/ UK's most improbable-looking-at-the-grade lines
I'm not after sandbags, more the sort of route that you look at from the bottom and think "no way is there a VDiff / HVS / E3 / E8 line up that bit of cliff, it looks blank / mental / horribly overhanging" but then you try it and find to your surprise that it's covered in hidden jugs and jinks its way sneakily around all the obstacles.
I can't currently think of any particularly good examples that I've climbed myself, although I'm kind of thinking of Tom Patey's comment on the FA of the Cioch Nose: "What had appeared from any angle to be an Extreme pitch up an incredibly exposed slab turned out to be a glorious Diff!"
Checkers crack at Froggatt was the opposite looks like a severe and kicks butt.
Sula (E2), Dun Mingulay
Three pebble Slab looks nails for VS
Didn't Patey also make similar comments about Squareface as well?
Little chamonix v diff at shepherd's crag borrowdale.
You step right and and can't believe how steep it is.
would agree, much like the stuff at Carreg Alltrem, steep, but once on them, the positive holds are there.
Overhanging Bastion-Castle Roc.k
How about just about most things at Swanage (the again once you get on them they also feel improbable for the grade ;)
Outside Edge Route (VDiff) at Cwm Silyn.
Central Buttress (S) on Beinn Eighe.
Cioch Nose no longer counts as it's been bizarrely upgraded to Severe ;-)
"In 1966 I was unemployed, broke and staying at The Count House as a strictly unofficial assistant custodian. This was the swansong year for the Biven/Peck team: being young, reasonably fit and ambitious, I had repeated virtually all their routes at Bosigran, some of them solo, so was looking for a crag free from their long shadow.
One wet May afternoon, after a lengthy session in the Gurnardís Head I decided to return home via the coastal path. There was a full Atlantic gale blowing and the foam was flying over the ďneckĒ of the promontory. I could hear the waves thundering below so stuck my head over the top for a closer look. What I saw was a steep, dripping corner disappearing into the spray. It was one of those eureka moments that can happen in climbing. Here was the new extreme that would eclipse anything that had gone before on the coast!
As soon as the weather improved, I returned with John Gerber (not Bember as in the guides) a Harrisonís climber who had never been near a sea cliff before, a peg extracted from the first stance of Doorpost (no less) and a claw hammer nicked from the custodianís store. The traverse went surprisingly easily although John was not impressed by the wave that caught him just as he was making the balancy move across to the stance. The rest, as they say is history, but my first reaction on getting to the top was one of disappointment: where was my extreme to end all extremes? Who would ever bother with a mere Severe albeit in dramatic surroundings?
Nearly half a century later, the route is still a must whenever Iím in West Penwith, in fact on the 40th anniversary we managed more than 30 separate ascents with climbers from the age of 6 up to 70+. (I made it up to the 40 with half a dozen solo circuits!)"
Bow shaped slab, Flimstone slab, Pembroke. Looks wicked for HS -
> Three pebble Slab looks nails for VS
as soon as i saw the thread title, thats exactly what popped into my head!
I was very intimidated by Cheedale's Sirplum but kept faith in the Hard Rock description and all was well!
I trawl UKC daily for a chance to get in first with the 3PS quips :-D
That's what I thought of straight away! :-)
Ledge route.. when you stand down in the valley and look up, it seems inconceivable an easy snow plod winds its way up the face.. to me anyway..
Deceptive photo! Good shot, but it really isn't that steep or intimidating.
> Bow shaped slab, Flimstone slab, Pembroke. Looks wicked for HS -
They all do if you tilt the camera!
That's a good shout. Looking up at the curtain thinking there's just no way there's an easy route through!
Wow, that looks awesome! Must get up there...
> Deceptive photo! Good shot, but it really isn't that steep or intimidating.
Quite right, its a wonderful route with good incut holds and good gear but it looks so unlikely from top
Sarcophagus at Chudleigh and Double Overhang at Huntly's Cave? Both overhanging corner lines at HVS.
I'd second that, from beneath it looks VS or so but it's festooned with the most perfect jugs imaginable. It's a glorious little vdiff I could run laps on it solo forever without getting bored.
Looks seemingly blank up to break and top out looks hard. But when push Comes to shove not actually that bad.
Yeah that's the one that first came to mind. I though the last pitch looked nails from the bottom but it was fine.
Quiver Rib looks way to steep to be a Diff.
Top pitch of Third Pillar of Dana - looks nails and is actually 5.9. Absolutely awesome.
Mutiny Crack is easier than it look as well!
Haste Not on White Ghyll.
Amorican, North Pembs
Actually quite a few routes on that rock, Metamorphosis at Barcud is another one that looks like it's going to hard until you discover that every hold is a jug.
Pocket Symphony, Beeston Tor also has plenty of holds you can't see from below, and of course more gear than you might expect
As someone else said above, the last pitch on Little Cham looks improbable at V Diff. How steep?!
Another one which springs to mind is possibly P2 of Grim Wall, the VS up the steep rib. Luckily it's littered with jugs and gear but from below it hardly looks VS territory.
I also thought Outside Edge at Cwm Silyn a good call. Looks way too hard and serious for V Diff.
I think a lot of slabby routes also look improbable on first inspection as you can't really see how incut the holds are from below. Often takes a bit of familiarisation with the crag on easier warm up stuff to get your head around it.
Tophet Wall winds it's way through some pretty improbable ground.
Agag's Groove looks pretty improbably for VDiff, even when you're on it.
Russet Groove, Diff, Bowden
Outward Bound at HVS
Comici, Cima Grande at F6b
Finale Groove at HVS
I'm actually planning some of my trips away at the moment, which may be why I was in that sort of mood...
> Agag's Groove looks pretty improbably for VDiff, even when you're on it.
Rock Idol for me is the quintessential hard looking easy route. And maybe Moonraker.
Pulpit Groove at Lawrencefield (after the crux first move).
Great positions and exposure for a V.Diff.
> Three pebble Slab looks nails for VS
It's 6" nails if you think it's HS
I remember looking up at Cneifion Arete thinking it was very steep for Diff. That may have had something to do with climbing on the slabs before!
My vote goes for the brilliantly (and oh-so appropriately) named "Blind Faith" at Llanymynech. Essentially a VS 4b (OK, perhaps there's one 4c move) which weaves its way up some awesome looking steep and loose rock. Steep it really is, loose its not. Needs a high degree of determination and commitment to even get started on it as it looks so intimidating from the ground. Once awarded the accolade of "A Climb of Quality" by Climber and Rambler magazine in the 1970s ...
It's one of my Desert Island Climbs ....
Scratch Arete at Tremadog. Silly Arete is E3 but the one next door is only VS
Kitten Claws (E3 5c) at Carreg y Barcud doesn't appear to have holds or much in the way of gear from beneath. It also gets steeper as you get higher. It is actually way more amenable than it looks. http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=43436
Sarcophagus (VS not HVS though the first pitch is 4c not 4a!). It is very steep but I lost count of the hands off rests I managed on it last time I did it. http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=150557
Dream of White Horses (HVS). The last pitch looks fearsome but it's safer to lead than second. http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=114380
Sirius (HS) is another easy steep one http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=34071
Journey to Ixtlan (HVS) - Carn Gowla's answer to DOWT? http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=86724
Malbogies (HVS) http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=102546
> Journey to Ixtlan (HVS) - Carn Gowla's answer to DOWT? http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=86724
That's another of my Desert Island Climbs ... A very good suggestion indeed. 'Tis an excellent route. Even the odd, crumbly, digestive biscuit-type hold fails to detract from a totally memorable and enjoyable experience.
Even more impressive then when I did it in 1980 and it was HVS!
Haha ... I'm sure most people have 'a moment' on Blind Faith! I wasn't aware about Nick Dixon but a good effort to consider soloing it though, let alone then doing it!
No, it's no where near as bad as it looks, despite the fact that the whole buttress looks as if it's departure from the golf course is likely to happen at any moment! The crux is a bit committing - a blind, steep move - thankfully leading to good holds, but otherwise it weaves a surprisingly amenable path through the overhangs on p.2 (and gets easier the higher you go.) Gear's all good, just very occasionally a bit spaced. Best done as three pitches too; running pitches 2 & 3 together would definitely be 'interesting'.
If it was anywhere else, I reckon it'd be a 3* route.
Don't be put off any longer Stuart, give it a go! :¨)
Actually one right of silly is Barbarian (e1, and bloody hard work, two guys who just did silly backed off it when I was there), then scratch the vs, then s.arete the hvs. I think s.arete is reasonable at hvs, but you're right the roof does look bloody intimidating from below. Pretty sure the guidebook I had said 'tackle the roof. Yes really..'
That looks absolutely mental for the grade. Might have do that one some time.
The final steep bit of Gargoyle Flake at Bamford Edge is intimidating until you get your hands on the top.
Not done it, but The Crack on Gimmer looks epic for VS.
Tophet Wall is the same at HS, every pitch looks hard from below but fair at the grade once you're on it.
> Haste Not on White Ghyll.
Always thought your Appian Way (HS) shot was a classic hard looking easy route Gordon.:
Ali Baba at the wainstones was always one that look pretty impossible to me and lemming slab to the left of that. There are a few at the wainstones actually- like the west face direct etc. The one thing I always thought would be impossible was the waves of inspiration. That looks totally blank, but is actually fairly well endowed with good edges. There are a few about and they normally make for the good routes.
> That looks absolutely mental for the grade. Might have do that one some time.
The grade is about right for that route.
Swordfish E3 Pembroke looks somewhat tricky for the grade
Elsewhere on the site
2012 saw the release of the beautiful first volume of definitive Yorkshire Gritstone climbing, produced by the YMC with Robin... Read more
Over the years I've been asked many times about work as a Rope Access technician, often by Instructors and Guides working for... Read more
The Christmas Gift Guide at Outside.co.uk Check out our top selection of Christmas Gift Ideas for climbers,... Read more
Halifax-based John Colton (see his UKC Gallery here) has an art exhibition in Courmayeur, Italy (the Italian side of Mont Blanc)... Read more
Make the most of this months HALF PRICE OFFER on the Five Ten Guide Tennie Mid!! Designed as a hybrid approach and... Read more