/ NEWS: Birkett/Edwards, winter ascent of Gimmer Crack

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Michael Ryan - on 16 Mar 2006
Gimmer Crack in Langdale has seen its first winter ascent by valley residents Dave Birkett and Mark Edwards.

Report and photos:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/
Michael Ryan - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Mick - UKClimbing.com:

More photos in the winter climbing gallery.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/photos/index.html?category=2
sutty on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Mick - UKClimbing.com:

FANTASTIC!, mods modded
Erik B - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Mick - UKClimbing.com: looks a good winter line, nice one
In reply to Mick - UKClimbing.com:

Cracking photo of Edwards seconding in full on blizzard.

Davie
featuresforfeet - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Mick - UKClimbing.com:

Is that a normal route in summer?
Norrie Muir - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to I am the God of Strathyre:
> (In reply to Mick - UKClimbing.com)
> Cracking photo of Edwards seconding in full on blizzard.
>
Dear God

That was what winter climbing looked like years ago, so it is good people are climbing in winter conditions.

Norrie
sutty on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to featuresforfeet:

Vs in summer, the top bit is a bit hard with Ice in I should think.

Done it with snow on but not iced up enough to need crampons.

They cheated, missed the thin slab out, but probably to save the holds.;-)
Norrie Muir - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to featuresforfeet:
> (In reply to Mick - UKClimbing.com)
>
> Is that a normal route in summer?

Dear features

What, Gimmer Crack in Langdale, well it was a summer route when I did it in the 60's. sutty may have did it pre war.

Norrie
Simon22 on 16 Mar 2006 - 213.120.90.59 whois?
In reply to Norrie Muir:
> (In reply to featuresforfeet)
> [...]
>
> Dear features
>
> What, Gimmer Crack in Langdale, well it was a summer route when I did it in the 60's. sutty may have did it pre war.
>
> Norrie

What the First one or WWII?

Wibble Wibble - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Simon22:
> (In reply to Norrie Muir)
> [...]
>
> What the First one or WWII?

Boar.

JRobertson on 16 Mar 2006 - [134.146.9.20]
In reply to Wibble Wibble:

or even Boer ;-)
sutty on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to JRobertson:

you are too kind, it was another team that just beat us to it.

Reynolds and McPhee did it first, but TR it first so cannot claim the first onsight.
John Rushby - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Mick - UKClimbing.com:

If they can get away with that, why cant I get away with Curving Crack at Ilkley, the poor mans White Lightning
featuresforfeet - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Norrie Muir:

What's the threshold that makes it acceptable to do with winter gear? Presumably it's not on to dry-tool the whole thing.

Curious as I've done some summer routes I'd like to do in winter but am a not really sure that the ethics of it are.
Exile - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to featuresforfeet:
If it looks like that and is on a winter crag then it's fair game in my book.
In reply to Norrie Muir:

I suppose it has to be totally plastered. Not having been there before, I take it this is a very popular summer crag and line?


Davie
Doug on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to I am the God of Strathyre: almost roadside by Scottish standards, the route is also in Hard Rock and as it must be one of the easiest routes in the book is pretty popular even though some of the other VSs are (IMHO) better
sutty on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to I am the God of Strathyre:

It is the classic VS of the crag, but looking at it and seeing they avoided the delicate section in favour of iced up cracks there will only be the odd scratch of crampons I should think.

Birkett is not one to do things like that too thin, he knows he would get shot down by others if he did. good ascent I think.
Skyfall - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Mick - UKClimbing.com:

Can we please have a debate about whether it's acceptable to make a winter ascent of a classic summer line. Given that it looks undeniably to be in winter condition this is probably the only point to argue about.

Ah, in fact, I see the debate has already begun....

;)
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Simon22 on 16 Mar 2006 - 213.120.90.59 whois?
In reply to JonC:


The debate has been had, this is a 'mountain crag' so summer rock lines are fair game in winter conditions.

I don't think it will get trashed at that grade!
John Rushby - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to JonC:

I refer the honourable gentlemen to the posting I made some moments ago.

If Gimmer is in then surely all else is fair game. Bowfell is f*cked up with crampon scratches and is that the waty the rest of the Lakes will go. Little Cham winter style?
Skyfall - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to John Rushby:

I recall a similar debate a couple of years back re Snickersnack.
Simon22 on 16 Mar 2006 - 213.120.90.59 whois?
In reply to John Rushby:



I believe I read about a winter ascent of Little Cham a few years ago...........


As for the scratches, yes they are unsightly but on routes like Bowfell Buttress the polish from rockclimbers is far worse.

What I do find ironic is that many of those that slag off dry-tooling as being detrimental to the rock will think nothing of torquing and scratching there way up a piece of rock in winter conditions, perhaps they think the snow protects the rock from hardened steel.
In reply to Simon22:

Can't agree that the polish caused by generations of traffic is worse than the scratches - how do you work that out? You can see the polish till you try and stand on it, the scratches are highly visible and UGLY!

Chris
John Rushby - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Simon22:

That is exactly what I struggle with. Savage slit, in anything heavier than cold dew is fair game, but try dry tooling on some bolted limestone route and you would be flamed.
Simon22 on 16 Mar 2006 - 213.120.90.59 whois?
In reply to Chris Craggs:


I dunno, you can almost see your face on some of the more polished sections of BB and it's like climbing on glass. Scratches are ugly but I can live with them.


Routes of VII/VIII are not going to get trashed like BB which is within the range of most winter climbers and therefore far more popular that routes like this ever will be.
John Rushby - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Simon22:

THe sctrathces on the initial chmney of BB actually help, like the names scratchyed into the top of Shipley Glen
GrahamD - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Mick - UKClimbing.com:

Just curious, is this a Mark Edwards or the Mark Edwards (as it were) ?
Simon Caldwell - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to John Rushby:
According to the FRCC site "This was climbed in semi-winter conditions by Wil Hurford in the 70s."

Did anyone object then? If not, it's possibly a bit late in the day.
Eskdale massive - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Chris Craggs:

look like striation to me, all the natural look of glacial rock . . . now polished rock that's another matter . . .

The South Lakes conditions at the moment are I would say some of the best for about a decade. Great to see new routes going up, I was just saying someone the other day I was waiting for something new to be completed with the conditions we have at the moment.

Well done to Birkett and Edward's!
John Rushby - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Eskdale massive:

Bloody typical, I am off to Todra for a fortnight when I could be new routing and ticking classics in the Lakes
Si dH - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Mick - UKClimbing.com:
I don't think ascents should be made of classic VSs like that in winter. If it had a huge icefall down it and there was no effect on the summer route then fair enough. But climbing it mixed like that is no different in my eyes than dry-tooling it in summer, it will damage the rock just as much, and what would people say if someone did that? For a route somewhere likle the northern corries whihc are primarily a winter venue then maybe, but not at Gimmer. I'm quite keen to do that route at some point and I don't really want to be following crampon marks all the way up.
Eskdale massive - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to John Rushby:

I was going ask if you fancied a week up here next week!
Simon22 on 16 Mar 2006 - 213.120.90.59 whois?
In reply to Si dH:
> (In reply to Mick - UKClimbing.com)
I'm quite keen to do that route at some point and I don't really want to be following crampon marks all the way up.


Climb it soon before grade VII's become trade routes then!

This debate has been had, done and dusted, and the concensus is that routes such as these are fair game.
Skyfall - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Si dH:

I have to admit I kind of agree (tho was only joking when I suggested a debate about it...) but, in all honesty, how often is this one going to get done given global warming etc. Not that that should really make a difference but in a practical sense it does.

You have to say though, it is a locals decision to an extent and Dave B is about as local as they get!
John Rushby - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Simon22:

I think this debate is as done and dusted as erm top roping at Froggat and a certain chockstone.

Eskdale - would love to - up in Cairngorm at the weekend then that will be it for the season unless the winter sticks in there for another month.
Si dH - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Simon22:
> (In reply to Si dH)
> [...]

> Climb it soon before grade VII's become trade routes then!
>
If it was at a grade that more peopel were doing and would be a popular rotue in winter tehn Id have more sympathy, not less.


> This debate has been had, done and dusted, and the concensus is that routes such as these are fair game.

Bullshit! Gimmer is definitely not a winter mountaineering crag, its much more a summer crag. I bet you wouldnt say the sme if I went and did a mixed ascent of High Neb Buttress. Maybe someone should, it woulg give the mods another high grade winter ascent ot write about.

Si dH - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to JonC:
> (In reply to Si dH)
>

> You have to say though, it is a locals decision to an extent and Dave B is about as local as they get!

Well he knows as much about the local situation yes. Im not sure it is just a locals decision though when its a route that people all over the country want to go and climb.
Simon Caldwell - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Si dH:
> Gimmer is definitely not a winter mountaineering crag, its much more a summer crag

Only because it's so rarely in condition, if it were like this every year the crag would be covered with winter routes.
From the photos, it looks like a winter route to me. Just because it's also a summer route shouldn't really affect that.
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Simon22 on 16 Mar 2006 - 213.120.90.59 whois?
In reply to Si dH:


A couple of points:

Gritstone crumbles under attack from steel, unlike volcanic rhyolite. This does make a difference.

Define a summer crag. Is Bowfell Buttress not a summer crag, what about Pavey Ark, or Scrubby crag? On all of these cliffs winter climbing has gone on for decades and is accepted.
Si dH - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Simon Caldwell:
Oh its obviously in winter nick at the mment, Ill go with that. But its still effectively dry-toolng through the hoar, like most mixed climbing, and on classic summer routes I think thats wrong.
Erik B - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Si dH: bollocks, the route is a strong line and was in winter nick so deserved a winter ascent. I find the ascent very inspiring much thore so than if it was done in summer by a braying jeffrey with 50 rattling hexes hanging off his harness.

Are you saying summer routes in the alps shouldnt get winter ascents? winter ascents of summer routes in the alps are highly coveted.
Si dH - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Erik B:
>
> Are you saying summer routes in the alps shouldnt get winter ascents? winter ascents of summer routes in the alps are highly coveted.

I always see the alps in general as a mountaineering venue rather than a rock-climbing venue so I dont really care. None of the routes I particularly want to do in the alps are pure rock anyway. Big alpine routes tend to be done with big boots and often crampons even in summer anyway, and if not (i.e. theyre rock climbs) then I guess if I cared about them then my opinion would be the same as here.
AJM - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Si dH:
> For a route somewhere likle the northern corries whihc are primarily a winter venue then maybe, but not at Gimmer.

> I'm quite keen to do that route at some point and I don't really want to be following crampon marks all the way up.

There are classic summer routes in the Northern Corries too. Savage Slit is a classic summer tick, it makes Classic Rock, but you've got it on your ticklist for winter.

You have to have some consistency, either "climbing it mixed like that" is no different to dry tooling it in summer, or it isn't. Gimmer is (for the Lakes) a relatively high up crag, and those pictures look more plastered than many I have seen of ascents of Savage Slit.

Or does it basically come down to the second of your sentences that I've quoted - you want to do Gimmer Crack as a summer route, whilst you don't care how much Savage Slit gets scratched up by your (and others') winter ascents because you don't fancy it as a summer line?

AJM
Erik B - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Si dH: scotland is also considered a mountaineering venue, so should the lakes when they get rare good winter nick.
Simon22 on 16 Mar 2006 - 213.120.90.59 whois?
In reply to AJM:

I cannot believe Savage Slit is on his tick list and he is complaining about this ascent!
Si dH - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Simon22:
I would guess more people want to climb Savage Slit (and other routes in the corries) in winter than they do in summer. The corries are an established winter venue, and I guess being totally crude about it, theyve been climbed enough in winter that theyre probably already as f*cked as theyre going to be.
I would guess more people want to climb The Crack (and other routes on gimmer) in summer than they do in winter. Gimmer as I see it is an established summer venue.

Thats my reasoning. If you think its bollox then fair enough, I cant be bothered arguing about it any more, I jus tgave my opinion and its not changed.
anonymous1 - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Mick - UKClimbing.com:

whilst this is a superb achievement i cant help but think is it right to do a classic summer route like this in winter. It would mean to scratch the thing to buggery.

I firmly believe that Right Wall would be easier with axes and crampons but i wouldn't dream of doing it.( Found it exciting enough in normal conditions )

But i am as guilty as any one with climbing classic rock routes in winter conditions. But i still dont think its right.
Simon Caldwell - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Si dH:
But you said your opinion would be even more strongly held if the new route were easier - ie if more people were able to climb it. If it were grade II and often in condition then it would be more sought after as a winter route than a summer route.
Simon Caldwell - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to anonymous1:
I can't see anything wrong with it at all, it's not as if conditions were marginal. Does that mean I've turned into an elitist? =:-0
Si dH - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Simon Caldwell:
> (In reply to Si dH)
> But you said your opinion would be even more strongly held if the new route were easier - ie if more people were able to climb it.

Yes...

>If it were grade II and often in condition then it would be more sought after as a winter route than a summer route.

Exactly. It would be an established winter venue. I think there should be places tha tare climbed like this and places that aren't. IMO crags tha thavent been climbed in winter before and are covered in classic summer rotus, should stay that way.
Simon22 on 16 Mar 2006 - 213.120.90.59 whois?
In reply to Si dH:


The NC's are only an established winter venue because of their aspect and altitude, the damage to summer rock climbs is no different to those on a south face cliff 2000ft up a fellside in the Lakes.

Gimmer is not an established venue because of it's aspect and relatively low altitude, that should not make the rock climbs there less far game than those in the NC's. It is considered a 'mountain crag' after all.


You are entitled to your opinion of course but I think your arguments are a little warped.

PS. This route will not get trashed because it will not come into condition often and when it does it will be too hard for most punters.

Simon22 on 16 Mar 2006 - 213.120.90.59 whois?
In reply to Simon Caldwell:
> (In reply to anonymous1)
> I can't see anything wrong with it at all, it's not as if conditions were marginal. Does that mean I've turned into an elitist? =:-0

You're not elitist unless you can climb this sort of route, makes me very much a punter!
Knitted Simian - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Erik B:

What about a good dressing of snow and ice on the File
Erik B - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Knitted Simian: what about it?
Norrie Muir - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Simon22:
> PS. This route will not get trashed because it will not come into condition often and when it does it will be too hard for most punters.

Dear Simon

The route may get trashed by irresponcible 'winter' climbers when doing the route when not in winter condition.

This ascent looked in winter condition.

Norrie
Norrie Muir - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Knitted Simian:
> (In reply to Erik B)
>
> What about a good dressing of snow and ice on the File

Dear Knitted

Grade I,5.

Norrie
hutchm on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Norrie Muir:

I don't see it exactly getting dozens of ascents, or indeed a few winter ascents having any negative effect on a very well travelled summer route.

If Gimmer is properly in condition, then it is a winter crag. At least for a day or two.
Knitted Simian - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Erik B:

It would make a cracking winter route.

Is think I, 5 equates to E0 Norrie.
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featuresforfeet - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to hutchm:

If 'winter conditions' don't make any difference to the rock getting marked then what's the difference between dry-tooling it at any point in the year?

I'm not commenting on the OP ascent - but does this mean all of Gimmer is fair game between november and march?

Genuinely interested in knowing what is acceptable and not.
Simon22 on 16 Mar 2006 - 213.120.90.59 whois?
In reply to Norrie Muir:
> (In reply to Simon22)
> [...]
>
> Dear Simon
>
> The route may get trashed by irresponcible 'winter' climbers when doing the route when not in winter condition.

I think our friend is worried this route will end up like Bowfell Buttress which to be fair is a case of follow the scratches in summer, or should that be follow the polish? He shouldn't worry about this climb, he can always follow the polish.........

> This ascent looked in winter condition.

I agree, looked very wintry to me. Good on em.


Si dH - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to featuresforfeet:
> (In reply to hutchm)

> Genuinely interested in knowing what is acceptable and not.

It shouldbe clear by now tha twhat is acceptable to some people isn't to others. If you want some sort of expert to come along and decree whats ok the nDave Birkett is about as good asthe next man, and he obviously thinks its fine, so if you think can do Kipling Groove in winter nick, get to it.
In reply to featuresforfeet:

If it's an established summer route/ crag then it will have to have a real plastering to be acceptable.
Having said that, there was loads of swearing and gnashing of teeth when somebody tried to claim a supposedly plastered Winter Ascent of Sou' Wester Slabs on Cir Mhor.
It's a difficult one. Shame Mullin isn't around anymore to add his insights.

Davie
Norrie Muir - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Knitted Simian:

> It would make a cracking winter route.
>
> Is think I, 5 equates to E0 Norrie.

Dear Knitted

I thought Higgar Tor was a winter venue anyway, or are you a butterfly?

It is too short to get a Grade II rating, never mind an E grading.

Norrie
Erik B - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to I am the God of Strathyre: the sou wester slabs ascent was perfectly acceptable
In reply to Erik B:

Maybes, but a shite winter line.

Davie
Erik B - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to I am the God of Strathyre: there was ice on it
In reply to Erik B:

Still doesn't make it a good line to my eyes. I don't object to doing it in winter at all btw, I just don't think it's a good objective. There are far better new lines to do over there if we get the nick.

Davie
Glen - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to I am the God of Strathyre:

Like the cracks of South Ridge Direct.
Norrie Muir - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to I am the God of Strathyre:
> (In reply to Erik B)
>
> Still doesn't make it a good line to my eyes. I don't object to doing it in winter at all btw, I just don't think it's a good objective.

Dear God

So what is a good winter line?

Norrie
grobertson on 16 Mar 2006 - user-1348.l4.c5.dsl.pol.co.uk
In reply to Mick - UKClimbing.com:

F***in' ell yous Lakelanders are fair firing this season - what a cracking looking route! Made all the more pleasurable by it's ephemerality no doubt. The Lakes is clearly the place to be at the moment, but that's all about to change as we move into next week, oh yeah baby....
In reply to Norrie Muir:

Dorsal Arete.

Davie
Norrie Muir - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to grobertson:
> (In reply to Mick - UKClimbing.com)
but that's all about to change as we move into next week, oh yeah baby....

Dear g

Aye, right. All the cracks will be chocked with snow ice, so it will take too long to clear it all way to dry tool it. I hope you think different.

Norrie
Wry Gob - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Erik B:

Dear Centurion,

I am aghast that you have booked this whole week off work but have still to do any climbing.

I would suggest that you seem to be losing your touch.

Piste skiing at Cairngorm? Lord save us man, I'd have more fun masterbating with a bunch of steel wool.

You should have gone to the pub - 'peeshed' skiing instead or something.

Better luck tomorrow, Grandad.
Erik B - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Wry Gob: take a castlemaine XXXX to yersel!
Wry Gob - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Norrie Muir:

I think uber-different.

To me, there's only one thing that makes a winter climb truly wintry.

At its best, it looks like milk, but it's hard. At its worst, it looks like glass, and it's extremely very hard.

Being of 'La Vielle Ecole', Norrie, I would hope you recognise this vital substance. Your point, I think, is that younger 'mixed warriors', however, may not.

I can smell it here, from the Great Granite City, just a faint whiff on the wind....
Erik B - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Wry Gob: what a load of pretentious clap trap!

what can you smell? the fish wifies fannies?
Wry Gob - on 16 Mar 2006
In reply to Erik B:
"what a load of pretentious clap trap!"

Who the f*** are you then, Eric-f***ing-Winthrop-Young"?!

Watch this (icy) space, Fat Boy



Anonymous on 16 Mar 2006 - m144-mp4.cvx1-c.edi.dial.ntli.net [edin-cache-2.server.ntli.net]
In reply to Wry Gob:
Nice to see this thread has degenerated with such pace.

for my tuppence worth as a Scots exile (ex-winter climber) living in the lakes for 20+ yrs. . .

Well done to Dave Birkett and Mark Edwards.

No doubt Dave & Mark made a fair assessment of the route prior to a FWA. As for scratching up a classic, mmmh? I trust climbers of this calibre to make a fair & clean ascent.
Dave Bodecott explained to me the geology of Gable Crag and I have to be honest, I agree with his opinion that Gable Crag's flaky rock could suffer damage under a winter ascent. (Dave Bodecott is a geologist and an accomplished climber after all). Gimmer rhyolite is more robust.
Dave Birkett similarly is a very, very accomplished climber, combined with local knowledge would be in the best position to judge.
Come to think of it though, Dave Birkett plys his trade as a dry-stone waller as well. Who knows what he has been upto on Gimmer? Building cairns to get over the hard bits?

well done Dave & Mark.

I'm off skiing in the Lakeland Fells this weekend. At least I do not have to be called to account with spurious debates about was it in nick or not?

yours
Davie Paraffin Sanderson
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In reply to Anonymous:

If there's grass visible on your ski tour it's unjustifiable in my book.

Davie
critic on 16 Mar 2006 - cache-los-ac04.proxy.aol.com
In reply to a-non-a-mouse - UKClimbing.com:

I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head there.

However if anyone feels like doing some more winter accents of the more polished lakeland classics,BB for example it may well make them more enjoyable for summer accendants,just a thought?

Craig
Father Faff on 16 Mar 2006 - 82-47-215-238.stb.ubr11.brad.blueyonder.co.uk
In reply to critic:

I've been trying to think about this rationally but it's difficult. The purest ethic would be for all climbers to climb indoors and leave the crags alone so they don't suffer any damage. This may not be popular.

I think it is accepted that winter climbing, at least mixed, causes more damage than summer rock climbing, and most are agreed that crampon and axe damage is unsightly and can even damage holds on more delicate pitches. I have to say Gimmer Crack is a superb VS and it also looks a fantastic winter outing which I'd love to be good enough to do HOWEVER I think that given it is such a classic rock route it is possibly slightly selfish of the guys, for whom I have great respect, to do this route.

Having done a few myself a first ascent can slightly/totally blind one to ethics and one will think of a good reason why you need to remove some vegetation, bang in a peg, etc. to get up a route.

Personally there are accepted winter venues and there are accepted summer venues (only a few bastards pull out their tools on grit) and they should stay that way. As far as I know Gimmer has never been a regular winter venue and is known as a classic summer venue. I think it should stay that way - or perhaps put it to the vote to be democratic?
Norrie Muir - on 17 Mar 2006
In reply to Father Faff:
Personally there are accepted winter venues and there are accepted summer venues (only a few bastards pull out their tools on grit) and they should stay that way. As far as I know Gimmer has never been a regular winter venue and is known as a classic summer venue. I think it should stay that way - or perhaps put it to the vote to be democratic?

Dear Father

Dave Birkett and Mark Edwards climbed this route in winter conditions, they should be congratulated, not condemned. It is not their fault that others have not done winter climbs on that crag before.

Norrie


Father Faff on 17 Mar 2006 - 82-47-215-238.stb.ubr11.brad.blueyonder.co.uk
In reply to Norrie Muir:

Norrie, you completely miss the point. I indeed congratulate them for putting up a technical climb, all I am saying is that it is slightly selfish for the vast majority of climbers at Gimmer who do that climb as a rock route and don't really want to follow scratches and broken rock (though I am sure the pair were as careful as possible).
sutty on 17 Mar 2006
In reply to Father Faff:

Dave, there is nothing to break the way they did it, all big solid holds in a strenuous position or iced up, they avoided the delicate bits that could possibly get damaged. look at the photos of the top pitch and you will see what I mean;

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=31353

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=14056
Dru on 17 Mar 2006 - cache-los-ac04.proxy.aol.com
In reply to Mick - UKClimbing.com:

How dare they, the audacity of this dynamic duo, defiling the hallowed turf.... but seriously, fair play to the guys as they bask in the limelight, it looks like a strong line, controversial for sure, as to the line being in excellent winter nick, i'm sure the jury are out on that one. With the recent snowy conditions and using there logic any summer route would be fair game, even roadside crags.

The fact that Birkett is a gun on the ice, will mean little - to no/damage has been done to this classic bumbly fest...... the audacity, of this dynamic duo.... how dare they...
LakesWinter on 17 Mar 2006
In reply to Dru: Good skills, I was wondering when someone would do this route as a winter line as it is a strong winter line on the SHADY! side of Gimmer.

Let's face it, Gimmer is a mountain crag, the route was in nick so go do it. I don't recall anyone complaining about Cooks Tour on Pavey Ark which is similarly south facing.

Anyway in the 1920's George Basterfield did Hiatus on Gimmer 'under ice and snow'. That's a VS and less of a winter line than the crack so all this bleating about damaging the rock should stop.

Also Napes Needle was done as a winter route in about 1910 or somthing like that, you moaners should check out the FRCC website and look at the history bit, it's well inspirational.
Father Faff on 17 Mar 2006 - 82-47-215-238.stb.ubr11.brad.blueyonder.co.uk
In reply to MattG:

Well certainly I am undecided about this ascent and will go with the majority view but I am serious about asking where do we draw the line, if we do at all. Is it ok if I go climb my local grit crags with axes and crampons if they get a bit of snow on them? Are we saying some types of rock are ok and some aren't? Are we saying crags above a certain height are ok so I can go and climb Red Pencil (Grit at altitude) if there's some snow on it (which there will be) but not Stanage?
Geoffrey Michaels on 17 Mar 2006 - 213-78-41-182.ppp.onetel.net.uk
In reply to Father Faff:

I remember talking about doing Cioch Direct in winter to someone. They were well against it.
Simon Caldwell - on 17 Mar 2006
In reply to sutty:
When you did the 2nd ascent in 1905, I hope you did not have any nails in your boots, as these would have scratched the rock and ruined the climb for all those who followed.
sutty on 17 Mar 2006
In reply to Mick - UKClimbing.com:

Looking at the history of climbs it would be nice to know the conditions when Collie cut his step on Moss Gyll, it was Boxing day 1892.
Father Faff on 17 Mar 2006 - 82-47-215-238.stb.ubr11.brad.blueyonder.co.uk
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

You may laugh but these old geysers sure did damage the rock sometimes with their pegs and nails and that - mind you the damage caused by pegs can provide perfect Alien placements so for that we should be grateful I suppose. Of course the real damage was caused by the likes of W.H.Murray & Co who apparently used to cut steps up mountains. Would you credit it!?
Norrie Muir - on 17 Mar 2006
In reply to Father Faff:
> (In reply to MattG)
>
> Well certainly I am undecided about this ascent and will go with the majority view but I am serious about asking where do we draw the line, if we do at all. Is it ok if I go climb my local grit crags with axes and crampons if they get a bit of snow on them? Are we saying some types of rock are ok and some aren't? Are we saying crags above a certain height are ok so I can go and climb Red Pencil (Grit at altitude) if there's some snow on it (which there will be) but not Stanage?

Dear Father

I donít think winter climbing, as in snow and ice, on the Grit is a problem, as it is acknowledged that it is totally out of order to do it. Dry tooling is also out of order in the Grit.

Do you agree that it is hypocritical that it is acceptable for some Ďclimbersí to grind and scratch their way up Tower Ridge and complain about others damaging a classic rock climb that they may do? Some Ďclimbersí think Tower Ridge is a classic rock climb. So it is OK to trash a route that it beneath them to do in summer.

There has been a lot of patronising posts about what is acceptable to climb in winter.

Norrie
Doug on 17 Mar 2006
In reply to Norrie Muir: So the winter ascent of Green Death (Millstone Edge & gritstone) by Tom Proctor (? - think it was him) wasn't acceptable ? & who decides ?
In reply to Doug:
> (In reply to Norrie Muir) So the winter ascent of Green Death (Millstone Edge & gritstone) by Tom Proctor (? - think it was him) wasn't acceptable ? & who decides ?

I think ice that is thick enough to protect rock from the tools is fair game anywhere!

Beyond that, I think single pitch routes even in semi mountainous terrain are a bit dubious winter targets (a few exceptions of course - there are a few single pitch routes on various Scottish mountain crags).

Some one mentioned Red Pencil. I believe it has been climbed at VI,7 quite a few times.
Father Faff on 17 Mar 2006 - 82-47-215-238.stb.ubr11.brad.blueyonder.co.uk
In reply to Norrie Muir:

Why is grit out of order? Kinder Downfall (grit) is a classic, accepted, winter climb. Aaah but that's ice so it doesn't damage the rock I hear you say. So what is the controversy about - can we damage rock or can't we? Tower Ridge has always been a winter route and is accepted as such. In fact in Scotland ethics seem not to be as severe as in England perhaps because there is much more rock.

Undoubtedly we all damage the rock, winter or summer, but winter climbing does more damage so generally speaking it is thought unethical to use tools on low-lying crags that are considered rock-climbing venues and people generally don't breach that ethic (although I can show you severe damage caused by tools on the gritstone Earl Crag near here). The debate here is whether Gimmer (which is generally held to be a rock-climbing venue)is fair game in winter as well - it probably is but it does mean it may spoil it for a lot of rock climbers if the damage becomes too great. Luckily as someone else has pointed out it will rarely be in condition (though of course we now have the danger of less competent parties trying to climb it with tools when it really is not in condition!).
Simon22 on 17 Mar 2006 - 213.120.90.59 whois?
In reply to Father Faff:
> (In reply to MattG)
>
> Well certainly I am undecided about this ascent and will go with the majority view but I am serious about asking where do we draw the line, if we do at all. Is it ok if I go climb my local grit crags with axes and crampons if they get a bit of snow on them? Are we saying some types of rock are ok and some aren't? Are we saying crags above a certain height are ok so I can go and climb Red Pencil (Grit at altitude) if there's some snow on it (which there will be) but not Stanage?

Mr Faff, got an get a piece of grit from your local crag and hammer it with axes and see what happens. Do the same with a lump of volcanic rhyolite. One will crumble pretty quickly the other will not. This has to make a difference when deciding which crags/types of rock are fair game for winter climbing. People have winter climbed on Penyghent but I personally believe that due to the nature of the rock this is un-ethical, that said the damage done on the likes of Red Pencil is minimal because the crag is rarely in winter condition. I dread to think what it would be like if the crag were snowed up for 3 months of the year, every year.

As for Gimmer not being an established winter venue, this is probably because:

a) it rarely comes into condition being south facing
b) it has few if any easy possible winter lines

This doesn't mean that winter ascents of rock routes should be condemned when they rarely come into condition.
Exile - on 17 Mar 2006
In reply to Mick - UKClimbing.com:
In my opinion this is an excellent winter ascent that Dave and Mark deserve a lot of credit for for pulling off, but the arguments over if it should have been done / not done are basically irrelevant as it won't be ascended again / by many for two reasons:

1. It is very rarely in condition. These two climbers live in the valley, and I expect could only get to the route in these conditions because they could walk there from where they live, not a lot of traffic was moving in the south lakes last Sunday. The proof of this is that it was no secret locally that Rick and Andy tried it ten years ago, and a small number of local climbers have had it on their possibles list for at least that long, but it took until now for it to be done. (Steve Ashworth lives about a mile and a half from the crag and hasn't been on it, certainly not through lack of tallent, so I can only imagine through lack of conditions.)

2. There are just not that many people climbing this hard in the Lakes. There were all sorts of arguments put forward about Snickersnack (VIII 9) two years ago, and how it would open the doors to the 'out of condition, dry tooling hoards' to thrash the crags to death. It hasn't happened, Snickersnack has had two winter ascents. Even Botrill Slabs (IV 7) and Engineer Slabs (IV 7), both recognised as being three start classics have only had about 20 and 10 ascents respectivly. The only route that does get quoted again and again as being trashed is Bowfell Buttress (which I think is out of place as it is both a three star V. Diff and V 6, and people who polish it shouldn't critasise those who scratch it) and that is at a lot more acsessable grade.

Given then that you would need two tallented climbers (or at least one and a willing second) who live in Great Langdale, to be at home when we get these conditions again, then the likelyhood of many ascents is minimal.

And as an after thought Gimmer may have more Summer traffic that Winter traffic, but this is no argument for it not having winter ascents. It's like saying I shouldn't be able to cycle (winter climb) along roads (crags)as there are more people travelling along them in cars (rock climbers), and some of these (rock climbers who hate scratched rock)think cyclists (winter climbers) shouldn't be allowed.
Simon Caldwell - on 17 Mar 2006
In reply to Father Faff:
> In fact in Scotland ethics seem not to be as severe as in England perhaps because there is much more rock.

More likely because they get good winter conditions more regularly
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Norrie Muir - on 17 Mar 2006
In reply to Father Faff:

Dear Father

If you are going to be picky about the grit, so be it. Donít judge all winter climbers the same, how do you know Birkett and Edwards damaged the rock? Some winter climbers are not all scratchers and peddlers, so do donít think everybody has the lack of technique like yourself.

Get real and think about life outside the Grit.

Norrie
scurve on 17 Mar 2006 - spade97.ncl.ac.uk [bucket5.ncl.ac.uk]
In reply to Si dH:
> (In reply to Simon Caldwell)
> [...]
> IMO crags tha thavent been climbed in winter before and are covered in classic summer rotus, should stay that way.

I completely agree with you Mr. dH. I remember when that arsehole Martin Luther King started fighting for equal rights for blacks even though there was a general consensus that this was not a problem.

By the way, I realise that this is a very late reply but I was trying to stop the Malaysian government from changing its traditional laws sentencing homosexuals to death. I trust you will now join my fight.
Father Faff on 17 Mar 2006 - 82-47-215-238.stb.ubr11.brad.blueyonder.co.uk
In reply to Norrie Muir:
> (In reply to Father Faff)
>
> Dear Father
>
> If you are going to be picky about the grit, so be it. Donít judge all winter climbers the same, how do you know Birkett and Edwards damaged the rock? Some winter climbers are not all scratchers and peddlers, so do donít think everybody has the lack of technique like yourself.
>
> Get real and think about life outside the Grit.
>
> Norrie

Bloody hell, Norrie, can you actually read??? I am sure those two would climb it properly and I said as much, it was others I was more concerned about. I am also just raising the issue of how we decide which crags are fair game in winter and which are not. Also you have no idea how I climb but I like to think of myself as a delicate climber. Personally I prefer climbing things like Gimmer Crack to single-pitch grit. As I said Scotland appears to have fewer ethical debates (I'm Scottish myself) but in England the rock is much more of a finite resource and there are major debates about which crags to bolt, winter climb etc. As for Gimmer I am okay to accept the majority opinion that it is okay to use as a winter venue and have no strong opinion either way. However I do have a strong opinion that climbers using gritstone edges with famous climbs on as winter training venues should be taken out and shot, harsh as that may seem.

Simon22 on 17 Mar 2006 - 213.120.90.59 whois?
In reply to Father Faff:

I agree with your last sentence but I would torture them first, NKVD style circa 1945, for a couple of days before shooting them.
jas wood - on 17 Mar 2006
In reply to Father Faff:
you own these crags then ?
what gives YOU the right to decide ?
Neil Foster - on 17 Mar 2006
In reply to Exile:
>
>...Snickersnack has had two winter ascents.


Really?!

You can make that much of a mess in just two winter ascents?

I don't hold out much hope for Gimmer Crack then...

Neil
Father Faff on 17 Mar 2006 - 82-47-215-238.stb.ubr11.brad.blueyonder.co.uk
In reply to jas wood:

Well they are probably owned by some private landowner but I think you will find most Rocktalkers are agreed that ice tools are not appropriate on the grit. Of course people can do what they like but to go against 99% of climbers is selfish to say the least.
Neil Anderson - on 17 Mar 2006
In reply to Mick - UKClimbing.com:

Well Done both on the route.

perhaps the question is now whether summer climbing should be allowed on this winter crag ?
Exile - on 17 Mar 2006
In reply to Neil Foster:
> (In reply to Exile)

> I don't hold out much hope for Gimmer Crack then...

As I said, I don't think it will see many / any more winter ascents, so hold out all the hope you want.

Andy Hobson - on 17 Mar 2006
In reply to Si dH:

> If it was at a grade that more peopel were doing and would be a popular rotue in winter tehn Id have more sympathy, not less.

Why? You don't like it 'cos you're not good enough to do it?

> Bullshit! Gimmer is definitely not a winter mountaineering crag, its much more a summer crag. I bet you wouldnt say the sme if I went and did a mixed ascent of High Neb Buttress. Maybe someone should, it woulg give the mods another high grade winter ascent ot write about.

Actually, *that's* bullshit. Why is Gimmer not a winter mountaineering crag? Because it's so rarely in nick that getting the chance to do a true winter route on it is pretty much impossible. So good effort to Dave and Mark for getting it done when the chance was there. It's difficult enough to catch Bowfell Buttress in condition these days so The Crack is a real prize.

As for your High Neb comment; don't be so ridiculous. You don't dry tool grit because it knackers the rock in the same way chipping does. Gimmer is sound rhyolite and the crack is on big holds.

Get rid of your blinkered attitude and learn to recognise a sound acheivement when you see one.
Norrie Muir - on 17 Mar 2006
In reply to Andy Hobson:
> (In reply to Si dH)
> Get rid of your blinkered attitude and learn to recognise a sound acheivement when you see one.

Dear Andy

People get get confused with dry tooling in winter with winter climbing in winter conditions. This was a winter ascent in winter conditions. Si and his like are not blinkered, just blind.

Norrie
Dru on 17 Mar 2006 - cache-los-ac04.proxy.aol.com
In reply to Mick - UKClimbing.com:

To the naysayers as climbers, isn't it a little conceited to bleat on about a few scratches on a mountain classic,( if they do actually exist) we as climbers routinely strip crags of vegetation, to allow us to summer rock climb, destroying rare flora, scaring away the wildlife without even batting an eyelid, to allow us to continue the cycle of this selfish, very enviromentally unfriendly pastime.

To whom has taken nothing but photographs, left nothing but footsteps, cast the first stone.
Neil Foster - on 17 Mar 2006
In reply to Dru:

>
> To the naysayers as climbers, isn't it a little conceited to bleat on about a few scratches on a mountain classic,( if they do actually exist)...

Well you obviously haven't repeated Snicker Snack since the two winter ascents, Dru.

Unlike me....

Neil
Norrie Muir - on 17 Mar 2006
In reply to Neil Foster:
> Well you obviously haven't repeated Snicker Snack since the two winter ascents, Dru.

Dear Neil

Is it worthy of being called winter route, rather than a winter ascent?

Norrie

beermonkey - on 17 Mar 2006
In reply to Dru:

Agree with you completely there, just look at all the erosion in langdale on approaches to crags, at least in winter you're generally walking on snow. Pot calling kettle black me thinks.
Si dH - on 17 Mar 2006
In reply to Andy Hobson:
> (In reply to Si dH)
>
> [...]
>
> Why? You don't like it 'cos you're not good enough to do it?
>

No, it would simply be a more worthwhile/useful ascent if more people were going to enjoy it. My personal ability ahs absolutely zilch to do with this. I believe if a route is more popualr in winter tha nsummer then its ok (eg savage slit) but if the route and crag is much mroe popular in summer, especailly a 3* classic, it should be letf alone.

> [...]
>
> Actually, *that's* bullshit. Why is Gimmer not a winter mountaineering crag? Because it's so rarely in nick that getting the chance to do a true winter route on it is pretty much impossible. So good effort to Dave and Mark for getting it done when the chance was there. It's difficult enough to catch Bowfell Buttress in condition these days so The Crack is a real prize.
>
> As for your High Neb comment; don't be so ridiculous. You don't dry tool grit because it knackers the rock in the same way chipping does. Gimmer is sound rhyolite and the crack is on big holds.

If I thought no damage whatsoever was going to be done I wouldn't have a problem with it. Unfortunately I dont think this is the case. The fact that the buttress is covered in hoar doesnt really make any difference, youre still climbing the rock with axes and crampons at the end of the day (if it was an icefall it would be different).

>
> Get rid of your blinkered attitude and learn to recognise a sound acheivement when you see one.

Its not a blinkered attitude, its an honest opinion. Its also a shame you cant put forward your own opinion without resorting to insults.
yer maw on 17 Mar 2006
In reply to Mick - UKClimbing.com: personally I think there are still loads of chossy big lines there for the picking without having to climb classic summer rock routes. It shows a lack of imagination.

There are plenty summer rock routes which aren't that great for summer and probably better for winter e.g. many one star mountain routes, and whilst a great rock route on a mounatin could make a great winter line as well it doesn't mean you should do it, because where do you draw the line at?
critic on 17 Mar 2006 - cache-los-ac04.proxy.aol.com
In reply to neil foster - UKClimbing.com:



Well you obviously haven't repeated Snicker Snack since the two winter ascents, Dru.

Unlike me....

Im sure as I read your reply it became narrated by my exwife in my head,how strange


Craig
Erik B - on 18 Mar 2006
In reply to yer maw: unfortunately i dont know the lakes at all, where the climbers lacking winter imagination?

RE summer routes being better in winter, ask Dave Macleod about his climb yesterday (I think it was a summer route he was following but not sure), un fughin believeable, watched his smooth progress in awe for about 2 hours, totally amd utterly stunning winter line, hope he got up it ok but we where too cold to watch any longer.
Eskdale massive - on 18 Mar 2006
In reply to yer maw:

don't think it's a lack of imagination, just more of a restriction of conditions, when conditions are good there's a dash to do stuff. In Scotland where crags can be in condition for months at a time it allows more time to be imaginative and pick a good line . . . when conditions are good there are plenty of people climbing routes that they fancy that aren't in guide books, they are just often at lower grades on the scale or they don't make a song and dance about it.
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Stephen Reid on 19 Mar 2006 - mailgate.needlesports.net
In reply to Mick - UKClimbing.com:

Two points:

1) Gimmer Crack - they climbed the groove direct, ie the horrible mossy section above where the summer route traverses left. This got them to within 2 moves of the Bower where they rejoined the summer line. It is highly unlikely and damage was done to the rock as all the delicate sections in summer were thus missed.

2) Gwynne's Chimney - the correct grade should be IV (5), not VI (5). However it was repeated the next day by Mark Thomas who reckoned it to be IV (4).
Alasdair Fulton - on 19 Mar 2006
In reply to Erik B: Where was this route then?
Anonymous on 20 Mar 2006 - mailgate.heattreat2000.co.uk
In reply to: Davie Paraffin Sanderson

I share Davie's sentiments. Dave Birkett is a much admired and respected local talent, who I'm sure loves Cumberland, Westmorland and the Lakes as his own, so although there are reservations about damaging effects of ice tools on classic Lakes routes, I would trust Dave to make his judgement and hopefully be the guardian of the rock-climbing heritage such that future generations will have the same pleasure on these classics as we all have had.

We did Corvus last Saturday in rock shoes. It was crampon-scratched of course. It seems inevitable that all the easy classics are going to end up like this. Not sure it would be nice to see Cruel Sister this way, or Eastern Hammer, Spring Bank, Bowfell Buttress Eliminate? I'm sure there are Severe or VS grade climbers who like to climb on un-scratched rock as much as E4 climbers on the White wall of Bowfell or the East wall of Pavey.

Dave B.
Stephen Reid on 20 Mar 2006 - mailgate.needlesports.net
In reply to Mick - UKClimbing.com:

I spoke to Wil Hurford about his 1970s ascent. They started up Hiatus to gain the stance at the top of pitch 1, and then carried on as for the summer line of the Crack. So only the top pitch and a few moves on the second are in common with Dave and Ed's route. They wore crampons and carried an axe and hammer apiece and the climb was buried under snow. They had to sweep a lot of this away, and their axes weren't much use as they didn't have drooped picks.

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