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Topic - King Kong, Wintours Leap - No longer a 3* classic?

Pete - on 15 Jun 2009
We turned up at Wintours Leap for an evening climbing last Thursday night without the guidebook because we both forgot it. No matter, over the years, we have collectively done most of the routes that we can do on this crag so it was just a case of picking one that we could remember well. Ambitiously, given route length and limited daylight hours, we settled on King Kong. I should put our collective experience into context; whilst I am climbing far from my best, I am at the moment confident and competent on E1 and starting to do E2ís again. My climbing partner Clive is maybe less confident at the moment, but competent on HVS and has climbed much harder. Also, over the years, we have both done King Kong three or four times, both before and after the rock fall. I have also done the first pitch a further twice as a start to the E2 Stairway To Heaven. Our combined years are substantially over 110, but thatís not relevant (or is it?).

I led the first pitch. Jamming is my forte. If it wasnít I would have struggled. Even with this it was hard going. Itís a strenuous thrutch. Worse, it is polished, dirty and downright unpleasant and becoming vegetated. It is not a classic! Clive struggled following and he said it wore him out and accounted for his struggle trying to lead the next pitch and his two noisy and entertaining falls, liberally punctuated by the Ďfí word, onto, fortunately, excellent gear. He backed off the gnarly little roof that you have to surmount before the final crack on the second pitch after taking a spectacular flyer off it. I went up and had a half-hearted go with feet skidding on the polished holds. Not worth the aggro. With darkness descending on us we abseiled off. Worst still, we were too late for an Ďapres-climbí pint!

I donít fail on HVS period. Usually, when I fail on a climb I am desperate to go back and redeem myself. I will never go near this again. It is, overall, an unpleasant experience. I did more gardening and cleaning of holds than I have done in a long time and the exposed holds had the sheen of polished glass and it is substantially harder than HVS. Yuk! The following is a link to an interesting article, that I found, indicating that others have felt the same:

I guess the point that I am making is that classic status on climbs should not necessarily be eternal. The last time I did Coronation Street I felt that the crux pitch was a lot more polished than before. Heaven forbid that this wonderful climb should go the way of King Kong. I await the usual UKC relevant, sensible, informed and erudite comments.

Too much to hope I guess, but if anyone else is daft enough to do this nil or one star climb in the near future we would appreciate return of the number 10 Rock and quickdraw left on the overhang. Ok, ok, I know that it should be considered fair game, according to many venerable UKC pundits, but now you know itís ours!

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