Review – Arapiles Pocket Companion

Why, we hear you ask, after their excellent guidebook, Arapiles Selected Climbs, would Simon Mentz and Glenn Tempest feel the need to release another guide to Arapiles?

In the introduction to the Arapiles Pocket Companion they answer this question: one, the select is a weighty tome, which makes it too big to take on multipitch routes; and two, it’s a cheaper and lighter option for travellers (and general non-travelling tight-arses, of which there are many in the climbing world).

IMG_1845Arapiles Pocket Companion is much as its title suggests: a small, light guide that will easily fit in your back pocket. It also sells for less than $20. Compared to the select guide, which has 1200 routes, this guide has 750 routes (enough to keep you busy for a few years at least), while a lot of extraneous (although interesting) information has been removed: photos, history, first ascentionist details, info on flora, fauna and geology, etc.

What remains though, is what defines the select guide: excellent route descriptions and the meticulously accurate photo topos (the routes numbers are also the same as for the select so that you can easily navigate between the two). The Pocket Companion includes every multipitch route that is in the bigger guide, as well as a selection of the best single pitch routes.

At first glance, browsing through the guide I found it hard to find many single pitch routes that have been omitted. On closer inspection very few mega-classic single pitches have ended up on the cutting room floor, generally the routes missing are those that don’t receive stars. However, there are a few classics that didn’t make the cut by virtue of the fact the guide doesn’t cover all areas, for instance, Mysteries Gully (which, to be fair, few people visit and that is their loss) is missing. The topos have also been substantially rationalised, which means some of them cover a lot of territory and are not quite as user-friendly as those in select guide.

apcI imagine for most climbers – and definitely for myself – it’s hard to go past the gloriously heavy, text and photo rich Arapiles Selected Climbs. It has kept me entertained for many hours sitting around in the Pines on cold nights or procrastinating at work, but for those who like to travel light or to wander up the ‘Piles’ many multipitches the Arapiles Pocket Companion is a fine addition to the Arapiles guidebook collection.

Arapiles Pocket Companion is available from Open Spaces Publishing (, RRP $19.95 (50c from each guide goes to CliffCare).



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