/ Well protected UK Slabs
Last year I enjoyed the bolted routes at Shakemantle Quarry (Ruspidge), I also love routes like Armorican at Craig Caerfai and Rob's Crack at Fairy Cave (Trad slabs with ample pro).
I know of a few other Sport options on Gower (Barland Quarry, Watchouse Slabs), some North Pembroke sandstone, Baggy Point, some Culm stuff and selected North Wales Slate but wondered if there were other slabby and well protected options out there (VS - E2 Trad/5 - 6c sport). Either particular routes or even better crags with lots to go at on the easy side of vertical.
Any UK suggestions gratefully received...
There are lots in the Llanberis slate quarries, although you have to pick your route to get well-protected. Seamstress and Seams the Same are the usual places to start.
Yup, looking forward to some more Slate next time I'm in those parts. Done Seamstress, a few at Bus Stop and some of the easier bolted things in Australia/Never Never land. Want to get on the long Skyline Buttress 6a's.
There are quite a few in north and south pembroke. Sandstone to the north, limestone to the south.
Plump hill, for Esoteric.
Not so familiar with the Southern options - done Bow Shaped Slab and know of Crystal Slabs, are there others?
Breaking the Barrier on Holyhead is great, fiddly but good gear :)
Looks interesting, any idea where I could get route topos for Pontesford from?
Judging by log comments sounds like some of the E grades there are bold affairs though.
Good shout, that is on the wishlist.
There's a load of stuff on the coast west of Tenby. I normally base myself at Manorbier when I'm heading down there. Becks Point, Rusty Point and Giltar Slabs are fairly representative. Well worth a visit imho.
Cheers, those look spot on.
very poorly protected and rather shit
Thats what i said, Esoteric.
Kind of fun Though ;-)
The only official guide is no longer available, as far as I know. However, I may have a pdf if I can find it!
Maybe start a tick list. I also prefer slabs, would love to have a list of well protected slabs.
I'd also look at Telli at Stanage- safe as houses once you get to the break, great climbing and I thought a complete gift at E3 (E2 more like).
A word of caution watch where you place your runners. I was belaying someone on that when they peeled off. Both cams failed and they decked. There are good placements but he didn't use them. Mind you the lucky sod was uninjured so he got up and did it again, with more success this time.
Not a route for shorties
A Dream of White Horses? I absolutely laced the crux. Wen is also very easy to protect.
Alderley Cliff has a fair few well protected slabs
I kind of think a 'slab' route isn't just about angle, its about a style of route, otherwise most routes would qualify as slabs. So is DoWH a slab?
OP: Come to Squamish, there's loads of the damn things here.
A lot of the climbing in Glen Nevis is slabby, also Ardnamurchan, Cairngorms in general, Creag Ghlas.
Do you mean Aldery Cliff?
Have you done Sacre Coeur on Blackchurch Rock, I thought that was a well protected slab for E2.
Oh, oh, Etive Slabs!
I was going to suggest Spartan Slab on The Etive Slabs. I believe that there is a reasonably well protected HVS there too.
> Not so familiar with the Southern options - done Bow Shaped Slab and know of Crystal Slabs, are there others?
theres a few in bullslaughter bay, you can climb slabs straight off the beach
I've only done The Pause (E1/HVS), but one of my favourite routes (also my first lead above VS).
Oh, and there's loads of other stuff up north Devon/Cornwall south of Baggy, Wreckers isn't really classic, but has character, some stuff down at Compass Point, Vicarage Cliff etc.
Rock Dancer at Kenidjack (and it's neighbours) is lovely, and The Needle and nieghbours at Shelterstone.
Devils Slide on Lundy is good, although Satan's Slip (E1) can't really be considered well protected :)
Hammer/Pause are 'well protected for Etive' but I wouldn't put them in a well protected list! Spartan is a good call though.
Realm of the Senses at the Shelterstone is pretty well protected for a slab..
Botterill's Slab VS on Scafell is an absolute belter! The main pitch has a reasonable amount of gear - quite a few small nuts. We followed it up with Slab and Groove, another good VS, with a tough slab pitch.
Used to be in the old West Midlands(?) guide, I think. But you can wander around pretty much anywhere... it's that sort of place.
It's pretty limited. You wouldn't want to be travelling very far to go there.
Pot Black at Stanage is well protected and only E1 really
Agreed. Entirely possible for the short, of course, but less of a soft touch.
'Just Mild Very Severe on one move only.' (John Menlove Edwards)
Arch Slab at Three Cliffs on the Gower? Great route IMHO.
This the ultimate in well-protected slab, quite a rare beast. Very very slabby (60 degrees) and without a single resting foothold for the entire 40m, just thin vertical cracks that take wires and sometimes fingers. I found it insanely painful - I was wearing sloppy boots and my feet were screaming after 10m...only another 30m to go. Most people seem to think it's easy at E2 5b, but to me it felt 5c and painful/hard!
A truly classic route on an incredible, scenic piece of rock.
I ran out of gear 10 m below the top. Choices were to escape to the right arete or move up on adrenalin. I did the latter and it stands out as one of the best routes I've ever done. But, boy, did it hurt....!
I remember doing that route. I killed a limpit at the start alas as it was where I needed to put my gear. A great route nicely sustained with the odd moment to contemplate the next bit
That's the one
Yeh it felt 5c to me but the gale force winds may have had something to do with that. I also ran out of gear before the top so I ran it out with my feet screaming at me. What a route!
Baggy point is your friend. Loads of good VS slab climbs.
Sacre Couer at Blackchurch is soft E2 with loads of wire protection.
Kenijack has some classic HVS/E1 lines.
Pocket Symphony at Beeston Tor -soft E1 -is brilliant (and its slightly harder companions)
Golden Slipper at Pavey Arc is a superb *** HVS with loads of good gear.
Springbank & Whits End Direct on Gimmer fit the bill though they both have a wee roof thrown in.
Thanks for all the replies so far, has given me quite a bit of food for thought.
Sacre Couer looks great, I'll have to be on form for the lead, but certainly one to aim for.
Done some VS/HVS at Baggy, but there's more to return for. Visited Kenidjack for Saxon and Rock Dancer (brilliant routes). Also done Golden Slipper (exquisite). Done Wreckers and Stormy Weather, but keen to do more on Culm. Matchless at Oldwalls looks especially tempting, is the gear OK on that?
Botterill's Slab and Arch Slab on 3 Cliffs are ones I've been eyeing for a while. I quite enjoy steeper pockety slabs like the Great Central Cave HVSes at Shorn Cliff too.
Anyone know what Sergeant Crag routes (Lakes) are like for gear? It looks like my sort of venue.
Another vote for Sacre Coeur at Blackchurch, really great route!
Another North Devon crag worth a visit is Screda point http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=673
All the E1s and E2s are great fun and well protected. Great rock and nice setting with a good pub nearby.
The Sergeant Crag routes are well protected. Not the best routes in the Lakes, but OK.
Matchless is very well protected. The peg at the crux is dodgy but there's a small cam just above. There's also a variation high tide start at the same grade from the platform below the front face. Whilst you're in the area Screda Point, Hippa Rock and Gull Rock all have excellent slab routes at the grade.
I rate the Sergeant crag slab routes - nice angle, superb rock and good gear.
Hammer is pretty well protected at easyish HVS. The Scoop pitch has no gear for a few feet but is right next to the belay and the traverse has a stonking runner in the corner you start from.
At Three Cliffs, Scavenger and Arch Slab at VS and Inverted V at HVS. I've not done Inverted V, but while the bottom might be a bit bold, it doesn't look hard. There is apparently gear under the overhang.
It was still VS when I did it (in the days before sticky rubber) but then again so were all of the routes on the Slabs!
I was going to recommend the excellent Mainsail at Brownspear but have just found out that it belongs in the "Routes that have fallen down" topic. Very sad to hear it.
There are two ways of surmounting the bottom roof. Direct is harder, or moving L is more straightforward. The slab above is reasonably run-out.
I'm hoping to resurrect Dominator, a starred E1/2 towards the LH side of the slab, which has disappeared under grass through neglect.
Quartz Icicle - only 5b, good, if slightly spaced gear, great situation...
Sarclet Pimpernel is quite slabby I seem to recall, and the VS just to the left of it is outstanding. It is quite far away, mind.
Some of the stuff at Diabeg must fit the bill too, I'd have thought.
I did spartan slabs when VS was my limit, one of the pitches (I think the one before the overlap) has tasty 4c move with the last gear being a veryold peg several metres below my feet and the gear before that several metres below that. Didn't feel that well protected to me!
By no means comparable with the quality recommendations above but there are some bolt protected true slab lines in Penmenbach quarry (top part) and Dyserth castle slab. Worth knowing if you are in the area.
Skyline buttress is a good shout - routes like Plastic Soldier has bolts in double figures (and also some good moves). There's a fair amount else on the slate beyond Serengeti and Bus Stop - routes like Mental Lentils, Last Tango and Bella Lugosi are all pretty well protected.
Another vote for Arch slab at Three Cliffs, though I'm less convinced by Inverted V - it's not hard but it's not that well protected... I seem to remember placing multiple IMPs/small sized Stoppers.
QI is as you describe it and you get to watch your second trying to make sense of the top pitch, which is an added bonus.
I kind of think this is getting a bit silly now, there's more to it than angle.
I'm sorry, I have no idea what you mean?
Are you proposing Quartz Icicle as a slab route?
> I kind of think a 'slab' route isn't just about angle, its about a style of route, otherwise most routes would qualify as slabs.
Agreed, I guess it is the classic technical, balancy climbing on small holds/friction that most appeals to me. Certainly routes where footwork is more important than the ability to pull hard on holds. Repetitive padding appeals less than routes where there is variety in the moves, I love a big rockover move on tiny holds for example.
Yeah. Have we had the Barcud routes yet? Kitten Claws et al.
Yup. Certainly the main pitch is. It climbs like a slab and the angle is slabby, which are the 2 main criteria for being a slab route in my book.
If it helps, I suspect my climbing is very similar to the OP (both in terms of interests and grades), and I thought QI was ace. You can always escape along DOWH if trying to identify the line of the top pitch is a bit much for you...
Hmm, some of the routes at the left end of the main slab are just about adequately protected with lots of tiny wires, but Kitten Claws is hard, quite bold and a terrible suggestion for somebody looking for routes up to E2...
Ah yes, I remember the delights of "Scottish VS" too. Once had a look at a Rab Carrington "VS" at Carnmore but bottled when it got to about 5c!
I seem to remember emptying a rack into Kitten Claws. Most of it was good gear.
Revenge is it? As actual slab routes go, it has lots of gear. I'm hardly Henry J Bold you know.
As for the grade? Yes its outside of the defined parameters, but to make up for that, its piss (with stiff shoes).
There is good gear in Kitten Claws, there are also 5c moves well above that gear.
Hmm. I wombled my way up a couple of the E1s without issue (one of them in shoes that didn't fit), but only just managed to desperately crimp my way up Kitten Claws on second by the skin of my teeth. I lost all feeling in my fingertips half way up (which I presume is where the name came from).
Well spaced bolts retain the adventrous feel.
Come on now, it's at your feet for the crux. Have you led it?
No, I've seconded it a couple of times. I thought there were a few hard bits - I wouldn't have said there was a definite crux.
'emptying a rack' - what a fantastic expression for describing a pitch. I'm going to use that when mentoring some young whippersnapper :)
If you go to Gower the Great Slab at Caswell Bay is a fine HS. Just run out enough to feel interesting (to me), but the gear that is available is utterly bombproof.
There is a very well defined 5c crux where you ponder reaching some distant (for me) hold in clear view off to the right, just after half way, before it eases off.
Obvious 5b climbing to get there on good edges and slots. Don't remember the start, maybe its highbally? Or am I mixing it up with a neighbour...
> Yeah. Have we had the Barcud routes yet? Kitten Claws et al.
Like the others, I thought Kitten Claws was a slab with crap gear. Quite alot of it, admitedly, but spaced, tiny and sometimes crap. Scary enough, I thought. There must be good well protected slabs at Barcud, but the ones I've done were bold.
More than a Match is stunning and the slab is real contrast to the start. Reasonable gear and a great route
Loads of excellent slab climbs down here on the Culm Coast.
Harpoon at Vicarage is excellent. Although thinking about it not overly well protected. The other Vicarage routes are good mind.
The Blisterin Barnacle Slab at Dyers has some fantastic slab climbing reasonably protected which I think hasn't been mentioned.
The Quartz Icicle Pitch certainly is.
Zeus to the right of it is another good, well protected (soft) E2 slab.
I thought Hammer was pretty solid HVS, similar to Pause. The runout on the scoop pitch is definitely a lot more than 'a few feet' and the traverse is 5b.
But hardly suitable for the OP - some quite bold 5b with scanty gear.
Then so are most routes in the UK then.
Bold in places, maybe, but not naughty.
Up to HVS well protected at Vicarage. The E1 - Crazy Paving? - is loose and Harpoon pretty run out. The E1 off the beach was very safe as there seems to be grass underneath you most of the way!
Another vote for Matchless and More Than a Match, great routes.
I'm not really sure what your problem is here. It's significantly off-vertical, climbs like a slab and the bit of rock is called Wen Slab. How much more slabby do you want?!
Yes, a lot of good ones.
Aphasia is probably the stand out route at E2 5b. Reasonably sustained and the gear is actually quite good if you don't mind fiddling pieces into crozzly pockets and the like.
I remember Quartz icicle being a rising traverse of a crack line with the odd good handjam. Not really the epitome of a slab.
I'd have thought some of the Tremadog VS/HVS classics are a better shout for slab climbing than Wen Slab
If you're trying to suggest that QI is a crack climb, then I think you're misremembering somewhat...
I'm not saying its a crack climb - I'm saying that the crack and rising traverse means plus the nature of the moves means it doesn't feel like a slab climb. At least it didn't to me.
I reckon the scoop is only 3 moves, jumpable to the ledge if you bottle it, and although the traverse is hard the runner is higher than you (if a bit off left). The old codger in front of us led it as his first HVS without turning a hair. I'm really only a VS leader but had no problems with it. It used to be second bottom of the graded list in the ye olde 1970s guide and I thought that fair enough. Isn't it a great route though! :-)
I think that we should abandon QI. It is a rising traverse, run out in places and the second pitch can be difficult to navigate. That said the OP should still consider doing.
How about Britomatis that's a slab, isn't it? And either member of the party can fall into the sea if the mood so takes them.
That's how I remember it, and a bulge in its upper reaches.
So all the routes on Wen Slab are slab routes then? Concrete Chimney, is that a slab?
Seem to remember 2 out Be Careful, Be Brave & Be Clever trio were ok for gear
The technically easiest (5a?) being a bit run-out
'The Meltdown' is a bolted slab. Not one for me though!
It is a very good route!
The routes up to HVS are all pretty well protected and as I said Harpoon is a little bold.
Slippery Slab at Sennen. Good tough VS 5a.
Yes, it only crosses the concrete chimney.
I think we're talking about different things perhaps.
Concrete chimney is a very exposed rising traverse almost parallel and below Quartz Icicle. Al is right. It doesn't climb the chossy looking chimney.
Wen is the only real chimney route AFAIK on the slab.
Yes, I know. But I was asking if all the routes on Wen Slab were, by definition, slab routes.
Elsewhere on the site
Urban climber James Kingston will be on stage at all UK screenings to answer questions about his remarkable film... Read more
Climbing as a discipline offers plentiful metaphors for tackling life's obstacles - bravery, courage, climbing to... Read more
The Lakpa Rita and Kriti Tech jackets are a pair of shell products from the Sherpa Adventure Gear brand – the... Read more
Since launching their fantastic Reactive lighting technology Petzl have been producing brighter and longer lasting torches that... Read more
In British climbing, when we talk about the cutting edge of the sport in the modern day there is one name that will ALWAYS... Read more