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Langdale

 

Langdale (2013)

ISBN: 978 -0-85028-054-8

Written by: Max Biden

Published by: The Fell and Rock Cllimbing Club of the English Lake District

Reviewed by: Karin Magog



This is the ninth edition of the Langdale guide and the first to embrace the new style. I have to admit to not knowing Langdale very well. Coming from the east the majority of my Lakeland climbing has been on the Eastern Fells and Borrowdale with occasional forays to Scafell and Esk Buttress, somehow I seem to have missed Langdale out. Apart from the accessible Raven Crag (which I’ve visited a handful of times), my Langdale experience is limited to one visit to Pavey Ark and one to Gimmer and these were both over 20 years ago. However, after looking through this guide I’m psyched to explore further afield and am looking forward to enjoying a few more days up in the mountains.

The latest series of FRCC guidebooks have really moved on from the old black and white, text heavy guides I remember from my early climbing career. Now full colour, with clear photo-diagrams they feel modern and up to date, whilst still retaining the same convenient pocket-size. The guide has loads of useful information on how to use the guide, what to do in the event of an accident, an interesting section on the environment, as well as a detailed historical section. It includes a crag guide table which as well as the usual info on grade bands, approach time, aspect, etc also has the added ‘drying time’ column with crags classified as either fast, medium or slow drying - very useful to see at a glance when planning a quick weekend visit. Other info includes local climbing walls, where to stay and a very useful route grade index by crag (which helps you decide which crag to visit for your personal grade). The FRCC have also adopted the policy of being more generous as regards the allocation of stars to routes and the intro has a paragraph detailing this policy. To quote from the guide ‘it will be seen that a three star route no longer ranks with the best in the country, though it will provide an entertaining (and possibly adventurous) outing’. I think it is an excellent idea and will hopefully ensure worthwhile but less well known routes still get climbed.

Now onto the meat of the guide. The FRCC guides include full colour Harvey maps which are clear and easy to follow (and which work even better when used in conjunction with the BMC/Harvey map to the Lake District). The climbs themselves are shown on excellent photo-diagrams, with the larger crags (such as Gimmer, Pavey, etc) also having a crag overview photo which details the climbing sections, named features such as gullies, ledges, etc and the main descent routes. There are also detailed descent instructions in the introductory text. Each climb has a clear written description and now includes the first ascent details, which I much prefer to their previous system of having them all at the back. The guide includes a good variety of action shots, right across the grade spectrum. Some of the double page landscape shots are superb, the scenery in particular is stunning. In the main they do a good job of selling the whole package and sum up what Langdale has to offer - good climbing, on excellent rock, in a superb mountain setting.

This guide really does have something for everyone, from sunny roadside crags to remote north faces, and at all grades. The popular bouldering venues of Chapel Stile and the infamous Langdale Boulders are also covered. For me some of the more remote crags really stood out, and I’m keen to explore the likes of Flat Crags and Neckband Crag, as well as making long overdue visits back to Gimmer and Pavey. All in all an excellent job by the FRCC and well worth buying.

 

Photo of climbers on the Langdale Boulders

 

Photo of climbers on the Langdale Boulders

 

Photo of climbers on the Langdale Boulders

Karin Magog and Andy Brown enjoying the Langdale Boulders

All photos (C) Steve Crowe

There is only a small selection of valley based problems on the popular Chapel Stile bouldering circuit and the famous Langdale Boulders.

For more comprehensive and detailed bouldering info visit www.lakesbloc.com

 

 

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