/ "Pant Filling" moves on a scramble

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Jim Walton on 08 Jul 2013
Now, I'm a fairly experienced climber and scrambler. I've climbed most of the grade 3 and 3S scrambles in England and Wales and quite a few of the big ones in Scotland. Led E3 on rock, but I got PROPER SCARED yesterday. I was meant to be climbing yesterday but my partner was ill and had to drop out at the last min. As I was in N Wales and the sun was out it seemed a shame not to go out and play.

A quick flick through the guidebook for a west or north face scramble and I fell upon Wrinkle Tower on the west face of tryfan. Grade 3, never done it before, a surprise. It would be nicely out of the sun :-) Sandwiches packed, midge cream applied, time to play.

The scramble was really easy to find and the guidebook description accurate and easy to follow. Romped along up lovely bubbly rock slabs, over pinnacles, up a squeeze chimney (love chimneys!) until suddenly I'm in a "pant filling" position of the most gut wrenching exposure.

You exit this chimney halfway up on the left. Traverse left along a narrow sloping ledge on a vertical wall. In the distance (well 3m anyway) is a thank god flake. It's obviously a big hold but it's a long reach. Nothing really to hold onto for your hands (small side pull) and your feet are on a 6" sloping ledge that gets smaller and more sloped the closer you get to the flake.

A some point you are going to have to commit (I was on my own) but what a commitment. You're 30m vertically above some well placed skewers of rock, on a part of he mountain where no-one else goes. A fall from here would be fatal at best.

I must have been on that ledge for 5mins but it felt like hours. It was without doubt the scariest move I've EVER done on any scramble I've been on before.

My question is what other scrambles are there out there with a "pant filling" move. I can't think of any others that I've done with a move like that.
victim of mathematics - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton:

The 3S on Lliwedd (West Buttress via Bilberry Terrace or something like that?) has some very exciting traverses across slabs high up the wall, with the only footholds provided by a few protruding clods of earth and grass. Fun times!
Jim Walton on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to victim of mathematics: Lliwedd's not a crag though is it. It's just pile of badly stacked wetabix. You need to be leading VS just to look at it let alone climb anything ;-)
lithos on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton:

did you reverse it ?
Jim Walton on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to lithos: No, manned up and did it.
Milesy - on 08 Jul 2013
I have seen E crag leaders with full pants on mountain scrambles before. Ive done a fair few of the scrambles in lochaber book which are dicing with the devil on choss. Technically easy, but horribly unprotected, loose and scary.
Milesy - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Milesy:

No 3 buttress on Stob coire nan Death is a bit hairy.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=70568
Wesley Orvis - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton:

Yes i kow what you mean, Steve Ashton for you, it's actually Castle Chimney (diff) it's the continuation to Wrinckle Slabs (grade 2) and defo needs a rope.
Wesley Orvis - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton:

He put the two route together and rounded them off, adding a grade to the slabs and removing a grade from the tower.
Mike Peacock on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton: The first time I did the grade 2 on Y Garn (Castell y Geifr) I thought the step round on the upper crest was terrifying. When I revisited a few years later it seemed rather tame.
drunken monkey - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton: Plenty Arse twitching scrambling on the Skye ridge. A lot of it soloing with mahoosive drops below.

Gets the "brown adrenaline" flowing.
Mike Peacock on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton: I also recall a move on the Mushroom Garden on Foel Goch. An easy step round above a very large drop:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/96755680@N00/2904652556/in/photolist-5qF71u
Jim Walton on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Mike Peacock: That's one of the most disappointing scrambles in Snowdonia. Similar in disappointment to the east ridge on Y Garn. Lots of heather scrambling followed by some scabby bits of rock.
Jim Walton on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to drunken monkey: I've done most of the Skye ridge. I rate the Wrinkle Tower in a league above!
Only a hill - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton:
> (In reply to Mike Peacock) That's one of the most disappointing scrambles in Snowdonia. Similar in disappointment to the east ridge on Y Garn. Lots of heather scrambling followed by some scabby bits of rock.

I quite liked the East Ridge of Y Garn, but I agree it doesn't have the stature of a Scottish route.
cb294 - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton:

Scrambles on steep grassy slopes scare me shitless, even more so when wet.

Just yesterday an experienced climber died on Höfats (a normally gentle 2000m peak in the Allgäu alps) when the sod of grass he stood on ripped and he slid down the grass without a chance of stopping.

CB
Only a hill - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton:
This route has got an absolute bugger of a wall on it near the top:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=156979

Most of the route is very straightforward, but there's a vertical step maybe 4-5m high which "gave pause" (as they were fond of saying in the Alpine classics!) It took me about 6 attempts before I could commit.

Another one with a couple of tricky cruxes, easier I suspect in winter when the turf comes into play:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=156979
Joak - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Milesy: Aye I know some HVS leaders who are a bit shoogely when scrambling unroped. Crack Climb on Stob Coire nam Beith, a two star Diff gave me the colly wobbles on the first couple of pitches, not a lot of gear and wet weeps just where you didn't want them on the day. Smashing day oot aw the same!!
Mark Bull - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton:

It's a long time since I did it, but I recall Creag Lloer Spur having an awkward mantle in a very exposed position.
Nicholas Livesey on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton: I did Wrinkled Tower a couple of weeks ago but did that bit roped up...I would have truly shat myself soloing it!
ads.ukclimbing.com
Jim Walton on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Nicholas Livesey: I had a proper moment. But then I didn't like the look of down climbing the chimney either so I had to go on! I had my sandwiches in the cave and once they were finished realised that there was no more excuses left to hang around. Thank #uck La Sportiva approach shoes have a nice grippy sole.
Gordon Stainforth - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton:

Very amused by your idea of a fall being 'fatal at best' ... I'm trying to imagine what comes next in the scale of awfulness :)
mountainbagger - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Mark Bull:
> (In reply to Jim Walton)
>
> It's a long time since I did it, but I recall Creag Lloer Spur having an awkward mantle in a very exposed position.

+1

I was glad I had a rope for my wife!
Offwidth - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Fatal with very messy consequencies?
Offwidth - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton:

Broad Stand when damp. Precarious Diff moves above a ledge that throws you out into a big drop to a gully. To be fair to the guides on these beasts they make it clear in the overall introductions that easier climbs are often safer and a rope is advisable for most.
Jim Walton on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: I was thinking (and I had a bit of time to think whilst eating my sandwiches) that falling and being skewered on the pinnacle below but surviving would be awful. The embarrassment caused by having to call out the Big Yellow Taxi, the shame upon my family when they read the article written by some no-nothing hack "Climber falls 2000' on Mt Trivan near Mt Snowdonia but is saved by Smart Phone". But mostly it would be having to 'fes up to my wife that I had been soloing again when I promised her that I wouldn't anymore. Death would be a blessing....
cb294 - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

Fatal after a while?

CB
Jim Walton on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: Hope you enjoyed your visit to our local Book Festival in Lowdham. I wanted to come and see you but we were out having a "Family day" by the river.
abseil on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton:
>...I got PROPER SCARED yesterday... It was without doubt the scariest move I've EVER done on any scramble I've been on before.

I like your post a lot, very honest. It also warns readers [even, or especially, E3 leaders] to think very carefully on apparently easy ground. Which doesn't mean safe. Thanks...
Mike Peacock on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton:
> (In reply to Mike Peacock) That's one of the most disappointing scrambles in Snowdonia. Similar in disappointment to the east ridge on Y Garn. Lots of heather scrambling followed by some scabby bits of rock.

I quite like the Mushroom Garden. Yes, the scrambling isn't great, but the scenery and position (and solitude) are great.
osh on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton:
> Now, I'm a fairly experienced climber and scrambler. I've climbed most of the grade 3 and 3S scrambles in England and Wales and quite a few of the big ones in Scotland. Led E3 on rock, but I got PROPER SCARED yesterday. I was meant to be climbing yesterday but my partner was ill and had to drop out at the last min. As I was in N Wales and the sun was out it seemed a shame not to go out and play.
>
> A quick flick through the guidebook for a west or north face scramble and I fell upon Wrinkle Tower on the west face of tryfan. Grade 3, never done it before, a surprise. It would be nicely out of the sun :-) Sandwiches packed, midge cream applied, time to play.
>
> The scramble was really easy to find and the guidebook description accurate and easy to follow. Romped along up lovely bubbly rock slabs, over pinnacles, up a squeeze chimney (love chimneys!) until suddenly I'm in a "pant filling" position of the most gut wrenching exposure.
>
> You exit this chimney halfway up on the left. Traverse left along a narrow sloping ledge on a vertical wall. In the distance (well 3m anyway) is a thank god flake. It's obviously a big hold but it's a long reach. Nothing really to hold onto for your hands (small side pull) and your feet are on a 6" sloping ledge that gets smaller and more sloped the closer you get to the flake.
>
> A some point you are going to have to commit (I was on my own) but what a commitment. You're 30m vertically above some well placed skewers of rock, on a part of he mountain where no-one else goes. A fall from here would be fatal at best.
>
> I must have been on that ledge for 5mins but it felt like hours. It was without doubt the scariest move I've EVER done on any scramble I've been on before.
>
> My question is what other scrambles are there out there with a "pant filling" move. I can't think of any others that I've done with a move like that.

Definitely the best move on the best scramble in Snowdonia! Done it countless times now and always have a big smile topping out on the tower. I don't think the flake is the thank god hold though, but the big jug after it and which you pull over to (and can't see from below). Incidentally, I also like the East Ridge of the Garn - the top tower more than makes up for the broken lower sections.
Jim Walton on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to osh: If I was going to rate my top three it would probably be
1) Wrinkled Tower
2) Idwal buttress leading to Cneifion Arete (but only mid week)
3) Nor Nor Buttress variant
osh on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton: They sound like very good choices. Not sure which one Idwal Buttress is, but I've often gone up the Idwal Staircase then Cneifion Arete. A great scramble, as there's hardly any uphill walking (unlike Wrinkled Tower!!). Good for getting out on summer evenings too - I'm sure that the last time I did that route I parked in Ogwen Cottage and was back in the car within an hour and 45 minutes.
Jim Walton on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to osh: I class Idwal buttress as the buttress to the right of Idwal Staircase, but I might be the only one who does that.
Wesley Orvis - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton:
> (In reply to osh) I class Idwal buttress as the buttress to the right of Idwal Staircase, but I might be the only one who does that.

Same, i think it's the nw face route, with the quartz band steepening near the top and it is a very good scramble.

Haven't done them all yet but my favourite 5 from the ones i have done and in this order are:

1)Bristly Ridge
2)Nor nor Buttress variant
3)Cneifon Arete
4)Clogyn y Person arete
5)Milestone Butrress + continuation

We didn't complete Wrinkle Tower and pussied out on the chimney below the above mentioned crux, goin back to do it with a rope real soon so may come in at no.1 then.

Mike Peacock on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Wesley Orvis:
> (In reply to Jim Walton)
> [...]
>
> Same, i think it's the nw face route, with the quartz band steepening near the top and it is a very good scramble.

It is indeed the NW Face. I always thought that (apart from the commitment factor) it should be grade 1.
Jon Stewart - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Milesy:
> (In reply to Milesy)
>
> No 3 buttress on Stob coire nan Death is a bit hairy.
>
> http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=70568

I think this is the one I got scared on. All slopers and smears, not a great place to be in clumpy boots IMO.
Wesley Orvis - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Mike Peacock:
> (In reply to Wesley Orvis)
> [...]
>
> It is indeed the NW Face. I always thought that (apart from the commitment factor) it should be grade 1.

Well my mate who is a competant scrambler was helicoptered off by trying to avoid the top steep bit and ended up on broken grassy terain that he could not back down from, so was saved by MR, don't worry it was years ago and we have never let him live it down, it's still the joke of the group.

So in my opinion due to this and my memory of roping up for it, top end grade 2. But this was by climbing the rock to the right of the shallow gully whereas i think the scramble goes in the gully. Just my opinion sorry to disagree.
malk - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton: i reckon most 'pant filling' moves on scrambles are due to route finding issues..
Jim Walton on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to malk: self inflicted brown trousers don't count...
malk - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton: i think i must of gone off route somewhere near the top of jacks rake once (trying to make things a bit more interesting maybe) and ended up pulling up on turf above big drop (doesn't count?)

and Piers Ghyll, now that was a sandbag..
Milesy - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton:

To avoid a queue on castle ridge on The Ben I went off up looking what was an easy bypass and ended up on some horrible ground I couldn't down climb and ended up in a soaking chimney that I couldnt climb in my boots. My mates had to chuck a rope down for me and I had to haul myself up on a with the rope round my waist, but not before a boulder dislodged by the rope came whizzing inches by my head. I've always wore a hat scrambling on the ben since....
cheek to the rock - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton: Sounds awesome,Never feel more alive than at them twich moments
bowls - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton:

Yep, that one is fun - when we did it I watched with horror as my 15 stone mate (leading) got on the sloping ledge with a huge drop on the left and struggled to reach the flake, very relieved as he eventually got a sling on and then managed to belly flop onto the platform above somehow taking the sling off with his heal! the thought of him rolling back off was horrific, fortunately he managed to roll the right way! - we are no great rock climbers by the way.
Andrew Barker - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton:

The crux of East Gully Arete on Glyder Fach. An unnerving slabby Diff move that's probably easy in rock shoes.

The move at the end of the crux section on Yr Esgair on Foel Goch. The 7-metre (or thereabouts) climb up an exfoliated fridge-width prow doesn't quite prepare you for the mantel above which involves grabbing handfuls of loose turf and throwing a leg onto the grass. Don't let that put you off though. It's great fun in summer and winter (thankfully the winter route avoids the summer crux).
osh on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton:
> (In reply to osh) I class Idwal buttress as the buttress to the right of Idwal Staircase, but I might be the only one who does that.

I think I know where you mean. Thinking about it, the most 'pant filling' moment I've had on a scramble recently was when my girlfriend nearly fell down the big hole at the top of the initial gully on Bristly Ridge!
llechwedd - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton:
How about the south peak of Skellig Michael off the weat coast of Ireland?

Years ago I snuck off from a boatload of visitors to the 'monastery' and soon found my way to the high point of the island.
It was an easy enough scramble but once at the summit rock, the sense of exposure was terrifying. The land was all beneath and the atlantic stretched away on the horizon for 360 degrees.
With a stiff breeze blowing, it was a challenge to detach myself from the rock and begin the downclimb - not so much a crux move as sheer elemental terror and a feeling of my own personal insignificance, the sense of being connected to the earth had evaporated in that moment.
What I found remarkable about the summit is that it was once one of the most important sites for pilgramage in western Europe. maybe it was more a 'brown habit' move in those days?
Skyfall - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton:

Well, yeh, I was scrambling today on Tryfan and found myself feeling more 'concerned' than on a mountain VS yesterday (which is well within my comfort zone). Well, my head wasn't quite with it today, big boots, v sweaty, but still no excuse really lol ;) We all get humbled from time to time.
sbc_10 - on 08 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton:

"Pant filling moves" tend to be predictable from the route descriptions when you add a bit of liquid weather to the equation.

"Dank, mossy slab provides a delicate, exposed and airy crux to the steeping and loose arete".......mmmmmm??,

let me see, do I really need that extra strength laxative?? No total soilage of nappies achieved.

Isn't Steve Ashton a climber who scrambles, whereas R.B.Evans is a walker who scrambles. I always find the Welsh ones a bit more necky than the Lakes for a comparable grade.
birdie num num - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton:
I went up South Gully, Tryfan about ten years ago having had a quick peep at the guide in my tent at Isaf Farm in the morning. I got over the first step and was confronted with a choice of going to the left or right of South Gully Rib. I couldn't remember what the guide said, so I went to the right, as it looked more inviting. About three committing rock steps later and very high on very steep vegetated ground I pulled up on sods, shitting myself, panting onto the top of South Gully Rib.
Pyreneenemec - on 09 Jul 2013
In reply to llechwedd:

Aren't you the lucky one !

I've been out there on a boat a couple of times, but never been able to land ! A 2 m Atlantic swell soon takes it toll and people start to regret having that big Full Irish breakfast !

Mike Peacock on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to birdie num num:
> (In reply to Jim Walton)
> I went up South Gully, Tryfan about ten years ago having had a quick peep at the guide in my tent at Isaf Farm in the morning. I got over the first step and was confronted with a choice of going to the left or right of South Gully Rib. I couldn't remember what the guide said, so I went to the right, as it looked more inviting. About three committing rock steps later and very high on very steep vegetated ground I pulled up on sods, shitting myself, panting onto the top of South Gully Rib.

I made the same mistake once, but with the guidebook. The description just didn't seem clear, so we took the right fork and went up vegetated horribleness. Luckily we had a rope so retreat was easy. I kept meaning to return and do the left fork, but never did.
In reply to Jim Walton: Feeling a bit weary a pal and I went to do the Pink Rib of Beinn a Chrulaiste one day - a gentle grade 1. We approached from the west with no guidebook and just got on the first bit of rock we saw. Ended up committed far up a steep, decomposing rib. Utter death trap. We felt lucky to get up it and I've rarely felt as exposed on a scramble before. The actual route is well over 1km further east. Not the casual morning I'd had in mind.
Trevers - on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to Milesy:
> (In reply to Jim Walton)
>
> To avoid a queue on castle ridge on The Ben I went off up looking what was an easy bypass and ended up on some horrible ground I couldn't down climb and ended up in a soaking chimney that I couldnt climb in my boots. My mates had to chuck a rope down for me and I had to haul myself up on a with the rope round my waist, but not before a boulder dislodged by the rope came whizzing inches by my head. I've always wore a hat scrambling on the ben since....

Had something very similar starting up the gully on completely the wrong side of Tower Ridge for a summer ascent- a hell of moss, wet scree and rotten rock. We were so psyched out we bailed off after climbing out of the Douglas Gap
crossdressingrodney - on 13 Jul 2013
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

Me and my wife did the pink rib on our honeymoon. I don't think we'd still be married if I'd taken her where you went by the sounds of it.
Milesy - on 13 Jul 2013
In reply to crossdressingrodney:
> (In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com)
>
> Me and my wife did the pink rib on our honeymoon.

Doesnae sound right at all lol.
crossdressingrodney - on 22 Jul 2013
In reply to Milesy:

Ha, if you can't do it on your honeymoon, when can you do it?!
Wesley Orvis - on 22 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton:

Chockstone Ridge on Grey Crag, the top move out of the chimney would be a nasty fall with a fair old drop behind on small holds.
Trangia - on 22 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim Walton

The India-Venster route up Table Mountain. Not technically difficult but exposed and there have been fatalities.

Broad Stand on Scafell Pike is quite technical and exposed for a scramble. I believe there have been fatalities here too.
In reply to Trangia: Broad Stand is a good call. I can't think of many other moves as hard on a 'scramble' and yes it regularly spits people off - and the fall potential is nasty
ads.ukclimbing.com

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.