/ NEWS: Paddy Cave Climbs '1984' (IX,9) Lake District

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UKC News - on 10 Dec 2012
Paddy in the upper corner section, after the roof., 3 kbPaddy Cave has made the first winter ascent of '1984' at Flat Crags, Langdale, Lake District.

"It was great to get this climbed and the climbing quality, hooks, and nature of the route gives a brilliant winter route with 2 contrasting sections. I am not really too sure about the grade but would suggest IX,9..."

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=67665

Mutl3y - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to UKC News: Well done Paddy.
edinbed - on 10 Dec 2012
Yes good work but please bear in mind that Flat Crags holds the greatest potential for future summer trad super routes in the Lake District. It also happens to be formed from a particularly beautiful volcanic tuff which is very easily damaged by scratching.
ERU - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to edinbed:
> Flat Crags holds the greatest potential for future summer trad super routes ... which is very easily damaged by scratching.

Sounds fair game for a top roping to me :) It's not Embankment wall after all. Anyone for a mass meeting and top-rope?
Ian Black - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to edinbed:
> Yes good work but please bear in mind that Flat Crags holds the greatest potential for future summer trad super routes in the Lake District. It also happens to be formed from a particularly beautiful volcanic tuff which is very easily damaged by scratching.






Aye most on here will be queuing up to climb this IX,9!!!
andithomason - on 10 Dec 2012
lol
Dave Birkett - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to UKC News:
I was climbing on Cambridge Crags on Saturday. On our walk in, we looked at Flat Crags and remarked that nobody would be climbing on it that day as it wasn't in condition. On our walk out, at about 2pm, the temperature had already risen above freezing and the crags were stripping fast. Paddy had just got to the first belay of 1984 as we walked past. Some snow remained on the upper corner of the route but the meat of the climbing under the overhang at the bottom was completely black and wet. So I don't believe a proper winter ascent of this route has been done.

Climbing rock routes in conditions like these is equivalent to dry tooling. I'm aware that the photos make the crag look snowy, but most of the climbing is not visible in them. I have already spoken to Brian Davison (one of Paddy's seconds) and Paddy, letting them know my opinion and that I will be posting on here. Thanks to Brian for being honest enough to admit that the start of the route can only be described as dry tooling and that he thinks this route will probably never come into proper condition.

Paddy believes that this style of ascent has precedent in Scotland but this is not Scotland it is the Lake District. The Lake District is tiny and very precious. I am also aware that hoare frost does not protect the rock directly (and there is no turf on this route to be concerned about) but I believe that waiting for real conditions does protect routes because it minimises the number of ascents. My real fear is that this opens the door to tooling up almost any mountain route on any winter's day. To me it felt a sad end to a beautiful day in the fells.

For anyone winter climbing in the Lakes - please read p24 of the Lakes Winter guide!
Mattdevaal - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Dave Birkett:

Well said that man!

Very sad.
lummox - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to littlebopeep: Will we now see this thread removed ?
eggburt1952 - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Dave Birkett:
well said indeed, dry tooling up mainly bare rock with a bit of melting hoar frost on it is just a perverted masochistic form of aid climbing that irreparably damages the crags and serves no purpose other than to massage the ascentionist's ego . why is ukc publishing this none achievement?
Jim Hamilton - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Dave Birkett:

> For anyone winter climbing in the Lakes - please read p24 of the Lakes Winter guide!

I have the Brian Davison Winter Climbs guidebook and p24 talks about Dachstein mitts ! p19 says a climb is considered to be "in condition" if it's ascent is largely easier with axes and crampons than without.

Michael Ryan - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Jim Hamilton:
> (In reply to Dave Birkett)
>
> [...]
>
> I have the Brian Davison Winter Climbs guidebook and p24 talks about Dachstein mitts ! p19 says a climb is considered to be "in condition" if it's ascent is largely easier with axes and crampons than without.

This edition?

http://www.cicerone.co.uk/product/detail.cfm/book/716/title/lake-district-winter-climbs

GrahamD - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Ian Black:

> Aye most on here will be queuing up to climb this IX,9!!!

Probably not, but they clearly have on Bowfell Butress - the rock is badly scored and damaged from bottom to top.
Mattdevaal - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKC and UKH:

Come on Mick Remove this non-news.

Not a great advert for Lakes winter climbing. It seems like nothing is safe.
Jim Hamilton - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKC and UKH:

no this one -

http://www.rockrun.com/products/Lake-District-Winter-Climbs.html

has the definition of "in condition" changed ?
Denni on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Dave Birkett:
> (In reply to UKC News)

Thanks to Brian for being honest enough to admit that the start of the route can only be described as dry tooling and that he thinks this route will probably never come into proper condition.


Yet they still decided to climb it? No wonder some people think it is alright to effectively dry tool. Sets a bad example to everyone and potentially ruins summer climbing.


MattDTC on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to UKC News:
In terms of progression, winter climbing in England, possibly the UK, is looking more and more like a sport which has reached its end game.
Mike Tinnion - on 11 Dec 2012
Totally wrong & will soon get out of control if this carries on.
neil the weak - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Dave Birkett:
>
> Paddy believes that this style of ascent has precedent in Scotland but this is not Scotland it is the Lake District. The Lake District is tiny and very precious. I am also aware that hoare frost does not protect the rock directly (and there is no turf on this route to be concerned about) but I believe that waiting for real conditions does protect routes because it minimises the number of ascents. My real fear is that this opens the door to tooling up almost any mountain route on any winter's day. To me it felt a sad end to a beautiful day in the fells.

Surely to goodness if this sort of behaviour is considered bad for the climbing environment in the Lakes then it has to be bad in Scotland too? I know the Lakes is geographically much smaller, but it must have as almost as many *** mountain routes as Scotland does. Those routes are precious in Scotland too, and yet as you say there is currently a precedent that it's fine to climb them in winter in the kind of conditions shown in the article. Scotland is not actually an endless wilderness with an unlimited supply of classic rock climbs. Surely it should be one principle for all?

I also don't really get the "we should only climb in full conditions because it minimises the ascents" arguement (Tony S has made it to me too). If we really do think these ascents of quality rock climbs are damaging and need to be minimised, then the real answer to how many should actually happen is obvious.

TAbbey - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to littlebopeep: I thinks it's important to not write off first winter ascents (or any for that matter) in the Lakes as 'No-News' given how imotive and important the current discussion on winter ethics is.

I'd rather individuals or groups feel they can report their efforts to the wider UKC and climbing community so we can all be aware of whats happening and raises any questions or concerns if we have them.

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neil the weak - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to MattDTC:
> (In reply to UKC News)
> In terms of progression, winter climbing in England, possibly the UK, is looking more and more like a sport which has reached its end game.

I'm not sure aboutthat. While it does seem inevitable as technical difficulty is pushed more and more that the climbs will become increasingly rocky and "dry" (as happened with continental mixed some years ago), there doesn't automatically have to be a conflict with summer rock climbing. Routes like Greg's Tomahawk Crack on the Ben just show that there are still good, hard, rocky, winter only lines avaialble to climb without having to bash up existing starred trad routes for those willing to put the effort into finding and doing them.
MattDTC on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to neil the weak:
> (In reply to MattDTC)
> [...]
>
> there doesn't automatically have to be a conflict with summer rock climbing. Routes like Greg's Tomahawk Crack on the Ben just show that there are still good, hard, rocky, winter only lines avaialble to climb without having to bash up existing starred trad routes for those willing to put the effort into finding and doing them.

I agree, but in reality there increasingly is conflict. There is no 'neat' solution.
Robert Durran - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to neil the weak:
> (In reply to MattDTC)
Routes like Greg's Tomahawk Crack on the Ben just show that there are still good, hard, rocky, winter only lines avaialble to climb without having to bash up existing starred trad routes.

Might not Tomahawk crack make an excellent summer route (perhaps with a little gardening)?
Anyway, if gardening summer rock routes is OK, why is everyone getting so upset about a bit of turf being hacked about in winter. I think the whole debate is a complete mess, deeply riven with hypocrisy on all sides.
neil the weak - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Robert Durran: I don't think it's the turf they're upset about.
Mattdevaal - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to TAbbey:

Maybe your right.

But the "Great lakes ethics debate" and the "UKC Community" have made no impact as of yet and things are getting worse! I know for fact that Helvellyn got a hammering last week/weekend when conditions were crap.



Robert Durran - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to neil the weak:
> (In reply to Robert Durran) I don't think it's the turf they're upset about.

I know, but your comment moved the debate on; a predominantly rocky route which just happens to have been first climbed in winter might also make an excellent summer route (though the winter scratches might upset some) especially with a bit of grass and turf removed (perhaps upsetting winter climbers).

Personally I struggle to get upset either way; the scratches on Magic Crack didn't ruin my day and nor did the fact that Belhaven is harder (and really just as good) with less turf than it used to have when it was given IV.

Lines with particularly rare plants is a separate issue (summer or winter).

Adrian Nelhams - on 11 Dec 2012
To Paddy - With everything that’s been said, could you post all the photos of yourself climbing the main part of the route that either Brian Davison or Tom would have taken? As the main face (eg two thirds of the route) isn’t visible from the photo which you took, looking straight on at the route, only the final corner is visible. The rocks in the foreground obscure any view of the main face.
Even without seeing any more photos - It’s unbelievable that when Dave Birkett approached Brian Davison (Lakes Winter Guidebook writer) at the base of the route Brian admitted that the conditions on the day can only be described as bare rock as Brian called it a ‘dry tooling route’. Paddy’s claimed FWA was around lunchtime after failing on it in the morning.
It’s amazing that Brain Davison didn’t question Paddy & pull the plug after a failed attempt in the morning, when there was maybe a little more hoar on the rock (which is questionable) & go back another day when conditions were better & more akin to proper mixed climbing.
The crags in the Lakes are precious & it’s a timely thing waiting for the harder mixed routes to come into condition but when it happens it worth the wait – Let’s not intentionally scar routes that we’ve seen happen here on the classic route 1984.
Flat Crags is not a dry tooling venue.
Adrian
Erik B - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Robert Durran: the issue is simple, would these people go near a winter only line if it wasnt in nick?!!! I would wager they wouldnt, most of them I guess will value their life/legs too much. Therefore it is obvious to me that people deep down know when a route is in winter nick. No amount of bleeting, justification and debate will alter this.
neil the weak - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Erik B: Yes, they would. The problem is that different people have very different ideas on what counts as "in" for different routes.
Robert Durran - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Erik B:
> (In reply to Robert Durran) the issue is simple, would these people go near a winter only line if it wasnt in nick?!!!

I agree. They almost certainly wouldn't. The trouble is that even when a route is more easily climbed with crampons and tools than without (the only sensible definition of "in condition" in my opinion), other people will complain rightly or wrongly that rock is getting scratched or turf hacked up.

> I would wager they wouldnt, most of them I guess will value their life/legs too much.

From falling off or from the lynch mob?
Erik B - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Robert Durran: from falling.. the 'more easily climbed with axes and crampons' definition is flawed now at the top end. A cold and wet overhanging 6b pitch may well be easier with modern axes and techniques..

Neil the weak, Id wager these people would not go near a grade IX winter only line if it wasnt in nick, (winter only line being something you wouldnt go near in summer unless you are a pervert). Summer rock routes are an easy target for the impatient and desperate.
Erik B - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Erik B: PS my comments are not directed at the people on this ascent,I am speaking generally. I have no idea if the route was in nick or not, so not for me to judge.
a lakeland climber on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Adrian Nelhams:

Is it regarded as a classic? I don't have the Langdale guide to hand to check whether it's been given a mass of stars. Also just how many ascents in summer has it had?

1984 was originally done by Ed Cleasby and given the grade of HVS with 3 pts of aid. Now Ed was a bit of an undergrader (Gates of Delerium at E3 anyone?) so let's say it was really E2 with 3pts of aid, again I don't know if it was ever repeated in that format. When it was freed it went to E5 6b which seems a bit of a jump to me.

Since I (and most commenting on this thread) weren't on Bowfell on the day in question we only have the words of Paddy and Dave as to conditions. Just where the (white) line between acceptable and unacceptable conditions lies is ultimately down to each individual, ultimately it's a matter of judgement and not being blinded by the "glory" of an ascent.

ALC
In reply to Adrian Nelhams: The pictures on Paddy's blog show that the route had some hoar on it even though it is ridiculously steep, although he notes that was on the first attempt. http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-lNQgob_TZTQ/UMR_8mawJXI/AAAAAAAABQw/ZekUY215BZs/s1600/all+0355.jpg from http://www.mountaincircles.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/first-winter-ascent-of-1984-ix9-flat.html

Considering the style of some of the super-hard modern routes (very overhung) I can't see how that couldn't really be considered in condition, there is also a biggish icicle hanging from the roof visible in the pics. So it seems that in this particular case it all comes down to whether the conditions could change that much between his first attempt, and the second successful one? It all seems a bit "angels on pinhead" from afar.

mockerkin on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Adrian Nelhams:

Where exactly does this route run? Does it start to the right of Fastburn & Flat Iron Wall & go up the corner to the right of those routes?
a lakeland climber on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to mockerkin:

It's the big hanging corner to the right of the wall with Fastburn and FIW. It starts just to the right of Fastburn.

ALC
mockerkin on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to a lakeland climber:
> (In reply to mockerkin)
>
> It's the big hanging corner to the right of the wall with Fastburn and FIW. It starts just to the right of Fastburn.

> Thanks, I can envisage it now.

Rich_cakeboy - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to TobyA:
From my comfy warm armchair looking at the blog pics there looks to be less ice on the bottom of the route as on my windscreen this morning... if that's the case I would have gone elsewhere, if not good job Paddy!
My simplistic take on this is if it hasn't done any damage to the rock then it was in condition... which is easy to judge after the event! I could imagine that if someone had been eyeing up a first ascent then they could be tempted into giving it a go in borderline conditions. Just hope not marks were left.
Mattdevaal - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to TobyA:

What Paddy is doing is Dry Tooling and this is not the place to do it. Not sure where is. The Works Cave?

Sorry Paddy but you need to think long and hard as what your doing. Respect your psyche but people look up to guys like you and this kind of thing may open the door to a whole lot of damage.
Robert Durran - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Rich_cakeboy:
> (In reply to TobyA)
> My simplistic take on this is if it hasn't done any damage to the rock then it was in condition...

Simplistic indeed. The two things are virtually unconnected. Every ascent of Savage Slit with tools and crampons does some damage to the rock and almost all would be considered in condition by almost all people.
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neil the weak - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Robert Durran: Or, if Savage Slit isn't considered "summery" enough to make the point, you could sub in "Steeple", "Unicorn", "Agag's Groove" etc into your previous statement and it would still work fine. As you say, whether a route is "in" has nothing to do with how much damage will be done to it. Properly "in" rock routes probably get more of a kicking from a tool using ascent oddly enough, despite (in fact because of) being more of a challenge/wintery feeling to climb.
Robert Durran - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to littlebopeep:
> (In reply to TobyA)
>
> What Paddy is doing is Dry Tooling.

Not in the photograph in the generally accepted sense of the term (which is to tool up rock which is not white with snow, ice, rime or hoare). If you want to make a case against climbing snowed up rock routes, please do so without using terms incorrectly to make that case more emotive.
Rich_cakeboy - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:
Fare point I guess especially with polish on well used/abused summer routes and the amount of erosion caused by walkers etc. Will just put it down as a difference of opinion and leave others to do the scratching of mountain crags in the lakes
I guess I am grumpy thinking I wish I was in the lakes doing anything except running to the toilet to evacuate myself (norovirus sucks)
muppetfilter - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Robert Durran: In the words of dave Birkett from a post above that you probably missed (who was there on the day)

"Some snow remained on the upper corner of the route but the meat of the climbing under the overhang at the bottom was completely black and wet. So I don't believe a proper winter ascent of this route has been done.

Climbing rock routes in conditions like these is equivalent to dry tooling. I'm aware that the photos make the crag look snowy, but most of the climbing is not visible in them. I have already spoken to Brian Davison (one of Paddy's seconds) and Paddy, letting them know my opinion and that I will be posting on here. Thanks to Brian for being honest enough to admit that the start of the route can only be described as dry tooling and that he thinks this route will probably never come into proper condition."
TAbbey - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to UKC News:

I look forward to hearing Paddy's side of the story.

It's important that if you are sharing your ascents with the world via blogs or social media that you are also prepared to justify the style and ethics, especially after last years Lakes winter ethics meeting and massive interest in the subject that has grown in recent winters.

I'm sure most folk know of and respect Daves experience and background in climbing and I'm glad he felt it important to share is own feelings regarding the ascent. However it's only fair (and I know there isn't anyone stopping him) to allow Paddy to share his thoughts... should he wish to do so.

I don't think there can ever be a difinitive right or wrong in winter climbing as to me it's all about personal perception and motivation at the time your gearing up. equally you are accountable for your actions and should always tread lightly!

So come on Paddy... let's hear from you!
Robert Durran - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to muppetfilter:
> (In reply to Robert Durran) In the words of dave Birkett from a post above that you probably missed (who was there on the day)....

Fair enough. I was going by the photo at the top of the thread.

However, there is the general point that some people emotively misuse the term "dry tooling" to describe snowed up rock routes.
climber666 on 11 Dec 2012
can only be described as dry tooling ..... To me it felt a sad end to a beautiful day in the fells.
>

Dave thank God for your common sense - WELL SAID!!!!
GrahamD - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:

> However, there is the general point that some people emotively misuse the term "dry tooling" to describe snowed up rock routes.

Why is it emmotive ? bit near a nerve ?
Denni on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to muppetfilter)
> [...]
>
> Fair enough. I was going by the photo at the top of the thread.
>
> However, there is the general point that some people emotively misuse the term "dry tooling" to describe snowed up rock routes.


I would say that is a relatively good point Robert, but how else would you describe it?
muppetfilter - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Robert Durran: There is no "emotive" use of any phrases... just a statement of fact.There is however a bit of confusion over only one photo from the ascent and others from other days showing totally different conditions to the ones the route was actually climbed in.
RBK - on 11 Dec 2012
>
> Dave thank God for your common sense - WELL SAID!!!!

This is the common sense that allowed Dave to do the first winter ascent of Gimmer Crack as well as numerous repeats of starred rock routes. I have no issue with any of those ascents but Dave's ethics do seem to be flexible.

Robert Durran - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> Why is it emotive ?

It is emotive because it describes an activity which, when done somewhere (say Millstone) where the vast majority of people think it shouldn't be done, quite rightly upsets people. The term should therefore, I think, be used carefully and correctly.

> Bit near a nerve?

No.

neil the weak - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to muppetfilter:
> Climbing rock routes in conditions like these is equivalent to dry tooling.

Climbing rock routes with ice tools is equivalent to dry tooling "almost" all the time. It might sometimes be drytooling with all the holds hidden, but it's still tools directly on rock just the same. If anyone is objecting to this sort of ascent based on damage to the routes, rather than the diminished challenge to the climber then they are essentially against all snowed up rock climbing, whether they realise it or not.
Robert Durran - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Denni:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> I would say that is a relatively good point Robert, but how else would you describe it?

Snowed up rock? Scottish style mixed? Both commonly used.

Robert Durran - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to neil the weak:
> (In reply to muppetfilter)
> If anyone is objecting to this sort of ascent based on damage to the routes, rather than the diminished challenge to the climber then they are essentially against all snowed up rock climbing, whether they realise it or not.

Unless there is a consensus on crags or areas where snowed up rock climbing is considered ok. So in Scotland Cairngorms OK (and I don't really therefore have a problem with people tooling, say, Savage Slit in July - though I wouldn't bother myself), but outcrops such as Creag Dubh not OK. There seems to be more of a problem in the Lakes where most of the crags are sort of on the dividing line between outcrops and mountain crags and a consensus is harder to arrive at (as evidenced by this thread).

Erik B - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Robert Durran: its more to do with conditions, the lakes appears (to me) to be often borderline for the hard stuff, hence why patience seems to be the key there. By the way, there are winter routes on Creagh Dubh,it does come into condition, sometimes, maybe similar to a typical lakeland mountain crag..?
Frank the Husky - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to UKC News: The last sentence of Paddy's blog says this:

"The on-sight is there for the taking, but the bigger challenge could well be finding the route in acceptable condition..."

He appears to be admitting that the route was in an unacceptable condition. Does this mean he was was climbing when he knew he shouldn't have been?
Michael Gordon - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to littlebopeep)
> [...]
>
> Not in the photograph in the generally accepted sense of the term (which is to tool up rock which is not white with snow, ice, rime or hoare). If you want to make a case against climbing snowed up rock routes, please do so without using terms incorrectly to make that case more emotive.

Agree wholeheartedly with this Robert; that was the poit I was (trying) to make in that other thread. If a route is 'white' (I know, open to differing interpretations) then it can hardly be described as dry tooling. The point can be justifiably made that it may be effectively dry tooling with a bit of hoar on it but that is the key difference.

I agree that when used incorrectly the term takes on an emotive edge. 'Snowed-up rock' does seem like a sensible term.
Tom Last - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Frank the Husky:
> (In reply to UKC News) The last sentence of Paddy's blog says this:
>
> "The on-sight is there for the taking, but the bigger challenge could well be finding the route in acceptable condition..."
>
> He appears to be admitting that the route was in an unacceptable condition. Does this mean he was was climbing when he knew he shouldn't have been?

No, just that the route is rarely in condition, regardless of whether or not it was when he climbed it.
Michael Gordon - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to UKC News:

I imagine one comparison Paddy could (and might) have made is with Anubis where the lower section of the route on the first ascent was black despite the fact that it does sometimes come into good condition.

Some folk say the Lakes are different but it seems strange to celebrate a route in one place and criticise one somewhere else.
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Exile - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to RBK:

Dave states that he feels routes need to be climbed in proper winter condition and that 1984 wasn't - not, as I read it, that it shouldn't have been climbed as a winter route. Photos of the first ascent of the Crack on Gimmer most certainly show it in full winter condition.
Goucho on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Dave Birkett: Well done Dave for pointing out the 'elephant' in the room.

Just because a crag is white doesn't make it winter conditions.

These kind of ascents are simply sneaking dry tooling onto traditional crags via the back door.
Exile - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to a lakeland climber:
> (In reply to Adrian Nelhams)
>
> Is it regarded as a classic? I don't have the Langdale guide to hand to check whether it's been given a mass of stars. Also just how many ascents in summer has it had?

Two stars

paddy cave - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to UKC News:

Hi all,

So I'd like to respond to the comments made concerning this route and the conditions under which it was climbed. The report I put on the blog gives a detailed account of the attempts, and the conditions etc so I'll not repeat all that again but comment on the (as far as I can see) 2 key issues, the first is the condition of the route (in particular the lower part, which is the steep part of the route) when I climbed it, and the second is whether this type of route is a valid winter objective at all?

So firstly, in reference to the suggestion that the lower part of the route was only wet rock, I completely reject this. As shown in the stand off shot I took of the route immediately before the ascent, there was snow blown in around the rock, perhaps not under the steepest overhanging parts but in my take of appropriate condition for this line I did not expect those parts to be white. In addition to this, there was ice hanging from various parts of the overhang (a larger icicle is also visible in that shot) and on the entry to the upper part of the route, ice that would take a pick and was used to make those moves. There was also some verglas and ice needing clearing from parts of the crack when placing the gear, a comment I made to my belayer. I also brushed the snow off a number of footholds to the point where your feet are no longer on the rock as you cut loose. So my statement is that there was no water dripping at all when I climbed this and that the pitch was exactly as shown in the stand off shot, a shot not taken looking down the route to paint it in its 'best' light, but from the side showing the whole overhanging section. Beyond this route the crag was plastered as shown in the photos and the turf etc was well frozen in the upper groove.

One point I would make here is that from the Climbers traverse the steep front walls of Flat Crags where more or less black, 1984 is located in a bay around the corner and faces a different aspect, it impossible to know how 1984 looks without taking the detour off the climbers traverse and walking around the corner into that bay, I know this, I've had to do it many times to get a look at the bottom of this route. The top photo of the news story is taken from the climbers traverse and as has been said, it only shows the top of the route cause thats all you see. It may be possible to get a side view of the underside of the crux overhang just, but I don't believe this is enough to say whether the route is in condition or not. Apart from Brian and my belayer no one came around to the bay at the foot of the route when I was climbing, or at all for the whole day...

The second point I guess is whether this route is a valid winter objective at all? (conditions aside) On this one I tried to pick a route that was a natural hard winter line on a mountain crag that already has winter routes on it. 1984 I thought is not a route that gets loads of ascents and its on a crag that comes into 'condition'. Now for some I completely understand that they might feel that steep roofs that some modern winter routes climb are not valid in winter because they may never look white, I completely respect that view and I wonder if routes taking on this type of ground will ever be seen as acceptable across the UK, I don't know? Whatever the opinion though I do think its a UK issue, and not an issue exclusive to the Lakes. I new when I first started looking at 1984 that the lower section is never going to be plastered white, I'm not saying I would climb it when it was bare, just that it might not be the sort of white I'd be looking for on a vertical or slabby wall to see it fit to climb. There is no turf to talk of on the lower wall so it is purely whether there is the presence of any frost, blown snow, or ice I was looking for.

So whether 1984 is a valid winter objective in the first place or not I think is probably a debate in itself. I completely respect peoples opinion on this and am sure people will disagree all day long on this and a consensus may not be reached...

To the suggestion that I climbed black wet rock, I completely reject that, I think that only myself and the belayer (and anyone else who came to the base of the route) can really say, what makes this type of route acceptable is never going to be massively obvious. I also agree that a significant thaw came through, and all I can say is that the next time I saw the lower wall once back at the base of the crag later, I certainly would not have started up the route, it had stripped bar some ice...

Whether in the Lakes or Scotland I do not condone climbing routes out of condition at all, and I believe I have always been cautious of damaging routes and the environment and looked for the correct conditions for routes to be in. I have walked away from routes and abbed off routes because I felt the conditions weren't correct and tried to give good beta to others about where is in good condition, or not...

Hopefully this helps people form a balanced opinion on the ascent.

Paddy Cave
Rick Graham on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Goucho:
>
> Just because a crag is white doesn't make it winter conditions.
>
> These kind of ascents are simply sneaking dry tooling onto traditional crags via the back door.

We don't seem to be getting much consensus here, just going over the same old arguements.

In my opinion the issue that needs resolving is sustainability.

Some classics such as say Bowfell Buttress, Savage Slit even Steeple can sustain many ascents both Summer and Winter. The resulting scratches may not be pretty but the holds and runner placements are not in practice significantly affected.

On harder routes the holds and protection become generally smaller and less frequent. There is no way that these routes can be climbed in winter without damage to the rock whatever the conditions. Some routes ( probably including 1984 ) will be unclimbable after only a few ascents.
TAbbey - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to paddy cave: Cheers Paddy, it's been good to read from your perspective.

climber666 on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to RBK:
> [...]
>
> This is the common sense that allowed Dave to do the first winter ascent of Gimmer Crack as well as numerous repeats of starred rock routes. I have no issue with any of those ascents but Dave's ethics do seem to be flexible.

He's moved on since then.
climber666 on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to paddy cave:

You are trashing the fragile rock, just as in the peg era.
Tom M Greenwood - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to UKC News:
Hi there,

After reading all the posts on the subject and following Paddy's post I wanted to write something so that, as the belayer, there was another point of view.

After carefully reading Paddy's reply I can confirm what he states about the route and the conditions that it was climbed in. I will say that on the second ground up attempt that day the route was still in condition that morning. I know this because I was anchored into the corner and start of the route for the duration of the first pitch. Also that from the climbers traverse you cannot see the start to the route, you have to climb up a good 20-30 meters and around a corner, so to ascertain if the start of the route was in condition you would have to have been stood where I was.

This post is not being written in an attempt to stir the pot, just to confirm from the belayer's point of view that I agree with Paddy's response.

Cheers,

Tom Greenwood

Erik B - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to paddy cave: "On this one I tried to pick a route that was a natural hard winter line"

for a natural winter line this has sure caused a bit of a stramash..

to me what constitutes a 'natural' winter line is the crux of this, a 'forced' winter line tends to be where the controversial ascents occur. A 'natural' winter line (by definition) shouldnt cause any controversy..


biscuit - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Erik B:

What if it is a natural Winter line that is also a natural Summer line ?
biscuit - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to biscuit:

Anyone know where this quote is from ?

"I first did Botterill's Slab in winter with Andy Hyslop in January 2003. Conditions were thought to be good that year, but they weren't really; they were lean and mean and the top pitch wasn't in condition. "











Dave Birkett writing on here about climbing a classic Summer line when it wasn't in condition.

Oops !
biscuit - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to biscuit:

However i concede when you get to the top pitch and find it out of condition it can be hard to escape/bail.
Goucho on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Rick Graham: I think one of the biggest problems in resolving this issue Rick, is that it's a very polarised argument, very 'black & white', and as we know, if this issue is to be properly resolved, it needs to be seen in shades of grey to enable a sensible compromise to be established.

Having said that, I do believe that when top tier climbers make these kind of ascents, it unwittingly opens the lid of a Pandora's Box, and provides justification for ascents which are plainly dry tooling, by people who may approach the issue with slightly less understanding and consideration.

The difference in sustainability between a route like Bowfell Buttress, and 1984, could well be seen as marginal given different peoples individual subjectivity.
Rick Graham on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Goucho:
>
> The difference in sustainability between a route like Bowfell Buttress, and 1984, could well be seen as marginal given different peoples individual subjectivity.

I was trying to make the point that, disregarding the appearance of a route, the grade of say BB is unaffected whereas 1984 will probably be within a handfull of ascents.
Erik B - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to biscuit: what on earth is a natural summer line?
Mark020 - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Erik B:

Something you can do with shorts and t shirt on in the sun?
FATBOYFAT - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to paddy cave:

"a consensus may not be reached" - judging from the response to this thread it has, however judgmental and from afar it may be ...

The leading edge of climbing is synonymous with this sort of controversy. I've onsighted many Lakes rock routes in the mid E grades whose first ascents were yo-yo'd or worse - do my achievements equal those of Whillance, Cleasby, et al? Absolutely not. Lines of acceptability will not be drawn without crossing them occasionally. It appears that Paddy's actions were not blatant disregard of accepted ethics but a pushing of boundaries, both in difficulty and ethics, and shouldn't be mentioned in the same breath as the cretins who decided to resume quarrying Millstone. Ultimately, this ascent may be seen as a step too far by most (me included) but will, nonetheless, influence the future of Lakes winter climbing.

Rather than condemn, we should congratulate Paddy on his achievement and accept that things aren't always black and white (hoared up at least), especially for those at the limits of our sport.
Robert Durran - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Erik B:
> (In reply to Robert Durran) By the way, there are winter routes on Creagh Dubh,it does come into condition, sometimes, maybe similar to a typical lakeland mountain crag..?

Aren't these ice routes? I bet if I tooled up The Hill in freak white conditions I would get metaphorically (and possibly literally) lynched.

Erik B - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Robert Durran: think there is mixed stuff there as well?
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Jamie B - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to paddy cave:

That looks as close to bona-fide winter condition as you are ever going to get it. The comparison to Anubis is a valid one; ground that steep is just never going to be plastered white but I'm confident that it was wintry enough for it to be unfeasible without tools.

Well done on a fine bit of climbing.
biscuit - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Erik B:
> (In reply to biscuit) what on earth is a natural summer line?

The opposite of whatever a natural Winter line is i guess ?
Simon Caldwell - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Michael Gordon:
> I imagine one comparison Paddy could (and might) have made is with Anubis ... it seems strange to celebrate a route in one place and criticise one somewhere else

If you do a forum search you'll find some of the criticism thrown in Dave Macleod's direction after his winter ascent of Anubis. This thread is tame in comparison!
Rick Graham on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Jamie Bankhead:

but I'm confident that it was wintry enough for it to be unfeasible without tools.
>
Does that mean if it is only wet /icy, its OK to tool it?
The contorted climbing on the start is probably only free climbable (real climbing) in perfect dry conditions.








Ben Abbott - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to UKC News:

I have been reading this thread with interest, and it made me think of a fantastic retort to a comment someone made about him a few years back. . I am sure Andy will not mind me using it as I think it holds merit.

Paddy climbed hard, he is a professional well thought of Mountain Instructor, and deserves a big well done.

From Andy Ks blog March 06

Saw a post the other day on UKC were someone was slagging me off (which is fair enough - I slag off enough people here), saying I was a much better climber than a writer, his main point being that my book was crap.

He was wrong, having obviously never read my book or seen me climbing (it’s the other way round, proved by the fact people compliment me on my book not on my climbing).

UKC has a tendency to dredge up the types of people who can only vent bile and negativity, peddling their opinion to anyone who’ll listen, generally no hopers with axes to grind, empty spaces they fill on forum pages and within themselves. They try and shoot people down they will never understand, doing stuff they will never do, be it Dave MaCleod, James Pearson or Simon Yates.

More often than not these people fail to comprehend the complexity of another human being’s life and motivation, a common problem in this world where we have to condense who we are to fit smaller and smaller boxes, be they on facebook, BBC online or UKC.

Personally I’ve found this slagging very useful, as it’s really thickened up my skin no end, and thick skin is what you need as stuff like this actually hurts people you know - they lose sleep over it, they question themselves, it sits in their head like a scar.

In the past they’d be a post like “who’s the best mountain speaker” were 99% of the posts would give me the thumbs up, with just on saying “Saw Andy and thought he was full of himself and left half way through”. Something like this would really spoil my day, my week, hanging in my thoughts until eventually I’d consign it to the shoe box of bad reviews in my head.

I think anyone who’s quick to post comments should consider the harm that their words can do when these posts are not a formed critique, rather more a Scud missile. Go back a search UKC for comments made to people like Alan Mullen, Scott Muir or Arlie Anderson. Read them, consider what you and others wrote, and consider its effect on another human being (because you know they read every last one).

Also consider the fact that when I give an opinion you know who I am, where I live and what I look like. Very few people who are quick to judge aren’t so keen for others to see who was doing the judging.

Often UKC makes me question climbing, it creates a view that it’s a bitter struggle of egos and grade and pointless details. It makes me see climbers as selfish, self obsessed extremists, all romance, humility and empathy moderated out…

...but then you start to get the emails. People who read what it said and didn’t agree, but who would never consider posting, emails that start “I just wanted to say…”. And then I see what real climbers are about; empathy, compassion and the ability to understand the complexity of other people and their lives.

So how did this end? Did I dazzle this guy with wit, wisdom or courtroom style argument?
No I just said what Alan Mullin would have said to him, and called him a cock and left it as that.

Shaw Brown - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Rick Graham:
> (In reply to Goucho)
> [...]
>
> We don't seem to be getting much consensus here, just going over the same old arguements.
>
> In my opinion the issue that needs resolving is sustainability.
>
> Some classics such as say Bowfell Buttress, Savage Slit even Steeple can sustain many ascents both Summer and Winter. The resulting scratches may not be pretty but the holds and runner placements are not in practice significantly affected.
>
> On harder routes the holds and protection become generally smaller and less frequent. There is no way that these routes can be climbed in winter without damage to the rock whatever the conditions. Some routes ( probably including 1984 ) will be unclimbable after only a few ascents.

I am with you on this one Rick, though I am not sure how you would define what is sustainable or not.



I walked along the climbers traverse that morning and looked up the line of 1984, it's hard not to. It looked pretty bare to me but then i wasn't looking to climb it.

I have only skimmed the thread so don't feel fully qualified to comment, all I can say is that it was raining in the afternoon and well above freezing( we bailed off Sinister slabs).

I would made no comment at all other than I was at the Lakes BMC meeting where I think Paddy stood up and talked about the 'Works' and how it would keep dry tooling off the crags, so was quite surprised to hear about this ascent.

In my opinion 1984 could not of been done without some element of dry tooling on that day. I am not totally against dry tooling, some of the routes I have done have some dry tooling even in excellent condition (Bowfell Buttress for one). I therefore feel that Rick's point is well made and I try and use the sustainability thought for my ethic. How you decide on the boundaries of what is acceptable or not, I am not sure, I guess it is quite personal. 1984 would not of been acceptable for me ( if I had the ability to climb it) due to worries about summer climbing sustainability. That said I am not able to climb 1984 in summer so would not be able to see how fragile the placements are, perhaps the people who have made summer accents should decide if winter ascents are sustainable.

Erik B - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Ben Abbott: ok then, lets not bother criticising our climbing peers if criticism is felt to be warranted.. lets all be happy clappers and hold hands and dance round a tree..!

Kirkpatrick raises some points, but I find the secret emailing and whispering more disturbing than folk writing their opinions openly on this site

if UK climbers didnt criticise their peers then it wouldnt have the strong ethics it has today..
Robert Durran - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Erik B:
> if UK climbers didnt criticise their peers then it wouldnt have the strong ethics it has today..

Absolutely. Remember all the criticism, anger, chopping and unchopping over bolts in the eighties? That all semms pretty sorted out now.

Interestingly the bolts issue seemed to get settled quicker in England than in Scotland, whereas the tooling issue seems to be causing less fuss in Scotland.

Ben Abbott - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Erik B:

You have a valid point, and yes criticism may be valid, but let those whom are capable criticise, I am not sure if you are capable of going and repeating 1984 ground up! but if you are, then crack on and report back on UKC.

Like the man said " I called him a cock, and left it at that"
zero six - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Shaw Brown:
> I have only skimmed the thread so don't feel fully qualified to comment, all I can say is that it was raining in the afternoon and well above freezing( we bailed off Sinister slabs).
No offense meant, but it's not just that you've only had time to skim through the thread that makes you not fully qualified to comment.

> I would made no comment at all other than I was at the Lakes BMC meeting where I think Paddy stood up and talked about the 'Works' and how it would keep dry tooling off the crags, so was quite surprised to hear about this ascent.
Agree. Drytooling will increase the instances of hard winter ascents, it's why we do it. I dry-tool to get stronger for winter ascents of hard summer routes or independant new winter routes. Any serious winter climber trying to pretend this isn't the number one reason they dry-tool is lying to you.

> ... 1984 would not of been acceptable for me (if I had the ability to climb it) due to worries about summer climbing sustainability. That said I am not able to climb 1984 in summer so would not be able to see how fragile the placements are, ....
Or in other words, your second point cancels out your first.

A.K. would have to be a shit-hot climber to be better than that post above.

Jon Ratcliffe - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Erik B: They would be writing their opinions a little more openly if they used their full real name. (that wasn't a snipe at you by the way Erik!)
zero six - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Jon Ratcliffe:
I keep getting banned so can't reveal my identity or alan will kill me again.
zero six - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Erik B:
> if UK climbers didnt criticise their peers then it wouldnt have the strong ethics it has today..

Erik - you're right, but I wouldn't place ukc high up in the list of reasons for that. It happens through peer-pressure when people start testing the boundaries, but it has to be respected peers who are out there doing the same things and they're very thin on the ground on this site to be honest. UKB is full of knowledgable climbers who I'd listen to. UKC? Not really.
Robert Durran - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Ben Abbott:
> (In reply to Erik B)
>
> You have a valid point, and yes criticism may be valid, but let those whom are capable criticise, I am not sure if you are capable of going and repeating 1984 ground up! but if you are, then crack on and report back on UKC.

He is as entitled to an opinion as anyone else. His climbing ability is irrelevant.
zero six - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:
> He is as entitled to an opinion as anyone else.
Agree. (However uninformed).

> His climbing ability is irrelevant.
Yes it's entirely irrelevant to holding an informed opinion on grade IX winter climbing isn't it. Just like my opinion on the nature of the Higgs Boson should be taken seriously by anyone who'll listen.

Erik B - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Ben Abbott: I dont recall criticising Paddy, the only real criticism on this thread has come from Dave Birkett.
Exile - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Shaw Brown:

Sorry for the slight hijack, but how did you find Sinister Slabs? (We were on Bowstring, to the right of where you were climbing.)
Erik B - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to zero six: what a load of pish, grade IX is irrelevant. Therein lies the problem, folk think they can climb a hard climb and as a result of this high grade justify it being in marginal or shite nick..

I can comment on the ethics of conditions til the cows come home, even if I climb grade II. So put that in yer pipe and smoke it
In reply to Ben Abbott: I'm a bit confused by what point you want to make. That Dave Birkett should have called Paddy Cave a cock and left it that? If I remember there no criticism here at all until Birkett's post.

This thread doesn't really have much bile or criticism at all; more it's just Birkett said he didn't think the route was in condition, Cave says he feels that it was.
zero six - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Erik B:
> Therein lies the problem, folk think they can climb a hard climb and as a result of this high grade justify it being in marginal or shite nick..
Do they really, how do you know? I strongly disagree.

> I can comment on the ethics of conditions til the cows come home, even if I climb grade II. So put that in yer pipe and smoke it
You've taken my point far too personally and misunderstood it, it wasn't a swipe at you it was a swipe at the idea that someone's climbing experience is completely irrelevant to the weight given by others to their opinion.
Of course you can opine away (as everyone does on this site) until the cows die but it doesn't hold much, if any, weight unless you're someone like Dave Birkett. And even he wasn't 'there' according to Paddy.

ads.ukclimbing.com
Erik B - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to zero six: sorry was missing a :) from end of my post. look, its bloody obvious, if its a summer line and marginal or shite nick just bloody stay away! and wait until its in proper nick, if ever. If its a winter only line, and its marginal well, you'll soon find out the repercussions of yer decision!

why is this so complicated to people? the grade is still irellevant!
Erik B - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to all: anyway, its been emotional, thanks for the craic. Im away to dream about grade IIs. keep at it Paddy, good vision and eye for a line.
zero six - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Erik B:
We're probably stringing this out a bit now but..

> why is this so complicated to people? the grade is still irellevant!
The grade's very relevant only in that the grey area over conditions occurs most often in the high grades because of the type of terrain involved (overhanging, not as prone to rime as vertical ground). And grades were origianlly being talked about in the context of what weight your (not 'you') opinion holds in a debate about grade IX FA's.

> look, its bloody obvious, if its a summer line and marginal or shite nick just bloody stay away! and wait until its in proper nick, if ever. If its a winter only line, and its marginal well, you'll soon find out the repercussions of yer decision!
The trouble (to some) is that it isn't obvious at all though. There isn't a single well-defined version of what are acceptable conditions because it's a judgement call based on lots of dynamic variables and a cross section of climbers can (do) hold different views, some based on more experience than others. If you try t ocome back with a definition from the SMC guides or the GroundUp Welsh guide I'll gladly point out the flaws in the definitions which already exist as accepted winter routes. it's a fuzzy thing not a defined thing.
There isn't even such a thing as a recognised definition of your labels 'summer line' and 'winter line'.

Michael Gordon - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Jamie Bankhead:
> (In reply to paddy cave)
>
> The comparison to Anubis is a valid one; ground that steep is just never going to be plastered white
>
>

http://davemacleod.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/little-lost.html
Ian Black - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Erik B: I remember the incident with Andy K a few years back and am sure it was about Psychovertical and a guy called Boris B who seems to have vanished. It is healthy to have opinions, banter, and debate, but there are lots of keyboard Commandos on here that probably wouldn't say boo to a goose if you bumped into them at the crag. If they aren't prepared to say it in the flesh then maybe they should think before letting the typing fingers run riot.
Andy Moles - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Ian Black:
> If they aren't prepared to say it in the flesh then maybe they should think before letting the typing fingers run riot.

So loudmouth offensive people can let fly on the internet as well, but the ones who are shy in real life should keep quiet? ;)
Robert Durran - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to zero six:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
> Yes it's entirely irrelevant to holding an informed opinion on grade IX winter climbing isn't it. Just like my opinion on the nature of the Higgs Boson should be taken seriously by anyone who'll listen.

That is bollocks. The grade of the route is irrelevant. An opinion should be judged on its merit, not on the climbing ability of the person who holds it. Yes, a more experienced climber may more often be in a better position to have a well informed opinion, but that opinion should still be judged on its merit. (nb I do not have an opinion on the ascent in question; I can see bothy sides of the argument. I am interested in peoples'opinion though)

Robert Durran - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to zero six:
> (In reply to Erik B)
> The trouble (to some) is that it isn't obvious at all though. There isn't a single well-defined version of what are acceptable conditions because it's a judgement call based on lots of dynamic variables and a cross section of climbers can (do) hold different views, some based on more experience than others. If you try to come back with a definition from the SMC guides or the GroundUp Welsh guide I'll gladly point out the flaws in the definitions which already exist as accepted winter routes. it's a fuzzy thing not a defined thing.

That is a sensible opinion (and I don't know or care whether you climb grade III or grade X).
salancaster - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to UKC News:

The more damage you do or mark you leave when you climb, the more self-satisfying your actions are, with scant regard to the rest of us and the next generations of climbers. That could be over chalking problems/routes to the detriment of the next person’s onsight attempt. It could be permanent damage to the rock forever, a nut removal scratch, top rope rubbing, a chip, a peg scar, a bolt, the crampon scratches, torque marks.

We have a non-renewable, limited resource.

My argument is not so much with those with the skill and precision to do the climb and leave no mark, and do it because it's there and they really wanted to - for themselves.

But those who do it and publicize it, hence setting a precedent and open the flood gates for all the other 'followers' without the skill and precision who wreck the crag for everyone else. Check out Gable crag - what an unsightly mess in summer now.

What a shame. Is this sort of route really necessary? 'Go for a walk instead' as the missus said.
Cog - on 12 Dec 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Personally I struggle to get upset either way; the scratches on Magic Crack didn't ruin my day



I'm surprised, I thought Magic Crack was horribly polished.
I expect crystals on granite cracks. I assume the crystals have been removed by axes. It reminded me of the polished cracks at Millstone.

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