Yorkshire Gritstone Guide – Climbing Gear Review


Dave Sarkar, local Yorkshire climber takes a look at the new 2012 Yorkshire Gritstone Guide.

Quality ***



I’ve been living and climbing in Yorkshire for over 20 years now and this is the first YMC guide that I have not been involved in. I’m still smarting from my mate Matt Edwards beating to the front cover of the 1989 guide. That was the ascent after me, still I’m not bitter.

The new guide is a bumper edition that will be split into two volumes. This volume Almscliffe to Slipstones covering the Central and Eastern half of the county with Volume 2 Ilkley to Widdop due out in 2013 covering the West.

It’s very weighty so I’ll be trying to persuade friends to carry it up to more remote crags like Simons Seat but I’ll be satisfied that it’s comprehensive and will contain every route in detail when I get there.

The photographs of the routes, crags and action are all very good. I’ve looked very hard and I’m not in it! Better luck with Volume 2. There’s a great combination of modern and historical shots to really fire up your psyche. I really have enjoyed looking at the photographs and the route ones are a great improvement on the hand drawn diagrams as they show so much more detail.  The old hand drawn crag shots were a fantastic labour of love that is dying out as we get busier and busier. I particularly like the aerial shots of the crags to help you get your bearings.


Almscliffe (know locally as The Cliff) is my local stomping ground so I am very familiar with its intricacies. How astonished I was to find routes of my grade I hadn’t done! Praise indeed. I couldn’t find any faults with the grades or descriptions and thankfully little in the way of grade inflation. I still climb with folk that think that nothing can be harder Yorkshire VS.  I loved the Alan Austin profile – I’ve even got a jumper like that. I think I’ll start wearing it at the crag. There are plenty of local star profiles they are a great read, some brilliant Seventies shots.

Like the last guide bouldering is included and the grades are Font grades, there is substantially more bouldering in this guide that the previous. This is why it is such a large volume but I feel that it detracts from the routes. Yorkshire is well serviced for bouldering guides.

All the climbing areas are covered in detail as you would expect from a comprehensive guide, even the more esoteric crags (which are mentioned in the main crag sections). There is a graded list for each crag and a comprehensive graded list of all the main routes at the back. All the crags are listed in areas and not alphabetically which aids location. I really did like the addition of GPS co-ordinates in the access sections, which were very detailed.

So the short read is:

I love the photos, historical sections, access descriptions and all sorts of witty Yorkshire banter. I love the fact that it’s written by non-profit Climbing Club volunteers that deserve to be supported.

I don’t like the weight, it’s flippin’ heavy.  The very flimsy cover which will last no time at all before falling off and the addition of the bouldering. God is not pointing at Almscliff and we all know God made it especially for Yorkshire climbers and cows in the winter.

There’s a wealth of beautiful climbing in Yorkshire and there’s  something for everyone in this great addition to the YMC stable. It would be suitable for the holiday tourist and local alike. Well done everyone you’ve done a great job keeping the faith.

RRP £24.00

Buy from Cordee: http://bit.ly/TAYlOA


  1. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for taking the time to write the review. Just a few points.

    Your star reference regarding value indicates it’s mediocre? I’m currently sat directly in front of a fair library of up to date climbing guides, covering much of the globe and I can assure you that this has to be one of the best value you guides around – 705 inspiring pages, jam packed with accurate info for £24. Likewise regarding quality. With regards to the bouldering info: if it had been added merely as a sales feature and not properly researched I would have agreed with you. However, quite to the contrary it has been done superbly. I think most people (who partake in routes and bouldering) would agree that having the option to buy the two volumes of this and its sibling guide makes better sense than having to buy at least 3 different guides covering both disciplines. Finally, is it really that heavy? Seems about the same weight as the old guide to me. Even when you take into account the other volume, surely you’re unlikely to carry both editions to the crag.

    Forgive the pedantry but I felt this to be one of the best guides I’ve seen in sometime, thus I thought I’d come out from behind my screen and endeavor to counter a few of your observations.

    Regards, Greg

    1. Hi Greg and thanks for your comment. Long time no see :-). You may have a point about the value but I feel that the cost of guides has been increasing over the last few years. I understand that printing and distribution costs are very high but in these days we look very closely at cost. If the bouldering had been left out that would have reduced the cost, the bouldering in Yorkshire is extremely well covered by the 2 current guides. I agree that the content is absolutely brilliant and I love reading it, especially the history sections – I have real interest in the Yorkshire scene and have been active for over 20 years. Finally, it really is that heavy, the old guide weighs in at 625g and the new 900g. It isn’t an issue if you are carrying it to Caley, The Cliffe or Ilkley but I would want to be carrying it to Simon’s Seat!

      The more I read it the more I love it, I wish I had had the time to be involved (it’s the only guide for a while I haven’t been involved in) – 2012 wasn’t the best year for me and my family. But…I am really looking forward to the second volume of the guide.
      All the best Greg and it would be great to meet up sometime soon,

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