/ Brown Cove Crags

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Bingers - on 05 Apr 2013
I was talking to a couple of different people at Brown Cove Crags yesterday, who both told me that the topo in the Lake District Winter Climbs guide is wrong.

They said that the very broad gully which is obvious on the picture is Central Gully, rather than where the line for it goes. They thought that the line actually marked Left Branch.

Can anybody shed any light on this?
Bingers - on 06 Apr 2013
In reply to Bingers:

So, does anybody know if the topo is right or if it is a mistake?
xplorer on 06 Apr 2013
In reply to Bingers:

I'm pretty sure the topo is wrong mate, I was a little confused when I visited. I'm sure I found something online saying the same. Check the frcc website, may have an amendment for download
DefenderKen on 06 Apr 2013
In reply to Bingers:

I think it is wrong and have seen others querying the routes - the ukc Page for Brown Cove has someone saying the toppo is wrong and that Central is shown in the wrong place.

See my pictures from a couple of weeks ago asking the same thing

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=216663

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=216664

If you ignore the topo in the guide and just read the description I think that Central is the big wide gully that I have heard referred to as Easy Gully and Broad Gully though never officially. "The broad open gully dividing the two distinct buttresses....initial steepening snow......leads to a small pitch (in lean conditions) at the start of the gully.." When i was there a pair went up the left hand side and encountered a small ice step then had to reverse as they couldn't find a belay and were not happy soloing. I can't see how this could be the right to left slanting gully that is narrow and is within the main buttress, not splitting it.

Left Branch has no description on ukc but in the book it says "this gully runs up diagonally left of the buttress immediately left of Central Gully.....with a small pitch at the start" .....In my picture above you can see this going up left quite clearly.....and it had a nice little ice pitch at the start. Everyone on here seems to refer to that as Central Gully, though if you look at the pictures some are of what I think is left branch, and some are of the broad gully (central) that I did.

So confusion reigns and while I do think in the perfect conditions we had the broad gully was soft for a I that doesn't mean it isn't ..... Certainly wouldn't expect to see walkers on it. And left branch has a II description which looks spot on depending on the initial ice pitch......when I was there no way would that be a straightforward grade I gully climb.

Anyway hope that starts to answer your question and hopefully will spark a debate from others such as Wesley Orvis who have done all the routes and have much better knowledge than I do!

Cheers

Ken
Wesley Orvis - on 06 Apr 2013
In reply to Bingers:
in my opinion the big wide descent gully is Central Gully and the gully which runs up behind the main buttress with the ice pitch at the start is Left Branch, if you think otherwise then show me were Left Branch is?, don't look at the topo read the decriptions and they speak for themselves, UKC and the guide book topo are wrong, but that's my opinion!!!!!!
DefenderKen on 06 Apr 2013
In reply to Ken Shewry:

Crickey, by the time I typed all that out, Wesley came along and agreed!!!

Wesley Orvis - on 06 Apr 2013
In reply to Ken Shewry:

haha i actually got it in before you typed that but made a mistake and deleted it and after re-posting you had got it in first!!!!
DefenderKen on 06 Apr 2013
In reply to Wesley Orvis:

My view entirely, put far more succinctly. Have you done stepped ridge? In the book it says you go up the right of the buttress 20 m left of central....climb under a chock stone forming a window to gain a ledge overlooking Central......

If that is overlooking the wide gully (and not left branch) then that kind of seals it surely?
Carolyn - on 06 Apr 2013
In reply to Bingers:

Yes, I've wondered the same - been up the broad gully, which seemed a very straightforward I (but then plenty are), having looked at the one marked in the guidebook and thinking it looked unlikely to be a straightforward solo in thin conditions....
Wesley Orvis - on 06 Apr 2013
In reply to Ken Shewry:

Totally right Ken, yes i have done Stepped Ridge there is a small cairn to mark the start of it (usually buried in snow)but it starts up the cleanest bit of buttress 20m left of Central Gully (Broad Gully to some) and then you go through Riley's Windo, then traverse right on dodgy ground (the crux) over looking Left Branch (Central gully to some) and up the final ridge to the summit.
Etak - on 06 Apr 2013
In reply to Carolyn: me too!! - this all makes much more sense now-
Bingers - on 07 Apr 2013
In reply to Bingers:

Thanks for your responses. I'm going to assume that I went up Left branch and on a previous outing I went up Central Gully.
paulh.0776 - on 07 Apr 2013
In reply to Bingers:
I think the new guide book is more precise, and shows more climbs than the old one.
The crags are described in the book as "two main buttresses bounded by easy gullies and separated by central gully" i.e. bounded by the two parallel gullies and the one we call Broad/Easy Gully.

The climb "Two Grooves" is on a separate two tiered buttress to the right of the main concentration of climbs according to the FRCC guide.

I think that this would mean that Central Gully is "as shown" in the guide.
I believe that the guide is made up from many different contributors and would image that the confusion has been caused by the differing opinions and views of the contributors, and that a writer who has confused Easy/Broad Gully with Central Gully could throw the whole crag out of sync...

If the guide book is in fact incorrect it would also throw the grades into question, I couldn't imagine the current FRCC "Central Gully" being graded at 2 if it is in fact "Left Branch", and the gully we are calling Easy/Broad Gully isn't really grade 1 if we are honest about it. (although that's a whole new debate...lol)

Hope you've all had a great weekend....long may it continue :-)






Gerry_Doncaster - on 07 Apr 2013
No, the big wide open gulley is NOT Central Gully. Central Gulley is the one on the left buttress with the ice pitch at the start. Left Branch is the narrow steeper gulley which branches off from Central Gulley about two thirds of the way up.
paulh.0776 - on 07 Apr 2013
In reply to Gerry_Doncaster:
Thanks Gerry , thats what I was trying to say.
Wesley Orvis - on 07 Apr 2013
In reply to Gerry_Doncaster:

Totally disagree, were is Left Branch then if that is Central gully? Got an email off someone involved with the book when i first got it and he admitted it was the only mistake in the book, but when the new guide came out with the mistake unammended i was quite surprised, read the descriptions Gerry and they don't match, Left Branch states starts with the ice pitch were as Central gully states steepening snow leads to an ice pitch a third way up which the wide broad gully does have on the left. Just my opinion!
Wesley Orvis - on 07 Apr 2013
In reply to Bingers:

Also their is no gully inbetween right parallel gully and Left Branch, so if Left Branch is Central Gully then their is no other gully for Left Branch, that is all.
Wesley Orvis - on 07 Apr 2013
In reply to Gerry_Doncaster:
> No, the big wide open gulley is NOT Central Gully. Central Gulley is the one on the left buttress with the ice pitch at the start. Left Branch is the narrow steeper gulley which branches off from Central Gulley about two thirds of the way up.

Ah right so the one pitch gully that leads off left from two thirds up Central is Left Branch? this expalins things, althought then the topo and the descriptions in the guide don't match, but i am happy to agree as i have only been at it a few years. Although i have studied the crag quite a lot and could never find Left Branch, also the guide talks about this one pitch gully too so can't see why it would also have it as Left Branch and mention it somewhere else too, my mate has taken my copy home by accident so can't check at the moment.

Anyone else have an opinion on this?
McDuck on 07 Apr 2013
In reply to Wesley Orvis: Unless I'm mistaken, while doing research on Youtube of all places, there is a video of someone climbing Central Gully as described with the ice pitch start and higher up a team break left through a shallow chimney in the rock as opposed to finishing up the snow slope. Is this the "Left Branch" alternative end to "Central Gully"?
Wesley Orvis - on 07 Apr 2013
In reply to McDuck:
> (In reply to Wesley Orvis) Unless I'm mistaken, while doing research on Youtube of all places, there is a video of someone climbing Central Gully as described with the ice pitch start and higher up a team break left through a shallow chimney in the rock as opposed to finishing up the snow slope. Is this the "Left Branch" alternative end to "Central Gully"?

It's looking that way and it seems to make sense to me.

ads.ukclimbing.com
DefenderKen on 07 Apr 2013
In reply to Wesley Orvis:

Ha ha , you are doubting yourself now.......I still think the topo is wrong, the descriptions are right.

Taken from Cicerone Lake District Winter Climbs 2006 (I haven't seen the updated version that came out last November):-

"...The crag which is visible for most of the approach, consists of two main buttresses bounded by easy gullies and seperated by Central Gully"

On any angle of viewing Brown Cove Crags you wouldn't describe Left Branch line as seperating two main buttresses. This cannot be descibing anything else other than the broad gully.

"Central Gully - The broad open gully dividing the two distinct buttresses. Initial steepening snow leads to a small pitch (in lean condidtions) at the bottom of the gully. Above, snow is followed to a cornice finish"

- I wouldn't describe the left branch line as 'broad' or 'open'. I think it is the reference to a small pitch that makes people think Left Branch is Central. There is a small pitch at the base of Central (Broad, Easy whatever), it was there up the left hand side of the gully right at the bottom above the snow apron - just as described. As I said earlier a team backtracked from it and followed us up the right hand side which was looser but easier.

"Left Branch - This gully runs up diagonally left of the indistinct buttress immediately left of Central Gully and finishes behind the main buttress. It can present a small pitch at the start."

That doesn't sound like what McDuck is describing. Surely it would say start up Central then break out left etc......it doesn't it descibes it as a completely seperate line....left....of Central Gully. It can present a small pitch at the start - yes exactly as most people find it with a really good ice pitch to start and certainly not Grade I in my book....err and it is Grade II in the Cicerone book.

Anyway, not having a go or anything and as Wesley says just my opinion from a book description, only person that knows is the guidebook writer. Gerry seemed adamant, as did the guy that commented on my photo, but would like to know what they base that on. Again, not having a go but Gerry hasn't been winter climbing long, as I haven't either so just interested on where people form opinions from. Perhaps he was the guide writer ;-)

Hope you all had good climbs this weekend, wherever it was....we are heading to Skew and Custs if they are still in next weekend - no arguing on where they are or what grade!!

Cheers,

Ken
Wesley Orvis - on 07 Apr 2013
In reply to Ken Shewry:

Well put Ken, this is what i had worked out too, and had many debates on the crag with other teams over it too, although once heading up Left Branch (Central to some) i did wonder if that could be "Left Branch" when i saw the steeper section going off to the the left, so when Gerry said this it rung true, for now i am stick to what i have always thought and that like you have stated above is what the guidebook descriptions describe and the big wide gully is Central and like you say it does have an ice pitch after steepening snow on the left.

Maybe someone who has climbed a lot longer and knows the crag a lot better than us lot can add some input?

I did spend five weekends in a row up there this year so know the crag a little.
Gerry_Doncaster - on 08 Apr 2013
In reply to Ken Shewry: I may not have been winter climbing for long but I have been reliably informed which gully is Central Gully by very experienced winter climbers. Again, I can't stress enough that the wide open broad gully is not Central Gully. Central Gully is a recognised Grade I/II winter climb. With the best will in the world the wide open broad gully is not even Grade I. I have climbed Central Gully then descended the wide open broad gully en canard. You wouldn't be able to do that on a graded winter route, well I certainly wouldn't with my limited winter climbing experience.
Wesley Orvis - on 08 Apr 2013
In reply to Gerry_Doncaster:

Bollocks mate, the wide open gully is harder than Central/Left Branch whatever you want to call it, after the initial ice pitch it is a piece of piss and less of an angle than the wide one and one of the easiest gully's i have ever done, i have descended lots of grade 1 gully's and it's a lot harder than Cust's and Left and right Parallel too and Tarn Crag Gully no.2 thinking of it, i have been up and down the wide open gully at least 15 to 20 times and is no easier than most other grade 1 gullies, in fact most people i have taken on it aswell as other gully's on Browncove have had the same opinion.
Wesley Orvis - on 08 Apr 2013
In reply to Gerry_Doncaster:

I might add i remember the day you climbed it and it was in awful condition, i wouldn't have gone near it unless i was some kind of turf hater.
Gerry_Doncaster - on 08 Apr 2013
In reply to Wesley Orvis: If you think that wide open gully is Grade I you clearly don't know what a Grade I winter route is. Stick to the climbing wall.
A Mountain Journey - on 08 Apr 2013
In reply to Gerry_Doncaster:
The first of the photos in todays blog show the gully in question as climbed by us today.
That is grade 1 ground all day:http://mark-mountainjourneys.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/winter-skills-refresher-day-monday-8th.html

Remember, grade 1 ground is 'a straightforward snow gully around 45 degrees, or easy angled ridges'
Wesley Orvis - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Bingers:

Cheers Mark just what i thought, and as someone who's qualified i would rather listen to you then Gerryatric, if Striding Edge is grade 1 ground then the wide gully definitley is, Gerry you don't seem to know very much at all just as you winter experience and log book would make me believe. Although i am open of the gulleys names been correct or incorrect, but the wide gully is defo grade 1 ground from anyones book, regardless of it's name.

Stick to the single pitch climbing Gerry it suits you, by the way was you in the Young Ones? As you remind me of Neil!
Wesley Orvis - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Gerry_Doncaster:
> (In reply to Wesley Orvis) If you think that wide open gully is Grade I you clearly don't know what a Grade I winter route is. Stick to the climbing wall.

Gerry if i climbed winter routes in the state you do there wouldn't be much turf left in the lakes!!!! oh yes and your log book contains one winter route Central Gully, update this or i ain't listening to one other word you say about winter climbing.

DefenderKen on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Wesley Orvis:

Well said Wesley.

And to Gerry, plenty of people descend winter I's and II's such as number 4 and Ledge Route on Nevis.....I've done both (up) and number 4 gully is no steeper than central.

In fact I only had one walking axe and just plunged all of number 4 except the cornice, whereas I was glad of my two fly's in the conditions we had on Central.

Unfortunately it is hearsay like this that has caused confusion.....rather than a scientific based fact.....though I appreciate nothing in climbing can ever be classed as scientific!

DefenderKen on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to A Mountain Journey:

Agreed, and nice photo's / blog. :-)
stuart58 - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Ken Shewry: can anyone on here talk about the conditions on brown cove crags im off up there tomorrow

Wed

A Mountain Journey - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to stuart58: If you have a look at the blog i posted on here (above) it'll show conditions for yesterday. Still cold high up today so unlikely to be much change. Some unstable windslab around the base of Left Parallel gully. Not sure what either of those gullies are like higher up as we didn't climb them. Further rightwards in the cove we found better snow. Some really nice ice formations around the base of the crags, gave good sport.
wercat on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Gerry_Doncaster:
being over assertive might indicate you haven't seen enough of the variability of conditions within the official grades. In the group of climbers I started out with, some of whom had decades of experience including alpine, the test description for grade I was "not something a walker would normally do unless he had aspirations to do something harder than walking"
wercat on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to wercat:
obviously that was in the days before grade criteria had to be spelt out checklist-style

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