Peak District Climbing

Review by Matt Heason
Tuesday 22nd July 2008

– by Vertebrate Publishing, 2008 (RRP £19.95)

When I started climbing, the BMC and various climbing clubs around the country were responsible for virtually all of our country’s guidebooks. Then along came Rockfax and upset the applecart. Not long after the two sides managed to come to a harmonious balance, Vertebrate Publishing appeared on the scene and appear to be making their mark (interestingly, they are simultaneously leading the charge for the UK Mountain Biking guidebook market). This is perhaps a slight exaggeration as they only have two guides in print - but let’s face it, they are the big two… The Peak District is the second most visited national park in the world and its crags see more than their fair share of visitors. Where Peak District Bouldering may have missed the mark by aiming at the mid to high grade boulderer, the brand new Peak District Climbing does the opposite, appealing to the masses with its 850 classics up to E1. Not only that, but it redresses the previous guide’s elitism by including classic boulder problems as well as routes in this tally. And to top things off, it even includes the best of the sport routes in the area, making a combination guide that has never been attempted before.

Here’s what Vertebrate have to say about the book on their website:

Over 400 of the best routes from Mod to HVS are included, together with suggestions for good E1s to try. The Peak’s best gritstone and limestone crags are covered. Also featured are the mid-grade sport climbing venues of Horseshoe Quarry and Harpur Hill Quarry – over 50 of the best routes from F5 to F6c+. 350 of the Peak’s best gritstone boulder problems up to Font 7a are also included for the keen boulderer.

Retailing at £19.95, it’s a fairly standard price for a guide and comes with a heap of good quality and inspiring photos to illustrate the area. Coming from a publisher that started out life as a graphics designer you’d be right in thinking that it looks and feels good to boot.

In a nutshell it’s a fantastic concept, well put together and beautifully presented, but comes with a warning. If you live in the Peak, or at least climb there regularly, it lacks the detail provided by the full collection of definitive guides. However, if you are an occasional visitor, or live here and simply want the ultimate classic tick list or an inspiration manual, then it has to be on your shelf.

Featured crags:

Birchen Edge
Burbage North
Burbage South
Cratcliffe Tor and Robin Hood's Stride
Castle Naze
Hen Cloud
Kinder North
Kinder South
The Roaches
Cheedale: Blackwell Halt
Harborough Rocks
Harpur Hill Quarry
Horseshoe Quarry
Staden Quarry
Stoney Middleton

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