/ Bridging the gap from HS to VS, routes in Lochaber

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Nath93 - on 31 May 2014

Think i'm getting pretty steady at HS,4b, so looking to lead some soft(ish) and decently protected VS,4c routes in Fort William/Glencoe area. Looking at progressing to multi pitch stuff at that grade as soon as is possible. Already done Resurrection, Severe Crack and Flying Dutchman Direct finish at Polldubh.

Any recommendations would be really good!
Post edited at 23:45
Moonstone Hippy - on 01 Jun 2014
In reply to Nath93:

Damnation is good, as is Black Slab Edge on Tricouni. It's steep but good gear. If you haven't done Promises on Dundee, then it's worth doing even though it only gets HS. Finally, Enigma (the pitch of autobahnausfart off the second terrace) is worth doing after you've done a few VS's as it's bold, oh and Shergar on Blacks, similarly. Good luck!
AlH - on 01 Jun 2014
In reply to Nath93:

Go out to Ardnamurchan and do Yir, Vulcan and Ne'er Day Corner (or Crater Comforts and Greta Gabbro if you want softer touch VS).
Get on Damnation at Polldubh.
Something on the South Wall on Garbh Bheinn like Butterknife or Scimitar would be a good challenge.
Go up to the Moray Coast. Cummingston and Logie Head.
Get over to Huntlys Cave (Diagonal and Dead Tree Wall).
Plan a trip to the NW. Lots to go at at somewhere like Reiff.
Getting away from Polldubh's mica schist and trying to climb on different rock types would be good.
And I know you'll be on Skye.
Calski - on 01 Jun 2014
In reply to Nath93:

...and if you're heading to Logie Head in the next week, I'll be in Cullen and able to climb in the evenings if you need a partner!!
steve.aisthorpe - on 01 Jun 2014
In reply to Calski:

How is Logie Head from a birds point of view just now?
alan moore - on 01 Jun 2014
In reply to Moonstone Hippy:
Thought Shergar was solid HVS when I did it!
Steve Perry - on 01 Jun 2014
In reply to steve.aisthorpe:

I was there a few weeks ago and it was fine.
petestack - on 01 Jun 2014
In reply to alan moore:
> Thought Shergar was solid HVS when I did it!

Yep, Shergar is most definitely not 'soft(ish) and decently protected VS,4c', having been upgraded to HVS years ago and being sustained, quite fiddly to protect and possibly 5a. But you might try Crybaby on the same buttress... not 'soft', but a nice VS 4c with good gear where you need it.
BnB - on 01 Jun 2014
In reply to Nath93:

Hi mate. You and me seem to progressing at a similar rate. But I bet I'm having to try much harder!!

If you're ever in the Lake District they have an MVS grade found mostly there and in Yorkshire and rarely elsewhere, used for run-out 4bs and very well protected 4cs. I find it a very helpful grade, as in I know I'll be able to lead it without too many terrors, and it's got the letter V not H so it makes me feel good.

Or go and do Integrity!! The very definition of MVS in my book.
Offwidth - on 01 Jun 2014
In reply to BnB:

MVS is used inconsistently. In the Uk system it should relate to being a bit harder adjectivally than HS and a bit easier than a standard VS. Any direct link to technical grade risks the distortions we see (although obviously the correlation will be strong). A very bold 4b should be HVS and too often its given VS partly because of that MVS distortion.
Moonstone Hippy - on 01 Jun 2014
In reply to Nath93:

Further afield I'd also recommend Glass Slipper on Creag Glas, superb.
Michael Hood - on 01 Jun 2014
In reply to Offwidth: I always feel that HS is a bit too technically hard for S whereas MVS is a bit too serious for S. Or looking at it from the other end; a MVS is as serious as a VS but a bit too technically easy to make the grade whereas a HS might be as technically hard as a VS but not be quite serious enough.

Note - by serious I do not mean just how protected it is - although that is a factor.

I know that's not really how it should work as the overall grade should be a continuum although that's difficult to quantify when it's a multi-variate quantity, however that's how a lot of HS & MVS feel.

Obviously this only applies where both HS & MVS are used - so the Lakes is probably the prime area for this. MVS there tends to be boldish but fairly steady and probably no more than 4b whereas HS there tends to have one or two hard well protected moves, maybe even 4c.

No doubt I will now get loads of contra-examples :-)
Calski - on 01 Jun 2014
In reply to Calski:

No idea, I've just arrived Cullen in the last hour!
Nath93 - on 01 Jun 2014
In reply to all:
Thanks for the recommendations folks, shall start building up a tick list for what is needed. Keen to stay away from Polldubh for a little while as I'm getting fed up after only 9 months in Fort William but think Damnation deserves a try in the next few weeks, just find the start to look really intimidating.

In terms of multi pitch routes I had my eyes on; Left hand Route (left edge variations) on the Ben, Central Grooves on SCNL, Integrity on Sron na Ciche and the VS version of Central Buttress on Beinn Eighe (with capable partners obvcourse). Gonna try and consolidate with single and shorter multi pitch first but does anyone have any more to add or warn me off?
Post edited at 18:47
CMcBain - on 01 Jun 2014
In reply to Nath93:

Loads of good stuff further east. Scabbard on Creagan Choire Etchachan would be a good first multi-pitch VS, 2 good value and well protected pitches. If you find that fine then Clean Sweep on Hells Lum would be a nice step up with a quality, long and sustained 3rd pitch.
Nath93 - on 01 Jun 2014
In reply to CMcBain:

Planning a trip over that way in the next few weeks so will look into it. Thanks for the heads up!

Anyone know what No Blue Skies is like in Sneachda?
Offwidth - on 01 Jun 2014
In reply to Michael Hood:

I agree that is often how it seems to be used. Still wrong though as it should be a continuum for onsightability taking all factors into account.
BnB - on 01 Jun 2014
In reply to Offwidth:

All I know is I'm an MVS leader, but not a VS leader. I was on an MVS at Ilkley Rocky Valley when we bumped into each other recently. Soundbox I think it was.
Offwidth - on 01 Jun 2014
In reply to BnB:

Yet that and quite a few other yorkshire MVS climbs would be VS+ in some new FRCC guides. The starred severe I was about to try when we talked had a VO 5a start and the next severe was soild VS 4b as well. I guess Im only a solid HS leader on old YMC grades.
BnB - on 01 Jun 2014
In reply to Offwidth:

Sounds like I need to get on some more routes in the Lakes then if I want to collect a few VS ticks. Grades do seem a bit softer in the FRCC guides.
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Offwidth - on 01 Jun 2014
In reply to BnB:
Or just go to Stanage Popular and work you way up the newest graded list.
Post edited at 21:04
AlH - on 01 Jun 2014
In reply to Nath93:

NBS Not too hard but a long traverse pitch with some loose rock and mossiness and dampness when we did it.
Mark Bannan - on 02 Jun 2014
In reply to Nath93:

Bit surprised no-one mentioned the 'Coe and surrounding area. Roughly in order of increasing difficulty, I would recommend:

Grooved Arete,
Satan's Slit,
Spartan Slab,
Hiccup,
June Crack,
May Crack.

M
CurlyStevo - on 02 Jun 2014
In reply to Mark Bannan:

Red Slab is good too but I didn't think it was that easy.....
Michael Gordon - on 03 Jun 2014
In reply to Nath93:

Lots of great stuff on the Buachaille. Hiccup, Hangman's Crack, May Crack, all superb.
Michael Gordon - on 03 Jun 2014
In reply to CMcBain:

I would have said Scabbard was quite hard for VS, certainly not soft anyway.
CMcBain - on 03 Jun 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

It's not soft, I would of said fairly benchmark VS (although I really like the style of climbing on cairngorm granite routes - so I may be biased!)

Clean Sweep is certainly harder but still a VS!
CurlyStevo - on 03 Jun 2014
In reply to CMcBain:
Agreed Scabbard is fair at the grade. Pitch 2 has a couple of 4c moves up the finger crack and then its sustained at around VS 4b with fairly good gear IIRC. Not pumpy though.

The first pitch was damp when we did it and I was glad not to lead that. The final pitch was easier but still worthwhile. I though pitch 2 was the best pitch by quite a long shot.
Post edited at 11:30
Nath93 - on 07 Jun 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:
Hoping to head to the Cairngorms next weekend so plenty to get through. Thanks for all the suggestions, got a wishlist longer than both my arms!
Post edited at 11:37
connor on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Nath93:

How about the second pitch of Storm in the Glen? Always thought that was around VS then you can abb off from the tree.
Michael Gordon - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to connor:

Better doing the whole thing though, surely? In any case I'd say that pitch is pretty sustained 4c for VS.
connor on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

I would agree, Nathan has a good head on him though :)
Nath93 - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to connor:

I thought it was pretty steady when I seconded it back in April. Big holds and lots of gear (if required) as I remember. Would like to do the last pitch in daylight and in a little better style anyway so gives me an excuse to go back!

Thanks for the compliment, not sure I would agree though ha!
CurlyStevo - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Nath93:

I think the second pitch of the storm is fairly high in the grade vs climbing. Great route.
Murko Fuzz - on 10 Jun 2014
In reply to Nath93:

Slight tangent: and you may already be doing this; how about overloading a bit with some harder safe routes that are local to you like 'Dundee Weaver' and 'Clapham Junction'. Doesn't matter if you sit on gear, it'll do good things for your VS consolidation.

'Spider RH' on Aonach Dubh is nice.
CurlyStevo - on 10 Jun 2014
In reply to Murko Fuzz:

leading routes you've done before either on lead or second at VS can help to highlight that most the issues are to do with calming the nerves on the onsight - they often feel much easier second time.
Michael Gordon - on 10 Jun 2014
In reply to Murko Fuzz:

I can confirm that Clapham Junction provides a good test for those looking to get into VS. The most polished route in Scotland?
CurlyStevo - on 10 Jun 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

I think it might just put him off VS for life - I'd try the opposite approach and do a load of soft touches to get comfortable at the grade (either that or more really nails HS climbs - rainmaker in glencoe would work for that)
Nath93 - on 10 Jun 2014
In reply to Murko Fuzz:

Dundee Weaver does look decent, had a view when I did Promises so that could be something worth doing. Gets HVS 5a does it not?

Seconded Clapham Junction a few weeks back and although it was awkward I never came off. Thought it would pretty much be a top rope lead anyway due to how much gear you can place above your head. Noticed Severe Crack gets a few hard votes for the grade on here and found that to be true, took me a while before I committed to the move to reach for the big block.

Thanks for the suggestions!

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