/ First V

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afshapes - on 01 Jan 2014
Hi can I have recommendations for a first V. I'll be heading to Fort William in Feb so anywhere in the surrounding area would be good. Many thanks.
Gibson - on 01 Jan 2014
In reply to afshapes:

Point Five Gully was my first which I found pretty easy. It was big and fat so that did help.
A thin Minus Two on the other hand had me pooing my panties....
In reply to afshapes: Something mixed with decent gear, so a V,6. Menage a Trois was my first V and was for plenty of mates in Glasgow at the time. Decent belays, decent gear particularly on the crux, not too long or sustained, etc etc.

Jamie B - on 01 Jan 2014
In reply to TobyA:

Your mates were all presumably well versed in the arts of Southern Highlands mixed? I reckon MaT would feel significantly harder than the Point to someone who wasn't. I wouldn't recommend anyone a first V without knowing what their track record was.
afshapes - on 01 Jan 2014
In reply to afshapes:

Just looking for ideas really. Not going to taking anyone's advice and then coming back on here saying. .... What the f@@@ was that all about.
Dave Kerr - on 01 Jan 2014
In reply to afshapes:

What IV's have you done and are you more comfortable on ice or mixed?
Michael Gordon - on 01 Jan 2014
In reply to afshapes:

Cutlass on the Ben (overgraded at VI,7 - more like V,6). Gear every metre should you require it. Short route low on the mountain, 2 main pitches of which the crux is the first of these.
Dave Kerr - on 01 Jan 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:
Poor advice to recommend a VI 7 for a first V! Regardless of what grade you think it is the given grade is sure to weigh on the mind.

Edit: A quick check also reveals that 12 out of 15 votes on the logbooks agree with VI.
Post edited at 15:55
afshapes - on 01 Jan 2014
In reply to afshapes:

So I've climbed mostly on South Wales ice falls and gullies on pen y fan. Then last year went up north and climbed ledge route which was a piece of p. I went back up and climbed Green gully which was the biggest route I've done and i had to get used to the run outs but technically it wasn't that challenging. I also climbed right twin which wasn't a I I on my mind.
Dave Kerr - on 01 Jan 2014
In reply to afshapes:

On the basis of that experience I'd say you need a few more IV's under your belt before you try a V.
Murko Fuzz - on 01 Jan 2014
In reply to afshapes:

If you happen to get some good warm-up mileage and conditions are anything like last year, I'd recommend Orion Direct; big, but technically straight forward and bloody brilliant!
Gwilymstarks on 01 Jan 2014
In reply to afshapes:

I too have climbed on Pen Y Fan and South Wales icefalls, all of which are nothing like Grade V on The Ben. Sounds like you are more used ice than for mixed. I accept PyF is not ice but it is not mixed either in the true sense.

Not sure when you climbed Green Gully last season but it was fairly banked out at times last year. Remember it gets IV/3 anyway so would be a big step to V

How about getting some nice Scottish III' and IV's under your belt first.

If things go well, find a route of similar likeness but with a harder grade.

Enjoy your trip
Robert Durran - on 01 Jan 2014
In reply to afshapes:

> So I've climbed mostly on South Wales ice falls and gullies on pen y fan. Then last year went up north and climbed ledge route which was a piece of p. I went back up and climbed Green gully which was the biggest route I've done and i had to get used to the run outs but technically it wasn't that challenging. I also climbed right twin which wasn't a I I on my mind.

It might, perhaps, be irresponsible to recommend any V in V condition without more mileage first.
Murko Fuzz - on 01 Jan 2014
In reply to afshapes:

Good warm up: maybe Central Right Hand or Wendigo on Creag Coire na Ciste to get your eye in. Indicator wall for a 1st V?
andybrown114 - on 01 Jan 2014
In reply to afshapes:

Conditions on the Ben really influence the grade hugely and most of the Vs (indeed most of the routes) are pretty committing. It would be a shame to commit to a long V on the Ben only to find the conditions make it v hard and scary. If you've only done Ledge Route and Green Gulley on the Ben there is a wealth of other great routes at lower grades which will have you grinning from ear to ear. Tower Ridge for instance is always wonderful, North East Buttress is a stiff IV.5 (it gets harder and harder near the top) and a great (long) day out. That said, there are some relatively close to the CIC Hut such as Vanishing Gulley which are pretty straightforward and easy to escape from. Luckily the guidebook gives a fairly good idea of how serious the classic Grade V climbs are so you can make an informed decision. I opted to do some grade Vs elsewhere before having a go at one on the Ben - for instance there are stacks in the Norries - but the first to admit I'm a bit cautious when it comes to pushing my grade!

Just thoughts not recommendations!! Whatever you do, have a great time and stay safe :-)
Michael Gordon - on 01 Jan 2014
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Well that's my recommendation anyway, not necessarily for the OP but someone with say a good few sustained IV,5 mixed routes under their belt. It struck me when I did it that there were no bold sections unlike many V,6 routes, which is surely a good thing when pushing the grade.
afshapes - on 01 Jan 2014
In reply to afshapes:

Thanks all
afshapes - on 01 Jan 2014
In reply to afshapes:

Ok give me a good Iv then
Webster - on 01 Jan 2014
In reply to Gwilymstarks:

> PyF is not ice but it is not mixed either in the true sense.

Not mixed? its as mixed as it gets! ice, snow, rock and lots of turf! if that's not the true sense of mixed I don't know what is! I think what you mean is its not snowed up rock which is a more Scottish style of mixed...

I reply to the OP, I have done allot of my winter in south wales, and like the rock grades, the winter equivalent is very deffinately soft touch, so deffinately more mileage at IV would be recommended, especially IV 5.
climber34neil - on 01 Jan 2014
In reply to afshapes:

The curtain but get up early! Waterfall gully and Italian right hand
ads.ukclimbing.com
Gwilymstarks on 01 Jan 2014
In reply to Webster:

> Not mixed? its as mixed as it gets! ice, snow, rock and lots of turf! if that's not the true sense of mixed I don't know what is! I think what you mean is its not snowed up rock which is a more Scottish style of mixed...

Yeah. exactly. I thought that as I wrote it. PyF is warthog country.
Dave Kerr - on 01 Jan 2014
In reply to afshapes:

> Ok give me a good Iv then

Thompson's Route for a nice, not very committing IV.
BenTiffin - on 01 Jan 2014
In reply to afshapes:
Hi andrew. Mine was .5 after green and comb the day before. .5 was very fat with lovely snow ice, I have since done zero, smiths, and quickstep on the ben and would defo recommend .5 first. However, keep an eye out on conditions and the logbooks on here before heading up.

Btw, comb was great at IV.
Post edited at 17:06
cannichoutdoors - on 01 Jan 2014
In reply to afshapes:
From personal experience, some short routes with not much commitment to practice your steep ice technique might be:-

Alladin's Mirror Direct in Cairngorms. IV,4, has a good steep section.

Quartzvein Scoop on Beinn Udlaidh. IV,4, but requires a good freeze.

White Shark on Aonach Mor. IV,5 with a nice ice section which will allow you to practice placing screws halfway up. If that isn't formed, do Left Twin at III,4.

Patey's Route, Coire an t-Sneachda, Cairngorms. IV,5. Good steep sections with easier bits in between. I would suggest waiting for ice on the top slab.

But any 2 or 3 star IV on the Ben in good conditions will be a good stepping stone to the classic Vs. Central RH, Wendigo, White Line, Comb, Thompson's, Italian RH all have good reputations. Really, just walk-in with the guidebook and pick what looks in condition, without loaded exit slopes or a cornice.
Post edited at 17:12
Exile - on 01 Jan 2014
In reply to cannichoutdoors:
Although I did Mirror Direct in the same season I first did Point Five, Hadrian's Wall and Orion Direct and in the conditions we did it Mirror Direct was the steepest of them all.

The following are purely my own opinion - I don't know the op so can't, and won't, judge his / her ability - but for somebody who is ready for V I'd say if you're reasonable on rock, (HVS ish?) and get a good day, (ie you're not having to worry about nav'ing in or out in the clag / dark,) then Savage Slit for mixed. For ice I'd wait until Point five is in good nick and go for that.
Post edited at 19:52
Michael Gordon - on 02 Jan 2014
In reply to Exile:

Hadrian's is definitely soft for the grade, so not a bad one to go for.
In reply to Jamie B:

> Your mates were all presumably well versed in the arts of Southern Highlands mixed? I reckon MaT would feel significantly harder than the Point to someone who wasn't.

I suppose, but I would hope people planning on doing V have done some IVs (inc. IV,5s and IV,6s) before trying. Doing a reasonably protected mixed climb doesn't seem a bad idea for any new grade as you're far less likely to hurt yourself falling off.
Exile - on 02 Jan 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Belays are better on Point Five thought.
Michael Gordon - on 02 Jan 2014
In reply to Exile:

yeah I don't think they're bad on Hadrian's though, provided the ice is good.
CurlyStevo - on 02 Jan 2014
In reply to TobyA:

> I suppose, but I would hope people planning on doing V have done some IVs (inc. IV,5s and IV,6s) before trying. Doing a reasonably protected mixed climb doesn't seem a bad idea for any new grade as you're far less likely to hurt yourself falling off.

But mixed climbing is massively different to ice. I personally much prefer ice and because the grades vary so much on ice I don't think your point about trying some IV,5 (or IV,6) before V,5 really matters soo much. Its more important to get plenty of mileage in at grade IV on the type of routes you aspire to do at grade V.
CurlyStevo - on 02 Jan 2014
In reply to Exile:

Its a known soft touch but 'the pumpkin' is a reasonable first grade V ice route IMO. It certainly felt harder than any of the grade IV ice / neve routes I'd done.
Jamie B - on 04 Jan 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:

> Its a known soft touch but 'the pumpkin' is a reasonable first grade V ice route IMO. It certainly felt harder than any of the grade IV ice / neve routes I'd done.

We did Ritchie's on the same day, which was at least half a grade harder.
Michael Gordon - on 05 Jan 2014
In reply to Jamie B:

Probably because the Pumpkin was stepped out though? I don't think that would be the case when it was in proper nick.
LakesWinter on 05 Jan 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

I did the Pumpkin not stepped out at all and it was still the easiest V I've been on. Anyway, it's a great route regardless of the grade and the OP should do it anyway as it is fantastic and I thought, worth 4 stars.
Jim Fraser - on 05 Jan 2014
In reply to Dave Kerr:

> On the basis of that experience I'd say you need a few more IV's under your belt before you try a V.

I think it is probably a good idea to be accustomed to the type of ground as much as the grade. So pushing your grade is best done in a place where you know the ground and are accustomed to the way that rock and ice present there.

Winter in Scotland being what it is, outings on IV and III on the BenN will find you hanging your 4r5e out on V ground soon enough!

Enjoy.
Michael Gordon - on 05 Jan 2014
In reply to LakesWinter:

I thought it massively overrated but maybe that's partly because it was stepped out. I do think 4 star routes should be more consistent / bigger undertakings rather than being fairly easy after the first pitch or two.
LakesWinter on 05 Jan 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

It must have been well stepped then as we had 3 good quality 40m pitches and then some easier mixed to the summit snowfield; just shows how conditions vary so much eh

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