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Blacknor North Guidebooks

International : Europe : United Kingdom : England : South West : Dorset : Portland


Steve Taylor/The Climbers' Club (2008)

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The 2008 definitive guide, documenting most of the routes (including the few remaining trad routes) and a lot of the bouldering on the island. A spate of new bolting following (due to?) its publication means that quite a lot of routes, particularly in the lower (sub-5.10) grades were missed out. The guide also contains extensive information about the climbing around Lulworth.

The book is very clear, following the modern style of full-colour photo topos alongside the route descriptions. It is printed in a strange A5 landscape format, but this doesn't affect usability in any way.

International : Europe : United Kingdom : England : South West : Dorset


Pete Oxley, Mark Glaister/Rockfax (2012)

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A select guide to the Dorset Jurassic coast, including extensive coverage of the popular areas of Portland, Lulworth and Swanage. In fact, this is the only current guidebook for Swanage. Due to its later publication date, it also includes a lot of routes on Portland that just missed inclusion in the latest definitive.

The guide conforms to the usual Rockfax style, with clear photo topos, concise route descriptions, and detailed approach information.

International : Europe : United Kingdom : England : South West

West Country Climbs

Mark Glaister/Rockfax (2010)

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The Rockfax select guide to the region, covering Avon & Somerset, Dorset and Devon & Cornwall (inland and coastal). In the usual Rockfax style, the guide is very clear and easy to use: an essential purchase for the occasional (or even frequent) visitor.

Coverage is good across most major crags/areas (except Cheddar Gorge and Lundy which, although mentioned, are not described in any detail) and quite a lot of minor areas, allowing you to escape the crowds.

South West Climbs

Multiple authors/The Climbers' Club

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An excellent, extensive work in two volumes, covering the best of the climbing in the South West of the UK. Volume 1 (2012) covers Gloucestershire, Somerset and Dorset; while volume 2 (2014) covers the rest (Cornwall, Devon, Lundy and even the Channel Islands).

International : Europe

Europe Sport Vertical

Europe - Sport Vertical

By David Atchison-Jones, Jingo Wobbly Publishing

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This is an overview book that sets out to list every single crag on the European continent a la Tim Toula's "Rock N' Road". Intended for a broad audience of various languages, the book uses an absurdly complex assortment of symbols & numbers to "describe" each crag without the use of text. The book is in full color, with plentiful glossy photos of various crags. This isn't a guidebook in the classic sense, but it can be a good way to learn about the locations & raw statistics of the multitude of little known crags in Europe. The book indicates number of routes, height of cliff, length of approach, sun exposure, and relative quality for more than 2600 sport, bouldering & alpine crags. The book also points you in the direction of the pertinent local guidebooks. Its a nice reference book, but probably not too useful once you're on the road. Set it on the coffee table or near your procelain throne for a few minutes of inspiration when the local weather is bad.

Rock Climbing Europe by Stewart Green

Rock Climbing Europe

Stewart Green, Falcon Guides

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Rock Climbing Europe is the perfect starting point for Americans on their way to Europe. The book is far from comprehensive, so ensure that your destination is included before laying out $40 or so. If your destination is included, expect explicit, robust, American-style route descriptions (a rarity in European guides) & photo-topos, all prefaced with a good deal of "Lonely Planet"-style traveler information. The book also follows the Falcon Guide system of providing tips on lodging/camping and where to find amenities in the local area. The book is encyclopedic is size, so you may want to xerox the key sections if you're going for a short trip.