/ Fairy Cave grades

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
bpmclimb - on 11 Jun 2012
I've changed the FCQ grades (and stars) in the UKC database to match the new guidebook. Sorry if this produces unwanted effects in anyone's logbook! I did them all in one go so may have made mistakes - let me know if you spot anything wrong. No doubt the grades will still be debated, but hopefully they're now a bit nearer the mark.
cbonner - on 11 Jun 2012
In reply to bpmclimb:

Dam you Brian! You've just taken away my first E1!!

(I should probably go climb a real E1 really)

Still, deeply upset.
bpmclimb - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to cbonner:

Odd Boots, I presume :)

FWIW Bad to the Bone should be HVS, really - no harder than Withy Crack and better protected - but for some reason which now escapes me I left it at E1. Absolute bottom end; get it in quick before the next guide comes out, and bask in that E1 glory!
The Pylon King on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to bpmclimb:
> (In reply to cbonner)
>
> Odd Boots, I presume :)
>
> FWIW Bad to the Bone should be HVS, really - no harder than Withy Crack and better protected - but for some reason which now escapes me I left it at E1. Absolute bottom end; get it in quick before the next guide comes out, and bask in that E1 glory!

Isn't it 5b with gear below you? sure it was worth E1
cbonner - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to bpmclimb:

Cheers Brian, I'll have to get in there quick! :)
bpmclimb - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to Formerly Known as Pylon King:

That was my earlier impression, but when I did it recently (seconding Rick) it seemed only just 5b and never far from good gear. Perhaps I've become too familiar with the route, or perhaps Rick is unusually good at spotting gear placements!
Kemics - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to bpmclimb:

Stuff tends to feel easier when repeating routes and especially while seconding :P
The Ivanator - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to bpmclimb: Despite the fact it is denying myself my only clean E1 lead to date I would have to go along with your description Brian - never felt run out and borderline 5a/5b perhaps HVS 5b.
Oh, and that was my impression on first acquaintance with the route.
bpmclimb - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to Kemics:
> (In reply to bpmclimb)
>
> Stuff tends to feel easier when repeating routes and especially while seconding :P

Really? I never knew that - thanks :)
bpmclimb - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to Kemics:

To reply more seriously - for me I think the reverse is true; I often find a route harder on the blunt end, because my focus is poorer and the rope always seems in the way.

Also, it's quite common for me to flash a route comfortably on the onsight, then go back for a repeat lead and find it harder, despite having the beta. Again, probably a focus thing.
cbonner - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to bpmclimb:

+1 Brian. I find the same to be true, as I'm less concerned with falling off I tend to be more sloppy and make a right mess of things!
mike kann - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to bpmclimb: Bad to the bone is classic E0. Go on. Be progressive. Enter a brave new world ;) FWIW, I have always thought Whithy crack is more sustained and difficult than B2 the Bone, although if you keep to the true line of B2 the bone and don't step out to Whithy crack at the upper tree it makes it a touch more tricky and might warrant the low E1... If you do step over then its definitely HVS...
BALD EAGLE - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to mike kann:
> FWIW, I have always thought Whithy crack is more sustained and difficult than B2 the Bone,

Seconded!
Ian Butterworth - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to bpmclimb: I think Withy crack must be height dependent as I have always thought it OK at HVS 5a (I'm 6' 2") but some of my regular partners, who are of lesser stature, find it hard at the grade. FWIW I think Bad to the Bone is bottom end E1 for an OS lead.
mike kann - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to Ian Butterworth:
> some of my regular partners, who are of lesser stature,

Who's that then ;)
Ian Butterworth - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to mike kann: That would be telling and I might get in trouble if I identify them as short ar..s! Anyway I'm certainly not saying they are of any lesser ability.
mike kann - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to bpmclimb: Spoil sport. I'm sure he'd use choice words... go on... it'd be fun!
bpmclimb - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to all:

Well FWIW with hindsight my (slight) regrets are:

Not downgrading Bad to the Bone to HVS
Not downgrading Volume Eleven to E2 (whole new discussion)
Life in Limbo should be 25m, not 30m (I think)
Not mentioning Broomhead/Stanbury in the Historical.

... and for the record, I have nothing against short people ....
The Ivanator - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to bpmclimb: I thought Back Off was pretty soft for E2 when I seconded it the other day, easyish 5b and although the gear is spaced it doesn't seem outrageously dangerous.
chris sm - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to bpmclimb:

"Well FWIW with hindsight my (slight) regrets are:...."


... and mayble leaving Glacial Point at E4?


Just ordered the guide and looking fwd to getting it. Well done on getting it out.
mike kann - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to bpmclimb: I'm surprised you didn't downgrade lumbar puncture - got to be the softest E2 in the book. Just not. Epic Dural next to it is easily a grade harder...
The Pylon King on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to mike kann:
> (In reply to bpmclimb) I'm surprised you didn't downgrade lumbar puncture - got to be the softest E2 in the book. Just not. Epic Dural next to it is easily a grade harder...

75% of a grade between them.
mike kann - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to Formerly Known as Pylon King: Well ok, in that case it makes lumbar puncture middle of the road E1 and Epic dural low to middling E2 ;)
Jon Didymus - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to bpmclimb:

Hi Brian

I completely agree with your downgrading of the routes I've tried:

Moving Target E3 (E4)
Jive Talkin' E1 (E2).

I thought Last Tango in Oakhill was pretty easy for E2 also.

Interesting you have kept Glacial Point at E4 - it was my first of the grade so I cannot comment. I took it as an E3 especially after an abseil clean/ground-up ascent with one silly slip at the bottom. However, one of my best mates who has climbed a lot of E4s found it quite a challenge (one year after my ascent) so it did make me re-think a little.

Looking forward to seeing the new guidebook. Must get back to finish off Four Paw Drive and have a go at Cassini Division now they have more realistic grades.

Thanks!

PS - I am without climbing partners from 25th June until 5th July so would like to meet up with anyone for 50-mile-radius-Bristol trad adventures midweek (Thursday often best for me)!

bpmclimb - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to chris sm:
> (In reply to bpmclimb)
>
>
> ... and mayble leaving Glacial Point at E4?
>

Well .. yes, maybe that too. Trouble is, not everyone uses the cam slot on the right at 6m, which is arguably cheating because it more properly belongs to Slight of Hand. If you don't use it then you have to make one or two 5c moves high enough above the microwires to risk a groundfall, which justifies E4 IMO. Admittedly the cam is mentioned in the new route description, and assuming it's placed I could believe E3. Not E2, though :)
Mr-Cowdrey on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to bpmclimb: 'Back off' is definitly easier than E2, and 'B2 the bone' is, in my opinion, soft touch E1. Yes the initial moves off the ground are unprotected but the rest of the route has plenty of runners. And FWIW 'strictly ballroom', in my mind, is low end E1. 'Glacial point', definatly E4. Shame that 'Moving Target' was downgraded to E3 though, i was looking forward to getting the E4 tick on that. But that tick now goes to 'The Mutant'! Can't wait to get on it. And i'm psyching myself up to get on 'Seven Mile Throb' too !
cbonner - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to bpmclimb:

New guidebook in the post today. Good work Brian!

Im scouring it for E1's as we speak!
Mr-Cowdrey on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to bpmclimb: just a question of thought, how many of you find the climbing and grades at Fairy Cave compared to the rest of the climbing in the south west? For example, i'll look up routes to do up to E5 at fairy cave, but as soon as i go else where, i'll only look at routes upto E1/E2. Is the climbing at fairy cave 'easy' or is it just me liking slabs and finding them easy(ish)?
mike kann - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to Mr-Cowdrey: Well it's all to do with footwork innit - if you've got good footwork its all easy, you're not going to get pumped and all you need to do is pad up keeping your head together. On other lime in the area it's lots steeper, but lots more holds so you need to be stronger to achieve the same grade... simples. Got to be said I found Epic Dural, about the same as Ffoegs Folly, which suggests to me that seeing as these are both regarded as reasonably middlw of the road that you could use those as bench marks?
remus - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to Mr-Cowdrey: Worth remembering that a lot of the routes are quite bold with a fair smattering of loose rock, means they tend to feel easy for the grade until you fall off.
ads.ukclimbing.com
kiwi boy on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to bpmclimb: Thanks Brian I now have a well justified VS from S (Ants in my leg loops) and that block that looks good for gear in the middle well it's loose. I think caution is needed and perhaps the block needs pushing off?
Cheers
Andy
The Ivanator - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to bpmclimb: I (and I'm sure others) don't mean to nitpick ...just once you get climbers started on grading ...not in any way a slight on the new guide, which looks great, and makes the quarry an altogether more attractive prospect somehow. After poring over it there are several routes I'm looking forward to, Comes the Seth looks a good line on a wall I've not previously explored.
John_Hat - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to Mr-Cowdrey:

I don't know about compared with the rest of the south west, but I reckon the grades are comparable with the peak of similar nature climbing.

Slabs always feel easy for the grade - until you fall off, when the lack of any protection tends to result in it getting a little entertaining. Hence a lot of people who *haven't* fallen off stating that "It's never E2, its got to be HVS" or similar.

e.g "Epic-dural" to my mind compares perfectly reasonably with "Four Pebble Slab", and I wouldn't complain if it went to E3. Four Steps to Heaven didn't feel E3 to me, but then I didn't fall off! I'd have gone a long way if I did! Glacial Point I think is reasonably solid E4 without the side runner.

Basically, despite the opinions of a lot of folk (including some who have never climbed there) I think that most of the grades at Fairy Cave were fair or fair abouts, and whilst a little tweaking is fine I think a wholesale downgrade is unwarrented.

The Pylon King on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to The Ivanator:
> (In reply to bpmclimb) .... Comes the Seth looks a good line on a wall I've not previously explored.

A fine route!
The Pylon King on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to John_Hat:

I would say the grades in the new guide are pretty accurate now.
Rick Sewards - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to bpmclimb:

As I've been name-checked on this thread I thought I'd better contribute. I don't know if I'm "unusually good at spotting gear placements", though I can certainly be unusually ponderous in seeking them out, but in the case of Bad to the Bone I thought there was heaps of bombproof gear just where you wanted it - I don't think I even felt the need to procrastinate anywhere en route (those in the know will realise how unusual that is). Honest opinion was HVS 5a, and probably easier and better protected (where it counts) than Withy Crack. Still, always happy to bag a softie...

Anyway Brian, well done for starting a lively thread about FCQ - tell me, is there a book you can buy for this slab-climbing paradise?

Rick
mike kann - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to Rick Sewards:
> (In reply to bpmclimb)
>
> Honest opinion was HVS 5a, and probably easier and better protected

Plus 1 - I just didn't want to lose the E1 tick ;)
cornishben - on 13 Jun 2012
In reply to mike kann: I might have to buy the guide just for old times sake now!
mike kann - on 13 Jun 2012
In reply to cornishben: You're welcome to come up and sample some of the new delights... and when I say delights, I use that in the loosest sense of the word for some of the routes ;)
davidbeynon - on 13 Jun 2012
In reply to mike kann:

One of my mates is very happy that the severe he had an epic on last month has turned into a VS. Can't remember the name*, but it was spectacularly loose and he claims that he did the last 20m or so with no gear apart from a sling around a passing buddleia.

I wasn't tempted to follow him.

*something to do with ants.
chiz - on 13 Jun 2012
In reply to bpmclimb: Just got my copy, can't comment on the grades but a really smart little guide. Top marks and thankyou to all involved. Good images and topos, good text, nice little historical, good size and decent value. I wasn't expecting it to be so well produced to be honest. Have to get down there while this sunshine lasts.

Nice that the photos have the route number next to them, although I couldn't find a key for the 'rockfax style' colour coded topo numbers?
mike kann - on 13 Jun 2012
In reply to davidbeynon: Bah, rule number 5. Man up ;)
davidbeynon - on 13 Jun 2012
In reply to mike kann:

He did.

I would have gone after him, but I had another route to lead and his wasn't "inspiring" :)
mike kann - on 13 Jun 2012
In reply to davidbeynon: Well in that case definitely rule #5... do not pass start go straight to jail!
davidbeynon - on 13 Jun 2012
In reply to mike kann:

I need to read my Patey for some better excuses.
The Ivanator - on 13 Jun 2012
In reply to chiz: Haven't got my copy here, but the CC club coloured route spots used in several of their recent guides are:
Green: everything up to HS
Blue: VS & HVS
Red: E1 - E3
Black: E4 and upwards
Similar, but not identical to the Rockfax traffic lights.
John Willson - on 13 Jun 2012
In reply to The Ivanator:
> (In reply to chiz) Haven't got my copy here, but the CC club coloured route spots used in several of their recent guides are:
> Green: everything up to HS
> Blue: VS & HVS
> Red: E1 - E3
> Black: E4 and upwards
> Similar, but not identical to the Rockfax traffic lights.

My (editoral) mistake, I'm afraid. We have been printing the key on the flaps in recent guides and incorporating it into the crag selector, only this pocket size book doesn't have either and I omitted to print it elsewhere. The above is correct, also with yellow for XS. In others of our recent guides there are also colours/codes for bouldering, DWS, aid, and sport grades. The full range can be seen in South West Climbs Vol 1.
chiz - on 13 Jun 2012
In reply to John Willson, and Ivanator: Thanks, I'd kind of guessed the grade ranges from the text, but kept looking for a key! It doesn't really detract, just one of those annoying things you don't notice as an editor because you 'think' its there. Great guide though.
mike kann - on 14 Jun 2012
In reply to davidbeynon: You could have easily called in the "out of form" ploy in this case, claiming you hadn't been climbing for at least 2 weeks, but now we know that would just be a lie...
bpmclimb - on 20 Jun 2012
In reply to chris sm:
> (In reply to bpmclimb)
>
> ... and maybe leaving Glacial Point at E4?
>

I recently did a couple more new routes on the Glacis (I know, terrible timing) which need the grades confirming, and which throw the grades of neighbouring routes into (further) question. Could really do with some second opinions from any mid-extreme bold slab leaders out there (or some estimates of the technical grades on top-rope).

Sleight of Hand (currently E2 5c): are we really forced into this grade due to the position of the crux relative to the gear? There is a microwire placement above the slot.

Rain Rain Rain (new route, just R of SofH, estimate E3 6a): Similar to, but technically harder than SofH and a little bolder (it also uses the big slot and then a microwire placement). If SofH is E2 5c then this must be E3 at least - but are the moves really 6a or just top end 5c?

Glacial Point (currently E4 5c): Should this be E3, since the use of the cam placement has become normal practice? Especially when compared to ....

Glacial Point Direct (new route, estimate E4 5c): At least as hard as GP (I think), and bolder; there are microwire placements, but they are exceedingly marginal. First reliable gear is at 8m.

Lastly, how does Ender's Game (unrepeated, provisionally E4 5c) fit into this picture. The moves are 5c, but does the boldness warrant E4?
bpmclimb - on 20 Jun 2012
In reply to all:

... and many thanks to Roger for installing some plastic-sleeved wire strop lower-offs (at his own expense).
The Ivanator - on 20 Jun 2012
In reply to bpmclimb: Hi Brian, I'd be interested in your take on a line I climbed on the Glacis, after studying the topo in the new guide I've identified my climb as starting up Jiggery Pokery as far as the Lunar Landscape fault, then continuing using most of the upper slab of Glacial point (I stepped right to place a side runner in Caveman then retraced the move to go direct from the LL fault for a few metres before stepping slightly left to use a hold by a small sapling then stepping back right to reach the top) - I was off route on JP and this felt harder than VS (hard HVS with the side runner, E1 without was my guess). What's your estimate?
Ian Butterworth - on 20 Jun 2012
In reply to bpmclimb: Does Rain Rain Rain use the same microwire as SofH? I haven't done SofH for some years but I'm sure there didn't used to be a wire above the slot.

Ian
bpmclimb - on 20 Jun 2012
In reply to The Ivanator:

Hi Ivan. I can't vizualize the exact line you took on the upper slab, but my best guess is that you climbed a JP/GP link up, with some deviation from the upper line of GP to place side runners. Probably an amalgamation of other routes rather than a route in its own right, as it doesn't sound like there's any appreciable amount climbing independent of an existing route. I could well be wrong about this, though. Perhaps you could show me the line sometime over the summer?
bpmclimb - on 20 Jun 2012
In reply to Ian Butterworth:
> (In reply to bpmclimb) Does Rain Rain Rain use the same microwire as SofH?

No, a different microwire. RRR is squeezed in, but once you're committed it's independent of SofH.


I haven't done SofH for some years but I'm sure there didn't used to be a wire above the slot.
>
It's not a great placement: small and marginal, and not that far above the big slot. It still leaves the crux quite bold.
The Ivanator - on 20 Jun 2012
In reply to bpmclimb: No attempt to claim it as an independent line - sure it is at least largely a combination of existing routes, was good though. Thought you might know the slab intimately enough to offer an opinion on the grade. Would be happy to have a day there soon and show you the line.
bpmclimb - on 20 Jun 2012
In reply to Mr-Cowdrey:
> (In reply to bpmclimb) Is the climbing at fairy cave 'easy' or is it just me liking slabs and finding them easy(ish)?

A lot of climbers who have learned to use their feet well find slabs "easy", since one big climbing preoccupation - that of managing forearm pump - is absent. Does this mean slab grades should be generally on the low side? It depends on how you see the heirarchy of parameters that go to make up the trad grade. The adjectival grade is an indication of the "overall difficulty" of a climb, but this phrase is rather ill-defined. To some, the main parameter would appear to be how hard the climbing feels, with other issues (such as spaced gear, unreliable rock)being secondary factors. Personally I tend to give a lot of primary consideration to the likely consequenses of a fall, and then relate this to the location of the hardest bits of climbing, how sustained the route is, reliability of the rock, etc.

bpmclimb - on 20 Jun 2012
In reply to The Ivanator:

Far too intimate with the slab! I need to get a life beyond FCQ :)

It's hard to offer an opinion of the grade without actually climbing the line, as it would depend on exactly how high up your side runner in Caveman was, and exactly which bit of the upper slab of Glacial Point you climbed. Somewhere between HVS 5b and E2 5c, perhaps (he suggests, non-commitally).
John_Hat - on 01 Jul 2012
In reply to bpmclimb:

If I recall correctly (and we are talking about the same route) what I didn't like about slight of hand was the start. You might as well stay at home and break your ankles with a hammer, it would be easier and save a lot of trouble, not least the driving to the vicinity of Shepton Mallet:-).

I actually thought the crux was at the start (second move, IIRC?) rather than higher up, which I didn't have a problem with at all, either in terms of gear or technical difficulty.
bpmclimb - on 04 Jul 2012
In reply to John_Hat:

The actual start is an easy move off the ground to reach, place gear in, and then stand in a big horizontal slot at about 3m. The crux comes next: a couple of insecure 5c moves to reach a good but hidden hold. After that it's all no more than VS.

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.