As the long wet winter approaches, psyche is something that it's good to have in abundance. This lavish guide to the best grit bouldering across six counties should inspire even the most jaded, says Rob Greenwood.
As per the idea outlined within the review, I'm going to follow-up with Dave to see if we can get an article written on the problems/places that didn't make it into the book.
In the meanwhile, what problems would everyone else have liked to see included that weren't?
Answers on the back of a postcard...or perhaps more conveniently, this thread...
Frankly I don't care if I can't climb most of the problems, in the same way I can enjoy great tales on high mountains or hard routes that I will never climb. It's a book of love expressed wonderfully in words and images: a shared devotion to gritstone 'poetry'.
On an endless day, a victorious day, rebuff the bouldering artist.
1. Good looking book
2. Good de-emphasis on the same set of Peak 7As on every YouTube
3. Some ace looking venues I've never even noticed
4. Slim set of personal ticks on that list!
5. Don't go to West Nab, it's rubbish
I agree that the concept of this book is fantastic and that the photos are inspiring to me as a white, middle-aged man who has climbed on grit for 30+ years and loves it. I do not however see the diversity of climbers in the book that I see outside or at any busy, modern climbing wall. Surely climbing has moved on!! Do the current and next generation of climbers really want to see so many 'blokes on blocs' to get inspired for grit? I think not and rather than focus inwards over which problems should be in or out let's start by getting more diversity in the photos...
If we were talking big organisations producing such a volume I think more diversity in the climbers could be reasonably expected (even then... some individuals I know end up pictured in a lot of major guidebooks). Having worked with climbing photographers and knowing the time required to achieve images of the right quality I think it's an unreasonable request for someone like Dave working in such a niche area of climbing and probably recycling a good number of past images.
If we want increased diversity on these blocs I'd say its incumbent on all of us to introduce diverse people to these strange gritstone movement obsessions where we can.... and one day maybe the gritstone diversity will be close to that seen in inner city indoor bouldering walls.
I must be morphing into Hector Mildew, but, as lovingly created as the book obviously is, my first thought was "oh god, no, another 'tick list' guidebook to hasten the erosion and desecration of 'wild places'". Sadly, we live in an entitled plundering era of newspaper features on "The Top 50 Wild Swimming Venues", and "100 Best Places To Take an insta selfie". As Tina T nearly sang "we don't need another guidebook'...
> I must be morphing into Hector Mildew, but, as lovingly created as the book obviously is, my first thought was "oh god, no, another 'tick list' guidebook to hasten the erosion and desecration of 'wild places'".
I did worry about this when I initially heard about the book's release, but having seen what's included - both in terms of the problems and places - I actually think it goes some way towards mitigating the problem, by encouraging people to branch out beyond the usual honeypots.
Whilst this is perhaps a slightly separate point, I would question anyone describing anywhere within the Pennines as a 'wild place', simply because most moorland areas within it aren't all that wild. If you wanted to get angry about something, get angry about the way in which grouse moors are managed, because that's doing more damage to the environment than this book ever will.
> Sadly, we live in an entitled plundering era of newspaper features on "The Top 50 Wild Swimming Venues", and "100 Best Places To Take an insta selfie". As Tina T nearly sang "we don't need another guidebook'...
The author intentionally avoided using the term 'best' for this very reason and provided several caveats regarding the fact that if you asked two different people for their top 100 you'd get two very different answers.
All-in-all I think you might be judging this book (which, incidentally, isn't a guidebook) a little too harshly, although I do think it's good to question anything that you think would do damage to the rock, so fully respect your reasoning.
Hopefully this post allays some of your fears anyhow...
I'd say we could do with more 'good writing about bouldering' style books. Some parts of the 'climbing games' book market seem highly saturated to me, but certainly not bouldering.
I share your concerns about damage to grit boulder problems... they have certainly suffered way more than grit routes in the time I've been climbing but I don't see where this particularly volume is especially encouraging that, and I'd add that since I've known Dave and his pals they have been 'front and centre' in supporting access and conservation.
It's also a pretty odd thread to make a first post on. Are you normally someone else on here?
For anyone interested, Dave's piece about some of the boulders that didn't quite make the cut is now live:
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