/ King Kong, Wintours Leap - No longer a 3* classic?
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: http://willerup.com/climbing/kingkong.html
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!
cheers for the heads up....it's one of the routes i've always wanted to do because of its classic status. After a play on some of the choss on nearby Fly Wall i can vouch that rock quality is not the best, although Firefly is an ok E2.
i liked it, are you getting old and weak?
> i liked it, are you getting old and weak?
Maybe, but my aesthetic sensibilites are still firing on all four cylinders.
did Vandal and Ann at Haytor yesterday, the top was extremely mossy my gardening described by Charles as filling the air with flying green toupees .. looked as if it had'nt been done for a while.
i did that a few years ago, i also had to do a lot of moss removal!!
> , although Firefly is an ok E2.
I agree that Firefly is a very ok E2 and more than deserves its stars. My point is that KK doesn't.
KK always was a bit burly at HVS ! Not having done the route post rock fall and not having the newer guidebook, what description / grade does the new book give ?
E1 in new Guide.
3!! Hasn't appealed to me since the roof fell; doesn't appeal to me at all after reading your post!
Before the rockfall the start was excellent and overall it was a good climb, but as someone else has said, burly for HVS.
I do agree that the first half of the first pitch is just vile and more than enough to make you wonder what on earth is going on (earth being the operative word when I did it). Thereafter, I thought it delighful. Polish always takes the edge off things, but I didn't really conseder it polished either. Maybe an off day? Now Buccaneer at Swanage: three stars? Shurley shome mishtake?
Or even the gloss :-)
> Now Buccaneer at Swanage: three stars? Shurley shome mishtake?
Buccaneer is a good route. Maybe I am biased cos I love Boulder Ruckle and I was one of the party on the f.a of the alternative finish on Buccaneer. However, maybe not three stars. I firmly believe that the 3* is an over-used accolade. As I see it the star rating system is as follows: 1* = good route in the area, 2* = very good route in the area, 3* represents excellent route that would hold its own with any in the country. Of my favourites I would put The Moon, Vector and Coronation Street firmly in that category. Take Shorncliffe for instance: Some very good slab routes in the Great Cave Area such as No Musketeers and Laughing Cavaliers. They are given 3*. They are excellent routes, for the area, but with little variety, indeterminate line and forgettable individual moves they, in my opinion, are not 3* routes only 1 or maybe 2 stars.
The starring system tends to be relative to an area, so 3* route quality will vary. King Kong was always a grotty route with starts being awarded for position, line and situation rather than quality of rock or climbing.
> The starring system tends to be relative to an area, so 3* route quality will vary.
Ah, as I said not from my perspective. One and two star routes are relative to an area, but a three star route should be able to deserve classic status anywhere. Others that I would cite, apart from those I mentioned, are: Bow Wall, Eroica, Praying Mantis, The Grooves, Gogarth as well as numerous others. These have line, position, variety of climbing, good rock, sometimes history and an 'aura'. You remember them. Controversially I would rate Cenotaph Corner only 2* Yes it has history, but, after all, it is a singl pitch crack climb with little variety and inconsistency in the climbing standard with a 'one move wonder' crux. I have done it four times and it is, undeniably, good, but great? I'm not so sure.
Fantastic and many thanks. I was hoping someone was going to do this soon! I've got no excuse not to go for the lead now.
How did you find Ann? As rounded and green as it always looks?!
... polished? I wonder who could have polished it...
Apart from the start (a real struggle) I thought it was a pretty good route (crack bit at the top of the first pitch was very nice), maybe only 2* but still good. The second pitch was great with a hard but doable crux, no harder than E1 iirc. Don't recall it being green either, was a while ago though. (For comparison I suck at jamming and was leading E1 on good days at the time, I lead the 1st pitch...)
As to stars in the new guide they do seem to have given far more out than before - but that's similar to up here (peak stuff), 2* and 3* ratings just seem to be given alot more than in say the Avon & Cheddar Guide for a given area.
I did King Kong today (21st June 2009) after wanting to try it for more than 10 years. I loved it. It certainly lived up to my expectations of a big climb with testing sections on each pitch. The harder climbing wasn't green, perhaps because you'd cleaned it for me - thanks! - and was no more polished than other popular limestone routes in the area. Isn't polish one of the idiosyncratic characteristics of all the rock near Bristol?
I would recommend King Kong to my climbing friends, and of the routes I've done in the Wye it stands out as one of the most memorable. For me that makes it 3*. To put my experience into context, I've been climbing for 20 years but have only just reached a level where I'd describe myself as comfortable at E1. I learnt to climb in the Bristol area but moved away 10 years ago and haven't climbed in the area much since then.
Well said (and well done)!
> Isn't polish one of the idiosyncratic characteristics of all the rock near Bristol?
Not all of the rock. It tends to be worse on erstwhile so-called classics of yesteryear, generally under E1. The ones that are badly polished I would not give three stars either. Jasper on Sea Walls at Avon is often quoted as epitomising the malaise. This used to be a brilliant climb. It was top-roped out of sight and is now not worth climbing.
I stick to my original thesis that KK is an unpleasant experience and thereby does not stand up as a 3* route, which should be memorable in the positive sense. Maybe my experience on the day was somewhat coloured by the antics of my climbing partner, but I am trying to put that aside and be objective. If it was a good experience for you then that is great. Each to his own.
Was our abandoned gear still there when you climbed it?
I feel like defending poor old KK a bit.
Admittedly the polish at the start of pitch one makes things a bit more difficult, but I wouldn't call it excessively polished - your feet will stay where they're put if your footwork's reasonable and your boots are clean. IMO it doesn't change the moves you have to make, which are strenuous but still really good.
I don't think there's a meaningful comparison between KK and Jasper; the latter is far more polished, and the type of climbing required makes it still more insecure. Even then I wouldn't call Jasper "not worth climbing" - you just need steadiness and squeaky clean boots - it's still a good route, IMO.
I didn't find significant vegetation last time I did KK - maybe a bit here and there on the easier sections, which shouldn't really be a problem if you can climb the crux sections, which are clean.
As far as the grade is concerned, IMO the extra difficulties due to the rockfall and a bit more polish are easily compensated for by the increase to E1. As it stands the climb is low end E1 or possibly very top end HVS - certainly nowhere near E2 5c, anyway. There's nothing on it like the lower crux of Yesterday's Dreams, for example.
KK has always been a magnificent route with tough but great climbing up one of the most significant strong natural lines in the area - is it really so different now?
No sorry. All gone.
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