/ UK's most improbable-looking-at-the-grade lines

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Ramblin dave - on 30 Jan 2013
Suggest some!

I'm not after sandbags, more the sort of route that you look at from the bottom and think "no way is there a VDiff / HVS / E3 / E8 line up that bit of cliff, it looks blank / mental / horribly overhanging" but then you try it and find to your surprise that it's covered in hidden jugs and jinks its way sneakily around all the obstacles.

I can't currently think of any particularly good examples that I've climbed myself, although I'm kind of thinking of Tom Patey's comment on the FA of the Cioch Nose: "What had appeared from any angle to be an Extreme pitch up an incredibly exposed slab turned out to be a glorious Diff!"
deacondeacon - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: The Sloth and Flying Buttress Direct are don't look HVS but once you get on them they're steady at the grade.
Checkers crack at Froggatt was the opposite looks like a severe and kicks butt.
Robert Durran - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:

Sula (E2), Dun Mingulay
wilkie14c - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
Three pebble Slab looks nails for VS
prog99 on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
Didn't Patey also make similar comments about Squareface as well?
BolderLicious - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
Little chamonix v diff at shepherd's crag borrowdale.
You step right and and can't believe how steep it is.
Al Evans on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Mike_Watson_99: I would suggest Britomartis at Gogarth, and possibly Bovine in the Wenault.
summo on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Al Evans:
> (In reply to Mike_Watson_99) I would suggest Britomartis at Gogarth, and possibly Bovine in the Wenault.

would agree, much like the stuff at Carreg Alltrem, steep, but once on them, the positive holds are there.
Jim at Work on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to blanchie14c: there's always one... :)
GridNorth - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: Dream of White Horses at Gogarth. VS climbing in Extreme situations.
butteredfrog - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:

Overhanging Bastion-Castle Roc.k
butteredfrog - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to butteredfrog:

*Rock*
Chezbo - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: I think Devils Slide looks improbable at HS, but is actually really straight forward if you don't look down!
CurlyStevo - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
How about just about most things at Swanage (the again once you get on them they also feel improbable for the grade ;)
Simon Caldwell - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:

Outside Edge Route (VDiff) at Cwm Silyn.
Central Buttress (S) on Beinn Eighe.

Cioch Nose no longer counts as it's been bizarrely upgraded to Severe ;-)
The Ivanator - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: Malbogies at HVS in Avon, devious path through an intimidating swathe of rock. Heidelberg Creature at Swanage is an imposing looking line for VS. Right Angle at Gurnard's Head at HS is a classic example of the genre you are looking for, the first ascentionist Iain Peters described it on the Forums a few months back, the story is well worth airing again:

"In 1966 I was unemployed, broke and staying at The Count House as a strictly unofficial assistant custodian. This was the swansong year for the Biven/Peck team: being young, reasonably fit and ambitious, I had repeated virtually all their routes at Bosigran, some of them solo, so was looking for a crag free from their long shadow.

One wet May afternoon, after a lengthy session in the Gurnardís Head I decided to return home via the coastal path. There was a full Atlantic gale blowing and the foam was flying over the ďneckĒ of the promontory. I could hear the waves thundering below so stuck my head over the top for a closer look. What I saw was a steep, dripping corner disappearing into the spray. It was one of those eureka moments that can happen in climbing. Here was the new extreme that would eclipse anything that had gone before on the coast!

As soon as the weather improved, I returned with John Gerber (not Bember as in the guides) a Harrisonís climber who had never been near a sea cliff before, a peg extracted from the first stance of Doorpost (no less) and a claw hammer nicked from the custodianís store. The traverse went surprisingly easily although John was not impressed by the wave that caught him just as he was making the balancy move across to the stance. The rest, as they say is history, but my first reaction on getting to the top was one of disappointment: where was my extreme to end all extremes? Who would ever bother with a mere Severe albeit in dramatic surroundings?

Nearly half a century later, the route is still a must whenever Iím in West Penwith, in fact on the 40th anniversary we managed more than 30 separate ascents with climbers from the age of 6 up to 70+. (I made it up to the 40 with half a dozen solo circuits!)"

EeeByGum - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: I will go for Christmas Curry (mica finish). Never done it. Always looks nails for HS!
wilkie14c - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
Bow shaped slab, Flimstone slab, Pembroke. Looks wicked for HS -

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=196088
skarabrae - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to blanchie14c:
> (In reply to Ramblin dave)
> Three pebble Slab looks nails for VS

as soon as i saw the thread title, thats exactly what popped into my head!

;-)
Sherlock - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
I was very intimidated by Cheedale's Sirplum but kept faith in the Hard Rock description and all was well!
JimboWizbo - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: Llech at Craig Caseg Fraith Isaf has the opposite effect. No guidebook - "Looks like Vdiff, I'll do that". HVS 5b having only led VDiff before was spicy
mrchewy - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: I'd have said the last pitch of Dream of White horses. Not done it but was seconding The Quartz Icicle the other week and looked across at it... doesn't look doable at VS.
wilkie14c - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to skarabrae:
I trawl UKC daily for a chance to get in first with the 3PS quips :-D
The Ivanator - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: Main Wall on Cyrn Las at HS is another route that threads a devious path up a large and imposing crag.
McGuinness - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: most, if not all routes on slate.
tlm - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:
> (In reply to Ramblin dave) Malbogies at HVS in Avon,

That's what I thought of straight away! :-)
IainRUK - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: Right at the opposite end of the scale..

Ledge route.. when you stand down in the valley and look up, it seems inconceivable an easy snow plod winds its way up the face.. to me anyway..
The Ivanator - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: Not done it, but the Appian Way on Pillar in the Lakes looks outrageous for HS:
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=61335
The Ivanator - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to blanchie14c:

Deceptive photo! Good shot, but it really isn't that steep or intimidating.

Bulls Crack - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to blanchie14c:
> (In reply to Ramblin dave)
> Bow shaped slab, Flimstone slab, Pembroke. Looks wicked for HS -
>
> http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=196088

They all do if you tilt the camera!
Dave 88 - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

That's a good shout. Looking up at the curtain thinking there's just no way there's an easy route through!
Ramblin dave - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:
Wow, that looks awesome! Must get up there...
Rob Exile Ward on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: Heaven Crack, Stanage.
wilkie14c - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:
> (In reply to blanchie14c)
> [...]
>
> Deceptive photo! Good shot, but it really isn't that steep or intimidating.

Quite right, its a wonderful route with good incut holds and good gear but it looks so unlikely from top
jonnie3430 - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:

Sarcophagus at Chudleigh and Double Overhang at Huntly's Cave? Both overhanging corner lines at HVS.

The Ex-Engineer - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: I can't believe no-one has mentioned Integrity on Sron na Ciche on Skye http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=7741

It is both one of the best routes in the UK and also looks utterly improbably at the grade.
stvredmond - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: Rock idol stands out for me. oxine in north wales
Macleod on 30 Jan 2013
Styx - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to Ramblin dave) Heaven Crack, Stanage.

I'd second that, from beneath it looks VS or so but it's festooned with the most perfect jugs imaginable. It's a glorious little vdiff I could run laps on it solo forever without getting bored.
dj_brigham05 - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: The Tube at Back Bowden.

Looks seemingly blank up to break and top out looks hard. But when push Comes to shove not actually that bad.
Mike Stretford - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to GridNorth:
> (In reply to Ramblin dave) Dream of White Horses at Gogarth.

Yeah that's the one that first came to mind. I though the last pitch looked nails from the bottom but it was fine.

Mark Bull - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:

Quiver Rib looks way to steep to be a Diff.
stvredmond - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: wishful thinking on the castle in pembs
Neil Henson - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to jonnie3430: I was going to mention Sarcophagus too.
robw007 - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:

Top pitch of Third Pillar of Dana - looks nails and is actually 5.9. Absolutely awesome.

Mutiny Crack is easier than it look as well!
Gordon Stainforth - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:

Haste Not on White Ghyll.
Chris the Tall - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
Amorican, North Pembs
Actually quite a few routes on that rock, Metamorphosis at Barcud is another one that looks like it's going to hard until you discover that every hold is a jug.

Pocket Symphony, Beeston Tor also has plenty of holds you can't see from below, and of course more gear than you might expect
Skyfall - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:

As someone else said above, the last pitch on Little Cham looks improbable at V Diff. How steep?!

Another one which springs to mind is possibly P2 of Grim Wall, the VS up the steep rib. Luckily it's littered with jugs and gear but from below it hardly looks VS territory.

I also thought Outside Edge at Cwm Silyn a good call. Looks way too hard and serious for V Diff.

I think a lot of slabby routes also look improbable on first inspection as you can't really see how incut the holds are from below. Often takes a bit of familiarisation with the crag on easier warm up stuff to get your head around it.
Steve Perry - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: Shark Crack at Sheigra when viewed from the adjacent wall looks pretty improbable for HS and that thought is consolidated when you ab down over the crux overhang at the top!

Tophet Wall winds it's way through some pretty improbable ground.
Jon Stewart - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:

Agag's Groove looks pretty improbably for VDiff, even when you're on it.
The Ivanator - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: When abseiling into Carn Kenidjack it is hard to believe there is an HVS that takes on a fairly central line up the blank looking sheet of Killas Slate, but there is, and it's brilliant - Saxon.
IanMcC - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
Russet Groove, Diff, Bowden
Pero - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: This is a ridiculous thread for this time of year. It makes me want to go out and climb these routes, but it's months before I'll get the chance.
lmarenzi - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:


Outward Bound at HVS


Comici, Cima Grande at F6b


Finale Groove at HVS
subalpine - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: Integrity, Severe..
Stone Idol - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: Right Angle at Gurnards Head Looks about E3 and is a (fairly) amenable HS. Just stay away if the sea is big.
Skyfall - on 30 Jan 2013
Just remembered the amazing corner/crack on P2 of Dives/Better Things. My god that didn't look like HS and the exposure! You can see all the way to the road as you glance downwards whilst bridging upwards :)
Ramblin dave - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Pero:
> (In reply to Ramblin dave) This is a ridiculous thread for this time of year. It makes me want to go out and climb these routes, but it's months before I'll get the chance.

I'm actually planning some of my trips away at the moment, which may be why I was in that sort of mood...
Jonny2vests - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> (In reply to Ramblin dave)
>
> Agag's Groove looks pretty improbably for VDiff, even when you're on it.

Totally.
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=128904

Rock Idol for me is the quintessential hard looking easy route. And maybe Moonraker.
Fredt on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:

Pulpit Groove at Lawrencefield (after the crux first move).

Great positions and exposure for a V.Diff.
Orgsm on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to blanchie14c:
> (In reply to Ramblin dave)
> Three pebble Slab looks nails for VS

It's 6" nails if you think it's HS

Al Evans on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: I'm always astounded by how easy touch HVS this route is.
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=113417
jonnie3430 - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:

I remember looking up at Cneifion Arete thinking it was very steep for Diff. That may have had something to do with climbing on the slabs before!
Dave Williams - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:

My vote goes for the brilliantly (and oh-so appropriately) named "Blind Faith" at Llanymynech. Essentially a VS 4b (OK, perhaps there's one 4c move) which weaves its way up some awesome looking steep and loose rock. Steep it really is, loose its not. Needs a high degree of determination and commitment to even get started on it as it looks so intimidating from the ground. Once awarded the accolade of "A Climb of Quality" by Climber and Rambler magazine in the 1970s ...

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=90096
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=90097

It's one of my Desert Island Climbs ....

Dave
nniff - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:

Scratch Arete at Tremadog. Silly Arete is E3 but the one next door is only VS
Kafoozalem - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:

Kitten Claws (E3 5c) at Carreg y Barcud doesn't appear to have holds or much in the way of gear from beneath. It also gets steeper as you get higher. It is actually way more amenable than it looks. http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=43436

Sarcophagus (VS not HVS though the first pitch is 4c not 4a!). It is very steep but I lost count of the hands off rests I managed on it last time I did it. http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=150557

Dream of White Horses (HVS). The last pitch looks fearsome but it's safer to lead than second. http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=114380

Sirius (HS) is another easy steep one http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=34071

Journey to Ixtlan (HVS) - Carn Gowla's answer to DOWT? http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=86724

Malbogies (HVS) http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=102546
Dave Williams - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Kafoozalem:
> (In reply to Ramblin dave)
>
>
> Journey to Ixtlan (HVS) - Carn Gowla's answer to DOWT? http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=86724
>

That's another of my Desert Island Climbs ... A very good suggestion indeed. 'Tis an excellent route. Even the odd, crumbly, digestive biscuit-type hold fails to detract from a totally memorable and enjoyable experience.

Dave

SGD - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Dave Williams: I've looked at that route several times and always wondered if it was as bad as it looks.....I'm sure I read somewhere that Nick Dixon had 'a moment' on Blind Faith when he was soloing it???
pamph - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Macleod:

Even more impressive then when I did it in 1980 and it was HVS!
Dave Williams - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to SGD:
> (In reply to Dave Williams) I've looked at that route several times and always wondered if it was as bad as it looks.....I'm sure I read somewhere that Nick Dixon had 'a moment' on Blind Faith when he was soloing it???

Haha ... I'm sure most people have 'a moment' on Blind Faith! I wasn't aware about Nick Dixon but a good effort to consider soloing it though, let alone then doing it!

No, it's no where near as bad as it looks, despite the fact that the whole buttress looks as if it's departure from the golf course is likely to happen at any moment! The crux is a bit committing - a blind, steep move - thankfully leading to good holds, but otherwise it weaves a surprisingly amenable path through the overhangs on p.2 (and gets easier the higher you go.) Gear's all good, just very occasionally a bit spaced. Best done as three pitches too; running pitches 2 & 3 together would definitely be 'interesting'.

If it was anywhere else, I reckon it'd be a 3* route.

Don't be put off any longer Stuart, give it a go! :¨)

Dave
neuromancer - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to nniff:

Actually one right of silly is Barbarian (e1, and bloody hard work, two guys who just did silly backed off it when I was there), then scratch the vs, then s.arete the hvs. I think s.arete is reasonable at hvs, but you're right the roof does look bloody intimidating from below. Pretty sure the guidebook I had said 'tackle the roof. Yes really..'
SGD - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Dave Williams: I shall add it to the list for this year and see what happens. I know a mate of mine has been interested in Blind Faith for a few years.....even better is it's his 30th Birthday tomorrow so I wonder if he would be up for it hungover on saturday.... :)
Jon Stewart - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Kafoozalem:
> (In reply to Ramblin dave)

> Sirius (HS) is another easy steep one http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=34071

That looks absolutely mental for the grade. Might have do that one some time.
Jimbo C - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:

The final steep bit of Gargoyle Flake at Bamford Edge is intimidating until you get your hands on the top.
birdie num num - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
Not done it, but The Crack on Gimmer looks epic for VS.
Tophet Wall is the same at HS, every pitch looks hard from below but fair at the grade once you're on it.
Pero - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: Gazing out the window at work this week, the rock climbing season looks a long way off, despite my best intentions to climb outdoors through the winter!
Jonny2vests - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to Ramblin dave)
>
> Haste Not on White Ghyll.

Always thought your Appian Way (HS) shot was a classic hard looking easy route Gordon.:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=61335
Rob Exile Ward on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Dave Williams: Crikey, I didn't think people climbed that sort of thing anymore. Must have been 1971 when I did it...! (I haven't been back.)
Franco Cookson on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:

Ali Baba at the wainstones was always one that look pretty impossible to me and lemming slab to the left of that. There are a few at the wainstones actually- like the west face direct etc. The one thing I always thought would be impossible was the waves of inspiration. That looks totally blank, but is actually fairly well endowed with good edges. There are a few about and they normally make for the good routes.
Skip - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> (In reply to Kafoozalem)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> That looks absolutely mental for the grade. Might have do that one some time.

The grade is about right for that route.
TM_Horton - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: Rock idol at mother careys Pembrokeshire !!!! awesome line/ ground :) immense at E1
Julian Wedd on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:

Swordfish E3 Pembroke looks somewhat tricky for the grade

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