/ The unrepeated

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mav - on 04 Jan 2013
Found myself thinking about routes which get a lot of publicity when they are first done and still await their first repeat. Some are not forgotten about; growing in reputatio so that they mentioned in hushed tones; with suggestions on UKC and elsewhere that the actual grade may be much harder; but others are forgotten about, becoming mere foot notes.

Leviathan at Kyloe is the former category. Its at a popular crag, and a a low-level traverse, easy to try. I've seem people playing on it, filming themselves, but so far as I know, it remains un-repeated. Another route of Malc's, Steall Appeal had that same aura until Dave MacLeod finally repeated it.

Meanwhile, Dave McLeod's (and Scotland's) first E9, Achemine, is as far as I know, unrepeated. As is the second, the Fugue. People have flown round the world to try Achemine's neighbour, Rhapsody, yet Achemine is now ignored.

So what makes one route a test-piece for the grade, and another become forgotten?

And what other routes are out there, forgotten about, thatmaybe shouldn't be?
Jimbo C - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to mav:

I reckon Dave Macleod has a stack of unrepeated routes that not many people know about, and there's also Echo Wall of course.

There are also the rather under-publicised and unrepeated routes and problems of John Gaskins.

Maybe it's as simple as publicity - the routes that get filmed/ talked about a lot get repeated (unless they are ridiculously hard and/or bold)
Bulls Crack - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Jimbo C:
> (In reply to mav)
> I reckon Dave Macleod has a stack of unrepeated routes that not many people know about, and there's also Echo Wall of course.

Speaking of which the resume of the last however many years it was article in Climber last year managed to miss this route out along with most most of Dave M's for some reason - someone with an axe to grind/chip on their shoulder.

GrahamD - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to Jimbo C:

AFAIK Violent New Breed hasn't been repeated.
henwardian - on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to mav: I am drawn to routes that I see photos or videos of where the climbing looks really cool or that people tell me are good. Other routes get done if I am going to an area and look through the guide and see lots of stars and a fun description.
I expect top climbers are much the same, just looking at harder routes than me and so having less of a selection to go for. I'll bet if you made a film of Violent New Breed, hammed it up a bit and claimed it was the hardest route in the UK in the video (true or not, doesn't matter and I'm not looking to get into a debate), it would get some interest - i.e. Some wad with a predeliction for bouldering visiting to try and get a second ascent (and a 9a+ tick which would probably be attractive because there can't be that many boulder problem sport routes at 9a+ can there?).
Jamie B - on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to henwardian:

I've heard it suggested that one of the main reasons that VNB has attracted little attention is that it's a bit uninspiring aesthetically. It pulls out of a dank cave and is quite short, only really requiring ropes because of a nasty landing and no top-out. So I suspect that as a hybrid boulder problem/sport route it ends up appealing to neither. But yes, before you say, Hubble is similar and nevertheless managed to gain an aura. Maybe it just needs some noise.

As regards Dave's numerous unrepeated routes around Scotland (5 x E9, 3 x E10 plus Echo Wall) I suspect that distance from England, mountain/sea cliff environment and Scotland's unreliable weather have been factors. I know that Achemine has seen some attention, but another factor may be that these routes are feckin 'ard! More so than all those quickly-repeated E9s south of the border? Not for me to say, but remember that Dave downgraded non-Scottish E10s and E11s based on E9s that he'd climbed and graded here.

Also worth a mention is Icon of Lust on Shelterstone. Given E8 by the FA, but MacLeod speculated that it might be as hard as Walk of Life! Bit of a walk though...
Franco Cookson on 05 Jan 2013
In reply to mav:

Most people just like things to be obvious I think. There are E6s and E7s all over the NY moors that never get repeated.

You could argue that no one ever goes there, but people occasionally come to repeat the couple of climbs that are known about, they just don't know about the others.

A mega-looking route at a popular crag is Esmerelda at Highcliffe. Put up nearly 20 years ago now and still hasn't seen a 2nd ascent. Must be one of the best-looking and easily accessible E7s in the country that hasn't been repeated.

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