/ What descriptive phrase would you avoid?
Best one i've seen is "do not do this route"
Or if i'm in the mournes i'll stay away from anything thats described as bold.
"Slate" can't stand climbing on it!
> "Slate" can't stand climbing on it!
Wash your mouth out!
"Won't be down-graded any time soon"
"Full of character"
"FA Keith Darbyshire"
It was explained to me as being a code word for "hard for the grade, and polished beyond belief"
XS - Mick Fowler
I can cope with "a lonely lead", "thought-provoking" or even "intimidating".
But "harrowing" sends me running!
Selected phrases from 4 adjacent routes in my local guide (these are FAR from the most off-putting descriptions, they just happen to be all together on the last crag I visited):
Route 1: A fine jamming exercise (encompassing most aspects of the art)... then exit LWs with difficulty.
Route 2: A fearsome prospect at any grade... Resisting the constant urge to slip out sideways proves both tiring and irksome.
Route 3: For troglodytes & general deviants only... excruciating climax through a constricted hole... Lunatics descend the route headfirst!
Route 4: An exhausting exercise with hard won protection.
Esoteric, sparse, and adequate are my words of fear.
Also, anything that includes the word "chimney" and was climbing in the 1960s is bound to be pretty unpleasant.
Yes, 'adequate' is a real worry, meaning, as it usually does, 'inadequate'!
"thoroughly nasty" comes up in one scrambling guide, along with "now would be a good time for second thoughts". It leaves me tempted.
One guidebook described something on Milestone buttress as starting off with a "bastard layback" which was amusing as well as off-putting.
"Traditional" always makes me groan inwardly
I have a book somewhere that explains that anything described as "classic" or "traditional" is going to hurt. Then goes on to say that classic abseils hurt, traditional belaying hurts and classic routes are always terrifying green chimneys....
Always liked the description of Gaia:
Gain a psychologically-draining rest point where even breathing feels precarious! Slopers out right lead to the psycho-crux, requires a strong will to live.
"Tolkienesque adventure" - Tower Chimney, Stanage
Never did understand what that meant tho.
Equally unenticing is the AC Oberland description of the Fischerwand: "The climbing here has a great feeling of isolation and seriousness. Several of the routes have a major risk of serac fall and much of the rock is poor..."
Usually anything with a black dot. A much underused guidebook symbol IMO.
"Route 3: For troglodytes & general deviants only... excruciating climax through a constricted hole... Lunatics descend the route headfirst!"
I would class this as "irresistable"
In the llanberis slate guide there is a route (ill try and find the exact wording) which goes-
"If you finish this route you really need to go away and reassess what you are doing with your life"
"If you finish this route you really need to go away and reassess what you are doing with your life"
Isn't one of Mick Fowlers routes described as 'A fall for either climber will be terminal for both'.
I'm sure I saw a description suggesting you 'make a lunge for a hold that isn't there'?
The Zone [E9 6c] description at Curbar gives me the shakes - "Climb the smooth wall right then left, by desperately fingery climbing, which may (or may not) be protected by two skyhooks and absolutely nothing else".
There used to be a route on Main Wall at Avon, can't remember which, in which part of the description was 'keep your legs together...' [because it had seen so many falls], funny.
> I can cope with "a lonely lead", "thought-provoking" or even "intimidating".
> But "harrowing" sends me running!
These are all common phrases in the Lundy guidebook. Notably, "harrowing" normally seems to appear in the description of the approach...
the Fairhead classic 'A pleasant change from the gear-on-demand' or
'Despite almost permanent dampness'
I find that anything related to "a little polished" or "worse for wear" generally equates to something where holds are about as griipy as lubed up eel.
One that recently had me worried, as it was my next pitch. "Sustained and excruciating moves lead up the wall... "
and another which put me off for years, "the upper pitches are not well protected.." refering to the last two pitches of a nine pitch route.
Both routes turned out to be friendlier than the descriptions suggested
Anything that says 'obvious'. If it's obvious, it doesn't need to be thus qualified, which usually means that the feature in question is obvious only to those who already know what it is - namely the guidebook writer - and not you.
Spot on, 'follow the obvious groove' especially so.
> Never did understand what that meant tho.
No women allowed, reasonable chance of being killed by spiders.
Or: "Climb the scoop with interest.."
I don't like "unprotected" either.
"From the left end of the beach climb up the loose scree/mud for 50 ft to a belay under a car size block. Move right over the loose slab then climb the steep grass to finish (praying as you go), belay from fench posts. not for the faint hearted or any one sane. "
Route - Final Straw @ Gull Rock/Marsland
Love this one! Improvising upwards is a better description of all my trad climbing than anything else I can think of.
Agree about 'with interest'. Generally the only interest available is the amusing spectacle my belayer is about to witness.
Lets not forget 'test piece' which normally means its a polished sandbag of a route.
There is a route in the mournes guide given 4 stars.
Appearantly this was the guidebook writers idea of a joke.
Can't remember the route/crag/guidebook, but I did see "Heaven only knows what's holding this lot up" as part of a route description.
At South end of crag - easiest looking line, stuff breaks off as you climb - not nice. Second couldn't follow.
"Blind slappy bouldering moves in a position of extreme danger".
Parallogism, Staffs Grit.
What about 'the climbing equivalent of the shower scene in Psycho'? It's from my Arapiles guidebook and gets two stars.
"should clean up with more ascents" - sometimes very wishful thinking from the FA
anything associated with "Lower Churnet"....especially including descriptions like.."A problem that will probably propriate the most demanding connoisseur of difficult moves,complicated and serious positions, with awkward terrain" - Ina's Rock 1989 Staffs Guide.
Please sir I know this one! (I think)
Isn't it The Bells The Bells from the original 1982 Paul Williams Guide?
For completeness - don't think anyone's mentioned them yet?
- green (best left to Alan Titchmarsh)
- commit (thereby implying you reference the aforementioned thought-provoking, bold, serious etc)
And btw I love this thread - been sniggering my way through it :-)
First Ascent Gabe Regan :-)
PS: Patrick Gabarrou, unlike most of the super-Alpinists of his generation, is still alive...
Low in the grade but scary. Follow the crack to a poor rest below the blank upper section. Place 'enough' runners then a couple more before traversing left boldly to better holds.
watched a friend climb this looked great. (time for tea millstone)
"best savoured by a party in high spirits or preferably full of spirits"
"some sport here"
3 routes on my hit list
1.An exhausting crusade up the series of cracks,the grips promise much but often disappoint
2.An easy romp for crack addicts
3.A ferocious climb that will eat you up and spit you out for breakfast if you are not up to it
any guesses to these?
And :"Slippery when Wet"
"Make a bold step left (or right)"
The old Ogwen guidebook had an interesting introduction to Munich Climb. (From memory, I can't find my original copy) - Words to this effect "Sound ropework is required. There have been too many fatalities on this route"
The old Langdale guidebook has a route "Third Chimney - not a climb, a garden"
"Likely to appeal to devotees of vertical grass climbing"
or 'There have been a number of fatalities here'or 'Tricky route finding' or 'Thuggish'.
"A stout pitch."
I didn't try a single one ...
"the route's name and its feasibility are a hilarious jest"
seems rather offputting. Shirley's Shining Temple, E5 6c, OPR (not that it's within my grade range).
Shaftesbury Avenue - "climb the bovine crack..." (ew!)
Dexterity - "this climb will test both your biceps and moral fibre..."
...or something like that.
The same climber gave me beta for another route: "If you fall before the bolt, fall to the left, not to the right"
This thread is a blast. Among other things, it proves that British guidebook authors are a superior species, compared to their ever-so-earnest American counterparts.
Or, come to think of it, are these irreverent and sensational quotes just evidence of the spread of tabloid journalism to the guidebook world? One does hope no first-ascentionists' phones were tapped.
A grit classic
> I'm sure I saw a description suggesting you 'make a lunge for a hold that isn't there'
>> I've seen that too. Now I'll spend the next two days trying to remember where.
I am surprised that no-one has referred yet to Iain Peter's (or, at least, in the 1988 North Devon & Cornwall guide) excellent 'Alternative Graded List', with such gems as Andromeda Strain, Frog Abuse and Private World all falling into the 'SFO' category (SFO = annihilation of all members of the party - without divine interference). Compared to that SF1 is a soft touch ('Survival of seconds possible - permanent incapacity certain')
Interestingly, too, the lowest grading is SF6 = 'Completely safe, no known routes in North Devon and Cornwall. Mainly found in Peak District, on Welsh Slate and Penwith granite')
(SF= Survival Factor btw)
> >> I've seen that too. Now I'll spend the next two days trying to remember where.
>> Now more than two days have passed. I still can't remember which route.
I think that it was an update on an original route description. It may have said e.g. Lunge north to a good hold.( The FA took a chance.)
Since then that hold has gone, so the description that we remember perhaps said, referring to the original description "reach for a hold that was described in edition one, but has since gone" or similar.
Like holds, chockstones etc have gone on many routes.
Not a reference to a specific guidebook phrase but instead my french friend Ivan on British guidebooks: "Err I think by interesting they mean deadly"
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