/ NEW REVIEW: Who’s Who in British Climbing - reviewed by Marc C

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"Colin Wells' book is less about why British climbers are different than the Who Are We? issue, but it does share the premise that there is something peculiar (in both senses of the word) about British climbers.

He attempts to catalogue this curious species (Homo Gritannicus?) - “the romantics, eccentrics and buffoons who have made British climbing what it is”.

Indeed the very idea of compiling a compendium of eminent British climbers past and present seems ideally suited to someone from the nation that invented butterfly-collecting and trainspotting..."


Read More: http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=1456
Mick Ward - on 26 Nov 2008
In reply to UKC Gear:

A lovely, quirky review Marc (where have you been?) I failed to recognise anybody in the photo - yup, it's nul points yet again. And Tufa just needs some more brand recognition...

Mick
Doug on 26 Nov 2008
In reply to UKC Gear: Thanks Marc, still not sure if I'll buy a copy but enjoyed the review. Anyone know is a list of the great & good (ie those featured ) is available anywhere ? (without buying the book)
Marc C - on 26 Nov 2008
In reply to Mick Ward: Hi Mick. In true hardy Brit-style, I have been pony-trekking in Patagonia (someone told me that the climbing on Cerro Torre is very similar to that at Lumbutts Quarry), white-water canoeing down the Dudh Khosi, and BASE-jumping off Angel Falls. Well, sort of... These Nintendo Wii thingymajigs are awesome! Sometimes - when soloing El Cap - I strap my chalkbag on for extra realism
Mick Ward - on 26 Nov 2008
In reply to Marc C:

Don't think them Yanks have been up Lumbutts way yet. Th' Great Arete might sort 'em out!

'I never knew I could climb so hard for so long...' (Ed Ward-Drummond, circa 1970)

Mick
sutty on 26 Nov 2008
In reply to Marc C:

Hmm, someone has been reading too much Perrin. Interesting review, will try it again later with dictionary at my side.

BTW, £20 for a book is cheap, I think most guidebooks are round that now, but a devotee of Lumbutts will not have anything else.
TN - on 26 Nov 2008
In reply to Marc C:
> Sometimes - when soloing El Cap - I strap my chalkbag on for extra realism

On the front? I hope you close the curtains....
Marc C - on 26 Nov 2008
In reply to TN: Actually, you've just given me the idea for a climbing board game, called Big Wall. The usual dice and board format with a miniature El Cap that players move their 'climbers' up. You get bonus cards - e.g. "Discover easier sequence, move up 50ft'- or penalty cards - e.g. "Used up all your chalk, go down 100ft". I could go into more detail about rules, strategies, but have essays to mark!
Sam Mayfield - on 26 Nov 2008
In reply to Mick Ward:

I think if we covered her in Orange House Logo stickers the UKC public would go mad and claim it was photoshop!

Sam :0)
tcc on 26 Nov 2008 - 89-168-56-51.dynamic.dsl.as9105.com
In reply to Doug: There is a list of all the entries online.
In reply to UKC Gear: Gill Kent on the far right?
S11 - on 26 Nov 2008
In reply to grumpybearpantsclimbinggoat: Yes and Kate Burke far left
ukb & bmc shark - on 26 Nov 2008
In reply to S11:

But enough of their politics
Sam Mayfield - on 26 Nov 2008
In reply to S11:

Second from the left is Matt from Trial Magazine.

Sam
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Cornelius Kite - on 26 Nov 2008
In reply to Sam Mayfield: 'Trail'?
Sam Mayfield - on 26 Nov 2008
In reply to Cornelius Kite:

I always make that typo! I wonder if its on purpose?

;0)
Cornelius Kite - on 26 Nov 2008
In reply to Sam Mayfield: You're probably not alone - bet there are thousands of Trail subscribers puzzled at being sent the barristers' monthly magazine
Cragdog al - on 29 Nov 2008
In reply to UKC Gear: i got moon, moffatt, fawcett, brown, whillans?, dunne, kirkus?, and bransby!
Cragdog al - on 29 Nov 2008
In reply to Cragdog al: pollitt and putrell also.
Cragdog al - on 29 Nov 2008
In reply to Cragdog al: proctor?
Al Evans on 29 Nov 2008
In reply to Mick Ward:
> (In reply to UKC Gear)
>
> A lovely, quirky review Marc (where have you been?) I failed to recognise anybody in the photo - yup, it's nul points yet again. And Tufa just needs some more brand recognition...
>
> Mick

Surely you got Gill on the right?
Marc C - on 29 Nov 2008
In reply to Cragdog al: Bransby? Thought that was Livesey! Don't forget Nadin, Dunne, Bonington, MAcInnes, Haston....

Cute photo of Mummery with his daughter.
Al Evans on 29 Nov 2008
In reply to UKC Gear: I can't see a link to buy this book?
Marc C - on 29 Nov 2008
In reply to Cragdog al: where's Pollitt? !

Boardman's there, as is Fawcett and Shipton
In reply to Marc C:
> (In reply to Cragdog al) where's Pollitt? !
>
Is he thinking the second one up from bottom right?

Marc C - on 29 Nov 2008
In reply to grumpybearpantsclimbinggoat: My first thought was Alex MacIntyre, but am probably wrong. It's not Pollitt.
Aiden Wright on 29 Nov 2008 - server77-68-36-52.live-servers.net
In reply to UKC Gear: That was a great review. But I thought that it skirted around whether the book was any good or not. My opinion is that it is interesting, but I would not buy it. The review says that the author's approach is ramshackle which i agree with. He also blames others for the idea which makes me think he didn't want to write it and is trying to deflect the criticism he knows is coming. The front cover is a dog's dinner, and the lack of care shown in its selection says a lot about the approach to putting the book together. Brilliant review, though
Doug on 29 Nov 2008
In reply to Aiden Wright: Discussion of the book, and its cover here
http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=323594&v=1#x4773926
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Mick Ward - on 30 Nov 2008
In reply to Al Evans:

> Surely you got Gill on the right?.

Holy cow - I didn't! Bloody hell, she's gone all twinset & pearls. Who'd have thunk it?

Mick
Sandrine - on 30 Nov 2008
In reply to Mick Ward:

I agree, it was a good read this review.

I had not heard of Geraldine Taylor, so maybe it would be a good book for me.
Mick Ward - on 30 Nov 2008
In reply to Sandrine:

> I agree, it was a good read this review.

Our Marc. The boy did well.


> I had not heard of Geraldine...

An institution, dear lady, a veritable institution.

Mick


P.S. Does anyone know if Gill is in? She certainly should be - first British woman to climb F7b+/E6 in old money.
Yrmenlaf on 30 Nov 2008 - 213.78.202.62 whois?
In reply to UKC Gear:

So is there some overlap with the article written by Rick Ayres "Further Notes on Manwatching", first published Climber and Rambler 1981 and anthologised in "The Games Climbers Play"

It identifies several subspecies of Homo Sapiens (Homo Alpinus, Homo Crustaceous, Homo Verticalus), and includes notes as to how to attract them to your garden.

I guess the Species has evolved this last quarter century.

Y.
Franco Cookson OLD - on 30 Nov 2008
In reply to UKC Gear: I think i'll be buying this. looks interesting.
Al Evans on 30 Nov 2008
In reply to Mick Ward:
> (In reply to Sandrine)
>
> P.S. Does anyone know if Gill is in? She certainly should be - first British woman to climb F7b+/E6 in old money.


As she is the publisher I would assume so!
Marc C - on 30 Nov 2008
In reply to Yrmenlaf: Hi, the Games Climbers Play classification sounds amusing, but I was blissfully unaware of this piece when writing my review.
Before my time, anyway ;-)

In reply to anyone contemplating buying the book: I was in no way suggesting the book wasn't worth buying - far from it! Generally, I was in two minds (Janus-faced Chrysanthou!) about it: admiring its scope and being tickled by much of its humour (the Bumper Fun Book bit of my review) but not scoring it so highly as a definitive in-depth balanced coverage of Who's Who; calling into question, therefore, its longer-term usefulness on the climber's bookshelf.
Marc C - on 30 Nov 2008
In reply to Mick Ward: Gill Kent's name is not in the index. Nor is Gorple for that matter (first dog to climb the Dog-E grade). The absence of British climbers of the animal variety is a major oversight - here, one thinks of Snufferty the first teddy bear to summit K2, and Growler the goat, Percy Etheridge's belayer on such testpieces as Gymkhana Buttress
Mick Ward - on 30 Nov 2008
In reply to Marc C:

> Gill Kent's name is not in the index.

Re Al's comment above, good on her for letting Colin get on with it. However I'd still argue that she deserves to be in it on merit.

Mick

P.S. Is Lumbutts in the Index? Really, one despairs. When will people realise...
Marc C - on 30 Nov 2008
In reply to Mick Ward: Aye, no mention of Lumbutts. I fear I'm condemned to be one of those climbing geniuses unsung by his own peers, belatedly recognised only after his death (an entry in 'Who WAS Who in World Climbing')
Marc C - on 30 Nov 2008
In reply to Mick Ward: An interesting parlour game to go through the A-Z and think of people who one thinks SHOULD have been in it
Mick Ward - on 30 Nov 2008
In reply to Marc C:

Wasn't it Brian Robertson who claimed of the proposed Robertson Directissima on the Dru, "We intend to climb for days and days without ever touching rock." A man with such outre ambitions surely deserved to be in!

Mick
tcc on 02 Dec 2008 - 89-168-116-87.dynamic.dsl.as9105.com
In reply to Marc C: Who let the dogs in?
I'm not sure Gill would appreciate the seamless segue from referring to her absence from the book to that of various British dogs' absences - but you are wrong about the dogs:

Tschingel the Wonder Dog (1865-1879)
The woof guide to mountaineering
There have been several fearless British climbing dogs; Henry Atkinson dragged one of his guide’s pooches to the top of Mont Blanc in 1837, while Edward Shirley Kennedy» was accompanied by a dog on many of his alpine climbs, including the first ascent of the Aiguille Verte. Charles Packe» used a pair of Pyrenean mountain dogs (Ossue and Azor) to belay him across crevassed ground. In more recent times (1926) ‘Dinky the Dog’ was hauled up an icy Central Jordan Climb on Pillar Rock in a rucksack by George Basterfield» and Thomas Graham Brown» during a snowstorm, while in the 1970s a short-haired Highland terrier accompanied Hamish Brown on a round of Munros, including scrabbling up the Inaccessible Pinnacle.
Despite such impressive competition, none can compare with the record of the doughty beaglesque terrier Tschingel, ‘who for nine glorious seasons rollicked across the Alps’ with William Coolidge» and Meta Brevoort. Technically speaking, Tschingel – named after the first glacier pass that she crossed – was actually Swiss, being born in the Bernese Oberland and originally belonging to the guide Christian Almer. However, when she was three she was given to the 18-year old William Coolidge – then resident in England – as a consolation prize for failing to get up the Eiger. From then on Tschingel accompanied Coolidge on most of his trips to the mountains. The alpine hound was said to be particularly fine at picking her way across crevassed ground, and would occasionally better the guide’s route-finding ability. It was said that she understood English, German and the dialect of Switzerland’s Canton Valais, but that she always deliberately ignored French. Coolidge insisted this was because of prejudice inculcated during a tough journey made as a result of an enforced return to Britain thanks to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.
Tschingel would eventually climb many prestigious peaks including the Jungfrau and Mont Blanc in 1875. Following the latter achievement, the pooch was visited by all the Chamonix guides, who came to pay awestruck homage to the all-conquering canine. When Tschingel finally died, her irascible, misanthropic owner was inconsolable. ‘I am in great affliction at the death of my dear old dog,’ Coolidge told Charles Mathews. ‘She was so much more a companion than a mere dog that I feel her loss very deeply.’ But then again, he didn’t really have many other friends.

Mick Ward - on 02 Dec 2008
In reply to tcc:
> (In reply to Marc C) Who let the dogs in?

> I'm not sure Gill would appreciate the seamless segue from referring to her absence from the book to that of various British dogs' absences...

Naughty!

Winsome lass... to grande dame - a fine lady.

Mick
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Marc C - on 02 Dec 2008
In reply to tcc: I stand (on my hind legs) corrected - but, for a book entitled 'Who's T'wit T'woo in British Climbing', I thought Darren 'Owlman' Jackson would get a mention?
Al Evans on 02 Dec 2008
In reply to Mick Ward: Strangely, although I haven't read it yet, Geoff B tells me I am in it, wow, who made that mistake
tcc on 02 Dec 2008 - 89-168-116-87.dynamic.dsl.as9105.com
In reply to Al Evans:
Al Evans, one of the longest-lasting old trouper new routers in this book, has been actively pursuing the path of exploration for over 30 years – and is still very much at it. Evans has been there, done that, climbed with everyone from every era and matched them pints for pint.
Continues in similar embarrassing fashion
ericoides - on 02 Dec 2008
In reply to Marc C:

I was rather surprised to see that both Wordsworths (Wm and Dot) were included in the list. I had not realised that either of them were notable climbers; if they weren't, and their inclusion is simply because they drew people in such numbers to the Lakes, then surely by the same token Wainwright (heaven forbid!) should be there too?

Any idea?
Mick Ward - on 02 Dec 2008
In reply to Al Evans:

Al, I'd always assumed that you would be in it. No mistake, surely. Colin simply got it right.

Mick

P.S. However this does mean that we can take the p*ss out of you on the crag (and vice versa!) until the end of days...
Mick Ward - on 02 Dec 2008
In reply to tcc:
> (In reply to Al Evans)

> Continues in similar embarrassing fashion

Really?? Sounds like an affectionate (and well deserved) tribute to me.

Mick

Marc C - on 02 Dec 2008
In reply to ericoides: William "I wandered boldly up Hen Cloud" Wordsworth NOT a notable climber?! Not forgetting Dot "Dorothy's Dilemma at The Roaches" Wordsworth's tugging of Will's rope-end on gritstone slabs ;-)

If Alfred aint in it, agree, he ought to be. His hands-free girdle traverse of the Lion & the Lamb on Helm Crag (pencil in one hand, Kendal Mint Cake in the other) deserves a mention in any mountaineering tome worth its chalk.

ericoides - on 02 Dec 2008
In reply to Marc C:

Very good, but as the German said to the Spanish barman, I'm none the wiser
sutty on 02 Dec 2008
In reply to ericoides:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=66319

Somewhere in there probably
tcc on 02 Dec 2008 - 89-168-116-87.dynamic.dsl.as9105.com
In reply to ericoides: The author probably found characters like this more interesting:

Sidney Sid Thompson (1914-1992)
He swapped a pension plan for a sports plan
Sid Thompson was famous for two things. One, for being the oldest swinger in town. Two, for having the longest running project of any climber in the world, ever. Depending on the weather, Thompson was a familiar sight in Lakeland, hanging around parasitically at Shepherd’s Crag or Scafell throughout the 1970s, ’80s and early ’90s. He was a uniquely incongruous sight amongst the Lifa, Lycra or Stone Monkey uniforms of the day: no one else sported flat cap, ancient charity-shop pullover and a hawser-laid rope coiled around his bony 70-odd year-old frame. The Steptoe of Shepherds would invariably approach ropes of youngsters requesting permission to tie on to the rear and follow them up the route. Most were so gobsmacked by the apparition that they conceded readily, and were tailed with agility up the crag by the strange wrinkled retainer, who would thank them for the ride at the top, then scuttle off in search of new victims.
Thompson’s endearing eccentricity was manifold – from his habit of cycling furiously everywhere (‘I go hell for leather. I work up a lather of sweat. When I started cycling I was 12 stone. Cycling’s helped me bring it down to 9 stone’) to his habit of drinking milk from an old Domestos bottle. It is debatable whether he picked up this latter habit from his days as a public health inspector, although he must have had the cleanest gizzard of any septuagenarian anywhere.
However, the most startling facet of his character was perhaps his obsession with Central Buttress, the classic former HVS on Scafell. Here he used his tried and trusted ploy to climb the route, lying in wait for unsuspecting climbers to pass by and hitch a ride up the crux. He must have spent days, if not months, of his life, just waiting at the launching stance beneath; ‘Sometimes, I’ve waited three hours until it was my turn to climb. Oh, I’ve seen dozens fall off’, he would reminisce happily. This, The Great Flake Pitch (formerly a 5b layback before a hold pulled) was his bete noire, he practised it over 50 times over nearly as many years by his unique top-rope ambush method – but he never did achieve his life’s ambition to lead it. But perhaps this was deliberate; after all, when all your dreams are fulfilled, what is there left? (Answer: Wearing cardigans and watching Trisha).


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