/ REVIEW: Blood, Sweat and Smears by Gary Gibson

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Blood, Sweat and Smears cover shot David Price enjoys the autobiography of Gary Gibson, one of British climbing's most prolific and controversial figures.

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Speed Reed 22 Nov 2019
In reply to UKC Gear:

The Man has done more for sport climbing in the UK than anyone else. Fairly sure he didn't set out to make the world a better place but certainly the world of sport climbing in the UK would be a lot poorer without him and Hazel.As for those that find Gary confrontational. onionated and challenging I am almost certain he couldn't give a flying you know what. He probably has the last laugh though because unbeknownst to those peoples they have probably climbed at least a couple of his routes.

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GrahamD 23 Nov 2019
In reply to Speed Reed:

I would imagine for most climbers, it's a lot more nuanced as that.  Personally I've enjoyed  any number of Gary's routes and appreciated the many guidebooks he's contributed to BUT I've also cursed bolts encroaching into classic traditional territory where they alter the nature of existing routes.

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Dave Garnett 23 Nov 2019
In reply to Speed Reed:

> .As for those that find Gary confrontational. onionated and challenging 

He's certainly a multilayered personality and has brought a few to tears!

Post edited at 09:33
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tony howard 23 Nov 2019
In reply to UKC Gear:

some climbing companies were wary of being associated with Gary. I was a director at Troll and we loved him. A great harness tester as he wore them out faster them anyone so we got accelerated tests from him, and he wore all the wacky Troll tights and clothing too, which was good as photos of him were always in the mags. Gary's character and climbs make for a great read. He's a one-off. 

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danm 23 Nov 2019
In reply to tony howard:

Controversial? Yes. A proper character? Absolutely. I got a grin out of him once when I called him The Man With The Smoking Drill.

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In reply to danm:

I find it strange how many apologists GG has these days. The fact of the matter is that if he’d had his way Pembroke would have been grid-bolted. No amount of s**t clip-ups can excuse that.

Also, the notion that he contributed more to the voluntary guidebook sector than anyone else is extremely dubious.

jcm

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mountain.martin 23 Nov 2019
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

> I find it strange how many apologists GG has these days. The fact of the matter is that if he’d had his way Pembroke would have been grid-bolted. 

Are you sure about that? Your knowledge of Pembrokeshire climbing in the 80's and 90's is i'm sure better than mine, but I know he put up a lot of pure trad routes, and the ones he did peg or bolt were done pretty sparsely as far as I'm aware.

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thinredline20 24 Nov 2019
In reply to mountain.martin:

The man put a route up in Tenerife, protected by three threads called " Sick English " It now sports nine bolts, and there's nearly always a queue to climb it.

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Frank the Husky 24 Nov 2019
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

> Also, the notion that he contributed more to the voluntary guidebook sector than anyone else is extremely dubious.

What do you base your extreme dubiousness on? Having been involved in that sector for many years myself it seems highly probable that the statement is true.

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remus 24 Nov 2019
In reply to Frank the Husky:

> What do you base your extreme dubiousness on? Having been involved in that sector for many years myself it seems highly probable that the statement is true.

Im not sure how comprehensive it is, but a UKC admin could have a go at answering the question using the guidebooks list here https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/books/

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FactorXXX 24 Nov 2019
In reply to mountain.martin:

> Are you sure about that? Your knowledge of Pembrokeshire climbing in the 80's and 90's is i'm sure better than mine, but I know he put up a lot of pure trad routes, and the ones he did peg or bolt were done pretty sparsely as far as I'm aware.

That is pretty much what happened and Martin Crocker was doing the same but using drilled pegs as opposed to bolts.
 

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Frank the Husky 24 Nov 2019
In reply to remus:

Thanks, but I'll wait for JCM to give a definitive answer.

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mcdougal 24 Nov 2019
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Your posts are normally very thoughtful but there are two assertions in this one that don't stand up to scrutiny.

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Dave Garnett 25 Nov 2019
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

> I find it strange how many apologists GG has these days. The fact of the matter is that if he’d had his way Pembroke would have been grid-bolted. No amount of s**t clip-ups can excuse that.

Come on John, I think you’re being a bit unfair (and unforgiving).  Gary overstepped the mark with (as I recall) a few indiscretions at Pembroke but backed off when others complained.  He was pushing the boundaries but then stuck to the rules once they were established.  And he has put up loads of quality trad routes, not least at Pembroke.

I can only say that he’s put a huge effort in Peak guides, in particular the Roaches and was always very helpful to me, at a time when he had little cause to be friendly to the BMC.

Post edited at 08:20
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Gary Gibson 25 Nov 2019
In reply to remus:

Just for your information I have written/edited 12 guidebooks, contributed to another 27 with written sections in each, commented on a number more. I was on the BMC executive guidebook committee for ten years. I was news editor for High Magazine for 5 years and I have also contributed to two books on football and four text books on Podiatry. The comment was also made by one of the leading collectors of climbing guidebooks in the world, not me.

And the assignation about drilled gear is also misleading as I clearly state my view in the book that what I did was wrong, so much so that I went back and led around two thirds of them without the drilled gear, even removing some of it myself. 

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remus 25 Nov 2019
In reply to Gary Gibson:

Thanks for the information Gary!

I finished reading Blood, Sweat and Smears a couple of days ago and really enjoyed it, so thank you for yet another great contribution to the climbing world.

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Gary Gibson 17 Dec 2019
In reply to Gary Gibson:

I forgot to add that all of my guidebook work has been voluntary save for one instance where I was paid an honorarium for the two books I did for the Climber’s Club on Pembroke. I was very unsettled by the idea of being paid for my work, so decided to give half of the money to a Mountain Rescue organisation that helped save my life and the other half to a family I help support in Kenya.

I never set out with the intention of gaining money for the guidebook work I did, more just for the enjoyment of writing, well I enjoyed writing, and just giving back to the sport I have committed my life to.

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Anotherclimber 18 Dec 2019
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Of all the leading new-routers of, say, the last 50 years, can you with any certainty name an activist who has been in an ethical sense totally unimpeachable?  I thought not.  Or rather, perhaps you can proffer names, but how do you know it's the truth?

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Gary Gibson 07:44 Wed
In reply to UKC Gear:

Bump

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Adam Perrett 11:50 Wed
In reply to Gary Gibson: I’m just about to start reading it. Sat at home after a hernia op. 😉

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Gary Gibson 15:37 Wed
In reply to Adam Perrett:

Let me know what you think?

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