UKC

Your first book about climbing?

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 Greenbanks 14 Feb 2021

1958, with a Foreword by Lord Hunt of Llanvair Waterdine. And lavishly illustrated, as the drawing shows!

What was/is yours?


 Doug 14 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

Would have been from the local library, I suspect either Alan Blackshaw's 'Mountaineering' or John Disley's 'Tackle Climbing this Way' - both were borrowed many times over a period of years.

 alx 14 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

The Hungry Caterpillar. Reckon a apple on a kitchen counter as a toddler went about V6.

 Giles Davis 14 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

"The Shining Mountain" by Pete Boardman.

It made me realise that the suffering myself and my brothers experienced from being dragged up Snowdon and the Glyders in winter in the 1970's in our Cagoules and Greenflash trainers by our dad and his climbing friends dressed in all the latest gear wasn't really as bad as "hanging off a single terylene rope" on Changabang :D 

 Jim Lancs 14 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

It's still on the shelf here - The Technique of Mountaineering by JEB Wright. 

The photo (plate 12) of the leader on Kern Knotts Crack is still for me, amongst the most impressive portrayals of climbing I've seen. Sadly when I came to lead it, I didn't emulate this climber's style as I favoured the 'inside route'. 

 Greenbanks 14 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

And as a variant to the OP, my first guidebook was this beauty, of 1968 vintage


In reply to Jim Lancs:

That was mine too, I think. Some strange text - what are all those pages describing  walking about? - but the B & W photos are still highly evocative. 'A Wild Day above Mardale'...

 Martin Bennett 14 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

I'd have had a few from the library but the first one I owned, starting as I did in 1965 (in fact this very weekend - 13th Feb making yesterday 56 years to the day) climbing in Lancs and Yorks, and there being as yet no Lancashire guide book, was Mike Mortimer's "Climbs on Yorkshire Limestone" a slim pamphlet published in 1963 at the princely sum of 3/6d. I still have a copy.

Post edited at 11:32
 uphillnow 14 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

Mountaineering in Britain by Edward C  Clark & Ronald W Pyatt first published in 1957 which I bought in 1959. Still got it. Gave a very wide coverage across all areas of Britain. If you can get hold of a copy its still a good read.

In reply to Greenbanks:

My dad got me this fom the library.


 Greenbanks 14 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

Worth noting that the '68 Guide to the Roaches listed a princely total of 162 climbs (and it should be noted that the book included Roaches, Hen Cloud, Skyline as well as the Five Clouds).

Post edited at 12:02
 Michael Gordon 14 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

I've still got my "Rock Climbing - Know the Game". A great book for the beginner - simple and easy to understand, and doesn't go over the top with complicated systems. No-nonsense, with a real world element. I like the illustrations showing imperfect belay stances - "something on the left or nearer the belayer would have been ideal, but nothing was available". 

 SouthernSteve 14 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

Alan Blackshaw. Hillwalking to... 

was in paperback and many happy hours spent dreaming of the hills. 

 Seymore Butt 14 Feb 2021
In reply to Jim Lancs:

Wow! I was thinking just the same. Always wondered what became of my copy. My brother probably took it when he emigrated to Canada 50 years ago. My first biography was Gervasuttis climbs. Which inspired me to climb in the Dolomites on quite a few times. 

 John Kelly 14 Feb 2021
 Basemetal 14 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

The Milk Marketing Board's "The Project Club: Project Manual" with its chapter and separate little "Rock Climbing" project booklet. Akin to one of the "Know the Game" booklets in format and content. I had in primary school around 1970

 nikoid 14 Feb 2021
In reply to Mark Kemball:

> My dad got me this fom the library.

Are you going to take it back?😀

 alan moore 14 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

Poucher's 'Magic of Skye' . 16th birthday. 

Crazy looking hills that inspired a desire to move on from scrambling and venture into some proper rock climbs...

 Greenbanks 14 Feb 2021
In reply to alan moore:

I recall being similarly inspired by his Peak & Pennines book of 1966 - with a few great shots of JB on The Sloth, with hemp waistline

 Myfyr Tomos 14 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

First mountain book was Poucher's Welsh Peaks and the first climbing one was Rock Climbing in Britain by JEB Wright. This was closely followed by Rock Climbing in Wales by Ron James.


 Jim Lancs 14 Feb 2021
In reply to Jim Lancs:

> It's still on the shelf here - The Technique of Mountaineering by JEB Wright. 


 MisterPiggy 14 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

😀

First read (from library where I worked): The Ogre, Doug Scott.

First bought: The White Spider, Heinrich Harrer.

( Thereafter, cos of the job, I binged on climbing books for four years, teaching myself and a buddy to climb along the way.

Bonnington came to give an illustrated lecture one evening; Al Rowse (by then I knew who he was) was to come next, but died on K2.)

 colinakmc 14 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

Mountaineering in Scotland/Undiscovered Scotland by WH Murray. Still got it, still gets pulled out now & again.

 Martin Hore 15 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

Mine was John Hunt's "Ascent of Everest". It was a set book in English in my 2nd Year (Year 12) at secondary school in 1963 (That was the year the Beast from the East lasted 3 months). An inspired choice by my English teacher.

PS: Surely in 1958 Hunt was just "Sir John". I thought he became "Lord Hunt of Llanfair Waterdine rather later. But please correct me if I'm wrong.

Martin

 Greenbanks 15 Feb 2021
In reply to Martin Hore:

Well-spotted. Published in 1958, with a revised edition in 1968 - 'signed' by JH. Still my first book on climbing though

 graeme jackson 15 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

My oldest climbing book is a 1933 edition of The Epic of Mount Everest by Sir Francis Younghusband. Owned from new by my Grandad it was passed on to me when I was about 7 or 8 (1968 ish).  The title page says School edition so I've always assumed it was given to him by someone much younger (he was old enough to have served in WW1).

The first book I bought myself was probably Bonington's Next Horizon when I would have been about 14 closely followed by a first edition of Walt Unsworth's North face from 1969. Both bought from a used book shop in Newcastle sometime in 1975. 

 wercat 15 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

those Know the Game books are gems - I didn't have Rock climbing  but I had ones on map reading and orienteering, perhaps also on a theme of hiking/camping in the mountains.

Eric Langmuir's Mountaincraft and Leadership was a bible, also Scotland's Winter Mountains by Martin Moran.  My boss at Kishorn, Roger Stonebridge,  supplied several of the photos and a couple of my colleagues in Dimensional Control appear.

Post edited at 12:37
 Dave Cundy 15 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

Well Tony, my first climbing book was written by you!    Cue a short pause while you blush.  I bought "Climbing for Young People" just after it was published in 1977. Still got it - see my gallery

After that, it was straight on to Bonner's books on the expeditions to Everest and Annapurna.  But thanks to you, I had half an idea what CB was talking about.

 Greenbanks 15 Feb 2021
In reply to Dave Cundy:

Sorry Dave - as I have said a few times on here, I'm not 'the' Greenbank of such mountain heritage. Mine is a far more mundane story: my own books are unrelated to climbing, though I did a few bits a pieces for Lancs and the North West and a small input to a vintage Derwent Valley guide; and even the name is not my family name, but misappropriated from elsewhere!

 uphillnow 15 Feb 2021
In reply to Seymore Butt:

The same for me, a hardback I think. Lost it but got a 2nd hand paperback much more recently. 

> Wow! I was thinking just the same. Always wondered what became of my copy. My brother probably took it when he emigrated to Canada 50 years ago. My first biography was Gervasuttis climbs. Which inspired me to climb in the Dolomites on quite a few times. 

 Ratfeeder 15 Feb 2021
In reply to uphillnow:

> Mountaineering in Britain by Edward C  Clark & Ronald W Pyatt first published in 1957 which I bought in 1959. Still got it. Gave a very wide coverage across all areas of Britain. If you can get hold of a copy its still a good read.

Once upon a time, when my miserable teenage life was mired in the desolate flatlands of SE England, I paid a fruitless visit to the Gog Magog hills in Cambridgeshire on the strength of this book. It was one of the first books on climbing I ever encountered (in the library) and it fascinated me, but this particular heads-up I could have done without.

The first climbing book I ever paid money for was the Know the Game one (such a slim little volume). First guidebook I bought was the Constable Peak guide by Paul Nunn, closely followed by Rock Climbing in Wales by Ron James. Those were the days -  grit Diffs got technical grades like 2b and Cenotaph Corner was graded HVS+!

 Jim Lancs 15 Feb 2021
In reply to Dave Cundy:

Sadly Tony Greenbank the outdoor journalist, died last Autumn.

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/sep/23/tony-greenbank-obituary

His obituary there includes the line "Working as an Outward Bound instructor . . . " Well, it was only a relatively small part of his life, but the stories of his 'adventures' were legion. 

 Rick51 15 Feb 2021

Rock Climbers In Action In Snowdonia, 1967 print. The picture of Scratch Arete really took my fancy as a new to climbing youth only climbing at Harrisons. I've managed all but 4 of the illustrated routes since then - not been to the crag for 3 and looked up Suicide Wall, shook my head and walked away.

In reply to Ratfeeder:

I *think* that Ron James was the first 'modern style' quidebooks to appear, with lots of action photos mixed in with crag shots and routes marked. I had my first glimpse from someone who have me a lift back from North Wales shortly after it was published, I bought a copy as soon as I could and that was pretty much the only guidebook I used in N Wales for the next few years. Never took much notice of the 'w' winter climbing suggestions though, there were all sorts included.

 Dave Cundy 15 Feb 2021
In reply to Jim Lancs:

Thanks for that, Jim.  I missed the news of Tony's death - I was cycling to Cornwall that week. That'll be why I haven't seen his writings in the Guardian lately.

Sorry for getting you two mixed up, Greenbanks!

In reply to Greenbanks:

Mine was probably Blackshaw's Mountaineering, but also read The Black Cliff early on as well, which was very inspiring.  Joe Brown 'The Hard Years' and 'Portrait of a Mountaineer' by Ormerod were also early reads.  This was schooldays, so we learned to quote key passages from these and from articles in Mountain.

 Greenbanks 15 Feb 2021
In reply to Derek Furze:

I lent out my copy of The Black Cliff - never got it back. Sporadically ever since, but especially over the last two or three years, I've tried to get hold of one second-hand. Best I could find was one (in poor condition) for £45.00. I resisted, hoping one might show up locally in my second-hand bookstore. It's a vain hope I think.

In reply to Greenbanks: Scrambles Amongst the Alps 1860-69, Ed. Whymper purchased for 18/- in a used book shop in Broardstairs, Kent a couple of years before the centennial of the first ascent of the Matterhorn.....and it was a first edition! What a find and the start of a lifetime of climbing.

In reply to Greenbanks:

I actually have two copies, but paid more than that for each of them.  It isn’t a cheap book, but I think it is a good one

 overdrawnboy 15 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

"The English Outcrops" by Walt Unsworth "borrowed" long term from local library. To this day I still intend going to Pontesford Rocks never seen it mentioned in any other book about climbing.

Remember reading "Conquistadores of the Useless" as a first mountaineering autobiography and finding it terrifying. Could explain why I never tried the Alps.

In reply to Stephen R Young:

> Scrambles Amongst the Alps 1860-69, Ed. Whymper purchased for 18/- in a used book shop in Broardstairs, Kent a couple of years before the centennial of the first ascent of the Matterhorn.....and it was a first edition! What a find and the start of a lifetime of climbing.

Ditto. I can think of few other books that have had quite such a life-changing impact on my whole life. I was given it as 16th birthday present in 1965. Had never done climb in my life, just a few quite tame hill walks. Was climbing in the Alps the next summer, then a year later got into fanatically intense rock climbing.

 mark s 16 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

Mountaineer by Chris bonnington. Got it in 97 I think 

 GrahamD 16 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

Mine was Everest: The Hard Way about the successful Everest SW expedition.  I had a book prize and could have chosen any book, but the cover of this one was irresistible to a keen hill walker and backpacker.  Totally captivating and a real inspiration to try more adventurous mountain itineraries. I didn't actually start climbing until 15 years later, when I joined a club.

In reply to overdrawnboy:

Pontesford Rocks is rather beautiful. It's no Cloggy though!

 Greenbanks 16 Feb 2021
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

To some of us it was just that...hopes, dreams, and tall stories of daring told to fretting parents

In reply to Greenbanks:

Mine was Dave Salt’s softback Roaches guidebook, 7/6 (that’s old money, for any youngsters reading). Still got it.

 Jim Lancs 16 Feb 2021
In reply to GrahamD:

> Mine was Everest: The Hard Way 

That was my first mountaineering lecture slide show. A massive event as it involved a trip to the RGS in London.

Was fixated by the photos from the long walk in - I'd never seen anything so spectacular. It was every bit as good when I go there a few years later.

 birdie num num 16 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

Mine was a dog eared paperback copy of Bonington’s ‘I chose to climb’, picked up in an Oxfam shop many years ago. 
Chugging off to the Alps with a young Don Whillans on a BSA, now that was the way to start an adventure 

 cheese@4p 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

My first was probably Lets Go Climbing by Colin Kirkus. As a callow youth it really hit the spot. Later devoured Rope Boy, The Hard Years, Blackshaw, Bonnington etc. Rock Climbers in Action in North Wales was on a new level, bearing in mind that I had hardly done any climbing at the time the images were mindblowing. Just remembering those books from Keighley library takes me back in time and kindles the simultaneous fear of and desire for adventure on rock. Climbing can seem quite banal these days in comparison.

 alam_kouh 17 Feb 2021
In reply to uphillnow:

Still got mine - a school prize in '59

 alam_kouh 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage - every chapter a brush with death.

 Fredt 18 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

On Ice and Snow and Rock - Rebuffat, though it actually belonged to my elder brother. However, I was mesmerised by the photos of Gaston hanging in etriers, or dangling above space attached to a thin rope by prussik knots. I went to Tanky's on High Street with my paper round money and bought some cord for prussiks and luminous pink webbing from which I made a harness. I cadged an old hawser laid rope from my brother, and spent an idyllic year banging six inch nails into the walls of the house and aiding up and down and across, and prussiking up the rope.

My brother eventually took me climbing, to Burbage quarries, and I realised that this was a different ball game entirely, but I was hooked.

In reply to Fredt:

'luminous pink webbing' - Tiger's Web!

In reply to Greenbanks:

When I was 14 I came across a copy of 'Four Against Everest' by Woodrow Wilson Sayre in the public library. Totally blew me away. I thought that's the life, I want some of that.

 Kean 18 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

"Eiger - Wall of Death" by Arthur Roth. Got it from the local library. Was hooked! 25 years later and I'm still trying to work out why such a gruesome book should have hooked me...

Also "High Adventure", found in an Oxfam. Despite the title, and the cover looking somewhat reminiscent of some character out of a Biggles book, it's Edmund Hillary's account of his ascent of Everest.

In reply to Greenbanks:

My second book on climbing was 'I Chose to Climb' by Bonners. Massively inspiring. 

 Dave Cundy 18 Feb 2021
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

"I Chose to Climb" was the first book i bought (as opposed to one bought by my mum and dad - see my post upstream).

But i've just remembered the first climbing article i read.  It was in a kid's Chistmas annual , circa 1972.  It had a story about a solo ascent of the N wall of the Eiger, by Michelle  Darbellay (pls excuse the spelling).  It was captivating, detailing all the disasters up to that point, although i couldn't quite visualise it all.  A few years later, i bought Bonner's books, with stories and pictures.  I can still visualise the one of Gunn Clark on the Tre Cima.  That was when I really started to understand what climbing was.  As for mountaineering, i read (and continually reread) Bonner's expeditions to Annapurna and the SW face of Everest.

Those stories and books set me up for life.  My mum said that joining my club was the best thing i ever did.

In reply to Dave Cundy:

ICTC was given to me as a Christmas present by my father in 1966. I was completely hooked by it, because it has such a compelling storyline, culminating in the first British ascent of the Eigerwand.

In reply to Rog Wilko:

> Mine was Dave Salt’s softback Roaches guidebook, 7/6 (that’s old money, for any youngsters reading). Still got it.

Me too, although mine must be a slightly later edition (1973) because it cost £1.70! 

I was fascinated by the photo of Dave Salt cutting loose on Double Overhang and it's only just struck me how similar it is to the photo of Sam Whittacker on Paralogism that we put on the cover of the 2004 edition.  

 DaveHK 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

I genuinely believe that this is what started it all for me:


 David Coley 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

My first and only book I've written about climbing, if that counts as a way of answering the question

https://www.amazon.co.uk/High-Advanced-Multi-Pitch-Climbing-ebook/dp/B00UJG9DH6/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=coley+high&qid=1613732566&sr=8-1

 Greenbanks 19 Feb 2021
 Greenbanks 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

I should have added - fairly unsurprising that many of the books mentioned in this thread make appearances on Watters' list (tho' not mine - understandably)


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