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Writing up route descriptions in the UKC logbook!

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 Sean Kelly 30 Mar 2020

As we have so much time on our hands at the moment wouldn't it be a great opportunity to write up route descriptions in the logbooks where they are missing. 

I'll start the ball rolling with the Nose on Dinas Mot!

4
 Sean Kelly 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Sean Kelly:

6 descriptions done so far. Back tomorrow night for some more.

4
 Mark Davies PK 30 Mar 2020
In reply to Sean Kelly:

Yeah great idea. Undermine the definitive guidebook. I would have said that the logbook system shouldn't have any descriptions if it is just a logbook.

36
 Michael Gordon 31 Mar 2020
In reply to Sean Kelly:

Do you mean write up your own descriptions or copy them out of the guide?

In reply to Sean Kelly:

Plagiarism by proxy, a really bad idea. 

14
 misterb 31 Mar 2020
In reply to Mark Davies PK:

I'm not sure that's really an issue. I'm pretty sure Sean means write your own description not plagiarise from guide books

I nearly always buy guide books to a new venue but i also always check out the crag or area on here first and the info in the descriptions and people's own comments in their logs has actually helped sell the paper version to me many times!!

In reply to Mark Davies PK:

> Yeah great idea. Undermine the definitive guidebook.

Really? Personally, I buy the definitive guidebook if I want it, and I don't if I don't. What's on UKC has literally no influence, because it's not a guidebook.

> I would have said that the logbook system shouldn't have any descriptions if it is just a logbook.

That would just make it less useful. I don't use the database as a logbook, I use it to find out how other people found the route. Or, on those rare occasions when I get lost, I like to see what the hell it was I just climbed - and of course what grade it was! And please don't come over all sanctimonious about me "claiming the onsight" (to whom?) when I looked at the logbook first.

Post edited at 10:46
5
 jon 31 Mar 2020
In reply to Sean Kelly:

Can I ask you Sean, where did you lift the descriptions from?

6
 jon 31 Mar 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Really? Personally, I buy the definitive guidebook if I want it, and I don't if I don't.

You know those people that sidle up to you at crags and ask if they can just take a photo of your guide because they've stupidly left theirs at home...?

>What's on UKC has literally no influence, because it's not a guidebook.

Well no, it's a logbook. But it becomes a guidebook when people systematically copy out route descriptions into it.

> I use it to find out how other people found the route.

Which makes it a great resource.

4
 Luke90 31 Mar 2020
In reply to jon:

I think you're overestimating the significance of the description. People certainly shouldn't be copying the descriptions from guidebooks but even if someone did copy them verbatim, I don't think many modern guidebook descriptions stand alone very well without the accompanying topos because they're not designed to.

I've used the UKC Logbooks lots of times to look at a new crag or area. Descriptions help with that but I've never even come close to thinking that they're good enough to significantly reduce my need for an actual guidebook.

If descriptions were likely to harm guidebooks, you wouldn't see all of Rockfax's descriptions published in the logbooks for free.

2
In reply to Luke90:

I full endorse what Luke90 says. We recognised long ago that the free availability of route descriptions only has a positive impact on guidebooks since it enables people to highlight problems and inaccuracies. People who climb a single route based on a free-downloaded description are seldom depriving the publisher of a sale, in fact, I suspect the opposite is true - good Rockfax descriptions lead to sales later on.

On the adding things to logbooks, original descriptions are obviously great. Also useful is tidying crags into left-to-right order and with all routes added. 

Thanks Sean for bringing this up.

Alan

1
 jon 31 Mar 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Your guidelines do however say something like 'don't copy route descriptions verbatim'. Which implies that if you add desciptions they should ideally be from your own experience.

Post edited at 13:21
1
In reply to jon:

> Your guidelines do however say something like 'don't copy route descriptions verbatim'. Which implies that if you add descriptions they should ideally be from your own experience.

Well yes of course we have written that. We couldn't really write anything else without having an arrangement with other producers and I stand by it anyway. Original descriptions based on user experience are really useful things for all guidebook writers.

However, if I was an independent guidebook producer I'd do a deal with us to upload all the descriptions of the guidebook as fast as I could. Have them clearly branded, open for comment and standing as an advert for the guidebook. We have always been open to people wanting to do this sort of thing and have established a good relationship with the SMC for app coverage, although they don't want their route descriptions on the Logbook section - we did offer this, they chose not to.

Alan

2
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I do think that if all routes had descriptions in the logbook then some people would only use that and not purchase printed or digital guides. Some advantages to that of course: saved expense and no need to purchase/locate guides on a fleeting visit (or ask for descriptions via smartphone in the UKC forums). People have asked to photo pages of my guides occasionally. Long term implications for uncontrolled quality of descriptions and grading.

The present state with a smattering of route descriptions seems fine. Especially useful however may be the logbook descriptions of unusual routes that may not be in a current comprehensive or selected guide eg Mupe Bay Traverse.

1
 Mark Davies PK 31 Mar 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Unfortunately, I have come across many climbers at crags using the UKC logbook on their 'smart' phones as THE guidebook. I obviously don't know what the percentage of climbers doing this are so my fears may be unfounded.

The UKC logbook system is fantastic as a depository for climbers' views on info and grades and obviously new routes. A good definitive guidebook writer can then take this info and use it as a starting point for their research.

I do resent, after spending hours recleaning and restoring routes, researching old guidebooks and other associated tasks that my work is then just copied up into the logbook system. I see it as very similar to people wanting to download music for free or using it for free on their videos. It may be the future but I think it is killing creativity.

Of course I could be completely wrong about all of this but I dont think it does any harm keeping a watchful eye on the situation.

Post edited at 14:39
8
In reply to oldie:

> The present state with a smattering of route descriptions seems fine.

Smattering? - every single Rockfax-covered route which must be a substantial proportion of the routes most people actually climb. 

Alan

 krikoman 31 Mar 2020
In reply to Sean Kelly:

I think it's a really useful idea, and I doubt very much if it's worth the hassle to rely on UKC and NOT buy a proper guide for most climbers.

One of the problems with some of the crag / route descriptions is the lack of height detail on some of them, adding this makes the selection of a trip out much more simple.

2
 Mark Davies PK 31 Mar 2020
In reply to krikoman:

> One of the problems with some of the crag / route descriptions is the lack of height detail on some of them, adding this makes the selection of a trip out much more simple.

Use the guidebook for that?

1
 krikoman 31 Mar 2020
In reply to Mark Davies PK:

> Use the guidebook for that?


And if I looking for a crag on a bank holiday, to take some beginners out ,dropping them off afterwards in an area I don't normally climb in?

Then what?

1
In reply to Mark Davies PK:

> One of the problems with some of the crag / route descriptions is the lack of height detail on some of them, adding this makes the selection of a trip out much more simple.

Use the guidebook for that?

I did once stand on my Stanage 1991 (Red) guidebook to help me reach a hold...

Post edited at 16:10
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Apologies. I do remember now that the Rockfax climbs are all described in the logbook. I'm not a contributor and have missed the point which is presumably to enhance peoples logbook entries and help them to choose climbs, and not to  exactly locate the climb as the guidebooks do. My error.

I've most often used them to look up routes which have "No description has been contributed" which is perhaps a comment on my (now infrequent) climbing. Where they look very useful to me is for unusual stuff like Mupe Bay Traverse and the Claw where they probably have everything required to find and follow the climb and where sometimes details are not available in a current guide. I also find many of the entries entertaining as well as informative.

 Mark Davies PK 31 Mar 2020
In reply to krikoman:

Plan ahead and buy the guidebook/s?

6
 charliesdad 31 Mar 2020
In reply to Mark Davies PK:

In some cases, the definitive guidebook is not available, or so old that many new routes, (and often entire crags!), are completely missing. The glaring example in Cumbria is the Duddon valley, which last had a guide published 26 years ago. 

 krikoman 31 Mar 2020
In reply to Mark Davies PK:

> Plan ahead and buy the guidebook/s?


Stop being daft, what difference and someone putting the heights of crags possible have on guidebook sales, and have you never heard of spontaneity?

1
In reply to Sean Kelly:

To be honest, I think there’s limited value in this unless you come up with your own descriptions - in which case you either need to know the route really well or to have done it recently, otherwise there’s the risk of getting things wrong. If you simply copy (or slightly rehash) a guide book description, that doesn’t really add anything and it could upset the guide book team as Mark points out.

What’s a lot more useful is if people provide up to date feedback like ‘P2 peg gone’ or ‘P3 is actually 55m, not 45m’. Or if people include a more detailed description if what’s in the guide book is insufficient for some reason. However that’s rarely necessary for British rock routes. It’s very useful for Alpine routes though, where camp2camp and various random websites / blogs often have more detailed descriptions compared to what’s in the guide book, as well as various other useful beta. Not something that’s really necessary on Dinas Mot though.

I think the best ‘own description’ I’ve seen was for something like Cenotaph Corner - it just said ‘climb the corner’.

In reply to krikoman:

Do you have lots of different length ropes? 50m for summer trad and 70m for UK sport (80m for Euro sport) with a knot at the end are good rules of thumb. There will be exceptions of course where you need more rope but generally only at the big crags, where you’d probably want to have a guide book anyway to navigate the crag.

I get that it may be tempting to save some weight by taking say a 50m sport rope. However I’d only do that at a crag I know (in fact I never bother and just use the 70). The height stated in the guide book or on UKC might be wrong after all. There could also be a steep slope below the crag, such that it makes sense to belay lower down and needing more rope. The benefit of saving a bit of weight doesn’t justify the risk of dropping someone due to insufficient rope (or having a faff to sort out the issue), to my mind.

In reply to Mark Davies PK:

> Unfortunately, I have come across many climbers at crags using the UKC logbook on their 'smart' phones as THE guidebook. I obviously don't know what the percentage of climbers doing this are so my fears may be unfounded.

> The UKC logbook system is fantastic as a depository for climbers' views on info and grades and obviously new routes. A good definitive guidebook writer can then take this info and use it as a starting point for their research.

> I do resent, after spending hours recleaning and restoring routes, researching old guidebooks and other associated tasks that my work is then just copied up into the logbook system. I see it as very similar to people wanting to download music for free or using it for free on their videos. It may be the future but I think it is killing creativity.

This protective attitude towards route data is the thing which has held many of the traditional guidebook producers back. It assumes that the route data is the asset of a guidebook and that it must be protected at all costs. This leads to the impression that such data should only be available in a paid format (which is generally print-only) and any access outside that format will undermine the paid version.

This attitude belies the community nature of guidebooks ironically mostly in the ones that are produced by 'volunteer' committees of climbing clubs. It also focusses on protecting only the latest version of the data despite the fact that virtually all current guidebooks, especially those covering UK trad, originate from a long legacy of sources most of which give the information freely simply to promote climbing. Obviously this is particularly true in the case of a first ascensionist. As a prolific new router once said, "I didn't write up the description of my new route for the exclusive use of any particular publisher, I wrote it so that people can climb my route".

Above Mark acknowledges the role of UKC Logbook system, "A good definitive guidebook writer can then take this info and use it as a starting point for their research." Yet then he claims exclusivity over the end result and I have yet to see UKC Logbooks acknowledged in any print guidebook apart from Rockfax (although I haven't checked them all). 

Our approach is to make the data open, free and central so that everyone can access it and be involved in it. Each route has a dedicated public listing where your ascents can be recorded, opinions on grades and stars registered, feedback given and you are even able to moderate it if you wish to have that level of involvement. This gives the users of the UKC logbooks a greater sense of ownership of the data. They can have an influence. There is a community surrounding the data.

Obviously Rockfax authors and contributors have originated many thousands of route descriptions since we started. The bulk of new route activity since 1990 has been in sport climbing and bouldering and Rockfax has led the way in documenting this original development along with other smaller independent commercial producers. However we have no real record of which routes we described first, nor do we really care. They are all listed publicly and we are happy for anyone to use them for reference as long as they follow the golden rule when guidebook writing - use all available sources, and credit them, but make sure you enhance and improve the information as best you can.

When we produce our guides all we do is package the public data into a convenient format - print and digital - and that becomes the asset that we sell. It is the presentation of the information that is the asset, not the data itself. Yes, we usually add a load of new research data and fancy photos at the time of a publication - that is the enhance and improve - but it is the package that is the asset we sell since most of that new data is freely available through UKC logbooks, indeed that is often the source.

It is a shame that the traditional guidebook sector has stuck with the protective route. There was a time when it wasn't a protective route since books were the best and only way to get the data out there. The Internet changed all that whilst massively increasing the potential for involvement of all climbers. It enabled for greater democratisation of climbing information.

The traditional guidebook sector missed this and has reacted by clinging more possessively to its data as characterised by the responses on this thread. If you think that attaching the word 'definitive' to your guidebook title makes climbers regard it as a superior source with more authority then you are way behind the times. If you are worried about your route description being undermined by them being copied onto UKC then you don't understand the true nature of what is important in a guidebook.

Alan

Post edited at 10:35
1
 Alex Riley 01 Apr 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Routes don’t need guidebook descriptions if misha has climbed them anyway

 DaveHK 01 Apr 2020
In reply to Alex Riley:

> Routes don’t need guidebook descriptions if misha has climbed them anyway

He could teach Tolstoy a thing or two! ;)

I'm not really complaining, I've benefited from a few of them.

 Webster 01 Apr 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

love this reply!

climbing is a free and inclusive activity, not everybody has the means or the desire to buy a guidebook for every single crag they will ever visit. UKc is a great and free open resource. anybody who wants to buy a guide book will buy a guide book, for the full package, not just the list of climbs.

 krikoman 01 Apr 2020
In reply to Misha:

> Do you have lots of different length ropes? 50m for summer trad and 70m for UK sport (80m for Euro sport) with a knot at the end are good rules of thumb. There will be exceptions of course where you need more rope but generally only at the big crags, where you’d probably want to have a guide book anyway to navigate the crag.

It's got nowt to do with that, you seem to have presumed I was worried about ropes.

The example I gave was, we had friends who had never been outside climbing and needed to be in Bristol by the end of the day, it was a Sunday.

SO I searched for crags around Bristol, there were loads. I've climbed at two place around Bristol one was OK the other I didn't like.

So back to searching for crags, the people I wanted to take climbing were reasonable good indoors (6a) top roping, but not much leading.

So I wanted a crag with a number of easy routes and, if all went well, a few testing routes. I also, wanted it to be reasonably high, but not too high, and not multi-pitch.

If found loads of places, that had the grades,  but struggled to determine how high they were.

Even where the height of a crag was given, sometimes you get 4-6m of easy stuff and the hard stuff might be 20m+

So it wasn't easy.

All I was after was a rough height for each route, nowt to do with rope length or not being able to mitigate against it, simply to find a crag with enough height but not too much for a group of first time outsiders.

Having the route length would have made this easy, some of the entries have this already, and I have plenty of guidebook for other areas, but the guide for Portland, Western Grit, or Sardinia, doesn't help me selecting somewhere, where I rarely climb and when I can't buy a guide on the day.

ps we have a number of ropes, from 30m to 80m and a selection of twin ropes, none of which helped choosing a particular crag for the day in question.

Post edited at 11:25
2
In reply to Sean Kelly:

Works both ways of course, I started going to crag without a published guide. Most routes were on UKC, often without descriptions. I tried to make sense of these where I could and there's now an excellent definitive guidebook. Assume using UKC source amongst other things.

Went for a wander up to Wolf Edge for the first time last year with both Peak bouldering guides - UKC was a useful x-ref to tie the 2 together and fill in the gaps. Though the evil empire really needs to do something about the 4G network to avoid sight of numpties wandering around, phone in the air to get free information. I think printed guides are safe for the time being.

In reply to krikoman:

I see, sorry I’d assumed it was about the ropes. That’s a fairly specific situation you had - taking beginners out in a new area. 

 krikoman 01 Apr 2020
In reply to Misha:

> I see, sorry I’d assumed it was about the ropes. That’s a fairly specific situation you had - taking beginners out in a new area. 


I agree, but it did point out the need for more info, like I said you can have some great crags, but all the climbable stuff might be 5m high.

Plus having that sort of info, isn't likely to dent anyone's sales of guide books.

 Bob Moulton 01 Apr 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Alan

I don’t think that you should be too surprised at some resentment from people who have put in unpaid time into guidebook or the clubs that publish the guidebooks when you and your team are making money out of your guidebooks, but is there any more to it than that?    I for one would be very interested to know just what more than this you have experienced in the form of legal action or even threats of legal action. I speak as someone with experience of just that when West Col started legal action for breach of copyright against the CC for its 1977 Gogarth guide; we settled out of court and paid a significant sum of money to West Col. To me the positive thing that came out of that experience was the agreed statement between both parties, which I had hand in drafting and I still stand by those words – I’m sure that you can look it up if you want. While I was involved in the CC guidebook operation, although there was much huffing and puffing at times, we took no legal action against you or even as far as I can remember we didn't send you a stroppy letter. Our attitude was to accept the inevitable, and yes we did know about the internet! Likewise, we accepted the Ground Up books, and were grateful for the bouldering sections that Simon Panton provide for some of our Welsh guides, 

What real evidence is there that the traditional guidebook sector has reacted by clinging more possessively to its data other than just the words of some of those involved? You say you ‘have yet to see UKC Logbooks acknowledged in any print guidebook’, but against that I would suggest that the acknowledgment given in your guides to the clubs' guidebooks is somewhat churlish. Although having just divested myself of nearly all my guidebooks apart from a near complete set of CC guides, I only have a few of your guidebooks to hand, there does seem to be a complete lack of actual acknowledgment to the clubs and to their guidebook authors as opposed to the photos in your Other Guidebooks page(s) sections. These are of course welcome but a more specific acknowledgement for the guidebook authors would be nice, or even complimentary copies if the authors wanted them. Whether Jon and Mark would appreciate complimentary copies of however many books that this might involve would of course be up to them!

The fact that you use of the copyright symbol against some (maybe not all) of the Rockfax descriptions in the UKC logbooks seems to indicate that you too can be a tad protective! I won’t go into detail but this takes me right back to 1977.

To end this (mild?) rant on a more conciliatory note, we should all remember that there are many who have worked for both the clubs and for Rockfax, and indeed you and I were introduced to each other by one such.

Bob

2
 mrphilipoldham 01 Apr 2020
In reply to Sean Kelly:

If it's a route that Rockfax hasn't been out and done it's own photo topo/description for either because it's not got round to it yet, or because it's not popular enough then surely a "See xxxxxx guide for details" is a perfectly adequate work around. That way the route is loggable, and you can point people to the definitive too. 

 Alex Riley 01 Apr 2020
In reply to Bob Moulton:

For me one of the issues that frustrates me is researching new areas and new routes. When I lived in Scotland it was much easy, just look at the new routes supplements for the area you are researching, the only bits not on there would be routes in the last year or so. Living where I do now, some of the guidebooks are old enough to go to the pub. I'm not complaining about guidebook age, but surely a database of new routes is the only way forward, especially for niche and esoteric areas and high quality definitive guides for everything else. To me it just seems like the best of both worlds and saves the mammoth effort of making definitive print guides.

In reply to Bob Moulton:

> I don’t think that you should be too surprised at some resentment from people who have put in unpaid time into guidebook or the clubs that publish the guidebooks when you and your team are making money out of your guidebooks, but is there any more to it than that?    I for one would be very interested to know just what more than this you have experienced in the form of legal action or even threats of legal action. I speak as someone with experience of just that when West Col started legal action for breach of copyright against the CC for its 1977 Gogarth guide; we settled out of court and paid a significant sum of money to West Col. To me the positive thing that came out of that experience was the agreed statement between both parties, which I had hand in drafting and I still stand by those words – I’m sure that you can look it up if you want. While I was involved in the CC guidebook operation, although there was much huffing and puffing at times, we took no legal action against you or even as far as I can remember we didn't send you a stroppy letter. Our attitude was to accept the inevitable, and yes we did know about the internet! Likewise, we accepted the Ground Up books, and were grateful for the bouldering sections that Simon Panton provide for some of our Welsh guides, 

I don't really understand the point you are trying to make here. I hadn't even considered any legal issues when writing my response above. The only legal confrontations we had were some meetings over the Pembroke guide in 1995, then many more meetings over PGE in 2001 and finally a smaller skirmish in 2003 over Western Grit. The only purpose these seemed to serve was to convince everyone that this legal route was a complete waste of time and not remotely in the interests of the climbing community. Since then printed guidebooks have gone from strength to strength across all producers.

> What real evidence is there that the traditional guidebook sector has reacted by clinging more possessively to its data other than just the words of some of those involved?

Maybe overstated at "...clinging more to..." but certainly not opened up. An online public database would be a start and we had one of those 18 years ago. 

> You say you ‘have yet to see UKC Logbooks acknowledged in any print guidebook’, but against that I would suggest that the acknowledgement given in your guides to the clubs' guidebooks is somewhat churlish. Although having just divested myself of nearly all my guidebooks apart from a near complete set of CC guides, I only have a few of your guidebooks to hand, there does seem to be a complete lack of actual acknowledgement to the clubs and to their guidebook authors as opposed to the photos in your Other Guidebooks page(s) sections. These are of course welcome but a more specific acknowledgement for the guidebook authors would be nice, or even complimentary copies if the authors wanted them. Whether Jon and Mark would appreciate complimentary copies of however many books that this might involve would of course be up to them!

I think you probably need to look in some of our more recent books. We really do go out of our way to acknowledge sources. 

From North Wales Climbs:

Page 10 - There are a number of guides to North Wales which give full coverage of all the routes on the crags in this book, plus many more crags as well. These are essential purchases if you wish to get the most out of the climbing in north wales in a particular area - and then a cover photo and list of all the current guides.

Page 14 - As with all guidebooks we owe a great debt to all those previous authors who have worked so hard to document the climbing of North Wales over the last 100 years.

This may not be the way that you would do it but, as stated, I have yet to see anything in a club-produced book about UKC so really you aren't in much of a position to criticise the content or style of our acknowledgements.

You probably also aren't aware that we supply copies of our books to CC huts for free.

> The fact that you use of the copyright symbol against some (maybe not all) of the Rockfax descriptions in the UKC logbooks seems to indicate that you too can be a tad protective! I won’t go into detail but this takes me right back to 1977.

You miss the point here. The copyright sign is to distinguish it from user-supplied to dissuade mass database trawling. We have no objection to people reading our descriptions and even using them. It would be shoddy to copy them verbatim but I am not going to take anyone to court over it.

> To end this (mild?) rant on a more conciliatory note, we should all remember that there are many who have worked for both the clubs and for Rockfax, and indeed you and I were introduced to each other by one such.

Absolutely and my door for closer link-ups between the clubs and UKC/Rockfax is always open. The work we are doing with the SMC is ground-breaking in this respect.

Alan

Post edited at 16:31
In reply to Alex Riley:

> For me one of the issues that frustrates me is researching new areas and new routes. When I lived in Scotland it was much easy, just look at the new routes supplements for the area you are researching, the only bits not on there would be routes in the last year or so. Living where I do now, some of the guidebooks are old enough to go to the pub. I'm not complaining about guidebook age, but surely a database of new routes is the only way forward, especially for niche and esoteric areas and high quality definitive guides for everything else. To me it just seems like the best of both worlds and saves the mammoth effort of making definitive print guides.

Nope, just a route database will do. And we already have one of those which you are more than welcome to use.

Alan

 Alex Riley 01 Apr 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC 

Realise I didn’t write my above post quite as well as intended. I’m in agreement, one database for all routes would be much better, I was just saying that in Scotland the information for the last ten years is far less spread out (and dare I say less hoarded by indeviduals and clubs?). Might get some dislikes about that last bit hehe.

In reply to krikoman:

Yeah agree it won’t impact sales. I actually suspect that even copying descriptions verbatim won’t have much of an impact either as some people will still want a guide book for the topos and to have an actual book, whereas others would never buy a guide book anyway or at least not a comprehensive one. 

In reply to Alex Riley:

Your idea of freely accessible online material for the less popular crags / routes and modern guide books for the more popular crags / routes (with topo line, route name and grade for the less popular / poor routes where relevant) makes a lot of sense. We might see this one day but I get the feeling that at present a lot of people involved with guide book production would regard this as heresy...

 Mark Davies PK 01 Apr 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> This protective attitude towards route data is the thing which has held many of the traditional guidebook producers back. It assumes that the route data is the asset of a guidebook and that it must be protected at all costs. This leads to the impression that such data should only be available in a paid format (which is generally print-only) and any access outside that format will undermine the paid version.

No that's not what I think but it is nice that when you publish a new guide (that maybe has taken 5 years + of work) that all the info isn't immediately copied up into a database or someone's select book. And also it's nice to be able to recoup some of the money that has been spent making the book and possibly fend off possible bankruptcy and divorce!

> This attitude belies the community nature of guidebooks ironically mostly in the ones that are produced by 'volunteer' committees of climbing clubs. It also focusses on protecting only the latest version of the data despite the fact that virtually all current guidebooks, especially those covering UK trad, originate from a long legacy of sources most of which give the information freely simply to promote climbing. Obviously this is particularly true in the case of a first ascensionist. As a prolific new router once said, "I didn't write up the description of my new route for the exclusive use of any particular publisher, I wrote it so that people can climb my route".

I agree. My main interest in producing guides it to keep the route info and history as well researched, accurate and as up to date as possible, in a printed form. With the convenience and fast pace of the internet, it's very easy unverified information to appear as gospel. As we all know you can't always trust what you read online. 

> Above Mark acknowledges the role of UKC Logbook system, "A good definitive guidebook writer can then take this info and use it as a starting point for their research." Yet then he claims exclusivity over the end result and I have yet to see UKC Logbooks acknowledged in any print guidebook apart from Rockfax (although I haven't checked them all). 

I don't claim exclusivity over the end result, see above. Funnily enough, I have actually put the UKC database in the acknowledgments of my next guide (honestly, not making it up) as it has genuinely been of great help, but obviously once I had determined fact from fiction from the information within it, quite a protracted, although strangely enjoyable, task sometimes. 

> If you are worried about your route description being undermined by them being copied onto UKC then you don't understand the true nature of what is important in a guidebook.

In your opinion.

Sometimes it's just nice to see someone's work in its contextual setting.

or maybe books are not convenient enough anymore?

In reply to Mark Davies PK:

> No that's not what I think but it is nice that when you publish a new guide (that maybe has taken 5 years + of work) that all the info isn't immediately copied up into a database or someone's select book.

Has anyone ever got close to doing anything like that, anywhere, ever, with any guidebook?

> I don't claim exclusivity over the end result, see above. Funnily enough, I have actually put the UKC database in the acknowledgements of my next guide (honestly, not making it up) as it has genuinely been of great help, but obviously, once I had determined fact from fiction from the information within it, quite a protracted, although strangely enjoyable, task sometimes.

Glad to hear that.

Alan

 Sean Kelly 01 Apr 2020
In reply to Sean Kelly:

Oh dear! I've opened a hornet's nest here. Perhaps I should have seen that coming. Perhaps I should add my two pence worth...

1. I didn't start the logbooks feature on the UKC site, or the way in which the logbooks have been designed, it invites contributions from posters to add route descriptions.

2. Who owns the copywrite to climb descriptions, the publisher of the latest guidebook, the climber that sent up the route description in the first place, or should Route descriptions be open access in this digital age? In some ways are guidebook writers pissing into the wind? I have personally contributed to over a dozen guides and only ever been paid in one instance.

3. Some route descriptions go back to the earliest guides in the case of older climbs. Sometimes they are just re-jigged, and published as new. That is all that I have done.

4. Where I have personal experience of a climb, I try to add something original. On Gardd for example, I explained that it is Welsh for 'garden' to give some indication of what to expect on the ascent. The latest guide has no info on either Eastern or Western Gullies, but they are important descent routes and as such, the danger of stone-fall and wet rock was noted in my description.

5. Multi-pitch routes require more information as to exactly where a particular route goes. I accept Misha that Cenotaph Corner hardly needs anything much more than a grade and rope length. The climb is so obvious. Many other climbs especially in mountain areas rarely follow straight lines such as this, and some are downright devious. I refer you to Hamish MacInnes's Scottish guide to a climb on the Western Buttress of Sron na Ciche ((Mallory's Slab & Groove), 1000 ft described in a few brief sentences. For the two adjoining climbs even briefer descriptions suffice. No help whatsoever!

6. My original intention was for anyone that wanted to contribute to this wonderful facility and website, to make some positive use of all this downtime we have during the current crisis. Judging by the number of 'likes' the initial posting has received many thought this was not a bad idea.

7. Most climbers I know have a private collection of guidebooks. Many have numerous editions of the same guide if they have been climbing long enough. When it's a wet day stuck in a hut or tent, we all peruse ours or another's guides. It is so much quicker to access information from a book rather than a mobile. How many have in the past photocopied a page from a guide to carry up a route, especially if in the Alps. Could this be considered an infringement of copywrite?

8. However there is another alternative to guidebooks and data sharing of rock climbs. We get rid of it all. No information, no descriptions, no grade or pitch length, no belay details, in short nothing, as it was for the original pioneers when they first explored the cliffs. As it must have been for Haskett Smith on the Napes, and Archer-Thompson in Wales. On a number of occasions in recent years, I have done precisely this. The guidebook has stayed firmly in the sack, and I've warned others not to give me any details about the rock in front of me. It does make for adventure as two climbs I assumed might be VS's were in fact E2's. But it added to the climbing experience. Do we really have too much information at out fingertips today?

In closing I realise that we can never please everyone, that we all have differing viewpoints, that some climbers give up a good deal of time producing  guidebooks. But then again other climbers volunteer for the Rescue Services, and others again are working as unpaid instructors introducing young people to this wonderful pursuit. I'd like to think that we are all adding a little something that might benefit all in this hedonistic pastime, and this can be achieved in many different ways.

1
In reply to Sean Kelly:

> Oh dear! I've opened a hornet's nest here. Perhaps I should have seen that coming. Perhaps I should add my two pence worth...

On the contrary Sean, you posted a positive suggestion which developed into an interesting associated discussion. All good!

Alan

 Dave Musgrove 02 Apr 2020
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

As a moderator to several crags can I emphasise the need for climbers entering new climbs, and even boulder problems into the database to give a least a basic description of the position of the climb relative to others already established so that moderators can place them correctly in sequence. 

 Ollie Keynes 04 Apr 2020
In reply to Luke90:

> I think you're overestimating the significance of the description. People certainly shouldn't be copying the descriptions from guidebooks but even if someone did copy them verbatim, I don't think many modern guidebook descriptions stand alone very well without the accompanying topos because they're not designed to.

> I've used the UKC Logbooks lots of times to look at a new crag or area. Descriptions help with that but I've never even come close to thinking that they're good enough to significantly reduce my need for an actual guidebook.

> If descriptions were likely to harm guidebooks, you wouldn't see all of Rockfax's descriptions published in the logbooks for free.

In which case, why the need for descriptions in UKC database?

In reply to Ollie Keynes:

> In which case, why the need for descriptions in UKC database?

Because it is incredibly useful for us as guidebook writers. For example, I’ll see a comment below saying something like “not really reachy”. Then I look at the description and find that it says it is reachy.

It enables climbers doing the routes to easily give direct feedback on the actual text used in the guidebooks. 

Alan


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