/ favourite crag descriptions in guidebooks
However enlightened the description of The Breck may seem, one cannot escape the fact that it's a scruffy, graffiti ridden, dump; but the bouldering makes up for this. It's like finding a fiver in a pile of dung; you want it but will you pick it up?
What descriptions have you come across that you have enjoyed?
On a slightly related note, I recall reading one of the old Ben Nevis winter (?) guidebooks in the CIC Hut which, in the introductory sections, went on in all apparent seriousness to give a number of criteria which would help to assess whether a person was dead or not. Anyone able to identify said guide and/or recount the passage?
The description for Henna on the Culm Coast, which is a pile of choss with route names such as Breakaway, starts with
Conveniently located below Morwenstowe cemetery...
I like the description for Blackchurch here on UKC:
"An area [...] featuring some splendid crumbly rubbish and imaginary protection"
> The Breck
> However enlightened the description of The Breck may seem, one cannot escape the fact that it's a scruffy, graffiti ridden, dump; but the bouldering makes up for this. It's like finding a fiver in a pile of dung; you want it but will you pick it up?
> What descriptions have you come across that you have enjoyed?
Having read recently of a person in North Korea picking pieces of grain out of dung, then eating them in order to put off starving to death, I find your fiver reference an interesting comment on the relative state(s) of the world.
Most of the descriptions in the SWMC guidebook basically. I'll dig out some of Roy and Goi's classics later on. They both have a very dry and acerbic wit and as a result there are some classics in there.
From SWMC Gower and South East Wales:
Tidal Staus: Non-tidal (if it is tidal then global warming has really got out of hand).
and from the same source:
Cwmparc Street: Somewhere up over by there is a crag. No-one apart from Chris seems to have the navigation skills to find it. So unknown, but said to be quite good.
> Most of the descriptions in the SWMC guidebook basically.
Yup, not the most user friendly guide (by modern standards), but a constant source of amusement here's another one I just came across:
Penrhiwceiber Quarry: Censored. The place is a rubbish tip, and on the checking visit we found half a dead dog in a plastic bag, with its guts hanging out. Even this valleys culinary delicacy could not persuade us to stay.
This old thread had some good stuff:
> described in this guide might give a mistaken impression to some that
> Tintern is a mecca for mid-grade sport climbing. For the uninitiated it >must be clearly stated that the instability of the rock at Tintern places >this crag at the distinctly 'adventure' end of the sport climbing >spectrum. It is definitely NOT the crag for the inexperienced. In fact >this is not the crag for people of a nervous disposition, the accident >prone, the unlucky, the uninsured, those who are easily disheartened or >any one with loved ones."
People still flock there tho. I was doing my best to put off some visiting climbers at Symonds Yat a couple of weeks ago. They seemed so keen that I even told them the valleys would be better. Actually Tirpentwys, the crag I was directing them too is quite nice really.
Kinkyboots: Falling over at the start of a route is normally taken as a sign of incompetence, inebriation or both. On this climb it is both inevitable and essential. Start (usually with the words "You've got to be joking" on some ledges 30 feet above the base of the narrow zawn.
"My scariest ever climbing moments were on a route called Pathos on Cilan Head. Myself and Rod Haslam had spotted a parallel line running above Jack Streets route Lime Street and decided to give it a go. Now, Lime Street follows a big horizontal line about 15ft above a huge roof which is itself about 40ft above the sea. Our line was about 15ft above that. I started off up what looked like a fairly solid corner and indeed turned to be ok, but no runners. After about 40ft I placed an 'ok' peg and set off to traverse the break. The further I went the worse the rock got. No real handholds and eventually I was just kicking footholds in this strange rock like badly stuck together pineapple chunks. Finally I got to the ledge we had been aiming for completely gripped and emotionally drained. Now things started to turn serious. No belay. Well I got 2 knife blades about three quarters of an inch upwards into a thin crack in the roof above the ledge. Well there was no way I was going back along that traverse so I shouted to Rod that I would just jump off into the sea. You can tell how gripped I was.
Rod would have none of it and insisted he would come up and join me. He got to the peg unclipped it and we now had 40ft of rope out with no runners between us, an imaginary belay, and Rod about to climb the loosest traverse I'd ever done to join me. As he climbed towards me I watched in horror as the rock showered down from under his feet. Rod just coolly complained about the state of the gardening I'd done. When he saw the belay I could tell from his face that until then he hadnt believed how bad it was.I was totally gripped. We were in the middle of this huge unclimbed face about 70ft above the sea, no real belay, no way were either of us going back along the traverse and not knowing if we could climb out of the thing. Plus side was the rock had got better!
I hatched a plan, "Rod, this is what we do, I'll lower you down to Lime Street where we know there are good pegs. You belay and take in the rope, brace yourself and I'll jump off, then prussik up to you and we'll escape up Lime Street."
"Al, you've gone mad."
So plan B, Rod continues along the traverse for about 15ft. Whoops of joy as he finds a crack that takes a Leeper up to the hilt. Above is a long corner leading to a tree. Rod sets of up this, complaining about the lack of pro, so he is slow and careful. I see him finally arrive at the tree and put a sling round it, I'm happy now but Rod is still strangely quiet. He traverses about 15 ft left and finds a good crack in a corner which takes a big Hex belay. Fab.
By now its rapidly going dark so throwing caution to the wind with the big tree runner directly above me I blast up the crack. Its about 35 ft and probably only 4c but with no runners and considering the position it was a bloody good lead. Seeing me nearly fall off a couple of times through the carelessness of speed. Rod implores me to be careful. I arrive at the 'tree', its the biggest sea cabbage plant I've ever seen and might have just about held a squirrel monkey!! I traverse across to Rod. I look happily at Rod's stonking belay and we've only got about 25ft of perfect layback crack to the top and safety. For the first time in several hours I begin to see survival as a real option. I set off up the layback crack happily and its only as I get halfway up do I realise that what was a parallel crack when I set off is now distinctly wider towards the top.Just as I'm about to think hand jamming might be a better option Chris Jackson and Jack Street appear at the top of the crag and suss out that flake I'm climbing up is about to head for a dip. They brace themselves and grab hold of the flake holding onto the crag until I make the top. Anyway its a great route, Pathos HVS 4c 200ft, get out there and do it!"
Actually you can't now, I think the whole wall fell into the sea some years ago.
I seem to remmember a description mentioning porn mags and boy scouts deep in the undergrwoth? Was it the box quarry at Baildon? Or it could have been anywhere in Lancashire.
Anyone with an old Yorks or Lancs grit to hand?
Elsewhere on the site
Perhaps the perfect Xmas gift for the climber in your life... Wild Country's Crack School has two of the worlds best crack... Read more
F ounded in 1993, Mountain Hardwear are a pretty young mountaineering clothing and equipment manufacturer but are also one of... Read more
Tonight's Friday Night Video features the Norwegian town of Rjukan, once believed to be the home of the world's tallest... Read more
The release of Peter Jackson's new film The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies on 12th December may not appear to link to... Read more
Rock shoes stink – let’s face it. Boot Bananas are the perfect way to fight the funk and keep them fresh. They help... Read more