North Wales Classics by Jack Geldard - Rockfax
What a nice idea. A small pocket sized guidebook to the best routes in Snowdonia. It’s something portable that you can carry on a route with you. It’s a selected guide so saves you the expense of having to buy all of the many guides to the region and then having to sift through them to find the best routes (some people’s dream, some people’s nightmare). It’s also a great little tick-list. I’ve recently acquired a similar style guidebook to the boulders of Fontainebleau and love it. It’s great for choosing an area to head to, for orientating yourself once you arrive, and then giving you some focus for the day. This guide to North Wales ticks all the same boxes.
It’s squarely aimed at the weekend or holiday climber rather than locals or frequent visitors, with 94 E1 to E3 routes, 120 HS to HVS routes, 75 Mod to Sev routes and 46 winter routes. No hard stuff here. No bouldering either which I think is a bit of a missed opportunity. A few pages dedicated to the likes of the RAC and Cromlech boulders wouldn’t have gone amiss. Also missing is a comparative summary of each of the areas allowing novices to the area to make the best choice to suit their abilities, needs, group size, and weather conditions. Interestingly there are 46 winter routes included, a useful addition for anybody not wanting to suffer the incredibly outdated selected north wales winter climbs guidebook (a bit of a dinosaur). It’s full of your regular Rockfax photo topos, symbols and neat maps, and contains some great full page action shots.
In the introduction North Wales is described as the Tardis of the climbing world. Well this book is the sonic screwdriver to go with the Tardis, unlocking the best bits of the region.
It retails at £16.95 which is a reasonable price for a guide with so much information in it. There’s also a free PDF update that you can download from the Rockfax website.