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The superior Lakes guidebook?

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 rowanmorgan 29 Dec 2020

Quick apology if asked and answered previously. 

Lake District local and looking to explore further than Shepard's... still using the 1990 Borrowdale guide too! 

Anyone care to weigh in on Rockfax's "Lake District Climbs" vs FRCC's "Lake District Rock"? 

 Michael Gordon 29 Dec 2020
In reply to rowanmorgan:

I like the old Lake District Rock. Nice format and a sensible sized guidebook for once!

 stewart murray 29 Dec 2020
In reply to rowanmorgan:

You get a greater choice of routes and crags in FRCC selected. For example the Pillar Rock section is almost definitive. The Rockfax is the clearer guide. Both are impractical unless you photocopy or use photos on your phone.

 olddirtydoggy 29 Dec 2020
In reply to rowanmorgan:

I have the Rockfax and as somebody travelling in to the Lakes who just wants the greatest hits, it works very well for us. If I was local, I might look at getting something more definitive. Depends how often you get out I guess.

 will_mcmahon 29 Dec 2020
In reply to rowanmorgan:

I've used both books in the lakes, the rockfax is good in the clear and logical way it was set out, where as the FRCC guide sometimes jumped around, for example Borrowdale wasn't in a linear order which I found confusing. However the FRCC is more complete. I preferred the Rockfax however they seem very similar in quality. 

 charliesdad 29 Dec 2020

Easy. Just buy a complete set of F&RCC guidebooks. Since Cumbria is the best place in the world to climb, you need never climb anywhere else...

 rowanmorgan 29 Dec 2020
In reply to charliesdad:

Haha good answer! Might just sell a kidney and get the lot..

 rowanmorgan 29 Dec 2020
In reply to rowanmorgan:

Cheers all for the advice, will muse on it. Have considered the Rockfax app re. portability but can see £4/month adding up.

In reply to rowanmorgan:

Hunt around online for a copy of the older, red, plastic covered frcc select guide.

A more useful size and format than either of the modern "improvements". Buy either of the new guides as a coffee table book/bog reader for inspiration. 

 Alex Riley 30 Dec 2020
In reply to rowanmorgan:

If you get the yearly it’s only £3 a month which is the same or less than buying one guidebook a year. 

 James Oswald 30 Dec 2020
In reply to rowanmorgan:

I prefer the Rockfax - easier to use I think. I also got pissed off with the FRCC book that Trilogy wasn't included - it's an Extreme Rock route FFS!

 gravy 30 Dec 2020
In reply to rowanmorgan:

The old red selective guide is really good

In reply to gravy:

> The old red selective guide is really good

I used to hate it when I was visiting, going to crags for the first time with it. Now I know the crags, I take it because of the practical size; and I know about the monstrous sandbags therein (in fairness, often indicated with a "+"). I've now come to rather like the hand drawn topos (at the right time of day, they really pick out the relevant features) 

Haven't got the rockfax, I find them a bit soulless. The wired guide is a nice book but has some strange choices and mistakes. 

 Sean Kelly 30 Dec 2020
In reply to rowanmorgan:

Surprised that no one has mentioned the 'Wired' guide which is quite comprehensive and does cover most of the Lakes.

 Martin Bennett 30 Dec 2020
In reply to rowanmorgan:

As has been repeatedly suggested your best bet is the old FRCC pocket sized selected guide, 2003 I think, I sold mine and bought the newer FRCC "Wired" guide in the mistaken belief it would be better. Wrong! Within a few weeks I sold the Wired guide and got a 2nd hand 2003 one. You'll find them going for say £5 to £10 via auction sites or abebooks.

 ianstevens 30 Dec 2020
In reply to Sean Kelly:

This is what people are referring to when the say the modern FRCC selected. Wired is a group publication effort from FRCC/The BMC/the CC/SMC/YMC/NMC.

In reply to James Oswald:

i agree, and so many others. plus descriptions were wrong, even some grades in less well travel routes at Dow crag. since using rockfax I haven’t looked back

 WVRox 30 Dec 2020
In reply to rowanmorgan:

I have both, but since the Rockfax came out the Wired has sat unused on the shelf. You can have it if you want! 

In reply to rowanmorgan:

By 'FRCC Lake District Rock', I assume you mean the (relatively) new Wired guide.  I do rate this but as has been said, you really need to scan pages and print off for multi pitch routes as its a bit heavy for dragging up routes - as is the Rockfax I believe.  I think there is another thread on this somewhere.

Steve 

 Sean Kelly 30 Dec 2020
In reply to steveb2006:

Always the phone app.

In reply to charliesdad:

Unfortunately, F&R have followed the trend and gone large format. The new Borrowdale guide is really big to carry around and if you like to take the guide with you on multi-pitch routes it doesn't go in any pocket I've got. Nice as they are, perhaps if they had fewer photos the guide could be a more convenient size. 

 LankyBeta123 30 Dec 2020
In reply to rowanmorgan:

I have the old red lakes book to take out and the rockfax app paid each years. Me and my climbing partner split it. Means I have a small book to take with me with great descriptions and photos on my phone from rockfax that I can zoom in at all times. 

 alan moore 30 Dec 2020
In reply to Sean Kelly:

> Surprised that no one has mentioned the 'Wired' guide which is quite comprehensive and does cover most of the Lakes.

The Wired book has been rubbished on here few times. I use it all the time and have never found fault with it. Really nice guidebook. Mind you, I dont go to bamcrag quarry.

 Albert Tatlock 30 Dec 2020
In reply to rowanmorgan:

I would highly recommend the red  FRCC Lake District guide book, only because there is a picture of me in it.

In reply to steveb2006:

> By 'FRCC Lake District Rock', I assume you mean the (relatively) new Wired guide.  I do rate this but as has been said, you really need to scan pages and print off for multi pitch routes as its a bit heavy for dragging up routes - as is the Rockfax I believe.  I think there is another thread on this somewhere.

> Steve 

Why do we tolerate this and employ such work arounds? In the past we bought guidebooks and used them immediately, no messing around. Off the shelf, into rucksack, to the crag, in pocket/down Shirt and off we went.

Now if I buy a new guide, the first thing I do is cover it in fablon to improve its longevity, a skill I learned as a schoolboy in the 80s. Back then guidebooks were one book I did not need to cover, some of them are still in service now.

All these "advances" look like retrograde steps to me. 

 Myfyr Tomos 31 Dec 2020
In reply to rowanmorgan:

Maybe The American Alpine Club do a Lake Superior guidebook?

 rowanmorgan 01 Jan 2021
In reply to WVRox:

Hi mate if you're not kidding I'll take you up on that. Looking for the old red FRCC book now but a guidebook collection never hurt anyone... 

drop me a line at rowantree12@gmail.com if you've still got it, ta

 WVRox 01 Jan 2021
In reply to rowanmorgan:

Sure  - I'll email you later 

 Greenbanks 01 Jan 2021
In reply to WVRox:
A very generous offer - typical of the spirit of UKC. But I could never rid myself of any climbing guide/book, however hopeless I felt it was...all are viewed as treasured items which have an important place in my library...

 C Witter 01 Jan 2021
In reply to charliesdad:

> Easy. Just buy a complete set of F&RCC guidebooks. Since Cumbria is the best place in the world, you need never climb anywhere else...

Corrected for you ;)

 C Witter 01 Jan 2021
In reply to rowanmorgan:

Both guides are great. Not much in them. Both also the same size. But, if you have the faculty of memory, you probably don't need to carry the guide with you en route. If you struggle in that department, get a little folder that allows you to clip it to your trusty second! ;)

 Mike505 02 Jan 2021
In reply to Presley Whippet:

I've lost count of the abpuntnof front covers I've stuck back on, I do now protect mine with a sort so stick on clear tape sheet. I wish they came with a plastic cover or at least a library style protector.

In reply to Albert Tatlock:

> I would highly recommend the red  FRCC Lake District guide book, only because there is a picture of me in it.

Might of missed it of course but couldn't see your name - are you in one of the "un-named" photos?

It's the last of the "traditional" selected climb guide books - certainly for the Lakes - but as others have said, you can actually put it in a pocket.

Post edited at 18:10
In reply to Mike505:

> I've lost count of the abpuntnof front covers I've stuck back on, I do now protect mine with a sort so stick on clear tape sheet. I wish they came with a plastic cover or at least a library style protector.

The old-style guidebooks with the encapsulated clear plastic covers were undoubtedly more durable, however, in recent years, with the emphasis on using recycled paper / card etc and, quite rightly, the emphasis on enviromental friendliness, they have become quite hard to source. 

As far as I'm aware, none of the European printers the likes of the CC, FRCC and BMC use offer plastic encapsulated covers any more as standard... I'm fairly sure you can still source them from Chinese / Far Eastern printers but there's a fairly hefty surcharge / tax on the print bill and you're also then shipping the guidebooks halfway round the world which is not very environmentally friendly either...

Post edited at 18:23
 Steve Clegg 02 Jan 2021
In reply to Michael Hood:

Might have missed it of course but couldn't see your name - are you in one of the "un-named" photos?

This could, of course, be his UKC name rather than his real one?

I remember an Albert Tatlock presenting me with my Cycling Proficiency certificate in the 1960s. At CRGS. One of my lifetime achievements.

Steve

In reply to Richard Wheeldon:

The environmental factors depend upon whether you look short or long term. 

I have a copy of Scottish Winter Climbs which is over 25 years old. It gets used for at least a fortnight a year, in all weathers and is still usable. Pocket sized format, plastic cover, photos separate from text.

How long would you envisage a modern format wired/rockfax book lasting? I wouldn't give it a week of winter climbing.

50+ copies vs 1,not very eco is it?

In reply to Presley Whippet:

... yes, I agree, the pros and cons regarding both the 'green credentials' of the old style encapsulated covers could be argued either way when looking at the life-span of the guide... as could the 'carbon footprint' of a couple of pallets of guidebooks on a container ship carrying thousands of pallets of various products coming from the far east...

... the BMC and the CC (I can't speak for the FRCC) took a decision a few years back to try, wherever possible, to support UK printers... one of the results of this decision was that we would no longer have access to encapsulated covers as they were no longer available 'off-the-shelf' from UK, or in most cases, European printers ... 

Post edited at 20:03
 Albert Tatlock 02 Jan 2021
In reply to Steve Clegg:

> I remember an Albert Tatlock presenting me with my Cycling Proficiency certificate in the 1960s. At CRGS. One of my lifetime achievements.

> Steve

Yes, I remember that day, was meeting me or receiving your cycling proficiency award  your lifetime achievement? 

In reply to Richard Wheeldon:

Thanks Richard. 

For me, and a good number of my peers, guidebooks lost their way in the mid nineties, moving away from a usable, robust, fit for purpose product to the pseudo coffee table books we see today.

It is not just about the cover, though this is a large factor. There is also:

Size, not only were these guides portable, smaller pages are smaller levers and less likely to be damaged in day to day use. 

Images and paper quality, text printed on matt paper, which would survive a soaking. Photos printed on glossy paper and grouped together so after a soaking they stuck to each other but the book remained usable. 

The poor cover, large format and glossy pages of a modern guide look great and clearly sell well. Great Xmas presents, rubbish for their original intent..

I realise that I have chosen an extreme in winter climbing to labour my point. I will be very interested to see what format the next generation of winter climbing guides takes.

To those with helpful suggestions such as photos, scanning etc. It is a guide book. I should not have to. I never used to have to. Such is progress. 

The wind is blowing outside, off for a pee. 😁

In reply to Presley Whippet:

I'm mainly with you in this "grumpy old man" rant 😁

I think (apart from the aforementioned publishing stuff) there are several factors that have led to this...

1. Guidebooks getting thicker as more & more routes are done combined with the reluctance to split guidebooks into smaller areas as this would increase the overall cost - the current status of this is that many "definitive" guides are no longer definitive and the "extras" need to be downloaded off the web (if they're available at all). This is understandable; I can see that it's just not economic to split further and also not economic to paper publish all the "extras".

2. Guidebooks for single pitch & (most) sport not needing to be kept in a pocket - this has led to the larger Rockfax style guides - which is great for single pitch & sport but the downside is that this style of guidebook is now "the norm" in the climbing public's eye.

3. The combination of the above being inappropriately applied to mountain/sea-cliff areas - this is where it really helps to carry a guidebook in a pocket.

I don't know what the answer is; Rockfax's little pocket guides seem to have not caught on and I'm not aware of any successful attempts to split guidebooks into a "carry" bit and an "all the rest to peruse at home" bit - again I presume the economics are not good for this.

As you say - such is progress.

In reply to rowanmorgan:

Clearly I represent the other side here, but I stopped using the Wired Guide long before the Rockfax came out, as I found it extremely frustrating to use. This culminated in what could well be the most guidebook errors I've ever experienced during a single day, when I went to climb DDT at Goat Crag, Borrowdale.

The map shows the wrong approach and the text within the approach notes is so vague it's useless. The description to the route has been significantly slimmed down from the definitive guide and misses out a number of crutial details (i.e. the step right at half height, then the step left near the top), then to make matters worse the line on the topo goes a different way to where it should go at the top. To top it all off it doesn't even mark on the correct abseil either.

As others have suggested, the WIRED guide is - at least in my eyes - a massive step backwards from the 2003 selective and it certainly doesn't compare to the Rockfax Guide in any way, shape or form. I certainly know which I look towards, both for inspiration and for information, and it's certainly NOT the WIRED guide.

Post edited at 09:43
 Mark Stevenson 08 Jan 2021
In reply to rowanmorgan:

If anyone wants a copy of the older, small format, 2003 FRCC Lake District Rock guide, I've got a spare copy available in VG, clean condition.

Say £9 including postage? 

 Ssshhh 08 Jan 2021
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

I think that review is somewhat partisan.

Clearly the WIRED FRCC and ROCKFAX are very similar in many ways, not least: physical size, cost, style (photo topo guide), and publication date. 

There are some pretty striking errors in both guides in relation to topos (for balance, in the ROCKFAX, both the Tophet Wall and Dove topos are pretty inaccurate) and criticising the lack of text description in another guide is pretty rich coming from ROCKFAX.

I believe the WIRED FRCC guide does have some additional crags and routes (1,500 Vs 1,000) compared to the ROCKFAX (and the earlier FRCC guide) but there are three routes which are unforgivably omitted in the WIRED FRCC guide; the (excellent) Extreme Rock routes on Raven Crag, Langdale (which is included).

I think the cartographic style of the maps in the WIRED FRCC guide is better than the ROCKFAX and the previous FRCC guide but the maps themselves and layout poorer (due, it would appear, to an attempt to save space). Approach description are a bit hit+miss in both guides.

Layout (maps and topos relative to route descriptions, etc.) and technical page setting (guttering, printing to the edge, etc.) are generally better in ROCKFAX Vs WIRED FRCC. I imagine this is down to relative technical experience. But, generally, I think the impact of this is over-stated. Both are usable and the real impact on any given day is likely a matter of seconds.

They are both good, with the ROCKFAX having a better layout overall but the FRCC WIRED includes more crags/routes.

Take your pick.

In reply to Ssshhh:

To be fair, it was less of a review and more of a rant - your summary is far more fair and thorough. Mine was more of an unburdening...

When it comes to being partisan, I'd like to think I can be a little more impartial than that. Whilst I would choose the Rockfax over the WIRED guide every time when climbing in the Lake District, I'd say the exact opposite for Pembroke, where I much prefer the WIRED.

I could probably list other examples, I'd like to think I judge each guide on its individual merit, irrespective of its publisher.

Post edited at 14:39
 BobDuncan 11:45 Fri
In reply to Mark Stevenson: If you still have that 2003 guide I’ll take you up on your offer.

In reply to Rog Wilko:

> Unfortunately, F&R have followed the trend and gone large format. The new Borrowdale guide is really big to carry around and if you like to take the guide with you on multi-pitch routes it doesn't go in any pocket I've got. Nice as they are, perhaps if they had fewer photos the guide could be a more convenient size. 

My view entirely Rog. Always failed to understand why modern guide books are burdened with action shots. All they do is add to the cost and, worse, bulk. That little guide to ice climbing at Cogne has loads of them making it very difficult in use. I managed to rip 'em out and chuck 'em without the book falling to pieces and it's now much easier to use.

Incidentally I excuse from my condemnation the excellent image of a debonair mountaineer on pp 212/213 of FRCC Borrowdale! Oh, and several in some of the Anti Atlas, Morocco guide books, but they're the exceptions that prove the rule. (Imagine winking emoji here)

In reply to Albert Tatlock:

> I would highly recommend the red  FRCC Lake District guide book, only because there is a picture of me in it.

Me too Albert. What route are you on?

In reply to BobDuncan:

> If you still have that 2003 guide I’ll take you up on your offer.

Sorry, already sold. 

Plenty of copies available online, although it looks like the cheapest is currently around £12.50 from World of Books. However, worth checking eBay as some sellers might be open to lower offers.

That said given the way the online secondhand book market works (when multiple sellers have copies, their algorithms interact in an adhoc Dutch auction) you'll generally find common books like the FRCC guide a bit cheaper if you are patient enough. 


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