• Rockfax Top 50 Symbol – Outlived its Usefulness?

    Fisuras armoniosas (6a+) at Valle de Abdalajis. A Top 50 route that is showing signs of over-climbing.

    Back in 2006 we introduced a new symbol to the star-rating system – the Top 50 symbol. This featured for the first time in Eastern Grit and has been included in most guidebooks since. It was never intended to be a forth star, but instead to be a set of routes that were high quality and iconic routes for the area. Some of them were only really 2-star routes but, especially in the easier grades, they were important routes that covered the full grade range of the area.

    Since then the system has been applied reasonably consistently in our books although we have on many occasions gone way beyond 50 actual routes. What has become clear is that, whatever our intentions were with regard to it not being a forth star, climbers have very much been treating it as such.

    Work we have done on El Chorro and most recently on Mallorca has indicated that the Top 50 symbol may well have become a bit of a curse for some routes. In the green and orange spot grade range, these routes get a lot of attention! UKC Logbooks are full of comments on these easier routes questioning their Top50 status often because of polish and over-climbing.

    In 2020 we have redesigned the look of our Rockfax print guidebooks and this seemed like a good opportunity to drop the Top 50 symbol for the next few guidebooks to gauge the response. All the previous Top 50 routes will be given 3-star status which should increase the pool of target routes.

    Discussion thread here


  • More Rebolting in El Chorro


    Good news from El Chorro where Nico Rando has told about some rebolting work they just completed on one of the major routes on Frontales using bolts funded by Rockfax.

    Judging from the photo below of the old bolts they removed, this was much needed.


  • SMC Winter Crags now on the Rockfax App


    The best guidebook to winter climbing in Scotland is Scottish Winter Climbs from the SMC. As part of our ongoing project working with the SMC we are very pleased to announce that the first part of digitising this content is now complete and available on the Rockfax app. This represents about 60% of the routes in the book and the rest should hopefully follow early in the New Year.

    SMC-Winter-Screen-shotsIt has been a real pleasure to work with the SMC on this project and we look forward to producing more great Scottish content on the app in the near future.


  • The New Peak Limestone Rockfax for 2020

    The new Peak Limestone Rockfax is due to be published in April 2020 which will be the fourth book to the area since the early days of Rockfax back in 1992. Following that first book, the next two were in 2004 and 2012 both of which represented significant updates in both style and coverage. For many of the crags, the Rockfax has been the only information available in print for much of the last 30 years and it is this dedication to sustainable coverage for ever-changing areas that has made Rockfax the leading publication in areas like Peak Limestone.

    28 years after Fax03 we are now preparing Fax57! Yes, this will be our 57th guidebook and 66th publication overall. You can read a bit more here about what makes Rockfax guidebooks so good.

    Peak Limestone is due to be published in April 2020 and represents our next stage in print and digital coverage. We have undergone a redesign of both the cover and the internal pages, focussing on making everything even clearer. The integration between print and digital is being baked into the books to emphasise the extent of our coverage. The print versions are designed to inspire – a beautiful book in your hands with amazing action and crag photos that just make you want to go climbing. The digital coverage expands the coverage to make sure that you have updateable and complete information to everything you need in the palm of your hand.

    Peak Limestone will be our first book of 2020. After that we will aim to publish an updated edition of Chamonix and a superb new book to the brilliant climbing around San Vito Lo Capo in Sicily. There could also be a bonus Snowdonia Scrambles book if things work out well.

  • New Drill for El Chorro

    We have just bought a new drill for construction company bolting in El Chorro. Chris Miller has been doing some great work in the area and suggested that he bought a drill which will be available to all local climbers. Under our normal donations system we would wait until the end of year to tally up what we owe from Spain : El Chorro book sales, however Black Friday gave us a chance to get something at an extra discount so we got in early.

    If you wish to contact Chris for use of the drill then please contact him through the El Chorro Bolting Team Facebook page.

    Si desea ponerse en contacto con Chris para utilizar el simulacro, comuníquese con él a través de la página de Facebook de El Chorro Bolting Team.

  • What is it that makes Rockfax guidebooks so good?


    After a very successful three days at Kendal we received a lot of extremely positive feedback on our guidebooks and app. It was great to meet everyone who came to the stand and thanks all for your comments.

    We love making guidebooks and we continually strive to make them better. Each detail is thought about before and after we introduce it and we are continually reflecting on what we do to make sure we are publishing the best possible climbing information using the most up-to-date and relevant technologies.

    What is it that makes Rockfax guidebooks so good?

    Here are some of the design features we concentrate on when making a Rockfax guidebook. Please feel free to get in touch if you think that there are areas where we can improve, or if you think we have missed something that attracts you to Rockfax guidebooks.

    1. Route descriptions and topos always on the same page.
    2. Routes always listed left to right with page geography that reflects what is in front of you (ie. turn the page to the right and look right, turn it left and look left).
    3. Topos properly split across the spine of the book so detail isn’t lost in the fold.
    4. Clear crag, buttress and route symbols that are easy to use and not continually being added to from book to book.
    5. Colour-coded grade bands to enable you to quickly assess what a crag has to offer at your ability level.
    6. Cross-referenced routes on adjacent topos to help put the main topo you are looking at into context.
    7. Route descriptions made as autonomous as possible so that you don’t need to read the previous routes in order to track down where you are.
    8. Consistent use of approach and descent information in the same place so it is always easy to find.
    9. Clear and detailed climbing-specific maps, either never more than a page or two away, or clearly referenced to a page elsewhere.
    10. QR codes used with parking spots to enable quick phone navigation.
    11. Maps with north always at the top and geo-accurate (ie. everything is to scale).
    12. Cross-referenced page numbers all over the book so that you can find anywhere on a map or overview without going to the index/contents.
    13. Double cross-referenced action photos so you can find the description from the photo, and the photo from the description.
    14. Standard use of arrows and text on topos to ensure clear approaches and descents are obvious.
    15. Massive detailed photo-topos taking using the best photography techniques available and printed as big as possible.
    16. Contents ‘thumb tabs’ to allow quick navigation without going to the contents page.
    17. Everything linked to online versions so that you can tick the routes in your UKC logbook and give feedback.
    18. Destination Planner tables to help choose a crag based on grade-spread, approach and weather conditions.
    19. All available in digital and print form.
  • Rockfax at Kendal Mountain Festival

    A happy UKC T-shirt group

    We had a fantastic three days at the Kendal Mountain Festival. The Rockfax stand in the far corner of the Basecamp Marquee was busy throughout and plenty of people seemed to be delighted to get their hands on the brand new Lake District Climbs guide.

    As ever the event provided us with a wonderful chance to chat with Rockfax users and get their feedback and opinions. Most interesting was the popularity of the app which we had displayed on a big screen. It was nice to be able to reveal the detail to people who had previously only taken a cursory glance at it.

    Thanks to everyone who came to the stand particularly the very enthusiastic T-shirt group in the photo!

  • Rockfax at the Kendal Mountain Festival Again

    We are delighted to be at the Kendal Mountain Festival for the 5th year in a row. Once again we will be in the Basecamp Village outside the Brewery Arts Centre.

    Pop along to the stand to meet the team, see the Rockfax App in action and grab a book. We will have all the books available at up to 25% off including the brand new Lake District Climbs.