/ Hardest VS in The Peak

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mike lawrence? - on 28 Jun 2012
Just been up to Curbar where we did a fine collection of HVS's and E1's (Peapod, The Toy etc), the routes often deserved more grace and beauty than our climbing gave them but we did get up them. That is until we tried Baron's Wall where our high point was roughly 10 inches above the ground. Its given VS 5b so one would expect a really hard move right next to gear but it seemed to us a series of 3 or 4 really hard moves with no gear and a likely scenario of minor injury if you came off. Looking at the logbook people here think it is mid HVS but it felt way harder to me. Was it just us or are we missing something obvious? Is this the hardest VS in the Peak?

mike
In reply to mikelawrence aka jonnienomates:


Always been HVS in our books!

Votes suggest solid HVS and tough 5b:

http://www.rockfax.com/databases/r.php?i=1537

http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=11045


Chris
Blue Straggler - on 28 Jun 2012
In reply to mikelawrence aka jonnienomates:

Not even the hardest one on Curbar!

See comments here
http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=473209&v=1#x6539421

and try Rock and Roll one day :-O
Simon Caldwell - on 28 Jun 2012
In reply to mikelawrence aka jonnienomates:

Despite the best efforts of the new guidebook authors (two of my epics have become my two first HVSs), I expect the hardest VS in the Peak is still going to be somewhere on Moorland Grit.
GrahamD - on 28 Jun 2012
In reply to Toreador:

My vote is on a slimey limestone choss fest somewhere
lmarenzi - on 28 Jun 2012
In reply to mikelawrence aka jonnienomates:

At our size and girth a contender must to be Every Man's Misery at Burbage North.

Correctly graded, but sooooo hard!
Offwidth - on 28 Jun 2012
In reply to Toreador: ...and you would be right.

Baron's Wall is VS 5a by the methodology used by the BMC: onsight no mats. Its a slightly reachy but easing V0 5b boulder problem (not a hard one, not that highball and above a good landing) into a VS crack climb. Its not on the graded list but it would be at least in the top quartile if it was (harder adjectivally say than Calver Wall). I've climbed nearly all the Curbar VS climbs at least a few times and re-did most of the VS, HVS climbs and new E1s (most claimed at HVS!) for the latest guide with a team of HVS/E1 leaders usually working onsight. I know different people find different things hard but I can't see any sense in claiming this is anything like the hardest VS on Curbar. Anyone who's done all the tough Curbar VS climbs like Birthday Crack, Two Pitch Route, Little Innominate, Grey Face, Beech Latback, Pale Complexion etc and is seriously suggesting that Barons is harder adjectivally than all that lot is either on another planet or has no bouldering ability whatsoever at the grade.

I think the very hardest Curbar VS climbs probably should really be HVS (like Two Pitch Route: see Offwidth for our personal views). Yet there seems to be a quarter to half a grade gap at times between experienced BMC guidebook worker average team views and Rockfax/UKC vote averages on soft touch popular eastern edge routes; yet our BMC average grading is if anything soft compared to Rockfax/UKC votes on more obscure classics like say Ivory Tower on Kinder. Rockfax voting rsults are clearly not arising from the same people voting for the same climbs. I'd argue further that inexperienced leaders pushing into the grade are voting a little blind to what the grade means and with a little too much ego. Put the same people voting that way on Ravenstones or Kinder North and VS might become E1.
Coel Hellier - on 28 Jun 2012
In reply to Offwidth:

> Baron's Wall is VS 5a by the methodology used by the BMC: onsight no mats. Its a
> slightly reachy but easing V0 5b boulder problem ...

Umm, slight contradiction! I'd give it perhaps VS 5b (given that the landing is good).
Offwidth - on 28 Jun 2012
In reply to Coel Hellier: Typo soz.. it is VS 5b for shorties.
DerwentDiluted - on 28 Jun 2012
In reply to mikelawrence aka jonnienomates:

Surely an HVS is simply a VS that is, well, hard?
EZ on 28 Jun 2012
In reply to DerwentDiluted:

Haha. Well diluted.
Offwidth - on 28 Jun 2012
In reply to Offwidth:

This site needs an editing facility. What I meant to say was it is VS 5b and at least tough 5b for shorties. Ive just noted quite a few other typos as well: Beech Latback is a prospective route name but not what the climb I was thinking of is called.
DerwentDiluted - on 28 Jun 2012
In reply to Offwidth:

Beech Latback is probably a more appropriate name!
Offwidth - on 28 Jun 2012
In reply to DerwentDiluted:

There is also little noticable difference between an easy HVS and a tough VS but my feeling was once you set Two Pitch route in the VS band several previous HVS climbs needed really to shift, Port Wine most notably.

Whats your view, as you're one of those rare beasts who does climb most everything at these grades?
mike lawrence? - on 28 Jun 2012
In reply to Offwidth: Interesting, I will try some of the VSs you quote and see how they feel next time i go up. Also you are quite perceptive re my bouldering ability as am still suffering from my slight slip off Crescent Arete... however my basic point was comparing our experience on Baron's Wall with other Curbar climbs of a harder grade. Its not important and grading will always be subjective etc but i just find it a bit odd that i climb 2 Curbar E1s (The Toy and Lamebrain) and some HVSs, find them easier than a VS on the same crag. It is one of the joys of climbing though that however well you climb you can never take anything for granted.

Great guidebook by the way, fantastic that so many people have put so much effort into it and it is absolutely fab, also in the last minute i have just been handed a copy of Over The Moors so am looking forward to going up there!

mike
DerwentDiluted - on 28 Jun 2012
In reply to Offwidth:

Two Pitch route I remember doing ok but thinking that my jamming skills were coming in handy at the top of p2, Barons wall I have bouldered out the start before but baulked at soloing the top so I'll say VS5b is fair, and it is on Curbar so buyer beware!

The problem these days I think is that there is too much information and an expectation of standardisation. This I think is true in life as well as climbing (Blandardisation?) Things like 'Scottish VS' 'Yorkshire VS' 'Curbar VS' loose their resonance as people just clump all VS's together whether it be Fionn Buttress or Fingers Wall at Baslow (a giveaway at VS surely). All grades are simply bands giving a reasonable assessment of the average persons likely experience on a route and must be considered as applicable to that crag/rock type rather than having universality. Inevitably there will be descrepancies and inconsistencies but most of us climb to find a bit of adventure so thats no bad thing.
Coel Hellier - on 28 Jun 2012
In reply to mikelawrence aka jonnienomates:

> i just find it a bit odd that i climb 2 Curbar E1s (The Toy and Lamebrain) and some HVSs,
> find them easier than [Baron's Wall]

Wow, that is odd! The Toy is desperate, E2 if you ask me, and way harder then the boulder-problem start to BW, which you can play around on, work it out, and jump off safely.
gribble - on 28 Jun 2012
In reply to mikelawrence aka jonnienomates:

I've led every VS at Curbar (in the '91 BMC guide - about 63 of them?) and I agree that Baron's Wall is defintiely not the hardest. Granted, many of the VSs have now been upgraded, but there are still some out there with a bite. BW is a bit punchy, but VS5b seems fair to me. For some reason Curbar grading often feels stiffer than other places in the Eastern Peak, but still feels the correct grade. And it's a cracking little route!
Offwidth - on 28 Jun 2012
In reply to mikelawrence aka jonnienomates:

I breezed Baron's and fell off seconding the Toy and I doubt I could have led it clean at my best, even though I know a few tricks !;-) Different stokes I guess but your right about what its really all about: the challenge provided by the rock.

Glad you enjoyed the guide...took us a while to find a solid HVS leader keen enough to help us finish the onsight Curbar checks we wanted to do (Liam O'Loughlin) ... not so long after he was leading his first mid-extremes. People want to know how to improve from HVS on grit...lead everything on Curbar!
Offwidth - on 28 Jun 2012
In reply to DerwentDiluted: Fingers Crack I hope you mean (HS 4b* now) rather than the rather tough E1 5c Finger Wall!
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Offwidth - on 28 Jun 2012
In reply to gribble:

I thought Peter Rabbit was the hardest adjectivally of the '91 VS climbs if you exclde 'the paps' finish for Cioch Crack. Pretty Face maybe for the HVS climbs... although the originally claimed HVS, Vegas Years (which is now E1) may actually be E2 ;-) All bloody fabulous!
DerwentDiluted - on 28 Jun 2012
In reply to Offwidth:

Erm yes thats what i mean!
Fredt on 28 Jun 2012
In reply to mikelawrence aka jonnienomates:

Three Pebble Slab
gingerwolf - on 01 Jul 2012
In reply to mikelawrence aka jonnienomates:

Hardest VS in the peak?

Alter Crack - Rivelin!
Hat Dude on 01 Jul 2012
In reply to gingerwolf:

Sometimes feels it, but I think not
Jon Stewart - on 02 Jul 2012
In reply to mikelawrence aka jonnienomates:

Yes, Baron's Wall is absolutely nails at VS, but justifiable in a Curbar kind of way.

But harder than the Toy? You're weird!
Offwidth - on 02 Jul 2012
In reply to gingerwolf:

Try Beech Layback at Curbar, Downes Crack at Froggatt and Green Crack and Black Crack at Black Rocks... all harder Layback cracks!
mike lawrence? - on 02 Jul 2012
In reply to Offwidth: Right thanks everyone for these fine route suggestions, the next dry day i am free i will go up and try as many of these as possible. I expect a spectacularly unsuccessful day!

mike
Offwidth - on 02 Jul 2012
In reply to mikelawrence aka jonnienomates:

There are more here (easy and hard):

http://offwidth.uptosummit.com/vs_topten.html

I forgot Layback Crack at Gradoms and Communist Crack at Five Clouds...both harder than Altar as well.

enjoy!
In reply to mikelawrence aka jonnienomates:

I expect that for long enough it was this:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=82485

which I originally gave VS 6a to.



Chris
Offwidth - on 02 Jul 2012
In reply to Chris Craggs:

As a major guidebook author that's hardly something to be proud of. I still have no direct feedback on this after several years of asking (partly as the few solid E1 leaders who werent put off by the look of it didn't succeed). We need more folk to go and climb it and resolve the mystery. My guess is its very likely harder than any route to E2 on Stanage. Incidently I've climbed with Goi as part of the BMC Over the Moors checking events and he is no soft grader and if he thinks its E3 its likely at least that.
In reply to Offwidth:
>
>
> As a major guidebook author that's hardly something to be proud of.

Of course I'm proud of it, great micro-route.

I graded it VS 6a because from the ledge you can place two solid cams, once your waist is past these your hands are on top of the crag so you are almost top-roping the route. I did it 1st go, so assumed it couldn't be harder than 6a.


Chris
Jon Stewart - on 02 Jul 2012
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Chris Craggs)
>
> We need more folk to go and climb it and resolve the mystery. My guess is its very likely harder than any route to E2 on Stanage.

I am strangely quite psyched to do this route, threads like this one have built up a sort of intrigue around it for me!

I suspect it's just entirely ungradable and so whatever grade you give it will feel wrong?
Offwidth - on 02 Jul 2012
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Knowing Goi and looking at the route I suspect its a bog standard E3 6b roof crack that very tall climbers get an easy tick for based on extra reach. The sort of thing that would get V3 or V4 as a sit start boulder problem in a low cave that the lanky can stretch over at around V1. I do share your intrigue though.
Goucho on 02 Jul 2012
In reply to Chris Craggs: I completely agree with your grading Chris - I'd possibly give it a V grade in fact, along with that other lovely little High Neb gem, Bottomless Crack Direct at HVS 6a.

We need more 'esoteric' grading, not less - adds so much more colour and character to proceedings :-)

I seem to remember when everything at Carreg Hyldrem was graded HVS - even the E3 +'s, a tradition instigated by Stevie Haston wasn't it???
Offwidth - on 02 Jul 2012
In reply to Goucho:

Boulder problem? Are you sure we are talking about the same route, its starts on a ledge half-way up the crag and yet has perfect gear? I'm all for esoteric grades as long as they are honest: grading E3s HVS is just plain stupid.

As for the comparison Bottomless Crack Direct is a boulder problem and is now given V4 6b (maybe fair enough to retain HVS 6b for this in a Verandah Buttress sense)
mkean - on 02 Jul 2012
In reply to Offwidth:
Boulder problem? Are you sure we are talking about the same route, its starts on a ledge half-way up the crag and yet has perfect gear? I'm all for esoteric grades as long as they are honest: grading E3s HVS is just plain stupid.

If the gear is bomb proof what is to stop you hanging a ledge off it and sticking your mat on that? ;-)
Goucho on 02 Jul 2012
In reply to Offwidth: My tongue was in my cheek slightly regarding Little Things - but it is a lovely 'little thing' to solo :-)
Offwidth - on 02 Jul 2012
In reply to Goucho:

Lots of things make nice solos; doesn't stop them being the grade they are. Anyway you line that its similar to Bottomless Direct makes it more likely to be Esomething 6b...thanks for that at least.
Offwidth - on 02 Jul 2012
In reply to mkean:

A bit of help from a tight rope at the crux often suffices from watching cheats on such overhanging cracks.
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Goucho on 02 Jul 2012
In reply to Offwidth: Isn't the whole point of esoteric grading, that they aren't honest, when compared to standard mainstream grading???
Offwidth - on 02 Jul 2012
In reply to Goucho:

Not just that to me; the sort I'm guessing you mean I'd regard as silly sandbag grading and if bold as well, unethically dangerous grading. Esoteric grading can also mean supporting honest but unusual grade combinations that help us celebrate our wonderful grading system. HVS 6b for a standard HVS with a hard boulder problem start would be typical.
In reply to Goucho:

Martin Veale belayed me on it (he was climbing about four grades harder then me at the time) and he couldn't follow me up it as he couldn't reach any holds!

He couldn't follow this one either despite some extreme pebble-pulling!

http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=10030


Chris
Goucho on 02 Jul 2012
In reply to Chris Craggs: It's great being a lanky bugger with really long arms isn't it Chris? - certainly the only reason I've got up some of the routes I've done :-)

With my reach, my mate reckoned I could only claim 5c for Nectar!!!!

Graeme Hammond - on 02 Jul 2012
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to gingerwolf)
>
> Try Beech Layback at Curbar, Downes Crack at Froggatt and Green Crack and Black Crack at Black Rocks... all harder Layback cracks!

Personally i found Black Crack can easily be jammed and it didn't seem that hard at all for VS either. I onsight soloed it last week and there many other VS which are harder at Black Rocks such as Lean Mans Superdirect.

Do agree with Dowes crack being hard
Jimbo C - on 02 Jul 2012
In reply to mikelawrence aka jonnienomates:

Thrombosis at Stanage Popular is a toughie. On that day I had my eye on a lead of Agony Crack, but my partner wanted a warm up before seconding a HVS so he decided to lead Thrombosis as it is only VS. Ha ha, guess which one is harder.
manwithacam - on 02 Jul 2012
In reply to mikelawrence aka jonnienomates: Hardest VS in Peak? My suggestions would be Gardoms Unconquerable, which I could do, and The Crank, which I couldnt.
Dave Garnett - on 02 Jul 2012
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to mikelawrence aka jonnienomates)
>

> I forgot Layback Crack at Gradoms and Communist Crack at Five Clouds...both harder than Altar as well.
>

Communist Crack is one of those that's not bad to solo but gets much harder if you decide you need to put gear in.

Marxist Undertones, just next door, is tricky at VS too, but you are unlikely to hurt yourself if you can get off the ground.
Offwidth - on 03 Jul 2012
In reply to Graeme Hammond:

I agree with the point on hard routes at Black Rocks but personally found Black Crack a tad harder than Altar and was listing other laybacks that most find harder or as hard. People make sweeping statements about this or that being the hardest when they have barely sampled the top 20 on eastern grit which itself is hardly the home of sandbags these days. Someone else mentioned Thrombosis ..thats up there.
Offwidth - on 03 Jul 2012
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Marxist Undertones...maybe the most technical VS remaining on peak grit?
Graeme Hammond - on 03 Jul 2012
In reply to Offwidth:

I think several of the VS around Thrombosis (although my notes say i didn't find Thrombosis too bad) are hard I particularly remember Needle Crack (N Route) and Rigor Mortis being hard.

Hardest VS is the peak I've done I can't remember but it probably one of the VS 5b I've soloed. I guess different routes feel hard to different people (or even the same person) depending on which day of the week it is, what you had for lunch, who your climbing with, what you 2nded earlier etc.

Stuff I do remember being hard are but could be be because of any number of the reasons above:
-The File (led/2nded 5 times and it only seemed easy the day I did the Rasp)
-Alter crack but i've only done it once i think is on my list of things to do again...
- Flash Wall on Kinder
- Green Parrot @ Bamford and any number of other boulder problem like routes. Eg the Curse, Ding Dong etc
- Gunpowder crack & Curving crack @ Bamford
- Straight Ahead at Stanage plantation
- Loose & dirty limestone routes like Frore @ Ravensdale
- Doctor's Saunter @ Stanage End
- Grey Face & Calver Wall @ Curbar
- Left Broken & Downes' Crack @ Froggatt
- Excalibur @ Lawrencefield
- Dowel Crack @ Burbage south
- Obsenity & the Stomach Traverse @ Burbage North
- Fairy Nuff @ Standing Stones
- Coffin Crack @ Wimberry
- Rainbow Crack & Reunion Crack @ Hen cloud
Offwidth - on 04 Jul 2012
In reply to Graeme Hammond: Good list!

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