LAYCOCK, John Some Shorter Climbs (In Derbyshire and Elsewhere) [cover title: Some Gritstone Climbs]. Manchester, Refuge Printing Department, 1913.
Small 8vo. Original green ribbed cloth, front cover lettered in gilt; pp. [viii], 116, 14 plates after photographs, sketch maps of routes; a very good copy, early ownership inscription to front fly-leaf.
First edition of one of the the first systematic books on rock climbing, the first pocket climbing guidebook. The British lawyer John Laycock (1887–1960) introduced with this privately printed book the gritstone graded list, still referred to as Laycock's List. 'Mr. Laycock has modelled this unpretentious little volume somewhat on the lines of “Climbs on Lliwedd” and “Climbing in the Ogwen District,” and is, I think, to be congratulated on his effort. In one respect he is entitled to unqualified approbation: he has not sinned the sin of understating difficulties. Many average climbers would have set aside the Three Chockstone Chimney on Almes Cliff as very easy, the Pine Tree Gully on Black Rocks as moderately difficult and the Fluted Pillars, Almes Cliff, as difficult. Mr. Laycock quite properly describes them as moderately easy, difficult, and decidedly difficult. In fact, his classification of the climbs with which I am acquainted may be accepted, albeit I am inclined to regard the few stiff feet of the Long Chimney on Almes Cliff as decidedly difficult, at any rate, to a long-legged man. This moderation is specially creditable to a climber of Mr. Laycock’s powers. It was written of the mass of rock overhanging Rock Hall (Staffordshire Roaches) that “we shall never be equal to it until our constitution has been reconstructed on the angelic plan.” The last time I had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Laycock I noticed no such structural alterations of his anatomy, and yet, I understand, he had accomplished the climb' (from a contemporary review in the Yorkshire Ramblers’ Club Journal, vol. 4 issue 13).
Neate Q158; COPAC locates copies in the British Library, the National Library of Scotland, at Cambridge and Oxford; OCLC adds one further copy, at New York Public Library.