/ NEW ARTICLE: Destination Guide - Pex Hill, Liverpool

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Will Hunt shares his love of Pex Hill, a sandstone quarry in Liverpool:

"Pex Hill Quarry is a place very close to my heart and indeed is important to most Merseyside climbers. Hopefully this article will give a taste of what the little crag with the large personality is all about and inspire people to pay it a visit."

Read More: http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=1133
PDL on 23 Sep 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:
Good write up by Will, hopefully Pex will get more traffic. One thing to mention is that some of the bigger routes are top roped by the meek (me) not always bouldered.
In reply to Will Hunt: Nice one, it brings back memories that are no longer accurate - enjoyed reading it after biscuitboy finished dunking!
Mike Stretford - on 23 Sep 2008
In reply to PDL: Will reckons top roping should be avoided... I reckon placing metal protection on soft sanstone should be avoided. I've seen someone rip a nut out of that stuff, took a small chunk of the crag with it.
MjrTom on 23 Sep 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

My local haunt.
Bulls Crack - on 23 Sep 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Bermuda E3? Can I really claim those points? Didn't have a mat then.
Richard Bradley - on 23 Sep 2008
In reply to PDL: I tend to boulder up to the second breakish then jump off. Wimp that I am.
andy farnell - on 23 Sep 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: A nice article there by Will, some good photo's show the 'hallowed hole in the ground' in a nice light.


Couple of points though:

Bermuda is V4, not E3 6a. Algripper highball V2, not E2 5c. Creeping Jesus is 5b technically, and only worth E1 if you solo it. Hart's is E4 6a. The V4 bit is for the bottom, the one handed (a micro-classic eliminate, if I do say so myself) is more like V5/6 than V7, just a bit 'knacky'.

Andy F
Slatehead - on 23 Sep 2008
In reply to andy farnell:
I stand by the grades offered. I believe Creeping Jesus is well worth E1 as the move past the gear is a little tricky. That nut is also probably the most bomber gear in the quarry too so a pretty safe lead. I also reckon that Bermuda is too much like a route with no gear to get a boulder grade. Its high at that!
Slatehead - on 23 Sep 2008
In reply to Papillon:
Sandstone at Pex is pretty hard I reckon. Certainly more so than some Cheshire crags like Frogsmouth and Helsby and certainly Frodsham. The only time I've heard of gear ripping is when Mark pulled a cam out of the new jug on Hart's Arete. The gear on Creeping Jesus is as good as Ive seen elsewhere, so long as you didnt fall from the top moves (which you wouldnt)it would hold.
Mike Stretford - on 23 Sep 2008
In reply to Slatehead: It was at Pex I saw the gear rip and chunk of crag pull out. I think it goes softer when damp aswell, which isn't always apparent. I'm happy top roping the longer routes there, and soling the shorter ones.
I Falafelot on 23 Sep 2008 - 91.84.208.74 whois?
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

"Grades are given for a lead ascent and top roping should be avoided if possible but is now, sadly, very common."

Is this not a tad hypocritical, Mr Hunt, given that you yourself have top-roped a fair few routes there?
Mike Stretford - on 23 Sep 2008
In reply to I Falafelot: I wander if he told Ewan off before taking this photo

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=64644
Will Hunt - on 23 Sep 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:
The suggestions I made in the article were merely suggestions. I have done my fair share of top roping at Pex Hill and have never given any grief to anybody top roping there. If you feel you can lead there then do so, if not then dont.
Please dont allow this to turn into an ethical debate.

Why would I have told Ewan off?
Bulls Crack - on 23 Sep 2008
In reply to Slatehead:
> (In reply to andy farnell)
> I stand by the grades offered. I believe Creeping Jesus is well worth E1 as the move past the gear is a little tricky. That nut is also probably the most bomber gear in the quarry too so a pretty safe lead. I also reckon that Bermuda is too much like a route with no gear to get a boulder grade. Its high at that!

The high bit is easier though so E1 might be fairer...much though I'd like to take 3 points!
andy farnell - on 23 Sep 2008
In reply to Slatehead:
> (In reply to andy farnell)
> I stand by the grades offered. I believe Creeping Jesus is well worth E1 as the move past the gear is a little tricky. That nut is also probably the most bomber gear in the quarry too so a pretty safe lead. I also reckon that Bermuda is too much like a route with no gear to get a boulder grade. Its high at that!


Sorry mate, but your a bit wrong there.

The nut on CJ protects the hardest moves very safely. The are really only 5b, and with the nut in place you can't give it more than HVS. When I first started climbing at Pex more than a few year back, a beer mat was all the gear I used and even then CJ was just a bold 5b problem.

Bermuda's crux is 3 microns from the deck, and it eases up after that. Ok, the moves to the top feel commiting but are only 5a at most. If you wanted to give it a route grade then E1/2 6a would be more appropriate, but V4 gives a much better impression of the problem. It's twin sister Cosine Alternative is IMHO a better, more balance and sustained problem.

Andy F
Michael Ryan - on 23 Sep 2008
IIn reply to andy farnell:

It's the experience that counts Andy, not grade splitting.

I have very fond memories of my time at Pex when I should have been studying, the grades I can't remember - the great climbing times with friends I can.
andy farnell - on 23 Sep 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: I agree with you about the memories Mick, I've had many many great times at Pex. I just don't want people to overeetimate the difficulties at Pex, it's the quality that counts and Pex has that in abundance.

Andy F
Michael Ryan - on 23 Sep 2008
In reply to andy farnell:

Fair point.
Ben Farley - on 24 Sep 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: Sorry to be picky, but it's Mick Adams, not Doyle. Since he was completely wrong named in a Climber article a while back (with profuse apologies from Panton afterwards), would you mind changing it please.
Pekkie - on 24 Sep 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Nice article Will and nice pics. On the question of top roping, I've had several lucky escapes soloing there including recently when my favourite pinch grip disintegrated in my hand. Maybe I was gripping it too tightly! Makes you think about Paul Williams though. Top roping has always been accepted at Pex, particularly in greasy conditions, providing you don't hog lines other climbers want to do. Soloing is obviously the most ethical form of ascent, particularly test pieces like The Knife and Black Magic but it's best to wait for good conditions (like now, well, until it rains again) when the routes seem about four grades easier.
Will Hunt - on 25 Sep 2008
In reply to Ben Farley:
Many apologies to Mick, I fear the mistake was my fault.

Pekkie, what with Pex being a sandstone crag I can fully understand the treatment of some holds with suspicion, likeise for gear. Top roping is a nice way around this but I wanted the article to convey that leading on trad gear was possible. Of course the usual sandstone rules apply, leave it for a spell after rain and be wary at all times. Having said that there isn't really any choss at Pex apart from a bit on the now unused walls and at the top of the Rack wall. It seems odd that Nesscliff sees so much trad, is the rock that much more compact?
Pekkie - on 25 Sep 2008
In reply to Will Hunt:

If anything, the rock at Nesscliffe is not as good as Pex. But top roping is accepted there and leads are protected by pegs in drilled holes (!?!). Nesscliffe is like Pex scaled up 4 times. For instance Marlene is like the crux of the Web for eighty feet. This is nirvana for the sandstone technicality seeker after truth.
Enty - on 25 Sep 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Good article and some nice pics but it just about sums up the modern attitude to climbing.
Back in the 80's the grades were the same - no infact they were easier - Black Magic was a classic highball 6a.
Nothing to the right of Pisa wall got an E grade and back then your bouldering mat consisted of a piece of carpet from the footwell of the car.

What's going on?

The Ent
andy farnell - on 26 Sep 2008
In reply to Enty:
> (In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC)
>
> Good article and some nice pics but it just about sums up the modern attitude to climbing.
>
> Nothing to the right of Pisa wall got an E grade and back then your bouldering mat consisted of a piece of carpet from the footwell of the car.
>
> What's going on?

As I said above: The nut on CJ protects the hardest moves very safely. They are really only 5b, and with the nut in place you can't give it more than HVS. When I first started climbing at Pex more than a few year back, a beer mat was all the gear I used and even then CJ was just a bold 5b problem.

Bermuda's crux is 3 microns from the deck, and it eases up after that. Ok, the moves to the top feel commiting but are only 5a at most. If you wanted to give it a route grade then E1/2 6a would be more appropriate, but V4 gives a much better impression of the problem. It's twin sister Cosine Alternative is IMHO a better, more balance and sustained problem

Andy F
Ben Farley - on 26 Sep 2008
In reply to Enty:
> (In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC)
>
> Good article and some nice pics but it just about sums up the modern attitude to climbing.
> Back in the 80's the grades were the same - no infact they were easier - Black Magic was a classic highball 6a.
> Nothing to the right of Pisa wall got an E grade and back then your bouldering mat consisted of a piece of carpet from the footwell of the car.
>
> What's going on?
>
> The Ent


I agree that the grades are a bit high in most cases in the article. However, its a bit wrong to suggest that Black Magic, The Knife and the routes down past Hart's Arete should be seen simply as highballs. Even in these days of decent pads and our experiences of highballing many short grit routes and big stuff all over the place, climbing 30-40 foot without gear is soloing a route. Andy's on the money about Bermuda, indeed Creeping Jesus is a highball, but soloing the Knife feels more like E4 than font 6a+. Boulder grades can be stretched for highballs and route grades can be adapted for short solo. No one would suggest that soloing The Knife at E4 is the same kind of experience as leading say Great Wall, it's about selecting the right type of grade and understanding how it applies to the particular climb.
Pekkie - on 26 Sep 2008
In reply to Enty:
>
> it just about sums up the modern attitude to climbing.
> Back in the 80's the grades were the same - no infact they were easier - Black Magic was a classic highball 6a.
> Nothing to the right of Pisa wall got an E grade and back then your bouldering mat consisted of a piece of carpet from the footwell of the car.
>
> What's going on?
>
>Aye, we were reet hard boogers int' old days. Not like the present generation of spoiled wimps with their baggy jeans round their arses.
Actually, Black Magic is the only 'long' route that has ever been regularly solo'd at Pex because the crux is low down.
baron - on 26 Sep 2008
In reply to Ben Farley: In a few infrequent visits to Pex some twenty years ago I can remember having great difficulty in even getting off the floor on most of the problems there. (I should add that this is not a phenomenum restricted to this particular venue).
While nursing my bruised/battered ego I could marvel at the talented climbers such as Joe Healey who would gracefully cruise across the seemingly blank walls. Some good climbers from the Uni and Poly would spend many hours learning the art of Pex climbing whilst also developing the strength and technique required to send some of the harder problems. I never saw a top rope there but did witness a few luckless soles who attempted 'dubious' tactics only to be verbally abused by the talented few - all done in good fun but also reinforcing the ethic of the time that the solo was the way to climb.
With a good wind behind me and a very tight top rope I could have 'climbed' some of the harder problems there but deep down I knew that I wasn't actually good/talented/determined enough so I didn't.
Climbing hard might be elitist, not attempting something might be defeatist but at the end of the day climbing is /was a physical and mental game - hard moves a long way above the ground or a tiny scrap of damp,muddy carpet are not for everyone and that's the way it should be.
You can solo it, lead it, top rope it or use whatever means possible ( because who actually cares?) but you'll still know, when your bragging in the bar or when you go to sleep that night, deep down inside, whether you were good enough

pmc
Pekkie - on 26 Sep 2008
In reply to baron:
> I could marvel at the talented climbers such as Joe Healey who would gracefully cruise across the seemingly blank walls. I never saw a top rope there

I seem to recall seeing top ropes there and on occasion Joe Healey and Phil Davidson on the end of them! However, soloing was the most admired and rated form of ascent and the best was probably Phil's solo of Staminade in 1991 which I was priviledged to witness. Was that really 17 years ago?
Tom Eagle - on 27 Sep 2008
phenomenum??!!
andy farnell - on 27 Sep 2008
In reply to Pekkie: Probably the last time it was dry...

Andy F
Pekkie - on 27 Sep 2008
In reply to andy farnell:
> (In reply to Pekkie) Probably the last time it was dry...

>That route's a real heart-breaker as it always seems to seep. If it was always bone-dry it would be one of the best in the area. Probably better to try its big brother Yuckan II at Nesscliffe. I'm probably too old and too crap to do it but I reckon you could romp it, Andy. And there are some aretes there that really do make The Knife look like a boulder problem.
andy farnell - on 27 Sep 2008
In reply to Pekkie: It alway's looked so enticing, that beautiful shallow grove just begs to be climbed. If it get's dry I'd be up for it, what state is the gear?

Andy F
Pekkie - on 27 Sep 2008
In reply to andy farnell:

Are you talking about Staminade or Yuckan II?
Pekkie - on 27 Sep 2008
In reply to andy farnell:

Anyway, time for bed! Staminade - Nigel, don't know his second name but he's Porkie's mate led it last year and said that you could organise reasonable protection around the old bolts and then the peg near the top is bomb-proof. Best to brush it first as the ripples are crucial.
Yuckan II - see pic in Nick Dixon's guidebook with Alison from Awesome Walls climbing - drilled pegs! Looks OK.
Ken Latham - on 21 Oct 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: It was great to see Pexhill mention in UKC and it bought a lot of great memories flooding back.For those of you who may be interested here's a little bit of history.
It was John Bisson and I who "re-discovered" Pex back in 1970,on our first visit it was obvious that the place was hardly ever used,there was grass and roots haning down many of the faces. I was working at Ellis Brigham's in Bold St and was given a A4 sheet of paper(which incidently I still have)with a few routes on it .I recall about 10 to 12 in total and these were all the routes in the quarry at the time.many of them were bolted from the 60's and were bolted with industrial anchor bolts which were crude to say the least,some of them could be taken out and slotted back in.We set about cleaning the place up and as there was no fence around the quarry it was possible to drive RIGHT up to the very edge and belay off the back axle of your car.An obvoius route was the line of Dateline,this was protected with several wooden wedges and two pegs,I personally removed these and set about attempting to free the route,I managed the first free ascent after a lot of hard work and major cleaning.Most of the ascents were done on top ropes as we were very unsure of the quality of the rock and we had very little in the way of small wires and camming devices had not arrived on the scene yet.I was able to claim about 20 first ascents in the quarry and these include "The Knife" "One of these Days" plus the 3rd ascent of "Black Magic" after Phil Davidson and Willie Simm.It must be rememberd that we did these in EB's and at the start no chalk.Summer evenings at Pex were great and it was usually heaving most of the time with mates,Phil,Joe Gaz,Robbie Mark et al.The evenings would inveriably end up with several pint of bitter at the Unicorn and then a DRIVE back home---Happy days ,thanks for re-kindling it all.
Ken
David Hooper - on 21 Oct 2008
In reply to Ken Latham:

Hi Ken - is that you (now working as Padarn Ranger?)

David :o)
mrjonathanr on 21 Oct 2008
In reply to Ken Latham:
Hi Ken, nice to read your memories of Pex's development.Bizarrely, I notice no mention of giving me my first EBs, worn through at toe, and advising wearing them on the wrong feet! Certainly helped teach me to focus on my footwork tho..
How's life in Wales?
All the best
Jon Reti
Pekkie - on 22 Oct 2008
In reply to Ken Latham:
> it was obvious that the place was hardly ever used,there was grass and roots haning down many of the faces.

Hi Ken! You must be the original Pekkie. It's worth reminding everyone how much gardening had to be done and how much 'maintenance' needs to be done to retain the routes. If we leave it to nature some bright young spark will be coming on here asking if 'it is OK to bolt an overgrown and obscure quarry near Liverpool'.
Pekkie - on 22 Oct 2008
In reply to mrjonathanr:
> Bizarrely, I notice no mention of giving me my first EBs, worn through at toe, and advising wearing them on the wrong feet!

I once saw a mate traversing at Pex with his face screwed up with what looked like intense pain. When asked what was the matter - was it piles? - he pointed at his EB's which like yours had worn through on the insides. He was too mingy to buy a new pair and was wearing them on the wrong feet.
I tried this but it was just too pianful so I filled in the holes with araldite. The trouble was this meant that they provided no friction at all and I spent a day of terror on Cloggy with my feet slding all over the place. So I bought a new pair.

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