/ NEW ARTICLE: The Best of the Best (VS's) - by Tom Ripley

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Tom Ripley extols the virtues of the best VS's in the Lakes, with a little bit of help from some local experts...

"The Lake District is basically a succession of glaciated valleys, bounding out like the spokes of a wheel from a focal point around High Raise/Esk Hause. A series of incredible cliffs constructed primarily from volcanic rock, jut out from the valley sides. This vast array of mountain crags, provide a hearty crop of VS routes of the very highest standard; from perfect wee pitches located at little known outcrops in the Eden Valley to glorious multi-pitch wonders picking their way through improbable terrain high up on Scafell or Dow Crag...

Read More: http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=903
Alun - on 19 May 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:
Excellent article and very inspiring. Rather embarrasingly I've never done any of them. That's 22 more routes on the ticklist then...!
gear boy - on 19 May 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: is trowbarrow classed as the lake district now? must remember that next time i go to lancashire !-)
O. C. Curmudgeon on 19 May 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

The Lakes is definitely the best place in the country for VS's. Of those not mentioned in the article I'd say Adam at Shepherd's Crag is stonking. One that seems to rarely get a mention is Pacemaker at Buckbarrow, also Central Crack at Brantrake is a treat. Others that stand out are Dexter Wall at Grey Crag, Grooved Wall on Pillar, Eliminate C on Dow, Bellerophon at Heron Crag.
gear boy - on 19 May 2008
In reply to gear boy: i do hope this inspires lots of peole to go and explore the mountain crags and routes,
it is a good list to tick off a few routes, and hopefully people will see some new crags they hadnt walked to before
Lemony - on 19 May 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: Really enjoyed that Tom, thanks. Top photos as well!
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Great - though I think adding Armathwaite and Kings Meadburn into the mix doesn't add a lot in terms of quality! Apart from that they aren't really in the Lakes anyway!

Chris

PS Looks like I will have to go and do Medusa Wall - bugger!
Franco Cookson OLD - on 19 May 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: Nice article, glad to see i've done classic VSs :-). I'll have to have a look at the other ones as well. Cheers Tom, looks like it's 'let the remedials write articles' week. ;-)
Calder - on 19 May 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Did my first Lakes VS's last weekend - Haste Not, Gordian Knot & Slip Knot on White Ghyll, all three fantastic. Thats 3 ticks off a long list of Lakes VS's I want to do this summer, a list thats just grown so much it'll now take more than just one summer to get through. Excellent!

Cheers for the inspiration.
sutty on 19 May 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

JACK, it needs scrolling to see all the print. get that sodding mac computer sorted so your viewers do not have to do that.

Seem to remember it happening before and you sorting it quickly by some trickery, ta
IanJackson on 19 May 2008
The contents and photos were great, but the presentation of the article was a bit awkward. I had to scroll sideways?
The New NickB - on 19 May 2008
In reply to gear boy:
> (In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC) is trowbarrow classed as the lake district now? must remember that next time i go to lancashire !-)

Trowbarrow isn't really in the Lake District, but half the Lake District is in Lancashire.
sjbutterworth - on 19 May 2008
In reply to The New NickB:
> (In reply to gear boy)
> [...]
>
> Trowbarrow isn't really in the Lake District, but half the Lake District is in Lancashire.

Well, about a quarter anyway, the part bounded by the Duddon and the Brathay/Windermere. Businesses using "Lake District" in their name extend from about Preston up to Carlisle well outside the National Park boundaries so including Trowbarrow isn't stretching things too far by any means.

Good article by the way Tom, as someone just about climbing at VS it has given me some goals for the summer.

In reply to sutty: It's the photo sizes - 2 of them were uploaded quite large by users - which is great, but messed up your viewing of this article.

I've swapped them for smaller versions now, which is a shame, but should solve the side scroll?

Oh, and I don't have a mac! That's Alan - it's all his fault!

Jack ;-)
peas65 - on 19 May 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

I'm pretty sure that trowbarrow is in Cumbria but is included in the lancashire rock book.
As a point Tom i would have to argue that VS is not the first climbing grade, just another step on the grading ladder -perhaps the most popular rung?

Interesting article though
Darren Jackson - on 19 May 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Nice article. Lots to add to my tick-list there. Good work Tom and Jack!
sutty on 19 May 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Good article, and not a bum route in the described ones.

One thing to mention, Fools Paradise, isn't that the route that has a lot of loose stuff on it after a rockfall, making it unsafe to climb ATM?
biscuit - on 19 May 2008
In reply to sutty:

I hope not sutty i did it 2 weeks ago ;0)

Joking aside the last time i did it a guy was killed a few days later when one of the blocks in the chimney came out.

I didn't lead the chimney pitch this time i am wiser now :0)but warned my partner and i had a good look on the way up. It all seems well wedged in - as much as 5 or 6 tv sized chunkf of rock balanced on top of each other can be.

On another note there is a tawny owl nesting near the belay after the 2nd pitch. We diverted off route but still gave it a good scare i'm afraid. 2 eggs in the nest as well. Be careful - not protected but a beautiful bird.

PS nice article Tom. I presume Jack spell checked it for you ;0)
sutty on 19 May 2008
In reply to biscuit:

So would you say it is safe enough now to recommend to a just vs leader or someone doing it to fill in?

Spelling mistakes, I ignored the one I found in the article. An extra m in something I think.
GrahamD - on 19 May 2008
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Square cut chimney makes an 'interesting' alternative start to Medussa Wall.
GrahamD - on 19 May 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Nice article. Young Tom is improving with keeping :-)
Skyfall - on 19 May 2008
Good stuff Tom.

Glad to see I've done so many classic Lakes VS's ;) However, not sure why Gimmer Crack didn't make your top 10 (I seem to recall being fascinated rather than underwhelmed).

Can we have some more grades please (to whoever - Jack?).
Andy Hobson - on 19 May 2008
In reply to JonC:

> However, not sure why Gimmer Crack didn't make your top 10 (I seem to recall being fascinated rather than underwhelmed).

Indeed, miles better than Medusa Wall (which felt like one good but unexceptional pitch stuck at the top of a load of lineless rambling - much better routes on the crag anyway).

Good list though and nicely written. A few I've not done in there which I'll have to make the effort to get to now!
Will Hunt - on 19 May 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:
Brilliant article Tom. Cant wait to climb them.
full stottie on 19 May 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

I like it. Good stuff Tom. Only down side is that it reminds me I haven't done enough of these, and the clock's ticking.
full stottie on 19 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
looks like it's 'let the remedials write articles' week. ;-)

No need to troll for complements! I enjoyed yours and Dave Warb's just as much. You should also know by now that Jack the Lad at UKC lets ANYONE write articles - I know, and its a sobering thought.

Michael Ryan - on 19 May 2008
In reply to full stottie:
> (In reply to Franco Cookson)
> looks like it's 'let the remedials write articles' week. ;-)

>You should also know by now that Jack the Lad at UKC lets ANYONE write articles - I know, and its a sobering thought.

As long as they are good and the ones we have published this year are good.

Look:

January: 81 articles: http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=776

Feb: 17 articles:http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=850

March: 17 articles:http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=895

April: 8 articles http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=935

2008 so far: http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/older.html?category=&date=2008

GrahamD - on 19 May 2008
In reply to Andy Hobson:

Square cut chimney is IMO the better start to Medusa wall with very contrasting pitches.
Bulls Crack - on 19 May 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

All puts grit in a proper perspective.......runs away and hides.
TRip - on 19 May 2008
In reply to Andy Hobson:
> (In reply to JonC)
>
> [...]
>
> Indeed, miles better than Medusa Wall (which felt like one good but unexceptional pitch stuck at the top of a load of lineless rambling - much better routes on the crag anyway).

But, unlike the overated polished crack, that "pitch stuck at the top of a load of lineless rambling" has superb climbing, with jaw dropping exsposure. Only a few metres to the side of possibly the most inspiring and intimidating head wall in Britain.
>
> Good list though and nicely written. A few I've not done in there which I'll have to make the effort to get to now!

Cheers. I've done 4 more this year, which are deffinatley up there with the best. I did Grendel last night and it's main corner pitch is as good as any on Eliminate A. It is shame no one climbs on Scrubby, it is a stunner.

biscuit - on 19 May 2008
In reply to sutty:
> So would you say it is safe enough now to recommend to a just vs leader or someone doing it to fill in?


I would say so - it's all relative of course.
Main problem on it for in-experienced climbers is route finding. It never feels too exposed. the chimney is still a horrible, smelly place to be though.
Franco Cookson OLD - on 19 May 2008
In reply to Tom Ripley: What's scrubby like? We were going to head up last November but went to gowbarrow instead. Clean? good?
TRip - on 19 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
> (In reply to Tom Ripley) What's scrubby like? We were going to head up last November but went to gowbarrow instead. Clean? good?


It is a great crag, dirty, loose, vegitated, intimidating. Grendel felt like one of those routes that used to be climbed every weekend, but has since sunk it obscurity. Shame really as it is stunning, it would be beyond awsome in winter.

I wouldn't choose to go there in november, it is a long walk and I was cold yesterday. It would be soaked through in november too.
Franco Cookson OLD - on 19 May 2008
In reply to Tom Ripley: is that the grade 7? what are the harder summer climbs like?
TRip - on 19 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
> (In reply to Tom Ripley) is that the grade 7?

VI 7

> what are the harder summer climbs like?

Don't know, first visit to the crag, considering the crag's sole *** route was dirtyish and I pulled off two piece of rock that would have killed my climbing partner if they had hit him, I'd guess they'd be far frar worse. There aint much hard there really.

Don't think about climbing without a lid there.

You want to get yoourself onto Dove/Raven Thresh mate.

Franco Cookson OLD - on 19 May 2008
In reply to Tom Ripley: iy, Dove............. i didn't mean that hard, just onsight Vlad. ;)
sutty on 19 May 2008
In reply to Tom Ripley:

All the routes are worth doing up there, Hrothgar was good, I thought better than Grendel and Firedragon was recommended years ago but never did it.
Andy Hobson - on 19 May 2008
In reply to Tom Ripley:

> But, unlike the overated polished crack, that "pitch stuck at the top of a load of lineless rambling" has superb climbing, with jaw dropping exsposure.

Hmm. I remember a boulder problem with a nice view.

> Only a few metres to the side of possibly the most inspiring and intimidating head wall in Britain.

An impressive bit of rock for sure. Not convinced about 'in Britain' but 'in the Lakes' certainly.

In any case, when a route can be improved by starting up a different one (Square Chimney in this case) I think that automatically knocks a few stars off. Doesn't it climb a pitch or two of Bridge's Route at some point too? Not saying it's a bad route - the climbing was quite nice apart from the mucky pitch - but not one of the best.
Malcolm - on 19 May 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:
To spark another argument, i thought fools paradise was a pile of wank considering the hype it gets. There was one reasonable traversy pitch, the rest was rubbish, and the top pitch is waiting to fall down - piss easy, but dodgy as hell - i seem to remember there was a fatality on it a while back?? and its not a very compelling line either. Just my 2 pence.
Greenbanks - on 22 May 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

An enjoyable retrospective for me. Thanks. Some grading anomalies. And your 12 still to do contain some that'll definitely muscle their way into your top group.
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mrjonathanr on 22 May 2008
In reply to Calder:
Isn't White Ghyll great? Glad to see someone else appreciate the Langdale crags.
Ann S on 22 May 2008
In reply to mrjonathanr: .

White Ghyll is ab fab and in warm weather you can bake like a lizard.
54ms - on 27 May 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Well I took the advice of the article and went and did Eliminate A. It was awesome. Looks like I have a ticklist for summer :-)
Chris the Tall - on 01 Jun 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:
Good article - missed it first time around, but seen it now thanks threado Mick's "This is what you've missed" thread.

Did Eliminate A a couple of weeks ago and just grinned the whole way up it. Several times it reminded me of Haste on White Ghyll, so that's definately one to do Tom. Don't worry, the walk in's quite short.....

I always reckoned that Overhanging Bastion was quite fairly graded at HVS for everyone shorter than me - my mate backed off the crux cos he was facing a nasty fall whereas I spotted a good friend placement at full stretch. What made him even more annoyed about surrending the crux lead was that he was the same height as me !

And NW Arete/F route is such a great combo, but my view is that NW arete is the better, if easier route of the two.

And finally, to paraphrase Half Man Half Biscuit

"Where the f**king hell is SlipKnot?"
Lord of Starkness - on 02 Jun 2008
In reply to Chris the Tall:

OB has been a VS since its first ascent in 1939 -- albeit with a short 5a crux move off the pinnacle, that has a painful looking penalty clause!

A tall person may well be able to reach high enough to place a bomber friend, but for shorthouses like myself, you have to make do with fiddling a couple of very small wires into iffy pockets to give a psychological boost before committing to 'the move'. Once you've made the move, it's just bomber protection and pure enjoyment all the way to the top.

As to the location of Slip Knot -- if you can't find it in White Ghyll, I suggest a white stick may be in order.
biped - on 02 Jun 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Great article, and just what a semi-retired (from climbing) bumbler who hasn't really discovered the Lakes yet needs, very inspiring.

Haste Not is one of the best routes I've ever done, anywhere. Re Slip Not, yes easy to find, and a good route, but not a patch on Haste Not.

I look forward to climbing some of these this summer.

Cheers

Stuart
Chris the Tall - on 02 Jun 2008
In reply to Lord of Starkness:
I was refering to SlipKnot's absence from the list of great VS's - though admittedly I've always regarded it as definitive MVS and basically just couldn't resist the chance to drop a HMHB lyric !
Franco Cookson OLD - on 25 Jun 2008
In reply to Tom Ripley: Done a couple of the routes you recomended. Awesome thomas!. :-)
TRip - on 27 Jun 2008
In reply to Chris the Tall:

>
> Did Eliminate A a couple of weeks ago and just grinned the whole way up it. Several times it reminded me of Haste on White Ghyll, so that's definately one to do Tom. Don't worry, the walk in's quite short.....

Eliminate A is brill... I have magic memories of it. I havn't done Hast Knot or Eagle Front, which friends reckon are on a pair.
>
> I always reckoned that Overhanging Bastion was quite fairly graded at HVS for everyone shorter than me - my mate backed off the crux cos he was facing a nasty fall whereas I spotted a good friend placement at full stretch. What made him even more annoyed about surrending the crux lead was that he was the same height as me !

I always reckoned OB was Hard VS too, That one 5a move is polished sketchy and not to well protected. A grade harder than Adam, which consider benchmark VS 5a.
>
> And NW Arete/F route is such a great combo, but my view is that NW arete is the better, if easier route of the two.

No no no... F Route is sheer pleasure start to finish... NW Arete is just pleasant bimble to get the blood flowing.
>

> "Where the f**king hell is SlipKnot?"

I aint done it 'guv.

Should I write a Best Hard VS article in a similar vain?

Swig - on 27 Jun 2008
In reply to Tom Ripley:

Yes, nice one.
bluebrad on 27 Jun 2008
In reply to Tom Ripley:

>
> Should I write a Best Hard VS article in a similar vein?

Go on then - will give me something to aspire to once I have knocked off the 20 odd VS's that you have listed in your previous article.

bluebrad
Franco Cookson OLD - on 27 Jun 2008
In reply to Tom Ripley:

> >
> Should I write a Best Hard VS article in a similar vain?

why not do a best E2 aerticle in a similar vein Tom?
Simon Caldwell - on 27 Jun 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
> why not do a best E2 aerticle in a similar vein Tom?

and how about one on HVDs?
TRip - on 27 Jun 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
> (In reply to Tom Ripley)
>
> [...]
>
> why not do a best E2 aerticle in a similar vein Tom?

Because there are shit loads of good E2s I need to climb

I've done most of the proper *** E1s though. By proper I mean ones given *** in last series of FRCC guides, where a *** route had to be pretty damn good.
In reply to Tom Ripley:



"shed load" sounds better.


Chris
Franco Cookson OLD - on 27 Jun 2008
In reply to Tom Ripley: well you sound pretty solid E2/3, so you could probs just run up em?
Franco Cookson OLD - on 27 Jun 2008
In reply to Chris Craggs: loads*

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