We have three exciting guidebook projects for 2018 – a couple of old friends given the full new book treatment, and an exciting development in North Wales where we are expanding our coverage for Llanberis Slate.
This magnificent and popular Aegean island has captivated climbers looking for winter sun sport routes for the last 20 years. We first produced a guide way back in 2002 although it was only ever available as a PDF download, although this didn’t stop printed copies appearing all over the place. This first guide was the work of Alan James and former UKC technical developer Nick Smith. In 2016 Chris Craggs put together a major, and I mean major, update to this original work and we released that on the Rockfax app two years ago. This hasn’t stopped the new routes though but luckily Chris has been able to keep on top of things and turning the app information into an updated print guidebook has been an enjoyable task for us.
The new book is shaping up at around 400 pages and should be available later this spring. It will be in the standard format and will coincide with a significant update for the app version which will be a free update for those who have bought it already. In common with all our recent books, some of the proceeds will go towards bolting and access on the island.
It is 26 years since our first El Chorro guidebook and we have published four versions in the meantime. Since the last book though there have been major developments including masses of new routes on the vast cliffs around the old gorge. These form the focus of climbing in the area but there are also plenty of new crags within easy striking distance of a base in El Chorro. The Gorge itself is now home to the major tourist attraction of the Caminito del Rey and is pretty much off limits to climbers, however this has had little impact on the appeal of the area for climbers (El Chorro Access – Open for Climbing). Like the last editions of the guide, the main work is being done by Mark Glaister although he is being ably supported this time by Misha Bruml who was resident in the area for a couple of years and managed to build up a good knowledge of the climbing.
The book will be a sizeable new tome and is scheduled for publication later in the year, probably towards October or November. Some of the proceeds from this book will be targetted towards bolting activities in the El Chorro area – a fund which we have been contributing to for the last five years.
The third project is a really exciting one for us. Back in 2013 Mark Reeves submitted an early draft of what eventually became North Wales Climbs. This draft was a great start but I pointed out to Mark that it had a disproportionately huge section covering the Slate Quarries. Mark said he was unable to kerb his enthusiasm for the area and couldn’t decide what to leave out! After some serious editing we cut it down by two-thirds for the final book but it didn’t diminish Mark’s enthusiasm. In 2017 we used this edited information and added in new developments to the Slate section in the Rockfax app, and now we are very excited to be going the whole hog and taking on a full comprehensive print guide to Llanberis Slate.
This new book will bring together the new routes whilst covering the existing climbing no matter how esoteric. We are aiming for publication in the summer. It is likely that some of the proceeds of this book will be targetted towards maintaining bolting in the Slate Quarries, but we haven’t finalised exactly how this will happen yet.