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Topic - North East Scotland Grades

Fiend - on 01 Jul 2013
Surprisingly for such a local-centric area of esoteric rock and fickle conditions, a high proportion of the current grades are actually correct, and those relative few that aren't are usually obviously wrong. The trick now of course is for people to transcend the local stomping ground over-familiarity and stick with nationally correct grades that will apply to anyone visiting the crags, not to people who lap the routes as training. The North East Outcrops, as perculiar as they can be, are intrisincly interesting and enticing enough to be described fairly and accurately - this includes a few star ratings that could perhaps go up?? (and not that many that should go down, apart from the whole of Portlethen and most of the Angus quarries, of course).

All routes are listed with objectively factual (or factually objective in a few circumstances) grades for first time onsights in reasonable and dry conditions.

Stiff:
Leaning Meanie, Long Slough - 5b start, generally strenuous
Birthday Treat, Clashrodney - 5b start, generally strenuous
Soundgarden, Rock Band Cliff - very hard crux with the bare minimum of safe protection
Quickdraw McGraw, Berrymuir Head - very strenuous throughout, as hard as typical E2s
Chunky's Edge, Coble Boards - tricky, strenuous, thuggy, worth E3 (**?)
Italian Stallion, Floors Craig - top roof is nails
The Boxer, Floors Craig - solid E3, hard crux on poor holds with pumpy gear
Depth Charge, Craig Stirling - top end of grade, sustained and committing start
Mumhammed Wira Bin Jamel, Brown Crag - very steep at the grade, pumpy and awkward finish
Kevin's Fault, Harper's Wall - desperate and at least E1
Vulture Squadron, Grey Mare Slabs - top-end of grade but rests just keep it E2, brilliant route (***!)
The Sorceror, Arthur Fowlie - a solid E1, goey crux and dangerous moves after it
Hidden Treasure, Hidden Treasure Wall - probably E3, hard crux cranking in strenuous position
Sandanista, Covesea - probably E3, hard crux cranking at start
Tails Of Power, Tarlair Crags - E3 6a, steep, committing and desperate to onsight
Lipp Service, Rosehearty - hard E1, even after warming up on E2s here! Very strenuous and committing finish.
Peel's Wall, Pass Of Ballater - nasty piece of work, serious reaching break and awkward once there
Witches Tooth, Glen Clova - benchmark E2 5c, awkward crux and sketchy above until step left
Clairvoyant Reality, Glen Clova - very dangerous start
The Wildebeast, Glen Clova - very dangerous start if climbed direct off boulder, hard blind crimping with terminal landing

Solid:
Jester, Long Slough Red Rocks - tricky all the way
Mind Games, Bruin Cove - generally tricky and good value
Over The Top, Souter Head - hardish crux
Yellow Peril, Clashrodney - quite pokey
Mao, Sickle Row - sustained and fiddly gear in the middle, good value (**?)
Bat's Belfry, Earnsheugh - double barrelled crux makes this hard-ish
Little Strawberry Went Into The Sea, Berrymuir Head - top-end of technical grade for start
Trapped, Coble Boards - very bold with sketchy gear
Of Mice And Men, Coble Boards - good gear but bouldery crux moves
Acapulco, Newtonhill North - very steep at the grade
Nanaimo, Dykes Cliff - cranky
Silkworm, Silkie's Cliff - distinctly awkward for 5a
Pinko Subversive, Red Wall - bold, pokey start with minimum protection
Jammy Dodger Finish, Munich Buttress - genuinely hard jamming (***?)
Red Bull, Red Tower - balancy and committing, good value
Captain Pugwash, Hidden Treasure Wall - technical and cranky with hard earned good gear (***?)
Banana Republic, Covesea - solid and committing moves through crux
Tango On The Black, Rosehearty - intimidating and committing (***?)
Stealeye Span, Rosehearty - awkward, slopey start, hard work to get easier ground
Coming Up Roses, Rosehearty - pumpy and committing
Stinker, Pass Of Ballater - only a couple of moves but pretty arduous ones
Larup Head, Pass Of Ballater - weird eliminate start is close to 6a, but easier above
Red Wall, Glen Clova - solid 5b climbing
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