/ Routes you must do (from VD to E2)
Although I don't have alot of experience - I would think that Left Unconquerable at Stanage has got to be a contender for E1, and maybe Finale Groove on Boulder Ruckle for HVS ???
I'd be amazed if any grit route got anywhere near such a list. Are you really suggesting Left Unconquerable is one of the two best E1s in the UK?
VD - Grooved Arete, Tryfan
HVD - Pedestal Route, Roaches
S - Crack and Corner, Roaches
HS - Main Wall, Cyrn Las
VS - 'F' Route - Gimmer
HVS - Great Western, Almscliff
E1 - Cool for Cats, Stennis Head
E2 - Midshipman, Birchen Edge
He didn't, to be fair, even specify the uk ;) I suspect worldwide all of them (or as near as makes no difference) are abroad.
In the UK, tricky, there's a few routes which always seem to crop up in best of the grade threads - things like Archangel at E3, stuff like Saxon, Left Wall and so on at E2, but I suspect personally that if more people climbed on them and therefore extolled their virtues half of the routes would be in Scotland really.
I don't think I've enough experience of anything beyond about E1 really, too many classics yet to be done, but if pushed I'd say that Superdirect is still one of the best E1s I've done and that Bludgers/Revelation is the same at HVS. But I'm sure there are at least a dozen and more likely a hundred choices of equal merit.
Would it even get into the top 200? Doubtful.
In the UK, of the limitd stuuf I've done.
VD - Cuillin Ridge Traverse
S - Avernus
HS - Integrity
VS - South Face Direct
HVS - Formula 1/Great North Road
E1 - Coronation Street/Superdirect/Jack the Ripper
E2 - Not enough experience
> VD - Cuillin Ridge Traverse
The clear winner!
VS - Eliminate A, The File
HVS - Riders On The Storm, Bacthelor's Left Hand, Scavenger
E1 - Central Buttress (Scafell), Astral Stroll
E2 - Left Wall, Elegy
And yes let's keep it UK - so I at least have a chance of doing some of them ;-)
> I'd be amazed if any grit route got anywhere near such a list. Are you really suggesting Left Unconquerable is one of the two best E1s in the UK?
I've included quite a few grit routes in my list. Reflecting back on all the climbing I've done which in the last few years has been all around the UK, grit provided some of the most intense, indelible experiences.
I think it is a fundamental law of nature that you can't climb VS until you can climb The File. It is a 'must do' route in the literal sense that every VS climber must do it. Batchelor's Left Hand throws more climbing at the HVS leader than a hundred routes on big crags. Each move is challenge of either strength, stamina, technique or boldness, usually many at the same time. I spent a summer climbing routes on big crags and then came back to the grit and climbed Elegy. It was so intense that my head nearly exploded.
Much of the time I hate grit, it's annoying because it's conditionsy, has horrible sandbag cracks, requires stacks of confidence which I find comes and goes without reason, and the ground is always there just below waiting to break your ankles. But reflecting back, it has provided many of the most intense climbing experiences I have had.
I agree, I think it's better to keep Scotland separate from England and Wales in these lists, as really all the best stuff is in Scotland. It has the best mountains, and it has the best sea cliffs at Pabbay and Mingulay (not been yet, but it's obvious).
Diff - Commando Ridge
V Diff - Heaven Crack
Severe - Troutdale Pinnacle
Hard Severe - Craig Ddu Wall
VS - Eagle Front
Hard VS - Moonraker
E1 - Astral Stroll
E2 - Shrike
E3 - West Buttress Eliminate
They are all must dos...
E2 - Shrike, sacre coeur (runs and hides from Jon...), Redspeed (deserves WAY more ascents than it gets) & Resolution Direct.
Five Finger Exercise and The Rasp(if grit gets on it)
E1 - First Slip has some v good climbing on it, Headline, Rock Idol, The Sarclet Pimpernel, Rock Dancer, The Indy 500, The Strait Gate, Whit's End Direct
HVS - assassin (gower), Riders on the storm, Scavenger (Gogarth),
VS - Delgado (lundy), Pigott's Climb (hardest VS in the country...!),
P1 of Rap, The File (if grit's allowed).
> sacre coeur (runs and hides from Jon...)
You can run but you can't hide. Are you insane, or a masochist?
I do think it's a compelling route, but it hurt my feet so much, and the whole place is creepy and weird (but very unique and atmospheric). Plus the way the route tales off into vegetation, yet doesn't actually get any easier...and the fact that the walk *out* is up an incredibly steep hill...there are so many things wrong with that route, but the foot pain is the real killer.
I wasn't really blown away by RD. While Main Cliff the best bit of Gogarth, this route didn't really have the Main Cliff feel for me and the crag doesn't seem to excel at E2. Scavenger is proper good and the E3s I've done are amazing, but the E1s and E2s don't quite make it. I reckon Atlantis/True Moments/Freebird is the best Gogarth E2.
Grit is allowed and Colin is wrong.
You're conflating quality of experience with quality of routes. I might have had a particularly intense experience climbing The File, but much of that was down to my relationship with the route. There was a thread a while back about your 10 best climbing experiences, which is a very different question to the 10 best routes you've climbed. On that basis, I can't see any grit routes getting anywhere near a list of the best routes at any grades. At least not one that was compiled by any sane person.
I agree with you about Scotland though. I mean everyone knows that Prophecy Of Drowning is the best E2 in the universe, don't they? Although there's probably some E1s at Fairhead that could run the best of Scotland close, aren't there?
Funny you should mention the file (because although I'm solid now on VS, and starting to cut my teeth on HVS) I still keep thinking I must go and pay my dues at Higgar.
It's probably one of those routes that everyone talks about, and once you've done it you can casually say "Ah yeh, done that, cool route" - I would imagine along the lines of Goliath's Groove.
Also although I have no real experience to talk of there is something about the whole Peak Grit thing.
> You're conflating quality of experience with quality of routes.
I'm not conflating them, they are not separate concepts. A high quality route is one which generates high quality experiences, it's not formula of length*number of moves at technical grade*rock solidity score etc. While you might have a personal climbing experience that doesn't follow the trend for that route (for example, you might have an amazing time repeatedly falling off Sacre Coeur) that isn't what generated my suggestions. The experience I had on the routes was I think (and of course there is guesswork here) pretty standard fare for the routes in question. Amazing experiences because they're amazing routes.
The File is on there for a different reason. The File is the 'must do' because it keeps grades, climbers' egos, and the notion that climbing should be fun in check.
Never been, must go.
HS - Main Wall or Right Angle
VS - Old Man of Stoer
HVS - Saxon
E1 - Devil's Slip
They're not orthogonal, but some of the best climbing experiences are so for personal reasons that won't resonate with other people. It's reasonable to say that some aspects of the experience are likely to be shared between people (for example the fact that Jack The Ripper finishes right at the summit of a very cool mountain makes it undeniably a better route), but others won't. Grit lends itself far more to the latter. Take your experience on Archangel. It sounds like it meant way more to you than 10 metres of bobbins laybacking had any right to.
Take any grit route I've done and I'll give you several non-grit routes i've done that are better.
VD - I'd suggest either the Cuillin Ridge Traverse, or, if you'd prefer a climb rather than a huge scramble with some climbing on it, Cioch Nose at Applecross. However, the correct answer is actually Crypt Route on Bidean nam Bian, for sheer hilarity.
S - Ardverikie Wall or Eagle Ridge.
HS - Integrity on Sron na Ciche.
VS - Shangri La on Sron na Ciche. Though I suspect I'll say Fionn Buttress once I get round to doing it.
My opinion isn't worth anything on grades above this, so I'll stop there.
VS - Troutdale Pinnacle
> They're not orthogonal, but some of the best climbing experiences are so for personal reasons that won't resonate with other people.
And I acknowledge that. One has to try to consider the 'average experience' of climbing the route in question. Indeed 'the route' is not even a thing in itself that has quality except in some mundane sense of whether the rock's solid and the difficulty is maintained at a set level if climbed competently; without the experience of climbers it's not really a route, it's just some rock.
I disagree. Those who climb grit routes are sharing similar experiences which relate as completely to the rock as the experiences of climbers on longer routes in more spectacular locations. What generates the experience on a route like Elegy is the shape of the rock: where the holds and gear appear, and more importantly, where they don't.
But the Archangel can't be judged on its appearance to the casual passer by. It can only be judged through the experience of climbing it and those who have taken the trouble tend to describe it in very different terms to those you have chosen. Who are we to believe?
As much as the best grit routes will deliver fantastic experiences to almost everyone who climbs, there will always be some philistines who look at the size of the canvas and the grandness of the gallery in which it is displayed, rather than seeing what is painted on it.
By the way, shouldn't you be climbing?
> VS - Troutdale Pinnacle
It was V Diff when I did it!
> It was V Diff when I did it!
And I'm sure it's only severe now
Arf. Nice soundbyte. You're wrong, but that's a very eloquent way of being wrong.
VD: Rappel Wall - Wilton 3.
S: Fingernail, Wilton 1.
HS: 999, Wilton 1.
VS: Samarkand, Anglezarke.
HVS: Terror Cotta, Anglezarke.
E1: Central Route, Wilton 1.
E2: Golden Tower, Anglezarke.
E3: Wilton Wall, Wilton 2.
> Arf. Nice soundbyte. You're wrong, but that's a very eloquent way of being wrong.
Haha. Truth is, most of the time grit's a load of big wrinkly saggy bollocks. Just sometimes everything comes together and it's magic.
Me thinks you need to climb outside of Lancs quarries
I tried that once... Didn't like it. :|
I've just moved back to the area. Not got much love for the quarries ...yet
Actually, I'd replace Avernus (although it's excellent) with Ardverikie Wall, which is clearly much better. Severe's a bit of a crap grade though really, at least at what I've done.
HS: Right Angle, Main Wall.
VS: Eliminate A, Little Brown Jug, Blue Sky.
HVS: Golden Slipper.
E1: Rock Dancer.
> Severe's a bit of a crap grade though really, at least at what I've done.
Looking through my logbook, I sort of know what you mean - I think about the best I've done is Black Hawk Hell Crack.
But there are plenty on the to-do list: Avalance / Red Wall / Longlands, Troutdale Pinnacle, Christmas Curry, Cioch West, Punsters Crack, Gillercombe Buttress...
Yes I agree, Black Hawk Hell Crack is ace as it Christmas Curry. I managed to get lost (I say I did but it was my partner really) on Troutdale Pinnacle - ridiculous!
from what I've done over the years
VD - Souwester Slabs on Arran
S - Devils Slide, Lundy
HS - Main Wall, Cryn Las
MVS - Eagles Nest Ridge, Napes
VS - Great Slab, Cloggy
HVS - Dream of White Horses, Gogarth
E1 - The Needle, Shelterstone
E2 - Prophesy of Drowning, Pabbay
and look - no grit!
Best routes I've done:
VD: Sou'wester Slabs, Cioch Nose (Applecross)
S: January Jigsaw, Orginal Route (Raven's Crag, Langdale)
HS: Ardverekie Wall
VS: Spartan Slab, South Ridge Direct
HVS: Bludgers Revelation, Arch Deacon, Dream
E1: Whit's End Direct, Needle
E2: Shibboleth, U-Ei
E3: Voyage of Faith, Endolphin Rush
E4: Mother's Pride
VD to VS - any of the classics on Stanage
HS - Right Angle
HVS - Moonraker & Cemetry Gates
E1 - Coronation Street & Cenotaph Corner
E2 - Left Wall & Mercury
E3 - Dreadnought & Soul Sacrifice
VD: Cuillin Ridge
HVD: Answer Crack, Dovestones
S: Ardverikie Wall
HS: Main Wall, Cyrn Las or Tophet Wall, Gable
VS: Fionn Buttress, Carnmore
HVS: Bullroar (not done it but ...)
E1: The Needle, Shelterstone or The Grooves, Cyrn Las
E2: Saxon, Scafell or Shibboleth, Buchaille Etive Mor
From those that I have done with the caveats that I have climbed lots on Grit and very few E numbers:
VD Grooved Arete, Tryfan
HVD Heather Wall, Froggatt
S Balcony Buttress, Stanage Edge
HS Central Groove, The Dewerstone & Nasal Buttress, Dovestones Edge
VS Lost Horizon, Baggy Point & Inkerman Groove, Chudleigh
HVS Emotional Dyslexia, Shorn Cliff & Renaissance, Baslow Edge
E1 Tools You Can Trust, Greator Rocks & Motorcade, Froggatt
E2 Ratbag, Froggatt
(I'd include Shangrila, Baggy Point as borderline VD/ HVD as thats what I thought it should be as well).
My suggestions from the routes I've done:
E2 - Mousetrap, Gogarth. Centra Pillar, Esk Buttress
E1 - The Grooves, Cyrn Las. Satan's Slip, Lundy
HVS - Hell's Kitchen, Fairhead. DOWH
VS - Haste Not, White Ghyll. Armorican, Craig Caerfai
HS - Creagh Dhu Wall, Tremadog. Diedre Sud, Mowing Word
I've never understood the seemingly mythical status accorded to WBE. To me (and to Crew?), that's exactly what it is - an eliminate, a series of rather disjointed pitches linked. To be fair, the whole is more than the sum of its parts... so maybe two star? But surely not three.
I'll admit, Walsh's Groove has well-nigh everything - history, horror (what you first view it) and the sneakiest technique imaginable for slithering through the crux but... it's one pitch among five or six
I'd take WBE out at E3 and put in Cemetery Gates at HVS/E1 - history, stunning positions, (relatively) easy climbing...
someone's got to mention suspension flake. I'm hoping to flash it on Tuesday, it'll be my first VS. So may as well be one of the best :-)
It's good but short lived :)!
Up there must be Rock Idol at E1?
Lucky Strike or Bon Voyage at E2?
Heart of Darkness/New Morning finish E1 - better positions and more exposed than riders.
For an adventure Pigs on the Wing at HVS provides an outing!
Yes I have just revisited Pembroke.
Central Groove at Dewerstone HS?
Little Brown Jug at Bosigran VS?
VD -Commando Ridge (Bosigran)
S -January Jigsaw (Buachaille)
HS -Main Wall (Cyrn Las)
VS -Blue Sky (Saddle Head)
HVS -Heart of Darkness (Mowing Word)
> I've never understood the seemingly mythical status accorded to WBE. To me (and to Crew?), that's exactly what it is - an eliminate, a series of rather disjointed pitches linked. To be fair, the whole is more than the sum of its parts... so maybe two star? But surely not three.
But the climbing is superb. A long direct route right up the West Buttress. Although you can escape onto an easier route at every stance once you are on the pitch the route is no eliminate. West Buttress Direct would be a better name. I did it earlier in the year in perfect conditions. I was pretty intimidated by the route (some friends who are much better than me had a hard time on it and thought it was closer to E4). Everything went to plan and I found it challenging but amenable. Perhaps the climb plays to my strengths? It is at least as good as Shrike and Jelly Roll, but maybe not quite as good Saxon on Scafell.
Interestingly Alec Sharp didn't agree with you. There are only seven three star routes in his guide and West Buttress Eliminate is one of them. Off the top of my head the list is: Shrike, Great Wall, The Bouldest, White Slab, Great-Bow Combination, West Buttress Eliminate and the Boulder.
> I'll admit, Walsh's Groove has well-nigh everything - history, horror (what you first view it) and the sneakiest technique imaginable for slithering through the crux but... it's one pitch among five or six
> I'd take WBE out at E3 and put in Cemetery Gates at HVS/E1 - history, stunning positions, (relatively) easy climbing...
Slate doesn't have many followers so far...
> I'd be amazed if any grit route got anywhere near such a list.
Valkyrie Roaches VS
Pigs on the wing, when wet and as darkness falls is the most adventurous HVS I've been on. I suspect it is an excellent route outside these conditions! I'd be happy with it for a HVS nomination.
Funny how plenty of Lundy sugestions crop up. Got to say that Satans slip when it's your grade is an experience to look back on. But having done it again, its actually the position/lead potential that gets the stars IMO.
Again, the same for the routes on Stoer (only done 2), they are good fun in a great position, but are they sparkingly brilliant in themselves?
A few of mine from the South west, as its always under represented by Peak centrics:
Hobs lane, Lundy E2
Suicide wall, done in one, Bosi E1
Kinky cowboy, Baggy VS
Right angle, Gurnards HS
Commando ridge VD?
Such a shame I haven't climbed at LSNose, or Berry head, or many other crags down there to be be more unbiased.
Agree. (I suspect that, with the 'Eliminate', Crew was cocking a snook at the previous generation.)
Hey, I'm glad you had a good experience on it. I'm more than happy to disagree with Alec Sharp. I thought the main pitch of Troach was the finest I've yet done on Cloggy (but shamefully haven't done Shrike or White). I thought Great Wall, followed by Pinnacle Arete, followed by The Hand Traverse to be the best combination I've ever done. (It would probably get E3 in the Lakes.) You do wander across grass, loose blocks, etc, but that's part of the experience.
We'll have to disagree re The Gates. Interestingly, as with Brown and Whillans, my two ascents were 33 years apart! Still loved it.
P.S. Sorry, Mark, don't mean to be hijacking your (excellent) thread.
You'd rate Great Wall as E3? I always thought it was meant to be solid E4
He didn't he said it would "probably get E3 in the Lakes", and he's correct.
It's pushing it to call it Welsh E4, certainly bottom end of the grade. It's nowhere near as hard as Resurrection or even Weasels Rip My Flesh. I did Great Wall and Troach on successive days and thought Troach was easily as hard.
> It's pushing it to call it Welsh E4, certainly bottom end of the grade. It's nowhere near as hard as Resurrection or even Weasels Rip My Flesh. I did Great Wall and Troach on successive days and thought Troach was easily as hard.
Thanks, maybe it's not just a pipe dream after all! So Troach probably E3?
I don't know what you mean? ;-)
Impossible thread but fun anyway.
Square fave or ardverekie for Vd
Benny for S or Integrity on Lundy
Main wall for Hs but honourable mention of right angle
DOWH for VS
Left wall or Strand for E2
Cemetery gates for HVS
Bit stuck at E1
Vd Amphitheatre buttress
HS Main Wall
E2 Central Buttress
> VD: Rappel Wall - Wilton 3.
> S: Fingernail, Wilton 1.
> HS: 999, Wilton 1.
> VS: Samarkand, Anglezarke.
> HVS: Terror Cotta, Anglezarke.
> E1: Central Route, Wilton 1.
> E2: Golden Tower, Anglezarke.
> E3: Wilton Wall, Wilton 2.
Hmmm... these all appear to be in Lancashire; which s oxymoronic given the thread title - no?
HVS Suicide Wall, Cratcliffe Tor. On the basis that its the best HVS on God's own rock. Simple.
E1 Debauchery High Tor. Easy peasy if you're confident, great position high above the A6, on the best UK outcrop.
E2 This is where it gets really difficult to choose... so: Elegy, The Roaches: exquisite moves on perfect rock or Fern Hill Cratcliffe Tor: out there, with perfect protection.
Every time!!! Do I detect some anti-Lancashire bias?
Is Areverikie Wall really that grade? If so I might be tempted out of retirement.
Troutdale pinnalce MS when i did it, although MS in the old book book and S in the new one.
Diff- Giant's Crawl
vdiff- Needle Ridge
Severe- Troutdale Pinnacle
VS- Engineer's Slab
Love the photo of pigs, you obviously knew more than us, we didn't take head torches, but did manage to complete, my second did the final half of the second pitch in the dark - well it was dark under the roofs. I toast my pint and knowingly nod.
I think all (or at least most!) of the routes on MrsSoupedePoisson's list have managed to lose a grade in the wash somewhere!
Ardverikie Wall is listed as HS. But I reckon it's Severe really, and know others who do too - certainly a soft touch at HS. Definitely a contender for a must do route!
A few of my favourites...
VDiff - Cioch Nose, or Observatory Ridge
Severe - January Jigsaw, Tall Paul (Sheigra)
HS - Ardverikie Wall, Dives/ Better Things
VS - Spartan Slab, Jamie Jampot (Suidhe Biorach)
HVS - Centurion (although I suspect The Bullroar might be even better), Gob (Carnmore), Secretaries Super-Direct (Polldubh)
E1 - Haven't done so many of these, but Engineer's Crack on the Buachaille I thought gave a great pitch of climbing
Good list. If you liked Engineer's Crack I thought the HVS corner right of it (Dingle) as good if not better.
Thanks, might have to give it a look at some point. :)
> E2 Ratbag, Froggatt
You need to climb elsewhere! Ratbag isn't even the best E2 at Froggatt, and Froggatt's a second rate crag even by gritstone standards. Actually, it's a second rate crag even by Curbar standards.
> You need to climb elsewhere! Ratbag isn't even the best E2 at Froggatt
In fact, it is even the best E2 on the slab left of Tody's Wall, Grip is way better!
> Peapod or Great North Road would be good shouts at Hard VS.
The two top grit HVSs are Batchelor's Left Hand and Suicide Wall. I personally think BLH has it, mainly because it has a technical start and a bold slab amongst all the the thuggery - but they are closely matched. I have actually never done Peapod and I don't see any reason to given how vile I find that style of climbing. I have done The Trident at Wimberry so I don't feel any obligation to squirm around in that one, nor in Tower Chimney, when I know exactly what it'll be like, and what a complete waste of time and energy I'll find it.
> The two top grit HVSs are Batchelor's Left Hand and Suicide Wall.
I think you might be right - at least, I think they are the only ones I seem to have done over and over again.
Kind of hard to compare with Pigs on the Wing, or Plexus, or Sexilegs (Baggy), or Mandrake (Quayfoot) etc, etc.
Not to mention all the great HVSs that occur to me that now all seem to be E1!
I always think ‘must do’ routes is a different concept from ‘good’ routes. For instance, nothing at Pembroke can conceivably be a must-do route. A must-do route is one you can’t understand something about British climbing without doing (putting it ridiculously pretentiously, but I don’t have the time to express it more sensibly).
With that in mind:
VD – Cuillin traverse (obviously), Avalanche/Red Wall/ Longlands (this is how they did it in 1909).
Severe – Right Angle, Main Wall (again, obviously)
VS – Eliminate A, The File
HVS Dream of White Horses, Suicide Wall
E1 – Coronation Street, Cenotaph Corner
E2 – Strand, Quietus (this is how they did it in the 1950’s. Only ascents with jammed pebbles for runners count, I’m afraid).
I’m not counting Scotland, of course, since as someone said they have all the best routes anyway; it’s just that they’re covered in water for most of the year and you have to drive miles to get to them, and when you do there are midges everywhere and half the natives hate you. Or Ireland, where most of the above points apply and anyway there’s not so much any essential routes as one essential crag (F*** H*** of course).
VD - Spiral Stairs - Cromlech
HS - Main Wall - Cyrn Las, Mutiny Crack - Burbage
VS - Black Slab - Stanage, Rap - CHelen, Direct Route - Mot
HVS - Dream - Gogarth, Congo Corner - Stanage, Suicide Wall - Cratcliff,
E1 - Surplomb - Cheedale, Debauchery - HTor,
E2 - Left Wall - Cromlech, Regents St - Millstone, Billy Whiz - LField, Wuthering - Stanage, Sacre Coeur - BChurch, Datius - HTor
E2/3 - The Moon - Yellow Wall
> With that in mind:
You must do these two routes in order to understand that two routes of radically different levels of difficulty can still be the same grade in UK trad.
Exactly, although The Knight's Move and The Vice might give a still better education on that point. I didn't mention Sentinel Crack!
> I always think ‘must do’ routes is a different concept from ‘good’ routes. For instance, nothing at Pembroke can conceivably be a must-do route. A must-do route is one you can’t understand something about British climbing without doing
I don't understand what Martin Boysen was doing on Mur Cenhinen in the late 60s and that will be because I've never done Goneril or Cordelia.
Agreed about Fairhead!
Aoife, Railroad, Midnight cruiser, An Bealach Runda, Blind Pew, Hurricane ...
If you climb E1/E2 then it doesn't get better than Fairhead
> E1 - Surplomb - Cheedale, Debauchery - HTor,
I don't think it's conceivable that the two best E1s could be on Peak lime. I can see that Darius stands up as a pitch of national significance, being so bloody big and sustained, but High Tor is a semi-urban roadside lump of polished, slightly chossy limestone, it doesn't represent the best of what UK (or England and Wales) trad has to offer. But its location/history does ensure its classic status. And Sirplumb is just a fun, albeit chossy jug-romp. The seacliffs do this so much better!
Yeah, but by that token every route is a voyage of discovery. I did say I hadn't the time or inclination to express what I meant precisely, but you still know what I mean if you try.
Ah - thanks, forgot:
E2 - Scoop Wall.
I think that on your basis Central Buttress (Scafell, obviously) should be on the list. For a pre-war route it's completely bonkers (even in its old state, with the chockstone).
I think you misread the thread title. It's not about the most laughably overrated bits of polished roadside choss in the UK.
Suicide Wall, Idwal, too.
> I think that on your basis Central Buttress (Scafell, obviously) should be on the list. For a pre-war route it's completely bonkers (even in its old state, with the chockstone).
Great photo of Herford on it, here: http://landandsky.wordpress.com/2010/07/22/central-buttress-shoot-scafell/
Oh - and ......
E1 - Shrike
and HVS - Riders on the Storm and The Arrow, and and etc etc
> I think that on your basis Central Buttress (Scafell, obviously) should be on the list. For a pre-war route it's completely bonkers (even in its old state, with the chockstone).
That is: pre-First World War. (BTW, saw Stanley Jeffcoat's war memorial at Great Longstone yesterday).
Oh go on then....
V Diff - Little Chamonix (history and a superb multi-pitch cragging expereince). Surely this is a route that everyone does actually do and for a very good reason.
Severe - Christmas Curry (for a similar reason to the above)
Hard Severe - Main Wall, Tophet Wall (for the full experience I recommend doing them on consecutive days as I did many moons go)
VS - The Direct on the Mot, Haste Not (shamefully only recently done this, wild at VS).
HVS - DOWH
Haven't truly done enough E1/2's to say which are must do's.
CB - yes, good call, actually. Though hampered by the fact it doesn't really exist any more.
Great photo - funny, you'd have thought Herford led the flake, wouldn't you? Why didn't he, I wonder? And if he didn't how come he always gets the main credit?
I know - both shocking crags - definitely not worth going to under any circumstances.
Yes, perhaps. It doesn't quite have the cachet, though. Bit of an outlier, somehow.
>Surely this is a route that everyone does actually do and for a very good reason.
Next to the road and 200 yards from the Shepherd's caff, presumably.
> The Arrow*
Laughably overrated polished seaside choss.
*I haven't actually done it, I am just indulging in a spot of gratuitous St Govans bashing. I'm also quite sure that it's probably not at all chossy, although some of Govans certainly is, so who knows, maybe it is. I bet the top's a bit chossy.
No - you're right - its another shocking crag.
Best to stay up in the hills I reckon.
The Arrow's OK, actually. But 'must-do' - jeez. Some people just don't get it. Do it if you want. Or not. It's just like a hundred other Pembroke E1s; it'll be nice enough.
> No - you're right - its another shocking crag.
It's no match for Mother Carey's, Stackpole, Bosherston Head, etc etc etc. It's just slightly nearer the car and not tidal, on the basis of which it has become super-classic.
I'm sure Herford led the crux layback up the Great Flake, and then belayed on the top of it (where he is in the picture) to bring the others up. Who then led through to Jeffcoat's Ledge. Herford then went into the lead again.
JCM, I agree with you RE pembroke, though if the list went up to E4 or 5 I think the tables would turn pretty rapidly.
Maybe but actually I do think it's one of those rights of passage routes for leaders and seconds alike. The move off the block, the saddle belay, the ridiculously steep looking final wall. All make it a route like few others at the grade.
> The Arrow's OK, actually. But 'must-do' - jeez. Some people just don't get it. Do it if you want. Or not. It's just like a hundred other Pembroke E1s; it'll be nice enough.
I'm just off for a trip to Pembroke, so I shouldn't be talking the place down. But I do find that limestone generally can lack character, the routes are often samey and aren't memorable the way routes on other rock-types can be.
There certainly are 'must do' routes in Pembroke though. Riders and Deep Space would be the two really stick out for me. I also think Brazen Buttress is pretty much up there as a big E2 pitch like Left Wall, Darius, The Strand, Regent Street - and I love the atmosphere of Mother Carey's, sea cliff cragging at its very finest. The speed with which the tide fills it up is part of its appeal - I wonder how many guidebooks and fleeces/windproof jackets its claimed? Last time I witnessed some hilarious rescue antics...
Time for some more Devon routes.
HS: Central Groove: The Dewerstone
VS: Albion & Shamrock: Lundy
HVS: Aviation. Hay Tor
It's a bit of a joke really, an exaggeration of my genuine opinion for fun. I understand how crap grit can seem, but it has a certain magic and depth of character that when you get it, grabs you forever. The fact that it's so small and unadventurous at face value, and thus so frequently derided, only makes it better in the eyes of those who have been grabbed by it.
As for the slime, it's just quite bland climbing, pulling on holds. Wonderful somewhere like Mother Carey's but when it's polished and chossy as in the Peak, I'm sorry, it's just crap. High Tor does have extremely good routes, but if you put them in Pembroke they'd be in a much more spectacular setting, much less polished and there'd be about 10,000 of them, all as good. What makes Peak limestone routes classic is their proximity to large cities, the actual routes are mediocre. Climbing ludicrously polished limestone by the side of the road is never going to be the best climbing in the UK. We have so much more to offer.
To get you around the country (with a slight Scottish tint,) to experience the wide variety of trad:
VDiff- Commando Ridge and Cioch Nose
Severe- Troutdale Pinnacle and Eagle Ridge
HS- Integrity and Tophet Wall
VS- Fionn Buttress and South Ridge Direct
HVS- Dream of White Horses and Centurion
E1- The Needle and The Pause
On a semi serious note imho a must do route needs a number of qualities - one of which is 'it goes there - at that grade - you must be joking' type of of thing going on.
In my experience you can get that on quite a few crags irrespective of how far away from the road they are.
It's the only decent line in the area. It would be good if it were three times the size but I agree, it looks better than it climbs. North Devon does this kind of thing much better.
As to your grit magic, I think there's magic in every sort of climbing if you take the time to appreciate it. Given that all rock types are equally magical, it comes back to more concrete factors like exposure, adventurousness etc. where the grit is sadly lacking. Ergo, grit is shit.
True, but crashing waves or a couple of thousand feet of steep mountainside down to the valley floor underneath add a lot to the experience for me. I know that some people think it's irrelevant, but for 'must do' I would say one of the qualities is setting.
But Pembroke is totally different from all other UK limestone, having endless fabulous routes of enormous character (just back!). But you are right about The Arrow and St Govans; St Govans is to Pembroke what, say, Lawrencefield is to the Peak.
But this just underlines my misgivings by setting a blanket stipulation that if a crag is roadside then its routes are not must do.
Both Billy Whiz and Scoop Wall are classic E2s anywhere I would suggest?
> But Pembroke is totally different from all other UK limestone, having endless fabulous routes of enormous character (just back!). But you are right about The Arrow and St Govans; St Govans is to Pembroke what, say, Lawrencefield is to the Peak.
Only if Lawrencefield was way more polished, and not a good option in strong winds...
> But this just underlines my misgivings by setting a blanket stipulation that if a crag is roadside then its routes are not must do.
I agree; Huntsman's Leap is just as close to the road as St Govans - there is no comparison in terms of class.
No, they are good routes in a local context but absolutely nowhere nationally.
But Suspension Flake was voted the best VS in the universe in a magazine poll once, so what does that tell you?
I though Scavenger was quite good, but I could probably name you 50 VSs (including some on grit and maybe even one on Peak limestone) that are better. It certainly didn't make me think that I should be stopping off on the Gower again rather than driving the extra hour to Pembroke.
That's the spirit!
Not true. Magic is a quality only found in certain rocks, and it's strongly related to the frictional properties (but it's not just that, it's also how solid it is and the shape of the holds it forms)
NW Gneiss = Very magic
Black knobbly Rhyolite on Pavey = Magic
Limestone = Considerably less magic, at least in the UK. A big problem is that it loses any magic it starts off with as more and more people climb it, until its so unmagical it's not even worth stopping the car for (see Minus 10, Army Dreamers).
Yes, these things are important, but so is the magic which you've erroneously discounted with your fallacy about all rocks being magic. I mean, this isn't magic for a start:
Well that's the mistake. Because grit has such a high amount of magic, it makes up for lower scores on the other metrics.
I agree. This inescapability makes such a difference to the experience. That's why memorable grit routes tend to be big and bold. Zawns have a feeling of adventure about them, so things like Shape Up, which is a pretty ordinary pitch otherwise, gets an extra something as the only practical escape.
Line helps too, of course, and I think this is the problem with a lot of Pembroke routes. The climbing is nice but rarely follows a compelling feature. Obvious exceptions include Zodiac, Pigs on the Wing and Heart of Darkness but traverses don't quite count somehow. Maybe it's because you can often escape up at some point or by abbing off (although not at high tide, and changes the experience too).
I think the rather dull battleship grey of some Pembroke crags (Saddle Head comes to mind) also counts against them. Trevallen is much whiter and just feels so much more cheerful!
Ok so let’s be serious for a minute.
Obviously one is limited by experience…
Flying Buttress, Cromlech
Grooved Arete, Tryfan,
Crackstone Rib, Wastad
Troutdale Pinnacle, Borrowdale
Main Wall, Cyrn Las
Central Groove, Dewerstone
The Crack, Gimmer
One Step in the Clouds, Tremadog (first VS)
Saxon, Carn Kenidjack
Delstree, Hen Cloud
White Slab, Cloggy
Man of Straw, White Ghyll
Darius, High Tor
Kafoozalem (the best route I’ve ever done)
> But Suspension Flake was voted the best VS in the universe in a magazine poll once, so what does that tell you?
That some people are mental/joking/unbelievably parochial!
But the dull grey Pembroke limestone is usually the best rock - so rough and accomodating that it's easy to forget it's limestone at all!
> But the dull grey Pembroke limestone is usually the best rock - so rough and accomodating that it's easy to forget it's limestone at all!
I always consider Pembroke to be made of something other than limestone. Maybe it's just got more of Jon's 'magic' in it...
> But the dull grey Pembroke limestone is usually the best rock - so rough and accomodating that it's easy to forget it's limestone at all!
I know, and I don't feel the same about slate, or most Welsh or Lakes crags, but maybe it's the combination with (all too often) a grey sky and a grey sea? I just have a bit of a problem with that kind of Pembroke limestone generally - I don't really trust the gear if I'm honest. The Leap is different but on a lot of the flakier buttresses I don't think the gear is as good as many people seem to assume that it is.
But it's always sunny in pembroke! That's one of its biggest attractions - you should have been there yesterday!
Yes, it does require careful gear placement (especially cams) around the knobbles, but the gear is often plentiful.
Yes, when you do get a nut it is often bomber, but the rock is more fall offable.
I wish you would go and do Cordelia so I could compare notes.
"I don't really trust the gear if I'm honest."
Funny you should say that, when I think of Pembroke one thing that comes to mind is slotting in lots and lots of bomber medium wires.
My list would probably be (but could change depending on mood)....
VD - Commando Ridge, Bosigran
S - Black & Tans, Roaches
MS - Troutdale Pinnacle, Lakes
HS - Right Angle, Gurnard's Head
VS - Blue Sky, Pembroke or Valkyrie, Roaches or Great Slab, Cloggy
HVS - Saxon, Kenidjack
E0 - Three pebble slab, Froggatt
E1 - Cenotaph Corner, Llanberis or Satan's Slip, Lundy
E2 - Sacre Coeur, Blackchurch
All must do climbs for various reasons, line, history, position
V Diff - Cullin Ridge, Agags Groove,
Severe - Main Wall Cryn Llas, Ardverekie Wall. RHRH Buttress Direct, Troutdale Pinnacle.
VS - Nose Direct (Dinas Mot), Eliminate A, Fionn Buttress,
HVS - DOWH, Rock Idol, Right Unconquerable, Sloth, Centurion, Britomartis, Gob.
E1 - Debauchery, Cenotaph C, Shrike.
E2 - Left Wall, White Slab, Wuthering, Astroll Stroll, Vector
> "I don't really trust the gear if I'm honest."
> Funny you should say that, when I think of Pembroke one thing that comes to mind is slotting in lots and lots of bomber medium wires.
Maybe the cracks are a bit less crozzly than they used to be. Anyway, it was mostly in my head. At the same period I was climbing a lot in Pembroke I was climbing on the culm coast. For some reason I thought the gear was fine there!
VD- Commando Ridge, Quarter Deck
S- Avernus, Doorway
HS- Central Groove, Landslide Victory
VS- Smugglers Slab, Joes Route
HVS- Moonraker, Gates of Eden
E1- Malwhatsit, Mikes Mistake
E2- The Conger
These would be offerings: one single pitch, one multi pitch at each grade.
Diff.??/ Tower Ridge
VDiff. Arrow Route/ Grooved Arete, Tryfan
S. Flake Crack, Kyloe/ Troutdale Pinnacle
HS. Red Pencil Direct/ Tophet Wall
VS. The Night Watch/ Eliminate A
HVS. The Sloth/ Moonraker
E1. Aviation, Haytor/ White Slab, Cloggy
E2. The Strand/ Saxon, Scafell.
Much as I like Lundy , I don't think any of the Slide's routes come near greatness.
If you want a 3 star E1 which seems more than a bit run out, forget Satan's Slip, head up to High Crag and have a go at the Philistine. More like E2 to me but no doubt someone with a cooler head will put me right.
Hmm. I thought Philistine was nice, but Satan's Slip is far more of a must-do.
I beg to differ but, personal choice aside, the OP asked for "must do routes" so while there may be more demanding or even more interesting routes there is no getting away from the fact that the slide is an awesome feature. A bit like the old man of Hoy which would have made it onto my list, but I haven't done it.
I understand. Presumably there's a must do in the Limekiln, but I can only tick the scramble down to its base.
This is getting a bit boring now, but Main Wall on Cyrn Las is the by far the most voted for.
> This is getting a bit boring now, but Main Wall on Cyrn Las is the by far the most voted for.
Does that mean it's the only 'route you must do'?
No. I suspect most of the routes mentioned justifiably qualify for any keen climbers wishlist. Especially the Lancashire treats that I proposed...
> This is getting a bit boring now, but Main Wall on Cyrn Las is the by far the most voted for.
* It is at an accessible grade to all regular climbers.
* It's in Classic Rock which helps ensure traffic.
* Despite a reasonable walk in it is in a popular, well frequented area.
* It has a "big" feel to it, goes through unlikely ground for the grade and has some memorable moves and exciting positions.
* It's on good quality rock.
I'm sure many of the other suggestions in the thread are just as worthy, but because they are on unfashionable or remote crags (at least from the bulk of the climbing community) they do not get the same recognition.
Perhaps interesting to muse on why one I suggested earlier that is undoubtedly a true classic, has no other nominations (Exposure Explosion):
* It is at Ogmore in South Wales which is off the radar of many climbers (who sweep past on their way to the Pembroke honeypots).
* The cliff has a reputation for dubious rock and dangerous tides (although the route itself is relatively solid and not effected by tides).
* It is a traverse, and traveling sideways does not seem to have the same kudos as heading straight up.
* It is a major undertaking at a slightly less amenable grade than Main Wall.
It would be interesting to tot up the nominations and produce a ticklist, but if based on volume of nominations you potentially risk missing off some of the unsung classics for the reasons outlined above.
The best of what iv led
Vdiff- Grooved Arete
Sev- Pendulum Chimney
HS- Tennis Shoe/Robin Hoods Right Hand Buttress Direct/PMC 1
VS- Valkrie/Hargreaves/Apple Arete/Wall End Slab
HVS- Todys Wall/ Three Pebs Slab
> VS - Troutdale Pinnacle
Isn't that severe?
My very traditional pick (south of the border):
HS: Main Wall,
VS: Haste Not, Gimmer Crack, Nose Direct (Mot)
HVS: Sloth, Great Western, Red Edge, Golden Slipper, Cemetery Gates, Peapod, Birdlime Traverse, Overhanging Groove, Plexus
E1: Cenotaph Corner, The Grooves, Nexus, White Slab, Carnage LH, Debauchery
E2: Vector, Troach, Shrike, Carnage, Crossbones, Wombat, Central Pillar
Agag's Groove (vd) is surely a must - for the exposure and situation even if not for the climbing.
Weird, I thought a lot of people didn't even rate it as best VS on the Gower! (That accolade going to Osiris.)
I've only done Osiris and thought it was great, although probably not one of the two best VSes in the UK or anything.
Ha !! From Bolton, any chance ??
HS - Doorpost
VS - Inverted V (only kidding), F Route
HVS - Cemetery Gates
E2/3 - Pull my Daisy
My favorites, I'm sure that they are not everybody's
VD - Flying Buttress (Cromlech),Great Gully
Severe -Avalanche/Red Wall/Longlands,
HS - Right Angle,Main Wall
VS - Pain Pillar,Albion
HVS - Suicide Wall,Heart of Darkness/New Morning
E1 - Superdirect, Debauchery
E2 - Elegy, Red Wall
Probably because it's pants when you compare it with something like DOWH, or Heart of Darkness, or Saxon, or Burn Up etc etc...
ok well I'm off to Pembroke this weekend so will try to get on Heart of Darkness/NM and see what I think...
I did enjoy Innerspace last year although have to admit that's more about the situation than the moves, and the short exit pitch is pants.
Strait Gate was brilliant though, although proper hard at the end (for unfit me, anyway)
I also love the various HVS/E1s on Long Rock at Baggy, but then I'm weak so I like slabs...
Not specifically. I'm sure Centurion/Bullroar on the Ben, or Dragon/Gob on Carnmore are pretty good, but I've not done any of them (alas). And the Great/Bow combination on Cloggy is pretty awesome. But basically if it isn't on a sea cliff or a mountain crag then it'd have to be pretty f*cking incredible to be a realistic contender for the best route at its grade.
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