/ What descriptive phrase would you avoid?

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CorR - on 06 Feb 2013
So what is the most worring phrase to see in a guidebook?
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.
Pursued by a bear - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR: "Thought-provoking" usually gets me cautious, "bold" and "exposed" similarly. Is there a route description that combines the three?

T.
Denni on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

"Slate" can't stand climbing on it!
Ed morris - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR: "this route is included so that you know what goes up there, not that you should climb it" :)
jezb1 - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Denni:
> (In reply to CorR)
>
> "Slate" can't stand climbing on it!

Wash your mouth out!
Tommyads on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:
grovel
Jackwd - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR: Technical sign, pump sign, fluttery sign. The truly fantastic arete that cuts the air like a scimitar. Current attempts are gaining it from half-height!
Dave 88 - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

"Won't be down-graded any time soon"

"Full of character"

"FA Keith Darbyshire"
Wiley Coyote - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR: "A lonely and soul searching lead demanding total commitment." Er..I've got a note from mi mum
In reply to CorR: "Classic"
It was explained to me as being a code word for "hard for the grade, and polished beyond belief"
NorthernGrit - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

"character building"

"exciting"
MJ - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

XS - Mick Fowler
Jamie B - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

I can cope with "a lonely lead", "thought-provoking" or even "intimidating".

But "harrowing" sends me running!
Jackwd - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Jamie B: Anything with FA Don Whillans or Joe Brown. OR BOTH!
The Pylon King on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

jam
Circus - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

"Interesting"
andrew ogilvie - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR: Wasn't there a description of some late 80s desperate grit route which had something like "From here your destination is the top...or more likely the bottom"
Luke90 on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:
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.
cuppatea on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

Esoteric, sparse, and adequate are my words of fear.

henwardian - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR: I can deal with "bold", depending on the route. But I generally draw the line at "serious".

Also, anything that includes the word "chimney" and was climbing in the 1960s is bound to be pretty unpleasant.
Dave Garnett - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to cuppatea:

Yes, 'adequate' is a real worry, meaning, as it usually does, 'inadequate'!
afshapes - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR: one introduction I read and prizes for guessing the venue, stated "for those cats who are tired of their nine lives! " .... Or words to that effect
davidbeynon - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

"thoroughly nasty" comes up in one scrambling guide, along with "now would be a good time for second thoughts". It leaves me tempted.
Tom V - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:
One guidebook described something on Milestone buttress as starting off with a "bastard layback" which was amusing as well as off-putting.
Gerry_Doncaster - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR: Anything in a gritstone guide that's described as "a classic" because you just know it will be some horrible thuggy knuckle shredding ankle skinning battle.
Ava Adore - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

"Traditional" always makes me groan inwardly
davidbeynon - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Ava Adore:

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....
mmmhumous on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

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.
lmarenzi - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

"Tolkienesque adventure" - Tower Chimney, Stanage

Never did understand what that meant tho.
David Rose - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR: From the AC guide's description of the Forastier-Madier on the North Face of the Rateau: "A great climb of considerable difficulty, length and some danger. The second ascent was made in 1953, disaster having overtaken a previous party, probably owing to the dislodgement of loose blocks." I bet that doesn't get many takers.

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..."
FrankBooth - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:
Good luck.

as per the description of Great Gully http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=29168
Vdiff?
GrahamD - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

Usually anything with a black dot. A much underused guidebook symbol IMO.
pebbles - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Luke90:
"Route 3: For troglodytes & general deviants only... excruciating climax through a constricted hole... Lunatics descend the route headfirst!"
I would class this as "irresistable"
Rollo - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

"sporting"
jkarran - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

Temporary
floss_81 on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

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"

Steve Perry - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR: "Once committed down climbing is impossible" and you know it's hard when it says the word levitate in a route description.
mkean - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to floss_81:
"If you finish this route you really need to go away and reassess what you are doing with your life"

Genius.

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'?

abseil on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

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.
999thAndy on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR: "your mates big lead" from Paul Williams Llanberis guide. (Not that I was ever able to climb E8)
ads.ukclimbing.com
Nick Russell on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Jamie B:
> (In reply to CorR)
>
> 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...
Simon Caldwell - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

"popular"
tprebs - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:
the Fairhead classic 'A pleasant change from the gear-on-demand' or
'Despite almost permanent dampness'
ianstevens - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to tprebs:

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.
bandit12 - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

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
nniff - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

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.

Flashy - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR: "Improvise upwards"
Jim at Work on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to nniff:
Spot on, 'follow the obvious groove' especially so.
Shearwater - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to lmarenzi:
> "Tolkienesque adventure" - Tower Chimney, Stanage
>
> Never did understand what that meant tho.

No women allowed, reasonable chance of being killed by spiders.
tmather - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR: "Puzzling" is one that always gets me on edge...
nightmonkeyuk - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to nniff:
Or: "Climb the scoop with interest.."
abseil on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to tmather:

I don't like "unprotected" either.
Skip - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:
"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
alooker - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR: included for completeness
Alyson - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Flashy:
> (In reply to CorR) "Improvise upwards"

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.
CorR - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to davidbeynon:
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.
jcw on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR: All difficulties now lie above.
JIMBO on 07 Feb 2013
"swim" up the crack... Sounds innocent enough but you know it'll be a thrutch from hell
bpmclimb - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to all:

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.
Beardyman - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR: Great thread!


At South end of crag - easiest looking line, stuff breaks off as you climb - not nice. Second couldn't follow.
Beardyman - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR: 450m, 16 pitches. Mind-altering!
James B - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:
"Blind slappy bouldering moves in a position of extreme danger".
Parallogism, Staffs Grit.
Dom Whillans on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:
"classic frightener"
BusyLizzie on 08 Feb 2013
There's a route at Symonds Yat where the book says something like "to be avoided out of deference to a well-established bees' nest".
Ciderslider - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR: Bold or run out +1
Mehmet Karatay - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

What about 'the climbing equivalent of the shower scene in Psycho'? It's from my Arapiles guidebook and gets two stars.

Mehmet
turtlespit - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

"should clean up with more ascents" - sometimes very wishful thinking from the FA
Chris.Allott - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:
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.
AlanLittle - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote:
> (In reply to CorR) "A lonely and soul searching lead demanding total commitment."

Please sir I know this one! (I think)

Isn't it The Bells The Bells from the original 1982 Paul Williams Guide?
IainMacG on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

For completeness - don't think anyone's mentioned them yet?
- green (best left to Alan Titchmarsh)
- thrutch(y)
- commit (thereby implying you reference the aforementioned thought-provoking, bold, serious etc)

And btw I love this thread - been sniggering my way through it :-)
Goucho on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

HVS 5b
First Ascent Gabe Regan :-)
David Rose - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR: From Lindsay Griffin's AC guide to the Valais East, description of Etoile du Matin (1,050 m, ED2, WI5) on the N face of Mt Collon: "Well, in the end someone had to take the plunge, and it fell to the ubiquitous Gabarrou... You look at the face, decide that the seracs are not going to fall today, and then go."

PS: Patrick Gabarrou, unlike most of the super-Alpinists of his generation, is still alive...
Curly Rich on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:
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)
Chris H - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR: From my caving days - one route through a cave was described in a guidebook as ""foolhardy and dangerous" - this made it irresistable to my me and my 18 year old mates and was duly done and found not to be too bad.
jcw on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR: pad up. Usually accompanied by "you've got to trust your feet John!"
RKernan - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

"best savoured by a party in high spirits or preferably full of spirits"

"some sport here"
oaktree - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:
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?
BMrider - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

Midge ratings.

And :"Slippery when Wet"
Trangia - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

"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"

Trangia - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply:

"Likely to appeal to devotees of vertical grass climbing"
ads.ukclimbing.com
Gudrun - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

5B,
or 'There have been a number of fatalities here'or 'Tricky route finding' or 'Thuggish'.
Gudrun - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to GudrunEnsslin: Maybe i should just take up knitting.
Siderunner - on 09 Feb 2013
In the MacNamara/SuperTopo guides to Yosemite/Tuolomne, a few of the long 5.9 crack pitches have a rather understated description followed by the epithet:
"A stout pitch."
I didn't try a single one ...

Also
"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).
David Kay - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR: Last time I went to Millstone my friend had a rather amusing guide, think it was the BMC 'Burbage, Millstone and Beyond' guide. From what I remember there were a couple of corkers in there:

Shaftesbury Avenue - "climb the bovine crack..." (ew!)
Dexterity - "this climb will test both your biceps and moral fibre..."

...or something like that.

David
Jonas Wiklund - on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR: Don't know about guidebooks, but I asked a local climber about a route in Teplice on Czech sandstone. He was quiet for a while before replying: "It is a good route if you like climbing better than stopping to put in protection".

The same climber gave me beta for another route: "If you fall before the bolt, fall to the left, not to the right"
Jonas Wiklund - on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR: The route database on sandsteinklettern.gipfelbuch.de has some worrying info-graphics. One cross for every death and one nurse for every hospitalisation, eg: http://db-sandsteinklettern.gipfelbuch.de/weg.php?gipfelid=3591
David Rose - on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to Chris H: was that Swildon's Long Round Trip? Excellent outing.
Chris H - on 10 Feb 2013
In reply to davidoldfart: Yes thats the one! Later editions of the book didn't use this phrase so the authors had obviously re-considered their stance.
rgold - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

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.
Bulls Crack - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

A grit classic
David Rose - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR: Since we're including caving now, this from the Northern Caves vol 2 description of Quaking Pot on Ingleborough (a classic, very hard test-piece, only for the slim) is quite good: "Warning: A serious undertaking... Crux is more awkward for tired people on the return and rescue from beyond it would be virtually impossible."
David Rose - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR: And in very different vein, this from the description of Stoke Lane Slocker in Mendip Underground: "The stream may contain more than a hint of farmyard sewage... turning wounds septic. Warning: At least three cavers have contracted Weils Disease [a life-threatening condition carried by rats' urine] as a result of visting this cave."
"the grade is justified by the ever present stream", "damp, unattractive and hard", "a great route to sandbag your friends", "the FA gave it E2, and those who make it will get that joke."

mockerkin on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to mkean:

>
> 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.

Greenbanks - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

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')

Excellent stuff!

(SF= Survival Factor btw)
mockerkin on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to mockerkin:
> (In reply to mkean)
>
> [...]
>
> >> 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.




TM_Horton - on 14 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR: joe brown
LibS - on 15 Feb 2013
In reply to CorR:

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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