I've recently unexpectedly found myself with some extra cash and thinking of treating myself. I've always wanted a copy (I've never actually seen one) as I've got the others in the series and enjoy reading about the history of these classic routes (I think I've done about 9) - but - it's a lot of money if I can afford it is it worth the cash? are the writing and images good? is it a cult classic or a bit of a dud? will it inspire me to get on all those routes I've been avoiding or should I just buy some totems instead?
Debateable.As a pure investment, possibly. The quality of the writing is not quite the same. Its a good throwback to the lates 80's early 90's if you are interested in that period.
I have the complete series, the only one I read every now and then is some of the stuff in Hard Rock, where the quality of the writing really stands out.
Buy the totems.
It's like a classic car, you buy one because you want it not because it is tangibly better than other modern cars for the same money. Its a good book with good writing but I've probably scrolled past more, better, photos on Instagram this morning than there are in the book (there are a couple of stand out photos).
I'd never sell my copy at any price but nor would I buy one for the money currently being asked. The list of routes is the most important thing about it.
I sold mine as part of clearing out books I never look at from one year to the next. I’ve never regretted getting rid of all the series. When I finished selling off the climbing library, I used the cash to buy an early 1970s Fender Telecaster which gets played every day, and a load OHP new holds for my climbing wall, which again gets used most days.
I was scared to read – or even look at – mine, so I sold it and bought a couple of nice lamps. Guy who got it now has it for sale on his website for £48 more than he gave me. Fine.
Is it worth it? It's a Veblen good, with all that this entails. For me, certainly not.
No, it’s not worth it. I have a copy, but there is no way I’d buy it at the current asking price. Have you considered buying Peak Rock?
I bought it the week it was published, a moment of inspiration fired by desire....made to be read but only by the blessed.
Apologies to the late John Allen.
I think the answer to this question largely comes down to what it means to you.
Extreme Rock has meant a lot to me, and I consider the copy I bought for £140 to be an absolute bargain in terms of the time I've spent reading through it. That said, that's me...
Given that you can access the tick list online, it's not like you can't climb the routes within it without owning a copy (and make your own stories along the way whilst climbing them). Reading the stories within has definitely added to the depth to the experience whilst climbing each of the routes within it. I've also spent countless hours leafing through it, looking exclusively at the images, thinking of where I want to go next - coming up with ideas for the next big trip, although as Tyler rightly pointed out - there's no shortage of good photos about these days. In addition to this, there's quite a few other inspirational books out there (Peak Rock, Great Mountain Crags / Sea Cliffs of Scotland etc...) and the chances are you'd be able to buy almost all of them - hence have a lot of truly amazing books - for the price that a single copy of Extreme Rock would cost you.
In short: if you want it, and have the money, buy it, but if not you'd be far better spending your money on something that means something to you.
> I have a copy, but there is no way I’d buy it at the current asking price.
Curiously Mark, I probably would, but as per the above post - that's more of a statement regarding how much it has meant to be over the last 10-15 years.
That said, I fully acknowledge and admit that it's a lot of money!!
> I'd never sell my copy at any price but nor would I buy one for the money currently being asked.
Strange quirk of human nature that, isn't it. I'm not criticising, I know exactly what you mean. But it's a weird kind of logic. It ought to boil down to whether you'd rather have the money or the book, regardless of which you currently have but somehow it often doesn't.
Similarly, but also completely differently, I just got a very nice pair of headphones as a free bundle offer with something I was going to buy anyway. I don't want headphones that nice, I certainly wouldn't have spent the money on them that I could sell them for but now that I've got them I'm strangely reluctant to sell them.
Well I would get it. You won't lose money on it and it's a good read.
I've only scraped the lower echelons of the grades and still think it's great. If I was climbing harder I imagine it'd be even more inspiring
Ooooohh I cant decided! Basically I'm just naturally stingy and still sort of ascribe to the 'real climbers don't spend money' thing. Bizzarly if I did buy a copy I wouldn't admit it to my friends!
However this thread has reminded me I had totally forgotten about peak rock and I always ment to get a copy.
Cheers, I'm also definitely in the lower grades of the book, going through the list reminded me of my failures as much as successes, allthough the former are often the more memorable ones...
Cheers Rob, the thought popped into my head, after forgetting about it for a year or so, after seeing your interview with Caff at Kendall (god he is understated). Allthough after hearing the horror stories I must admit I'm not sure I want to hear about some of those routes ever again.
It is a great book!
It's chock full of stunning pictures.
Apart from Al Baker's Heart of the Sun peice, its not up to the standards of Hard and Classic.
I would pay 50 quid for a copy any time.
Sorry, don't know what a Totem is for comparison.
Absolutely brilliant. Browse through it with a tipple on an evening planning or dreaming .
I would love to have a copy, as I've got all the others - but no way at the current prices.
I know someone who has a copy, so I have had a read through a few years ago.
I've had mine since I bought it new in the early 90s. I wouldn't part with it, it's as classic as many of the routes. I'd buy it, they are unlikely to go down in price so you can always sell it in the future.
Just in case you hadn't seen, there is currently a copy on ebay for cheaper than usual, 304176133862. I love my copy, though i did get it very cheap as it's falling apart. Despite a few dud pictures and that, it's still the ultimate psyche book
You could always buy a copy of the Stefan Glowacz book Rocks Around the World which is available for under £20 and has much better photography and all the Lycra you could ever drool over.
I'm not so sure. As e-books become more ubiquitous and displays improve further I suspect some of these over-priced classics (usually based on shortage) might not hold so well against inflation. I could agree they are unlikely to become cheap.
In reply to Rob
With all due respect you are a bit unusual given how many lines you have ticked and an unkind person might argue you should be able to name all the books in the series when hosting a talk about one of them on stage.
I think if anything ebooks peaked and many have gone back to print, it's just nicer on the eyes.
Plus, I think buy read once novel type books sit better with an ebook market, compared to the hard back, 50% photography books that readers dip in and out of.
I think you are underestimating what is coming in the future with displays. E books are simply not good enough at present to do justice to a large coffee table book.
> I think you are underestimating what is coming in the future with displays. E books are simply not good enough at present to do justice to a large coffee table book.
Technically, you could just screen the images in HD via smart tvs now. With extreme rock you could recreate the shots in modern definition, but the originals are gone forever. For text, improvements in definition are irrelevant already.
I bought mine the day it was published and so got it at the limited offer price.
Would I buy one now at £200? Certainly not. It's a piece of history but there are better books out there for that money if you're a collector.
Would I sell mine now? No, certainly not.
With all collectables the value is dependent on what someone is willing to pay. I'd not be surprised if there is a peak and then decline (especially in real inflation adjusted prices) of Extreme Rock as all those 80s and 90s climbers grow old and die off.
I'd not hold onto it for too long.
This opinion is inspired from reading about other collectables which were once valuable and are now less so.
I somehow forget how stubborn you can be with your arguments. I'm talking larger screen, full colour, higher resolution (than HD) updates to current e-reading devices, in the coming decades, where for coffee table style photography based books the extra quality and resolution will be far from irrelevant. As for cases like Extreme Rock, when original plates are lost, scanning and retouch tools also improve all the time.
I just think you are under estimating how much people prefer real books to tablets... I can see a small market for ebooks with 3d/panoramic images where you can turn around as though you were stood there etc... For most readers of paper I don't think it is resolution that's stopping them becoming E-readers. How much resolution do we actually need for an a4 image.
Perhaps things will change with coming generations, as said above, as the paper readers die!
> I somehow forget how stubborn you can be with your arguments.
Pot/kettle post of the week.
> In reply to Rob
> With all due respect you are a bit unusual given how many lines you have ticked and an unkind person might argue you should be able to name all the books in the series when hosting a talk about one of them on stage.
Indeed - statistically speaking it isn't exactly a book for the masses, which is probably why it was such a commercial flop in the first place.
With regards to me temporarily losing my mind at the start of that session, a formal apology will be issued in due course
A nice person would say, although it was really funny, don't worry and well done... you and Caff were brilliant
if you have to ask it's probably not worth it.
There has been a resurgence in climbing coffee table books published in the last few years: perhaps buy something like the Great Scottish Sea Cliffs or Mountain Crags? Or both.
Well I tried my best when I wrote 2 of the chapters. Ken was pleased as well.
> How much resolution do we actually need for an a4 image.
I often think that when people get sniffy about the zoom lenses on modern bridge cameras.
Treat yourself to the White Cliff - it’s the next Extreme Rock and a better read. Plus it a much cheaper price.
> Well I tried my best when I wrote 2 of the chapters. Ken was pleased as well.
Just dug out my copy and re-read them (wasn't hard to work out which ones they were!). I liked them too, to the extent that I've just put Silly Arete (E3 5c) on both my mental and my actual wishlist
> Treat yourself to the White Cliff - it’s the next Extreme Rock and a better read. Plus it a much cheaper price.
As a supplement to that, how many uk cliffs have a book, not guidebooks, dedicated solely to just that one crag. Obviously Gogarth, Cloggy, Ben Nevis & Scafell or rather its Central Buttress. Any others?