/ Single worst pitch you've ever climbed.
After a while we did come to the odd consensus - most pitches on Lliwedd, more or less every route at Cilan Head, every pitch on Jericho Wall on the Cromlech, and Dovestones Quarry came in for a fair bit of stick too.
There were also a fair number of crap ones in the Alps - the Bernese Oberland as an area didn't fair to well.
So I wondered what the UKC collective reckoned were their worst pitches.
For me, the single worst pitch I've ever had the misfortune to climb is a no brainer....
....the waterfall pitch at the top of the ramp on the Eiger NF (this does refer to a summer ascent, which is now I gather a bit of a no go area)
Without doubt the most disgusting, harrowing, insecure, exhausting, demoralising, soaking wet vertical river of satans shite in the entire climbing world.
Mind you, when it comes to shite pitches and shite climbing, you're spoilt for choice on the Eiger in the first place.
Jon we've got this covered...
Solo of Mam Tor Gully, 'summer' ascent in torrential rain. Also one of the best experiences I've had.
Funny old game climbing.
(it was in a worse state than this photo when we did it).
crawl on polished mud stone and water via an indirect series of grovels through thick thorn bushes. one runner on a tree. one on some shite.
Gets you right in the mood!
Top 2 pitches of Rakes Progress at Chair Ladder, more like gardening than climbing.
All but the 1st pitch of Economists Climb at Pordenack Point
Nice views to Loch Lomond on a summer night and nice to have a BBQ but the climbs are diabolically bad.
> Without doubt the most disgusting, harrowing, insecure, exhausting, demoralising, soaking wet vertical river of satans shite in the entire climbing world.
Wow, nice! Am just reading The White Spider. Brave folks.
Two spring to mind. One I don't know the name of. It's at the Sea Wall in the Avon Gorge, and it involves fighting upwards past what appears to be a sewer outlet, through near-vertical brambles (no pro), to a leftwards litter-infested hand-traverse on polished crumbly limestone (no pro) to a crumbly limestone stance with a very sick tree in it (no pro apart from the tree). The start involves excavating a rabbit-burrow. I wondered why my partner was so keen to let me lead it.
The other is Bollard Buttress Direct. The climbing is OK, apart from the upper half of the route being 75 degree turf. The gear is very emphatically not OK at all. In layman's terms, there isn't any.
Its got to be pitch one of Hades in the devils kitchen, mind numbingly terrifying choss with a belay we daren't abseil from, 5 equalised pieces, 2 of which ripped when I weighted them, escaped up the relativly solid advocates wall. Pretty memorable, but I won't be repeating it!
lol, nice description tim... sounds like some of the stuff at baildon bank...
Though if I was going for the guidebook route-description of that Avon Gorge shite-fest, I'd probably want something like: "The best tactic for protection on this route may well be to wear a loose-knit woolly jumper and hope that, if you take a lob, it'll get snagged in the brambles".
The belay and pitch 3 of Fool Paradise, Gowder crag. F*cking ants were like youkshire terriers. I was sucking satans cock that day and rather than spit I stupidly swallowed.
Dont recall anything that bad on a multi pitch route although pitch 4 of cumming croften springs to mind. I suspect its better in winter where the choss is held together. The spike on the belay here wobbles like crazy in the summer - http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=166165
Single pitch - Cullen Chimney at Logie Head. Looked great from the bottom but it rapidly turned out to be where all the guano & detritus from the birds nests got channelled, added on at least two grades I think...
Probably both nicer than the Eiger experiences mentioned though.
Is from the uncensored Raymond Chandler? I can just imagine Robert Mitchum as Philip Marlowe narrating that
> The belay and pitch 3 of Fool Paradise, Gowder crag. F*cking ants were like youkshire terriers. I was sucking satans cock that day and rather than spit I stupidly swallowed.
^^This made me giggle foolishly and spill my beer; well done
The frst pitch of Cloggy corner is really bad compared to the rest of the climb, and almost all of Cloggy.
Accidentally finishing directly up the upper crack on Wen. My first time ever on a sea cliff iirc.
Running together two easier pitches in the middle of Via Cecilia on the Laston di Formin in the Dolomites. The first was one of those typical Dolomites in-between pitches, walking up rubble in the bed of a wide chimney at around Grade II/III. The second traversed out across the wall of the chimney in quite a nice position, but with none too great rock or gear, and hideous rope drag because I ran the two together "to save time". Brilliant route as a whole though.
The first - and last - ascent of a low level traverse at Markfield Quarry, that fell into the water while I was climbing it. Not unlike the top pitch of Wen, really, except the water was closer.
> Great Western.
The single worst pitch you've EVER climbed? What a charmed life you've had Jon. So you prefer anything Horseshite Quarry then.
This two star Stoney route immediately springs to mind, maybe the hard winters and low traffic have done for it, maybe it was always awful http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=11427
Another that springs to mind which was apparently once very nice, now sadly reverted to naturehttp://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=57024
> This two star Stoney route immediately springs to mind, maybe the hard winters and low traffic have done for it, maybe it was always awful http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=11427
Yeah, I remember seconding the wife on that, she nearly laid an egg.
- The first pitch of Dressed for Success at Great Blake Rigg: thick moss, slime, crumbly rock, and some wet crumbly rock. The Grey Buttress is totally not like this for anyone who's ever fancied it.
- Something at Upper Scout Crag in the region of Rambler's Hangover - I just followed my nose and had to climb 3m of steep slime.... in big boots, 25 m up with no gear, and with a waist belay.
- Bellywedge Chimney at Wilton 3. Crap, but at least crap in funny sort of way.
That's a description that really should be in a guidebook...
> - Something at Upper Scout Crag in the region of Rambler's Hangover - I just followed my nose and had to climb 3m of steep slime.... in big boots, 25 m up with no gear, and with a waist belay.
Come to think of it this may have been a new route. In which case it's at least 2 stars, modern classic, etc etc...
If you write a guidebook and this fits, by all means steal it :-)
My nomination for a terrible pitch would go to something in the Lancashire quarries, except that my memory has succeeding in placing all recall of such esoteric choss-topped dirty sandy delights into a quarantine area that I can't access for my own mental health. It'd probably be something in Lester Mill. I would nominate Terror Cotta in Anglezarke for the fusilade of missiles that rained down on me after my partner had reached the top but the climb itself was rather good, if quite intimidating.
Probably the worst *climbing* I've ever done was at the frankly lethal Lundie Craigs in Dundee's very own Sidlaws. The sensation of climbing on something that is falling down almost faster than you can go up it is unbelievably unpleasant. Like trying to walk up a down escalator, only with someone at the top of the escalator lobbing microwave-sized lumps down at you the whole time you're doing it.
But that was terrible *climbing*, not a terrible *pitch*, because what I climbed at Lundie isn't a route, because no one except me has been mad enough to try it. If it was a route, the route name should be "Don't".
Basalt: just say No.
Indeed. On Skye when the Cuillins were clagged in, we went to a small basalt cliff near the sea. The description of the climb should have been 'Climb upwards with increasing speed and anxiety on a series of disposable holds. The route will be very different, but no less traumatic, for your second'.
Climbed any of the basalt pinnacles around the Old Man of Storr? I've done a couple of those. Never again. They were both brown-trouser experiences. The route description for those could read simply "You will wish you hadn't".
The top pitch of The Yellow Edge in the Dollies: survival of the party is ensured by touching as little of the rock as you can!
In this country, pretty well any of the sports routes in Cheedale. Of course Horsesh*te Qy is a no-brainer.
The worst place I've climbed in the Lakes is Boat Howe Crags - two inch thick layer of moss on a north facing crag, yeuch. Never climbed on the crag above Wharnescale Bottom with Paper Tiger on it though which might be as bad.
Only the third route I ever climbed - Clachaig Gully, went the wrong way and ended up on a loose rubble heap held together (partially) by grass & heather. At one point I had to rearrange a ledge full of tv sized blocks to prevent total collapse as I had a sling round one of them. Nearly a very short climbing career for me.
> The top pitch of The Yellow Edge in the Dollies: survival of the party is ensured by touching as little of the rock as you can!
> In this country, pretty well any of the sports routes in Cheedale.
eh? Any of them? Kiss me Hardy? Clarion Call?
Goodness, what sensitive plants some of you people are.
The top pitch of Yellow Edge, for example Ė I did that a year or two ago; I donít even remember this pitch as different from the rest Ė pretty ordinary limestone-mountain stuff, Iíd have said. If thatís going to be the worst experience of your climbing career Iíd have thought steering well clear of the Dolomites in general was a good plan.
We may have been on the wrong line - just remember bridging up a chimney for 50m not wanting to touch anything especially since there was a party behind us who would have been directly in the firing line.
Back in the UK, the first pitch of Extol on Dove Crag is pretty dire even for lovers of foliage. (the second pitch isn't much better)
The first pitch of Shelob on Gower that I nominated earlier is far from the most harrowing experience I've had on a pitch, but in terms of quality it really is the pits.
My partner thought he spotted a cleaner line through the jungle starting from lower down and further right than the usual start, this turned out to be illusory and just meant the bushwhacking was substantially extended. This pitch requires more than a trowel and secetaurs to make it resemble a rock climb - napalm perhaps!
In terms of quality there can barely be a climb with two pitches that contrast so markedly, the second pitch is 'out there' for the HS grade - bridging up a cave with wild exposure to escape via a squeeze through an exit hole.
'The Trough' on Carrock Fell was one of our less bright ideas during a lakeland monsoon period.
There are also many places along the UAE and Oman border where I can honestly recommend that people should not attempt second ascents - either due to the pathetic nature of the climbing, or the almost total lack of solidity. I believe it may be the place where the term 'chossaneering' was coined.
> The single worst pitch you've EVER climbed?
Nah not really. Certainly the biggest disparity between hype and reality though.
I guess not. The answers I usually give to this question are Boomerang at Willersley, or that crap VS at Black Rocks that gets 3* despite the fact it's mainly grass and broken glass, with two little patches of polished rock at the start and finish. That said, the approach pitch to Falcon is quite horrible, especially if you get rained off without even climbing the route.
I suppose technically you could say that the pitches of steep grass at the LHS of Gogarth Main Cliff or Easter Island Gully are worse than "proper" pitches like Lean Man's Climb, but I kind of like them as I've always just climbed an amazing route and am about to get back alive.
Fascinated to know what the crap VS at Black Rocks is, because most of them are among the best on grit.
>Iíve done Falcon and I donít even remember this approach pitch. Donít be so precious.
> Yeah, I remember seconding the wife on that, she nearly laid an egg.
i'd forgotten about that one. start is horrible but the top is much better. i nearly came off 10m up when a hold came off in my hand - that was before i'd found any gear placements.
off the top of my head i'd probably say p1 of aurora at stoney. much like the start of mortuary steps (crap rock, crap protection, crap climbing) but without the better part at the top
> i'd forgotten about that one. start is horrible but the top is much better. i nearly came off 10m up when a hold came off in my hand - that was before i'd found any gear placements.
> off the top of my head i'd probably say p1 of aurora at stoney. much like the start of mortuary steps (crap rock, crap protection, crap climbing) but without the better part at the top
Yes, a very scary pitch, but there's much worse than that. For example, some of the trad routes at Taffs Well were absolutely terrifying (I see a lot aren't even mentioned in latest guidebook).
> >Iíve done Falcon and I donít even remember this approach pitch. Donít be so precious.
You have might remembered it better if that was all you climbed on your first trip to Tremadog.
Was wondering if anyone would mention this. I remember doing what was written up as a *** v diff on which I was petrified (the climbing was rubbish too)
Hah - as it happens, on my first visit to Tremadog I climbed a route called Axminster. In retrospect, the clue was in the name.
However, that wasn't why I remember it - atop the main pitch, I belayed by putting my one and only new sling round a tree and attaching it to myself with my one and only new screw-gate karabiner. My second then climbed the pitch and I lowered them off, preparatory to abseiling off the tree in what I then conceived to be the approved manner.
Unfortunately, when it came to it, I was unable to unscrew the screwgate. I can't now remember how I was rescued - I think some more experienced member of the (university) club was obliged to re-follow the pitch and use his stronger fingers on the thing - but I do remember the embarrassment.
Oh, I'd forgotten about Boomerang. A glassy slab with shit gear, deep joy.
I really like Great Western though, perhaps you're just rebelling against the four star nonsense in the guide. Three stars for sure though.
> I suppose technically you could say that the pitches of steep grass at the LHS of Gogarth Main Cliff or Easter Island Gully are worse than "proper" pitches like Lean Man's Climb, but I kind of like them as I've always just climbed an amazing route and am about to get back alive.
Counting your chickens before they're hatched, perhaps?
I don't understand what you have against Lean Man's Climb at Black Rocks - a very fine climb. And Lean Man's Superdirect is one of the very best VSs on gritstone, if not THE best. The only other contender I can think of for the number one position is Birch Tree Wall at Brimham.
Another Lakeland pitch that is truly unpleasant is the first pitch of Prana, Black Crag traversing through the slimy streak. Top pitch more than makes up for it though.
Route III, VD, at Gardom's is a possibility. This was an ant infested vertical heather fest, where I wasted too much energy and turned into a lumpy mud creature, after excavating in vain and pain for gear (my partner that day decided to never climb with me again and I decided in guidebook work I would give up on climbing every low grade listed route). Alternatively the straight up line left of Cumberbund on Ossam's Crag: which had no runners and not a single solid reliable hold in 50m and I've never been so glad to lacerate my hands on the brambly top out given I hadnt killed myself on a severe.
Leave Basalt alone. It comes in many varieties, like all other types of rock. Consider for instance:
Or closer to home, Kilt Rock.
I'd certainly put Lilywed high up in the list of crags with crappy pitches, on the other hand it could be down to bad route finding on my part.
Something on Crag Point Tyneside http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=10996
So bad there's no info!
Despite once or twice ending up on some teitoring piles of choss (including 1 attempt at new routing at Sandwood bay), for some reason the thing that stands out in memory is a climb to the left at Dunkeld.
The name escapes me. It was my mates idea. He has a thing for the sort of dirty vegetated faces most would rather leave well alone. It started OK. I led up some distance, making my way to a good section of near vertical peat. It was reminiscent of climbing a snow gulley. Except for the kicking in with rockboots not crampons, and placing ones hands in loose, personally created hand-holds or, if you were lucky, pulling on poorly attached heather. Then i found some respite, and more importantly good gear. Enough for a belay. I had plenty of rope left to get to the top, but then after all, he wanted to do the route. So only fair to let him lead the rest of it, eh?...
And Fairhead now I think about it!
By the way - where does the line between basalt and dolerite lie? I've seen all of those crags described as dolerite, but Tremadog is allegedly dolerite too, and it's a whole different kettle of fish.
"Kettle of fish" would be a great name for a fulmar route on a sea cliff.
> And Neist...
> By the way - where does the line between basalt and dolerite lie? I've seen all of those crags described as dolerite, but Tremadog is allegedly dolerite too, and it's a whole different kettle of fish.
The geology books say that it's about crystal size - basalt is said to be a lava, cooling quickly so very fine grained. Dolerite is said to be an intrusive rock, so cools more slowly making bigger crystals (but not a plutonic rock, cooling very slowly at depth making big crystals - that would be gabbro). Personally, I find it hard to distinguish them.
Risk of Infection at Ardnamurchan is pretty rubbish... A couple of good moves followed by a bit of loose but easy ground and then it's all over. Disappointing as it looks good from the ground and the quality of the rock there is generally brilliant. Ah well...
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