/ Guidebooks - Are we're going backwards?

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Frankie boy - on 16 Sep 2017
Just a few observations... well, a rant.
Firstly, why is it that crags in previous guidebooks seem to disappear in newer guidebooks.
Beeston Quarry in Bollington, and the quarry at Chatterton Lane by Marple barely get a mention in the newer Over The Moors Guide.
The new Lancashire Rock guide appears to have lost a selection of the routes at Fairy Steps. It has also lost Cadshaw Quarry. Yes, I know there's a Lancashire bouldering guide out but then why put Craig Y Longridge and Woodwell in this guide?
Also, Rockfax used to list route heights for each individual route, now there's just a few height on the topos, even on reproduced (from previous guides) information the individual heights have disappeared.
And.....and.....Why oh why do the descriptions for getting to crags often list driving distances in km.???? We are in the UK.....most cars odometers used miles as a unit. Yes, I know we can work out the difference but why........
Right, rant over! And yes I know a lot of work goes into guidebooks and for that I am eternally grateful, and have great respect for the people who put in all the time and effort to create them. It would just be nice if when I buy the latest guide, I don't have to keep the old guide on the shelf because it has information that's not in the new one.
cas smerdon - on 16 Sep 2017
In reply to Frankie boy:
Yes (what he said)
Only good thing about new guide books is coloured photo topos. Still need the old guides to find all routes.
Andy Nisbet - on 16 Sep 2017
In reply to Frankie boy:

> And.....and.....Why oh why do the descriptions for getting to crags often list driving distances in km.???? We are in the UK.....most cars odometers used miles as a unit. Yes, I know we can work out the difference but why........

After a huge amount of persuading effort, I got miles for road distances in the new Highland Outcrops South guide but had to concede to a pointless km in brackets afterwards. So I sympathise.
GrahamD - on 16 Sep 2017
In reply to Frankie boy:

Everything else I'll go along with, but keeping all distances in km makes perfect sense to me.
Si dH - on 16 Sep 2017
In reply to Frankie boy:

I thought the bit about crag heights vs route heights was because (a) they were often wrong and (b) numpties interpreted them as required rope lengths without thinking about how much the route moved around or where the belay was...which they were never intended for.
HeMa on 16 Sep 2017
In reply to Frankie boy:

> Also, Rockfax used to list route heights for each individual route, now there's just a few height on the topos, even on reproduced (from previous guides) information the individual heights have disappeared.

> And.....and.....Why oh why do the descriptions for getting to crags often list driving distances in km.???? We are in the UK.....most cars odometers used miles as a unit. Yes, I know we can work out the difference but why........

How come you wish to have mixed imperial and metric units...

Using meters for route length, then also use kilometers for distance.

Or use miles, and then some arcane unit like feet or what ever... but don't mix & match ;).
mrphilipoldham - on 16 Sep 2017
In reply to Frankie boy:

If you'd like to create some mini-guides, I'll happily tag along to help!
teh_mark on 16 Sep 2017
In reply to HeMa:

By that logic, with most people flying to Spain for their sunny sport climbing holiday all distances should be in nautical miles.
Howard J - on 16 Sep 2017
In reply to HeMa:

Because in the UK we happily mix and match. Yes its good practice to avoid it where it could cause confusion, but there's no harm when the units are being used for quite separate purposes. Road distances in the UK are measured in miles, that is what is used on official signage and as the OP pointed out is what car odometers are set up to measure. There is no possible confusion from using miles for road distances and metres for route length. Using km for UK road distances because of a notional rule about not mixing units is misguided, and leads to the sort of confusion the 'rule' is intended to avoid.
GridNorth - on 16 Sep 2017
In reply to Frankie boy:

There is a similar confusion in the air rifle field target shooting world where there is a tradition of shooting distances in yards but measuring targets in Millimetres.

Al
GrahamD - on 16 Sep 2017
In reply to Howard J:

It makes sense to give walking distances in km especially using OS maps and therefore it makes sense to me that ALL distances are in km. Not everyone is driving everywhere
mrchewy - on 16 Sep 2017
In reply to Frankie boy:

When I'm wallpapering, I measure in metres and inches because my foldable rule is a metre long but I prefer to use an eighth of an inch for my smallest measurement. Works fine for me but causes confusion if someone is cutting and pasting for me.
John Clinch (Ampthill) - on 16 Sep 2017
In reply to Frankie boy:

I'll lend you an old Fell and Rock Climbing Club guide. I'm sure after a week blundering round the lake district looking for routes you'd think dividing by 1.5 was a small price to pay....
HeMa on 16 Sep 2017
In reply to teh_mark:

Most guidebooks only give ya the details whilst in the area. At least my spanish guidebooks (nor any other) start listing distances from my home (or even from my home AirPort). So no need to use knots for speed and so on.
Paul Evans - on 17 Sep 2017
In reply to Frankie boy:

Re your point about Cadshaw Quarries not being in the new Lancs guide, somewhat confused - they seem to be on pages 224-230 of my copy? To your more general point about why stuff gets left out, new crags get added, old stuff goes out of fashion, guidebook publishers have a limited number of pages to cram stuff into.
Sorry you end up needing bigger bookshelves

Paul
duchessofmalfi - on 17 Sep 2017
In reply to HeMa:

"Using meters for route length" - I think you'll find we have metres - only americans have meters for length.
Yanis Nayu - on 17 Sep 2017
In reply to GridNorth:

I worked for a builder who would mix imperial and metric in the same measurement. "It's 2 metres, 4 and a half inches!"
Frank the Husky - on 17 Sep 2017
In reply to Frankie boy:

To answer a couple of your gripes (I was responsible for Over the Moors), I removed Chatterton Lane because (as it says in the guide and which you'd know if you went there) the quarry has collapsed. Bollington (aka Beeston) Quarry (behind the new development in the centre of town) is a proper shocker and has continued to collapse and shed holds on a yearly basis.It was a judgement call which not everyone will agree with, but in the 5 years since publication, you are the first to object so I think it was broadly the right decision. It was also a question of size. OtM is a big book (624 pages) and keeping everything would have pushed it to 700 which might have (literally) broken it's back. If you ever fancy getting along to Bollington Qy I'll happily come along with you. I'm probably going to resin some pegs into Sheild of Raindrops, and install a lower off. That and Bollington Crack are the only safe routes there.
john arran - on 17 Sep 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

> I worked for a builder who would mix imperial and metric in the same measurement. "It's 2 metres, 4 and a half inches!"

Never heard of that - brilliant!
My usual is example is having to order 2x4 in metre lengths. The UK really is a bit confused.
steveriley - on 17 Sep 2017
In reply to Frankie boy:

Modern guidebooks are superb, any niggles are surely just that - niggles. I'm in awe of the dedication, man hours and professionalism of stuff that's often produced on a shoestring/voluntarily etc. If I was wearing a hat I'd take it off.
Oceanrower - on 17 Sep 2017
In reply to john arran:

> My usual is example is having to order 2x4 in metre lengths.

Except I bet you order it in 0.3m multiples. 1,2m 2.1m etc.

The joy of a metric foot!
Howard J - on 17 Sep 2017
In reply to GrahamD:

The OP was specifically referring to driving distances.
HeMa on 17 Sep 2017
In reply to duchessofmalfi:

Actually I use metri/metrit but What ever.

Oh, and Yanks are those arcane units you do. So feet or yards.
Doug on 17 Sep 2017
In reply to duchessofmalfi:

> Don't get me on the US refusal to use metric screw threads or CGS units...

CGS units? does anyone still use those ?
HeMa on 18 Sep 2017
In reply to Doug:

Yanks
planetmarshall on 18 Sep 2017
In reply to HeMa:

> How come you wish to have mixed imperial and metric units...
> Using meters for route length, then also use kilometers for distance.
> Or use miles, and then some arcane unit like feet or what ever... but don't mix & match ;).

While in principle I agree that it's absurd, in the UK it is what we've ended up with. We measure road distance in miles and rope lengths in metres, so I think guidebooks should do the same.

HeMa on 18 Sep 2017
In reply to planetmarshall:

> ...it's absurd, in the UK it is what we've ended up with...

Damn right, you have a proud imperial heritage and you should not mix it with those pesky French Systeme de Intarnationale (or what ever it was) units...

That said, guidebooks should not use French grades for sport rout3s... nor Font grades for boulders. Stick to UK grades and UK Tech.


[/sarcams, as it seems some people have a hard time decyphering it]
Toerag - on 18 Sep 2017
In reply to HeMa:

> How come you wish to have mixed imperial and metric units...

Because metric units are more appropriate for some things and imperial for others. for example, I use metric millibars for air pressure and imperial Beaufort scale for windspeed because they just work better. 'Metres per second' just isn't user-friendly.

HeMa on 18 Sep 2017
In reply to Toerag:

>. 'Metres per second' just isn't user-friendly.

I lot of my competative sailing friends might disagree with ya... and they are certainly interested in such things as windpseed.
GrahamD - on 18 Sep 2017
In reply to Howard J:

> The OP was specifically referring to driving distances.

Who's to say whether a bit of road is going to be driven or walked ?
MG - on 18 Sep 2017
In reply to Toerag:
> Beaufort scale for windspeed because they just work better. 'Metres per second' just isn't user-friendly.

Pendantic perhaps but significant, Beaufort isn't at heart either metric or imperial or any quantitative system. It's a qualitative description of the effect of the wind, which is what you need to know if at sea.
Post edited at 14:03
In reply to Frankie boy:

Just spotted this...
I'll give you answers from the Rockfax point of view.

We don't usually remove information from subsequent editions but I can see there may be a need for it soon with books getting fatter and fatter. Our solution would be to keep it available in app format.

Route Heights
I have answered this elsewhere and it does crop up quite often. We actually do leave the route lengths on many multi-pitch routes. We have stopped listing them on single pitch routes after finding that people were relying on them at sport crags to decide whether they could lower-off or not. This gets dodgy on routes close to 60m for a number of reasons.
- People don't stand in the same places when belaying - especially important at crags with sloping bases
- People often don't know how long their rope is
- Ropes sold as 60m long can vary from 60m to around 68m we have found
- People sometimes clip bolts on other routes lengthening their route
- Local equippers have been known to move a belay up when rebolting which causes big problems with existing guidebooks
Another reason is that I have found, historically, route lengths have varied between ridiculous over-estimates much of the time, to randomly accurate, to occasional short changing people. Traditionally the figures given in old guidebooks were those from over-enthusiastic first ascensionists which varied in accuracy but tended to be on the long and very long side. Many of these were never checked and it was only when I was trying to piece together our big photo-topos to these crags that I became fully aware of the bizarre variations. There was one supposed 150m route of three pitches that I had a photo of someone abseiling with doubled 60m ropes. I also ran together two 35m pitches on 50m ropes once with plenty left for the belay. There are loads of these.

Km or Miles
I take your point on this. We have started going back to miles for UK crags until you get close to the crag where we revert to metres. Despite it appearing to be a useful method, I am not a big fan of using mile or km odometer distances to measure approaches to crags since people often start counting at the wrong point and it then becomes bad information posing as accurate information.
Howard J - on 19 Sep 2017
In reply to Frankie boy:

We are we even discussing this? Metres are a nasty foreign (worse, French) invention, based on the circumference of the Earth along the Paris meridian (not even a proper meridian, then, obviously it should have been Greenwich), and they couldn't even get that right. After Brexit we'll be able to go back to measuring routes in feet, as God intended.

<removes tongue from cheek>


DubyaJamesDubya - on 19 Sep 2017
In reply to Howard J:
> We are we even discussing this? Metres are a nasty foreign (worse, French) invention, based on the circumference of the Earth along the Paris meridian (not even a proper meridian, then, obviously it should have been Greenwich), and they couldn't even get that right. After Brexit we'll be able to go back to measuring routes in feet, as God intended.

>

There was a good BBC4 show on this a while back. Apparently the accuracy of non-metric measurements is based on the metric stds too as there isn't anything else.
Oh and the definitive kilo was made in London.
Post edited at 13:46
Jon Stewart - on 19 Sep 2017
In reply to Frankie boy:

I can't even imagine how shit the routes at Fairy Steps that got left out of the guide must be, considering what got in.

I think you must see guidebooks as purely a cataloguing exercise rather than books of useful information for climbers.

If there is a need to catalogue every worthless exercise in climbing and naming nonsense bits of rock ever done, please can we put this in its proper home: a database on the internet (in some sort of inaccessible code that you'd have to be a total nerd to interrogate).
nufkin - on 20 Sep 2017
In reply to HeMa:

> Yanks

I think they just like everything to sound bigger.

Curiously, though, the military uses metric (for NATO compatability, presumably) except in the air, where - unless I'm misinformed - it's all in feet and nautical miles etc. Is there such a thing as a nautical km?
AlanLittle - on 20 Sep 2017
In reply to nufkin:
> except in the air

I presume that's due to a deeply ingrained need to say things like "Blue Leader: Bandits angels three-zero. Tally ho"

"Angels nine-point-one" just wouldn't sound right.
Post edited at 12:15
davidbeynon on 20 Sep 2017
In reply to Howard J:

Feet? Bah! If I ever write a guidebook I shall be using cubits, as The Lord intended.
HeMa on 20 Sep 2017
In reply to nufkin:

> I think they just like everything to sound bigger.

> ....except in the air, where - unless I'm misinformed - it's all in feet and nautical miles etc. Is there such a thing as a nautical km?

I beleive all commercial flights (and military) use knots for speed, feet for altitude and nautical miles for distance...

The term nautical mile is used to differentiate it from the mile used on land.
HeMa on 20 Sep 2017
In reply to davidbeynon:

Fathom is better...
davidbeynon on 20 Sep 2017
In reply to HeMa:

Only for DWS. Half fathoms are better for belaying.
radddogg - on 20 Sep 2017
In reply to Frankie boy:

Who needs driving distances? Doesn't everyone use Google maps?
GrahamD - on 20 Sep 2017
In reply to radddogg:

> Who needs driving distances? Doesn't everyone use Google maps?

Not in the car, no. I just give the guidebook to the passenger and expect them to navigate us there.
AlanLittle - on 20 Sep 2017
In reply to GrahamD:

Try that with kids these days & see how far it gets you.

I handed a paper map to my twenty-something climbing partner a while back; the look of blank panic on his face was something to behold.
nufkin - on 20 Sep 2017
In reply to HeMa:

> I beleive all commercial flights (and military) use knots for speed, feet for altitude and nautical miles for distance…

Seems a bit archaic to me - would have thought they'd be over to metric by now, but I suppose there's a good reason (beyond having an excuse to have pre-flight cocktails in gills)
davidbeynon on 20 Sep 2017
In reply to nufkin:

Aviation runs on international standards. Persuading everyone in the world to change units at once, and then pulling it off without any disasters would be tricky.
Graeme Hammond - on 23:23 Thu
In reply to Frankie boy:

If the new Lancashire guide is so crap why have you just sold your old copy?
Frankie boy - on 07:32 Fri
In reply to Graeme Hammond:

I never said, the new Lancashire rock was crap, in fact, I think it is excellent and a huge leap forward in terms of easy topos and good photos etc. Hopefully it will encourage more people to go there. I have certainly been to some great quarries that I may not previously have bothered with.
My only gripe is that I just don't always understand the logic of what goes in the guide and what doesn't.
Frankie boy - on 07:39 Fri
In reply to Frank the Husky:

Hi, yes I would be glad to get out to Bollington quarry some time. I have done a couple of really good routes there although I do agree that there is some choss. I know theres a lot to go in a book etc, but if crags get left out (and there's any decent climbs on them), it would be nice to have maybe a very basic supplement topo to download, tho I know this in the past has already happened for some guides. Maybe its a nice little job for the hard core esoteric fans amongst us.

Frank the Husky - on 12:44 Fri
In reply to Frankie boy:

That sounds great. I have a couple of other cheeky contenders. It would be good to do the limited topo thing, that's a good idea.

My email is kinderguide@hotmail.com

Drop me a line and we'll come up with a plan.
Graeme Hammond - on 11:15 Mon
In reply to Frankie boy:

> Hi, yes I would be glad to get out to Bollington quarry some time. I have done a couple of really good routes there although I do agree that there is some choss. I know theres a lot to go in a book etc, but if crags get left out (and there's any decent climbs on them), it would be nice to have maybe a very basic supplement topo to download, tho I know this in the past has already happened for some guides. Maybe its a nice little job for the hard core esoteric fans amongst us.

admittedly Bollington quarry says coming soon but there are online resources which you can download already:

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/download-support-for-over-the-moors
https://www.thebmc.co.uk/download-support-for-froggatt-to-black-rocks?s=2
https://www.thebmc.co.uk/roaches-guide-support-downloads

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