Yorkshire Gritstone Bouldering Vol 1 & 2
19th May 2011
The first of these books to land on my desk was Vol 2. I was a little surprised to see so many crags I'd never even heard of, with so many classics omitted. Fortunately I spotted the 'Vol 2' and delved a little deeper. Vol 2 basically covers all the more out-of-the-way and esoteric crags that Yorkshire has to offer, whilst Vol 1, which I now have as well, covers the regular haunts like Caley and Almscliffe.
Written by Steve Dunning and Ryan Plews they are both published by a company I've not previously heard of: Total Climbing. TC currently has a holding page, but looks very interesting, set to become a site not dissimilar to UKClimbing and planetFear:
Total-Climbing is about to release a new feature packed website. Launching soon, the main features will be a combination of news, reviews, media, guides, topos, articles and lots more.
Anyway, back to the guide. It's packed full of good and inspiring photos - however it's always a bugbear of mine when the grade and page number are not included in the caption along with the problem name and climber. Most boulders are photographed clearly (and from sensible angles that don't distort the shape of the boulder. Problems are individually marked with colour coded arrows which correspond to a basic (Font) system (blue = 3 to 5c+, yellow = 6a to 6c+, red = 7a to 7c+ and green = 8a to 8b). Maps are easy to follow, if a little thin on the ground when it comes to locating areas. That said, each crag has its own grid reference and a paragraph or two describing the approach in detail. I like the Character & Situation section for each crag. As you'd expect from a Yorkshire guide, these are honest and to the point. I also like the connoisseur section at the end which lists those crags that your average boulderer wouldn't bother with, but which nevertheless offer some fine entertainment.
Vol 1 is much the same by way of format as Vol 2. It will of course be the more popular guide, covering:
- Brimham & Outlying Areas
- East / West Chevin
- Earl Crag
- Hitching Stone
- Shipley Glen
- West Vale
- Widdop / Dove Stones / Scout Crag / Gorple / Scout Hut & Mytholm Scar
- Woodhouse Scar
Interestingly there is also a star rating system which is missing from Vol 2. Unlike other guides the stars are dished out sparingly and each quality problem only gets one star to differentiate it from the rest.
With Vol 1 priced at £19.95 and Vol 2 at £22.00 it's a fair old chunk of money to shell out for both, but then again, it's less than the cost of a single rock shoe...
If you're a Yorkshire bouldering fan then they will be a welcome addition to your bookshelf. If you are passing through and need a guide to help you make the most of your visit, Vol 1 should do the trick.