Climbers tend to split quite neatly into those who wouldn't dream of recording any of their climbing exploits, and those who regard keeping a minutely detailed record as an essential part of the activity.
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For those in the second category, The Climbers Logbook is an attractive option consisting of spiral bound pages, simply subdivided for use to record your climbs and liberally interspersed with inspirational photography from Dave “Cubby” Cuthbertson.
First impressions are that this is not a logbook to be thrown in your rucksack when away on a climbing trip – it's far too nice for that. This book is something you'll want to keep at home and update as a permanent record, not least because the quality of the paper means that it's quite a heavy item. With 122 pages to log notes, as well as a few for tick-lists addresses and contact information – it'll last most of us weekend climbers a few years at least.
In use, the book is quite unstructured – no boxes or formatting on the notes pages, so you'll need to make up your own system. A quick introduction from Cubby and you're straight into it. Overall this unstructured approach extends to the whole book and there are no page numbers or index list of photos. Personally, I rather liked the serendipitous effect of this – just when you think you've seen all the photos, another one jumps out and grabs your imagination.
The shots themselves cover a huge range, from big hills in Peru to bouldering on graffiti at Dumbarton rock, and reflect a lifetime of varied mountain and crag experiences. In terms of quality, they range from just about perfect to merely excellent, though you may have seen one or two of them before. In Cubby's introduction he says he wants them to be inspirational – well they certainly are that.
My only criticism about the format is the occasionally rather vague nature of the photo captions. If a photo inspires me, I'm already mentally planning my next trip there, so I want as much information as possible: like which is that icefall in Argentiere? Where is that overhanging crack in Northumberland? And what is the name of the mountain on the cover?
This minor point aside, The Climbers Logbook is a quality production which does the job it sets out to do really well, and has already added to my list of must-go destinations – recommended.
The Climbers Logbook - From Cubby Images - £14.95
UKC Articles and Gear Reviews by Jonathan Lagoe: