/ Scottish Rock Volume 2 North - reprint
This is due a reprint shortly. Would welcome any feedback - grades, stars, corrections & amendments etc. Just a reprint, so not able to change the layout.
Also, can anyone offer better descriptions for Direct Nose Route on Sgurr an Fhidleir, & Atropos on Sron na Ciche?
Separately, surprised the book needs a re-print so soon? Is that the normal a few years after first publishing?
I don't have it with me but I am pretty sure the text for Loch Tollaidh crags describes them on the wrong side of the road - North/South right/left or something like that.
Great book btw!
Yes, the Loch Tollaidh crags says that they are north of the road, and they are in fact to the south. Not a big deal since they are visible from the road, but maybe worth sorting?
I'd also like to say that your walk in times are... Optimistic I think is the polite way to put it. Most bigger walk ins seem to take much longer than you mention in the book, and I'm not exactly a slow walker. It feels like a lot of them were timed not on the uphill slog to the crag but on the quick and easy downhill walk home...
The Quickening says E5 no chance - easy E4
http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=129228 described as sustained but its more of a sting in the tail.
http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=60773 The silkie on Dun Mingulay I thought to be E4 the way I went. Certainly a grade harder than the other E3's.
Can't think of anything else just now.
Ha! I was puzzled by that back in June after parking up to have a look at the crag :)
I dont have the book with me so excuse me if these are wnot in the guide..
Seanna Mheallain West:
Mechanical Sheep should get *** and Age of Confusion **
I thought Nasal Abuse E2 **
Archangel, is one of the best routes on Bedrock Butrress despite being easy, and is certainly worth **
I know your E3, Sky blue and black, isnt in the guide but i did it recently and thought only worth * as it links two establised routes and finishes up loose rock.
Gary, Great book and one I've used quite a bit the last couple of years. Of the routes I've done, you might want to look at the grading of The Nook at Sheigra:- http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=117102
Would also agree that some of the walk-in times are a bit optimistic - though not totally wildly out.
P57 - Photo is Wide Eyed not Edge Of Beyond
P64 - Routes left of Gorbachev are filthy and unclimbable
P76 - P1 of Whispering Crack is 5a
P70 - Holds at top of Have A Nice Day are loose, thread is detached
P71 - Gammy's Purse should be described going direct, still at E2 5c
P74 - Man From Ankle and Golden Shower are the wrong way around
P82 - Descriptions are in a strange order and fairly unclear
P119 - Red Wall is sheer not overhanging. Porpoise Pun is bold not sustained. PP line should finish direct
P121 - Afterglow line is wrong at top compared to SMC guide, description should read "stepping right into Brimstone"
P122 - Bogie finishes direct through the roof (very obvious), has a good abseil point, and is at least **
P123 - Condome and Instant Muscle lines are not in right place. Rough Justice goes a bit further right in the middle and left at the top and is at least **
P124 - Walk-ins should be 10 mins longer as the terrain is horrible
P137 - Bold As Brass direct has no change in grade. Flaming June starts further right rather than traversing from BO
P138 - No Beef is E2 and the moves are not bold due to good wires
P140 - Lily Of The West should be slightly further right on topo
P146 - Loch Tollaidh is on South side of road and all walk-ins should be 5 mins LESS
P147 - Topo line for Semi-Automatic and Macdonald should start directly from 6 as per text
P152 - Lines from 8-10 on topo are all wrong. Peek Practice is E4 6a, takes the topo line of 10, and doesn't move right to an alcove
P181 - Hate Mail is E2 6a as per SMC guide
P184 - Topo line for 9 should start slightly left, topo line for 10 should zig left at start and right in middle before the traverse left on blocks
P192 - Variation start to Call Of The Wild makes no difference to grade
P194 - Freakshow has no difficult moves at mid-height, the flake is pumpy not easy, and the finish is powerful laybacking not good holds
P195 - Numbers for 5a are wrong
P202 - Finish for Gaffer's Wall is not strenuous/sustained
P207 - Extra road past Inverpolly should be shown on map. Scotpackers has closed down. Forest Way 10 miles south of Ullapool is useful
P214 - Topo lines for 5 and 6 should be a bit further left and parallel
P217 - Topo line for 8 should be further left at roof
P235 - 18 - 20 should have bouldering grades (V5, V4, V4?)
P237 - 6 and 7 should have bouldering grades (V6, V6) and 7 is *** as a boulder problem
P249 - Split Personality should be E4 and poorly protected at crux not well protected
P254 - Topo lines of your own routes are spectacularly wrong
P256 - HVS 5a left of 3 should be shown further right. Right slanting fault is a new route at E3-ish. Golden Fleece is a left slanting crackline
P257 - Otto should be E8 6c, only adequately protected by small cams, at first ascent should be credited to whomever did it placing gear on lead (Dave Macleod?)
P258 - Slow Quick Slow description reprints part of Otto description. Braveheart weaves a bit more on topo, Freedom follows the holds slightly left on topo and is E3 5c.
P286 - 5 should read finish up the final corner as for 6 (not 9)
P293 - The Black Edge description of pockets and good vertical slot does not fit rock features
P317 - Mid Clyth is missing and would be a very easy 2 page spread a la Mungasdale
P319 - Occam's Razor crux is gaining jug not standing on it, top-out is exposed but easy
P460 - South Face route is on rubbish rock, features on P3 & 4 are described in the wrong order and neglect a crux crack
P467 - Bleed It Dry is a bold E4
P470 - Thing Of Dreams is a hard E4 6a (and a bad route to have as a sandbag) and Dark Island is E3 6a ***
More grade feedback here: http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=553977&v=1 - bascially Stiff and Soft are the ones that should be changed where mentioned.
P.S. Despite the inaccuracies (and omission of Mid Clyth), I still find the guide useful and visually inspiring and mine is getting pretty tattered now!
Re. Direct Nose Route on Sgurr an Fhidhleir, I think part of the problem is that for the first six pitches or so, it doesn't matter too much where you go - there are loads of options and no way is obviously that much better.
I don't know if it's anathema in a guidebook just to say 'climb any old dirt for 150m to access the good bit, which starts here...' ;)
I have lots of annotations in my book, if I manage to get it and the internet in the same place I can hopefully contribute some more.
> Re. Direct Nose Route on Sgurr an Fhidhleir, I think part of the problem is that for the first six pitches or so, it doesn't matter too much where you go - there are loads of options and no way is obviously that much better.
> I don't know if it's anathema in a guidebook just to say 'climb any old dirt for 150m to access the good bit, which starts here...' ;)
Gary, I don't have my copy of the book handy. Repeats of All the Small Things at Neist seem to think E5 6a ** (rather than 6b ***). Easy for the grade at that.
Although, it might not even be in your book - I can't remember!
Fiend waits all year for a post like this.
I thought it was fine, done many routes in the Cuillin that were a lot worse.
Gary, I would ditch 'left of the original crack start'. Nobody will know where that is.
Piety is in the wrong place on the topo.
> P57 - Photo is Wide Eyed not Edge Of Beyond
Edge of Beyond is there- but no climber on it!
I think some routes left and right of Gorby should loose a star or two.
The Green Vote is a deep crack and was OK a couple of years back.
Don't think East Chimney Crack is bad either.
A few personal grade opinions:
Seanna Meallan West - Skate is VS/HVS 5a, not 4b!
Aztec Tower - Human Sacrifice is VS 4c
Conductor Cove, Neist - Gannet Crack VS 5a, Lucky Strike VS 4c as per SMC guide.
Baywatch at Neist probably HS 4b
Commando Crack in Coire a Ghrunnda defo HS 4b
Jetty Buttress - Anthrax Flake worth VS 5a for polished start.
Reiff, Seal Song Area - Moody Blues is VS 4c and worth 2 stars.
Sheigra - Tall Pall seems very overgraded at HS 4b. Best low-grade route I've done on a sea-cliff but only VDiff technically?
Minor quibbles in a great guide, all power to your continued efforts.
Sgurr an Fhidleir - we found your description to be mostly accurate, unlike the SMC selected guide which misses out the crux pitch! I noted at the time that the final 3 pitches had the wrong lengths, I think they're shorter than the ones in Scottish Rock North, but I don't remember the exact lengths. I guess it's traditional to spend some time pondering exactly what a Hansom Cab might look like...
Jack the Ripper, Stac Pollaidh: pitch 2 you traverse LEFT at the start of the pitch, not right as it says in the book!
I thought it closer to Severe!
I reckoned Severe as per the SMC guide was about right.
- We did 4 pitches to reach the cave at the top of guidebook pitch 2 (2 pitches to reach the 'grassy groove').
- Instead of going up then along grass on your pitches 4 and 5, better to just go straight up the slab to the Hansom Cab stance (only about 4a and can be combined with your pitch 3 to give a reasonable length pitch - 45m?)
- Immediately above the Hansom Cab stance is your pitch 7 - so not sure where the 40m 5b pitch 6 comes in?! Pitch 7 pitch probably about 4a.
- Above your pitch 7 we needed only one pitch to reach the ledge below the final corner. One 5a move by the peg runner just below the ledge gave the only real technical difficulty on the route.
VS 5a overall I'd say.
> Sgurr an Fhidleir - we found your description to be mostly accurate, unlike the SMC selected guide which misses out the crux pitch!
I honestly didn't come across that 5b pitch; i.e. when I was there there was no pitch to speak of. Went seamlessly from Hansom Cab into his pitch 7.
> Jack the Ripper, Stac Pollaidh: pitch 2 you traverse LEFT at the start of the pitch, not right as it says in the book!
Sure about that? You have to traverse right from November Groove to get on the line (start of pitch 2).
It's more up and slightly right to gain the rib. If you go hard right (as we did!), you get on to dome quite nasty steep ground.
General overhaul of the Neist Point section, it's hard (almost impossible) to follow, poorly described and down right dangerous in places. This was the first and last time i'll be using your guidebook, I found it very hard to use and got the impression that it was poorly researched and the routes seems very likely to have not been checked for the guide. I'm aware of how hard it is to write guidebooks, I've been involved with a few myself but I found this to be particularly poor (there is no excuse for dangerous descriptions: I don't remember the route, but one of them says 'Camalot 4 may be useful' In reality two are NEEDED to make it safe. Mistakes like this are unacceptable).
Hope that helps, I'll be sticking to SMC guides.
Quite a few things wrong with the Am Buachaille description
1.25 hours is a very optimistic time for the walk-in, more like 2 hours to get to the platform opposite the stack.
The flourishing fulmar colony is on the north face - only one or two birds on the climbs.
The sea-washed platform is about 50 m wide, and is clear for at least 2 hours either side of low water.
The swim is about 10m, and it is easiest at its right (NE).
The line on the topo is not consistent with the description. The way to climb pitch 2 at 4c is to move into the crack to the right of the line on the topo, which I think is what the description implies. The topo shows the route going up the deep overhanging crack on pitch 3. This is a more logical finish (well protected 4c) but not what is described.
Where's your sense of adventure? Lucky to get even a hint of gear beta!
Isn't this just a case of reading between the lines though, whenever there's even mention of wideness I know I make sure I'm tooled up for the job? Plus there's always some bugger who'll cruise the wide crack you've just plugged half a dozen large cams in - and having not placed any, suggest a downgrade from E2- YDS 5.7 or whatever.
Far from being an unacceptable mistake, I'm not certain guidebooks should be in the business of dictating specific gear in the first place.
If it looks hard, it probably is! You've got to make your own choices.
'Dangerous description' is surely stretching it for that example?
Gary - should have said, great book, very inspiring. Nice one.
Many thanks for your comments. Sounds like could do with dropping both Atropos & Feelin' Groovy. Someone got in touch with me earlier this year, informing me of an epic they had on Atropos, so knew there was either something wrong with the description, or the route wasn't up to much. Now then, what can I replace them with...
Thanks again, Gary
Thanks for these.
Thanks for these. I was aware of the error with the 2nd pitch of Jack the Ripper. First time I did this route, had run first 2 pitches together - supposed to be 75m, but still had some rope left on 50s!
Think you're comments are way off the mark. From your logbook, looks like you've climbed 6 single pitches there. I can assure you I spent a lot of time climbing lots of routes there, and have climbed extensively on all the crags I ended up including. You're forgetting that my guide appeared 2 or 3 years before the current definitive SMC Skye Sea Cliffs & Outcrops volume.
If you really seriously think my mention of "Camalot 4 may be useful" amounts to "dangerous descriptions", then I think climbing is the wrong sport for you. Have you ever considered tiddlywinks, or golf as a more appropriate pastime?!
I climbed the route in question (not at home just now, so don't have the guide to hand), without any large cams, and thought it would be helpful to incorporate the above suggestion within the description. What's to stop you from pushing the cam up in front of you? Maybe you should get yourself out to the States, and perhaps you would have a different opinion on the quality of climbing guidebooks in this country and in many European destinations! The majority of routes at Neist are relatively short 25-30m pitches, and generally approached by abseil, so there shouldn't really be any excuse for not having some sort of idea of the protection required.
On the contrary, I think your comments are just complete bollocks. Maybe you just need to get out a bit more?
Best wishes, Gary
Thanks for these. Was aware that the Spaced out rockers cliff topo was inaccurate.
Heard lots comments about Quickening, and I do agree that E4 for the way most folk go. If stay high, pulling round arete from wee corner near top, then guess still worth E5. I've followed a few folk up it in recent years, and straightforward E4 by the most obvious line that most people follow.
Will amend description of Big Foot accordingly.
Thought Silkie was OK at E3, anyone else any thoughts on this?
Thanks for these, keep them coming.
Thanks for these. Not at home, so don't have book to hand, but will change these accordingly if need be.
Aye, new routing is funny, but thought that was pretty good route at the time - must have had my 'blinkers' on!
Haha brilliant reply, especially 'best wishes', given the preceding sentiments.
Thanks for these, will make the necessary changes. Remember doing this on pretty rough day with a running sea, & we just got back before the maelstrom.
Me neither (have a copy at hand), but book came out before your route was climbed I think. Wasn't included anyway, but will try & slot in if space permits, or at least include in topo if possible.
Now that the death block sitting poised on the sloping ledge is no longer there! Climbed the finger-crack section of this, starting & finishing direct, thinking it was new at the time. Trundled the block, as thought about climbing the headwall direct, but no holds that way. Take it the E5 section is the left-slanting line up the lower wall, or was it the fear of being wiped out by the block?
Cheers for these - you're some boy for your lists!
Pretty exhaustive comments, but whit aboot the decent routes in the mountains, and the Western Isles, not all these wee roadside crags...
Lots of useful stuff there, I'll check them all out once back home next week.
I must take exception to your comments regarding Otto though. That's the trouble with making and jumping - making assumptions and jumping to conclusions. I did in fact place all the protection on Otto on the lead, though unlike Dave MacLeod, I did not top-rope the route prior to my ascent. And no, I still contend that route is well-protected, with small cams in the breaks. Its not like you're going to hit anything if you come off - way too steep for that. I remember using the wee red & yellow Black Diamond cams at the time, along with some wee HB quad cams. There's even more options available now, with the huge range of wee cams available now. No way is it anywhere near E8 - were/are you on drugs, or just plain delusional?
Anyone up for a mega-brushing session at Staffin Slip - stacks of stunning natural lines - cracks and corners - just needing a "bit of love and attention"?
Your link to your previous post - trouble is, don't know what guide/grade you're working from, so would appreciate specific grade changes, though it has to me said your opinions often differ with the rest of the climbing population in Scotland anyway!
Anyway, thanks again for taking the time to share some of your wee lists. I'm sure there's a word for someone obsessed with making lists - anyone know??
Whit aboot the ticklist inside the rear cover - now there's a list ye can get working on...
Looking forward to many further lists.
> Many thanks for your comments. Sounds like could do with dropping both Atropos & Feelin' Groovy. Someone got in touch with me earlier this year, informing me of an epic they had on Atropos, so knew there was either something wrong with the description, or the route wasn't up to much. Now then, what can I replace them with...
> Thanks again, Gary
Once again, I thought it was fine and someone gave it two stars here http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=7740
> Cheers, Gary
To be honest, at the time I'd only done a handful of E4s, and one E5 a couple of weeks before, but this felt harder so we gave it E5. Later on, in hindsight, I thought it would get a downgrade to E4 but the two logs on the logbooks have given it easy E5 and E5 so maybe not.
Anyway, we felt the finger crack section was quite hard, probably 6a and a bit sustained. The lower slab was ~5c and only has one tricky to find and place sideways #9 nut that I spotted on abseil. So, for the hypothetical "onsight" we felt that doing a bold 5c slab (potentially unprotected to the ledge below the finger crack) followed by a tricky finger crack made it overall quite a tricky route.
I guess if you put it in as E4 it would get more traffic. It's up to you...
That's perfect, the feeling's mutual, I think you're guidebook is bollocks.
I'm not going to argue, I've made my point that it's a heap of rubbish and know a fair few others who feel the same way. I'll be voting with my wallet, and encouraging others to do the same.
> Someone got in touch with me earlier this year, informing me of an epic they had on Atropos, so knew there was either something wrong with the description, or the route wasn't up to much. Now then, what can I replace them with...
As I said in the email "the SMC guide has the route starting about 10m to the left of where it was described in your guide and it goes through a different set of overhangs, hopefully not such loose ones." You could always go up and try that version, if it is any good then stick it in...
My best guess for Direct Nose Route is here: http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=199018 The best climbing went from what I called the Cab Stance to the top.
Warning, extreme geeking ahead:
My sincere apologies, I assumed that from the FA description "redpointed", and the inclusion of a F7c+ grade (the only trad route in the book to include a french grade in the grade listing rather than the main text?) as well as the evident difficulty placing blind cams on lead, that you had done it with pre-placed cams. I'm genuinely sorry for making the wrong assumption based on that.
As for the grade - do you really think it is the same grade for a hypothetical onsight placing gear on lead as Dalriada, Undertow, Gies A Squid, Juggernaut, etc? Extremely steep, gear is tiny cams mostly placed blind before and at the crux.
Obviously I am a complete punter but as well as chatting to a few good climbers who have looked at the route, I've been there with an E7+ headpointer who abseiled down to check the gear and found a fairly large gap between the good small cams above The Quickening break and the next good small cams after the crux. I abseiled down too (and despite my punterism I'm pretty good at finding gear, with a full set of C3s) and found an extra shallow cam and tiny wire at the flake. My partner worked the crux a bit and at that point you've got a very fiddly and not-great small cam below your feet, the good small cams are a bit below that. Both of us assumed the "well protected" description would imply you'd be slamming in 00 cams in good slots next to you, which isn't so on the crux.
That's my armchair reasoning (and hanging-on-an-ab-rope-right-next-to-the-gear-slots reasoning) anyway. Most importantly it is an amazing-looking route.
Yes good point, will do that soon.
Do they? I'm vaguely aware that they might differ from a couple of Aberdonians who don't like an outsider ruffling their feathers, and can't see past my convictions to understand I'm posting from a genuine love for Scottish climbing....but I'll give reasons for any corrections I suggest if that helps.
Despite several flaws this guidebook makes it possible to climb in parts of Scotland that the SMC guides don't.
A few thoughts:
The crags on the west coast of Mingulay could seriously do with some topos (especially Dun Mingulay - I have failed to find the correct start to voyage of faith twice). The approach description to South Pillar (Mayday, Pavement Pizza etc) is pretty ambiguous as well.
Return of the Stone - http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=128260 is Severe** in your guidebook which is a very dangerous undergrading as it's possibly the easiest route on the crag at this grade and likely to attract people who aren't up to it. It gets VS 4b** in the SMC definitive which is fair but it is still a serious undertaking at this grade. Very good route though.
Suidhe Biorach (one of my favourite crags) on the whole needs a bit of a downgrading. Veritas Splendour (proper version) is probably only easy E2 5b, 5a but still worth all the stars. Crack of Zawn, Angel of Sharkness and Pickpocket are all HVS. The upgrading of Hairy Mary to HVS 4b in the latest SMC is complete bollocks. VS 4b is fair and maybe ****.
Hope some of that is useful.
> Do they? I'm vaguely aware that they might differ from a couple of Aberdonians who don't like an outsider ruffling their feathers, and can't see past my convictions to understand I'm posting from a genuine love for Scottish climbing....but I'll give reasons for any corrections I suggest if that helps.
I have heard that in real life you are a decent chap but on the web you really do come across as a bit of a cock. Myself and Neil thought a route was easier than graded. You seemed to take extreme exception to this. You used your blog to go on an angry rant about 2 people you have never met and had no idea as to why they thought the route was easier than graded. My opinions on the routes mentioned may or may not be correct but to have you lambast my opions in such away is just rude. I hear you sometimes struggle to find climbing partners especially in the north east, maybe if you reined your neck in folk would be more willing.
Just a few obvious ones for me Gary, some already mentioned.
p46 Topo wrong 1 and 2 are West Gully and WC Route, Commando Crack and the Asp are halfway between 2 and 3. description should amend "the first obvious line from the left" Agree CC should be HS 4b.
p108 I thought A Touch Too Much was easier than Mark of a Skyver either transpose grades or drop ATTM to E2 5c
p111 Andy had Fish etc, one well protected hard move HVS 5b?
Nasal Abuse never far from a rest E1 5b?
Skate VS 4c
Topo is wrong 12 is Heather Said Sunshine HVS 5a not Clingfilm which is further right.
p166 Wisdom Buttress felt like Severe, small holds etc.
p169 FA of Balaton by Willie Gorman & Con Higgins
p198 Ramadan crux pitch sustained and strenuous E2 5b?
p214 I thought Summer Isles City was sustained E2 5b?
p294 The Nook agree is VS 4c as per New SMC?, old has it down as VD, got a shock when I first went onto it!
p315 Gervasutti's Wall only E1 5b worth **? not done anything further right though, much less sustained than The Serpent also given E2 5b.
Having said all that, always difficult to compile a new guidebook, as long as the topos have no glaring errors and grades are not wildly out its a start.
What would climbers talk about if all the grades in all the guidebooks were spot on?
I use my guide as a coffeetable book and cross reference, topos and access photos are generally better and take SMC guides to the crag, easier to fit in pocket. Has definately inspired me.
I've got some suggestions for Vol 1 too!
I second this. We've tried to find this crag twice, both times not finding any routes that matched the descriptions and ending up doing something vaguely "new" but more than likely just a mishmash of existing routes.
Having a description that says "Abseil off the prominent block" is not a lot of use when the headland is rounded and the block is almost at the centre of the radius!
Someone who knows the routes needs to go out there with a compass and take some bearings for the abseils. We once abseiled in at 300deg and found some decent routes but don't have a clue if it was mayday etc.
Grade amendments, in comparison to your guide, as promised:
(NB only amended grade shown, maybe some overlap with comments above. Some star amendments.)
P27: Hairy Beast E1 5c ** - awkward thuggy crux.
P27: Veritas Splendour E2 5c, 5b *** - lower crux shortlived and safe, upper arete easy.
P62: Hand Jive E1 5b ** - no vicious crux, steady HVS+ jamming.
P67: Whispering Crack E3 5a,5c *** - first pitch is definitely 5a.
P70: Wish You Were Here E2 5c *** - others have suggested 5c and this is probably right, quite tricky crux.
P71: Gammy's Purse direct start E2 5c ** - hard steep moves on thin jams.
P74: The Man From Ankle E3 6a *** - very thin moves on the crux groove.
P119: Animal Magic E3 5b * - very bold with big runouts.
P122: Bogie E2 5b ** - maybe ***, great climbing all the way.
P123: Rough Justice E2 5c ** - maybe ***, great climbing all the way.
P125: Aquamarine E4 6a *** - top end 6a for normal sized folk, hard and thuggy.
P137: Bold As Brass Direct E2 5c *** - top end of this grade but no harder, excellent route.
P138: No Beef E2 5c * - good small wires at crux, then one step left to bomber wires at finish.
P147: Macdonald E4 6a ** - steady but very good route up a nice logical feature.
P148: Peweky E1 5b * - just one hard move and reasonably protected
P151: E2 5b route is E2 6a * - 6a boulder problem then boldish 5c into crack.
P151: In The Pink HVS 5b *** - classic all the way.
P151: Rouged Up E2 5b * - decent small wires at good rest before crux.
P151: Sprocket Direct E1 5b ** - very steady, bold bit is easy, safe on mild crux.
P152: Heave Ho E4 6a ** - two good cruxes with decent gear and decent rest, a fine route.
P152: Peek Practice E4 6a * - bold thin cranking with only tiny wires in flake.
P153: Lifeline E3? 5c? - could be harder.
P154: White Fright E2 5c * - bold at this grade but tricky bit is steady and low down.
P154: Rock Bottom E3 6a * - crux pull is desperate, reachy, and involves a blind hold.
P155: Malpasso E2 5b ** - bold but safe enough, spaced cams are good. E1 if you have 5 or more small grey camalots!
P181: Hate Mail E2 6a ** - as per SMC guide, hard 5c to gain flake, committing 6a move past it.
P182: Raglan Road E1 5b ** - steady, good wires.
P185: How The West Was Won E4 6a *** - probably worth it's original SMC grade, though soft. Great route.
P191: Call Of The Wild alt start E4 6a *** - because crux is upper groove after good rest.
P195: Hydrotherapy 7a *** - harder than many 7as in Scotland (confirmed by 8b+ partner!)
P202: Gaffer's Wall E2 5c ** - two E2 bits but perfect rest inbetween.
P215: Sculptress HVS 5a *** - best short HVS in Scotland?? Delightful.
P216: Unleash The Beast E3 6a *** - top end E3 6a but too safe and too good jams.
P220: Exasperated Escapologist Direct E4 5c *** - soft E4, solid 5c, steady climbing on bold bit and good rest before safe steep bit, great line and great climbing.
P231: Sonique E4 5c ** - maybe worth it's original grade for sustainedness.
P232: Headstrong E3 5c ** - maybe worth it's original grade for short-lived crux with okay gear.
P237: Rampant Groove E3 5c ** - maybe worth this as gear is fine just fiddly, and can go up and down placing it.
P249: Moronic Inferno E3 5c ** - maybe just worth this as it's steeper and pumpier than the routes further left.
P249: Split Personality E4 5c ** - pumpy, committing, so-so fiddly gear during crux, more than a grade harder than routes further left.
P249: Crann Tara and Right Of Spring both E2 5c *** - good gear with good shakeouts and the best climbing on the wall.
P258: Braveheart E2 5c ** - soft at this grade but a bit too cranky for 5b.
P258: Freedom! E3 5c ** - reasonably protected from good rest with steady cranking on good holds over roof.
P259: Cyclops E2 5b ** - steep but steady.
P264: Inertia E3 5c ** - as hard as any E3 on here.
P265: Failte Gu E3 5c *** - as easy as any E3 on here.
P277: The Sky's The Limit E2 5b ** - short-lived and reasonably safe.
P277: Little Star E2 5c *** - thin moves but safe all the way.
P277: Solar Gain E2 5c ** - steady with decent gear.
P277: Moondust E3 5c ** - bold and committing with spaced gear.
P278: Black Gold E2 5c *** - very steady, safe, and delightful.
P279: Goat Of Barten E2 6a * - bouldery start and a bit awkward one move wonder.
P279: Rhicorner E2 5b *** - nice steady climbing, good line, route of the crag.
P282: The Swirl E4 6a *** - solid E3 5c to the ledge and desperate above it.
P290: Above The Blue E2 5c ** - steep and bouldery.
P290: GLOP E3 5c ** - steep and bouldery and committing and sustained and blind to finish.
P292: Bloodlust Direct E2 5b ** - only just worth **, worst E2 on the main face, fiddly pro and awkward placing it.
P293: The Black Edge god knows.
P319: Occam's Razor E3 6a *** - shortlived and steady, very good.
P320: A Paddler's Tale E4 6a *** - as suggested by others too, continuous, cranky, hard fingerslot swap at crux.
P320: Walking On Water E3 5c *** - maybe worth this for upper crux.
P321: Northern Alliance E2 5c *** - maybe this is okay as it's fairly steady.
P460: South Face E2 5c * - 5c pulling over thuggy green crux crack in middle of P4.
P467: Bleed It Dry E4 6a ** - blind committing moves with low cam protection and ramp to hit.
P470: Thing Of Dreams E4 6a *** - hard 6a crux on poor sloping holds amidst sustained climbing with minimal gear. Desperate.
P470: Dark Island E3 6a *** - steady crux is well protected, arete above has spaced but decent gear and easy climbing, beautiful elegant route.
P.S. Obviously that covers about <25% of the routes I've done in the book and the other >75% are fine!
P237: Rampant Groove E3 5c ** - maybe worth this as gear is fine just fiddly, and can go up and down placing it.
Finally someone else who has done this route! I am beginning to think that I might have gone the wrong way - after the groove/corner I climbed direct through the roof above. The move gaining the lip felt hard and I only had a 000 C3 (possibly ok) at my feet and a poor looking wire 2m ish below that. Is the route meant to go out left under the roof?
Rampant Groove: I'm sure climbed it the same way as you described, slightly right of the line in the topo but following obvious holds. Got bridged (I assume) at the top of the groove and stretched over to the diagonal lip (is there some obvious slanty horn thing there??) and did a sketchy pull-over onto the slab above. I had got quite a lot of small cams and wires in the groove below, I went up and down several times placing them, and it felt like plenty enough to protect the route, albeit still bold. I thought maybe bold E3 at the time but I'll happily concede maybe E4!
That sounds about right - good to know. I'll happily concede that I missed placements but either way it is closer to E4 than Freedom.
arguably even HS 4b
Fair enough, would have gone for that direct start originally had there not been a huge loose block hanging under the roof. Pulled this off the following year but didn't get round to climbing it.
I think The Silkie is fine at E3 and maybe only 5c - it's unlikely I would have succeeded on it otherwise (though it was chalked). I suspect Dave went the wrong way - very easily done on that crag.
Gary - just to say that I used your guide for a couple of trips to Neist, including my initial visit, before the (excellent)new SMC guide came out. I had no particular difficulty locating crags or climbs and thought/continue to think that it's a good and user-friendly selected guide to a great poor-weather alternative to the mountains.
Mucklehouse Wall - Rora Head
It might be worth adding a note to say that the block at the belay below the last pitch of Mucklehouse Wall on Rora Head is dangerously unattached. It was possible to rock the block forwards about one cm.
> P249: Moronic Inferno E3 5c ** - maybe just worth this as it's steeper and pumpier than the routes further left.
> P249: Split Personality E4 5c ** - pumpy, committing, so-so fiddly gear during crux, more than a grade harder than routes further left.
> P249: Crann Tara and Right Of Spring both E2 5c *** - good gear with good shakeouts and the best climbing on the wall.
There is no way Moronic Inferno is harder than Crann Tara and Rite of Spring. If you insist it is E3 (I don't think it is), then you have to give them all E3.
I agree that Split Personality is worth E4.
Bloody stamina climbers skewing the grade curve! :P
> P216: Unleash The Beast E3 6a *** - top end E3 6a but too safe and too good jams.
Too pumpy placing gear for E3.
No. Brilliant and committing ***. Not that there aren't other just as brilliant routes on the wall.
The ab for Ray of Light etc is 70m North of the twin cairns, not 30m. But I'm sure Yan told you that.
A few people on our trip to Mingulay thought Bikini Dreams was a step beyond islands softness and should be E2 5b.
Big Chief Turning Bull on Creag Dearg is soft at E4 I reckon - defo not E5.
Sruth na fir gorm at Guarsay Mor was 6a, not 6b.
If Unleash the Beast gets put at E3 6a can we have Neart nan Gael at E3 5c? I thought it was the easier of the two routes... :)
Oh, and All the small things... I thought maybe E4 5c boldness at the bottom combined with E4 6a crack perhaps made E5 6a. I wouldn't argue too much with E4 6a, but didn't feel desperate to suggest it be downgraded afterwards.
Hope you had a great trip to the states and a brilliant rest of your time in the Needles!
The only things I could think of improving would be a topo for Dun Mingulay, but think you said you can't change the layout which I guess would include adding topos?? Also think there may be some left and right mix-ups on some routes but cannot remember which ones off the top of my head and they it is obvious where to go once you are there!
In my limited experience of the guide (having used it on Pabbay, Mingulay, Kilt Rock and Diabaig) it is great and a really good tool for people who don't live in Scotland and don't need all the SMC guides. Seems like most people also feel this way...
I don't know if it's realistic for a reprint, but probably the biggest criticism I have of the guides in general is some of the topos for mountain crags. Some of them are just too distant and dark, it's difficult to pick out useful features. The SMC select guide sets a really good standard for those.
Hmmm will grant you that Unleash might just be bottom end E4 I suppose, although it's basically a sport route with how good the gear is. By comparison Neart Nan Gaidheal might be easier technically but is a grade and half harder for the pump, lack of resting jams, and more fiddly gear.
Brilliant routes of course. Can't think of anything at Ardmair that should be downstarred. In fact on my list above there's bound to be more upstarrings than downstarrings.
> Hmmm will grant you that Unleash might just be bottom end E4 I suppose......
Solid E4 - and that's from a grade skewing stamina climber ;-)
If it's E5 it's soft (it must be because I've done it..... but please don't down grade it!)
> arguably even HS 4b
Hairy Mary? Pretty exposed even for VS I'd say.
I thought VS 4c, 2 stars.
There is a good topo to Dun Mingulay in a recent SMC journal.
This is from isleofbarra.com
'Wild Camping in Castlebay is not encouraged. There is an area east of Castlebay round the shore where tents can be pitched.'
My mate just told me about this thread - for what it is worth we thought fhidleir description good apart that the top pitch didn't seem to exist - just 15m of easy climbing to the grass. Everything else matched (or else we persuaded ourselves it did!). Agree with comments about traverse on Jack the ripper.
Thanks for guide!
> we thought fhidleir description good apart that the top pitch didn't seem to exist - just 15m of easy climbing to the grass.
Up a corner? If so, that would be the top bit of the guidebook final pitch. I don't know why it's described as such though - that ledge is the obvious place to belay.
P42 Enigma must be one of the best E3’s in Scotland. At least ***. The crack can be gained directly via the short corner below without the dogleg out right to belay (on Strapado Direct?)
P44 Spock definitely E3.
P123 Condome E4 and **?
P125 Aquamarine E4 probably.
P169 Balaton well woth *** direct as described.
P169 Black mischief barely worth a *.
P170 Fiann Grooves only ***. The amazing first pitch turns out (improbably) to be only E2. The slightly “nasty” third pitch is the E3 crux. The rest much easier. Not balanced enough for ****.
P231 Sonique E4
P235 Strangeways **
P235 westering Home *
P238 Desire Direct candidate for ****?
P242 Seal Song E4 by Reiff standards?
P259 Cross-Eyed probably E3 and definitely so and *** if climbed direct all the way on the right hand side of the aręte (more logical anyway).
P259 The Screamer candidate for ****?
P346 Palace of Colchis. The first pitch is loose choss compared with everything else I’ve done on Lewis. Bailed onto Triton which was no better. The whole wall looks rubbish by Lewis standards (see photo in guide!). Hard to believe that many of the multiple stars are merited.
P363 Children of the Sea E3 and candidate for ****.
P433 Les Voyageurs better than Voyage of Faith!
My only real criticism of the generally excellent guide is the fussy layout in places - relationship between text and topos sometimes not immediately obvious. Also it is sometimes awkward to read the text against background colours (the page numbers are a nightmare!)
Summore worthless and ill-informed opinions :)
P22 - The Minke seems way too hard and serious for E2 5b. I backed off so I may be wrong.
P24 - Bee Keeper's Bother VS 5a **. Afterburn better started direct.
P25 - Hairy Beast E1 5c *
P26 - Altar Ego 5c. Angel of Sharkness and Pickpocket both HVS.
P28 - Captain Planet done in the year 200?
P45 - Klondyker E1 5b
P46 - Commando Crack and The Asp way too far left on topo
P55-56 - Not all the routes as dependent on big cams as in descriptions
P61-64 - Lots of 'needs cleaning' symbols required!
P71 - Power-broker left of topo position
P73 - Bad Dream not ****
P108 - Exterminator E2 5c
P117 - Topo error, the three E2s on the Pillar only have two starts - I think The Pillar is better started by the Dire Straights option. I also think DW and DS are ***.
P120 - Brimstone ***? And P2 also 5c.
P121 - Route One, the prickly bit isn't the crux! I don't think P2 of Black Streak is 5b unless you climb the thin crack on the left to gain the overlap, rather than climbing directly above belay as described.
P124 - Boab's Corner p1 4c
P132 - Bonaid Dhonn approach more like 2hr from Incheril (more than 15min beyond Waterfall anyway)
P139 - Golden Eagle E2 6a
P151 - Rouged-up E2 5b even without side-runner
P155 - Water Lily E1
P162 - The 'easy' ramp on The Bug isn't all that easy
P168 - Fionn Buttress p3 description I've overwritten '...Move left and back right then straight up and pull direct into a ledge...' (I guess that made more sense at the time...)
P176 - Ecstasy p1 4b
P182 - Raglan Road E1. Ataka HS
P187 - Gneissest HS
P201 - Charlie's Corner HS
P223 - West Buttress *, not a clear enough line for description to work
P224 - Jack the Ripper p1 adequate just to have 'Climb a fine layback crack to a ledge', p3 just follows obvious grooves.
P242 - Moody Blues is rubbish, no stars! Executioner E1
P264 - comment about power lines in paretheses in approach description confusing, just take that bit out.
P265 - Calum's Rest HVS 5a
P266 - Finger Picker E1 5b, Another Rude Awakening HVS 5a
P279 - Rhicorner better than Goat of Barten, switch stars? GoB basically a boulder problem with an easy finish.
P294 - The Nook harder than VD, Tall Pall easy for HS
P298 - SMC has a 5b move on Am Buachaille original route??
P300 - Sandal Wood 5a, Marram hard for VD
P398 - possible to abseil directly to start of Spring Squill, no need to swing in etc.
P408 - Who Shot RJ E2, not that difficult to protect start for those of average height, just fiddly.
P409 - In the Pink and right of that tidal.
P413 - Zen and the Art of Corncrake Management description - hard to identify 'dog-leg crack' and 'large ledge'.
P414 - Hoofer's Route not high in the grade
P429 - Guarsay Mor approach problems well documented I think
P433 - Descent for routes 6-15 run into end of Ray of Light description, stick a gap in.
P435 - 'triangular roof' in Sula description not obvious - there's more than one. Silkie p2, second sentence has all its rights and lefts mixed up!
P436 - Sirens p2 'Continue up and LEFT on flakes'
P449 - Mary Doune 10m, I've crossed out Alan's Route completely (duplicate??), Calling Seal eliminate
Does exposure warrant a grade increase?
So we only disagree about the difficulty - HS 4b or VS 4c, but not VS 4b or HVS 4c (and certainly not HVS 4b!!)
5 stars :-)
> Does exposure warrant a grade increase?
> So we only disagree about the difficulty - HS 4b or VS 4c, but not VS 4b or HVS 4c (and certainly not HVS 4b!!)
I thought VS 4b was spot on. It's fairly sustained at 4b and looks quite intimidating, but it's all there. It certainly isn't either 4c or HVS (one of the most ridiculous upgrades I think I've ever seen).
> 5 stars :-)
Does being photogenic warrant a star increase ;)
I think it's worth E2. Yes, easy if you are fit enough to climb it confidently and not place too much gear, but I've belayed pretty solid E1 climbers who have got pumped and had a nightmare on it. One of Reiff's best though!
I'd reluctantly agree to VS 4b on account of the trouble you'd have if you fell off on the crux at high tide :-)
> I think it's worth E2. Yes, easy if you are fit enough to climb it confidently and not place too much gear, but I've belayed pretty solid E1 climbers who have got pumped and had a nightmare on it. One of Reiff's best though!
Exactly. The kind of person who thinks it's E1 is the same kind of person who thinks The Strand is VDiff (i.e. a very fit person with no capacity to understand that other people aren't very fit).
I'm not very fit and I did find it pumpy, but probably only 5a so E1. But whatevs ya.
I think Hairy Mary is bang on VS 4b.
The Executioner would get E2 5b on gritstone if it was a pure arete without the excellent gear crack running the whole way up...
What that actually means, god only knows.
> The Executioner would get E2 5b on gritstone if it was a pure arete without the excellent gear crack running the whole way up...
Arguably (but then you wouldn't get pumped putting in gear).
Anyway, we all know gritstone grades are totally out of touch with the rest of reality.
Not really; gritstone moves might have a different reality but the grades are as useful as anywhere. Gritstone sandbags are mostly famous for being so...
Of course, this has nothing to do with the OP.
I'll get my coat.
> Not really; gritstone moves might have a different reality but the grades are as useful as anywhere.
And I'm sure Martian grades make sense on Mars.
Actually it does, because you get these Peak-centric types who call Reiff Stanage-On-Sea (Would they ever call Pembroke Stoney-On Sea?)and then complain that everything is overgraded.
St Govan's *IS* Stoney by the sea! Which is why it's pretty much bollox (curiously more bollox than Stoney itself) compared to the rest of Pembroke.
Apparently Martian grades are all soft-touch bollox cos they use side-runners all the time.
> Actually it does, because you get these Peak-centric types who call Reiff Stanage-On-Sea (Would they ever call Pembroke Stoney-On Sea?)and then complain that everything is overgraded.
Indeed, on one of the few dark times I climbed on the sh*tstone there were some people beneath Heather Wall at Stanage saying it was a sandbag at VS. When really it's more like soft HS.
Only grade moan I can think of is The Asp at E1 - it's well E2 and quite hard at that. Only route Julian Lines backed off on solo up there I believe! 2 stars plenty as well.
Well done on upgrading Bastinado, its got 2 bastard cruxes, a well named route.
Many thanks for all the feedback so far. Any other suggestions or conflicting opinions welcomed.
Full marks for not pussyfooting around Dan Lane further up the thread.
Hi Gary thanks for two great books which has taken me to some great bits of Scotland and left me inspired for so many climbs in Scotland! Apologies for not reading all the posts above I am sure there is some cross over.
pp195 goat crag tepee direct is 6b+/c. There was quite a bit of comment on the grades/names by some inverness folk when we were there I am sure sport climbing Scotland has better details then I do.
pp277 Little Star is E2 5c I felt two stars at the time but still very worthwhile. Star streak enterprise was e3 5c 2 stars.
Great area around Ardmore. for anyone interested this summer I found a lot of high quality single pitch potential on all the headlands from Scourie up towards oldshoremore. Even some multi pitch endeavours for those willing to look around the islands.
p.p 278 Black Gold is probably only 2 stars and the crux is well protected.
p.p280 sweet compensation is worth a star.
Agree with all the grades at backstage p.p 284 and trident is a cracking if short pitch(great find!)
p.p294 I think the climbing is initially described left to right and then right to left from the sun spot. I think this needs clearing up. As well I am not sure if the grade is right for the nook. I appreciate pages probably doesn't allow but a topo would really help for this section particularly as there is some great routes.
Oh and a topo for dun mingulay would be amazing! Im sure that's not going to happen but that would be great!
What a load of horsesh1t. And please do not put that wire in at the flake as it's likely to break the flake (would probably get in the way of the hand hold too). There's a series of decent C3 slots a couple of moves after leaving The Quickening. There is then a short run-out at the crux and good cams just after.
I would argue it is E8 though simply because I think it's pretty tricky at 8a and it wouldn't be path to hang in to place the cams. It is technically a lot harder than Dalriada, and a fair bit harder than Juggernaut and Undertow.
I'm off to Neist tomorrow with this guidebook.
Will I die horribly? ;)
On a more serious note, is there anything specific you want checking out?
Will try to incorporate it if possible.
Few routes at Financial Sector still seem to split opinions on grades: Hurricane Hideaway & Wish You Were Here. I think E1 5b & E2 5c respectively?
I did cracking new line just left of Man from Ankle back in the Spring - Birdsong, E3 5c ***. Very well protected. Another route I've repeated since guide appeared, is Neisty Beisty, which is great - worth doing for the name alone!
If you break a leg, don't come running to me... Pretty sure you'll survive, despite the "dangerous descriptions" - have a good one.
Hurricane Hideaway seemed like a not too bad E1 5b to me. Certainly found it easier than Fistful of Dolerite which is probably more of a solid E1.
I think Hurricane Hideaway is E1 5c. Most people find the finish hard for 5b, but it's short-lived and safe. Not quite E2, as in the new SMC guide.
Another one I missed out is Rock Bottom at Loch Tollaidh - I agree with Fiend it's probably 6a. Only one star.
In reply to Toreador:
> > Baywatch at Neist probably HS 4b
> I thought it closer to Severe!
Seems from UKC Logbooks etc. that opinions on Baywatch grade vary more than most but, having repeated it recently with a partner who declared 'Mild VS', I still think Noel and I got it right from the start at HS 4b!
> St Govan's *IS* Stoney by the sea! Which is why it's pretty much bollox (curiously more bollox than Stoney itself) compared to the rest of Pembroke.
Very good point.
I assumed it was the gravity.
> Full marks for not pussyfooting around Dan Lane further up the thread.
Dan's alright. I think he must have just had a bad day ;-)
> In reply to Toreador:
> Seems from UKC Logbooks etc. that opinions on Baywatch grade vary more than most but, having repeated it recently with a partner who declared 'Mild VS', I still think Noel and I got it right from the start at HS 4b!
Might be because the lines on that topo are a bit confused and it's easy to do the wrong route. The new SMC guide is a lot clearer.
You agree that there is a short run-out at the crux.
You suggest the wire shouldn't be placed (therefore less protection).
You agree it would be hard to place the cams.
You agree it should be E8.
...since you're agreeing with my assessment, which bit exactly is "horseshit"??
Thanks for providing support to what I suggested, anyway.
Thanks for these. If you let me know specific suggestions for more realistic approach times, I'll happily amend accordingly.
Aye, think The Nook must be harder than V.Diff, though this is the original grade given by Andy Nisbet. I led it in big boots with clients, thought it was great. I always think of something like Resurrection at Polldubh as benchmark VS 4c - certainly wouldn't be keen on doing that in big boots.
Can any else confirm it is VS 4c?
Would welcome suggestions for amendments to any of the approach times - must have been fitter/faster back then!
The topo for Shadow on the Wall (page 225) shows it finishing up the right trending chimney crossing the top pitch of Mid Flight Crisis. In the text it is described as finishing up Felo de Se which is left of the top pitch of MFC.
I know that a simple reprint with errors ironed out is cheaper and you'll get in on the shelves faster, but I really suggest taking some time to get a better design.
There are too many poor/meaningless action shots and tiny topos that add nothing to the guide. These shots take up space that would be better filled with larger topos. I appreciate that it's difficult to get good action shots from crags like these if there isn't a dedicated photographer, but that doesn't mean you have to include bad ones. All guides should get the climber to the cliff and then to the route but yours doesn't always do that (especially in the Outer Hebrides). Getting good topo shots from a climber's eye view is straightforward if you have a wide angle lens and some patience, or a friendly boatman!
Here's an example or two:
p351. Nick Clement on Flannan Slab. Poor shot; you’d be better off including a map of how to get to the crags mentioned as 6 of us got lost finding find these crags from your written description. I know you have a "sort of" map on p347 but it's pretty useless. It shows the crags, but not in relation to anything else and the scale is too big. You describe access to Red Walls in relation to Black Slab which comes four pages later. Your "sort of" map doesn't include Ard More Mangersta which it should.
p422 Guarsay Beag: A tiny photo of the crag with no lines on (although climbers are visible if you use a magnifying glass). What's the point of that picture? Dump the previous bum shot of Karin and you have more space to present a meaningful topo.
p427 Big Arch. No topo of this complex cliff, but one poor shot (in The Arena section) of Karen on a route in the neighbouring Big Arch area. I know she's your wife, but dump the picture in favour of a useful topo, because your written description is poor.
p433 Dun Migulay: No topo! How could you fail to include a topo for the most significant cliff on the island and one of the best in the Hebrides? You have three action shots that aren't very good but no topo. No map of the summit plateau and bizarre descriptions that tell climbers (like us wanting to do Les Voyageurs) that we need to abseil (and I quote) "from the edge of the cliff just north of the raised clump of thrift". You're joking, right? You assume we know what thrift looks like, that what we consider "prominent" is also what you consider “prominent”, and that Atlantic gales haven't changed the topography and flora. You need to deal with the mess that is Dun Mingulay in your guide ASAP!
p.83 Conductor Cove, Lighthouse Wall and Conductor Cove. Again, no topos and some dodgy approach descriptions. Dump the two actions shots on p84 and 85 (the one on p85 refers to bouldering on p24 which which takes up half a page for trivial bouldering...again, very poor design). The picture on p78 for Neist is approaching useless. For this area you need climber's eye topos of the three crags I mention. We went to do "All Quiet..." and ended up at the foot of a zawn where the easiest escape was swimming out or climbing some E2. Lucky I can climb E2 or there'd have been a big problem.
Other random stuff:
p254. You credit yourself with the “FA as described” of “Spaced Out Rockers...” some 15 years after the actual FA. Just because you did the route in 2 pitches instead of the original 4 doesn’t get you a new route! Jim Leyland and I did that route in ‘98, belayed where you did and took our last belay at the top of the final corner. I don’t want to be credited with that as an FA - because it isn’t an FA - and it’s preposterous for you to claim anything similar.
P357. Pitch 3 of “Prozac Link”. The “main (crux) roof” is nothing of the sort. The crux of the route is the butch first pitch. Pitch 3 is a pleasure.
P376. Sron Ulladale. Which routes have you done and how long ago? “Stone” gets 3 stars but is unclimbable beyond pitch 3 (6a, not 5c) in its current state. Although I haven’t done “White Dwarf”, a friend tells me that it’s in the same state. You should mention that a 3 star route in your guide to this cliff does not mean a 3 star route in real life.
That’s it, others have covered grade anomalies and other issues that I might mention, but Dun Migulay...!?
Fangs for listening.
The YMC have used hollow stars for such lines in their latest grit guide (quality routes that can easily get dirty or overgrown if traffic is low).
Gary should get together with Dan Lane ( http://www.danlanephotography.com/rock-climbing )
The perfect team ;-)
Dan has got a set of very good shots of many northern Scottish crags, and most are better than the ones SR North. This is why I despair at some of the missing/poor shots in this guide. He may be a youth, but he's committed and he gets stuck in. Shall we get back to SR North now?
Sorry, it was meant to be entirely humourous and definitely not taking the piss (or sides). I know Dan (spent a week in his company in Pembroke in August - there are even some shots of me in that link and I have some great prints of his excellent photos on my wall). I did put in a word in his defence further up the thread. I know Gary too and really respect the real labour of love which produced these excellent (albeit flawed) guides. I would only ever want to be conciliatory. I apologise if my attempt at humour gave the wrong impression.
Just remembered another one at Reiff; Judicial Hanging might be VS but it's never 5a! Solid 5b at bouldering height.
You reading my mind, Jamie?
> Just remembered another one at Reiff; Judicial Hanging might be VS but it's never 5a! Solid 5b at bouldering height.
Also at Reiff (all coming back now..), Black Gold is three stars but probably HS 4b. Certainly easier than Meikle Neuk which should probably be VS 4b/c. Black Pig might be VS 5a?
> Amen, stonking nut so you have a toprope through the crux but agree totally its 5b.
You'd find placing that nut a lot harder if you were short. And it's only useful with a very attentive belayer, since the ground is not very far away. I'd be happier with soft HVS 5b.
In the same area I thought Jim Nastic had quite a lot of 5a on it and should be HVS, but Telemark (the direct finish to Dunskiing) should go down to VS.
Really? That's one of the first routes I did at Reiff - so the best bit of 20 years back now - but HVS was a big thing for me then (still is most days ;) and I don't remember it feeling particularly difficult for VS.
I'd be happier with a bouldering mat! Wouldn't disagree regarding Jim Nastic by the way, it's definitely at very least top end VS and 5a.
I think Jim Nastic is solid VS but definitely not HVS. VS 5a I wouldn't argue with.
What grade does it get these days? According to my notes it was Severe when I did it - I reckoned top end HS 4b.
More horsesh1t on this thread. Stone has had at least one ascent this year, at least one last year, two the year before, etc., etc. It is a very good route in a great setting.
>only adequately protected by small cams
>placed blind before and at the crux
>fairly large gap between the good small cams above The Quickening break and the next good small cams after the crux
>very fiddly and not-great small cam
>Both of us assumed the "well protected" description would imply you'd be slamming in 00 cams in good slots next to you
yes I'd usually take 'redpointed' to mean the route was worked; the term seems overkill just for an ab inspection.
> More horsesh1t on this thread. Stone has had at least one ascent this year, at least one last year, two the year before, etc., etc. It is a very good route in a great setting.
Gosh, you're an angry woman aren't you! The thing is utterly filthy. I assume it was you that did the alleged ascent this year, and that your comment is therefore first hand? Thought not.
Cheerio, old bean!
Glad I don't climb in Scotland. It seems to make everyone a bit over-sensitive.
"Stone has had at least one ascent this year, at least one last year, two the year before, etc., etc. It is a very good route in a great setting."
There are plenty of worthwhile no star routes like this that have large sections of overgrown or filthy rock that can be ascended by the competant locals who love it. Its a bit much for visitors to face such terrain on 3 star routes. It's hardly like there is a shortage of high quality clean lines in Scotland.
It is clean, that is why I said the earlier poster was talking nonsense.
Well I know and trust Frank and dont know you so this seems very odd to me. I've also had editorial experience of others saying stuff is great and Frank said otherwise turned out to be right (with 3 star routes going to none after we checked them).
I suspect opinions regarding a route are often somewhat biased by whether the climber gets up it or not...
> I suspect opinions regarding a route are often somewhat biased by whether the climber gets up it or not...
That brought a smile to my face.
and to mine for the opposite reason: resorting to cheap shots helps convince me.
Frank the Husky gets offended on behalf of Dan Lane.
You get offended on behalf of Frank the Husky.
If we could get Robert Durran offended on behalf of you I think we will have come full circle and UKC will vanish in a puff of logic.
In the meantime before this happens it would be nice to find the route and be able to trust the stars. Dan and Frank both did this very efficiently when I was lucky enough to have the pleasure of working with them, even if they can be a bit naughty sometimes on here.
Not offended by anyone yet, but I would genuinely like to know who is talking bollocks, because the route has long been on the hitlist and I'm unlikely to get up it if it's filthy.
When you and Frank write a BMC guide to Scotland then you can choose to omit Stone and all the other mountain routes which have been climbed this year but are in fact in unclimbable states. I do wonder whether there'll be any mountain routes left of E4 or above in your book.
The thing is, I had heard that Stone maybe wasn't that brilliant. Still good though. But if you state something is unclimbable, when it is, you do risk ruining your credibility somewhat. And its Gary Latter that Husky is trying to convince - not you.
From a couple of years ago...
It does look a bit mossy up there. But they made it!
a) someone is lying (unlikely, why would they)
b) the route has been cleaned (also unlikely)
c) someone was on the wrong route (probably unlikely)
d) it is somewhere between 'clean' and 'unclimbable' and both are exaggerating for effect (very likely)
> a) someone is lying (unlikely, why would they)
> b) the route has been cleaned (also unlikely)
> c) someone was on the wrong route (probably unlikely)
> d) it is somewhere between 'clean' and 'unclimbable' and both are exaggerating for effect (very likely)
I actually favour the above mentioned (e)I/my mate failed on it so it must be unclimbable.
> When you and Frank write a BMC guide to Scotland then you can choose to omit Stone and all the other mountain routes which have been climbed this year but are in fact in unclimbable states.
Incidentally, do all those surprisingly clean routes which we were all climbing this summer which allegedly hadn't been climbed for years not actually get filthy or had they actually been getting climbed?
I've seen rock across the UK from sea level to real high on the Ben and my experience is some places get filthy quick and then we get a range to others that always seem to stay clean (even some on mountain summits). As I said earlier YMC have developed hollow stars for great routes that get dirty quick, which is a real good idea as you know it likely needs a clean before you try it onsight and potentially get in trouble. Unless of course there is info its been tidied up recently on one of the threads that exist on some climbing sites. It's very unlike Frank to bail through lack of ability and fully blame the veg.
> As I said earlier YMC have developed hollow stars for great routes that get dirty quick, which is a real good idea as you know it likely needs a clean before you try it onsight and potentially get in trouble. Unless of course there is info its been tidied up recently on one of the threads that exist on some climbing sites. It's very unlike Frank to bail through lack of ability and fully blame the veg.
Not sure that's a good idea. Would probably prevent some folk from getting on the route if they thought it was likely to be dirty, hence actually ensuring it got dirtier even though it may not have been that bad before.
Besides, is that info really required? Surely part of the adventure of climbing that you just rock up and see how it is?
Hollow stars have been used in the past in several guidebooks to indicate routes whose quality hasn't been confirmed,
If you climb mountain routes in Scotland these days,then Stone is certainly no different to most.Just some character building stuff getting onto the old eyrie. Probably cleaner rock overall than on some routes of similar grade up on Scafell !
In my experience people leading compact routes (like many extremes on yorkshire grit) don't just rock up and try them if they look dirty. What the hollow stars do is show its worth cleaning and once clean worth posting so others can get the tick before it gets dirty again. So we can be sure you're not into armchair adventure for others what was the last route you rolled up to and led at close to your limit that was dirty and bold at the crux?
YMC have used this differently though...very much quality is assured but only IF clean.
Surely the time of year and/or the weather conditions in the weeks prior to a visit can make a big difference too?
I have a few other comments and queries, which I'll get back to later.
Is Route 2 really benchmark HVS? I thought it was pretty easy at the grade to be honest.
Ooooo...benchmark grades - possibilities for endless debate!
Yeah it's listed as benchmark 'mild' HVS.
Which reminds me - I guess Cougar should be removed from that list and the one at the back?
And also reminds me, Vol. 1 includes The Roost in its back cover ticklist but Vol. 2 leaves it out. It also has both Uhuru and 'Diuru', when I guess the latter should be Dilemma?
Route 2 @ Diabeg "easy" HVS??? Have you people climbed any HVSes elsewhere in the country??? What part of the blank smeary groove with a half-arsed crack on the top pitch makes it "easy"??? Insanity.
Have you noticed that a lot of people don't agree with your totally objective and correct views on grades? What do you make of that?
(P.S. I too find that groove section of Route 2 quite hard, I think it's middle-of-the-grade HVS. HVS.5, if you will.)
Wasn't easy for me: I braved midges to get there, tied on and promptly the heavens opened. Back at the car I then removed 20 ticks I'd collected for the one I'd missed. It looked lovely but must have been too dirty to climb given I'm English ;-) On grade disparity lets hope climbers trusting the new HS grade for Bowfell Buttress don't try peak/yorkshire/northumberland moorland obscurities eh? A few years back I thought things were getting better but now I'm not so sure.
From the only overlap in our grade listing:
> P151: Rouged Up E2 5b * - decent small wires at good rest before crux.
> P182: Raglan Road E1 5b ** - steady, good wires.
> The Executioner would get E2 5b on gritstone if it was a pure arete without the excellent gear crack running the whole way up...
> P279: Goat Of Barten E2 6a * Rhicorner E2 5b ***
> P151 - Rouged-up E2 5b even without side-runner
> P182 - Raglan Road E1.
> P242 - Executioner E1
> P279 - Rhicorner better than Goat of Barten, switch stars?
<insert the "eyes pointing in opposite directions and vacant dribbling smiley" here>
Eagle-eyed readers might notice that 90% of my comments are drily serious. The other 10%............
Well obviously we're both Right, I'm just nicer about it.
But I'm not familiar with that smiley, and The Goat of Barten is NEVER 6a.
OK I will admit first of all that I can't think of a route I did in recent history that was (a) close to limit AND (b) dirty AND (c) bold. To be honest I wasn't thinking of Yorkshire nor bold stuff - more mountain routes with adequate protection, e.g. I think they use your system in the Lakes?
I guess my concerns are that a lot of Scottish stuff probably gets less traffic anyway than south of the border so anything that may put folk off from getting on the routes (the safe ones anyway) can't be a good thing.
I found Route 2 hard - section of sustained 5b on pitch two. Would say benchmark hard HVS. To be honest I didn't find much difference in standard between Routes 2 and 3.
If Gary wants a soft HVS it would surely be more like Route 1.
Life is full of people rocking up to Scottish mountain crags and finding out their chosen route has a bit of moss and whatnot on it. Most people can deal with that without blaming the guidebook editor.
>So we can be sure you're not into armchair adventure for others what was the last route you rolled up to and led at close to your limit that was dirty and bold at the crux?
Every time I've climbed on a Scottish mountain crag, more or less. A fortnight ago was the last time (if you call the Old Man of Hoy a mountain crag).
You must have a habit of picking bold and dirty routes. There are loads and loads of clean routes in the Scottish mountains.
> If Gary wants a soft HVS it would surely be more like Route 1.
Are you not mixing up your route 1s & 2s? I've only done route2 and found the 2nd pitch fairly straightforward. I cant reliably onsight 5b so it it must be 5a :)
I suspect I’m just a southern wuss. But, for example, Shibboleth, Carnivore and the Old Man of Hoy didn’t seem terribly clean to me, and I’m guessing less celebrated routes are even less clean.
It seems a bit unlikely Stone has become ‘unclimbable’, given that Fowler climbed it onsight cleaning as he went after it had had some millions of years to accumulate vegetation, and that was only 25 years ago. It can’t have got that much dirtier since then.
> Are you not mixing up your route 1s & 2s?
No, but thinking about it, Route 1 is only easy if you don't go direct on pitch two. I'd say:
Route 3: HVS - 4a,5b,5b
Route 2: HVS - 5a,5b
Route 1: HVS - 4b,5b (the direct way)
There is a difference between a bit of moss on the one hand and finding key holds on bold tenuous moves are unusable on lead at the grade. I've never encountered a problem in Scotland with unclimbable starred routes in the mountains or on seacliffs (albeit operating only at HVS and below and only in the highlands or far NW, when on my hols up there... the E1's I climbed were all VS or HVS). In fact I can barely remember dirt, guano, vegetation or lichen ever being a real issue (ie its annoying and it sometimes made easier sections harder but it didnt clearly up the the advertised grade) yet on some north and east facing grit crags I've worked on this problem was common on starred routes. Closest I've come to grade issues from mank in Scotland was some obscurer bits of Poldubh.
As such I blamed no-one but I did recommend the YMC model of hollow stars for where excellent routes can and do get problems.
Virtually all Scottish mountain routes before the modern era were first climbed ground-up without cleaning. They haven't become unclimbable since then. It's just modern tastes changing and/or people failing on the route and making excuses.
I'd say the Old Man of Hoy (Original Route) is clean, it's just not great (sandy) rock.
Bits of Carnivore did look pretty mossy (from the ground).
When I saw the 'unclimbable' comment for Stone I thought there must have been rockfall or something, not just that it was a bit dirty.
>I'd say the Old Man of Hoy (Original Route) is clean,
You'd say what?!?!
Blimey. I must tell my washing machine.
After that route some of my clothes didn't even reach the washing machine, but I can't blame the rock for that!
Unclimbable to me relates to anything close to the grade not the ability to frig your way up something in extremis or effectively climb something many grades harder to bypass a problem.
I simply don't believe virtually everything in the scottish mountains was climbed ground up with never any cleaning. I've cleaned heather on lead up there on several occasions as it made a route nicer (but not easier).
Gary does have a little brush symbol that he has put next to some climbs that might require cleaning before an ascent - Flodden for instance has one (although this had a couple of ascents this year so maybe it should be disposed of for the next guide!). He just doesn't use the symbol very much. A lot of the routes that were put up on the Dubh Loch (for instance)in the 80's and 90's were cleaned from above before their ascents. But people are tending to get on them ground up now despite the fact that some are a bit dirty. Just climb with your brush and nutkey at the ready and accept a higher lichen / moss tolerance than you might in North Wales.
I thought it used to be common practice to clean on lead? Even to the point of carrying a small pick or similar.
Most of the dirtier routes I've climbed in Scotland haven't felt as bad as they've looked, provided they weren't wet as well. Green Vote at Staffin Slips was pretty memorable - I had lichen in my eyes for days, and it's meant to be one of the cleaner routes on that side of the crag. Which is a shame, because the lines and the climbing there are amazing. That was about the limit for me personally of still being able to enjoy it, albeit in a slightly Type-2 way. People probably do have higher and perhaps sometimes unrealistic expectations of cleanness these days, but there comes a point where I think it's fair enough - some routes probably are pretty disgusting.
It's an unfortunate flipside of the solitude you often get to enjoy climbing in the Highlands, that there just aren't enough climbers, or in some cases frequent enough dry conditions, to keep all these brilliant routes clean.
RE Route 2 - a while since I did it, and P2 was possibly harder, but don't recall a "blank smeary groove" or anything close to 5b. It did look as if there might be some routefinding options on that pitch, I think we trended a little left before going through a cruxy steepening with good gear?
I've always applied the rationale that any HVS that I can on-sight without much of a tustle must be a soft-touch, maybe I'm too self-deprecating, but I know my limits!
Pre-cleaning was certainly commonplace by the '80s (All the big Dubh Loch routes).
I've probably encountered more dirty routes on outcrops in Scotland than in the mountains, but maybe that's because when opportunities arise to climb in the mountains I tend to go for the classics.
> RE Route 2 - a while since I did it, and P2 was possibly harder, but don't recall a "blank smeary groove" or anything close to 5b. It did look as if there might be some routefinding options on that pitch, I think we trended a little left before going through a cruxy steepening with good gear?
Hi Jamie, there's a good photo of that pitch in the SMC guide. The initial crack is up a slight groove but the hard bit is the twin cracks above. Only really one way you can go, but yes the gear is good (thankfully)!
Just checked it, does look familiar. What I do remember was absolutely tripping on the quality of the rock and the climbing, which might just have improved my climbing?
It's a fabulous route, that's for sure.
I didn't forget it! I racked my brain and in fact it's one of the few really significantly filthy pitches I've come across in the mountains. But then it's not one of the well travelled classics of the crag......I'm sure your character was better built after leading it anyway.
Anyway, that's a side issue. I'd be more interested in Gary's response to all the issues I flagged up regarding usability of the guide which are far more important.
The guide seemed perfectly usable to me, except when there were errors of course. Didn't see anything wrong with the layout/format - thought it quite attractive and inspiring (a lot of good topos/photos to the few bad ones) to be honest.
If you think Stone is hard for E5 6a you need to put down the crack pipe...
Stop putting people off perfectly decent routes. You had a bad day, get over it.
And on the subject of useful routes at their grade, has anybody on here ever done Midgard, to confirm stars and grade? The first ascentionists referred to it as "excellent" and "pleasant".
I've got to agree here. That pitch on it's own is E4 6a...
Some notes in my copy that I can't see listed above:
-Page 152 - Route no's 8 & 9, Description doesn't match topo.
-Page 291 - Topo for route #7 Maytripper, doesn't show the zig-zag the route takes near the start (it's obvious when you're there though).
-Page 412 - The photo is of someone on the First pitch of Prophecy, not the second.
-Page 117 - As said above somewhere, I also think 'The Pillar' is better if started up 'Dire Straights'
-Page 242 - The Mystic, soft at E5 with appropriate small cams, could even be hard E4. Essentially a ~V4 in the sky.
-Page 246 - The Thistle - I agree with E4 6a, hard 6a though.
-Page 435 - Thought Silkie fair at islands E3 6a (if unchalked).
-Page 414 - Hoofers route - also thought this high in the grade.
All in all a very good guide, the big Pabbay & Mingulay section is quality.
> If you think Stone is hard for E5 6a you need to put down the crack pipe...
> Stop putting people off perfectly decent routes. You had a bad day, get over it.
Crack pipe - what *are* you talking about, silly boy! If you're civil to people they will listen to you and be civil in return, but I guess that's just anonymous internet posting for you.
"Stone" isn't a perfectly decent route, it's covered in crap and unclimbable at the grade. My opinion is based on my own and other's experience from having been on the route. I stand by it and I advise those aiming to do it that they need to have a grade in hand. Either that or be Pat Littlejohn.
Can we talk about something else now please?
> -Page 242 - The Mystic, soft at E5 with appropriate small cams, could even be hard E4. Essentially a ~V4 in the sky.
I thought it was ok at E5. How many E4's do you find with hard boulder problems like this on. (For a trad route)
My second didn't do it clean, despite on sighting E6.
Plus the cams aren't totally bomber...
I'd wager most E3/E4 6bs have short tricky bits (Two that spring to mind are Bo-Po Crack & Bluter Groove).
Admittedly if all 5-7 bits of gear you can get at or above the party ledge rip, you are in trouble.
Hey ho, whatever it ends up as - It's a nicely positioned bit of climbing, whether you finish left (more techy) or right (burly and dynamic) :)
> If you think Stone is hard for E5 6a you need to put down the crack pipe...
> Stop putting people off perfectly decent routes. You had a bad day, get over it.
You, Ssshhhh, are Tony Stone and I claim my free Tonystoneisarockgod bumper sticker.
If you are not Tony Stone then I apologise to you for so besmirching you and offer to come round to Tony's house and do the hoovering for a few weeks.
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