RF have just Published a guide to the SW which didn't even include proper details to Cheddar in the local area so I find it unlikely they are going to publish a guide to North Quarry any time soon.
Sad they are getting overgrown from lack of information, as when published people are not going to explore the smaller venues if they loose confidence in the guide because every venue they turn up to is a bramble fest
> RF have just Published a guide to the SW which didn't even include proper details to Cheddar in the local area so I find it unlikely they are going to publish a guide to North Quarry any time soon.
We would love to cover Cheddar but Cheddar Caves and Gorge have been persuaded to take an aggressive stance against Rockfax and have told us that access for everyone will be in danger should we include it in a Rockfax guide.
> To be fair, it was more likely a pro-access initiative rather than an anti-RF one.
I don't think there is much evidence to support that.
As an aside, Cheddar regularly features in the top 10 places that people want us to cover when we ask the question on our surveys about where they want to see Rockfax guides to. It is behind places like Switzerland and Fontainbleau, but ahead of Yorkshire Grit, USA, and the Frankenjura.
Oh ok. I’ve not seen evidence to the contrary either, which you may have. My bad, sorry. So you think it was a landgrab? I guess if it’s taken many years of tricky negotiations to reach a status quo worth maintaining, one would want to hang onto the income stream too. Shame.
> I guess if it’s taken many years of tricky negotiations to reach a status quo worth maintaining, one would want to hang onto the income stream too. Shame.
Well, I haven't seen any evidence to support the fact that two guidebooks with accurate access information are more likely to jeopardise an access agreement than where there is only one available. There is plenty of evidence that out-of-date and difficult-to-purchase guidebooks do jeopardise access and, in this respect, good up-to-date and available coverage is a distinct benefit in maintaining good access which is much more likely where there are two sources. I appreciate this isn't exactly what you were suggesting with your initial post.
There is a case that widely available guide information in print or digital can increase the number of user visits which can become an access problem, but that has never really been the modus operandi in UK crag access. We tend to work on the let's get the best access we can to everywhere then we can spread the load better theory.
I'm no Rockfax hater and wouldn't personally object to a carefully considered Cheddar guide, but think it not apples for apples in the guidebook writing oligopoly. One side has spent decades negotiating access, cleaning routes, and in the case of sport venues, spent countless hours and invariably large sums of personal money bolting, whereas it remains to be seen what Rockfax would bring to the table, bar collecting revenues from better marketed guides.
To the contrary, I fear the UK climbing scene has too much possessiveness and protectionism, often driven by egos and an obsession with collecting FA's, yielding an unhealthy 'ownership' of routes, whose fate lie in the hands of one, often ageing male.
The only certainty is the landscape of climbing is changing. Many first ascensionists will pass in the not so distant future and the destiny of venues, routes and guidebooks will rest on younger shoulders.
> I'm no Rockfax hater and wouldn't personally object to a carefully considered Cheddar guide, but think it not apples for apples in the guidebook writing oligopoly. One side has spent decades negotiating access, cleaning routes, and in the case of sport venues, spent countless hours and invariably large sums of personal money bolting, whereas it remains to be seen what Rockfax would bring to the table, bar collecting revenues from better marketed guides.
This is one of the things that I think people get wrong about Rockfax. In the UK especially, our authors, and significant guidebook contributors, are usually very active local climbers who have done many of the things you mention. We also make regular contributions to all the relevant local bolt funds.
Another point to consider is that in many cases we are offering digital-only coverage which complements print coverage very well. We are always keen to work with local guidebook producers to open a digital revenue stream for their guidebook work. This has worked very well with the SMC for example. There is sometimes resistance because they think this will cannibalise their own print sales. After several years of established sales patterns, we can categorically state that this has not happened to any great extent with all our books where the print and digital coverage virtually mirror each other.
Yes in the immediate Bristol area Rockfax gave a good donation to the Wintours Leap regearing project. That was in return for an article on the subject mind, but that article did then raise more donations so a win overall
Getting well off topic now, as lead author of the Culm and Baggy guide, I was only to happy to use the UKC logbooks as a source of information, which I discussed with Alan when I started work on the project and acknowledged in the guide. I’m also happy to see that the second edition of West Country Climbs has included some new areas from the Culm guide.
Personally I think Rockfax do an excellent job of producing selective guides and don’t have any problem with them doing so. I own several. The more information out there, the better.
If it were really about access, and the need to ensure that climbers stick to the complicated Cheddar access agreement, then there could be no logical objection to Rockfax publishing with accurate access information.
If, on the other hand, it were about Cheddar Gorge & Caves wishing to monetise the natural landscape then it would be in their interest for Rockfax not to publish. Instead, they make sure that climbers all buy the Cheddar guidebook published by non other than Longleat Enterprises Ltd (the owner of Cheddar Gorge & Caves).
If the latter is the case, it's hard to imagine them actually threatening access, as to do so would totally torpedo the very revenue stream they were trying to protect. (Having done so, they'd no doubt come up with some kind of Cheddar permit system...)
Which leads to the conclusion that it's either a bluff, or it's yet another case of local climbers thinking they have some kind of additional rights to a place. Quite why the landowner would get on board with this is beyond me...
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