/ NEWS: Stevie Haston - New E8 on Craig Dorys

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
UKC News - on 10 Sep 2009
[The awesome Stigmata buttress of Craig Dorys, Lleyn Peninsula, North Wales, 4 kb]Stevie Haston made a return visit to his old stomping grounds in North Wales...


“We cleaned it on an abseil rope first; we must have removed a mini skip's worth of loose rock” explained Leigh McGinley.

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=49206

Gordon Stainforth - on 10 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC News:

A pity there's no indication in the text or on the photograph (for those who haven't got a guidebook to the crag) as to where the line goes.
galpinos - on 10 Sep 2009
Simon Panton nr on 10 Sep 2009 - 78-33-75-169.static.enta.net
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: Thanks to Galpinos for pointing that out. I thought it best in the absence of any action shots to make a topo. Maybe I should have given it a stronger highlight in the text.

Jack's shot of the Stigmata buttress is beautiful, almost belies the terrors that can be found at this most extreme place!
Gordon Stainforth - on 10 Sep 2009
In reply to galpinos:

Ah, thanks.
Simon Panton nr on 10 Sep 2009 - 78-33-75-169.static.enta.net
In reply to UKC News: I've tweaked the line for Bam, Bam at the top after instructions from Leigh. The top of Harmony was slightly wrong too - see change to this and additional description for final section.

Michael Ryan - on 10 Sep 2009
In reply to Simon Panton nr:

Cheers Simon. That should help when me and Fat Elvis try our onsight attempt this weekend.
Adam Long - on 10 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC News:

Interesting debate on UKB over this route... it was a well known project with previous attempts made ground-up.
In reply to Adam L: Hi Adam,

Hmm. I'm not too sure about this actually, I think that Stevie has done us a great big favour by cleaning this route. And what a legend!

I'm almost tempted to try it now...

I belayed one of these ground-up attempts which got a good 3ft (I kid not) off the deck (rock boots level with my waist).

And this was from one of the UK's top onsighters. Essentially, he didn't get off the ground. It was just too loose.

We then both ran away as ledges collapsed left, right and centre, vowing never to try it again as it is ridiculous. The infamous stuck wire (which has now rotted completely and is clogging up what may be a vital placement?) that was the high point of a previous GU attempt is at about 12ft off the deck and is obviously before all the hard bits!

And this is a proper 45m route...

So, I say - You go Stevie!!

And now we can all on-sight it as it has been cleaned and we have an idea of the grade! Come on!

Dorys at the weekend anyone? Bring your brown trousers!

Jack
Adam Long - on 10 Sep 2009
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

There was stuck gear much higher than 12 ft for many years - more like the 15-20m mark.

To me cleaning loose routes like this on abseil kind of defeats the object, where their defining characteristic is their looseness and uncertainty. Over recent years Cilan has become something of a last refuge for the ethics of ground-up adventure climbing, its a bit of a shame to see Stevie again ignore this - there are plenty of other projects on Cilan that would be considerably lesser challenges with this approach.
In reply to Adam L: Ooh Adam, you are such a stalwart for ethics! I like it!

I've been eyeing a line on Paitsh for 4 years now and still not dared to go for it. MIght be quite an okay project if I abbed it first, just to see if there was a belay at 40m more than anything. But I haven't quite got that desperate yet.

Anyway - might go down to Dorys soon.

I'm sure the stuck wire I have seen (that is still there as far as I know) on Bam Bam was pretty low. Maybe there was another?

Jack
flaneur - on 10 Sep 2009
In reply to Adam L:

What do you think requires greater cojones, climbing Bam Bam ground-up or telling Mr Haston he should have climbed it ground-up?
Gordon Stainforth - on 10 Sep 2009
In reply to flaneur:

Most would opt for the former any day :))
James Moyle - on 10 Sep 2009
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
>
www.groundupclimbing.com/upload/members/Craig%20Dorys%20topo2.pdf
>
> There you go Gordon.



In reply to galpinos: Can't get the link to work sadly
Gordon Stainforth - on 10 Sep 2009
dr evil - on 10 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC News:
What an amazing inspirational effort! North wales climbers put to shame by an ex-pat grandpa. Stop mincing about on those poncy boulders and get your sorry arses to some proper cliffs :-)
doylo - on 11 Sep 2009
In reply to dr evil:

I'm sure most North Wales climbers do routes don't they? (aswell as poncy bouldering?)
Al Evans on 11 Sep 2009
In reply to Simon Panton nr: Out of interest where did Craig Dorys come from? I could be completely wrong here and I'm willing to be corrected, but as far as I can recall it was called Craig Doris, named after Doris of Wee Doris fame who was the wife of Bruce Andrews who discovered the crag with Chris Jackson way back in 1968.
hobblingfool - on 11 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC News: This is incredible work; if I can climb E2 aged 52 I would be over the moon never mind this. Stevie Haston has been one of the world’s greatest ever all-round climbers and we should be celebrating his achievements.

His views can be controversial, but how many of us were thinking something similar whilst reading about a certain Japanese youngster playing round on our precious hard grit for fun this summer. Apart from an outstanding few, Britton does not have many world class climbers (not that I would want to take anything away from anyone’s achievements). Climbing F8c+ is awesome and I hope he gets his Immaculate Conception of F9a, Good luck Stevie.
frank ramsay - on 11 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC News:

Sets a precedent. If Stevie can ab and clean E8 on the Lleyn, then I can do the same on E2.

Clearly impressive none the less.
Al Evans on 11 Sep 2009
In reply to frank ramsay: Of course you can if it's a new route?
Simon Panton nr on 11 Sep 2009 - 78-33-75-169.static.enta.net
In reply to Al Evans: I know nothing of the etymology; where's Iwan Arfon Jones when you need him?
Simon Panton nr on 11 Sep 2009 - 78-33-75-169.static.enta.net
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:
> (In reply to Simon Panton nr)
>
> Cheers Simon. That should help when me and Fat Elvis try our onsight attempt this weekend.

Well, it might not be top of your hit list Mick, but I'm sure both these routes (or at least the less serious E7) are being considered by some crazy/talented bastard!
Simon Panton nr on 11 Sep 2009 - 78-33-75-169.static.enta.net
In reply to Adam L: Leigh just called me and he wanted to point out that they found none of the supposedly numerous pieces of bail out kit from others attempts, apart from the stuff really low down, and one of those was off route and more likely to have been placed from Bobok. He doesn't have full time access to a computer at the moment, or else I'm sure he would come on here and explain in more detail, but basically he wanted to know where were all the bail krabs and kit? He says they had an epic just getting in close enough to the rock to clean off the loose patina (despite what you said about endless looseness on the other channel, he said they left the route in a significantly more solid state). If there had been various pieces of bail out kit they would have used them, but they just weren't there.

I'd be interested to know who you know has tried the route ground up? Apart from Caff's abortive mini attempt detailed by Jack, who else has really got stuck into this? And doesn't it say a lot that Caff, Britain's putative top onsight climber, backed off so readily (little wonder when you consider that he was probably about to do battle with a ridiculously loose E9/10 ground up first ascent).
Boy - on 11 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC News:
Pragmatism versus idealism.
It's worth asking the question, at what point is a section of cliff so loose that no amount of strength or talent will allow a climber to pass over it? And beyond this point, is the ideal of an open challenge worth preserving (and for how long) over the reality of a pre-cleaned ascent?
The answer depends on whether you are a pragmatist or an idealist.
Al Evans on 12 Sep 2009
In reply to Boy: Another consideration is that a cleaned route will leave a better product behind.
Ian Parnell - on 12 Sep 2009
In reply to Al Evans: And that's exactly the issue Al, Dorys (or Doris) is not about "product" but experience at its rawest. There's less than a handfull of places left where the ground up ethic prevails and protecting them is crucial in my opinion. Stevie's efforts are still massively impressive though.
Al Evans on 12 Sep 2009
In reply to Ian Parnell: I did leave it open to debate, I think the big routes on Cilan will remain ground up for some time to come. Until somebody decides to free the big roof on Giant, which will certainly need bolts (but I think it will go) :-)
Adam Long - on 12 Sep 2009
In reply to Ian Parnell:

Exactly Ian. It makes me cringe everytime folk talk about making 'better' routes. First ascents should be about trying to climb what rock we have left in the best possible style.

Nobody goes down to Cilan expecting routes to be solid and clean to some kind of 'standard'. They go in search of adventure and the unknown. If a route becomes popular, it will get more solid in the process. There's no need to try to pre-empt this; classics will emerge by themselves whether because of or in spite of loose rock.
Adam Long - on 12 Sep 2009
In reply to Boy:

Does your pragmatist assume climbers will not improve then? Folk have such a short-term view in the Uk. Why not leave something for the future? 20 years is the blink of an eye, how long do you want climbing to be alive as a creative pursuit in the Uk? 50 years? 200? Its not an ethic for every crag but it certainly suits Cilan.
Al Evans on 12 Sep 2009
In reply to Adam L: Your statements have the arrogance of youth, for example both Giant and Crow were done ground up, we placed the odd bolt runner, but we did not have the luxury of friends, a quote from the guide says
"Two racks of friends are a compusory requirement on these routes"

It makes me laugh how you can stand pontificating on the transgressions of a previous generation with absolutely no concept of what Cilan and Craig Doris were like in the early days. Yes they could have been left, and yes routes on other loose crags could have been left uncleaned, but how would the later generations have developed the skills required if an interim generation had not solved the problems in an interim way.
Stevies latest contribution to Doris is yet another example of what a visionary outlook can produce.
Minneconjou Sioux - on 12 Sep 2009
In reply to Ian Parnell:
> (In reply to Al Evans) And that's exactly the issue Al, Dorys (or Doris) is not about "product" but experience at its rawest. There's less than a handfull of places left where the ground up ethic prevails and protecting them is crucial in my opinion. Stevie's efforts are still massively impressive though.

Surely, though, this leaves the possibility of some classic and interesting lines untouched because, beyond a certain level, "loose and raw" is not what you want to find no matter how big your bollox are?

And I don't think its a case of preserving it for the next generation as I'm pretty sure "progress" in climbing ability still won't enable anyone to climb fresh air (which is what they'll need to overcome bits of the route falling off as they pull on it).

Al Evans on 12 Sep 2009
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux: Completely agree, the only thing you are leaving by not cleaning, or in the case of Cilan not using what was available for protection at the time, is the line for someone else to clean in future years, or to use superior technology which makes it viable in a different way. In either case criticising that negates the visionary outlook of the original ascensionist.
Ian Parnell - on 12 Sep 2009
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux: You may well be right. It may well be that certain pieces of rock are unclimbable ground up. Personally I'm completely comfortable with that, I actually like the fact that there might be bits of rock that haven't got routes on. I find it inspiring. Also I've always thought climbing was to some extent a confrontation between man and nature, I like the idea that man doesn't always win.

Al, I don't think Adam was castigating you and your generations early efforts at Cilan, I think his comments in leaving for a future generation were actually targeted at Stevie. I enjoyed the way you accused Adam of having the arrogance of youth - you obviously haven't seen his hair line :-)
Minneconjou Sioux - on 12 Sep 2009
In reply to Ian Parnell:
> (In reply to Minneconjou Sioux) You may well be right. It may well be that certain pieces of rock are unclimbable ground up. Personally I'm completely comfortable with that, I actually like the fact that there might be bits of rock that haven't got routes on. I find it inspiring. Also I've always thought climbing was to some extent a confrontation between man and nature, I like the idea that man doesn't always win.
>

I think there is a reasonable difference between "unclimbable - ground up" due to technical difficulty and "unclimbable - ground up" due to loose rock. I think both will always challenge the exploratory nature of humans but the latter is more likely to be overcome because the solution is within reach - clean it!

To try to "preserve it" is simply denying the inevitability of it. The idea that there is a plum line ready to go, within the technical ability of today's climbers, but it must be left uncleaned in order to preserve its chossy state for future generations seems a little like wishful thinking.

Boy - on 13 Sep 2009
In reply to Adam L: It's not 'my' pragmatism, I was just making a comment on how the subject divides people according to outlook.
I've never climb there and I don't feel at all qualified to argue for either side on this issue, but for what it's worth I have, on balance, more sympathy for the idealist view on this occasion. For me as a climber who'll never climb that bit of rock, there's more value for me in the romantic notion (the uncertainty of it's feasibility only adding to the romance)of the great challenge, than there is in another here-today-gone-tomorrow snippet of news about an E8 FA. I realise this is possibly a selfish outlook.
Al Evans on 13 Sep 2009
In reply to Boy: I sympathise with your point of view, and I was being mischeivously provactive on my earlier posts, but the fact remains that it is debatable that the routes possible to be cleaned by abseil, that are not able to be cleaned on the lead should be left. I trust Steve Haston to be able to decide whether or not he thinks cleaning on an ab rope is justifiable, or if leaving it would mean that somebody bolder (unlikely) would come along and lead it onsight, or even if they did try to it would be good for their health.
Whether or not we should leave vast swathes of rock unclimbed as a challenge to the future, well we lost that one when sport climbing was accepted in this country, there would be acres of unclimbed rock still in the UK if we had never accepted the lure of the bolt. Would that have been a good thing for future generations, I don't know?
I wrote an article a long time ago against the use of bolts in aid climbing and cited Malham as an example of a great wall of unclimbed rock, shows how much I know. But cleaning at Craig Doris, I THINK its a good thing, it will still be a fierce and serious crag. At Cilan, fortunately ground up is the only way I can see routes being established, but a small part of me is sad about the demise of Giant, and I would happily let the roof be bolted and tried free, what a route that would be! And people just out for one of the great adventure routes south of the border cold still do it and aid the roof. One of the last big roofs yet to be freed in the UK.
Stevie Haston - on 13 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC News: Good morning from bonny Ariege. Ok deep breath, here are a few questions and answers which might help this witch hunt. Were the routes Bambam and Harmony possible without cleaning? Answ, no, in my not so humble opinion, in my expert opinion, in my honest opinion, not to anyone, not the best climber in the world, and remember I know some of these people and know their physical and mental levels. Who has done the hardest ground up onsight on the lleyn? Answ , SH. Who has done the most routes at Doris, and the most first ascents? Ans . Again SH. Was there any gear on Bambam placed on lead by a climber? Answ No, emphatically NO. What is the quality of the routes, Harmony and Bambam? Ans Harmony is a 4 to 5 star route and Bambam is one of the best single pitch routes in the world. Who gave the grades for these climbs? Ans Leigh Maginley provided these grades to help and protect potential ascentionists as I have no idea, I have only trad climbed twice in the last several years. Is there ground up ethic on the Lleyn? Ans. some people say there is but I have never been part of it, or agreed with it, or forced people to it, I actually have disagreed with it several times and thought Rust never Sleeps and Cris Parkins honest stand on this issue very brave and correct, historically there have been many differing approaches including using aid etc as in other areas.
I would just like to say I find it absurd that my detracters do not altogether have a small proportion of my ground up or onsight experience, some advice to them don’t talk about that which thou knows nowt about. One of them has been filmed crying when jumaring while belayed to an additional rope, one filmed taking multiple falls from 4 meters onto 2 mats and claiming E7, one has failed to climb a route I ground upped the first assent and graded E4, remember EL Golio. All of this is ludicrously funny. I patiently waited over twenty years for Bambam to get done and finally had to do it myself. Many thanks to Leigh Maginley my old climbing partner who I have shared many climbing days with ground up or otherwise, thanks mate for protecting me and gently prodding me at Bambam, many thanks to the V12 crew in llanberis for putting up with me and above all thanks for the inspiration for these great routes goes to little Melody, Harmony and Bambam. A final word, get on Grandfathers Challenge, if you get of the ground I’ll buy you a pint and pour it on your coffin or if your lucky your hospital bed. Stevie
Adam Long - on 13 Sep 2009
In reply to Stevie Haston:

Good to have your perspective Stevie. This is not a witch hunt, its just a discussion of ethics.

>Was there any gear on Bambam placed on lead by a climber? Answ No, emphatically NO.

I take it you mean previous to your ascent? Any idea who put it there then?

Re: Rust Never Sleeps, to me the fact that The Gross Clinic was climbed ground-up only five years later proved the cleaning/ preparation on Rust Never Sleeps had been excessive.

For the record (assuming you directed it at me) I've never claimed E7 for anything I've fallen off onto pads. I just climbed it. I'm sure you are familiar with the media's need to attach a number to things?
Adam Long - on 13 Sep 2009
In reply to Stevie Haston:

Ps, isn't the first 40ft of Grandad's Challenge about v diff? Or is Panton's topo wrong?
Michael Ryan - on 13 Sep 2009
In reply to Stevie Haston:

Haston,

Your route got repeated.

Seems the boy had a good time.

Report on the news page: http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=49254

Associated forum thread: http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=372036

Mick
Pittsburgh Windmill on 13 Sep 2009
In reply to Stevie Haston: if you get of the ground I’ll buy you a pint and pour it on your coffin or if your lucky your hospital bed. Stevie

Classy.
Pittsburgh Windmill on 13 Sep 2009
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: "There is no way I would have gone for it if it hadn't been cleaned. Some of the holds still had chalk on too which was a real God send. It was a top effort from Stevie Haston to nab the first ascent of this the other week" Jack Geldard.

jas wood - on 13 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC News:
is this *argument* basically about degrees of gardening ? ;O)
Ben Bransby - on 14 Sep 2009
In reply to Stevie Haston: Good to hear directly from you Stevie,

First off well done on Bambam, it looks like a truly great line and as much as I have slight issues with your style of ascent how you climbed it is still incredibly impressive. Having become a father in the last few years I am truly amazed with your level of climbing as a granddad!

Just to come back on a few of your points;

“Were the routes Bambam and Harmony possible without cleaning?”

I’ve also climbed with some of the worlds top climbers, and personally I think it was only a matter of time until these routes were done ground up. Alex Honnold and Nicolas Favresse are awesome physical climbers with amazing mental strength. I guess we will never know now.

“Is there ground up ethic on the Lleyn?”

I have never been a major part of the Lleyn scene, probably only climbed there 20-30 times but I always thought that in recent years the ground up ethic had become firmly established (maybe not so when you were heavily active in the area) To quote the intro from my Lleyn guide:

“The modern trend for creating a designer climb is an anathema here. Nature has provided a playground for the climber with a nose for adventure. To alter this in any way would be to spoil a remarkable resource… …Traditionally there has been an onsight ethic employed on new routes here, particularly on the sea cliffs. It is requested that this remain the case as there are few areas left with such a honorable history, lets not spoil this for the sake of fame or ego”

(I am obviously not saying you created a designer climb, or did the route for your ego etc this is just to show the ethic for onsight/ground up)

You state you don’t agree with this ethic, whether this is due to the difficulty you are operating at or the quality of a cleaned route you don’t say. Personally I find it sad that in an area where I thought Ground up/onsight was the style of climbing I have been shown it is not the case. Whether it is just a few people who are now prepared to abb inspect or across the board it is sad that future generations may loose the chance to show what they could be capable of.

“I find it absurd that my detractors do not altogether have a small proportion of my ground up or onsight experience”

My criticism wasn’t based on “I have more experience than you, I am better than you therefore what I say and do is right” I think everyone has a right of opinion especially when they have some experience of what they are talking about.

I did my first onsight new route at the age of 13, and have been doing onsight/ground up new routes every year since (17 years, and up to E7)

I am sure you have been doing it longer (when I did my first multi pitch route at age 5 I found that pretty exciting and was definitely not ready for onsight first ascents) but there is not much I can do about my age. I have flashed routes given E9 and done many E6 and E7s in this style so quite what level of experience and ability is required to hold a valid opinion?

“one has failed to climb a route I ground upped the first ascent and graded E4”

I think you once failed on an E4 which had had a ground up first ascent – Bobok? I could even claim I have done a ground up first ascent of a route you failed to headpoint (Finger of Fate – new bolts had been added since you tried but we shouldn’t let the real facts get in the way. The route Adam was “filmed taking multiple falls from 4 meters onto 2 mats and claiming E7” was actually given E8, and Adam claimed highball Fb7c+ for it, not an E grade!)

“one of them has been filmed crying…”

You can call Ian many things (fat mountaineer is my favorite) but to accuse someone with his cv of adventure routes (I think he climbs harder when the holds are falling off) of lacking experience is a little harsh.

“All of this is ludicrously funny”

Yes it is. At the end of the day we are having a trivial internet debate about the style of ascent of some bit of rock. If I meet you in Llanberis high street I will be congratulating you on the ascent of one of the best lines in the UK (with a few light hearted jibes following) rather than beating you up (fat chance of that happening, in fact the light hearted jibes may be suppressed due to fear)

The fact you are out doing this kind of stuff at this level is an inspiration to us all.
Stevie Haston - on 14 Sep 2009
In reply to Ben Bransby: Hello Ben, thanks for a more considered response and congrats on being a dad. Its probably time to put this whole thing to bed and get on with climbing and looking after my rabbits, and other stuff. Right deep breath, I,ll try and answer stuff but I dont really want to do much more than this, I seem to spend a ridiculous amount of time defending myself when I am just a strong climber who occaisionaly gets inspired.
First Ben , no you are entirely wrong about these routes being climbable by todays elite, the two you mention arent the elite I was even thinking about, they are just very good climbers. You are speculating about something you dont know, Liegh and I know, the rest will forever be speculating. I repeat, the route was unclimbable, about a third to a half was climbable the rest was mostly covered in either small shards of shale or deep in dust, on the small bit I cleaned you needed two hands to clean with and a variety of brushes , I dont know why anybody are having trouble believing Liegh or myself and this is what is getting up my nose and also upsetting Liegh, so I repeat it was unclimbale. Jean Cristophe Lafail once also had a problem with me about a route he just wouldnt accept that I had done the first ascent of, he went into print claiming the first ascent despite adding a bolt on top rope he said it was impossible for some one to climb it. He and the mag issued an apology to me, as I had fortunatly climbed it with an impecable and completly independant partner. Please stop speculating about something you do not know anything about.
There is a healthy amount of ground upping on the Lleyn as there is in North wales as a whole but as Skinny dave once said keep doing it and you will die, Iave hit the deak at Dorris, taken many falls including a 70 footer, I have played my Joker card many times, On Bam Bam I would have died, as would anyone else had they got sificiantly higher enough.
No one is going to dictate death to me.
By all means climb ground up if you whish, had anyone got significanly further than me on Bam Bam ground up I would have left it for them, I play fair.
Bam Bam is not a designer climb, infact if it wasnt for Liegh cleaning it more than I did I would have died, I am imensely grateful that he did so, he risked incuring my rath and saved my life. I think that after 4 people being on it will still be a bit loose.
You are a very good climber and I no way whished to insult you, but I dont need anybody telling me to "man up", maybe to human obligations but not to climbing, I feel I have Man upped sufiecently.
Two old men in the twighlight of there lives and climbing careers do two good routes and get shit, and for adding two brilliant routes in weeks of bad weather too, we also tried other routes which we couldnt do.
Actually my outing of some of my detracters didnt include Ian for some reason I felt uncharacteristicaly kind, the crying dude was some one else.
We are agreed this is all ludicrously funny.
But you are wrong Ben if you think this was a trivial internet arguement, out of respect for you I write all this but you have doubted Liegh and my word and judgement. You and Adam also invented gear that was half way up the route (now I know you wear glasses but), I repeat there was no gear on this route and clearly you were mistaken.
I failed on the Finger after a few days cleaning and hard work the remaning points were in one case full of pegs (low down) and I only top roped the last pitch because of rotten bolts I said it should be rebolted and it later was; you freed it because Ben, I cleaned it for you and you also had Pete, I had Laurence and she refused to let me carry on. Try the Sundevel as you know its harder.
Anyway no hard feelings but be nice to Liegh if you see him, good climbing, Stevie
Adam Long - on 14 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC News:

Stevie, thanks for that, better to hear why you made the decision to climb in that style rather just jibing us!

I may wear contact lenses but I was not mistaken about the gear.
It was there for many years in the diagonal crack above the first big break. Who knows how it got there or when it went, the story I was told was that it was the highpoint of a Pat Littlejohn attempt.

I appreciate you judged the route to be unclimbable without cleaning. I would say neither you, or anyone else, can predict what will be possible in 30 or 50 years time. Personally I imagine ground-ups of routes like these will be possible.
Stevie Haston - on 14 Sep 2009
In reply to Adam L: I dispear, there was no gear at 15 to 20 meters, every body knows this stop messing about, you are digging your self a very big hole. And I repeat, as will Liegh and several people who have been there, no human being was capable of climbing this route, millions of years of mutation would be necessary.As I said to Ben stop speculating, we know you dont. I have visted this cliff on and off since 1978 as has Liegh, liegh has even traversed this route and looked down, stop it, there was never any gear high or half way on this route. Ask Pat and stop this sillyness. You said '
personaly I imagine ground ups of routes like these will be possible' that is excactly right you are imagining you dont know. I really look forward to seeing you Adam.Stevie'
Minneconjou Sioux - on 14 Sep 2009
In reply to Adam L:
> (In reply to UKC News)
>
> I appreciate you judged the route to be unclimbable without cleaning. I would say neither you, or anyone else, can predict what will be possible in 30 or 50 years time. Personally I imagine ground-ups of routes like these will be possible.

Isn't this somewhat futile? A bit like wishing that North America hadn't been discovered by ship so's someone can discover it in the future by swimming to it.

Stevie Haston - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to Adam L: As I said befor , probably time to put this to bed. Now then thee, to help you put it to bed why dont you 'out yourself' and explain what your doing down in Swanage on Laughing Arthur, and explain there are some people who dont agree with what you are doing, it is double standards and Pot calling kettle black, etc. Man I couldnt have made this up if I had tried. Next time you dig a whole for yourself, you should save yourself the bother and take up residence in an oceanic trench. Stevie
Ben Bransby - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to Stevie Haston: “Adam L: …explain what your doing down in Swanage on Laughing Arthur”

I think you have got the wrong Long there – you will be thinking of Andy, not Adam!

“you are entirely wrong about these routes being climbable by todays elite, the two you mention arent the elite”

I never meant to give the impression I thought the line was climbable at the moment, the examples of Alex and Nico were two guys who are very good physical climbers (not the best but better than us) who also have the mental ability to deal with this sort of situation.

“I dont know why anybody are having trouble believing Liegh or myself”

I believe what you are saying – you say the climb was unclimbable in the state it was in. You have seen the line (uncleaned from abseil) and have a good idea of todays climbers’ abilities. You say it was unclimbable and I tend to agree with your assessment, (however one climbers unclimbable may not be another’s as your J C L example shows so I am not 100% sure, it is after all a judgment and not a fact.) Whether the line was climbable in the future no one can say for sure, we don’t know what improvements there will be in climber’s abilities or gear. I thought it would be possible in the future but that is just my opinion based on how the line looked from the ground and now also the fact that it went at the relatively amenable (by today’s sport climbing standards) of F7c after cleaning (and yes I know cleaning can make a big difference, and F7c on the Lleyn is f**king outrageous).

I could be wrong but for me that doesn’t affect the argument against pre inspection. I am happy for some great lines to remain unclimbed as challenges (even if never met) for the future generations, but perhaps this is one of your reasons to allow abb inspection (it is only a very few areas left in the UK with a ground up ethic)?

“No one is going to dictate death to me”

That is completely fair. No one is forcing you to climb in a certain style, your name will not be erased from the history books, the route won’t be credited to Jack, you won’t get beaten up about this. You have done a route in a less good style to what was seen as the accepted style (by the guidebooks and some of the other local activists) and all you have received is a bit of stick on the internet – every one of my previous posts also complemented you on both the great line and your physical and mental ability. I think there are more people complementing you than otherwise so perhaps this will lead to a change in the accepted ethics on the Lleyn.

“You are a very good climber and I no way whished to insult you”

Don’t worry I wasn’t insulted, I am generally amazed by how good other people seem to think I am! The only reason I included the bits about Finger of Fate (I know the bolts were the only real reason you failed on it, and I know Sundevil is much harder – I was trying to persuade Pete to go back there so we could give it a go, awesome looking route) and Bobok was to counter your argument that we were too inexperienced and not good enough to comment and showing that I could make you look the same!

“But you are wrong Ben if you think this was a trivial internet argument”

Maybe trivial was the wrong word, it often seems the case that these internet ‘arguments’ would simply be a good conversation/banter if they happened in the pub or café.

“you have doubted Liegh and my word”

I don’t know how I gave that impression but I don’t mean to have done so, I believe 100% that you thought the line was unclimbable.

“You and Adam also invented gear”, “there was never any gear high or half way on this route”

That is doubting someone’s word. I don’t think I have ever been called a liar before! I will stand by the fact there was gear at the 15-20m mark (I don’t know how it got there – a ground up attempt or from abb). When you said there was none there I didn’t call you a liar, I thought maybe the gear fell out, or the block it was in fell out, or someone else removed it or you and Leigh simply missed it, please extend the same courtesy to myself and Adam.

All the real issue here is a difference in our opinions on the merits of having a ground up ethic, it will be sad if it descends into trying to call each other shit climbers and liars.

Anyhow as you say no hard feelings, keep up the climbing.

bb
ben pritchard - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to Stevie Haston:
stevie, for someone who has achieved so much (you’ve had long enough) your ego really is too fragile. to resort to schoolyard taunting when people present reasoned and legitimate arguments is ridiculous.

i have cried (but not in the circumstances you describe) and no doubt i will cry again when i meet you, terrified of retribution, stevie style.

leigh, i must apologise to you - the internet is a terrible place for unformed and ill considered comment and reaction.

my initial comments on ukb were merely to applaud adams heartfelt conviction about a standpoint which i find admirable.

my second comment was about the allusion to a skip, an object more at home on a building site than a rockface. it conjured images of industrialisation (bulldozers and jackhammers).

i know this isn’t how you cleaned the route but language is strong (as i have found to my detriment).

so i’m sorry, my words were imprecise and probably hurtful. you and stevie have created a brilliant route by the sounds of things - good work and very inspiring to someone else like me in their latter years.

but we should remember that we are the dinosaurs, there are young climbers who will need challenges in the future. stevie you are climbing standards considered good 20 years ago - pontificating about what is possible now or in the future is arrogant to say the least. (go and look at johnny g’s line right of hubble,(not as loose as dorys i know) then see how modern you feel)

all the best ben

Michael Ryan - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to ben pritchard:
> (In reply to Stevie Haston)


> leigh, i must apologise to you - the internet is a terrible place for unformed and ill considered comment and reaction.

Not just the internet, but anywhere Ben; at the crag, the pub etc.

The difference is that you post it on a forum and it becomes recorded, whereas if you just voice it, it disappears only recorded in memory.

Let's take this peg/wire at x metres up what is Bam, Bam.

This peg/wire is being used a a symbol that this route would fall to ground up tactics.

Adam L informs us, on this and other forums, that he heard a 'story' that Pat Littlejohn placed this peg/wire.

Has Pat been asked?

Was this peg/wire placed by abseil or ground up?

Rumour, rumour, rumour that suddenly morphs in to fact and influences people.......
Stevie Haston - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to Ben Bransby: Sorry for confusing Adam Long with Andy Long I think its a sign of desperation on my part to stop all this. Try discussing Laughing Artur, what did I do , I abseil cleaned a route , leave me alone. The route is brill so is the route Harmony, go an do them. No gear at 15 to 20 meters, How do I know, because I have done Gross Clinic 3 times, which is next to Bam Bam, I have abseiled Melody 3 times, I have done Rust never 2 times, all of these give you an excelent view of Bam Bam.There was not a trace of any human activity at 15 to 20 meters, no marks of gear , like I said I had to excavate the breaks, no trace of any thing, ok no gear. There is a wire just to the right of the starting groove of Bam Bam ,this is very low and was place by (?) this is what is confusing you both,this has been there for years and years, it is out of reach when you climb Bam Bam. To the other Ben , yes I have a sensitive ego, what and you dont.Talk about Laughing Artur go on, talk about world hunger, but leave to old geezers who added to the great repetoir of fantastic routes alone.
Stevie Haston - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Thanks Mick, hy by the way, and to Al also. Sorry again you lot are driving me nuts ,the old wire is just to the left. Like I said Laughing Artur discuss, perhaps that is why he is laughing, he read this thread.
In reply to Stevie Haston:

Hi Stevie - congrats on your route. Sounds horrible.

This is off topic I know but you've piqued my curiousity. What's happening with Laughing Arthur?
Ben Bransby - on 15 Sep 2009
> Let's take this peg/wire at x metres up what is Bam, Bam.
>
> This peg/wire is being used a a symbol that this route would fall to ground up tactics.
>
> Adam L informs us, on this and other forums, that he heard a 'story' that Pat Littlejohn placed this peg/wire.
>
> Has Pat been asked?
>
> Was this peg/wire placed by abseil or ground up?
>
> Rumour, rumour, rumour that suddenly morphs in to fact and influences people.......

oh Mick!

In my last post I said two things which both contradict what you say;

"I could be wrong but for me that doesn’t affect the argument against pre inspection"

This was regarding whether the route was ever possible ground up. The base of my argument is not to do with whether the line was possible or not ground up (I guess this would be part of Stevies reasoning for abbing but doesn't affect my stand point) but in sticking to a ground up ethic...

"I don’t know how it got there – a ground up attempt or from abb"

As you have just said we don't know how it got there, as Stevie is saying it was never even there. (It will really shake my belief in my own brain, memory, eye sight etc if I am to come round to this view. I have stood below the line and discussed the gear with Adam. At least I thought I had. Maybe I am not really called Ben, shit if my memory is wrong about this it could be wrong about anything. What time did I have to pick my daughter up from pre-school? 11.00? 12.00? - best run and get here either way!)

Any how as Stevie said I think I have had enough of this. Well done everyone. I would love to try Bam Bam some time regardless of how it was first done. Stevie - you were (and still are) one of the UKs (and Worlds) best and most colourfull climbers, my opinions have nothing to do with your ability (has that helped your ego! ;) )

galpinos - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

I thought you had something else to say Mick but it's disappeared?
Al Evans on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Its Craig Doris, not Dorys, the correct version is in UKC's own logbook area.
http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=8161
http://www.thebmc.co.uk/News.aspx?id=2555
The Welshification of the name is just as bad as the Anglification of genuine Welsh place names. The reasons behind this crags name are not in the slightest of Welsh origins and were autonomously changed in the CC Lleyn guide by Iwan Arfon Jones, who incidently stuck with Lleyn as the spelling for Lleyn. Another example of course is Portmadoc, changed in 1974 to Porthmadog to appease the welsh seperatists
Though whatever its called the routes remain, shame not to get it right though.
Stevie Haston - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to midgets of the world unite:hi, something that people should at least be talking about rather than splitting hairs about me. Ben the belays you use for a free ascent of Sundevel are different from the ones normally used. I naturally belayed past the hanging belays at hands off ledges or rests, ok, and that goes for my other big free thing Phantom sprint, belays at hands off position but reversed to the old belay a couple of moves down, you will know what I mean when you get there, naturally I dont want any confusion. Good luck, first two pitches of Sundevil are a bit like Doris with more gear, if you wear your contacts maybe use ski googles or eye protection in the mud curtains.Stevie


slapperv6 - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to Stevie Haston:


Forget any of that - how the hell do you live off 700 calories and do 2000 pull ups a day? Amazing!
Nj - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC News:

Awesome discussion. Brilliant posts from both 'sides'. Respect to all.

Very interesting dilemma. Stevie H says it was impossible without cleaning. Ben B says he can live with that and the fact that it would never be climbed. A true conundrum...
Ackbar - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to Ben Bransby: Hi. Are you suggesting that the route should not have been cleaned at all, or are you suggesting that the route should have been cleaned ground-up?
CurlyStevo - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to Ackbar:
or perhaps cleaned gradually over many years by multiple failed ground up attempts before eventually it is cleaned enough for someone to ground up it?

If the person who would have eventually led it didn't do the majority of the cleaning (ground up) is this really much of an advance in styles? Just seesms to me to take longer to get to a similar end point.

Actually i can't really comment as I can't say I'd much want to climb loose crumbly rock anyway.
Mick Ward - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to Al Evans:

> who incidently stuck with Lleyn as the spelling for Lleyn.

Err Al, could you run that one by me one more time?

Mick

(To Stevie) There's E8... and there's UKC! Fantastic effort!!!
galpinos - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to Mick Ward:
> (In reply to Al Evans)
>
> [...]
>
> Err Al, could you run that one by me one more time?

I think he's refering to the spelling, isn't it actually Llyn?

Al Evans on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to Mick Ward: Well there's an argument that it should be Pen Llyn going on now (see the CC download) but even Welsh supremacist Irwan Arfon Jones accepted Lleyn, and either is fine by me, but historically Craig Dorys is just wrong.
Mick Ward - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to galpinos:

Ah! All clear now. Thanks.

Mick

'We press the light switch and... nothing happens.' (Wittgenstein - well, not really.)
Mick Ward - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to Al Evans:

Only teasing yer mate - and maybe injecting a little levity into poor Stevie's 'trial by internet'.

Total agreement - if the crag was named after Doris, then that's what it should be called. End of. Same with stuff in, for example, the Mournes (e.g. Buzzard's Roost) which was named by climbers.

Mick
Erik B - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC News: what a bizzare thread! so one of the old team climbs a major new line, he cleans it as it is tottering choss, his mate grades it and the establishment boys get themselves into a lather as the route was cleaned first. From what I can gather, the establishment like to make their own rules up, hence the strange guidebook quote about the local ethic at this crag. You cant have crag specific ethics in this sport. It has to be uniform across the whole of the UK. Otherwise youll end up with a nonsense debate like this one.

Rock routes have been cleaned since day 1, everywhere in the UK! Most folk dont admit to it though as they dont see it as being relevant. so kudos to stevie for his openess and honesty

if any future rock gods want to onsight groundup tottering choss at a high grade I can think of countless places for them to do this.

Now if stevie had bolted this route then I could see this thread being relevant, but he didnt, so it isnt
Minneconjou Sioux - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to Erik B:

I couldn't agree more!
Michael Ryan - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to Erik B:
> (In reply to UKC News) what a bizzare thread! so one of the old team climbs a major new line, he cleans it as it is tottering choss, his mate grades it and the establishment boys get themselves into a lather as the route was cleaned first. From what I can gather, the establishment like to make their own rules up, hence the strange guidebook quote about the local ethic at this crag.

> what a bizzare thread!

Not so Erik.

Discussions about style and ethics of ascent are always relevant and the effects of ethics at least go far beyond the discussion and can effect us all.

It is good to see that some climbers, whatever their viewpoint, are passionate about style and ethics, and it is because of that that we have a healthy climbing scene in the UK.

Take away the discussion and the passion and our climbs would all be bolt routes and top ropes which has a physical effect on the rock and a mental one on the climbing community.

Mick
Derbyshire Ben on 15 Sep 2009 - host84-93-2-4.plus.net
In reply to Erik B:

Erik,

You can and do have crag/area specific ethics in this sport e.g. Harrisons, Cheddar, Fairhead, Range West etc.

>if any future rock gods want to onsight groundup tottering choss at a high grade I can think of countless places for them to do this.

I think this is the point that Adam and Ben have been putting forward. Craig Doris (and Cilan) is considered one of those places..
Erik B - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: I completely agree, but in this instance I think the ethical flagellation has gone too far.

Erik B - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to Derbyshire Ben: excuse my ignorance, I am unaware of the ethics of the crags you mention. Are you banned from abseil cleaning new routes on these crags?
Derbyshire Ben on 15 Sep 2009 - host84-93-2-4.plus.net
In reply to Erik B:

I'm still at work so can't spend too much time elaborating.

No you're not "banned" from abseil inspection and cleaning but the prevailing ethic on the Lleyn Cilan crags, at Range West in Pembroke and Fairhead (I believe) is that new routing is done ground-up and onsight without abseil inspection, cleaning or prepractice of moves and gear.


jas wood - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to jas wood:
> (In reply to UKC News)
> is this *argument* basically about degrees of gardening ? ;O)

is this basically what the "chew" is about ?

i can't grasp that what steve has done and is openly honest about is in anyway wrong.

if he had cleaned this route from the deck would it be acceptable ? or for that matter a different/better route for it ?

The guidebook opinion of the crag ethic is decided by who ?

jas
Derbyshire Ben on 15 Sep 2009 - host84-93-2-4.plus.net
In reply to Erik:

At Harrisons the ethic there is to preserve the fragile nature of the rock so top-roping (with static slings over the edge of the crag) and soloing are how routes are established and subsequently done. Not been there myself so I can't add any more...
Michael Ryan - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to Derbyshire Ben:
> (In reply to Erik B)

> I think this is the point that Adam and Ben have been putting forward. Craig Doris (and Cilan) is considered one of those places..

By some, and not by others.

Derbyshire Ben on 15 Sep 2009 - host84-93-2-4.plus.net
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Yep.. that's true Mick.

I'm operating way, way, below the level of Stevie, Leigh, Jack and congrats to all of them for establishing and repeating these new routes.

For what it's worth, my own meagre offerings on the Lleyn (two rather minor routes at Porth Ceriad) were done onsight and ground-up without inspection as I thought that was the way things were done.
Erik B - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to Derbyshire Ben: was there not a new E8 headpointed at fairhead recently by one of the locals?

I think we should ignore Harrisons in this discussion :-)

The prevailing ethic in scottish winter is onsight groundup, this hasnt stopped folk in history from summer inspection, stuffing cracks with turf, pre placing gear etc and the majority of these people have not been honest about this (honesty is the key) but the overall ethic is clear and is not crag specific. In summer the cleaning of rock routes in the uk has been going on since day one and no-one bats an eyelid, so why the fuss with Hastons new route?

I can understand certain cliffs due to their length and character dont lend themselves to anything but groundup, however in theory it doesnt necessarily stop someone with a long enough static rope from cleaning a route and I salute them if they do as they are creating something for others!

Stevie was honest, did a very bold lead and created a classic so I honestly dont get all the fuss

Minneconjou Sioux - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to Erik B:

I think that it is possible to preserve the ethic while there are routes still to be done at a certain level. Beyond that level (in other words, the only lines left to go are those that are so f**kin hard that it would be madness not to clean them)it is nieve (sp?) and futile to expect these lines to be left for some future, unknown, development in equipment or ability.
In reply to UKC News: I think this should be resolved by the protagonists posting pictures of their actual cocks, rather than their metaphorical ones.
Minneconjou Sioux - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to wayno265:

Don't think the Mods would allow it.
Neil Foster - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to Derbyshire Ben:
>
> ...but the prevailing ethic on the Lleyn Cilan crags, at Range West in Pembroke and Fairhead (I believe) is that new routing is done ground-up and onsight without abseil inspection, cleaning or prepractice of moves and gear.

The other two crags maybe Ben, but definitely not Fairhead. Infact there quite the opposite is the case.

See this superb-looking route, first climbed this summer:-

http://www.fairheadclimbers.com/pages/photos/11/images/the_icarus_gun_760.jpg

Do you know why it looks so spotless? It's because the first ascentionist, no longer of this parrish, spent 3+ days of his holiday cleaning it prior to the first ascent!

Now that's dedication for you...

Neil
Dave Ferguson - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to Ben Bransby and others

Myself and Iwan were responsible for the quote in the guidebook:

“The modern trend for creating a designer climb is an anathema here. Nature has provided a playground for the climber with a nose for adventure. To alter this in any way would be to spoil a remarkable resource… …Traditionally there has been an onsight ethic employed on new routes here, particularly on the sea cliffs. It is requested that this remain the case as there are few areas left with such a honorable history, lets not spoil this for the sake of fame or ego”

It was just a request, nothing more, nothing less and our opinion at the time. It was in retrospect aimed not at climbers operating at the highest levels as Pat and Stevie were (and still are), more at bumblies like myself operating in the low extremes. There are still routes of all grades to be climbed on the Lleyn and it would be desirable for these to be attempted onsight.

What changes this is when a line has been attempted several times and proves to be just too dangerous. Stevie has every right to climb Bambam in the style that he did, as had Pat with Terrorhawk. The climbing world is a better place to have these routes. Dave and Ray's ascent of Bobok and Birdie may be more impressive in the scheme of things, but they are not in the same league of difficulty - and that crucially is the difference. As Jack has mentioned you can't teeter up Bambam like you can Bobok, you have to completely weight the holds - a world of difference.

Congrats to Stevie and Leigh, and to Jack for a swift second ascent. What I've said may seem hypocritical to some but the nature of choss climbing means that some routes will not be possible on sight and I for one believe Bambam to be just such a line. Like all good ethical discussions there are always exceptions, shades of grey in the black and white. This one ascent will not change the fact that the Lleyn remains one of the onsight capitals of the country and theres still so much to go at!

To Al on Doris or Dorys
Caernarvon of Caernarfon does it really matter?

AJM - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to Neil Foster:

Looks superb that pitch, absolutely superb. How hard is it?

I'm sure I recall an article about Pearson trying something there a while back in a Climb magazine a couple of years back (something hard that I think got done eventually at about E8 whose name escapes me completely) that said something about the local ethic being for no prepractice - I can't recall it and I don't have it with me here but I was left with the impression that cleaning and inspecting was okay but toproping wasn't - I may be wrong but if so that at least makes it a half way house.

AJM
Derbyshire Ben on 15 Sep 2009 - host84-93-2-4.plus.net
In reply to Dave Ferguson:

Good post Dave.

Neil - thanks for the Fairhead info.. That route looks Ace.
Al Evans on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to Dave Ferguson:
To Al on Doris or Dorys
> Caernarvon of Caernarfon does it really matter?

Well the WS would say yes, and I have absolutely no problem with that, the Welsh have every right to their own place names, but Craig Doris is a bit of rock climbing history and does not deserve welshification. Perhaps you would prefer Cwenotaf Cwyoner or something?
ericinbristol - on 15 Sep 2009
In reply to Neil Foster:

Gorgeous looking route!

A quick Google reveals it to be E3 6a
http://www.fairheadclimbers.com/pages/guide/guide.htm#142a

"The Icarus Gun ** 58m E3 (6a)
M Kocsis, G Gilmore. 29/06/2009.
A sustained and well protected open groove, with only two jams on the entire route. Abseil from flat blocks 20 paces west of the Hallowe'en block directly down the line (or from the Hallowe'en block itself). If doing this in one pitch, go heavy on wires 1-5, at least 5 of each, take plenty of extenders, and a set of cams up to No. 2, with a single No. 3.5. Start from the grassy plinth formed by three short pillars that lean against the cliff (clearly visible from the Hallowe'en block). Scrappy, but easy, climbing up the left side of the groove leads to the No. 3.5 placement at 5m. Move up again, step across and start climbing. A full selection of techniques should be employed (but leave your jamming skills at home). There is a hollow jug high up the route on the left wall which has defied all attempts at removing it: it should be treated with respect, but not caution!"
ads.ukclimbing.com
Ben Bransby - on 16 Sep 2009
In reply to Dave Ferguson and others:

I wasn’t planning on posting again but after a ‘little look’ last night I ended up laying awake thinking about it, so to hopefully prevent another sleepless night here goes;

There seem to be a fair few people who are disagreeing with the ground up ethic. This ethic is nothing to do with me, I never started it, did any new routes on the Lleyn in this style, I’m not one of the “establishment boys”, I simply followed what I thought was the accepted ethic.

There are many different ethics in the UK and this is, in my mind, one of the things which makes the climbing here so great. Regardless of my views on local ethics I try to stick to them; when I go sport climbing in Spain I climb bolted cracks (well occasionally) and don’t rant about chopping the bolts, when I climb in the Adrspach I don’t use chalk, when I climb on the southern sandstone I either top rope or solo. These ethics have been decided by the local climbers etc and I stick to them.

When I first climbed on the Lleyn we were not ‘in’ the local scene and we used my guide to tells us about the routes and ethics of the area.

“The modern trend for creating a designer climb is an anathema here. Nature has provided a playground for the climber with a nose for adventure. To alter this in any way would be to spoil a remarkable resource… …Traditionally there has been an onsight ethic employed on new routes here, particularly on the sea cliffs. It is requested that this remain the case as there are few areas left with such a honorable history, lets not spoil this for the sake of fame or ego”

This seemed pretty clear cut to me, if anything it was focused more at better climbers “lets not spoil this for the sake of fame” and I think you get more fame from E6,7,8s than HVS and E1s.

I have only lived locally to the Lleyn for short periods but I climbed with a few of the local activists and have drunk with many more. Talking to Crispin, Adam Wainwright, Noel Crain, Stevie, Leigh etc about climbing on the Lleyn I was left thinking that they all agreed with this ethic (I have spoken with Stevie and Leigh about ground up new routes on the Lleyn, and as much as I didn’t ask them outright about the ethic they seemed very pro ground up)

The people I continued to climb with on the Lleyn; Pete Robins, Will Perrin lived in (or near) Llanberis and spoke to the Lleyn activist much more than me (I think they even spoke to Ray Kay, I had only ever glimpsed him across a pub!) and they never told me or gave the impression the ethics had changed. We continued to climb onsight and ground up on the Lleyn. New guides came and went with no mention of a change of ethics, or that the old guides stance was wrong (I don’t have any of the new guides but Adam L and Pete do so I could be wrong here and Pete and Adam never told me)

I am not and never have been one of the establishment boys so the ethic wasn’t for me to question – and I thought it was a great ethic especially with so few places remaining like this.

When Stevie did Bam Bam I didn’t call him a liar, a cheat, a wimp etc, to quote from my original ukb post

“sounds like a hard line climbed with pretty minimal inspection (and a very good line) I would be far more excited if he dropped the grade a little and stuck to the ground up ethic though!”

This isn’t really slagging him off or starting a witch hunt is it? If someone came to the grit and placed bolts they would receive far more grief but that could be down to a couple of things; people care more about the ethic on gritstone and see the placement of a bolt as a bigger ‘crime’, and Stevie has a history of developing the Lleyn (and Doris in particular) so this is as much ‘his crag’ as anyone’s.

I didn’t jump into great debate and slagging off of Stevie (on here or ukb) until Stevie popped up and essentially said ‘you are too inexperienced and too shit to have a valid opinion’ (this may not be what he meant but it is how it kinda sounded and I don’t think I was ever slagging him off just trying to discuss the ethics in this area which I happen to feel quite strongly about)

If it turns out I have been wrong about the ethic - if you are climbing hard enough you can abb inspect - then firstly, Stevie and Leigh I am sorry, and secondly what a crap ethic. Reminds me of the times on Peak Limestone when if you were one of the top boys climbing hard routes bolts were fine but a less good climber on an easier route and your bolts were chopped.

I think that what Stevie is saying i.e. it is ok to abb inspect across the board (he says he had no issue with Rust Never Sleeps, unlike other activists and the guide writers) is a much clearer, simpler, fairer and less elitist ethic. I would prefer a ground up ethic but much prefer Stevie’s idea than some mixed one ‘It ‘s ok, we know you, your good enough you can do what you want’.

Again if I have got the wrong idea about the local ethics (and surely you can see why) then I apologies to the people involved. I wait to hear (although probably not on here – I don’t think any will post) what the other activists feel about this ethic. It is not for one or two people to decide on the ethic (in either direction) but based on overall opinions and history.

Why is it my posts are always 5 times longer than anyone else’s? I am normally a pretty quiet guy!
In reply to Ben Bransby:

> Why is it my posts are always 5 times longer than anyone else’s? I am normally a pretty quiet guy!

Because you are making a carefully argued and coherent point whilst trying not to unnecessarily upset anyone - a fine example of civility and sensibility often lacking in internet debates.

Well done, although the suggested idea of you and Stevie just posting pictures of your respective willies remains funnier*. :-)

*Actually, I feel I should really add I don't particularly want to see pictures of either Ben's or Stevie's todgers, just in case anyone gets the wrong idea...
Keeg - on 16 Sep 2009
In reply to Ben Bransby:
I've not read all of this thread and the Llyen is something I know the best part of nothing about but...

That is possibly the single most clearly written, well thought out, reasoned post I have ever read. Here, or anywhere else for that matter. Bravo.
Al Evans on 16 Sep 2009
In reply to Ben Bransby: Ben, do you think local ethics are the be all and end all of UK climbing? If so I disagree, there are some areas (Yorkshire) where a shameless disregard of UK ethics in regard to retrobolting has been disregarded. Just because I have regard for the people perpetrating it doesn't make it right. On the opposite side of the ethical debate the demand by local activists for more 'death' routes does not make the pedantry of the Lleyn activists correct.
Most climbers at the cutting edge (long time ago when I was one of those) are able to make their own minds up, and despite his age Stevie is still one of those and one of the major developers of the Lleyn, if he can't make the rules I don't know who can
ericinbristol - on 16 Sep 2009
In reply to Ben Bransby:

What Toby and Keeg said.

There will be people who will misinterpret your position and misapply it to other things and find a way to be outraged. Don't let it get to you and don't feel the need to try to respond.
Al Evans on 16 Sep 2009
In reply to Eric Herring: How can you compare the unethicality of cleaning a route to bolting it? Cleaning routes has resulted in the establishment of hundreds (thousands?) of great UK classics, it is a struggle to equate this with a ground up ethic, in our Gogarth years Jim and myself would clean each others routes so we could get the onsight, but abseil cleaning resulted in a lot of classics.
Ben Bransby - on 16 Sep 2009
In reply to Al Evans:
"Ben, do you think local ethics are the be all and end all of UK climbing? If so I disagree, there are some areas (Yorkshire) where a shameless disregard of UK ethics in regard to retrobolting has been disregarded."

They are not the be all and end all, there are definately times when they may go in what is seen as the wrong direction, in general when this is the case other climbers will express their concern - hence the fact I have voiced my issues regarding Bam Bam but am not a local, hence the fact you are expressing concern regarding Yorkshire.

"On the opposite side of the ethical debate the demand by local activists for more 'death' routes does not make the pedantry of the Lleyn activists correct."

I don't think people are demanding 'death' routes. People will only climb the routes they can climb, you are not forced to try a certain line on which you think you will die you just try another line, or go to a different crag or go to the pub...

You could call the ethic of no bolts on grit a 'death' ethic but what happens is people don't climb the lines which are too hard. There are plenty of routes on the grit which could become brilliant F8cs with bolts (go to Wimberry).

"Most climbers at the cutting edge (long time ago when I was one of those) are able to make their own minds up, and despite his age Stevie is still one of those and one of the major developers of the Lleyn, if he can't make the rules I don't know who can"

I agree most climbers at the cutting edge can make up their own minds. Pete Livesy could (chipped routes I believe), Ray Jardine could (again chipping), Ron Fawcett could (did he 'over clean' Scrittos?), Gary Gibson could (chipping? def bolting in Pembroke), Pete Oxley could (again bolting in Pembroke). Many of these later realised the error of their ways, especially after it was pointed out to them by other climbers! (I am not saying an abb inspection is anywhere in the the same league as chipping!) Just because you are one of the best climbers doesn't mean your actions are allways correct.

Stevie, as one of the main developers of the Lleyn, is able to help shape the ethics of the area but it is not just down to him to dictate the changes. If he is keen for abb inspection and others agree then that will become acceptable (it may well already be what the local ethic is as has been stated in other posts!)

Erik B - on 16 Sep 2009
In reply to Ben Bransby: I still dont buy into this local ethic thing, the man who wrote the guidebook quote has himself stated that the preferred ethic is only supposed to cover lower grade new routing (sounds like a cop out to me) and to me this sounds like the guys active in the area are protecting their potential new lines. It either covers all grades or you dont publish such statements in a guidebook. (I think it is utterly daft to publish such a statement anyway)


This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.