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Who Writes Climbing Guidebooks? 

By Emily Pitts // Writing a climbing guidebook is not a moneymaking exercise, more likely the opposite. Unless the climbing area is in vogue and has been for a while, the author is likely to make little or no money at all. This is especially the case for locations where things like political events, seasons or natural disasters might limit the amount of climbers wanting or being able to visit the place. Fewer visitors = fewer guidebooks purchased = not a moneymaking activity. Probably at least partly for this reason the varied mix of people who end up writing climbing guidebooks all seem to have the same things in common: they see potential for an area that they have found, they have fallen in love with the climbing and/or they become so obsessive that they want to put all their effort into their project, regardless of the time, energy and cost. Guidebooks published by the BMC, Climbers Club and FRCC are almost entirely created by volunteers, as are the majority of other guidebooks on the market.

BooksPublishers of climbing guidebooks:

In the UK there are a few key climbing guidebook publishers as follows:

British Mountaineering Council / BMC

Currently have over 10 guidebooks, focussed on Peak District crags. The BMC website is a great place to start looking for a guidebook, if you’re on the lookout.

Rockfax

Started in 1990 and now has over 30 guidebooks for UK and European crags.

Scottish Mountaineering Club / SMC

Has around 20 guidebooks on Scottish climbing, winter climbing and bouldering.

Climbers Club / CC

Currently has around 30 guidebooks covering wales, the South West and Southern England.

FRCC

Currently have 8 guidebooks covering the Lake District.

There are also a good number of Independents with their own specialisms:

  • Ape Index – Boulder UK
  • Ground Up – North Wales
  • Cottongrass Books – Lancashire
  • Pesda Press – North Wales
  • Jersey CC – Jersey
  • Vertebrate – Various
  • Scottish Mountaineering Trust – Scotland
  • Cicerone – Various
  • Grey Stone Books
  • Total Climbing
  • YMC – Yorkshire
  • And more….

Thanks to Dave & Maiju Lucas from TXC for their considerable input on the topic of creating climbing guidebooks.

We would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

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