Here we go again, fast forwarding from the 2nd edition in 2017, via a strange but ultimately very creative 2020, screeching to a halt at the start of the spring 2021. A new Ground Up book is here, the first volume of the hotly anticipated 3rd edition of North Wales Bouldering guide.
Mountain Crags – Coastal Crags split
The rapid pace of development in recent years has meant a corresponding increase in the guidebook page count. There is now too much material to fit it all in one book, so a split into separate volumes has become necessary. The most logical split is between the inland mountain crags of Eryri and the coastal crags of Pen Llŷn, Ynys Môn and Llandudno (plus the North East limestone crags). “Go to the mountains when you can, and the coast when you can’t.”
This book is:
North Wales Bouldering Volume 1: Mountain Crags.
North Wales Bouldering Volume 2: Coastal Crags and North East Limestone will be published later in 2021. I’m busy working on it at the moment (Or put another way: trying my best to keep up with Pete Robins’ increasingly prolific output. Last year he climbed 200 first ascents up to 8A and he is on a similar hit rate this year too!)
Improvements, additions, updates
Brilliant new areas, such as Llyn Ogwen, Cwm Craig-las and Castell Cidwm have been added to the roster. Existing areas, such as Creigiau’r Garth, Cwm Dulyn, Fachwen and Clegir have seen extensive new development. Hundreds of new lines have been discovered, often in the least likely of places.
There has been much improvement to existing descriptions, approach notes, topos and maps. The addition of a crag assessment table makes choosing your crag for the day much easier. Grades and star ratings have been tweaked, broken holds and changes noted. There’s an epic graded list (sorted into order of difficulty by means both scientific and voodoo), a full index (at an easy-to-read size) and the Dirty Dozen style lists for extra inspiration. This is certainly a better, easier to use and more intensely researched guidebook than the previous NWB ones.
There is also a new wave of inspiring action shots fleshing out the pages, plus the usual high quality design you can expect from Ground Up and Al Williams.
Si Panton (that's me) is the main author and editor of the book, but crucial support has come from key activists, such as Pete Robins, Martin Crook, George Smith, Owen Hayward, Chris Doyle, James McHaffie, Tim Peck, Craig Davies, Andy Godber, Mark Katz, Max Dickens, David Fidler, Luke Fletcher, Jon Ratcliffe, Alex Mason, Andy Moles, Tim Blake, Jack Palmieri, Dan Leech, Zed Jones, James Taylor, Ferdia Earle, Calum Muskett, Paul Houghoughi, Dan McManus, Dave Barrans, Mike Hart, Ben Whalley, Gwion Llewelyn, Charlie Panton, Matt Perrier, Dave Noden, Jack Rattenbury, Rich Hession, Mark Dicken, plus the absolute gentleman, Matthew Thompson, otherwise known as Fiend who has added valuable input from a seasoned visitor’s perspective.
The guide is a whopping 704 pages and has just over 3000 problems running up to 8B. It has been split into 5 distinct areas: 1. Dyffryn Peris and 2. Dyffryn Ogwen. The previously named Outlying Crags area has been segmented into 3. Eastern Crags, 4. Southern Crags and 5. Western Crags.
The northwalesbouldering.com news site has been running since 2004, although in 2020, during the intensive guide production period, it was put on the back burner for a while. Normal service has resumed now. The flow of new lines continues and the aim is to document all significant lines as they happen.
Anyway, I hope you like the guide, and I hope it inspires many fruitful trips to North Wales. Copies can be obtained from all good climbing shops. For example, V12 in Llanberis will always have a good stock of it.
PS. Chris Doyle has produced a brilliant Mountain Crags first ascent film to run alongside the new guide. Make sure you check it out – it’s great, for all sorts of reasons, not least of which is how it captures the nature of the first ascent game. FA film: North Wales Bouldering Vol 1: Mountains