/ UK's most aesthetically beautiful route
I climbed Sinecure at Carreg-y-Barcud again the other day and was struck by how beautiful it was: the setting in its hidden cove, the fantastic colours of the rock, lichens and sea, the sound of the tide sloshing around the rockpools. Also the climbing itself had a kind of poetry to it, it's a flowing sequence of elegant moves the whole way, on rock that has a wonderful texture and holds that seem to want to help you upwards. Quite possibly the most beautiful route I've done.
Here's a photo from the galleries for those poor souls who haven't done the route:
I could have picked loads of other routes, like Diabaig Pillar or something from Reiff or the Lakes, or West Penwith.
What are the most beautiful routes you've climbed?
It has to be this:
> It has to be this:
I was expecting either Horseshoe or Masson Lees.
stiff competition from darkest yorkshire...
> stiff competition from darkest yorkshire...
Brilliant! I used to live within walking distance of Baildon Bank. I went once.
Delectable Traverse ( :-)))) )
> Brilliant! I used to live within walking distance of Baildon Bank. I went once.
got to be something in the north west highlands / hebrides. gneiss is such a beautiful rock. and the settings can't be beaten
Is it really a good thread or just another "what's youre favourite route thread"?
Jon, do you mean a route that climbs beautifully? Or a route that looks beautiful? Is a 'beautiful' climb much different to a 'good' climb?
Cresent Arete looks beautiful, especially on a quiet evening as the sun goes down, but there is a there isn't a move on it as beautiful as the last move on 34,36,23,31 at Minus Ten
Right angle at Zennor,
Aviation at Heytor.
Demo route Sennen
I suspect that Prophecy of Drowning is going to take a bit of beating.
> Is it really a good thread or just another "what's youre favourite route thread"?
> Jon, do you mean a route that climbs beautifully? Or a route that looks beautiful? Is a 'beautiful' climb much different to a 'good' climb?
Well, in the case of Sinecure, there's the visual appeal of the crag and the setting, the experience of the flow of the moves, plus the texture of the rock, sound of the sea, smell of the sea air (and I guess maybe the taste of it if you like licking salty sandstone but I didn't try that). So while it's a good climb, in that it's got good moves and climbs good rock, its aesthetic appeal is much broader than that.
Crescent arete would be on my list
Digitation, although diminutive in stature is positioned in the most beautiful piece of rock in the quarry. It stands isolated and whole compared to its broken neighbours, and despite its legacy of chips.
Mohammed the Mad Monk of Moorside Home for Mental Misfits, a sensuous groove in uncompromising surroundings:
Climbers Club Direct, a soaring monolith that has to be climbed.
Z Crack, a striking lightening shaped hand jamming crack in an otherwise unbroken face.
Is the beauty entirely dependent on the presence of the horse, or does that just add to it?
Was I foolish not to expect a single entry from the Lancashire quarries?
The Orange Bow at Carnmore
It was inevitable. If Mark hadn't done it then I most definitely would. :D
> The Orange Bow at Carnmore
Could give Pabbay a run for its money. Must visit both, plus Mingulay.
Good thread. Amazing picture of Blackchurch Rock someone posted, and also of Sinecure. Orange Bow is a good shout, but for me, Archangel, no question.
Starting to think now that Carnmore must 'win' this, because it is a uniquely unspoilt and remote crag in the UK, in an utterly beautiful setting, with climbs of the highest quality (from what everyone I know who's climbed there says). I say this simply from a photographic trip I did - would love to have climbed on it. Awesomely beautiful place, and as remote as anywhere I've been in the British Isles.
> Amazing picture of Blackchurch Rock someone posted
Blackchurch Rock looks amazing from the side. The actual routes however look quite grotty, trailing off as they do into veg, and the climbing itself is absolutely horrible. My feet and calves coped OK with Kitten Claws at Barcud, but I couldn't handle the agony of Sacre Coeur - there's slabs and then there's totally unreasonable.
> The Orange Bow at Carnmore
"f---- me" I actually said out loud.
> I suspect that Prophecy of Drowning is going to take a bit of beating.
It's not a very 'beautiful' line though is it? Hugely impressive and intimidating, but not beautiful. I think rainbow slab has to win just because of how utterly blank, unusual and monolithic it is.
Great Zawn has terrific rock architecture, colour and dramatic lighting. Here's Dream/Liberator http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=119401
Fay? Lower Sharpnose is one of the most amazing looking places I've climbedin in the UK:
And the rock itself looks pretty cool:
I'd put Cenotaph Corner on the list of contenders; a bit of a hackneyed choice maybe but if you think back to the first time you looked up at it, such a compelling feature.
I agree, most of the most memorably beautiful routes I've done have been on sea cliffs. I remember a particularly spendid day spent at Lower Sharpnose climbing, swimming and just chilling. We did climb the first fifteen feet of what later became Out of the Blue before deciding it was too hot and that we'd come back and do it another day - we never did, of course.
Excalibur on Carn Les Boel is very pretty too. A shallow sandy channel between the foot of the route and an island, with seals swimming really close.
> Was I foolish not to expect a single entry from the Lancashire quarries?
Not quite Leo Dickensons iconic picture, but I thought Mandarin would have a chance
I thought that, but I've not done it (yet!) so held back.
What I can confirm is that it's a stonking line, and that Hoghton has an incredible and unique 'Lost World' atmosphere.
Top of my 'to do' list for next year...
I think the only route that has sucked me in for simple purity of line - before I'd heard of it or knew what grade it was - is The Strand. I guess the starkness of a straight unbroken crack line up the centre of a sheet of white rock isn't everyone's idea of aesthetic but to me, with my climber's head on, it is superb.
along the same lines as Black Church how about flying butress on Lundy or maybe the devils slide.
I agree. The texture and colour of the rock, the location and exposure of the climb all have a big impact on the aesthetics of the climb, and as a result how much I want to climb it. However its these big bold lines and features, often up largely unbroken walls, which call out to me the most. Crack lines like Straight Gates, The strand and Pressure Drop. These are possibly my two favourite looking climbs on here though:
> It's not a very 'beautiful' line though is it? Hugely impressive and intimidating, but not beautiful. I think rainbow slab has to win just because of how utterly blank, unusual and monolithic it is.
It's a pretty savage form of beauty though isn't it? I'd go as far as saying that when you look at the whole place, in all its post-apocalyptic chaos, accompanied by the active industry destroying any sense of peace that the deserted remnants of the past might have had, it's a very impressive shithole.
> The Strand. I guess the starkness of a straight unbroken crack line up the centre of a sheet of white rock isn't everyone's idea of aesthetic but to me.
A scruffy shattered crack line up a gardened path in a lawn of green pubes isn't my idea of aesthetic.
> I think rainbow slab has to win just because of how utterly blank, unusual and monolithic it is.
Yes and Rainbow of Recalcitrance is it's most beuatiful route.
Armorican at Caerfai for me. I just love the setting of Caerfai, the route and the fantastic strata to the right of the route.
So many to choose from.
Has anyone mentioned Botterill's Slab?
Squareface perhaps - though that's just going by photos, and having walked nearby, I've not climbed it yet.
I'm tempted to mention White Edge
but doubt many would agree due to loose rock. But all it needed to be perfect for me would have been a few seals in the sea below.
And of course there's this one:
> A scruffy shattered crack line up a gardened path in a lawn of green pubes isn't my idea of aesthetic.
Haha. I think the pubic lawn is a bit of a problem with Gogarth (from an aesthetic point of view that is), particularly Upper Tier. Every time I go, I always think, "what, there's decent climbing on here?".
Each to their own. When I first noticed the Strand(walking down to the main face) I thought the crack was totally compelling and the fact that there is a clean swathe either side just serves to draw attention even more.
I was trying to remember a particularly inspiring photo I'd seen on here...
Eshaness Lighthouse crag:
Surely Dalriada!! Ever since i saw it i've wanted to do it. Such a line.
Jesus! Yeah I change my vote, that is unbelievable!
> I think the only route that has sucked me in for simple purity of line - before I'd heard of it or knew what grade it was - is The Strand.
I'm with you. We don't really do splitter cracks and slate has most of what we do have. I used to be really inspired by Stiff Little Fingers at Hodge Close. I think it was probably my first E3 lead (back when it was still thin finger locks) and I did the not being able to sleep and getting up to do it before breakfast thing.
Can't find a decent photo of it in its original glory, sadly.
Is it the white for hands/black for feet that makes it so beautiful? Or the texture of the polish? Or the wonderful interplay of steel and resin with the landscape?
I didn't expect you to be the first person to suggest an arbitrary patch of battered limestone by the side of the road...
No one mentioned the Fhidleir Nose yet?
if I'd known SS looked like that I'd never had led it (one small nut IIRC)!!
Rotate it 90 degrees anti-clockwise and it looks quite normal.
> South Ridge Direct, Cir Mhor, Isle of Arran
> South Ridge Direct, Cir Mhor, Isle of Arran
Hard to argue with that.
> Hard to argue with that.
It is very beautiful. It's the only route I've done on the island, indeed the only route I've heard of. As somewhere so accessible it seems rather an overlooked destination - there must be some other great climbing on that lovely granite?
I went before I had a car - a great public transport destination as a car doesn't get you any closer to the crag!
Even without a car on the ferry the walk in to Cir Mhor is pretty gentle and certainly not unduly arduous by mountain crag standards.
Can we include mountaineering routes? If so, then Pinnacle Ridge on Sgurr Nan Gillean is surely one of the most beautiful routes anywhere.
The Great Prow, Blabheinn
Some of the routes at Rubha Hunish on Skye?
> Can we include mountaineering routes? If so, then Pinnacle Ridge on Sgurr Nan Gillean is surely one of the most beautiful routes anywhere.
> The Great Prow, Blabheinn
The Great Prow is hardly beautiful, but mega-impressive. Pinnacle Ridge is a v good call, though. I'd certainly rate it aesthetically as a little bit better than South Ridge on Arran. The latter is a very fine long climb, on superb rock, and the mountain is pretty good, but the wild glen is not particularly special. (There are also better routes on Cir Mhor).
I would still think that routes on Carnmore or Stac Polly are even stronger contenders, for sheer beauty of line, quality of rock and climbing, and the beautiful settings.
Perhaps the best line I've seen in the UK is the Nose on Sgurr an Fhidleir.
Helluva Slab on Hella Point, West Penwith.
Did this a couple of times, 10 years ago or so. An interesting approach scramble, lovely setting, a start right down by the sea and a good line on great rock.
I think we have an out and out winner with that one.
> Perhaps the best line I've seen in the UK is the Nose on Sgurr an Fhidleir.
Yes, it's a great feature and excellent mountaineering day out but the climbing doesn't quite match the setting (though still well worth it!)
There's an excellent bus service. We usually camp at Lochranza, which has a bus stop outside the campsite.
> The Orange Bow at Carnmore
That looks totally awesome. Especially considering it's shot in "quite a nice day, but nothing special" light, rather than the golden hour in perfect conditions.
> That looks totally awesome. Especially considering it's shot in "quite a nice day, but nothing special" light, rather than the golden hour in perfect conditions.
It's from the website about Guy Robertson's forthcoming bumper book of Scottish mountain crags:
Having seen Orange Bow in the flesh, so to speak, it's got to be up there. Some spoilsport once told me the climbing isn't as good as the line, but hey.
Everything you say will be taken absolutely literally and used against you accordingly. That's why it's so much fun.
> Some spoilsport once told me the climbing isn't as good as the line, but hey.
I don't know but I'd love to find out!
A couple of shouts for North Devon/North Cornwall
Blistering Barnacle Slab, several routes inc:
and Tydomin at Compass Point, just for the rock formations
This is an interesting thread as it throws up the question of "what is an aesthetically beautiful route?". Some of the photos listed on the thread so far are spectacular, but I would argue that it is either the photo (composition, light etc.) or the crag which is beautiful, not the route per se. For example, Lower Sharpnose is a spectacular and very photogenic venue, but none of the routes particularly stand out for me as being beautiful.
Furthermore, I suspect that many people are (understandably) mixing up their experiencing of climbing a route with their judgement of its 'beauty'. The OP is a case in point - I've climbed Sinecure several times, and never thought it any more special than a pleasant, short E1 by the sea. And to the people who suggested The Strand and Amorican... well, beauty is obviously in the Eye of the Beholder!
FWIW my votes in the thread so far go to Satan's Slip and Prophecy of Drowning, both of which have been on my to-do list forever... must get motivated again...
Sea of Holes at Hueco.
We bouldered underneath for a while, but were drawn to climbing it. One of the more memorable lines I've climbed.
Kipling Groove is arguably more beautiful, because it ends up right on the front of the buttress. Agree completely with the beauty of it in the evening light. That final turret is an immaculate piece of well-positioned rock.
> This is an interesting thread as it throws up the question of "what is an aesthetically beautiful route?".
Indeed it does. I think people have interpreted it in many different ways, as you'd expect with an ambiguous and subjective notion like this.
I'd say in terms of beauty, it's not really possible to separate the route from the crag. I don't reckon you could have an aesthetically beautiful route on an ugly crag (but some people above clearly disagree!). On the other hand you could have an ugly route on a very beautiful crag (any grimey chimney will do).
Then I reckon your missing its outstanding beauty! I'd say that to pick a route because say, it was your first E1 (it wasn't) or because you met the love of your life that day (I'd met James Oswald before) would be mixing up your personal experience as you say; but what I describe about Sinecure is the beauty of the route and its setting.
The question might be what is included in 'the route'. You could I guess ignore the crag and the setting and talk only about the actual holds you climb (or how you climb them as in Mark20's piss-take response about a move on Minus 10) but I think that would be missing the point (deliberately or otherwise). Or, just thinking about the aesthetic qualities of the actual piece of rock that the route climbs, like perhaps the Rainbow Slab is another way to look at it.
For me, the beauty of the route is really the whole experience of climbing it, my response to the place, the surroundings, the rock, the moves. Where all of these things are particularly pleasing to me, I'd say that the route was particularly beautiful. But that's only my interpretation, others may not give a monkeys about the setting, or on the hand, about the actual climbing.
Agreed to a point, Just don't look behind you, derelict Denny's yard piers, unsightly Sandpoint 'Marina' derelict Ballantine's Distillery, and the dump that is Dumbarton Town Centre beyond.
(Did I forget, the beer cans , broken bottles, old fires, and recently the travellers caravans.)
When were you last there?
Amazing actually that several months since the clean up and it is still clean. The whole thing seems to have worked.
Penny at Hollyhead
She still haunts my memories, and I'll be back one day to claim her for myself.
Or possibly High Noon at Caley
> Did I forget, the beer cans , broken bottles, old fires, and recently the travellers caravans.
> When were you last there?
> Amazing actually that several months since the clean up and it is still clean. The whole thing seems to have worked.
I would have to check my camera for an exact date, but a few weeks/ month perhaps.
I photographed the travellers dumping the garden clearance debris in the river, ( I mean do people really think they will pay at the council dump to dispose of it properly)
and they were also lighting fires to burn rubbish ( or perhaps the sheathing from wire for scrap going by the smoke) They usually empty a sump of oil before they go too.
Until they clear away the trees between the football ground and the castle, the neds will continue to use it for an out of sight location for drink and drugs( and graffiti )
It may be better than it has been, but there were cans , rubbish and fires under the boulders when I was there. If it is not there now, my guess is someone is trying to keep it clean, ( good on them) It is a bit like I do when I go on the hills, I bring rubbish back with me, knowing fine that it will probably be back the next time I go.
No one fancies moonraker at berryhead?!
And I haven't climbed it but mousetrap at gogarth looks amazing
Both great climbs, but the problem with both of those from an aesthetic viewpoint is the actual climb isn't that easy to distinguish from most viewing angles.
But then I voted for the Strand so what do I know about aesthetics of climbs :-)
> I would have to check my camera for an exact date, but a few weeks/ month perhaps.
> I photographed the travellers dumping the garden clearance debris in the river, ( I mean do people really think they will pay at the council dump to dispose of it properly)
> and they were also lighting fires to burn rubbish ( or perhaps the sheathing from wire for scrap going by the smoke) They usually empty a sump of oil before they go too.
Thankfully the travelers scooted pretty soon after the stadium put the gate in.
> Thankfully the travelers scooted pretty soon after the stadium put the gate .
I just had a look, Kevin, two huge concrete blocks ( and the gate) should keep most vehicles out that are not wanted.
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