/ E2s that are harder than Left Wall
I'll start with:
Darius High Tor
Two Sunspots Chee Dale Lower
Dies Irae Stoney Middleton
Scoop Wall Stoney Middleton
The Flakes Direct Stoney Middleton
Carl's Wark Crack Stoney Middleton
Silica Stanage Plantation
Easy Picking Rivelin
Five Finger Exercise Cratcliffe
Fern Groove Stanage Plantation
Quietus Stanage High Neb
The Dangler Stanage Popular
Fern Hill Cratcliffe
Regent Street Millstone
Orang-outang Stanage End
Elegy Roaches - Lower
Hanging Crack Dovestones Edge
And that's just classic ones I've done in the Peak. Everything in the top 1/3rd of the grade, you could say...
Having routes from Stoney Middleton is cheating. And the same goes for Ramshaw. Everybody knows they have their own grading systems.
I'm never too happy comparing natural grit routes with other types of rock. Here's some Lakes ones:
Ichabod, East Buttress
Triermain Eliminate, Castle Rock
Extol, Dove Crag
Redex, Raven, Threshthwaite Cove
Tumbleweed Connection, Goat Crag
Thumbscrew, Reecastle Crag
Astra, Pavey Ark
Sleeping Sickness, Trowbarrow
Agree on Ramshaw, but remember that Stoney has Double Scotch and Windhover (although that start is pretty evil).
And btw there's absolutely no way Fern Groove or Orang Utang is harder than LW. One's a boulder problem and the other was always E1.
A few more from the Lakes:
Rigor Mortis, Pink Panther, Equus, Astra, Wild Sheep, Redex, Crysalid, Sylvester.
Fern Groove is a grit route, yes. A top-end 5c move followed by a few moves of sustained 5b up the groove.
Orang Utan is controversial. I found it desparate, others say E1.
I'd got Astra and Redex. Thought about Pink Panther but I was trying keep to routes that felt similar to LW. PP is a bit weird I've always thought.
But Redex was my first E2 and I backed off Left Wall...
They're probably not miles off each other, but did fine on Left Wall and belayed below the damp, grim-looking crux of Redex and let my mate lead it. I gave it quick try and it was horrible. Noble, eh?
Do you count the first 5b pitch or the second 5c pitch as the crux on Redex? I lead the second pitch.
Thinking about it was my second E2 lead. I think I'd climb Asphasia a few weeks previously.
I'm just unfit so was bound to get spanked on Left Wall. I should try it the weekend after a sport climbing trip.
Wall Street - Neist
No way that Fern Hill, 5 Finger Exercise, Orang Utan, Suspense, Regent Street etc are harder than LW.
The Rasp is the only grit contender to be harder that I can think of.
As the man says, grit makes a poor comparison anyway.
I can't think of many E2s that are harder, but when I did LW it was absolutely at the top of my game.
Silver Shadow in Pembers is the hardest E2 I've done in recent years, and it is only 5b!
The awkward, grim, vegetated 5c groove at the top. I was well into the pumpy 5b bottom pitch, it was class! Was going to do it in a one-er, but took a 'bottled it' belay just below the crux.
This is the thing. I had a look at the Pembroke graded list and couldn't really see anything that was decidedly harder than LW (except Silver Shadow?), but that's because I've generally been to Pembroke after wall training and a summer of trad and found the steep jug-pulling fun to be a laugh. If you're technically able and strong-fingered but unfit, Pembroke could feel nails.
Back to the list, from the SW:
Bow Wall, West Face Direct, Xanadu(?), Green Cormorant Face(?). I found Suicide Wall and Thin Wall Special harder than LW too!
Might I suggest that you are particularly good at grit, technically able, but lacking in stamina?
>The Rasp is the only grit contender to be harder that I can think of.
Oh, I don't know. I would be prepared to concede that Sentinel Crack was harder than LW. And probably also a few other routes whose names end in 'crack'.
Thin Wall Special is no way harder than Left Wall, Suicide Wall is just one crap boulder problem in the middle of an ordinary HVS. Also Carls Wark Crack and Suspense are easier than Left Wall too.
I know these are probably anomalous results. I'd never climbed on Cornish granite before and it was baking hot and greasy. The top "5a" bit of TWS is f^cking nails though, especially when you're expecting some big juggy flake rather than a full-on roof crack!
Darius and Regent St for sure.
Xanadu in Great Zawn at Bosigran.
LW is mid grade I think.
I disagree with most of your suggestions! I found LW pretty hard for E2 back in the day (20 years ago). Of those that you think are harder, and that I have also done, I would maybe agree with ... actually none of them. Darius, Thin Wall Special, Astra and Synopsis were OK. Isn't Quietus E3 - that was desperate for a couple of moves, but very crux-ey. Suicide Wall at Bosi is only E1 too.
Perhaps it's a fitness thing, but I only just made it up LW.
Horses for courses I guess.
Bingo. For uber-classic big E2 single pitch crack and wall climbs covering the whole of the grade (from HVS to E3, that is):
I agree, which is why I have placed it below LW in the graded list of uber-classic big single pitch crack and wall E2s.
Fern Hill and Left Wall are similar - mainly pumpy HVS with a short 5c section. Five Finger I'd say is the best part of a full grade harder than either - two 5c sections, both very committing.
Despite being a grit climber with no stamina I was surprised how easy LW is for the most part, and its pretty obvious that it eases off quickly after the crux move. It felt pretty low in the grade.
Darius is much longer, with harder climbing all the way, and a much more committing crux. Sentinel Crack is obviously a full grade harder too.
Ah! You mean this bit :-)
> No way that Fern Hill, 5 Finger Exercise, Orang Utan, Suspense, Regent Street etc are harder than LW.
> The Rasp is the only grit contender to be harder that I can think of.
Not gone well for you this thread has it?
Not gone too bad, could have been better. I think as evidence for the question "is LW top of the grade/E3 or mid-grade?" it leans heavily on my side.
What do you think?
Great shot Al! It's getting to that point that's the hard bit, exhausting.
How about E1s that are harder?
I found the following all more testing:
Dead Banana Crack
Hen Cloud Eliminate (HVS!)
Thin Wall Special
First Slip, Tremadog
Reckon LW is about mid-grade and a bit harder than Strand.
Hmm. I'd have said the hard bit of TWS was that polished slippery groove at the start with the slightly worrying gear. (Chicken Run is much nicer climbing but with the totally absent gear, of course). The roof seemed pretty trivial by comparison, a couple of butch hauls on massive holds.
Just goes to show something or other.
Glad to see that Al has maintained his record; I don't think Suicide Wall has ever been mentioned on UKC without him slagging it off. He must have some kind of alarm.
Now we're talking. Although of course there are also E3s that are easier (e.g. Glass Arete, Diamond Smiles), which doesn't really help my case...
Wild Sheep - one of the best E2's ever! It is amazing, good holds but a wild and exposed position, just amazing. I couldn't stop smiling after climbing this.
Overhanging Crack at Bowden - without question much harder then LW.
I managed to fall off about six inches below this jug!
As is just about every E1 or E2 in the county.
Could have done with just one decent runner I thought!
Good calls on The Stand and Billy Whizz. Both harder. Also Scoop Wall in your original list.
Don't think Vector is that much harder though. Tricky in places but fine if you do it right.
Some of the butch Swanage E2 are also harder.
Another (and it's a cracker) is Digitron on Craig Arthur. The other E2s on the left of this are also harder than LW.
If its any help, I thought Left wall was a relativly straight forwards and well protected climb. I also recall thinking it was easy for E2.
However, stamina is my strength.
Great west road on grit, Mercury, (just about any Lundy or North devon E2 is harder come to think of it), Mars (swanage) though Tudor rose is easier.
I'd put it. if it were bolted as 6a+. Which to be honest, puts it int he E1-E3 bracket dependant on gear. There is a little run out at the start and finish, and it could be construed as pumpy.
E2 is probably fair for the onsight as I climbed it, in one pitch.
Though if you down grade it, surely cemetry gates needs to be down graded to HVS first.
Cemetery Gates is borderline HVS/E1. It's E1 if you lead HVS but HVS if you lead E1. I'd leave it as is as it is a good first E1 lead.
Surplomb @ the Grochan
I did CG as an E1 leader and thought it was soft HVS. A choice of jugs for every move, nowhere near 5b.
Which sort of proves my point :-)
The difficulties are short lived and if you are confident on E1 ground, especially steep E1 ground then it will feel fairly easy. As a HVS leader it can feel quite a battle.
>The difficulties are short lived
Yeah, but they're not, are they? The difficulty is pushing on up the whole thing without going too fast or too slow, without running out of gas or psyche, placing enough gear but not too much, and having enough left to pull the crux at the top.
Some people find that stuff more physically and psychologically demanding than other types of stuff you have to do on different climbs. Some people don't. Hence the present debate.
Whilst I would agree that Ximenes is an all round tougher proposition I wouldn't say it was technically harder than Left Wall; in fact probably a bit easier. The problem with Ximenes is that it is just brutally strenuous. Certainly one of the most strenuous E2's I have ever done and beating quite a few of the E3's that I have done as well.
Nobody seems to have mentioned Deranged at St Govans, Pembroke. I would say that is up there in terms of technicality and strenuosity; probably, in my opinion, a tougher proposition than Ximenes.
Quite gutted reading these views, at my peak I was leading E2 and did a number of the ones mentioned, but never Left Wall as I was led to believe it was nails!! Massively inspiring line so miffed I didn't do it now.
It'd take a big step for me to be confident at that grade again!!
Yes, this is pretty much the point. I think it's mid-grade, the thread is just for Robert Durran whose entire understanding of the UK grading system revolves around LW being E3.
I thought it was mid-grade, about the same as LW. I fell off First Blood, but I would hesitate to say that it's harder than LW as it is very similar and I think I just climbed it wrong and made a lot of mistakes in how I approached it (no warm-up, wearing a huge amount of clothing despite it being very warm down there, expecting a path and getting an E2 5c, etc etc).
Obviously grit doesn't count as all well rounded (ie non myopic grit-centric) climbers should be well aware that it is consistently anomalous to other rock types.
Yes, there may well be the odd E2 harder thsan Left wall on other rock types, but they would certainly bbe at the top of the grade and quite probably contenders for E3.
Until you get over your grit-centric viewpoint, you will continue to struggle with a reaalistic appproach to grading in other areas and on other rock types.
Well, I'm certainly not grit-centric and in my first reply I mentioned that comparing (natural) grit to other rock types is somewhat fraught.
I also provided a list of (mainly volcanic) routes given E2 that are harder than LW. I tried to choose routes that were of similar type to LW, i.e Elder Crack is given E2 but it's so unlike LW that there's no point listing it (Joe Brown reckons it's HVS!). None of those routes are anywhere near E3.
?! IMO Deranged is a bit soft for the grade, and certainly easier than Ximenes.
It'a interesting that there are hardly any contenders coming up on N. wales volcanic rock, which is, after all, the best comparison!
I've always found Lakes grades about half a grade tougher than wales.
First Blood is impossible.
Deranged is a path; mid-grade by Pembroke standards maybe, bottom of the grade anywhere else.
OK, here's some from Cloggy:
The Mostest (crux pitch)
Already mentioned Suicide Wall in Ogwen
Bored climbers disagree on relative difficulty of routes shocker.
I find everything hard.
Of those I've done, I don't agree with any of those, though obviously it depends on the view you take of falling on to fifty-year-old upside-down pegs (on Troach).
The Black Cleft, on the other hand, I can see how one might place above Left Wall in certain regards.
Do you partake in the great indoors?
> First Blood is impossible.
Fat fingers? I thought it was easier then Deranged (which is itself not hard for E2).
Where's Fiend when you need him? Definitive E0...
Can't give an opinion on LW: fell over and twisted ankle putting harness on many years ago - took 1hr+ to crawl down to road, an enjoyable chat with Brede Arkless on the boulder, and a trip to Bangor casualty
Must go back...
Apparently it appeared engraved on some sort of tablet of stone.
+ 1 for Billy Whizz
The hardest (only?) 5c move is shortly befor the rest. The sustained top section is probably 5b.
No. The guidebook (before it got downgraded obviously). As "The most fallen off pitch in the Pass" it presuably spat off plenty more aspirant E3 leaders than the three I belayed on it.
I always enjoyed the story in the Paul Williams Llanberis guide of a woman who fell off it, resulting in a torrent of swear words. A Liverpudlian voice floated up from below, 'Watch your language - there's men present'.
Maybe it was your belaying?
Apart from the issue of the post title, what a brilliant tick list Jon, I'm so glad to have moved back to the Peak this week!
I've led them all except Gumshoe and Hanging Crack.
Darius was my first E2, and what we used to call a 'steady' lead, Synopsis was the scariest at the time, and Easy Pickings technically the hardest.
If I was to put Left Wall (brilliant route btw) in that list, then rank in descending difficulty, then it would be in the bottom third, nowhere near routes like Knightsbridge, and as for comparing it to Elegy!
Too much gear, and too much resting for an E3 I would think, mid E2.
Sorry to shatter the illusion, it's the Rockfax graded list minus ones that are blatantly easier than LW and ones I haven't done.
There's a ticklist of the best E2 single pitches linked on here too.
Both great routes! I failed on Hanging Crack though :(
I think it's solid E3, just as hard as Perseus, and harder than most of the Chee Tor E3s.
I think Darius is actually harder than Perseus but better gear. If done in a single push that is.
Since I've a set of Llanberis guidebooks here's the grades for LW:
1978 (Ed Cleasby on the cover) E2
1981 (Ron Fawcett on the cover) E3
1987 Paul's blue bumper fun book E2
I don't have the 2009 edition.
The 1978 edition was the first to sub-divide the Extreme grade in to the current system.
So only one of the editions gives it E3. Paul Williams wasn't a harsh grader (but it was he who put Cemetery Gates up to E1) and he reckoned it was only E2.
Not done any.
Not done any E3/4's that are harder either.
Fell off left wall. Felt a bit like doing 100 pull ups followed by 20 ft of hard climbing. By the time I had done the pull ups there wasn't much left! So hardest climb I have ever tried.
nice position though, great views and a safe fall.
What about the footholds? :-)
Back to the Lakes and Castle Rock, I nominate Ted Cheasby as the hardest E2.
White Dwarf nearby is now E4 and an easier lead.
Not just me then.
Possibly. More likely fat (and useless) climber though.
Had you had your feet amputated?
Well, Fern Hill is surely harder. Those crux moves are v hard, surely, for 5c? It was right on my limit, seconding. Then, sheer bliss of sustained 5a/b, chunky, dynamic, superb, as good as anything in the Peak (well, top of Old Friends, after the crux, probably takes the accolade.) Five Finger Exercise - surely the v top of the E2 grade (is it really given no more than that?). Utterly brilliant, but with a lot of 5c for E2.
+1 for The Overhanging Crack at Bowden - tricky to onsight.
Turn of the Century on the slate in Australia is probably the most desperate-feeling E2 I've lead...
Perhaps because the blighters are so often wet. Come on man, there's hardly a less E3-like E2 anywhere. It's reputation is the hardest thing about it - I actually half reversed the crux and hung there to place gear in the fingerlock because I was convinced it had to get hard in a minute. I had only led E2 or maybe E3 at the time and had found the Strand much harder the week before.
Looking at it another way, try some of the E3s on the Mot and compare them. My partner and I backed off Hairway to Steaven several years later when we were climbing much better than I had been on LW.
Gulp! Ted Cheasby was one of my first E2 leads, though I've never done it since. I seem to remember a hard section to start then easier climbing.
White Gill Eliminate is another tough E2 and what about the nearby Haste Not Direct? (Could have gone up to E5 by now)
Bloodhound at Swindale
Come to think about it, there's a lot of correctly graded E1s that are harder than LW
Yep that's a hard one. Be interested whether folk think this undergraded or just a hard E2?
> Paul Williams wasn't a harsh grader (but it was he who put Cemetery Gates up to E1) and he reckoned it was only E2.
IIRC wasn't that so Sue Peyton (the climber photographed on CG in his guide), could feature in a guidebook 'on an extreme'?
I found the move desparate, but it was only one move then one more of 5b. A possible contender for E2 6a I thought. Good route despite cruxiness.
I found this hard - but amazing - yet others say easy. And this is normally my kind of thing. It was about a million degrees when I did it though.
First Blood is much more technical than LW. But the two routes are so different. FB has a low technical crux which you tackle pretty much fresh. Whereas LW has 25m of pumpy crack to negotiate, before a crux which is technically easier than FB's. If you're fit, that makes LW easier.
Re: Bob's suggestions on Cloggy:
Silhouette is definately harder than LW (it's harder than any other E2 I've done!) but The Troach is a path if you are confident - in fact I would say it's one of the few E2's which I found easier than LW.
God I miss trad climbing.
I did Troach the day after doing Great Wall and found it harder! Maybe I was a bit complacent - I was going well having led both pitches of GW in 45 minutes and thought that was easy E3 but on Troach for E2 it was a bit of "whoa!" and made me think.
I see what you mean - "that move" certainly has a bit of a "whoa!" moment! E2 5b is the perfect grade though.
That's the story, though I thought it was the (different) woman on Ivy Sepulchre and the (far more absurd) upgrade of that route.
CG has stayed at E1, hasn't it?
Mind you, so has Ivy Sep, I see. Weird.
Either way, Regent Street is easier and Bow Wall is harder.
I think the general assumption with LW is that unless you say "with the direct finish)" you mean going off left at the top.
I think the final finger crack on Regent Street is significantly harder than the equivalent on LW. Full on foothold-less 5c.
What about Insanity at Curbar. I've never seen anyone else climb this. Or is it just a "Curbar grade"
Nicely done ;-)
Strangely enough, I would go back to Pothia casualty
Ended up there a few years ago with a broken wrist - was very surprised & pleased when an absolutely drop-dead gorgeous Doctor came in. She was very funny as well
"I've dealt with climbers before - you're all a pain. Now sit in that bloody wheelchair & get pushed to X-ray before I carry you there"
Here's another hard E2 which is harder than LW: Aura/Pinnaclissima on Craig yr Ysfa. Both the bottom and top pitches are harder but the bottom one is more comparable as it's a similar length.
For LW you just need stamina and the ability to cruise the HVS section lower down.
No amputations, got good feet, prefer slabs really, pottered up elegy and impossible slab, telli, heart of the sun, demolition quite happily. It was the arms that were the problem!
Couldn't find anywhere to rest properly except the niche, didn't help that it was about 30 degrees in the sun that day but all proper climbers need a good selection of excuses!
Anyway i took my flight time and then finished the thing, I wouldn't want to go back!
As in the Sennen E6? If so I think this may set a benchmark in terms of 'routes Left Wall is harder than in my opinion.'.
Ok fair enough. The NWR selected guide confuses that issue by describing only the crack finish and calling it E3 iirc.
On reflection LW going left and Regent Street are near enough the same difficulty I couldn't choose between them, but then I'm tall and the footholdless bit doesn't last long so that might skew my opinion.
About as helpful as F 6a!
Ok, I concede that there is a concensus for the E2 grade (grades are about concensus rather than personal opinion), perhaps about three quarters of the way up the grade. However it is interesting to hear the very varied experiences of the route.
It was E3 in the guide during my formative years when I first did it and as a "benchmark bottom end E3" and "everyone's first E3" it's grade always seemed to me almost therefore by definition fixed; hence my difficulty in coming to terms with the downgrade.
As a "benchmark bottom end E5" and "everyone's first E5" (including mine), I wonder what people's opinion would now be of Right wall if it had been similarly downgraded to E4 a generation ago. I suspect there might well be, with the E5 aura largely forgotten, a sizable body of opinion saying "mid E4, no way as hard as Resurrection!"; I suspect the perception of a grade is significantly affected by the grade given in the guidebook.
I agree with that Jon.
Really keen to do LW but find the top crack on regent street really easy as perfect for for my fingers / done alot of USA finger cracks
Is the left wall crux crack thinner/wider or similar to regents?
Did you ever solo Left Wall, Rob? As for Right Wall, if ever it was downgraded I'd scream and scream and then you'd be sorry...
??? Defintive E1 5c surely? One thin bridging move, starting from a no-hands rest and ending on the belay ledge. Tall bastards - e.g. my second at the time - can even lank past the hard move, and arrive on the belay ledge little suspecting how close they were to having their fingers trodden on.
No, but I thought seriously about it at one time.
What, like I scream about Left Wall?
Actually, it would be quite funny, because I suspect it is quite a few peoples' only E5 tick (like Hall of Warriors was my only E6, even if it is easier than Right Wall, the bastards!).
When Ed Cleasby did Right Wall he did Resurrection as a warm up! This was back in the day when RW had a big reputation. He did think Resurrection was harder than RW but then RW played to his strengths being bold rather than very technical.
Is RW E5? Well it's harder than True Grip which used to get E5, it's also harder (though only just) than Purrspire which gets E5 so I'd say it probably still deserves E5.
I think the word you're looking for is "thcweam"...
And, I suppose, "thowwy".
I know it's a divergence from the thread but I find this interesting. I reckon that ANYTHING on the left wall is just so much friendlier than anything on the right wall irrespective of whether its harder technically or not. I've done both Resurrection and RW two or three times each and I know which one always felt the bigger challenge - RW by a mile!
The left wall has more features than the right: the crack of Left Wall itself; the RH crack that Resurrection takes; the initial broken pillar of Resurrection; the ramp of True Grip. All these are fairly obvious from the deck whereas the two main features on the right wall, the ledges, can only really be seen if someone is stood on them. The right wall has much more of that "fly on a wall" feeling.
The only routes I've not done on the left wall are JR and Tess. You have to step up quite a bit from RW to get any of the others done on that wall (Cemetery Gates/Grim Jim excepted)
Yeah, totally. And I think the right is slightly steeper.
The short bit of finger crack on RS is more technical than anything on Left Wall. As long as you have a reasonable amount of stamina, you should be fine, Left Wall is covered in holds.
The wife describes it as three short HVSs on top of each other.
Yeah, LW isnt' that cracky really in comparison.
was that your opinion of it on the onsight attempt ;o)
Its HVS then, only sport grades can pile a few 5+'s on top of each other and come up with 6a.
Nice analogy by your wife btw. LW is straight forwards, as in obvious. Maybe if your sport fit and used to obvious routes, its easy?
But then HVS is a bit of a bucket grade, I'd rather chew an E1 than one of the wierd HVS's, of which there are many.
Harder than LW - tried something at birchen at E2 the other day. E was for effort on that one!
Yes, I think that is key. We tend to spend a good deal of time indoors when its raining and dark.
wasn't yours measured in geological terms?
Have soloed 9 of those routes in the initial list.Wouldn't like to solo Left Wall.
As for which are harder,who cares?
And you apparently.
Left wall has never been E3 .
It once was in the definitive guidebook.
I think it still should be.
Most think it never should have been.
It gets E3 in the 2006 ground up guide.either way it is subjective.i don't get why Jon Stewart is giving you grief for having a opinion? Am I missing something?
That's for the direct finish, which is universally agreed to be E3.
perhaps that's what Robert is talking about?
In a word, no.
I think it is just that he is so badly wrong about grades most of the time that he wants to make the most of it when he knows that, for once, he is in the majority ;-)
oh well I plan to have a go this year so I can form my own opinion of it, managed to do Vector last week. My aim was to do both this year so half way there!
hmm indeed :-)
Yes, it has; it was E3 in the Milburn 1981(?) guide.
As that guide points out, for a route that according to some should really only be E1 and is never E3, a hell of a lot of E2 leaders fall 40 feet off Left Wall.
do you believe everything you read ? as i stated above its never been E3 despite what any drivel guidebook says
Not that long ago, he was a self confessed slab climbing woofta :-)
I'm sure when I first did it it was just 'Extreme'. I remember talking to Joe a while afterwards in the Padarn and was amazed that he hadn't done it, he said 'well you know, Ron was climbing really well in those days and he had to use chocks for aid, I never thought I was good enough' Joe was still climbing a lot better than I was.
Also how on earth they give the ffa to Aido in 1970, I'm sure our ascent was in 1969 and it had been done free several times before then, once by my partner on my ascent Arnis Strapcans, but I might be later and just talking about the direct finish here?
Dark days of bouldering too much and climbing only on gritstone. We shall never speak of them again.
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