I'm heading to the Roaches on Sunday with a friend who has not climbed on Grit before. They are also not massively confident at present and they are probably climbing at roughly HS on limestone (our more local medium).
I've been to the Roaches before and I have climbed a bit. I am sure that they can climb harder when seconding as long as the rope is above and not traversing. Anyone have any recommendations? I'm thinking of anything from VD up to maybe HVS (maybe harder don't know how I'll feel). What would you suggest as a progression so starting low and working up?
In reply to puppythedog: Yong is a nice route, and raven rock gully is always entertaining. Something better change (next to Yong) is a nice, thin slab (runners in Yong, or top rope to avoid the E2 grade).
In reply to puppythedog: you could get on the skyline. Loads to muck about on around S on the alpha buttress. On lower tier, raven rock gully left hand at VS. the traditional raven rock gully is a must if you havent done it, real traditional thrutchy fun and the first recorded line at the roaches. Crack and corner on the upper tier is a must (and avoids the restrictions) but the top pitch is very exposed for S if they're quite nervous. Left and right hand route are great on blushing buttress(severe at least for both, regardless of what the guide says) and so is calcutta crack.
I might be around on sat so say hi.
Tealeaf Crack s (upper tier)
slab & Arete s (Skyline nice and atmospheric at an amenable grade)
Fledglings climb s (lower tier)
Fern Crack VD (upper tier good value at the grade)
Damascus crack HS (upper tier)
Sifta's Quid s (lower tier caving!)
Mantleshelf slab HS (Skyline)
Libra HVS 4c (upper tier, bold move to finish)
Wallaby Direct HVS 5a (upper tier, if they manage Valkyrie)
Something better change gives a nice HVS 5b with siderunners
Poisonous Python HVS 5b (lower tier, a right sod!)
I'd second that as a suggestion as the holds on both pitches are all pretty positive and the "bold" start really isn't (IMO!) - no typical gritstone slopers and smearing as far as I can remember, and the belay ledge is huge. As someone else said, you certainly don't need a 60m rope. It's a lovely route to introduce someone to grit.
In reply to alan.phobos:
You can do Maud's in a single pitch on double 50s (or probably a single if you don't mind a bit of rope drag) and it isn't severe or 4a in a month of sundays, but it is a cracking little route.
The non bird banned bits of the upper tier seem to have an abundance of routes at severe to HS that are good thuggy gritstone crack fun with abundant protection - Left Route, Right Route, Calcutta Crack, allegedly Crack and Corner although I haven't done it myself. The grades in the definitive are a little on the harsh side, but if you approach them all assuming that they're HS 4c then you can only be pleasantly surprised.
Inverted Staircase is only diff but worth a punt as a warm up or at the end of the day for the classic caving second pitch.
In reply to puppythedog: Thank you all for your suggestions so far. I've got the Western Grit guide but I'm thinking of buying the definitive because I gravitate towards the Roaches a bit. The BMC says the Bird ban is from Damascus Crack to Easy Gully. I can't work out from the guide where Easy Gully is though.
In reply to Double Knee Bar:
I said 50m on the assumption that that's what people will have, not that you won't get away with anything shorter.
Sure you could probably just extend the runners properly. I can't remember exactly what happened when I did it, I just meant that it's a reasonably wandering pitch and you might actually need to think about rope drag...
In reply to Ramblin dave: We've all suffered unnecessary rope drag at some point. I remember making a hash of the ropework on Valkyrie, i felt like i was pulling the crag up the finishing slab with me!
Your memory is faulty... the start of Maud's is very typical rounded gritstone edges with protection that takes skill to place. Someone else said its S 4a... it's not it's a tough VD that's not very technical. It is also a lovely introduction to grit. For somone leading HS coastal limestone grit even VD's can feel hard on grit so its best to start here rather than further up the grades. Grading on grit is harder than most limestone areas with lots of lower grade routes (like Gower or Pembrooke).
In reply to puppythedog: We did Valkyrie last weekend. Using doubles I just got my second to untie one rope, pulled it through and dropped it back down to him. Fixes any rope drag issues and gives much better protection for the drop down the flake.
+1 for Slab and Arete on skyline, really enjoyed it. There are also a few good easy (vdiffish) routes on hen cloud like the arete.
Hmmm, funny how memory plays tricks or maybe different people have different perceptions of a route. As my profile reveals, I don't have a lot of grades in hand and yet I found it pretty easy. But I'm not going to argue with someone who runs a database of gritstone routes and their grades!! I'd agree with your assessment of top end VDiff.
It is easy climbing for the grade but the holds are rounded (for boldish VD standard) on the slab moves and the gear not obvious (unless you led it when the shameful chipped out nut-placement was still any good... the moron that did this didn't think of the route ethics nor the fact that being formed from the soft rock underneath the surface it would never last). Your perceptions may well have been influenced by the silly S 4a grade and the moves being 'diff level' technicallity. I've climbed it countless times now (solo quite a few times in the last few years to inspect the chipped slot and gear for reasons that make too long a story for this thread). The brilliant and well protected top section can be accessed by climbing the fun gully just left and traversing in halfway up the slab on small ledges to join the route at good runners above the boldish moves.
Cheers for that. I reckon between us we've now generated enough beta to make it a breeze for all the beginners out there. Love to know the story behind your multiple inspection ascents but this is probably enough drift for one thread!