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Musings on the BMC Peak Limestone guides

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I'm lucky enough to have received these two guides as a present, and very impressive they are. Most of the routes are now well beyond my capabilities but they make interesting reading and grade creep is always good for the ego. However, without implying any criticism of the guide book writers whatsoever, I have couple of niggles. There is a significant amount of limestone bouldering and micro-routes in the Buxton area, such as around Solomon's Temple/ Grinlow Hill and High Edge, which aren't included. I wonder why? Then there are the 7 venues in PL South that have 'access issues', i.e. you shouldn't climb there. I can appreciate the need to record the routes there but the volume might have been a little slimmer and cheaper if these illegal venues were recorded on line with links from the guide. Thoughts?

2
 kristian 27 Apr 2019
In reply to phizz4:

The two crags you mentioned would never have made the cut for the P North guide and may have been considered for the pdf along with the first assents. Of course it was an unpopular decision to omit FA details so that's why the northern FA were added to the southern guide.

As for crags being officially banned, well they have to cover their backs legally. That doesn't mean you have to listen. Loads of people go to 'banned' crags all the time especially if that ban seems unjustified.

1
 Offwidth 27 Apr 2019
In reply to phizz4:

I agree about some of the venues with serious access issues (some already online on Gary's website) but no guidebook gets everything right. I don't know exactly what happened around Buxton but it may be due to the fact that the High over Buxton guide ( that covers much of this) can still be purchased from Jo Royle Outdoor in Buxton.

 dan gibson 27 Apr 2019
In reply to phizz4:

The iconic photo of Ron cut loose on The Prow, but shamefully captioned as Body Machine.

Grimes hang your head in shame.

 kristian 27 Apr 2019
In reply to dan gibson:

Incorrect captions is all part of the fun. 

Trivia: RockFax Northern Limestone 2004 page 28 two mistakes, obvious to those that have climbed the route(s)?

1
 John Gresty 29 Apr 2019
In reply to phizz4:

Crags that were omitted from the Latest Northern Limestone guide can be found, with a bit of searching, on the BMC website. Last time I looked there was nothing similar for the Southern Limestone Guide.

There are quite a few minor crags that were listed in Recent Developments guides from years ago that just seem to have disappeared from the latest 'definitive' guides. Gary's website, amongst others, details  the more recent developments but what happens when someone stumbles over a bit of rock that was first climbed on, unbeknown to them, many years ago.

As for some of the routes in the southern Guidebook that one is asked not to climb for 'ecological reasons' well the reasons should be stated a they certainly do not make sense to me.

John

In reply to phizz4:

I think the BMC Peak Limestone guides are stuck between wanting to be fully definitive and maintaining their usefulness. A lot of routes are included as lists but without enough information to actually go and climb them in an attempt to be a definitive print record. Conversley other areas miss out like the ones you mention and also some older venues like Ossam's Crag and Deep Dale where there are trad routes in the 1980s series that don't make the cut, or even smaller sport venues like Peter Dale which are missed.

This is probably because actually completely listing all the activity is a pretty much impossible task for a print guide these days. The place for this sort of thing is online now.

Alan

 Offwidth 29 Apr 2019
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

No modern 'definitive' guide I'm aware of claims to be absolute in that definition. The BMC has been doing downloads to supplement information in definitives for a decade now.

I nearly killed myself re-climbing one of those Ossam's routes ...not a single solid hold on it in 45m...so I'm glad to see it go. It must have been manufactured by crowbar as the rock looked intrinsically shattered.

 Luke90 29 Apr 2019
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> A lot of routes are included as lists but without enough information to actually go and climb them in an attempt to be a definitive print record.

I see what you mean about the lists but I actually quite like them. They don't really take up all that much real estate and I think they're a good compromise between wasting too much space on fairly worthless routes and leaving doubt about whether a mysterious patch of rock is worth exploring.

In reply to Luke90:

> I see what you mean about the lists but I actually quite like them. They don't really take up all that much real estate and I think they're a good compromise between wasting too much space on fairly worthless routes and leaving doubt about whether a mysterious patch of rock is worth exploring.

There is a difference between listing all the routes, as done in many places, and just having a single line mentioning that routes have been climbed, which would serve the purpose you quote for a mysterious bit of rock which might be worth exploring, or not.

Having said that, I agree that this text is nice to read in some places however I go back to my point that the books are stuck halfway between something trying to be definitive and something more selective. Whatever they are, I can't find any mention in the South book of additional stuff online or what is and isn't covered. There is a brief note in the North volume about a PDF with the afore-mentioned Peter Dale and a few crap quarries in it which I have now found.

Alan

Post edited at 17:10
In reply to Offwidth:

> I nearly killed myself re-climbing one of those Ossam's routes ...not a single solid hold on it in 45m...so I'm glad to see it go. It must have been manufactured by crowbar as the rock looked intrinsically shattered.

Yes it is rubbish, certainly not worth documenting, just seems odd to include the one route Cummerbund (VS 4b) and not even mention that the others even exist when in equally obscure places like Deep Dale, lots of unclimable tot is listed.

Alan

Post edited at 17:31
 Luke90 29 Apr 2019
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> There is a difference between listing all the routes, as done in many places, and just having a single line mentioning that routes have been climbed, which would serve the purpose you quote for a mysterious bit of rock which might be worth exploring, or not.

That's a good point. I guess, on reflection, I actually value the completeness of the record when it comes at such a low space cost. I wouldn't support adding entire mediocre venues because the page space to value ratio isn't favourable enough but I like the completeness when it can be achieved at little cost.

> Having said that, I agree that this text is nice to read in some places however I go back to my point that the books are stuck halfway between something trying to be definitive and something more selective.

Undeniably true but it doesn't actually seem like a problem to me. For a local who likes limestone, as I do, the BMC "definitives" definitely add substantial value over the Rockfax selective. (For the avoidance of doubt, that's absolutely not a dig at Rockfax. I climbed very happily with your selective for several years and now I'm delighted to have more to go at.)

On the other hand, it's clearly not possible for them to be truly definitive, either in terms of book space or author time and effort (the latter remaining a problem even if some sections went online). A halfway house seems both inevitable and desirable to me, though I'm sure there will always be those who would prefer a slightly different balance in one direction or another. To my mind, they've got it about right. Though I guess I have very little idea what I'm missing out on, in terms of omissions from the guide.

In reply to Luke90:

> Undeniably true but it doesn't actually seem like a problem to me. For a local who likes limestone, as I do, the BMC "definitives" definitely add substantial value over the Rockfax selective. (For the avoidance of doubt, that's absolutely not a dig at Rockfax. I climbed very happily with your selective for several years and now I'm delighted to have more to go at.)

I agree, Rockfax and a more complete guide compliment each other well in many areas in the country. 

> On the other hand, it's clearly not possible for them to be truly definitive, either in terms of book space or author time and effort (the latter remaining a problem even if some sections went online).

I disagree here, it clearly is possible since we are making a reasonable go at it on UKC logbooks. If they want to be definitive then it is easy to put the stuff online and cross-reference it from the original book. The North volume xtra stuff consists of a PDF of the text from old guides which must have been pretty easy to put together - not much use as a guide mind, but it does have the info. 

> A halfway house seems both inevitable and desirable to me, though I'm sure there will always be those who would prefer a slightly different balance in one direction or another. To my mind, they've got it about right. Though I guess I have very little idea what I'm missing out on, in terms of omissions from the guide.

A halfway house that acknowledges it is a halfway house and makes concessions - yes. One that seems to be in denial about its level of coverage less so I'd say. 

However this is all minor griping. The books are good, they exist and Grimer has done a great job with the crag photos.

Alan

 Offwidth 30 Apr 2019
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

All guidebooks have their own small mistakes and stupidity .. ; part of the 'fun' as someone above said (as long as they get reviewed next time). The BMC will have to go a long way to exceed the crime of giving Stannington Ruffs the kind treatment it did.

Cumberbund is a great route... the first pitch is a bit loose but nothing like as crazily so as some of its neighbours ...the rest is pretty amazing and unique... often a raptor kill zone in its upper sections from the hundreds of pigeon carcases, so best avoided now unitl after the nesting season. 

Never climbed in Deep Dale so can't comment on that. 

2

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