Written by Mike Robertson
by Karin Magog
Deep Water by Mike Robertson includes everything and anything you would want to know about deep water
soloing. The guide starts with an excellent introduction with much needed advice
on safety, grades, tides and tactics. The safety section includes some good
advice on splashdowns with a couple of good photos on how to and how not to land
in the water. Onto grades next and the reasoning behind the adoption of sports
grades is explained, along with meaning of the ‘S’ (or safety) grades (a fall
off an S3 is not recommended!) Each route in the guide is assigned both which
tells the climber a lot about a route before even reading the words. The section
on tides is really interesting (did you know that the high spring tides always
occur either early or late in the day?). It also includes a table which
discusses tidal swings at the more popular venues, with Pembroke having tidal
swings up to 8m compared to Dorset’s miniscule 1.7m. The introduction also
includes a glossary of DWS terms, a who’s who in the world of DWS and a brief
history on its evolution, all of which makes interesting reading.
The guide now gets down to business with each venue described in the usual
rockfax manner. A couple of pages detailing conditions, accommodation, food and
crag approach lead to the high quality crag photos and route descriptions. The
pages are well laid out and less cluttered than other recent rockfax guides,
making it very easy to use. All the major venues in southern England are covered
in detail (e.g. Swanage, Lulworth, Devon and Portland to name a few), there’s a
small section on Scotland and another on other possible UK venues. For Europe
the major destinations appear to be Mallorca, Portugal and the Costa Blanca all
of which look appealing with some steep and impressive lines above turquoise
sea. The book finishes with a rest of the world section with a paragraph on
potential venues for those of you keen to explore.
The book is illustrated with plenty of action shots, many of which unfortunately
are a bit soft and generally not of the same high quality as the photo topos.
However, they certainly give you plenty of idea of what it’s all about.
All in all Mike Robertson has done an excellent job and his passion for DWS is
evident throughout the book. Whether you’re a true aficionado or a DWS novice
this book is for you.
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