/ London wall
So my question is to anybody out there who has done it - what would you offer as a sport grade for it?
Try Coventry Street first pitch (E4) and see how that feels.
Leading White Wall, Coventry Street, Jermyn Street and The Rack will give you the experience you need to have a go at London Wall.
However, as the other posts suggest, it would be much more satisfying to tick Regent St , Knightsbridge etc and build up to it.
But, if you want to climb this classic in the manner it deserves - onsight - then you'll need to be a good E5 onsighter, or, maybe get lucky :-)
I was onsighting 7b regularly and redpointing 8a at the time to give you a reference to the supposed sport grade.
My standard reply to this common thread is to suggest the London Wall ticklist:
I've just finished it and am buzzing to get on LW myself, however I think I'll have the discipline to try White Wall and maybe Jermyn St first. I've done a lot of beta collecting, and LW sounds like a significant step up a level from even the routes in the above list. However they do give you a feel for steep peg scar climbing.
When I came to follow, those bottom 20ft really felt like the tech crux, but without the benefit of a rest there is a second cruxy bit high on the upper wall.
> Great comment!
> Try Coventry Street first pitch (E4) and see how that feels.
Try leading lots of peg scar cracks such as billy whizz at lawrencefield & get the experiences of falling off them first maybe!!
Billy Whizz was never and aid route.
The first time I was aware of it as a route was when it appeared as Harlequin (Birtles/Proctor) and I'm pretty sure it was free - but I may be wrong on the last count.
Also, whilst there are a lot of gear placements, I wouldn't actualy call it safe because it's so hard to place gear on the final crack - I took a whipper because I was too pumped and there were no footholds so I just kept going up. Oh and to answer your question - Fr7a+ if you are good on peg pockets, 7b if not.
I certainly don't intend to get up it by hook or by crook :)
Regent st, etc might well be a good idea next time i'm down there. Save it as a 'special route' and keep the on sight attempt.
To be fair though a lot of other people seem to agree with a sport grade of 7a+/b, and the fact that you didn't find it technically difficult suggests you might be quite a lot stronger on finger cracks than your average E5 climber, which is why you might give it an lower sport grade. If the OP has only ever climbed one E3, chances are he's not going to have a massive amount of peg scar experience, so he might find 7a+ a fairer grade.
> Billy Whizz was never and aid route.
yer it waz - see I can speull budly too!
I hate Millstone so never tried R.S too seriously - seemed a crappy line in a hole & easy to fall off! (sorry Millstone Fans)
- Billy always seemed like E3 to me & never topped it out. It was just a thought like about getting mileage in ...
As there are loads of peg scars on it how could it not be an old aid route do you think? If I'm wrong fair enough, but I'm sure it was pegged as you say before Geoff & Tom went for the free ascent.
...you should certainly have had that 1st ascent Mr Evans by the way!!
Possibly as in the mid to upper E grades the trad system doesn't actually supply as accurate information as the tech grades widen so much.
Its a bit of a shame IMO that the one tech grade per adj grade for a standard normally protected route of that grade doesn't work all the way up the system with fairly even width adj grades,
Tend to agree with this. Part of the E5 grading for this route reflects the strenuous nature of placing gear in the upper part (and subsequently running it out on fading arms). Translating that to 7a+ is totally meaningless as that French grade would simply reflect top roping, clipping bolts or indeed preplaced quickdraws. To say that a French grade would tell you whether you could climb it or not is just so far off the mark...
Anyway it's a classic this and worth saving for a proper go! But don't save it for too long like I did! Do the other suggested routes first, get fit and go for it. Good luck.
Anyway - cheers for all the thoughts. I can feel a couple of millstone trips coming on soon :)
That's not what people are asking for, nobody is suggesting burning existing guides then switching wholesale to French grades or YDS, they're asking for additional information, for another perspective. Why on earth that would upset you so is beyond me!
Conversely it pretty clearly tells me I'm not currently fit enough to flash it. Useful information that takes nothing away from the route or those who have done it.
But if you WERE currently fit enough to flash 7a+ it wouldn't necessarily mean that you could flash LW.
I'm certainly not fit enough to do it again and probably never will be, but E5 6a tells me that.
You may be right - but remember - I was there!
The difference between 'an' & 'and' is hardly, a major spelling mistake and certainly not one worth picking up on!
I have been that fit and I'm a complete punter. I know full well for most people (me included) the numbers in one game don't translate directly to performance in different games. What 7a+ tells me is that assuming the flash mattered to me is that I'd want a good recent track record flashing sustained-7b and some finger/peg crack experience. The route's still 7a+ (taking that at face value) and that's still useful information used sensibly.
E5 6a tells me I may or may not have a chance. 7a+ tells me I currently don't.
Because I'm reasonably sure that even my currently-unfit-self could still balance my way up some thin E5 6a slate slab (sport grade 6b+/6c); but I would certainly get shut down on the first 10 feet of E5 6a London Wall (sport grade 7a+/b).
(Edited to reply to your later comment)
made sense to me.
Um. Okay. I'll try with concrete examples:
Flashdance E5 6a. Sport grade 6b+ish. One tricky move miles above shitty RPs. Needs a clear head and good technique, but no fitness because you've practically got a hands off rest every move. Allows fatties like me to climb E5.
London Wall E5 6a. Sport grade 7a+ish. Fantastic gear but requires buckets of fitness to hang on. Fatties like me need not apply.
Both get the same UK grade, yet both are vastly different in terms of actual technical difficulty. Which is why some people find it useful to ask for the sports grade. If you find you garner just as much info from the UK grade alone, good for you!
I don't understand what you're saying, could you try English?
The gear is good on LW, but it's a bit fiddly and strenuous to place - a world of difference to clipping quick draws on a sport route.
To be honest, I find this obsession with trying to translate trad grades into the sport equivalent a bit silly, and agree with jon, that E5 6a, combined with the description, tells you all you need to know.
yes but key point in your sentence was
"London Wall E5 6a
22m. This compelling crack splitting the sheer red wall is an essential hard-core tick - the climbing is safe as houses and hard as nails! The initial leaning fissure is as difficult as anything on the route (feels like 6b) although the leftwards traverse is also taxing. Above this steady climbing leads to a reasonable rest ledge before the breathtaking final crack and shallow groove where many ascents flounder spectacularly."
"London Wall 5.12a G
22m. A great route."
The latter says the same as the former!
OK, if YDS grades are next, what's the difference between 5.10a, 5.10a and 5.10 a?
(don't know, I'm still running away)
OK well a 5.10a is a 30m crack pitch where nearly every move is 5.10a, whereas of course a 5.10a is a 30m crack pitch of 5.8 with a single 5.10a move and lastly a 5.10a is a 10m crack of sustained 5.10a. Pretty clear that, eh?
As possibly suggested by Alun, would a more obviously useful exercise be translation into US grades,sustained cracks in particular? Provided it was done realistically, a series of "yardstick" grades could be handy for anyone heading across the pond for the first time, especially to Sierran granite - although one might have to bear in mind the difference here between a typical pegged-out Millstone crack and a pristine one of later Yosemite vintage that hadn't enjoyed a former life as an aid route. (If done unrealistically, of course, it could offer enormous sandbag potential for people heading the other way!) I don't know whether it's common practice these days, but I'm sure I remember a time when such cracks around the world were routinely given a US grade - not necessarily in print, but certainly in discourse; it was a sort of universal language among crack climbers.
Just to chuck in my two penn'th I'd suggest 5.11d, that being a notch up the scale above the hardest thin crack I ever did in Yosemite which LW felt a similar notch harder than - although Alun's 5.12a may be a more realistic current assessment. Of course if you apply (and believe) the usual US/Euro conversion rate to 11d you get 7a, which isn't far off the 6c/7a that I recall the route being awarded by a visiting Frenchman - Alain Ghersen, I think - in the early 1980s. If pressed I would probably offer 6c+/7a, not as an indication of how easy I found LW - far from it, I thought the initial crack was desperate - but more as a measure of just how hard I suspect a typical 6c+ would actually feel if it were necessary to keep pausing along the way to fiddle in bits of gear! The Grit List, I see, goes with 7a/7a+.
Ok - I've just read Jon's comment, which I happen to know is possibly a sore point at the moment; but he's obviously lived in France far too long to understand!
> OK, if YDS grades are next, what's the difference between 5.10a, 5.10a and 5.10 a?
The 3rd one has a gap between the '10' and the 'a' - does that mean spaced gear?
> The 3rd one has a gap between the '10' and the 'a' - does that mean spaced gear?
It might as well Chris as it doesn't tell you anything else!
> As possibly suggested by Alun, would a more obviously useful exercise be translation into US grades,sustained cracks in particular?
I don't think YDS grades are any more informative than Brit adjective grades.
I've done Yosemite 5 10a's that fall into the 'cool', 'that was quite hard' and 'Jesus effing Christ' category.
As to LW having a YDS grade of 5.11d, well, it's only my opinion, but Butterballs is given 5.11c, and I reckon it's much harder than LW.
At the end of the day, no matter what the grading system, there will always be differences of opinion as to what is 'soft' or 'hard' for a given grade - it's actually quite subjective, but do we really want everything nailed to such a degree that we become climbing accountants????
Agree absolutely; my suggestion wasn't as an alternative to our system but simply to aid practical familiarisation with another system - a bit like learning french before a trip to France!
To be honest, within their category I've generally found Valley crack grades to be fairly consistent - by which I mean that a 10b thin crack will be about as hard as another 10b thin crack, harder than a 10a one, and easier than a 10c one; how it might compare, though, with 10b fist, offwidth or face is a completely different matter. It's probably specifically within the face category that I've noticed inconsistency, together with the greatest degree of grade adjustment (creep?) over the years. I'm sure this is partly due to the temptation, or not, to give a runout route a higher grade simply because of its boldness; fine with an overall (adjectival/E) grade, but confusing in one that purports to relate principally to technical/physical difficulty. By their runout nature, compared to cracks, this particularly applies to face routes, where the presence or otherwise of protection may simply be down to the happy coincidence of a usable peg/nut feature or of an opportunity for the first ascensionist to stand (perch!) in balance and drill a bolt. (This is aimed at the wider readership, Grouch; you know all this!) So it's entirely possible to find a 5.9 route on which the 5.9 bit is encountered 50ft out from gear - so probably E2/3 in our money - right next to a 10b which only gets its grade from the fact that the 10a bit is quite bold - so about E2. This contradiction has to an extent been remedied by the addition of R/X etc suffixes, but probably not entirely.
Ah - I wondered about Butterballs; it's clearly one of the Valley's definitive 11c thin cracks, which sadly I've never done; I'd generally assumed it to be top end E4 or E5, which would fit with the 11d hypothesis, but maybe I'm wrong. Crack-A-Go-Go is probably another one, again outside my experience - have you done it? I think Jon probably has, so maybe he can chip in. By comparison my only 11c was an obscure affair called Pinkie Paralysis - well named - up the hill somewhere between Arch Rock and The Cookie; I thought it about E4 6b, which I suppose is usually a bit easier to do than E5 6a, although on reflection I'm inclined to think that the initial crack of LW is closer to 6b.
I never understand this sort of question. Top-end hard-but-safe E5s are somewhere in the 7a/7a+ range unless something's gone wrong, adding or subtracting half a grade depending on stuff like whether it suits you, whether you count the effort of putting the gear in, and so forth. Everyone knows that - if you don't, then frankly you won't have the experience to get up it anyway.
> As to LW having a YDS grade of 5.11d, well, it's only my opinion, but Butterballs is given 5.11c, and I reckon it's much harder than LW.
I've just re-read this bit, and realised that you actually wrote "harder" not "easier"; "much harder", in fact. Do you mean that you would give LW 5.11b, or possibly even 5.11a? That should raise a few eyebrows - 6b+/6c!
Pete Biven or Trevor Peck you reckon Al?
i remember a great article in High about aiding at millstone & lawrencefield with some beautiful colour photo's - which i hope I still have - so it would make sense that they or their mates might have whacked in the pitons for the ladders etc?
Re Billy Whizz
Look at the photos on here, I don't see any peg scars in it. We aided Boulevard and High Street back in the 70s, they are continuous cracks and were pretty straight-forward. BW has that blank wall up to the finger crack. I am not saying it wasn't an aid route just that I don't recollect it being done or recorded as such. Old photos would be a good call.
Shall I repeat what i've already said twice - 'I was just musing over some questions' not thinking 'if I know the sport grade i'll be able to climb it....'
Will 'experience' alone get you up Left Wall???? I would of thought that strength, technique, a good mindset and a dose of effort would be of more use? Experience in using grading systems will allow you a better idea of how the route may suit you...
Just to put this into context, check out the Mountain Project page for O'Kelley's Crack in Joshua Tree:
The route has a boulder problem 11a start but the rest is 10b/c. So under the JT version of YDS, it's given 10b/c (maybe a misapplication but that's the tradition they have there).
One poster wrote:
"Not to quibble about such matters, but a route with a 5.11-move is a 5.11 route. Obviously this isn't as demanding a route as a sustained 5.11 pitch, but such are the limitations of the YDS. A route like O'Kelley's practically begs for the more complicated British grading system where a grade is given for the technical difficulty and then a subjective grade for seriousness, continuousness, etc... (e.g. 6a E4 (sic))"
The grass is always greener!
> The gear is good on LW, but it's a bit fiddly and strenuous to place - a world of difference to clipping quick draws on a sport route.
You appear to be agreeing with me. I know they don't correlate exactly, I even said as much quite clearly in the very same post you quoted. Am I missing something?
None of that alters the fact you can quite clearly assign a French grade to the climbing and that grade is of interest and use to some people.
Personally it doesn't bother me as I don't climb hard enough but if we had stuck to equal width tech grades I don't think we'd need the sport grades. The problem is that around 5c and up the tech grade width progessively widens meaning each tech grade applies to an increasing number of adj / E grades, making it hard to decipher the information with any accuracy.
Really we should have gone as standard reasonably well protected pitches with a desent amount of moves at a grade close to the crux as:
E3 6a, E4 6b, E5 6c, E6 7a, E7 7b, E8 7c, E9 8a, E10 8b, E11 8c
So Rhapsody should have weighed in at around E11 8b or something.
Ofcourse you can argue that the adj grades progressively widen to VS /HVS and then narrow somewhat, but that's another issue.
Whatever the grade is, the first 20 feet
will smack you in the face and boot you off if you're not properly prepared for it.
I think we'll probably have grade debates for as long as we have grades. Time was - mid/late 1970s - when a principal one concerning London Wall related to its brief 5c status (Bancroft); at least we've moved on from that!
> Personally it doesn't bother me as I don't climb hard enough but if we had stuck to equal width tech grades I don't think we'd need the sport grades. The problem is that around 5c and up the tech grade width progessively widens meaning each tech grade applies to an increasing number of adj / E grades, making it hard to decipher the information with any accuracy.
I'm not sure that's true. I think it's more that for harder technical climbing the overall challenge can vary more depending on each variable (seriousness, sustaindness, strenuousness etc). At the 4c grade is the climbing ever really strenuous? Is fitness ever really the issue? I doubt it. You just don't have to hang off the arms for long in the lower grades as the routes aren't steep enough.
You usually have to be fitter for a steep well protected E3 5c than for a similar well protected E2 5c. It's not because the moves are harder but because there's more of them and/or the climbing is more strenuous throughout.
I wouldn't say there's necessarily any more width in the 5c grade than the 5a grade for example. You get hard and easy 5a moves and hard and easy 5c moves.
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