Guidebooks for European Destinations


Original Post
WMcD · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 170

I recently moved to Holland and am looking to educate myself about destinations throughout Europe.  I'm realizing that the ultra-famous areas that I've always heard about (Ceuse, Siurana, Chamonix, etc.) may not actually be the destinations I want to prioritize, and I want to expand my knowledge of options for travel.

I'm looking for guidebooks that cover multiple areas which I can use to wrap my head around the many options for climbing over here.  I'd like to acquire a handful books that give overviews and select-style info for the really excellent routes and destinations in a region or country.    

I enjoy all styles of climbing but I'm most interested in sport climbing and alpine rock. 

Is there a Euro equivalent to the old Rock n' Road book?  Ideally, I'd like to find a "Euro Rock n' Road Select" with more beta and pictures and only the choicest zones.

For example, Climb Greece! gives good info for a ton of areas and pitches on the mainland.  I had no ideas there were so many worthy options beyond Kalymnos.  Lleida Climbs does a similar things for northern Catalunya.  

I once saw a large coffee table book (or maybe it was a big magazine?) in which each page gave info and classics for a different area in Spain.  It was in Spanish and I can't remember what it was called or locate it online.  Does anyone know the name of this book?

Similarly, can anyone recommend guidebooks that cover multiple areas in France, Italy, Germany, the Alps, Austria, Switzerland, the Balkans, etc....

Books in English are preferred but I can work with other languages.  

I'm also quite interested in online resources.  Where should I be reading besides UKclimbing.com?

If I manage to put together a good list of resources, I'll compile and share it.

Thanks!

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490
WMcD wrote:

I recently moved to Holland and am looking to educate myself about destinations throughout Europe.  I'm realizing that the ultra-famous areas that I've always heard about (Ceuse, Siurana, Chamonix, etc.) may not actually be the destinations I want to prioritize, and I want to expand my knowledge of options for travel.

I'm looking for guidebooks that cover multiple areas which I can use to wrap my head around the many options for climbing over here.  I'd like to acquire a handful books that give overviews and select-style info for the really excellent routes and destinations in a region or country.    

I enjoy all styles of climbing but I'm most interested in sport climbing and alpine rock. 

Is there a Euro equivalent to the old Rock n' Road book?  Ideally, I'd like to find a "Euro Rock n' Road Select" with more beta and pictures and only the choicest zones.

For example, Climb Greece! gives good info for a ton of areas and pitches on the mainland.  I had no ideas there were so many worthy options beyond Kalymnos.  Lleida Climbs does a similar things for northern Catalunya.  

I once saw a large coffee table book (or maybe it was a big magazine?) in which each page gave info and classics for a different area in Spain.  It was in Spanish and I can't remember what it was called or locate it online.  Does anyone know the name of this book?

Similarly, can anyone recommend guidebooks that cover multiple areas in France, Italy, Germany, the Alps, Austria, Switzerland, the Balkans, etc....

Books in English are preferred but I can work with other languages.  

I'm also quite interested in online resources.  Where should I be reading besides UKclimbing.com?

If I manage to put together a good list of resources, I'll compile and share it.

Thanks!

There is a series of three guides to Europe from Rocks Unlimited called Rock Climbing Atlas which gives an overview of all the climbing in Europe. For Germany there is a guide to all the sport climbing areas (the most of the climbing) from tmms verlag called Deutsch Rock. For a overview of European climbing there is Europe Sport Vertical from Jingo Wobbly Publications which isn´t as comprehensive as it claims but a good start. None have topos/route descriptions as the subject is far too big to even attempt but tell you all you need to know before you buy the relevant guide.

Alpine stuff I have no idea about!

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 10,394

There used to be some thick 8.5 x 11 book in English about climbing in Europe which offered what you suggest.
At least ten years old.

You could try to find a copy, which would give you a view of how English-speading visitors saw things like 15-20 years ago.

So that would help you visit the polished 30-year-old classics, which is what lots of American visitors seem to want.

But really so much has been developed since then -- with much of the best unpolished new stuff in local single-area guidebooks.

So likely better to search the Web and the ask intelligent questions. 

I will suggest that if you narrow some focused questions to a single country, better to find a website which focuses on that country to ask -- in English (with apology).

. . . (You might even get people offering to take you climbing).

Ken


liveit P · · Mammoth Lakes, Ca · Joined Jun 2009 · Points: 330

I recently made a trip to Croatia and did some research on books and online, but didn't come up with much. I ended up at Au Vieux Campeur in Paris and they had the biggest collection of climbing, hiking, and camping books ive ever seen! We found if we showed up to an area usually a local place would have the guidebook, doesn't help much for pre trip research though.

susan peplow · · Joshua Tree · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 2,650
kenr wrote:

There used to be some thick 8.5 x 11 book in English about climbing in Europe which offered what you suggest.
At least ten years old.

You could try to find a copy, which would give you a view of how English-speading visitors saw things like 15-20 years ago.



By description, that's the " Rock Climbing Europe",  by Stewart M. Green and published by Falcon Guide.  It's actually sitting on the table next to me as we're headed on a trip in a few weeks.  

That was a good guess @kenr ... published in 2006.  A nifty tool for a quick peek of some climbing areas and proximity to others for travel but agree it's likely terribly out of date.  

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 13,762

Even though its over 10 years old, Stewart's Rock Climbing Europe is still worth having IMHO.

I'd guess most (if not all) of the areas covered by the book have much updated routes and guidebooks, but, its still a fine overview on popular and classic crags.

Folks still climb at Les Calanques, Orpierre, Verdon Gorge, El Chorro, Arco, Kalymnos, etc...all covered by Rock Climbing Europe.  I consult it even though I have a gob of guidebooks from the main areas.

If you're interested in the more alpine area where Northern Italy, Switzerland, and France all come together, the Filidor guides like Plaisir Selection (and, for harder stuff, their Extrem series) are good books for highlighting some of the classics and classic areas.  They also reference the local guidebooks as well...

http://www.filidor.ch/default.aspx?Lang=E

If you can find a copy of Parois de légende : Les plus belles escalades d'Europe...its quite good for classic longer rock routes.

https://www.amazon.fr/Parois-l%C3%A9gende-belles-escalades-dEurope/dp/2723455114

Headed back across the puddle in a few weeks m'self...(southern Spain).  Good times!

WMcD · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 170

Thanks for the info everybody.  I will continue reading now.

rpc · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2005 · Points: 575

very nice:

http://www.climb-europe.com/blog/multi-pitch-rock-climbing-in-europe-guidebook/

That Stewart Green "atlas" ...it seemed heavy on single pitch sporto stuff though it did a nice job for Meteora we thought.

Arnaud Petit and Stephanie Bodet had written two outstanding books:  one is something like classic walls of Europe (out of print & very hard to get at a reasonable price) & another that covers the world (Europe included).  In French but it'll whet your appetite & broaden your horizons.

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 10,394

Brian in SLC wrote:
> Folks still climb at Les Calanques, Orpierre, Verdon Gorge, Arco . . .

Yes and that shows that Stewart Green was a very smart hard-working author who had a good feel for where the climbing world was going.

The problem with following it is that what you get is actually good (tho now 11 to 16 years more polished) -- but you miss out on new stuff that's 40% better. Especially if looking for easy + moderate difficulty - (there's been a _lot_ of new drilling in the last 10-15 years).

the Calanques / Marseille / Toulon region I love and have climbed lots of days in the last ten years is different from the filtered out-of-date version in that book.
Since then there have appeared several more French-language guidebooks for within a 1.5 hour drive from the Calanques proper. What I think are the multi-pitch super classics around there I'll bet are not mentioned in that book, or located in or near the sectors in that book. Or are different styles of routes that don't exist in America. I visit the sectors in the book mainly for pretty hiking and fun scrambling.

Orpierre -- Has a good reputation (and the polish to go with it). But I've never bothered to purchase the guidebook, because nowadays it's just one out of fifty sport-climbing areas with nice moderate routes in inland southeast France.

Verdon -- critical new info for deciding on a visit is that some (many?) of the moderate classics have been re-bolted so they're not fearfully run-out like the notorious reputation.

Arco -- a very experienced German visitor said Yes, but nowadays the really good climbing is two valleys over.

When I asked Munich climbers where they drive for the good moderate sport climbing, it was a new area in Austria never mentioned in American sources.

Ken

Lena chita · · Cleveland, OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 250

While not a printed guidebook, I found climb-europe to be a great source of information.

http://www.climb-europe.com/EuropeanRockClimbingAreas.html

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 10,394

Again, what's there in ClimbEurope is actually good. But filtered.
I just took a look at their page for the Calanques. Very focused on the historic view. Doesn't even mention the main modern French-language guidebook (their claim that the book they do link is "most comprehensive" is simply false, and has been false for years).

Doesn't show all of the new National Park on its map. But the newly added area has my favorite climbing sectors, completely different kinds of rock, and its own new French-language guidebook (of course not mentioned either).

Never mind the new thick French-language guidebooks covering fun new unpolished rock within 1.5 hours driving. Which Sharon and I climb lots when we visit.

Incidentally I think that the main photo on their Calanques page is _not_ from the region shown on their map - (because it's a different kind of rock from the old-school Calanques).

Seems to me like a filtered tourist view of that region. I guess that's easy for them to deliver -- and what lots of English-speaking readers want.

Ken

P.S. And the idea that Buoux is a major climbing area in France. Sure . . .
20 or 30 years ago.

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 10,394

Anyway the two print guidebooks linked from the Calanques page on ClimbEurope are way better than the page itself.

The Rockfax Cote d'Azur guidebook is currently the best and most useful overview and selection of the larger region in any language. But not as good for the Calanques proper. So for that ...

The Calanques Climbing guidebook is unabashedly non-comprehensive, but a rather good "select" guidebook which _does_ include the new great-climbing area now included in the National Park. Does include styles of routes not familiar to Americans. Does include some great ideas for trail-running circuits.
Blows up the "tourist filters".

Ken

P.S. rather than look for a single comprehensive overview of Europe, a better strategy is to purchase the Rockfax guidebook for each region you're interested in. Then post well-formed questions in English to local-language climbers forums.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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