/ Your oldest guide book

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JimR - on 29 Jun 2017
Mine is Rock Climbs in Arran 1958! And yes, I used it ;-)
andyjohnson0 - on 29 Jun 2017
In reply to JimR:

BMC Kinder guide 1990
Martin Bennett - on 29 Jun 2017
In reply to JimR:

FRCC Langdale 1954 reprint of the 1950 Clegg Dolphin and Cook guide. When I started in 1965 this was the most recent guide and was out of print - couldn't get one for love nor money. I found mine in the stream in White Gill, pretty soggy and pulpy but once dried entirely readable. It was used weekly until Austin's long awaited 1967 guide came out. Still got it, of course.
Robert Durran - on 29 Jun 2017
In reply to JimR:

1896 Whymper guide to Chamonix and the Range of Mont Blanc.
davidbeynon on 30 Jun 2017
In reply to JimR:
Oldest I have is the SMC cairngorms guide vol II (1973).

Oldest I have used is Peter Lennons "Scandinavian Mountains". 80s I think.
Post edited at 00:22
alan moore - on 30 Jun 2017
In reply to JimR:

I picked up a copy of Menlove and Noyces Idwal guide from the 30's.

Oldest guide I've used is Jeremy Talbot's Gower from 1968, I think. Still the most comprehensive guide to trad climbing on Gower ever produced...
MG - on 30 Jun 2017
In reply to JimR:

The Mountains of Cogne 1893, Yeld and Coolidge
GrahamD - on 30 Jun 2017
In reply to JimR:

My oldest one is Great Gable, Green Gable, Kirkfell, Yewbarrow and Buckbarrow, by C.J.Astley Cooper, W. Peascod, A.P.Rossiter which is a 1958 reprint of the 1948 guide.

Tophet Wall - 245 feet. Severe, Rock requires care. Leader needs 60' of rope .....

The oldest one that still actually gets any use is probably my 1984 Constable Rock Climbing in Ireland
Trangia on 30 Jun 2017
In reply to Martin Bennett:

> FRCC Langdale 1954 reprint of the 1950 Clegg Dolphin and Cook guide. When I started in 1965 this was the most recent guide and was out of print - couldn't get one for love nor money.

I've got that one too which I managed to buy new when it was reprinted in 1960. Also the FRCC 1960 reprint of the 1953 Bentley Beetham Borrowdale Guide, and the Climbers Club 1956 South-East England which I bought new following the 1960 reprint.

I still refer to them at times. Quite useful for seeing how grades have crept up!

oldie - on 30 Jun 2017
In reply to JimR:

Menlove Edwards Lliwedd. Bought second hand in 70s (I think it was still current then until Drasdo's guide)
GridNorth - on 30 Jun 2017
In reply to JimR:

I've got a 1956 revised edition of the 1951 Sheffield Area guide.

Al
MG - on 30 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

> The Mountains of Cogne 1893, Yeld and Coolidge

And for parts of the area, still the "current" guide in English!
Simon Caldwell - on 30 Jun 2017
In reply to JimR:

Probably "Climbing in the British Isles" by WP Haskett Smith, 1894.
Toerag - on 30 Jun 2017
In reply to JimR:

"Guide to the caves and bays of Sark" from 1915. It's been re-printed over the years (I have a re-printed copy) and has only been checked and re-written a couple of years ago.
Mark Kemball - on 30 Jun 2017
In reply to JimR:

My three oldest guides are Cwm Idwal, J. M. Edwards (1946 reprint), Tryfan, J. M. Edwardsand C. W. F. Noyce (1953 reprint) and Glyder Fach, C. F. Kirkus (1949 reprint). I inherited these from my father. The oldest guide that I bought myself and used (the cover is falling off) is Rock Climbs in the Peak, The Sheffield Froggatt Area edited by Eric Byne, I can't find the publication date, but I bought it late 1974 or early 1975.
elliptic on 30 Jun 2017
In reply to JimR:

Someone's going to come along eventually and point out that probably the oldest actual climbing guidebook in the modern sense (hence top score on this thread?) is Archer Thomson's Lliwedd book from 1909.

I haven't got it but I can offer up an early edition of OG Jones "Rock Climbing in the English Lake District" (1897) which has a particular niche in history as the book from which the UK trad grading system originates...
Andy Say - on 30 Jun 2017
In reply to JimR:

Probably the Menlove Edwards guide to Lliwedd ('48 I think)
Dave Garnett - on 30 Jun 2017
In reply to Mark Kemball:

> The oldest guide that I bought myself and used (the cover is falling off) is Rock Climbs in the Peak, The Sheffield Froggatt Area edited by Eric Byne, I can't find the publication date, but I bought it late 1974 or early 1975.

Mine's the Staffordshire Gritstone Area by David Salt, which I bought in August 1976, complete with ticks, asterisks and comments.

Little did I suspect...
James Mann - on 30 Jun 2017
In reply to elliptic:

Correction: written by Thompson and AW Andrews. Iain Peters has one which was given to his Grandfather by Andrews.

James
Simon Caldwell - on 30 Jun 2017
In reply to elliptic:

> Archer Thomson's Lliwedd book from 1909.

I've got that one as well. And his Ogwen guide from the following year. They all make for fascinating reading!
johncook - on 30 Jun 2017
In reply to JimR:

The set of Peak grit from the early 50's and the blue peak limestone from the early 60's. All used by me initially. Have all the Peak guides since, in variable condition.
tjekel - on 30 Jun 2017
In reply to JimR:

Peilstein 1948 by Hubert Peterka.
keith-ratcliffe on 30 Jun 2017
In reply to JimR:
The oldest one that I bought and used is Paul Nunn's 'Rock Climbing in the Peak District' from 1975. It is well battered and annotated but I still refer to it even though I have the later edition. It covered some rather esoteric quarries near Macclesfield where I lived - now all gone.
Spartacus on 30 Jun 2017
In reply to

> I haven't got it but I can offer up an early edition of OG Jones "Rock Climbing in the English Lake District" (1897) which has a particular niche in history as the book from which the UK trad grading system originates...

I got a copy of this a couple of years ago in a bookshop in Deeside. Not cheap but should be an investment.
GrahamD - on 30 Jun 2017
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

> The oldest one that I bought and used is Paul Nunn's 'Rock Climbing in the Peak District' from 1975.

I've got that one. If ever there was a bumper book of random grades, this was it ! some routes would still have their modern grade whilst others could be wildly different. It was a photo topo guide of sorts, though.
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Mark Kemball - on 30 Jun 2017
In reply to GrahamD:

I have the Paul Nunn too. When I lived in Manchester, we'd go out trying to "bag Nunns".
TobyA on 30 Jun 2017
In reply to JimR:

First I ever bought was the original West Midland's guide with Black Wall at Llanymynech on the front cover (I think its 88 but I got mine around 1990). Older than that, but bought a bit later, is the High Range guide to the Glasgow Outcrops, it has Requiem in it as VS A1 IIRC. The oldest in my possession is a Southern England guide that my Dad had, probably from the early to mid 60s - Southern Sandstone and some Dorset stuff I think.
keith-ratcliffe on 30 Jun 2017
In reply to Mark Kemball:
I trust the Bishop approved!
Climbingspike - on 30 Jun 2017
In reply to JimR: great excuse to get some of the old books out.
Selected climbs in the range of Mont Blanc. 1957.
Great Langdale. 1950.
Climbing in the Ogwen District. 1910.
Rock Climbing in North Wales. 1906. This is signed by the authors, George and Ashley Abraham, when ever I pick this book up it gives me a strange tingle of holding history in my hands.

Big Ger - on 01 Jul 2017
In reply to JimR:

Is there a market for old climbing guides? I fancy the idea collecting some, but would not be interested if they went for big money.
Trangia on 01 Jul 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

> Is there a market for old climbing guides?

Probably only if it is original and in mint condition which is highly unlikely because by it's very nature it is likely to have been hard used.
nigel baker - on 01 Jul 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

There's more than you think out there and in very good condition for their age!
You also don't have to pay a fortune either. I started because I was interested in our climbing heritage regarding the work people did to record the routes we climb....it's now got a bit out of hand!!
Go on give it a go!!!!
JimR - on 01 Jul 2017
In reply to nigel baker:

There's a lot of history in some old guidebooks, both in the foreword and the fa notes.The history and culture of climbing was something I loved when I started out in the early 70s. Climbing was still a bit of an unusual sport in Scotland and you tended to know most of the people you bumped into at the crag.
Andy Long - on 01 Jul 2017
In reply to JimR:

Paul Ross's pirate guide to Borrowdale.
Ed Ward-Drummond's weird typescript guide to the Avon Gorge.

Both mid sixties.
Pursued by a bear - on 01 Jul 2017
In reply to JimR:

I thought I had some older ones but the oldest of them seem to be reprints from the 1970s; Walt Unsworth's guide to Pontesford Rocks, Hamish Brown's guide to Rhum and a West Col guide to the Dolgellau area are probably the most obscure of them.

T.
brianjcooper on 01 Jul 2017
In reply to JimR:

My oldest guide book still climbs with me. He's invaluable wherever we go.
nigel baker - on 01 Jul 2017
In reply to JimR:

Now I've retired you meet everyone in Kalymnos!!!
John Lyall on 01 Jul 2017
In reply to JimR:

My oldest is Menlove Edwards 1936 Cwm Idwal Group, closely followed by the Kirkus 1937 Glyder Fach Group and the Edwards, Noyce 1939 Tryfan Group. I had really wanted to use these when I was doing my BMG assessment in North Wales, but finished up in other areas, and more 'modern' crags.
Also really like my W.H.Murray 1949 Glencoe and Ardgour guidebook.
Sean Kelly - on 01 Jul 2017
In reply to James Mann:

> Correction: written by Thompson and AW Andrews. Iain Peters has one which was given to his Grandfather by Andrews.
Iwan Jones (Llanberis guide author) showed me his copy of this guide several years back. Funnily, it was the first climbing guide I ever handled, as a copy resided in Handsworth Library (Brum), probably very early 60's. The oldest guide that I've purchased is probably Roscoe's Llanberis North guide from the mid 60's. I also have a copy of a Peak walking guide, Across the Derbyshire Moors (1930's) which was given to me by my mother-in-law. However I do have early pre-WW1maps for the Peak, Lakes and Snowdonia.

Raskye - on 01 Jul 2017
In reply to JimR:

Abraham's Rock-Climbing in Skye 1908. Always dipping into it to beef up modern route descriptions
Dave Cundy - on 01 Jul 2017
In reply to JimR:

The thread could plausibly be retitled "who's the oldest fart on UKC" but its actually much more interesting than that. I think my oldest guide is a 1978 Ogwen guide (or there-abouts). I marked a load of stuff to do, from D to S. I think most of them still await me as i moved on to greater things.
Big Ger - on 02 Jul 2017
In reply to Trangia:

That's heartening, thanks.
Big Ger - on 02 Jul 2017
In reply to nigel baker:

Cheers mate, I'll do that.
Stuart en Écosse - on 02 Jul 2017
In reply to JimR:

1978 (I think) Glencoe, yellow hardback by Ken Crocket. The only Glencoe guidebook I ever owned. Later editions add a pleasing amount of upgrades.

Glen Nevis and Polldubh by Ed Grindley. This would be my desert island book, only because I'm so attached to my own copy.
Ian Archer - on 02 Jul 2017
In reply to elliptic:

Yep - copy on my bookshelf Thompson and Andrews 1909 - and Ive used it.

The route description is very 'rambling' but great fun to use
Mark Stevenson - on 02 Jul 2017
In reply to JimR: I've got copies of most of the really old ones, many of which have already been mentioned:
1894/5 Haskett Smith, Climbing in the British Isles, Vols I & II.
1909 CC, The Climbs on Lliwedd
1910 CC, Climbing in the Ogwen District
1913 Laycock, Some Shorter Climbs in Derbyshire and Elsewhere
1920 SMC, Ben Nevis
1922-1925 FRCC, first series 'Red Guides' to the Lakes
1926 CC, A Climbers' Guide to Snowdon and Beddgelert District

All are fantastic pieces of climbing history.

That said the oldest guidebook that I still regularly use is the second edition Cicerone guide to winter climbs on Ben Nevis and Glencoe from March 1971. It's a fantastic slim volume that covers all the classic routes and is a fraction of the size, weight and cost of any of the current guides.

Mark Stevenson - on 02 Jul 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

> Is there a market for old climbing guides? I fancy the idea collecting some, but would not be interested if they went for big money.

There are a fair few of us around who collect them. I started back in 2005 and now have 600+ UK climbing guidebooks. I know several others with similar or even larger collections.

You can eventually pick up copies of the majority mainstream guidebooks from the 1960s through to 1990s for a few quid each, so at a basic level it is not expensive.

Older CC, FRCC and SMC hardback guides are perhaps slightly more collectable so perhaps £4-£8 each. The obvious exceptions are the 1950s Climbs on Gritstone guides where finding pristine copies is nigh on impossible and good copies are worth tens of pounds. Equally, most of the really early (pre-1930) guides I listed in my previous post cost me between £20 and £50.

Pamphlets with limited production runs are a complete lottery. Sometimes you can pay pence, other times online book dealers seem to sell some for loads.

That said, as with any collecting, how much you pay for things is really up to you. There's always loads of stuff advertised online for silly money but if you wait long enough you'll eventually find one for much less. The second issue revolves around whether you eventually decide that you want association copies or ones in great condition.

PS If anyone is interested I've about 50 duplicates copies of mostly 1940s to 1960s guides including lots of CC hardback ones sitting in a box here as I'm writing this...
L bearman68 - on 02 Jul 2017
In reply to JimR:

Not the oldest guide book, or even my oldest, but my favorite is a well thumbed and anointed first edition of Paul Williams' 'Rock climbing in Snowdonia'. It was the first guide I bought, and holds many memories. It will never be sold.
When I started, first trad climb out, I thought that HVS would be a good place to start - Brant Direct. Eventually after failing on that, I worked down the grades until I could climb something. Turned out to be Poor Mans' Peuterey in Tremadog which is still a favorite.
Years later I was climbing on the Roaches on the weekend the author Paul Williams died after a solo fall. Somber times.
Bulls Crack - on 02 Jul 2017
In reply to JimR:

Do you count MOORS, CRAGS & CAVES OF THE HIGH PEAK AND THE NEIGHBOURHOOD Ernest A. Baker 1903?
Big Ger - on 03 Jul 2017
In reply to Mark Stevenson:

Many thanks for that comprehensive advice.
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Greenbanks - on 03 Jul 2017
In reply to JimR:

Excellent thread. I wonder if there is consensus about the oldest actual rock climbing guide though?
My contribution to the OP is most likely an old SMC guide - though I can't confirm until I get back home later next week.
Greenbanks - on 03 Jul 2017
In reply to Mark Stevenson:

<PS If anyone is interested I've about 50 duplicates copies of mostly 1940s to 1960s guides including lots of CC hardback ones sitting in a box here as I'm writing this...>

Interested - do you have a list, if still available?
Cheers
Mark Stevenson - on 03 Jul 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:
I posted a couple of lists back earlier in the year from my other profile. Some are sold but it'll give you an idea. See:
https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=658062
https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=658061
https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=658054
https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=658052

PS I'm now away working in the Brecon Beacons for next 8 days so can't check exactly what I've still got until next week.
Post edited at 11:07
Simon Caldwell - on 03 Jul 2017
In reply to Trangia:

> Probably only if it is original and in mint condition which is highly unlikely because by it's very nature it is likely to have been hard used.

True for some, but others are scarce in any condition and even a reading copy can fetch more than you'd think. Laycock's gritstone guide for instance.
Greenbanks - on 03 Jul 2017
In reply to Mark Stevenson:

I'll take 'em all - at least, all that's left (I just love this kind of historical stuff)
Will try to message you offsite - in Sri Lanka at present, so I too am out of action for a while
Cheers
Cog - on 03 Jul 2017
In reply to JimR:

> Mine is Rock Climbs in Arran 1958! And yes, I used it ;-)

I never bought that one but used Steve's (I was climbing with him this weekend).

Billy was tight so never bought guidebooks, spoke to him tonight he is on Islay this week.
Tim Sparrow on 03 Jul 2017
In reply to JimR:

I gave both of 3 volumes of Climbing in the British Isles, 1894 for England, 1895 for Wales and Ireland.
Sounds daft, but the third volume (Scotland) was never published.
Treasured, rare books.
Tim Sparrow on 03 Jul 2017
In reply to Mark Stevenson:

Ah, someone else with the Haskett Smith books!
starbug - on 04 Jul 2017
In reply to Pursued by a bear:

I have a copy of W. Unsworth Pontesford Rocks 1962 too

Also looking through the collection
3 Cliffs in Llanberis Barford 1944
Craig yr Ysfa Cox& Kretschmer 1943
Quellyn Area Dance& Eglinton 1953

Prized possession is a copy of Craig Cowarch and other Mid Wales crags
produced by The Mountain Club (RE Lambe and AB Knox).
Only 1964 in date but my dad was a member back when the club hut Bryn
Hafod was being rebuilt in Cwm Cywarch so a bit sentimental.
fmck - on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to JimR:

Is that the burgundy coloured one? Who wrote it i think a bit early for Bill Wallace. I used it when I started climbing in the early 80s on Arran. Lasting memory is sickle being only severe!
kedvenc72 - on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to JimR:

Original SUMC swanage guide from 1960. I love it.
Rog Wilko on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to JimR:

The oldest I have bought from new is Dave Salt's Roaches guide which I must have bought soon after its publication in August 1968. It is a soft cover booklet entitled "Rock Climbs on the Roches (sic) & Hen Cloud", subtitle "A complete guide" and priced 7/6. I think that would be 37.5p in new money.
I can't say I've used it for a bit.
Andy Say - on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to Rog Wilko:

Blimey! I've got that one as well. I think it might be worth a bit more than 37.5p now!
Andy Say - on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to JimR:

Just found my 'Glencoe and Ardgour Vol 1, Buachaille Etive Mor' from 1964 as well as Don Roscoe's 'Llanberis North' from the same year. And 'A Climbers Guide to Helsby Crags' by Lee. And showing my attempts to spread my wings - the West Col guide to the Ortler Alps from 1968.
Dai Horribly - on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to JimR:

I have all of the Lliwedd guides. Some of the older F&R Lakes guides have nice Heaton-Cooper drawings and prints in them - I have a 1938 Dow Crag guide. Also have Abraham's 1911 Swiss Mountain Climbs which is sort of pocket sized.

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