/ Roaches Grade History

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Offwidth - on 26 Oct 2012
The Roaches Grade History

Also trimmed from the Offwidth website (not yet updated):

The grade changes for the older Roaches Routes. The main grades given are also those in the current 2009 guide [2004 definitive grades in square brackets; followed by 1989 definitive grades; followed by 1981 grades; then 1973 grades then the 1951 guide] (Rockfax Western Grit 2009 in round brackets; followed by Western Grit 2003 grades) To save space “=” means the grade is the same as the preceding guide. Finally, if they differ from the ‘09 grade, are our suggestions for grades.

Note there were two intermediate guides between 1951 and 1973 that were not in the main series; I’ve never been able to find a copy: 1968 (ed. J Smith) and 1968 (ed. D Salt)

Roaches Lower Tier

11 Ackit HVS 5b** [=; =*; HVS 5b; VS] (HVS 5b**; =)
21 Teck Crack HVS 5b*** [=**; =***; =**; HVS] (E1 5c**; =*)
23 Lightning Crack HVS 5b, 4c* [=; =; HVS 5b, 4c; HVS] (HVS 5b*; =)
31 Yong Arete S* [HVD*; =; HVD; =] (S 3c*; =) possible S 3c*
33 Yong HVD 4a* [HVD*; =; =; HVD] (HVD 4a**; =)
35 Wise Crack VS 4c [VS 4b; =*; MVS 4b*; VS] (VS 4b*; =) at least VS 4c*
36 Hypothesis E1 5b** [=; HVS 5b**; =; HVS] (HVS 5b**; =)
38 Cannonball Crack S 4b [S 4a; =; S; =] (S 4b*; =) at least S 4b*
40 Dorothy’s Dilemma E1 5a** [=; HVS 5a**; HVS 5b*; HVS] (E1 5a**; =)
41 Bengal Buttress HVS 4c** [=; =; VS 4c**; VS; =] (HVS 4c**; =) probable VS 5a**
42a The Direct Start [-; 5b; HVS 5b; HVS]
Bengal Buttress by a hand traverse 3m up Crack of Gloom.
44 Crack of Gloom E2 5b** [=; =*; E1 5b; XS] (E1 5b**; =)
45 Raven Rock Gully Left-Hand VS 4b [=; =; MVS 4b; VS; S] (VS 4b*; =) probable VS 4b*
46 Raven Rock Gully D* [=; =; =; D; =] (D**; =) probable D 3b**
46a Swinger VS 4c [=; =; =; VS] (VS 4c; =)
48 Via Dolorosa VS 4c, 4a, 4c*** [VS 4b, 4a, 4c***; VS 4b, -, 4c***; HS***; S; VD] (VS 4c, 4a, 4c***; =)
Originally finished up Raven Rock Gully exit.
46 Valkyrie Direct HVS 5b** [=; =; HVS 5a*; VS] (HVS 5b**; HVS 5a**) probable HVS 5a**
47 Matinee HVS 5a, 5b*** [=; =; HVS 5a, 5a***; HVS] (HVS 5b**; =)
48 Valkyrie VS 4b, 4c*** [=; =; VS 4a; 4c***; VS; =] (VS 4b, 4c***; =)
53 Pebbledash HVS 5a, 4b* [=; =; VS 5a, 4b; VS] (HVS 5a, 4b**; =)
63 The Swan E3 5c*** [=; =; =; XS] (E3 5c***; =)
65 The Mincer HVS 5b*** [=; =**; HVS 5a**; HVS] (HVS 5b***; =)
68 Pincer VS 5a* [=; HVS 5a**; MVS 4c*; HS] (VS 5a*; =)
72 Guano Gully HS 4b [=; =; =; HS; S] (S 4b; HS 4b)
77 The Bulger VS 4c* [=; VS 4c; =; VS] (VS 4c*; =)
79 Fledglings Climb S 4a* [=; S*; MS; HVD; VD] (HS 4a*; =)
76a Dodo’s Dilemma [ ; ; ; ;VD] possibly VD 3c
The wide crack and chimney right of Fledglings Climb
81 Little Chimney M [Easy; M; =; =] (M; =) probable M 2b
82 Battery Crack VS 4b [HS 4a; =; HS; =] (VS 4b; =)
83 Lucas Chimney S 4a [S; =; =; =; D] (S 4a*; =) probable S 4b*
86 Kestrel Crack HS 4b** [=; HS 4a*; =; HS; S] (VS 4b**; =)
89 Flimney S 4a [HVD; =; =; =] (S 4a; =)
91 Rhodren HVS 5b** [=; HVS 5b; HVS 5a; VS] (HVS 5b*; =) probably HVS 5b*
92 Flake Chimney D* [D**; M; =; =; =] (D*; =) at least D 2b*
92a Flake Chimney Direct Start [-;- ; S; =]
93 Straight Crack HS 4a [S 4a; S; VD; HS] (HS 4a; =)
99 Prow Corner VD* [=; =; HD*; VD] (VD*; =) probable VD 3c*
102 Prow Cracks VD* [D*; =; D; =] (VD**; =) at least VD 3c*
108 Sifta's Quid HS 4c** [=; HS 4b*; S; =] (HS 4b*; =) possible HS 4c*
113 The Girdle Traverse HVS 5a [=; =; HVS; =]
114 The Underpass E1 5b [=; =; E1; XS]


Offwidth - on 26 Oct 2012
Roaches Upper Tier

1 Rooster HVD [D; =; =; VD] (HVD*; VD*) at least HVD 3b*
2 Chicken Run S 4a [=*; VD; HD; D; =] (HVD*; =) possible HVD 3c*
4 Fern Crack HVD 4b** [=; VD*; =; VD; =] (S 4b**; =) probable HVD 4b*
5 Demon Wall VS 4c [HS 4b; HS 4a, 4b; HS -, 4b; S; =] (VS 4b, 5a*; =) at least VS 4b,5a*
6 Perverted Staircase VS 5a [=; =; =; VS] (HVS 5a; VS 5a) possible HVS 5a
8 Inverted Staircase D** [=; =*; =; D; VD] (D***; =) possible HD 3c**
8a Inverted Staircase Variation [ ; ; ; ; D]
Exposed traverse out left, presumably on side of overhang.
12 Heather Slab S 3c [HVD 3c; HVD; =; =; VD] (S 3c*; =) possible S 3c*
13 Capitol Climb HS 4a [=*; HS 4a; =; HS] (HS 4a*) at least HS 4a*
14 Wombat E2 5b** [=***; =; =**; HVS] (E2 5b***; =)
16 Walleroo E2 5c** [=; =; =*; XS] (E2 5c**; =)
17 West's Wallaby VS 4c** [=; =*; VS 4b*; VS] (VS 4c*; =)
17a Wallaby Direct Finish 5a [=; HVS 5a*; =; HVS] (HVS 5a**; HVS 5a*) possible HVS 5a**
19 Late Night Final HVD 4a [HVD; =; =; =] (HS 4a; S 4a)
21 Beckermet Slab VD 4a* [VD*; =; =; HD; D] (HVD 4a;* S 4b*) at least HVD 4a*
22 Maud's Garden VD** [=; =*; =**; VD; S] (HVD 3c***; S 4a***) at least VD 3b**
23 Contrary Mary VS 4b* [=; VS 4b; =; HS] (VS 4b*) possible HS 4b
25 Reset Portion of Galley 37 HS 4a [=; S; HS 4a; HS] (HS 4b*) possible VS 4b
26 Broken Slab VS 4b [HS 4b; S; =; =; =] (HS 4b*)
30 Damascus Crack HS 4b** [HS 4a**; =*; =; HS] (HS 4b**; VS 4b*)
30a Damascus Crack LH finish VS 4b [=; =; MVS; VS] (VS 4c; =) possible VS 4c
32 Libra HVS 4c* [=; =; VS 4c; VS] (HVS 4c*; =)
34 Lone Ascent HVS 5a [VS 4c; HS 4b; HS 4c; S] possible HVS 5b
36 Central Massive HD [=; D; =; =] (D*) at least HD 3a*
37 Aqua VS 4b** [=; =*; MVS 4b; HS] (VS 4b*) possibly VS 4b*
39 Tealeaf Crack HS 4a* [S 4a*; S*; =; S] (S 4a*)
39a Cornflake M [=; =; =; =] possible D 2c
40 Rotunda Buttress VS 4c [=; =; =; VS; =] (VS 4c*; =)
41 Rotunda Gully M [=; =; =; =] (M; =) possible M 2c
42 Bachelor’s Buttress VS 4b* [=; VS 4a, 4b*; MVS 4a*; VS; S] (HVS 4c**; =)
42a Direct Finish VS 4c [=; HVS 4c; VS 4c; VS; S] (HVS 4c; =) possible HVS 4c
45 Saul’s Crack HVS 5a*** [=; =; =; VS; =] (HVS 5a***; =)
46 Humdinger E1 5b* [=; =; HVS 5b*; HVS] (E1 5b**; E1 5b*)
48 Jeffcoat's Chimney VD** [=; =; =; HD; D] (VD**; =) possible VD 3c**
49 Jeffcoat's Buttress HS 5a, 4a*** [HS 4c, 4a***; =**; S**; S; =] (HS 5a***; =**) possibly HS 5a,4a**
51 Ruby Tuesday E2 5b, 4b, 5b*** [=**; =; E2 5b 4b 5b*; XS] (E2 5b**; =)
53 Black and Tans S 4a, 3c*** [=; S***; =; S; VD] (S 4a, 4a***; =)
54 Black Velvet HVD 4a** [=; HVD**; =; HVD] (S 4a***; HVD 4a***)
56 Hollybush Crack HS 4b** [S 4a***; VS 4a, 4b**; MVS 4a, 4b; HS] (VS 4b**; =)
57 The Neb Finish VS 4b** [=; VS 4b; MVS 4b; HS] (VS 4b**; =) possible VS 4a**
58 Technical Slab HS 4a** [=; =*; =; S; VS] (HS 4a***; =**) possible VS 4a**
59 Pedestal Route HVD 4a, 3c*** [=; HVS 4a***; =; HVD; VD] (HVD 4a***; =)
62 The Sloth HVS 5a*** [=; HVS 5b***; HVS 5a***; HVS] (HVS 5a***; =)
65 Central Route VS 4b** [=; VS 4a**; MVS 4a*; HS; S] (VS 4a**; VS 4b**)
67 Right Route VD** [=; =; =***; VD; D] (VD***; =) probable VD 3a, 3b**
68 Right Right Route VS 4b* [=; VS 4b; MVS 4b; VS] (VS 4c*; HS 4b*) probable VS 4c
68a Kelly’s Connection HVS 5a [=; =; =; HVS]
69 Kelly’s Direct E1 5b* [=; E1 5b**; HVS 5a; HVS] (E1 5b*; E1 5b**)
71 Kelly's Shelf S 4a* [=; HVD*; =; HVD; S] (S 4b*; =)
76 Easy Gully Wall S 4a [VD 4a; VD; =; =] (HVD 4a*; S 4a) at least S 4a*
77 Jelly Roll VS 4b, 4a* [=; HS 4a, 4a; HS 4a, -; HS] (VS 4c**; VS 4b*)
80 Roscoe’s Wall HVS 5b** [=; =*; =; HVS] (HVS 5b*; =**) possible HVS 5b*
81 Crack and Corner S 4c, -, 4a** [=; =; S**; S; =] (HS 4c, 4a***; S 4c, 4a***) at least HS 4c, -, 4a***
84 Hangman's Crack S 4a [S; =; =; VD; =] (S 4a; =)
86a The Girdle Traverse S [-; S; =; HVD; VD] at least S 4a*
86b The High Crossing VS 4b [-; VS 4b*; VS*; VS]
86c The Waistline E1 5b [-; E1 5b*; HVS*; HVS]
87 Scarlet Wall HS 4b [=; S 4a; =; S; =] (HS 4a*; HS 4b*) possible HS 4b*
89 Left-Hand Route HVD 4a* [=; VD*; =; HVD; VD] (S 4b**; HS 4b**)
90 Right-Hand Route S 4b** [=; S**; HVD**; VD; =] (HS 4c**; =)
91 Aperitif HS 4c [HS 4b; S 4a; =; S]
92 Gully Wall VS 4b [=; =; =; S] (VS 4b; =)
93 The Rib M [=; =; =; =] (?; D) possible M 2c
94 Rib Wall VD [D; =; =; =] (S 4a; VD) possible VD 3c
96 Calcutta Crack S 4b* [S; =; =; =; =] (HS 4c**; HS 4b*) possible HS 4b*
98 Calcutta Buttress VS 5b* [=; VS 5a*; VS 4c*; VS] (HVS 5b*; VS 5a*) at least HVS 5b*
105 Pepper HVS 5a [VS 5a; =; =; VS]

CurlyStevo - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to Offwidth:
Do you really think crack and corner is 4c - 4a
More like 5a - 4b

IMO HS is about right though as the 5a move is well protected and is very near the ground. Yes I did find the finishing hidden holds.
CurlyStevo - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to Offwidth:
Also the offwidth on Valkyrie Direct that can't be 5a!
Offwidth - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Crack and Corner 4c,-,4a is the grade of the three pitches. It is 4c to start if you know the trick and are not short.

"Also the offwidth on Valkyrie Direct that can't be 5a!" Was when I onsighted it; however, I'm not saying it was obvious (I had to stop and think a bit) or easy for 5a!

Our views are to grade the easiest technical way we know and if it's hard to spot or execute in a dangerous position, to up the adjectival grade.

...anyhow the reason for posting this is to get the guidebook data out, not to argue about our views.
CurlyStevo - on 26 Oct 2012
> (In reply to CurlyStevo)
>
> Crack and Corner 4c,-,4a is the grade of the three pitches. It is 4c to start if you know the trick and are not short.
>

Right and theres me thinking the three grades somehow applied to 5 pitches.

I'm not short and I've climbed it enough times and enough harder climbs to know that ain't 4c. It's not even easy 5a IMO, more like hard 5a / easy 5b.
Offwidth - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Count to ten:

It's the technical grade given in both main guidebooks as well as our view so if you think it's that hard you may have jammed or laybacked up direct and missed the trick.

I posted this information on request for the history.
CurlyStevo - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to Offwidth:

Also where was the 5a move on PebbleDash, tbh I find that climb easier than crack and corner - soft VS 4c. I think you must have clearly missed the easiest sequence on that one.
Offwidth - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Twenty....

Firstly everyone has views and these often differ. These are our views and we although we do change them sometimes (we have good and bad days like anyone else and most obscure routes we only climb once by ourselves, unless someone asks us to recheck) but its rarer we change our minds on such famous routes we have done several times and watched loads of others on.

Now the start of Crack and Corner has a trick to it that many don't spot and they end up thugging it at VS 5a/5b. Pebbledash in comparison has a thin 5a move left at the top of the first pitch that feels a little insecure but fits nicely as an easy HVS 5a (both grades). You may have spotted a trick to Pebbledash, I grant you, but given what we know until proven otherwsie I'll suspect you most likely missed the trick or climbed badly on Crack and Corner.
CurlyStevo - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to Offwidth: 30? (see i spotted yr cunning pattern!)

crack and corner i tried lay backing to the right, fell off a lot. eventually did it on tenuous bridging with a long reach to a horiz hold i think up with my left, which is how ive done it before too.

Pebbledash has a finger lock (and gear)in the verticle crack on the last traverse move.
mark s - on 26 Oct 2012
In reply to CurlyStevo: people will argue grades till the cows come home but crack and corner 1st pitch is fine at 4c.my none climbing girlfriend did it first go when i told her the technique to do it.
Offwidth - on 27 Oct 2012
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Still 20 (as I think you missed it).

You need to grow longer or more flexible legs if the bridge was tenuous (the short get these issues all the time on grit so welcome to their world) or maybe you were overthinking if you were using long reaches to holds on the left. If it makes you feel any better as a lower grade grit specialist I tried many times on at least 10 occasions and I just couldn't see the 4c method of Verandah Buttress. This was even though I knew it must exist as I trusted my pal Mr Fitzhugh: I did it no problem and agreed with the grade immediately when showed how. It's a common theme with tricky boulder problems.

Anyway overall you win: as like I said, the point of this thread was that someone asked for the change sequence of Roaches grades. It's hard to find how grades changed, without spending a long time in books that are hard to get (and we have done it already). I just left our views on as they sit on the end in our scripts.. won't make that mistake again.
Double Knee Bar - on 27 Oct 2012
In reply to Offwidth: some interesting ones there. Thanks for posting this.

Crack and corner=HS definately, and only 4a if combined tactics are utilised like in the olden days...
To be honest i'd probably go with 5a boulder start. Considering that the thing is polished to buggery.
Jonny2vests - on 27 Oct 2012
In reply to Offwidth:

Interesting. So how to summarise this and conclude something about grade creep I wonder. You're an academic, what do you think?
Dave Garnett - on 27 Oct 2012
In reply to CurlyStevo:
> (In reply to Offwidth) 30? (see i spotted yr cunning pattern!)
>
> crack and corner i tried lay backing to the right, fell off a lot. eventually did it on tenuous bridging with a long reach to a horiz hold i think up with my left, which is how ive done it before too.
>

Laybacking to the right? As in facing right or on the right of the crack?

To be honest, it must be ten years since I last did this (and thirty-six years since I first did it) but I recall an undercling and straightforward layback. It's a bit butch but pretty short.

I don't do long reaches or wide bridging, so that's certainly not required!

Then again, I don't recall Verandah Buttress being hard (well, obviously it's hard, but not Hard) but it's even longer since I last did that.
Dave Garnett - on 27 Oct 2012
In reply to Offwidth:

> Note there were two intermediate guides between 1951 and 1973 that were not in the main series; I’ve never been able to find a copy: 1968 (ed. J Smith) and 1968 (ed. D Salt)
>

No, I don't have these either. I have everything from the 1973 Dave Salt guide, and photocopies of the older ones somewhere but I've never seen either of the 1968 ones. Maybe I should make some enquiries locally...
Doug on 27 Oct 2012
In reply to Offwidth: Would be interesting to see the grades from Paul Nunn's Peak guide alongside the official grades - I think his guide was the first to give technical grades for the Peak
Duncan Bourne - on 27 Oct 2012
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to CurlyStevo)

> You need to grow longer or more flexible legs if the bridge was tenuous (the short get these issues all the time on grit so welcome to their world)

On a related note "Rubberneck" is a classic example of this. I find it absolutely impossible to bridge the start but alternative techniques work instead. Still a classic at HVS 5a
Dave Garnett - on 27 Oct 2012
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Yes, I rediscovered the delights of that start only the other weekend. Still, it felt pretty straightforward after Elastic Arm!
Offwidth - on 27 Oct 2012
In reply to Doug:

I did this once but its pointless. The guide wasn't called guess a grade by some for no reason.
JEP - on 27 Oct 2012
In reply to CurlyStevo:
> [...]
>
> Right and theres me thinking the three grades somehow applied to 5 pitches.
>
> I'm not short and I've climbed it enough times and enough harder climbs to know that ain't 4c. It's not even easy 5a IMO, more like hard 5a / easy 5b.

It feels like 4b to me but I am tall and I know how to climb it. I think the guidebook grade is right though.
augustus trout - on 27 Oct 2012
In reply to Offwidth: personally I've always found that Staffordshire grading tends to be in a straight line. VS 5a's for example can often be bold e.g. rippler at Ramshaw or well protected e.g. Pincer. It's almost as though the obgective danger concept wasn't one that the ascentionists of the 50's used much. Seeing as they were pretty much soloing everything it's understandable. Apparently the most significant examples of under grading can be found at Hen Cloud go up a HVS there and you could find yourself on a E3.
Offwidth - on 28 Oct 2012
In reply to augustus trout:

Can you name one of these E3 'HVS' climbs??
Ramblin dave - on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to Offwidth:
Interesting lack of consensus on Left Hand Route and Right Hand Route there... is there something in the water on that buttress?
Double Knee Bar - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to Ramblin dave: Have you climbed them? right hand route is a funny one. Spits people off in the first few moves. Well protected but difficult, under tension when placing gear and ridiculously polished.
CurlyStevo - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to Double Knee Bar:
Aye pretty tricky little number, pumpy, slippy, quite tricky and you don't get much in the way of rests for a fair distance. Defo HS IMO, harder than kestrel crack (which I think is never VS)
Offwidth - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Kestral Crack is HS (and has been for a long time) in the definitive guides (what these lists help with is the different grades given in different places at different times).
Ramblin dave - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to Double Knee Bar:
> (In reply to Ramblin dave) Have you climbed them? right hand route is a funny one. Spits people off in the first few moves. Well protected but difficult, under tension when placing gear and ridiculously polished.

I did Right Hand Route this weekend and thought it was brilliant! And I'll take the HS tick without guilt.

Didn't do Left Hand Route but I'd be interested to know whether it's more HVD or HS.
CurlyStevo - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to Offwidth: yeah i knew that but rockfax and ukc list it as VS.
Offwidth - on 01 Nov 2012
In reply to CurlyStevo:

I don't see the problem with this. The definitive has the route at the top of the graded list so it's bordeline with VS. Rockfax say its better as a low grade VS and UKC policy is to use Rockfax grades where available.

At some stage it might dawn on you that it may be you that's inconsistent and in need of realignment. I can breeze routes like Kestral as they suit me but that just means I'm better at that style of climb at that grade, not that the grade (bordeline HS/VS) is wrong. Now if there were 2 similar climbs and the easier one was graded higher than the harder one, something does need changing..can you give some famous examples that might indicate a shift for Kestral lower in the HS grade is advisable?
ads.ukclimbing.com
CurlyStevo - on 01 Nov 2012
In reply to Offwidth:
When are you going to say something I don't already know?

Obviously grading is subjective only an idiot wouldn't realise that.
victim of mathematics - on 01 Nov 2012
In reply to CurlyStevo:
> (In reply to Offwidth)

> Obviously grading is subjective only an idiot wouldn't realise that.

> I'm not short and I've climbed it enough times and enough harder climbs to know that ain't 4c. It's not even easy 5a IMO, more like hard 5a / easy 5b.

Compare and contrast...
CurlyStevo - on 01 Nov 2012
In reply to victim of mathematics:
which is a subjective opinion, is it really necessary to qualify every single post on this site with IMO. FFS!
victim of mathematics - on 01 Nov 2012
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Then what's your point in the first place?
In reply to CurlyStevo:
> yeah i knew that but rockfax and ukc list it as VS.

I did Kestrel Crack (again) whilst working on Western Grit and though it worth VS 4b so gave it that grade. The votes on UKC and RF seemed to bear this out. (And yes I am aware of the theory that people breaking into the grade will vote for VS cos they really want it to be VS even though they know it is really only HS - and I think it is cobblers).


Chris
CurlyStevo - on 01 Nov 2012
In reply to Chris Craggs:
Do you think there is overuse of the VS 4b grade on grit?
Do you think it is particularly bold or strenuous for 4b climbing?

Have you done Demo route at sennen? Do you think it is harder than that?
Simon Caldwell - on 01 Nov 2012
In reply to CurlyStevo:
> Do you think there is overuse of the VS 4b grade on grit?

Yes

> Do you think it is particularly bold or strenuous for 4b climbing?

No, I think it's mid-HS 4b. As for "too much of a struggle to be a real three star outing", anyone would think Mr Craggs was an indoor climber who'd only just started to climb outside!

> Have you done Demo route at sennen? Do you think it is harder than that?

I have, and it was harder than KC, but only because I buried myself in the chimney so couldn't get at the nice holds on the outside :) The top bit that people say is the crux was an intimidating but well protected S 4a.
Offwidth - on 01 Nov 2012
In reply to Chris Craggs:

No bones with the grade (although I think it is just a tough HS and my line on classics in guidebooks remains if in doubt don't change things) but what the hell is: "too much of a struggle to be a real three star outing." about??

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