So, yesterday I had the misfortune of seconding Inverted V at Stanage Popular. For those of you who don't know the climb, it is a VS 4b and is a 'top 50' climb in the Eastern Grit rockfax.
At no point on the climb did I ever feel as if I was actually enjoying the climb. It was polished, sweaty and glass-like. Neither myself nor my climbing partner have ever seen grit that shiny. Now, I know it was a sunny day yesterday, so the grit was not in its best condition, but COME ON! It put the polish on Flying Buttress to shame.
To rub salt into the wound, there was an utterly stupid in-situ thread around one of the chockstones in the large crack at the top. WHY?!
I am suggesting that pretty much any other climb at Stanage would be more worthy of the Top 50 status than Inverted V. I mean, even Gunter at High Neb which has no stars to its name was at least three times more enjoyable.
In reply to knighty:
Sorry you felt this way, I personally find IV a pleasure, its safe for those pushing into VS and requires commitment in the first section with an airy second part and requires good ropework to avoid jams. Shame about the thread, was it in the side of the cap stone? normally a chock there you sling on the lead. It is best enjoyed as a leader and requires a bit of style or you'll just add to the polish. don't forget this route was first done in the 20s
If you'd been climbing more than five minutes you'd know that any climb of strong character will have lots of people who love it and a few who hate it. If you don't like this kind of route, use your eyes when you're standing underneath it and choose a different route. It's not Chris Craggs' job to tell you what to climb.
It got polished because people have been climbing it and enjoying it since the 1920's. It must have something to offer.
With you on the thread, though. Trust you took the trouble to remove it so it wouldn't spoil the pleasure for others?
I've been climbing for at least 10 minutes :P Does that mean that my opinion is any less valid? (that's a rhetorical question by the way) I've climbed enough climbs at enough crags around the UK to know what I like. It looked quite inviting from the floor!!
I don't know about you, but when I climb, I have a 'leader chooses' policy. If they fancy going up a climb then we do it!
While it's not CC's job to tell me what to climb, I would argue that that is exactly what he has tried to do with the Top 50 list. Out of all 2930 climbs in Eastern Grit, I'd expect the Top 50 to be pretty damn special, wouldn't you?
As for the in-situ thread, I took the ethical choice to not remove it. I've only been climbing for 10 minutes you see. I don't have enough experience to determine whether it would be useful.
In reply to knighty:
Shame you didn't get to lead it. It might have seemed different on the sharp end. A top 50 is always going to be a personal choice. I happened to like the climb, probably not one of THE best routes I have ever done but interesting and pleasent.
In reply to knighty: ok....so you didn't like it for two reasons. 1. It was polished 2. someone's left a thread on it. Well it's polished because lots of people climb it and the thread is no reason to dislike a climb. Stop dripping and put another ten years in before you make your top fifty and then you can tell us all about it.
Apologies for the phone typed prose. ;)
I liked it on lead. The previous week someone had chastised me for not swearing once on Obscenity at Burbage North. I more than compensated for this on IV as my helmeted head clattered along the ceiling bit
In reply to Duncan Bourne:
I did the lead, but I didn't think much to it either.
Admittedly, it's definitely a striking line from the ground, you might even say 'inviting', if you like that sort of thing. Personally, I didn't think the climbing was very 'good', but it's all very subjective isn't it?
The conditions weren't exactly great; a sweaty day on polish resulted in glassy rock that would put the poffed holds at Font to shame. Plus the chockstones invite rope jam, plus the top out was into a midge infested pool...
Not sure what the in-situ thread was all about, can't have been comfortable to place and seemed completely superfluous, but I didn't have a knife to hand...
Anyway, each to their own! I'll be leaving that one to re-weather itself so that future generations can enjoy it. How long does de-polish take?
You're not alone in thinking IV is overrated, I'm not a fan either. Just my opinion, but I don't think it's in the same league as Hargreaves Original and Mississippi Buttress Direct (the other Stanage Pop VS's in that top 50 list).
It's in Bill Birkett's Classic Rock Climbs of Great Britain and there's a great picture of Catherine Destivelle on it. I had always wanted to do it and was massively disappointed by the route when the chance came some 15 or more years ago - green, polished, rubbish moves. Never again. I couldn't understand why it was in Bill's book when all the others I have climbed from it (apart from The Pinnacle Face on Aonach Dubh) were great and classic climbs.
I think the climb is unbalanced (HVD above the jamming crux), overgraded (should be tough HS with modern gear) and only just 3 stars (helped very much by the compelling line and the history). Hot days on Stanage do not flatter such polished routes, so go back and solo it on a crisp autumn day and it will guarentee to reveal its pleasures. Also as Gordon said the left exit detracts from the line but makes the climbing more even. Gunter is nice enough but hardly compares (unless you really hate polish). It wouldnt be in my top 200 best climbs of the eastern edges but UKC voters (how the list was formed) can be a bit lemming-like.
> (In reply to knighty)
> ... UKC voters (how the list was formed) can be a bit lemming-like.
In fairness that's just an anchoring effect. It's a psychological bias we're all susceptible to, UKC voter or not. You'd have to do a vote where no one could see anyone else's votes to get a true top 50. Now there's an interesting experiment for someone...
In reply to planetmarshall: It's more than bias, as in addition to this there are so many 3 star routes across the grades and so many of the voters are punters: how on earth do you tell which routes are the best. Chris is either using some horribly complicated formula or more likely putting his finger in the wind.
Does anyone here really think Inverted V is a top 50 route on the Eastern Edges?
Inverted V goes 'under' a roof Ellis Ellimnate 'overwhelms' one... I like it ;-) I find Ellis Elliminate more fun (especially as when I first led it when my partner, a Mr Ellis, backed off) but its just as unbalanced in difficulty so I'd say similar in quality.
> If people find Inverted V underwhelming, why don't they just go round to the left and do the wonderful Ellis's Eliminate (VS, 4c)? Perhaps they do.
If they haven't done it, folk who enjoy Ellis's Eliminate could do a lot worse than to go and get on Saul's Arete. (The 'indirect' approach to the easier top half of Archangel.) Similar in many ways, but bigger somehow.
I've lead it 3 times and am still not convinced i like it as much as several 2 star VS on stanage but these things are always subjective to taste and as pointed out above conditions. When you climb it in your climbing career may also affect your enjoyment, as if it is your first VS it is propbably more likely to feel special. Being on the sharp end also helps
I've done 90.4% of the top 500 and 88.2% of the top 50 on eastern grit so have a wide experience and sereral of the routes wouldn't make my personal top 50, (The Mall, Flying Buttress, Long Tall Sally, The Brush Off) Remember these lists and even the star rating if decided by voting can be massivly squed by popular route at popular crags close to the grade boundery siply geting more votes due to being climbed more often e.g Long Tall Sally, routes such as Eye of Faith (wich is also better than Moyer's Buttress which makes the list on the same crag) or Dark Continent which only gets 2 stars, Embankment 4... etc I persnonally fiound much beter. Many people will not have climbed weidly enough in the area to truly give an accurate vote on grading or quality.
Having said that it is a pretty good list in general
> (In reply to knighty)
> You're not alone in thinking IV is overrated, I'm not a fan either. Just my opinion, but I don't think it's in the same league as Hargreaves Original and Mississippi Buttress Direct (the other Stanage Pop VS's in that top 50 list).
Perhaps your right, Goliaths Groove is much better I think
> (In reply to knighty)
> Oh, stop moaning.
> If you'd been climbing more than five minutes you'd know that any climb of strong character will have lots of people who love it and a few who hate it. If you don't like this kind of route, use your eyes when you're standing underneath it and choose a different route. It's not Chris Craggs' job to tell you what to climb.
> It got polished because people have been climbing it and enjoying it since the 1920's. It must have something to offer.
> With you on the thread, though. Trust you took the trouble to remove it so it wouldn't spoil the pleasure for others?
> (In reply to johncoxmysteriously)
> I've been climbing for at least 10 minutes :P Does that mean that my opinion is any less valid? (that's a rhetorical question by the way) I've climbed enough climbs at enough crags around the UK to know what I like. It looked quite inviting from the floor!!
> I don't know about you, but when I climb, I have a 'leader chooses' policy. If they fancy going up a climb then we do it!
> While it's not CC's job to tell me what to climb, I would argue that that is exactly what he has tried to do with the Top 50 list. Out of all 2930 climbs in Eastern Grit, I'd expect the Top 50 to be pretty damn special, wouldn't you?
> As for the in-situ thread, I took the ethical choice to not remove it. I've only been climbing for 10 minutes you see. I don't have enough experience to determine whether it would be useful.
... at least you've got one thing correct; you're right in you assertion, it's not the CC's job to tell you what to climb, particularly in the Peak District...!!!
I am glad that IV seems to polarise people's opinions and that I wasn't alone in my feelings.
Ultimately, I suppose it was inevitable that opinion is split about a climb because that is human nature. Perhaps a more interesting topic would be are there any climbs out there that absolutely everyone enjoys climbing? Does such a climb exist?
In reply to Graeme Hammond:
Ellis elliminate is a great route, both leader and second get the fear on it. The Destiville picture refered to is on the left hand finish of IV that Gordon refers to. I've not done this finish but always had it in my mind to after seeing it in Birketts book. IV with left hand finish next time at Stanage for me then
Yes, 'Hard Severe' in the late 60s, when I started climbing. I never did it then, mind you, because it was obvious even then that it was dangerously undergraded, as it had NO protection. A real death route .. and I believe several people had already lost their lives trying it.
Gordon, I didn't know that people had died on it. I remember going to Stanage in 1975 with a Uni group. There was one guy in particular who was fiercely ambitious - and not in a very nice way. Clearly he had me in his sights as his next 'victim' - which didn't happen.
That day he kept trying the Whillans start, flying off and getting ever more angry and frazzled. So I did it to burn him off. (Caveat: I was still young and startlingly immature then. The following year, after burning off Stevie Haston, he was so gutted and I felt so awful, I've (almost)never done it since.)
Anyway I thought I'd just saunter up 'this Severe' (Hargreaves) to finish. After about 10 minutes of increasingly cautious climbing, I pensively pulled over the top. Hmm... The hecklers below just couldn't understand why I'd taken so long.
Over the years, I saw so many people, in extremis, shove in big rattly hexes that would never have held and then, emboldened by their supposed pro, go for it. At least, with big cams, those days should be over.
In reply to Mick Ward: Inverted V wasn't unreasonale as a solo for me when I was going well. Never had the nerve to solo Hargreaves. It was last graded severe in the reprint of the 51 guide, HS in 64 and has been VS since 76. Were you using old guidebooks? I'm guessing it got polished as although the early climbers were surprisigly good balance climbers in plimsols the relative grades seemed to make sense to me in the context of the time (more so than easier routes from their grades in the 70s)
I'm not sure we were using any guidebooks! We just came down from Yorkshire with very little sense...
Your point about many early climbers, supreme at balance and steadiness, is a good one. To climb Inverted V or Hargreaves or Franklands Green Crack or a host of other VS routes without the option of slamming cams (or anything else) in, you really had to have your act together. The first guidebook VS I ever led involved a totally committing layaway with no protection at all, above a 50' or so groundfall. (Yes, very little sense!)
So often VSs are the great lines of the crag. These days, they're accessible to many. Usually the gear's good; they can be enjoyed in relative safety. So I find it a little sad that some people aren't more grateful.
I would agree with the above post, it's about style. I have done IV many times, easily, when climbing well. I've also thrutched up flailing when my confidence is down. I always thought that on IV you have to think outside the crack.
> Ultimately, I suppose it was inevitable that opinion is split about a climb because that is human nature. Perhaps a more interesting topic would be are there any climbs out there that absolutely everyone enjoys climbing? Does such a climb exist?
I bet either of those other top-50 Stanage VS's (Hargreaves Original and Mississippi Buttress Direct) would polarise opinion a good deal less than Inverted V. Anyone want to argue that they're overrated? ;o)
In reply to the thread:
Bill Birkett in his 1986 "Classic Climbs of Great Britain" says of Inverted V "I chose Inverted V and Right Hand Buttress because they were amongst my first leads on grit and both represent good solid value at their respective grades".
in the picture topo Inverted V moves out left along the break.
Catherine Destivelle mearly says "the grit it is so beautiful"
A slight one it wouldnt be in my top 50 for EG but not far behind. Hargreaves is holding up better but cam pacements in the breaks are starting to wear through the surface on this and a lot of popular grit classics.
In reply to knighty: I am entertained by this mind set of If someone struggles up a route smoothly the route is shit!.
As for shiny rock at stanage unless we deny access for a decade and allow the lichen to return and weather the rock, its never going to improve, so the other option is to get better at climbing on softer rocks.
As for Flying buttress, theres no polish that effects the route. Its all jugs/jams and huge foot holds. It could be north facing limestone and still be just as climbable.
> As for Flying buttress, theres no polish that effects the route. Its all jugs/jams and huge foot holds. It could be north facing limestone and still be just as climbable.
When I was did FB 8 weeks ago the crucial move onto the main slab offered the most polished foothold I think I've ever encountered on grit (except maybe Josephine Superdirect at Ilkley, whihc is glass at the bottom)
Yes, the term 'tiger' was used by old school climbers like Showell Styles, and by the magazines e.g Climber and Rambler and Mountain Craft. I think it died out in about 1965-67. 'Hard man' then following for a while.
In reply to many posters;
I was lucky enough to do this route & Goliaths Groove in the 1970s when they were both VS and still gritty! For me both were highlights of my early gritstone climbing - we never thought that the magic rock would polish. Perhaps if the planners get their way and we are banished from Mecca the rock will return to its rough form through years of acid rain.