/ Escaping Bosigran Ridge

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
DreadyCraig - on 19 May 2012
I'm down in Cornwall next week, so was thinking of climbing Bosigran (commando) ridge for the first time.
I'm not a massively experienced climber, but have felt comfortable on any VD I've led, I will be there with an inexperienced climber (my wife) she's not a very confident or strong climber.
Looking at the guidebook there seems to be any easy way off the climb all the way up by heading off the side to the grassy slope. is it so in practise?
Also, would time be a factor? as if my second is faffing about and taking her time will we struggle to finish it, especially if she gets too tired.
remus - on 19 May 2012
In reply to DreadyCraig: From memory the first pitch is the only bit you're likely to have trouble with, it feels quite committing because you have to swing out over the sea on to a fairly steep wall. After that it's all pretty straightforward and you can escape in a lot of places. I don't think time is likely to be a problem, Ive done the first 2/3rds (up to where you normally cross the ridge) in a group of 5 with 2 complete novices and one less confident person, took about 4 hours in total.
Mark Morris - on 19 May 2012
In reply to DreadyCraig: As remus said. getting down to the foot of the route is exciting, the first pitch from sea level is even more so. It feels so committing heading up a steep wall that looks like it has no holds.

After that pitch however you could wander at will. The grassy slab is in fact that. Walkable in fact. I found a "Gem" size 8 I think, on my first go up the route. It was the best bit of kid I had for ages on my rack. Lost it in Swanage when I dropped most of my kit in a car park I suspect.

Anyway, fantastic route, go and do it.
Stig - on 19 May 2012
In reply to DreadyCraig: It's only vdiff because of the first pitch, after that it is diff, maybe mod, always getting easier. Even if relatively inexperienced you could move together so time shouldn't be an issue.
Iain Peters - on 19 May 2012
In reply to DreadyCraig:

As said above, only P1 is inescapable: however much of the climbing thereafter traverses various pinnacles, and there is also some down climbing involved so you need to be canny with your protection.

The other caveat for The Ridge is the state of the sea. To get to the belay ledge at the start you have to cross a sloping platform at lowish tides and a calm sea.

That said it's a great expedition and you will both enjoy it.
Mark Kemball - on 20 May 2012
In reply to DreadyCraig: If the sea is rough or the tide too high, it's easy to miss out the first pitch.
Offwidth - on 20 May 2012
In reply to Iain Peters:

I'd have few worries with the start (if the sea isnt an issue) for an inexperienced second but some of those traverse pitches (especially the descending ones) are pretty serious even if the moves are not too hard. I'm amazed people would recommend this for a novice to second on their own. It would be much more sensible with an experienced climber behind as well as in front. Its also a big tick for some and very popular so having a picnic on a route with a big group is a bit boorish (unless you let others through).
Iain Peters - on 20 May 2012
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Iain Peters)
>
> I'd have few worries with the start (if the sea isnt an issue) for an inexperienced second but some of those traverse pitches (especially the descending ones) are pretty serious even if the moves are not too hard. I'm amazed people would recommend this for a novice to second on their own.

Absolutely: I would recommend something like Black Slab first. Great position, especially if there's a big swell, good gear and comfortably big holds. For multi-pitch at the grade, Land's End Long Climb, without the leaps is a possible alternative or Terrier's Tooth with the easier first pitch.
Chris H - on 20 May 2012
In reply to Offwidth: yes, the most scary type of pitch for a novice is a traverse as you are looking at a biggish swing if you come off no matter how easy the climb is. Alison rib would be a much better start?
johnnorman on 20 May 2012
In reply to DreadyCraig:

If the conditions are anything like this i`d take her to do something else!

At 2 mins 50 secs on the video you can see the steep exposed pitch and to get to this point you will have to traverse out of her sight from the front of the ridge.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IwBAPBzhRk

Webster - on 20 May 2012
In reply to DreadyCraig: just getting to the start of the climb is a nightmare for an inexperienced climber, reguardless of weather and tides. there are a couple of tricky downclimbs (which can be abbed down, but it is quite hard to get the rope back). when i did it i think we joined the ridge at about the end of pitch 3, as the salbs at the bottom were trecherously damp so there was no safe way of getting to the start of the climb. no offence but i wouldnt recomend it for an experienced vdiff climber let alone an inexperienced second. yes there are plenty of escape routes, and the bulk of the climbing is technically easy, but it is very commiting and exposed and requires a different style of climbing much more akin to an alpine ridge than your typical uk v diff. and due to the numerous down climbs it is not a route for an inexperienced second as they would have no protection. also you would deffinately be pushed for time pitching the whole thing.

again sorry and no offence, it is a great route and i hope you enjoy it if you do give it ago, but i wouldnt recomend it as a pair (if you could team up with an experienced pair and move together then that would be a different matter)
Scott K - on 20 May 2012
In reply to DreadyCraig: I took my 12 yo daughter up this last year. The biggest problems we had were getting to the start of the climb and she didn't like the traverses. I lowered her down a couple of the down climbs to get to the start and talked her through the traverses, which was pretty difficult when you can't see them! After the first pitch I thought we were in for an epic as I had to make her safe then abseil down to clean the route as she couldn't get all the gear out.
At that time she had done some trad and a fair bit of sport and could climb about 6c so I knew she was capable but the exposure still spooked her. It's a great route and you know your wife best-will she hold it against you forever?
cathsullivan on 21 May 2012
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Iain Peters)
>
> I'd have few worries with the start (if the sea isnt an issue) for an inexperienced second but some of those traverse pitches (especially the descending ones) are pretty serious even if the moves are not too hard. I'm amazed people would recommend this for a novice to second on their own. It would be much more sensible with an experienced climber behind as well as in front.

I agree.
nocker - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Chris H: I agree with Chris and others about the potential difficulties with "Commando Ridge". My memory is a bit sketchy but I recall that the approach in descent can be tricky (treacherous on wet grass). I took my son on it when he was about 12 and I thought I had adequately protected the ridge traverses for him, but each time I took the rope in, the gear and slings just lifted off. I would add my vote to Alison Rib which is delightful, not too steep and allows for protecting the second from above. Long Climb at Lands End ? Mr Peters is an expert so it is well recomended, but with respect, you (I did) might find the top "green wall pitch" a challenge too far but I am sure it can be avoided which is an important consideration when responsible for a novice. Enjoy
Offwidth - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Iain Peters:

Black Slab tends to have too many queues.. after my last trip I'd recommend this in the next bay to the east...

http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=2706

probably as quick as getting to Black Slab, no queues, super soft grades and no bad step on the approach or dodgy gully descent.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Iain Peters - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Offwidth:

I agree, Halldrine is an excellent novice area, but in my experience Black Slab attracts nothing like the queues around Alison Rib/Oread, or The Ridge for that matter.

The "Bad Step" is indeed tricky but a top rope or long sling is simple enough to set up, alternatively one can abseil/down climb the easy angled slab dividing the seaward cliff from the Raven's Wall sector. There is a plan to stabilise the path to the seaward cliff. Much of the erosion is caused by water from the spring that emerges from the gully above. Properly channelled this will help to prevent further erosion. Any remedial work will have to be done with the agreement of the NT who own this section of the coast.

I do think there's a danger here of overstating the difficulties on Bosigran Ridge: the route is always a popular choice on the annual CC Family Meet when it is climbed by all ages and abilities. Treated like a classic mountain ridge and with some imagination on the part of the leader in placing protection and belay positions there should be no need for an epic.

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