/ The Message
If you have only ever done IV on ice I would suggest you start on either III,4 or IV,4 and work up from there. Tech 4 mixed climbing is technically quite a lot harder than tech 4 ice IMO.
It's tricky but as you say well protected. If you need a few nice IV's to get a feel for the grade on mixed then have a look at something like Pygmy Ridge - that's steady away.
How about fingers ridge, the haston line, invernookie, wavelength etc to get your eye in before moving up to IV,5. Some of these routes that get III on here do get IV in the new guide I think.
At IV,5 hidden chimney direct is good and I've not done it but the seam is popular.
Patey's Route is a fav of mine but it seems to not be favoured - probably due to it needing decent conditions otherwise it's too hard perhaps?
I backed off it when we tried it and with someone who's a fair bit better than me. I think unless it's got good build up it's quite a lot harder. But yeah I'd love to get it done in good nick.
Fingers looked more serious to me than The Message? And I had dismissed Pygmy due to route finding problems. I couldn't find it in summer in the clag.
I have a friend that fell off the message near the start and hurt his ankle. Fingers ridge is mostly pretty well protected. If you are looking for good gear hidden chimney direct is a good choice.
But I'd start at tech 4
Always been pretty popular when I've done it, though I would describe it as pretty much a pure ice route rather than a mixed climb. Maybe that's why you found it quiet...
The first bit over the little roof is the bugger - a lot of scratching and looking for the magic axe placement, after that it's steady.
Aye - it's always been thin when I've done it.
Thanks I will look at Fingers Ridge then. How does that compare to say Twising Gully at III, 4 ?
HC Direct is a good shout, I think most of the III's and IV's on Mess of Pottage are a good intro to mixed climbing. Generally the gear on most of the routes is good and escaping is relatively easy because the crag isn't very high. Haston Line and Hidden Chimney (regular) are both nice intro's to mixed climbing and safe as houses.
I've not done the Message but its on my wishlist for this season, personally I was hoping to get a bit of mileage on some of the tech 5 routes that have already been mentioned before giving it a shot as it is tech 6. Good luck with whatever you choose to do though, I always find the hardest part is just convincing myself to get on the route, never tends to be as hard as it looks!
As mentioned by others, there are a whole load of great routes at III,4 which will get you away from straight-forward gullies. There are then plenty of quality routes at IV,4.
If you do want to get into doing harder mixed moves, go do some dry tooling first - it will be a more sensible progression than jumping straight onto The Message and just seeing what happens.
Dry tooling is the name of the game, but as someone else mentioned, if you have a strong partner, fire away on second. I'd also add too that Hidden Chimney Direct is a gem, well worth doing before you jump on the Message.
in hindsight I would look at something like "The Seam" over on fiacaill buttress at IV 5, it felt easier to me and its just one pitch of hard climbing.
There's often queues for the Message though, which quite often means more waiting time on the route. The first time I went to climb the message I gave up and did something else. When I climbed the Message last year there was plenty of in-situ nuts that made the corner seem like a sport route. That said the climbing was firmly in tech 6 territoty and no soft touch for the grade.
Have you considered Central Crack Route in Lochain? The difficulties are all a short distance above the ground so not so commiting. Once you are up the first pitch you can race for the top. It's a good route.
Fingers Ridge would be a great first mixed IV. Quite soft for the grade IMO and generally well protected.
Anvil Gully at Cha-No is a nice wee IV,4 and you should enjoy the top crux wall. There's enough gear there if you make the effort to place it. But though it (and other routes there) can be split into two it's really just a one pitch venue (in terms of the amount of interesting climbing) so you might leave disappointed.
Recommend the message, probably midweek. Good route. The crux corner is very well protected as long as the crack isnt too iced. Overhead cams/hexes before hauling yourself up sort of thing.
Higher up, the move onto the slab is brilliant. Nice, sudden exposure and good protection again.
I know pygmy ridge gets iv5 or something but i think its a little overgraded. Maybe it was just really good conditions when i did it?
Honeypot is a good route, quieter and escapable over to the left midway. The crux tec 6 bit is high up but, again, body level protection. I think that moves a little more strenous than the message.
hope that helps
Glad someone agrees with me on that one! I'd agree with the very first move being tech 5, but it eases steadily thereafter, with great gear throughout. I'd give it III,5 in those conditions, and have a suspicion that with a build-up at the bottom it's tech 4.
Agree it's hard without a build-up, but overhead gear and nothing as hard above. I'd still say it's a good lead target for someone who wants to get into more technical ground.
Doctors Choice is for you
I would suggest Doctors choice is not grade IV in lean conditions (harder), it is a good choice when iced or good neve. Message would be a good mixed target I would think. Lots of gear, lots of ledges to break up the action.
If you want a progression from where you are at I'd try:
The Seam IV 4 / 5, (depending on which guide book you read.)
If you find this ok go for the Message, (crux can feel tricky but very good protection.)
If you do ok on that it's not a big leap to Savage Slit or Pot of Gold.
Definitely IV,5 when I did it! But when plastered in neve I imagine it could be IV,3 or similar.
I don't know if it is just the perspective but The Seam looks way harder than The Message or Fingers from the photos on here?
From most angles the Seam looks pretty steep and two dimentional - ie a bit like wall climbing. When you actually get on it it's simply not as hard as it looks. Superb pitch though.
Have you ever lead tech 4?
What about grade III mixed?
You get harder IVs and easier IVs. This may be stating the obvious but unless its particularly long or serious a mixed IV,4 will usually be an easier proposition overall than a IV,5 or IV,6 which usually tend towards the harder end of the grade.
Elsewhere on the site
This Winter Conditions page gives a summary of what is being climbed at the moment, what is 'in' nick and what the prospects are... Read more
Rock shoes stink – let’s face it. Boot Bananas are the perfect way to fight the funk and keep them fresh. They help... Read more
The release of Peter Jackson's new film The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies on 12th December may not appear to link to... Read more
F ounded in 1993, Mountain Hardwear are a pretty young mountaineering clothing and equipment manufacturer but are also one of... Read more
Perhaps the perfect Xmas gift for the climber in your life... Wild Country's Crack School has two of the worlds best crack... Read more
On Saturday 13th December Greg Boswell and Guy Robertson kicked off their Scottish winter season early by making the... Read more