too mean for their own good with climbing purchases at times (whilst being fairly prolifigate with some other expenditure) which leads to good climbing shops closing and guidebooks being produced as a struggle. Plus as a well paid professional and keen guidebook voluneeer my car is pretty plain and functional and I don't have an expensive phone contract as I can make do with pay-as-you go for emergencies, the internet at home and work and a reasonable memory. Celebrate the quality and inspiration on offer and buy them all (as bargains arise, if you must).
There really is no contest.
Get the definitives. They are works of art and would be worth owning if you never climbed again.
Compiled by climbers for climbers, as opposed to, by climber(s) for income (nothing wrong with this of course, but lacks the love).
Don't go and be seduced by Mr Craggs's 'deal' ;you'll kick yourself in time.
No I doubt it, they're not boulder problems, they're funny little routes around VS/HVS that don't work with a rope.
Oh come on, the idea that Rockfax authors such as CC don't "love" climbing guidebooks to the same extent as volunteer authors is ridiculous. In many ways, the fact that BMC and other guides are so good is because of the Rockfax competition, and the reason the Rockfax guides such as first-edition PGE were much better than other guides at the time can only be because of the amount of thought and care those authors put into them.
He is not alone!
+1 for the lovingly produced definitive guides Toby!
Well my line on this is the definitives are a bigger team of lovers of climbing with more scope on variety of format and more space so will have the tendancy to be more creative but at a slower pace. They also currently have more stated interest in checking as many entries as possible which always helps in distilling character. The first Rockfax guides were not much better than the compettion in quite a few key respects (especially: coverage and historical research), they were largely just better presented on the most popular climbs with better maps and useability.
Incidently, Rockfax didnt kick start the new-format user friendly trend...in the US there were earlier publishers and even in the UK there were earlier developments, like the 100 classics series; what Rockfax did do was collect together what they saw as best practice, sell well, grow fast and hence shake the UK establishment into a response.
That would have some merit if Chris and I had paid any attention to guidebooks from the US. My encounters with US guidebooks have always been very disappointing and I have never taken any notice of them. In fact a lot of the mid Rockfax guide design came from my trips around the travel sections of book shops where there were some interesting publications. I can't actually recall a single climbing guidebook from before 2000 that we took any significant design inspiration from beyond the photo topos and a French guide for the very early books.
Also, we didn't sell at all well for the first 12 years and didn't really grow fast.
Apart from that everything you say is spot on (although I don't really agree with the first paragraph).
I don't know what other feedback you get on bindings, but I would be much more willing to buy your guides (even for a bit more cash) if I didn't feel they would fall about in my rucksack. BMC ones are only a bit better in this respect, but they are better. (Italian Alpine club ones until about 1990 are the holy grail here - cloth hardback covers and two bookmarks!!)
But recent Rockfax guides are not aimed at rucsacs or crags, they are aimed at the coffee table and loo contemplation. Nowadays you're supposed to photograph them with your iPhone for taking to the actual crag (or wait until the smart-phone edition). Afterall, you wouldn't want to lug the whole book on a mountain multi-pitch.
Between them the Rockfax eastern and western gritstone guides will keep you going for quite a long time, but there is a case for getting the BMC guidebooks long term.
My advice would be to get the rockfax guides first, then fill in holes with the definitive guides depending on which areas you find most interesting.
Personally I always like to have all the guides in the world, whether I need them or not. It's not particularly practical and may be causing marital tension.
It simply isn't possible to bind books as they used to be due to costs. The cover price would be upwards of £40/ book if we did that and it is no coincidence that all publishers are pretty much now going down the soft back route.
Big books do struggle in this respect and maybe it is something we need to look at. I anticipate the introduction of the App will do my lot to change the way people use their printed books.
Maybe I am out of date but I still like a book rather than a phone! Also I always assumed the size was for single pitch crags and tossing on the ground between routes, another reason for a good binding. The FRCC style guides are great for multipitch routes as they fit down the neck of a thermal shirt and are plastic so don't mind getting sweaty.
I can see the problem with a combination of size, full colour and hardback leading to high cost but what about something a bit more solid - plastic say - to stop the almost instant dog-earing and spine wear that occurs?
The Swiss Alpine Club books are hardback and very sturdy still at about £35/volume, and that's printing, typesetting and binding in Switzerland.
I actually agree (perhaps I'm also an old fogey these days). My preference for mountains and sea-cliffs would be a return to smaller guides, e.g. bundles of books the size of the Rockfax Welsh classics, that can be slipped into a pocket. It's just way less faff (and avoids expensive phone damage/dropping). But I presume the cost is prohibitive. I'm fine with the larger books for single-pitch, e.g. grit.
Some of my Rockfaxes I've wrapped in clear plastic Fablon, which prevents that.
I expect you have read the Oldest, Favourite & Most Obscure thread.
At this point (95 posts, with remarkably high proportion on topic) not a single person has nominated a Rockfax guide as their favourite. This is quite telling, given their ubiquity.
If I lost a rockfax guide itd be like losing a handy reference book. If I lost a BMC guide it'd be like losing a good novel that I really enjoyed reading.
They both have their place, but for me the added character of the BMC guides wins every time, even if it makes them a little less useful as reference books.
I expect your App will do quite well, but I find the smartphone approach better for route descriptions (less applicable in the Peak than on a long multi-pitch admittedly) whereas photo topos on a high-gloss smartphone or tablet screen can be very difficult to see under natural light.
The SE Wales guidebook is very funny if you actually read it but it looks crap and isn't particularly easy to use. I wrote on that thread what my favourite guide is, but its completely impractical for taking up any of the routes in it. So favourite doesn't mean a guide is actually that good!
Related question - if I already have Eastern Grit but am thinking of getting into the definitives, which is the best to start with, ie which will give me the most extra stuff? I've already got the Vertebrate bouldering guide for all my oddly formatted and non-user-friendly bouldering needs, so a good range of extra crags, buttresses and routes at low grades is mainly what I'm after...
Yes of course I only have a phone contract to research crags!
Toby, if u want to read a short report about the first ascent of the millstone aretes or the cave at cratcliffe etc etc get the definatives. If you want a quick guide to the whole area, get eastern grit
I also have the stanage guide and the free millstone and cratcliffe guides and this works well
I am not a fan of plastic at all. All my 80s guidebooks split very quickly and many separated from their covers. Plastic is also very difficult to get done at a decent price nowadays. It is the size of our books that causes the problems, not the binding which will hold together for the smaller books like NW Classics. Hard covers would add to cost weight and also tend to separate. The semi-soft covers like the BMC guides use are an option but they tend to only be done at a decent price in China and we won't use China printing for various reasons. Smaller separate volumes are also an option but that would mean a huge price increase for the information you get per book, plus people have shown us that they really do prefer big books when it comes to actually buying them.
So for the moment it isn't something we intend to change but, as I mentioned above, I think our App will have a big part to play in how people use printed books in the future.
I am pretty sure these books aren't printed or bound in Switzerland (typesetting doesn't exist any more). They will most likely be China or Eastern European.
it sounds like you have looked into it.
My most recent Swiss guide is 2003, which was "composition" "impression" and reliure"in Biel Switzerland. Maybe it's changed since?
That's quite a long time - we printed in the UK back then as well. Also, a £35 book in 2003 is a £45 book now assuming the price has stayed as published, which they usually do.
For a year or so in Shef, I would recommend Rockfax Grit East, and if you can afford it later Rockfax Peak Bouldering. This isn't a comment on the definitives, just good value for money coverage, and very well produced. Later on if you're staying longer, build up your collection of new BMC guides which are really outstanding. Most importantly, you really need to go to the Climbing Works. Regularly. #crush
Rockfax set the bar really high for guide production, which the BMC stepped up to in the later Peak series, which also retain individual character in a smaller dimension format. As noted elsewhere, the bouldering circuits are also very good. In other areas, only Gound Up have managed to produce guides to a similar standard so big up to the BMC.
When I started, the choice was between the BMC 1970s series, or Paul Nunn's Peak Guide so no change there apart from the introduction of E grades.
A little off topic, but to answer your question:
H+ is not 4G, H is 3G (HSPDA), H+ is 3.5G (HSPA+) and on most phones 4G is just 4G (LTE).
Coverage in rural areas in the UK can be patchy to say the least. Competition amongst the phone companies to provide the fastest speeds to the greatest number of people has inevitably led to cities getting the best coverage. Most large towns and cities in the UK now have 4G from at least one provider.
The fact of the matter is that the first Eastern Grit looked loads better than any other guide to the peak at the time and spurred the BMC into making some decent quality guides to the peak and not just rehashing the old format they used in the 1980s.
That said, if you are into bouldering and routes and want all the routes then I'd get the new BMC guides. If you're only going to get one BMC guide then make it the Froggatt one as it has loads of stuff not in the rockfax, whereas the Stanage and Burbage ones have less non Rockfax stuff in.
Well, the new FRCC Lakes guides are superb and at least as good in my opinion.
:) We joined yesterday and my kids had a great time in the Mini Works, then we had a go in the main Works, where I totally crushed the red circuit (Font 3-4). ;)
BTW, in these conversations about guides I think the SMC/SMT books are often forgotten. The 90s generation of the Scottish guides were fantastic in terms of clarity and easy of use often for very complicated and big cliffs. The newer slimmer/taller ones are great too.
Thanks Lakes, that's just the sort of info that's really useful. Afterall, I have a Stanage guide - the topo. Although having recovered it from my parents' attic this summer I had fun putting old ticks from that into my UKC logbook and finding that some of my solos from a visit in 95 have gone up a couple of grades (although, I hasten to add, from Vdiff to HS for example, not E1 to E3!).
Thanks Oujmik - I actually went and looked this up after writing about it. It's interesting that on some cliffs I was getting either 4G or just G and web wouldn't load etc. There didn't seem to be anything in between. It will be interesting to see how guidebooks will develop as the coverage gets better, or I suppose downloading something in advance makes sense.
How does the publisher make money from the Finnish download as required model? Does the user have to pay for access?
27crags is basically just a wiki where you upload pics and draw on the lines, so its all "volunteer". There are a few ads on the site, not many, but hopefully that covers the server costs etc. of the guys who set it up. There are just so many boulders and crags being developed since the last guidebook came out, that people just tend to use 27 crags to get up to date info. A bouldering guide was produced this year and looks very nice http://media.boulderkeskus.com/media/pdf/bouldertopo_demo.pdf (the old rope climbing topo was rather basic and soulless in comparison), but it's written bilingually (indeed problem descriptions seem to be only in English) so I imagine they were thinking of visitors as a significant part of their potential market. There's an area in the SW where the locals have done their own great online topo guide (and add new cliffs to it as they develop them), but again its just hobbyists doing it for the community and their own satisfaction as far as I know - http://jammi.net/
I think the UK is rather different because of the depth of the climbing culture and having had so many guidebooks in the past.
The earlier Rockfax guides I knew best were PGE, Peak Bouldering and Pembrooke. When they came out they soon became the most common books I saw at these venues, so if that is not selling well I dont know what is... we were especially frustrated with the useability of the CC Pembroke guides of that time and this seemed to be a common theme amongst other visitors we met, so you had clearly hit on something. Just like sales being relative to a market, so is growth, I think as a UK climbing guidebook producer you have done remarkably well.
As for the design stuff maybe the other climbing guides borrowed from travel guides as well but the point I was making was the Rockfax design package was the new thing in climbing guides, not any of the design elements. Plus you might have looked at US guides but Mick certainly did.
That's odd, I can't imagine there are many place you go straight from 4G to GPRS.
On some phones and networks G (GPRS) or E (EDGE) bascially mean 'no internet' as there isn't generally a lot of spare capacity on these older technologies and modern phones aren't especially economical with their data.
You need a partner with a comprehensive selection of guidebooks.
Decide after you've borrowed them all a couple of times.
If you're counting costs and only around for a year then Rockfax will be more than enough, assuming your aiming to do the "best" routes on the "best" crags. If you fancy more obscure stuff (crags or routes) then you'll need the definitives. Personally I'd get them all and cut down on beer for a month or two :-)
For trad limestone of course Rockfax is pretty much the only option.
You probably want Froggatt which has the most good climbs and good crags not in EG. Again "Offwidth" is a good place to browse what is where at lower grades as it includes all the Peak climbing and bouldering coverage in VG, Rockfax and the BMC ( http://offwidth.uptosummit.com/ ). Got an update coming for the new Rockfax bouldering guide in the next few months with luck.
You OP seems pretty clear - you want the definitive guides. Just umming and ahhing about spending the money. Spend the money, they're worth it. :o)
If it helps, I found a copy of 'Froggatt to Black Rocks' earlier in the year. Posted in 'lost and found' here and elsewhere but no takers. It's in pretty good nick, yours for a tenner. (Paid here: http://www.edalemrt.co.uk/make_a_donation.html )
Yeah the Rockfax limestone is well good