/ What becomes of Unclimbed Crags?

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Jeremy Wilson - on 14 Oct 2016
For me, the big question that the new Borrowdale Guide throws up (sic!), is where will climbing in the Valley be in 20 years time? I have climbed a number of times in Borrowdale this year and always had a great time BUT many of the crags really are going back to nature. I suspect the list of "abandoned" crags in the next edition will be even longer. Are we happy to see climbing shrink and concentrate on fewer albeit excellent crags? Revival and cleaning schemes are very good but the force of nature is greater than the goodwill and effort of the Borrowdale climber! I look at the popularity of Bram Crag Quarry and the number of excellent days that climbers have there. Is there an argument to take a crag like Walla Crag and put some bolts into it....!? For me, it would increase the number of climbers enjoying this great valley. One key reason against is "thin end of the wedge" arguments and the opposition of us older traditional climbers who have a sense of history and their memories of climbing at Walla. However, we will all pass on soon and it will be left to the next generation to decide - but I can't see them dying in a ditch over keeping these abandoned crags abandoned....
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planetmarshall on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Jeremy Wilson:

Convert them all to dry tooling crags?
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DerwentDiluted - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Jeremy Wilson:
My thoughts are that as climbing grows in popularity places like Bram Crag, Horseshoe Quarry etc become more important as pressure valves, to redistribute the wear away from the other local honeypots. I think there is an increasingly important role for this kind of outdoor convenience climbing which was not envisaged 20-30yrs ago when I started climbing. I see development of these crags as something of an environmental act to help absorb sheer numbers, and if done sensitively and on a case by case basis, I see great benefit in revitalising lost crags.

The long term challenge will be to continue to maintain the traditional ethos as the default for the majority of the UK, but looking at the popularity of places like Clwyd, the A55 corridor and Portland I see the positive impact and fun of turning third rate trad crags into first rate sport ones.
Post edited at 09:29
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Martin Bennett - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to DerwentDiluted:

>
> looking at the popularity of places like Clwyd, the A55 corridor and Portland I see the positive impact and fun of turning third rate trad crags into first rate sport ones.

Not to mention Robin Proctor Scar (formerly Norber Scar) and Giggleswick among others in Yorkshire. Talking of Yorkshire, Malham is an example of sport and proper climbing co-existing successfully.

As an older (much older!) climber I recall being totally underwhelmed (and frightened) by the old climbs at Bram Crag Quarry. Now I'm looking forward to a second and subsequent visits. Every credit to the indefatigable Colin Downer and co for the effort put in there.
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Robert Durran - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to DerwentDiluted:

> ........looking at the popularity of places like Clwyd........... I see the positive impact and fun of turning third rate trad crags into first rate sport ones.

Clwyd third rate? Maybe not UK premier division , but some of the best inland trad limestone around.

olddirtydoggy - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Jeremy Wilson:

Places go out of fashion and get rediscovered later on by a next generation. I'm out cleaning some routes tomorrow so we we can get on them before the season starts winding up for the winter. Even some of the crags in the guidebooks have very few ascents.
Should we feel a loyalty to the past and to lumps of rock? Sure, the climbing we enjoy today is built on those who went before but things move on, time passes and stuff happens.
Duncan Campbell - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Jeremy Wilson:
What is wrong with these crags being reclaimed by nature? Climbers aren't the only users of the crags. If people don't want to climb there enough to keep them clean then let them be reclaimed?

These days climbing is such a broad sport that the poorer, more esoteric crags are going to get abandoned because instead of everyone only going trad climbing and therefore venturing away from the best crags to seek out other things?

For example, I am a very keen trad climber BUT I also like sport climbing and bouldering and even indoor climbing when the weather is crap. So I tend to spread my time around doing all these things weather/time/psyche dependent. This means that when I go trad climbing I only go to the best crags - I don't f**k about on the smaller, scrappier ones (this in fact extends across all disciplines). Sure they may have some fun routes but I can't imagine the routes on those crags competing with the likes of Grand Alliance (an example of a route I really want to do in Borrowdale).

I don't think we need to start bolting these crags. Lets give them back to nature. Man doesn't have to hold court everywhere
Post edited at 12:00
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DerwentDiluted - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:
> Clwyd third rate? Maybe not UK premier division , but some of the best inland trad limestone around.

Apologies, not meant to be a dig at Clwyd! In fact Clwyd is a good example of Trad and Sport sitting next to each other in a way that makes a lot of sense.
Post edited at 12:14
DerwentDiluted - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Duncan Campbell:
Which is why I'd advocate that any 'revitalisation' is done on a case by case basis. I see no merit in climbers revisiting Birch Quarry for example but some suitable crags, and I think Bram Crag is an excellent example, can really offer something by being developed. If everyone only did the classic routes on the classic crags then they are going to look even more tired even quicker.
Post edited at 12:17
Pilo - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Jeremy Wilson:

Bolting all the less popular crags in the Lake district. Seriously? Sport climbing in Borrowdale. You seriously want that?
If you start bolting these crags it would set an example and be a disaster for the future of trad climbing. Even one bolted route on mountain rock suddenly means anywhere is fair game.
It's essential to keep mountain rock totally sport free to keep that ethic simple and easy to understand. No bolts!
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Wood for Trees on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

+1

Let the natural cycles happen, it's just trends

Those climbers involved in the trad resurgence of 2046 will thank you for it
Frank the Husky - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Jeremy Wilson: I have always thought that abseil stations in the Lakes would make a significant difference. I can't quite bear to think of the amount if time I've wasted over the years flogging down scree slopes, guillies and other awful walk offs in Cumbria when a few bolted/fixed stations would have allowed me to climb double or triple the number of routes in a day. I know the boring old non-arguments against such a move, but that would be a great solution.

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Duncan Campbell - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to DerwentDiluted:

Yeah true, but in all honesty I think the Lakes classics are probably going to be OK - Peak grit and North Wales classics probably need more looking after.

Even classic Lakes routes are getting overgrown from what I hear ;)

Yes I haven't done much in the Lakes to my shame - I always intend to get up there but I guess my lack of familiarity with the area and recent times of iffy forecasts whenever I have been looking to get up there have prevented me from going and at least keeping those classics clean let alone needing to worry about the esoterica!
JLS on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

>"Places go out of fashion and get rediscovered later on by a next generation."

I can see a time when "rediscovering" crags will be frowned upon. What I mean is, from an environmental point of view climbers wont get away with stripping moss, "pruning trees" and the like, to clean crags. It will be viewed as environmental vandalism. I think a lot of these crags, once lost, will be lost forever to rock climbers.
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Jeremy Wilson - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

I like doing a range of climbing but there is clearly room for more sport climbing in Cumbria. If there were 2-3 more Bram Crag Quarries they would all likely be busy and provide lots of enjoyment. So IF there is a crag that the traditionalists are happy to abandon, why not turn it into a sports crag?
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Jeremy Wilson - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Pilo:

Seriously I would like to see more sports crags in Borrowdale - but I would also hate bolts encroaching on our quality mountain crags. I am not as convinced as you that bolts on Walla would lead to bolts on mountain crags. Look at Malham: there has never been any sense that those great trad routes on the right wing will get bolted up.
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GrahamD - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Jeremy Wilson:

The 'traditionalists' aren't necessarily happy crags have been left out of the guide. Leaving them out of the guide almost guarantees they become abandoned.
Pilo - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Jeremy Wilson:

The rule has only been followed for so long because it's so simple and there are no ways around it. To change it now would cause chaos and confusion. Especially for new routes.
The best thing about British climbing is that we have areas like this which have not been bolted. It's special and unique in the world so we should do everything to preserve it.
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Bulls Crack - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Jeremy Wilson:

Going back to nature isn't really a bad thing. They'll still be there
rocksol - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Frank the Husky:

Walk offs descents and scree slopes are all part of the mountain experience. Appreciate it for what it is, or go to another more suitable venue such as Horseshit Malham or something sportingly similar. Lowering down multi pitch routes on top of other ascension heads will really make their day. Check on my profile what was for me a really standout day in the Lakes with an integral part being everything you hate!
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Goucho on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to rocksol:

> Walk offs descents and scree slopes are all part of the mountain experience. Appreciate it for what it is, or go to another more suitable venue such as Horseshit Malham or something sportingly similar. Lowering down multi pitch routes on top of other ascension heads will really make their day. Check on my profile what was for me a really standout day in the Lakes with an integral part being everything you hate!

Climbing seems to be getting more 'commoditised' every day Phil.

We're probably just out of touch with today's Facebook generation, who prefer the climbing equivalent of fast food

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springfall2008 - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to DerwentDiluted:

> My thoughts are that as climbing grows in popularity places like Bram Crag, Horseshoe Quarry etc become more important as pressure valves, to redistribute the wear away from the other local honeypots. I think there is an increasingly important role for this kind of outdoor convenience climbing which was not envisaged 20-30yrs ago when I started climbing. I see development of these crags as something of an environmental act to help absorb sheer numbers, and if done sensitively and on a case by case basis, I see great benefit in revitalising lost crags.

I'd be really surprised if the numbers climbing outdoors grow that much, society is increasing more risk adverse and wants someone to blame for any accident.

Indoor climbing, now that's different....
Frank the Husky - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to rocksol:

> Walk offs descents and scree slopes are all part of the mountain experience. Appreciate it for what it is, or go to another more suitable venue such as Horseshit Malham or something sportingly similar.

That's the sort of non argument I was referring to. If you only want to do one or two routes, then the walk off can be part of the experience. Every time I've come off Half Dome or El Cap the walk off has been particularly memorable, if only because I could get off the wall and unclip from everything, but for other reasons which most climbers would appreciate. I remember using an ab point on Gable Crag and my buddy & I climbed five routes in a day compared with others (who walked down) who did two or maybe three. It's hard to see how our mountain experience was somehow worse than theirs. It was nothing to do with "commoditising" the climbing or climbing "fast food", it was about having the best day possible. Your thing about lowering off on top of other climbers is misleading because there are zillions of examples in the world where trad routes are climbed and then climbers ab off somewhere away from routes. As for "Horseshit Malham" that's all part of the non argument because Malham is an amazing place to be and to climb. Considering you've redpointed 7c+ making some comment about how shit sport climbing is seems to be a slight contradiction.
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USBRIT - on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to Frank the Husky:

You know the UK has respect from the rest of the worlds climbing community for one thing and that its traditional ethics. Yes it does seem this respect will be lost as folk like yourself want to do five climbs instead of three.. Many of these crags that you want to bolt were climbed uncleaned on-sight ground up...with a few slings and a couple of soft iron pitons ...You now have the same chance to repeat those "adventures". I guarantee you would remember that experience much more than a line of bolts on Bram Quarry. Go and tell the likes Joe Brown you are in favour of bolting British trad routes I'm sure he would be delighted. I spent 35 years up to 2013 in the US doing first ascents I can tell you the Americans have much more respect towards their trad climbs with first ascents such as rejections or adding bolts etc.... such behavior is rarely tolerated .. I think there are already plenty of well bolted sport climbs in the world that do not require nuts (both kinds). Perhaps for the time being leave such places such as Borrowdale to rest in peace...enough damage has already been done.
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ian caton on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to Jeremy Wilson:

How do you know they are unclimbed?

I know at least one person who just loves total esoterica for the untrammeled adventure it can give.

Perhaps he is ahead of the curve. Try it you might like it. You won't learn the moves down the wall. Enjoy.
Offwidth - on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to GrahamD:
Here we go again. The 'guide' like many modern guides is a paper guide with online supplements.

The fact these crags are online in my view actually helps them get more traffic. Firstly because of the fuss people will know about them and the climbers making the fuss would be odd if they didnt work to maintain their condition and continue to recommend them as worthwhile venues. Secondly the crags can get the space they deserve..... such crags in the past too often return to nature as the full scope isnt obvious from the limitations on space available in the paper volume.

I asked on the Borrowdale thread http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=650943&v=1#x8405442 if anyone seriously believed the valley could sustain 2 volumes (with no reply). Some (including you) were suggesting even less space for content and logically more online content as A5 was too big. The reality of modern UK definitives is that the internet and competition from selectives is having a massive influence and will only disrupt definitive production further and the only way to survive is to offer something that justifies large numbers purchasing a volume. I support the FRCC with their Wired guide and the experiment of the A5 Borrowdale guide (with the usual online support for what doesnt fit). You can argue the toss on what should have been online but thats the editorial decision of volunteers trying to do their best for the climbing community... a community with widely varying opions all to be resolved by one guide.
Post edited at 10:09
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Offwidth - on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to USBRIT:

Those respectful yanks with no guides avaialble for many areas, even some world class mega venues like Needles CA. With common rap descents, often down routes . With new bolts sanitising minor runouts on trad very year at one of my favorite trad venues (Red Rocks NV). With definitive guides way less definitive than the least definitive UK volume. The UK is doing a good job keeping trad going but if you pickle trad in aspic it will certainly die.
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Goucho on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to Offwidth:
> Those respectful yanks with no guides avaialble for many areas, even some world class mega venues like Needles CA. With common rap descents, often down routes . With new bolts sanitising minor runouts on trad very year at one of my favorite trad venues (Red Rocks NV). With definitive guides way less definitive than the least definitive UK volume. The UK is doing a good job keeping trad going but if you pickle trad in aspic it will certainly die.

Since when has leaving trad as trad, meant pickling in aspic. Or put it another way, name me a remake of a classic film, that's been as good as the original?

If folk can't be arsed, or find it difficult walking back down a muddy path or scree slope after a trad route in places like the Lakes, then they should either stick to those places where they can belay from their car, or master that quaint old fashioned art of walking.

And if people can't rig their own abseils if they want to decend that way, then they shouldn't be on the crags in the first place.
Post edited at 10:55
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Goucho on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to Frank the Husky:

> I have always thought that abseil stations in the Lakes would make a significant difference. I can't quite bear to think of the amount if time I've wasted over the years flogging down scree slopes, guillies and other awful walk offs in Cumbria when a few bolted/fixed stations would have allowed me to climb double or triple the number of routes in a day. I know the boring old non-arguments against such a move, but that would be a great solution.

I have the perfect solution for you, it's called an indoor wall.
Offwidth - on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to Goucho:
My concerns are about insisting on including everything in paper definitive guides and dispelling the myth about US climbing following our grand examples. Ive met US climbers working on definitives and see arguably even greater selfless efforts than in the UK but in a much harsher overall environment for getting paper guides with a trad access ethos published and with less support from the average US climber. Last winter I climbed a nice single pitch trad route at Red Rocks only to find a brand new sports anchor at the crux... bizzare and depressing.

Top-outs and paths down vs lower-offs I think we should judge case by case on ecological impact and safety through BMC area meets rather than sweeping ethical statements. Protecting the trad ethic by pragmatic means.
Post edited at 11:13
Offwidth - on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to Goucho:

Oh and on remakes try Some Like it Hot ... or... The Maltese Falcon
Lloydfletch - on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to Jeremy Wilson:

Not sure who started the abseil sub-section of this thread, but surely it is a totally different issue to bolts? Having ab stations doesn't change the crag as bolts would, which does seem to have been insinuated. I was at grochan in the pass recently, no bolts in sight but ab stations here and there which avoid a horrible descent. On a crag like that it's not about avoiding the mountain experience, it's just convenient and makes for more climbing, which for me is a good thing. It wasn't too busy though, so there was no danger of abbing over a leader. Having the stations there is fine, as long as people have a brain and use their judgement as to whether or not it's reasonable to ab at that moment.

As for bolts, bolts on one crag won't necessarily mean bolts on all routes. Pretty much everywhere else manage to have bolts and trad side by side. Admittedly where I've seen it it's mostly been granite crags which lend themselves bolts/trad mix, and have seen some shocking instances of bolts by cracks. It's just whether or not people think it's ok to sanitise some routes, as it would undoubtedly do. Could end up being a shame for future generations - in 200 years when all the honeypots are ruined with polish current esoterica could become a haven for trad climbers. On the other hand they'd undoubtedly see more use as sport crags, and provide potential relief to popular areas.
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Rick Graham on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to Lloydfletch:
> Not sure who started the abseil sub-section of this thread, but surely it is a totally different issue to bolts? Having ab stations doesn't change the crag as bolts would, which does seem to have been insinuated. I was at grochan in the pass recently, no bolts in sight but ab stations here and there which avoid a horrible descent. On a crag like that it's not about avoiding the mountain experience, it's just convenient and makes for more climbing, which for me is a good thing. It wasn't too busy though, so there was no danger of abbing over a leader. Having the stations there is fine, as long as people have a brain and use their judgement as to whether or not it's reasonable to ab at that moment.

FFIW it was Frank, he suggested " a few bolted/fixed stations". This confuses the issue of abseil stations , which are generally accepted now, with bolted ab points and those using fixed trad climbing gear.
.
> As for bolts, bolts on one crag won't necessarily mean bolts on all routes. Pretty much everywhere else manage to have bolts and trad side by side. Admittedly where I've seen it it's mostly been granite crags which lend themselves bolts/trad mix, and have seen some shocking instances of bolts by cracks. It's just whether or not people think it's ok to sanitise some routes, as it would undoubtedly do. Could end up being a shame for future generations - in 200 years when all the honeypots are ruined with polish current esoterica could become a haven for trad climbers. On the other hand they'd undoubtedly see more use as sport crags, and provide potential relief to popular areas.

It might have been better to explain that these examples are not in the UK ( I hope ).
Here we have a consensus on bolting , painfully and painstakingly achieved and generally agreed on the crag, in the pub/cafe and in BMC meetings.
It works. I am amazed and saddened/despair when folk think it wise to discuss otherwise.
Post edited at 12:12
Goucho on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to Offwidth:

> Top-outs and paths down vs lower-offs I think we should judge case by case on ecological impact and safety through BMC area meets rather than sweeping ethical statements. Protecting the trad ethic by pragmatic means.

I agree if there are ecological grounds - not sure regarding safety, but then again I'm not a fan of the nanny state approach to climbing.

However, putting fixed lower offs in place purely to pander to a bunch of lazy arses looking for convenience climbing, is just another example of dumbing down to the lowest common denominater.
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Lloydfletch - on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to Rick Graham:

These examples are not in the uk. US, Canada, Alps. Canada/US is where I've seen most bolt/trad combos, though the worst I've seen it is in the Alps.

Back to ab stations, agreed that in most places they're there for convenience/to pander to laziness. However, if people are sensible and don't ab over each other, what's wrong with that?! A couple of slings don't change the trad nature of a crag, and if we're talking aesthetics then for 99% of the population climbers paths corroding the hillsides (as they will over the years) will be worse than a couple of slings around a tree. Not suggesting bolts here to be clear.

Sorry OP for sidetracking from what is a very interesting thread that you've started!
Offwidth - on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to Lloydfletch:

I find it bizzare people still construct semi-permanant rap anchors from slings given the dangers from UV degradation and just rubbing in the wind. Trusting them blindly is even sillier... I've snapped some bleached sling anchors by hand. Cord or rope (or chain) is much safer.
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airborne - on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to Jeremy Wilson:

Appreciate the argument and in some ways agree with it. But also mindful that the current 'rules' have maintained the sense of adventure in mountain areas. The opposite effect can occur - I recall a trip to the Ardeche in the 90s and discovering one of the top crags to be virtually unclimbable due to overuse and polish. That's a crag that had been developed and trashed within 15 years.
USBRIT - on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to Jeremy Wilson:

One last comment regarding Walla Crag . The first climb on the rock apart from the Abraham Brothers Gully (first recorded route in Borrowdale) was the two star White Buttress 59m VS 4b first climbed in 1957 on sight ground up..... This climb was recently cleaned up by a party and they claim it was restored to its two star status as was given in the previous Borrowdale guide. At least five other routes on this crag was climbed on sight and cleaned on lead ... Your telling me with today's top down inspection techniques that it would be too much trouble to clean if needed some of the better routes ...BS. The reasons that some climbs and crags have been omitted from this guide follows no logic. One crag for example listed in the archived crags with climbs from VS to E5 is described as Clean and Small much the same size as the the nearby Christmas Crag or similar size to the many new mini crags that have appeared in the new guide. ????
Offwidth - on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to USBRIT:
How can you say the omissions follow no logic when you clearly have no idea how they were decided. You continue to insult the intelligence and motivation of the volunteer team and look more and more like a sulky kid on this issue. Some crags had to be moved to the online section of the guide and I'd be amazed if that process wasn't carried out in good faith. It's imposible to please all the local climbers all the time even when space isn't as constrained as it is in this volume.
Post edited at 08:50
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Offwidth - on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to USBRIT:

It might also help encourage traffic on obscure historic routes if you log their details on UKC. Just checked and there is no Abraham Brother's Gully ... is it Walla Crag Gully?
Jim 1003 - on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to USBRIT:
Some of the new mini crags are crap, Steel Knots being a good example. I think I'll do some bolting over winter.....
Post edited at 10:01
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GrahamD - on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to Offwidth:


> I asked on the Borrowdale thread http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=650943&v=1#x8405442 if anyone seriously believed the valley could sustain 2 volumes (with no reply). Some (including you) were suggesting even less space for content and logically more online content as A5 was too big.

No I wasn't: I'm suggesting that content in a guidebook needs to be a lot more concise. Noone has yet been able to answer how much extra content (in terms of routes) the the bigger and heavier new Borrowdale guidebook has compared with the older guide. From the deathly silence I can only conclude means there is actually less content in a bigger book. Hell, if there were another 400 routes in the new book compared with the old I might even concede that a larger format might be preferable to the double volume (like the old Pembroke guide, or Ogwen/Carneddau guide, or Skye/Hebrides guide) or to two books. Maybe.
Dave Garnett - on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to Frank the Husky:

> I remember using an ab point on Gable Crag and my buddy & I climbed five routes in a day compared with others (who walked down) who did two or maybe three.

There's nothing stopping you fixing your own abseil, doing four more routes and then removing it and walking down the last time is there?
Jim 1003 - on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> There's nothing stopping you fixing your own abseil, doing four more routes and then removing it and walking down the last time is there?

There's nothing to prevent you doing 5 routes and leaving it.
Offwidth - on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to GrahamD:

Maybe the deathly silence is people don't feel they need to do your work for you or don't wan't to get caught in an argument on the internet. Why don't you email the guidebook link on the FRCC?
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paul mitchell - on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to Offwidth:

Chains for abs a good idea,on trees or flakes or large boulders.Who would pay for them though? Such a pity the BMC hands out bolt funds so readily,but less cash for other ab points.Unclimbed crags means they will be less polished.Plants are just an extra element of tradding.Menlove Edwards was well into plant climbing.Preuss said that grass climbing was rock climbing by other means.
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GrahamD - on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to Offwidth:

Or maybe I just expected the amount of route content in a book to be a pretty fundamental part of a guidebook review ? But if its not an important parameter to those trying to sell the guidebook to me, it probably says all I need to know about whether I need to buy the guidebook.
Offwidth - on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to GrahamD:
Humbug. Since when were the FRCC responsible for UKC reviews??

But just for you (as I normally like your work here) here is another probably 'substandard' review in GD terms ;-)

https://grahamuney.wordpress.com/2016/10/10/frcc-guidebook-borrowdale/
Post edited at 18:58
Offwidth - on 18 Oct 2016
In reply to Jim 1003:
"Some of the new mini crags are crap",

If my time in the documentation of climbing has taught me one thing its how some activist climbers will have a sentimental attachment to almost anything. A few people have even defended Stannington Ruffs, one of the few significant guidebook included crags I would genuinely regard as dire by it's very nature (a fundamentally loose dank venue used as a rubbish tip). Even Rockfax as a selective includes pointless routes squeezed between two other routes that are within touching distance and use the same gear for protection (Everyman and his Dog between Gingergread and Meringue). The old style definitve guides rightly just ignored such stuff but if we satisfy everyone the definitives at some point will be commercially unviable. Online supplements are the perfect solution. Activists can use online guides and their lack of space limits to produce bigger photo-topos and include showcase action shots that the paper guide could never afford. This means the more normal climbers amongst us can make a fair judgement that things really do look clean and good; that they could never have made from the inclusion in a paper guide. If however the online guide stays as text from the last edition the message is clear and the inclusion in that particular paper volume would have been a waste. If someone spots some interesting local history like the Abraham Brothers lesser known gully scrambling explorations in Borrowdale they can write an article on it and stick it online as well.

Marmite material in online supplements helps support the volunteer efforts of definitive producers. Activists publicly moaning their favourite obscurity deserved inclusion in a paper volume where tight editorial constraints had clearly necessitated difficult decisions (and online is really a better home to show the place off) does the opposite.
Post edited at 10:06
Dave Cumberland - on 18 Oct 2016
In reply to Offwidth:

> "Some of the new mini crags are crap",
> If someone spots some interesting local history like the Abraham Brothers lesser known explorations in Borrowdale they can write an article on it and stick it online as well.

There is nothing "lesser known" about the Abraham Brother's explorations in Borrowdale or anywhere else.
Respect is due.
DC
ads.ukclimbing.com
Offwidth - on 18 Oct 2016
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

Well its so well known its not even logged here, so what respect is that?
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Chris Craggs - on 18 Oct 2016
In reply to Offwidth:

> Even Rockfax as a selective includes pointless routes squeezed between two other routes that are within touching distance and use the same gear for protection (Everyman and his Dog between Gingergread and Meringue).

You appear to have a bit of an obsession with our inclusion of that route. We put in because people do it:

Every Man and his Dog (E1 5b)


Chris
Goucho on 18 Oct 2016
In reply to Offwidth:

I thought the whole point of 'definative' guidebook's, was to try and include all crags and routes, so that the climbing public could make their own mind up as to what are good crags/routes, and what are crap, as people's opinions are often subjective rather than objective.

When you have a small group of guidebook writers making these decisions, doesn't that rather undermine the whole point of what a 'definative' guide to an area is?
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stewart murray - on 18 Oct 2016
In reply to Jeremy Wilson:

> I like doing a range of climbing but there is clearly room for more sport climbing in Cumbria. If there were 2-3 more Bram Crag Quarries they would all likely be busy and provide lots of enjoyment. So IF there is a crag that the traditionalists are happy to abandon, why not turn it into a sports crag?

There isn't clearly more room for sport climbing in Cumbria, because the crags, especially within the National Park are almost entirely mountain rock and as such subject to the no bolts ethic. This is why the "thin end of the wedge" argument is valid. Just because there's one anomalous quarry which is outside the natural protection traditions of the entire surrounding area does not mean that the Lakes has untapped reserves of sport climbing.

The FRCC have perhaps muddied the waters by featuring Bram Crag Quarry so prominently in the Wired selected guide. It would have been better to include a note that there was sport climbing there and put the routes in the archive.
1
Offwidth - on 18 Oct 2016
In reply to Goucho:

The 'definitive guide' is the paper version with online support in the case of quite a few definitive producers now. If you can show me an older paper UK guide calling itself definitive that was in fact exactly that I'd be very surprised (none I know well ever were and this must have been partly by editorial choice, sometimes even omissions through 'politics').

As Chris points out numerous eliminates have been commonly climbed for years; in some cases you could probably include a page for a single route... with bouldering where would this all stop? In an age of paper production disrupted by the internet, bouldering inclusion and the rise of the eliminates the 'definitive' focus needs to change to survive in a commercially viable form.

(I'm guessing unlike Chris) I don't think we should be accepting new names for routes climbed eliminating key features but I have no issue with saying in the description of say Gingerbread that climbing the route without the arete holds gives a fun HVS 5a eliminate).
Timmd on 20 Oct 2016
In reply to Duncan Campbell:
> What is wrong with these crags being reclaimed by nature? Climbers aren't the only users of the crags. If people don't want to climb there enough to keep them clean then let them be reclaimed?
> These days climbing is such a broad sport that the poorer, more esoteric crags are going to get abandoned because instead of everyone only going trad climbing and therefore venturing away from the best crags to seek out other things?
> For example, I am a very keen trad climber BUT I also like sport climbing and bouldering and even indoor climbing when the weather is crap. So I tend to spread my time around doing all these things weather/time/psyche dependent. This means that when I go trad climbing I only go to the best crags - I don't f**k about on the smaller, scrappier ones (this in fact extends across all disciplines). Sure they may have some fun routes but I can't imagine the routes on those crags competing with the likes of Grand Alliance (an example of a route I really want to do in Borrowdale).
> I don't think we need to start bolting these crags. Lets give them back to nature. Man doesn't have to hold court everywhere

Really well put, they can be somewhere for people to 'explore and unearth' things at, too, and have a different kind of an adventure.
Post edited at 20:02
Michael Gordon - on 20 Oct 2016
In reply to Offwidth:

I think most (if not all) the SMC area guides have in the past been definitive (or near enough to not make any difference) with only the new Highland Outcrops omitting some stuff (but even then you'd be hard pressed to find out what without looking online).
stp - on 20 Oct 2016
In reply to springfall2008:

> I'd be really surprised if the numbers climbing outdoors grow that much, society is increasing more risk adverse and wants someone to blame for any accident.

In the US the number of climbers has risen dramatically in the past few years (2007 -2015) the vast majority being outdoor trad/ice/mountaineering (half a million people).

http://www.climbing.com/news/ski-style-climbing-resorts-and-the-future-of-climbing-access/

aln - on 20 Oct 2016
In reply to Jeremy Wilson:

Planet Earth pushed these crags out for climbers. If they're not climbed on they get absorbed back into the Earth.
Offwidth - on 21 Oct 2016
In reply to Michael Gordon:

There is plenty of stuff in Scotland people have done that's not in the guides. Near enough not to make any difference is precisely my point but based on quality not volume. Who wants to list poor microroutes, minor variations, aimless rotten non lines or overgrown aimless scrambles just because someone did them once, when there are so many great routes and good rock to go at and even the more tatty routes usually have a reason like histry or the best way up a big face?
Offwidth - on 21 Oct 2016
In reply to stp:
I will say it again, some of the best areas I've climbed in in the US have had no paper guide available for some time (Needles CA at the top of this list) nothing like the near full UK coverage with current glories like the YMC and BMC peak grit volumes. Be greatful for what we have over here because our definitive producers have made sensible modern decisions on their output, supported by the public who buy them. The best guide I've used in the US is Hadron's Red Rocks... self described as comprehensive but a good distance from being definitive. Eastern Grit is more comprehensive for Stanage.
Post edited at 09:06
tmawer - on 21 Oct 2016
In reply to Jeremy Wilson:

I have a suspicion that the routes, perhaps particularly the harder ones, on the less travelled crags, will remain unclimbed as few people may wish to risk life and limb to re climb hard bold routes on now dirty crags for no special glory...... Different for a first ascent but for a repeat 20 years later, I'm not at all sure. Perhaps these will get bolted down the line and become popular?
Michael Gordon - on 21 Oct 2016
In reply to Offwidth:

> There is plenty of stuff in Scotland people have done that's not in the guides. Near enough not to make any difference is precisely my point but based on quality not volume. Who wants to list poor microroutes, minor variations, aimless rotten non lines or overgrown aimless scrambles just because someone did them once, when there are so many great routes and good rock to go at and even the more tatty routes usually have a reason like histry or the best way up a big face?

I think I agree with you there, but then there's a difference between omitting worthless routes or link-ups / those that cover very little new ground, and omitting whole crags specifically to reduce volume in a guide. I can only conclude that in the Scottish guides either less has been omitted (in the past) or greater care must have been taken over what to omit since I haven't come across many complaints in that regard.

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