/ Off To Remove The chockstone From Right Eliminate.
To be serious though, if the trad ethic is to climb a route in as good a style as the 1st person to lead it or better, no chock stones should be in RE if Joe Brown didn't place one.
In Climb Magazine, there was a letter in issue 1 or 2, where Jim Perrin has sent in a picture of Joe Brown on the 1st ascent with no chock stone in the route.
Seems weird to me that lots of people wanted a chock stone to go 'back into' the route.
Is it ground hogs day again?
Noo, it means none of those things. Using a large cam in place of a chock stone is better style as it's leader placed protection.
> Is it ground hogs day again?
All the hoo har on here wooshed past me at the time, and then I read back through the threads when I remembered about the letter by Jim Perrin.
It's true, anyway, it is sentiment over progress to want a chock stone to stay there in place of protection placed on lead.
Jim Perrin approved of it's removal...
Did I miss osmething? Simon Lee removed it years ago
I'd argue trying to thread a sling round a chock stone might be harder than walking a cam above you as you move up...
I thought after the last row, common sense broke out and a compromise was reached - whereby a chock was placed in such a position that it could be threaded but was no use as a hold.
I also think it was agreed that the chock wasn't used on the FA, but then again, neither were cams. Given the damage caused by the latter, I don't see why they are regarded as more ethical.
But I'm sure Shark will be along soon to correct me
yeah but cams aren't in-situ.
If i did a new route then someone came along and put a peg in i wouldnt be happy.
Erm, is it a Viz joke?
There's a difference between an in-situ peg and an in-situ chock, just as there is a difference between a chock placed for aid and one placed for gear. I'd also suggest that there is a difference between pushing a cam ahead of you up a granite crack and doing the same up a grit one.
IIRC the views of the FA weren't known at the time of the removal, but there were a few climbers of that generation who were outraged. For the record I think Simon was right, but the compromise reached was sensible, which is why I surprised the issue has popped up again.
All irrelevant to me - I'd never want to do that route even if could !
> I thought after the last row, common sense broke out and a compromise was reached ...
I must admit to being amazed to the energy going into even this dialogue, let alone the notion that this has happened before.
Its a real wakeup call if I ever climb in the UK because I wouldn't think twice of dropping a chockstone in, or pulling one out to put in a cam.
I'm surprised you feel so strongly since you only climb HVS?
Did you get it out Tim?
If its stuck, a car jack Should do it!
It was HVS once wasn't it? Certainly if you climb obscure offwidths you will have done stuff as hard in short bursts. Is any move on RE harder than the crux of Stange's Nursery Crack for instance (which was VS until recently)?
In reply to Chris the Tall
I may end up wrong but safe as RE is with a big cam set I can't see it ever becoming popular (modern climbers are wimps?), so worrying about cam damage should really about classic mid-grade climbs with hard moves above good breaks. I worry a little about chockstone damage on such climbs they can end up rotating/rocking and grinding. This can cut a sling if you fall on it.
Can you explain it then, Jonny... I've led a sheltered life.
> I also think it was agreed that the chock wasn't used on the FA, but then again, neither were cams. Given the damage caused by the latter, I don't see why they are regarded as more ethical.
I might have to bow to Jim Perrin's early knowledge, but dropping boulders into cracks so they could be threaded was common enough back then. I would be surprised if there were no chockstones in Right Elim when JB 1st did it. There were two (or even 3) back in 1968 or thereabouts.
I think there is a picture somewhere (High Peak?) of JB on it with a very snug looking rope obviously clipped through something,
There was another route described with a sling for aid at the time, A35 on Bamford, I followed Jim Cambell on an early ascent when he said the sling just got in the way (as he did on Sentinel Crack), I doubt that Joe used it for more than a brief rest.
Soloed it then presumably?
> Soloed it then presumably?
There was a cartoon strip called the Pathetic Sharks
Didn't realise that was where the nickname came from, perhaps Graeme can provide more details
I'd assumed it was an implication that Simon can perhaps be a bit dizzy. But I barely know the guy.
We were on it just the the other Sunday (well, I was belaying) and can also confirm the chock is definitely not there.
'They' might well be bothered now though (as few knew or cared to look)! That the chock was likely to be removed and replaced repeatedly was one of the things that worried me about what Simon did (lack of proper consultation being the other main issue). The route was originally led without it and those intersted in history should prefer the original state and the route is to me clearly better without it.
It's clear in a photograph of Brown stated to be on the first ascent that he has a runner in the crack. There's only one type of runner in those days that would have fitted in a crack that wide!
Why then do Al (above) and others say otherwise?
"Start up easily onto ledges then up the crack to the overhang (the surmounting of this forms the crux of the climb). Thread belay. Above the overhang are two chockstones. Their stability is not beyond question.
Above the chockstones the passing (?) becomes harder until one can reach the ledge just below the top."
Thanks Phil. So it sounds like the chocks pre-dated the FA (and were not entirely safe) and had been removed by the time Al did it. So was the later chock that Simon removed placed higher up?
"Ascend the wide crack by arm and leg wedging passing several chockstones. Above the last of these it is difficult to adhere or progress"
However I am still certain that there were none in when I did it, though I think the number varied between none and 'several' on a yearly basis at that time.
Odd - but they were there when Joe Brown did the 1st ascent (1951) and they were there when I 1st looked at it (around 1968/9). I doubt they were removed in the interim as there was no other gear available until monster cams - 30 years later,
Others from 60's ascents have told me the same and that they also though Joe did it without (not that they thought he needed them) and it seems they were wrong (hence, why I thought a chock-less ascent was the case too). It's great news that Phil can just look stuff like this up now we have the FA books archived and I apologise for any confusion I caused.
I think that when you read the note and examine Doug Verity's photo, everything becomes clear.
>So was the later chock that Simon removed placed higher up?
No, it was just above the overhang. The one I and others replaced it with was also just above the overhang, but further in, so as not to interfere with the climbing yet still provide a runner. It's a shame if someone has removed it again.
Incidentally (I never saw Jim Perrin's letter to the mags), what evidence did he have for saying JB had done it without chockstones?
Oh, sorry; I see the OP says that JP had a (presumably different) photograph purporting to be the FA.
Stranger and stranger.
It is very odd to suppose that for 50 odd years people were surreptitiously adding or removing chockstones from the crack
First chockless ascent? If Joe wrote it had chocks in the FA the other photo must be after and might explain the views of others and the early chock-less state? He wouldn't be the first climber to go back and remove unsafe rock before reclimbing an arguably much improved route.
Doesn't seem very likely to me. I'd quite like to see this photo.
After all, IIRC Shark was saying he'd contacted JB and JB said there was no chock on the FA. You'd think he'd have remembered going back to take it out.
Hardly that odd: I know someone who admitted to me he is one side of the in-out chock status on Trapeze Direct.
Chockstones as Schrödinger's cat!
Not unusual (allegedly).
IIRC when the Lakeland Rock TV series was being made there was a conversation about Dovedale Groove which went roughly:
Joe: Whose route is that then?
Joe: So who did I do it with..?
Don: Yer did it with me!
Well, to be fair many of us might misremember the exact gear on routes we did 50 years ago.
To be equally fair the other photo still supposedly shows no chocks.
Well, he probably did the route a few times. I'm pretty sure there's a picture of him on it in either High Peak or The Hard Years (maybe the Doug Verity picture of which Phil speaks), and he doesn't look 18 in that. But his contemporary description doesn't allow of much doubt, assuming it's authentic.
Oh come on, can't anyone come up with either of these photos?
Reading The Villain biography I got the impression Joe generally had the more accurate memory.
But what is so wonderful about Joe is just how little he got involved in recording what he did and when. For him it was all genuinely about the joy of climbing, and never about self-promotion. It seems (from talking to him) that he never kept any kind of logbook. His memory is certainly pretty good, but memory can play tricks. We never established with certainty when he did L and R Unconquerable (on the same day) He thought it was about April 1949, but it could have been September 1948. Ernie Phillips, who took the photos, was fairly certain, but not 100 per cent, that it was spring time, so April 49 seems most likely. There was some reason why it couldn't have been May.
The Great Crack shot is in The Hard Years, but it doesn't say first ascent. No sign of any chockstones, but I'm not familiar with the route (beyond my range!). If the one we're talking about is just above the wide part of the chimney-crack, then it's definitely not there.
Not sure about no sign of any chockstones. The rope looks to be going into the crack, where presumably it's attached to something.
>If the one we're talking about is just above the wide part of the chimney-crack, then it's definitely not there.
You couldn't have seen the one Simon removed from this angle, nor any other one that's ever been there as far as I know.
Sure, and I didn't say that. He's obviously got protection round some chockstone deep in the back of the chimney. But surely the controversial one is higher?
OK - but I have a very vague memory (when walking past it on several occasions) of seeing a very conspicuous chockstone right at the front of the crack, just where above where it narrows.
>He's obviously got protection round some chockstone deep in the back of the chimney. But surely the controversial one is higher?
Yes. But you can't tell at all as far as I can see whether he has the rope round one just above the overhang (where the SL one was).
But anyway, if Joe really recorded in writing on the night of his ascent that there were two chockstones above the overhang, then that kind of ends the debate about the FA, at least, doesn't it?
Nat Allen told me there was little point asking Joe about any of his routes as he could never remember them! I disovered as much when Nat eventually persuaded Joe to tell me his recollections about the Quietus ascent. They were different from other ones previously reported by him!Joe's lack of recollection has been confirmed by a number of people on the Facebook Peak Rock site - he was known for repeating his own routes only to ask who had done the first ascent!
It doesn't really matter in the whole sum of things. Brown's contribution to climbing doesn't depend on the number or size of chockstones he did or didn't place! No-one seems to be complaining about the smaller chockstones placed throughout the fifties in providing meagre protection on many of the hardest routes at the time!
> >He's obviously got protection round some chockstone deep in the back of the chimney. But surely the controversial one is higher?
> Yes. But you can't tell at all as far as I can see whether he has the rope round one just above the overhang (where the SL one was).
> But anyway, if Joe really recorded in writing on the night of his ascent that there were two chockstones above the overhang, then that kind of ends the debate about the FA, at least, doesn't it?
Agreed. But the picture remains interesting ... perhaps a later ascent? I just thought that one chockstone was very visible at the front of the crack in, say, the 1970s (can't remember, really).
In 1969 RE had 2 chockstones at the narrowing. On my ascent I used 3 runners in total, The lowest one is shown in the photo in the 1965 SF guide on page 201. Both upper chockstones were useable as handholds. In the previous 4 years I had not noticed any change in the configuration of the chockstones.
Pity there aren't more pics in the database, but this seems to be the only one
>Pity there aren't more pics in the database,
I wonder why that could be!!
Just checking; is this supposed to be a shot of the first ascent? I have a picture in my mind and, unless I'm thinking of another route, it doesn't look quite like this. Zoomed as much as I can it looks like he's wearing PAs(EBs); would that have been the case in 1951? Was Brown, or anybody else in the UK, using PAs at the start of the 1950s?
No, it is just captioned Great Crack, Curbar. It could easily be a later ascent. Though the impression I get is that he didn't repeat routes very often, if at all. Was always looking at something new. And couldn't those be his Woolworth plimsolls?
Sorry - just being a bit slow. Not sure about the footwear, though; they look too light-coloured in the front half and too high in the uppers - if those are the uppers - for a plimsoll. Hard to tell. It would help if I could remember whence the picture in my head popped up - unless of course it's a generic "Brown in a flat cap on a gritstone crack" image that doesn't actually relate to any particular route!
> Don: Yours.
> Joe: So who did I do it with..?
> Don: Yer did it with me!
That really reminds me of a shocker of a conversation I had at work with a woman a few years ago,
Woman: I'm not sure what to do about it.
Me: Talk to your your supervisor about it. Who's your supervisor?
Woman (looking and sounding very annoyed) You are!
(Other people in the room fall about laughing at this point)
But to add grist to the mill,I took out a small chock below the overhang,as I noted several people were pulling on it to get past the roof section.This was no big deal as hex 10 and 11 fit that section.This was in the late 70's.As the photo shows,Brown's rope is definitely held in to the crack by something,presumably gritstone chocks.
As I pointed out before,not everyone in these minimum wage days,can afford large cams at 70 to 90 quid a pop.
I guess the stone chocks will go in and out of the route as people demonstrate their sense of ethics.Brown had them,judging by the photo.
I don't see why only the well off should enjoy leading the route.
No flaming or heated arguments either which is nice.
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