/ First time at southern sandstone
Hmm. "Easy" and "Southern Sandstone" are not phrases you often find in the same sentence. Many (not me) would argue that "Enjoyable" doesn't belong there either :-)
The trouble is that anything remotely easy has been worn down to vague bumps. Niblick and Unclimbed wall are great routes, but they are both 5b. I wouldn't recommend them for a first visit to sandstone unless you normally climb harder than that.
Zig zag is pretty easy for 5a.
For quite a lot of good, easier SS routes you're much better off going to Bowles or Stone Farm.
I'd start down by the unclimbed wall area. Be prepared not to find it easy but persevere with sound footwork (and clean shoes). Personally, I find the place brilliant for training.
For quite a lot of good, easier SS routes you're much better off going to Bowles or Stone Farm."
what do you call easier?
In case you hadn't guessed I disagree with your statement. Stone farm is badly eroded and in the main short (with about 1/3 the listed climbs being very short). There simply are few good routes under 4c and not many under 5b. Bowles is a bit better but many of the starts are badly eroded on the easier routes and the grades don't take this in to account often. Harrisons is better for routes under 5b than both Stone Farm and Bolwes put together IMO.
> Hmm. "Easy" and "Southern Sandstone" are not phrases you often find in the same sentence. Many (not me) would argue that "Enjoyable" doesn't belong there either :-)
I would agree with your statement based on my last visit
I found that the few routes I tried last time spat me off, I'm hoping my technique has improved a bit over the years.
> I found that the few routes I tried last time spat me off
Unfortunately I can't help you much, as it's a while since I bothered trying the lower grade routes and I don't remember any of them.
If you have a guidebook just choose the routes with 2 and 3 stars that look completely dry and you won't go wrong!
The very best route routes I've done at 5b and under are:
Slab Direct none 5b **
Long Layback none 5a ***
Dark Chimney none 2a ***
St. Gotthard none 4b **
moonlight Arete none 4c ***
Starlight none 4c **
Forester's Wall none 5b **
The Niblick none 5b ***
The Vice none 4c **
Isolated Buttress Climb none 4c ***
Birchden Wall none 5b ***
Spider Wall none 5b **
Grant's Crack none 5a **
Unclimbed Wall none 5b ***
Zig-Zag Wall none 5a ***
A pretty good set of suggestions there.
To the OP (and anyone else) one thing that really does make a difference on sandstone, especially the starts, is having 'properly' clean feet. Most people do now have a piece of carpet and then wipe their feet on it - which of course means that you are now standing on a carpet covered with sand/mud which goes straight back on your rockboots. Or worse those you see who clean their feet on the carpet and then promptly step back onto the ground before getting on the climb. The trick is to place your piece of clean carpet at the foot of the route and stand beside it, clean the first boot, stand that foot on the carpet, clean the second boot, place it on the first hold and off you go.
Cleaning feet properly will not only make the climb easier and more enjoyable for you it will also make the holds last longer.
Hope you enjoy your visit
Thanks to all the advice above, stupidly i forgot my guidebook, so have no idea what I climbed and due to the traffic on the M25 an 1hr 20 journey took 3 hours, finished climbing in the dark ;-)
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