/ The Boulder Ruckle Girdle Traverse
I can find nothing about this on UKC except a post in 2005. Has anyone tried it, or parts of it?
One issue is that the UKC data base says that it is 3500m in 52 pitches. Being that I don't think there can be any walking, this makes for 70m pitches, which doesn't sound right. I don't the crag is that long either. I'm assuming it is "only" 3500 ft?
Sounds right. (My WORD, these forum changes are shite).
Another part of the reason (apart from the obvious ones) for the lack of interest is perhaps the fact that bits of it have fallen down. Mind, I can't think they'll be too hard to reclimb; the fault line will (presumably?) still be more or less there.
Go for it and let us know how it goes.
I tried this with Steve Parr back in the mid 70s, I guess we both felt it seemed a bit 'alpine' at least in terms of length. I think we managed about 30 pitches before we abbed of as it was getting dark. Much of the climbing, at least on the part we did, was severe, with odd sections at VS. I suspect the only way to do it in a day is to move together for large sections.
If you like girdling a superb one is Exposure Explosion HVS at Ogmore. 6 pitch 3 star and worth the trip to South Wales in its own right.
Am I the only one that shudders at the idea of deliberately traversing the chossy mid height break, I suppose its one better than trying to traverse the whole cliff 3 metres from the top out / mud bank ;)
Nope - sounds like a 'because it's there' undertaking, to be done once, by one party, and never again.
The plan, if there is one, is to try and stay away from the break where possible and find better rock at approximately the same height, using the original line when it gets difficult.
I haven't climbed at Boulder Ruckle, but that break sounds horrible! Out of interest, does anyone know if Paradise Street - the continuation leftwards from the Ruckle along to Cattle Troughs - is any nicer?
I also had a go in the seventies. I can't remember how many pitches we did, but it was a lot and we finally surfaced up a vertical line before brain death set in. I do remember that we were not impressed (and I am a Boulder Ruckle fanatic!). Much of it is on the fault line and chossy. Regarding the view that a lot will have fallen down I do know that my two routes - Diagonal and Dandruff have lost their top pitches so that section will be affected and there are other bits where rockfall has occurred. I am on the Ruckle tomorrow and Thursday this week so perhaps I will give it another look, but my advice at the moment is don't bother
Paradise Street is fine. It traverses much lower down on cleaner more solid rock.
Did it involve a lot of crawling? I find its not unusual to have a little crawl along that break looking for a belay on the multipitch routes :)
There was a bit, as I recall. All adds to the lack of charm. Like the stomach traverse on Tatra, which I have done 2 or 3 times (dunno why!);an utterly vile bit of climbing! Yeah, but I agree it is de rigeur to do that at the top of some first pitches such as Sweet and Sour, which I did as recently as last week. More scratches on my helmet from the experience. But enough of all this negativity. It is still one of the premier sea cliff experiences in the country and its reputation keeps the crowds away. Let them all stay on their plastic!
Haha Swanage is growing on me big time - been there every weekend for a while :) nothing wrong with a bit of a crawl along a ledge either.......
Another enthusiast then! In my experience people love or hate the Ruckle; no middle ground. Ought to be called the Marmite Cliff! We were discussing its attractions last week. I had been to Pembrokeshire a few days previously and that is fabulous climbing, but it never has held the attraction that the Ruckle has for me. What other cliff gives you that 'big' route feel on something barely topping 35m and what else gives you that 'out there'feeling with variety of climbing and stupendous situations?
I'd never done a route outside cattle troughs or subliminal prior to this year! How surprised was I when I abbed in to guillemot this year and saw an expanse of awesome rock formations, with really strong steep often well protected trad climbs on incredibly varied holds. Loved it! Been back a lot more since and intend to go many more times! Dare I say it but its somewhere I really feel suits my climbing style and I can push the grade - not really done so yet but I can feel it starting to happen :)
I learnt to climb there at the end of the 70's. I thought it was great, despite some seriously character-building moments. the I wnet to Norh Wales and the Peak and recognised Swanage for what it was - something that sits astride a crumbly line between an acquired taste and aversion therapy! I still think Buccaneer is the worst 3* route in the UK.
Iīve done sections of it back in my youth with a plan to do it over two days bivvying on Tatra. We sort of dropped the idea somewhere around Gypsy when a couple of metres of the fault line I was hand traversing along decided to depart downwards. Iīve still got the two bongs I bought as potential protection.
Not sure itīs actually the best route in the world!
>Not sure itīs actually the best route in the world!
God Stevo, really surprised - that means for once I'm more experienced than you (a virtual ruckle veteran a am) ;-)
Loved it! Been back a lot more since and intend to go many more times! Nice, look forward to some ruckle adventures.
Dare I say it but its somewhere I really feel suits my climbing style and I can push the grade - not really done so yet but I can feel it starting to happen :) Oh, watch out ;-)
You don't need to get involved with all that sort of deviance Pete - up the crack, sling a sling over the chicken head, clip and a couple of committing swings on your arms along the traverse and you've reached a massive foothold for your right foot - once you're there its over !!! I would like to see the stomach traverse ;-)
The Tatra stomach traverse is fun to watch I'm sure, but is humiliating to perform! Wriggling along like an oversize worm is about as far as it gets from gymnastic rock god antics. When I did the route I ended up utilising a hybrid approach - clipped the sling on spike just after the crack, set off on the hand traverse with good intentions, didn't find the good foothold you mentioned, felt hands losing traction on the sandy break and so midway between the crack and the belay desperately scrabbled up into the break and did the worm thing. :-)
Oh, is that what you're supposed to do? I remember thinking this pitch was decidedly stiff for VS, although the whole route of course is a thoroughly traditional sandbag at that grade.
Haha well with the rate I'm going there you won't be more experienced for long ;) This weekend will be the 4th weekend on the trot!
I think the time I spent climbing the scottish mountains put me in good stead for swanage - the commitment, lack of phone coverage and loose rock are all something I'm used to :)
I'm looking forward to doing some routes there with you, but unfortunately you keep shunning gods own rock for that nasty grit stuff ;)
Tatra is still VS in the Dorset rockfax believe it or not! I'm looking forward to doing it sometime.
Call me stupid but Jo looks excellent at HVS also looking forward to getting on that, I think I must be a gluten for punishment ;)
Jo is one of the better Ruckle routes, well worth doing.
I hand traversed Tatra, none of this worm nonsense!
The whole traverse sounds like a mission, but deffo stay above or below the break as much as possible.
Do you think Jo is fair at HVS? I hear its pretty hard in the grade......
Jo is the easiest HVS in the Ruckle as far as I know, and very good.
Jo is "Boulder Ruckle's Greatest Hits" - a bit of everything you tend to find down there. Not a pushover at the grade, but not a sandbag either. Thunderball next door has harder moves, but much is easier in between.
Jo is steep and on good holds - you'll love it. I have only seconded it and had one brief rest after removing awkward gear pumped me out. The first half of pitch 2 is pretty relentless, no single move too hard, just lots of successive high 4c/low 5a stuff. Plenty of gear if you can hang around to place it. I'd say a little more sustained than Lightning Wall (oh yes, that :-0) but no harder technically ...was defo better conditions the day I did Jo!
I thought Jo was a regulation hvs really, well worth doing.
sure john sure........
I still think Buccaneer is the worst 3* route in the UK.
Completely agree, hardly worth a star except perhaps for the line.
Surely the easiest HVS in the Ruckle is Finale Groove?
Pretty sure John is jesting. I remember a post from him earlier this year saying how hard Jo is for HVS!
I think Black Sunshine (with the upgrade to HVS in rockfax) is easier than Finale Groove. Aventura is also easy HVS and a very different style to Finale Groove but overall no more tricky to lead (perhaps easier as its straight forward climbing between the well protected cruxes)
But what a line!
Not sure, but compared to Flying Buttress Direct at Stanage and routes like it, all the HVS's at Swanage seem easy. Finale Groove always seems easier than Lightning Wall at least.
You might get a tiny bit of a lift in the grade at Swanage for entirely obvious reasons.
Fall off and break a leg or crack open your skull at Stanage and your second will be a bit pissed off because you've buggered up the day, do the same at Swanage and you may well have gifted your pal a nightmare.
I'm finding the grades at swanage fairly normal (with the expected amount of variation and the odd soft touch / hard in the grade climb) as long as I steer well clear of Subliminal and to some extent Cattle Troughs. I don't get along with the climbing style nearly as well at subliminal and the grades seem often quite a bit harder to me too.
Well, that's what I thought. I don't recall it the same as the other posters at all - pitch two seemed to be a walk bar about ten feet of 4c/5a pulling with a couple of large wires in the middle of it.
Finale Groove might be easier, perhaps (in truth I always forget that's given HVS). Lightning Wall I'd say was about the same.
For sure there's loads of Ruckle HVSses that are much harder - Thunderball, for a start, and Thor, and that's even before you get on to horrors like Viper.
That's because you can't spell it (hence missing the joke inherent in the cliff's name). It all gets much easier once you can do that.
I do agree though that Baboon, Transcript Direct and Philatus, for example, (and Freda) are all pretty stiff for the grade (and Stroof, for that matter). But then that's as it should be; they're all short well-protected struggles compared to the Ruckle outings. (well, except Freda and Philatus, I suppose).
>Pretty sure John is jesting.
I'm not, honestly! I did it quite recently too, at a time when HVS was pretty much what I could do.
I take it back then :)
Rockfax have Jo quite high in the graded list but not at the absolute top of the HVS grade (unlike Tatra which is the highest in the grade list for VS).
I'm trying to decide if I'll try Jo or Behmoth at the weekend, I generally climb cracks quite well but I'm enjoying the climbing out of the cracks more at the moment.
Thunderball is E1 in the new rockfax Dorset guide.
With Subluminal I find the rock much less predictable holds wise quite often they aren't as good as elsewhere, many more of the cracks are incipient with more fiddly gear and quite often the climbing is hard from the off so you need to protect against hitting the ledge. Oh yeah did I mention the grades are nails ;)
Yes, all true. I guess it's because the rock there is naturally more sea-washed, perhaps?
Behemoth is brilliant, but much, much harder.
I know we're in the minority in the databases, but everyone I know who's done it agrees with me about Jo. Oh well. Try it and report back, I guess.
Thunderball is proper Ruckle HVS, so you'd naturally expect RF to have upgraded it.
Enjoy mate, I was going to Derbyshire with Ben but I've got to go a play removal man up in London (not happy)
I suppose in Swanage you can call a French taxi ;-)
Me too mate I recon it is gonna be a right laugh - haven't been down there for what seems like ages.
PS Get on Tatra you'll be fine - it's a full on adventure (just make sure that both of you are ready !!!! and don't do it in less than perfect conditions - it was slimy on pitch 1 when I lead it and it was bloody awkward !!)
Hey Jez, a man after my own heart ! You're so hard core mate ;-)
Ivan - it's only humiliating if you let it be ;-) I think the key is to make up your mind (as to what you are gonna do) and then get on with it.
I remember having a good look at all the possibilities before committing - I went all the way along the party ledge, clipped the shitty old peg etc before moving back unclipping the peg and then after putting a low wire in the crack launching up it lassoing a chicken head at the top, scoping out the foot holds at the end of the traverse.
There are literally only a couple of large monkey swings/hangs before a massive foothold - Once I committed I thought "Is that it?"
I would have thought it would take more effort to get up into the break.
> I would have thought it would take more effort to get up into the break.
It probably did! Efficiency is not a strong suit of mine on occasion - suspect I did the hardest part of the hand traverse then topped that with an awkward and strenuous trasfer into the break!
All part of the experience.
Yeh, nice one mate ;-) I think it's always easy to analyse it afterwards in the cold light of day, sometimes at the time you just do stuff :-)
As you say all part of the experience.
I lead both pitches of jo yesterday. Really nice route apart from the guano on pitch 1. found it easier than lightening wall and marginally harder than aventura overall. So soft to mid grade hvs I thought.
Interestingly the West Country Climbs Rockfax guide has Jo very low in the (gradedlist) HVS grade (and lightening wall too which I'm not so sure about myself). However Thunderball is listed as solid E1 and harder than many established proper E1's including some at swanage (IIRC)
I was far too relaxed leading Jo, I need to get on some nice well protected E1s at Swanage on nice rock I think.....
Having done Jo 3 times and Lightning Wall about 15 over the years I would agree that Jo is mid grade HVS, a bit harder than Finale Groove and quite a bit harder than Lightning Wall. Lightning Wall is a one move wonder with the only move involving engagement of the brain being the one off the fault line belay. This may just get 5a. The rest barely merits 4c with the first pitch being about the 4b it is given. VS's such as Sweet SA and Heidelburg Creature are considerably tougher propositions than Lightning Wall. Not that this is to decry it. It is a fabulous route with great positions. Heidelburg Creature last week with slime running down the first pitch cracks was a lot harder than any of the routes under discussion, but even in the dry it is a lot tougher than quite a few of the HVS's on the Ruckle.
I find Heidelburg creature very much VS climbing (done it twice in the last couple of months) and nothing like as hard as lightening wall. The only HVS I've done at swanage which is potentially easier is Black Sunshine.
Lightening wall has a very definite sequence of quite a lot of moves from the mid way belay all of which are 4c or harder (the step across move is proper 5a imo). You then have a bold 4a/4b traverse and the section just above the old crap peg is not very well protected and also 4c IMO. I've only seconded Finale Groove but I'd say its around the same difficulty as lightening wall (on the lower side of mid grade HVS).
Jo is easier than this IMO. P2 being fairly easy climbing from the belay ledge to the thread (around HS/ easy VS if you can crack climb) IMO and then just a couple of HVS moves with good gear in to the finishing corner which also has a rest before you start it and is well protected VS climbing. Pitch 1 of Jo is around the VS/HVS border and has one stiff 4c move in it going through the overhang and then is incredibly easy for HVS to the belay (if you can back and foot as well as bridge)
I guess everyone finds climbs different.
Well done; told you Jo was easy.
Not sure why HC always gets complained about either; looks like it will be the next uncalled-for Swanage upgrade though.
VS's such as Sweet SA and Heidelburg Creature are considerably tougher propositions than Lightning Wall. Not that this is to decry it. It is a fabulous route with great positions. Heidelburg Creature last week with slime running down the first pitch cracks was a lot harder than any of the routes under discussion, but even in the dry it is a lot tougher than quite a few of the HVS's on the Ruckle.
Well said that man! I think that the first pitch of Heidelburg is top end VS (my mate who is far more experienced than me seconded the first pitch and his first comment on reaching the first belay was HVS.
Just out of curiosity Pete - which HVS's would you class as easier than HC ? This would be helpful for me as I need to start racking up more ruckle HVS's (on route to eventually leading Elysium).
How does Behemouth stack up ?
I wouldn't think it needs upgrading (it's just top end of it's current grade - I think most people would agree) Tatra however is a different story - I've done a few easier HVS's
Just look in the graded list in the rockfax guide.....
Behemoth does not have the reputation of being a soft touch! (more like right at the top of the HVS grade and crack climbing too!)
But I can recommend these as well protected and fairly low in the HVS grade:
You've already lead finale groove right? which is different but I think marginally harder overall than any of these.
Compared to the very slightly damp Tatra I did there are easier E1's.
Yeh, FG I thought was a path (although the top section is a bit loose and makes you think).
I had someone warn me off of Behemouth - although I've heard conflicting reports
Now stop messing about Stevo and get yourself on Tatra ;-)
It's always nice to get recommendations from peeps who have climbed the routes in question
If you could let me know which ones Al I'd be grateful - when I lead it I ended up leading all three pitches !!!! The first pitch was wet/damp when I did it and made the couple of moves up the crack tough !!!
I may do Tatra as a warm up sometime, but its not really that high on my wish list mate ;)
I'm all psyched up for hard HVS / easy E1 climbing :)
Of the climbs I've done in the Ruckle this is my personal view of them in ascending order of difficulty, I have steered clear of any of the really tough HVSes and yet to venture onto E1, so although Jo is top of my list I recognise it is realistically mid grade HVS (with good gear):
This doesn't entirely correspond with how they are graded and others will have a different view, but it is always interesting to have these debates!
You can run, but you can't hide matey ;-)
That seems about right although IMHO - HC is harder than FG (although granted not as sustained overall) and I would say that overall Tatra is harder than LW
My list in ascending order is (I've done all these in the last year or so:
Silhouette Arete (VS)
Bottomless Buttress (HS)
Batt Crack (VS)
Zo Zo (VS)
Black Sunshine (HVS)
Tensor II (VS)
The Heidelberg Creature (VS)
Finale Groove (only seconded this one) (HVS)
Lightning Wall (HVS)
If there was a mid height belay on FG it would be easier than HC and would surely be VS. It's a test of fitness though.
try leading lightning wall and you might change your mind ;)
You have a point mate - And you try leading Tatra and you might change yours ;-)
I didn't express an opinion about which was harder, just sayin' its all about the lead and LW had a more serious feel to it after the crux which makes it a more intimidating lead.
Granted Stevo that FG might be a bit more sustained, but technically it's very straightforward and you can bridge the whole bottom section, there is so much good gear as well.
Although there are not as many moves on HC the crux move is technically harder.
I think it's one of those that is up for debate and may well just depend on how someone is climbing on the day.
Yep would totally agree mate - I'm sure that the traverse feels spicy as f@ck on the lead.
Although I know someone who has lead and seconded it and said that it didn't feel that much better to second
The traverse on LW is positive and pretty bold but quite easy and it gets easier as you leave the gear behind, the next section is VS climbing on very spaced gear the hardest bit has a 4b/4c move well above not brilliant gear.
And I know that at some stage I've got to lead LW (and it seems a long time ago I seconded it) I'm sure that when I do I will be nervous
Although as you know I didn't lead it I seem to remember there being a bomber medium size wire close to the shitty old ring peg ?
I think in nearly 15 metres of climbing after the traverse there is 4 bits of gear, one of them is at feet level when you start off and none of the bits above are properly bomber. After this section there is some good gear and about another 5 metres to the top.
Also its not a bomber medium nut but its quite good, sits a bit on its corners. The peg is a large kingpin / knifeblade style but old and not trustworthy and above that a cam (in a slippery limestone crack behind a large block that looks a bit dubious but kinda ok too) then you leave all that behind and do the hardest moves after the traverse which are up and right and eventually involve a rock over with the gear well below your feet and also to the side and after that you still have another move or two that are at least 4b.
So all in if you also consider the bold traverse, the second half of the route feels a committing and quite serious lead (compared with say HC which is safe as houses as long as those wedged blocks stay put!)
IME it's unwise to underestimate Lighting Wall. A friend of mine took a trip across half of Boulder Ruckle while attempting to second the traverse, including a reasonably close inspection of the boulders at the bottom of the route. Now Im sure a bit of competence can avoid that sort of thing, but then thats usually the case.
Totally agree. (OK, I know this applies to a lot of Swanage) but, great route that it is, there's something about it whispering insidiously in your ear that it'll have your guts for garters if you don't pay attention.
You're absolutely right (as always) wise old sage ;-)
Well, if being wise is such a big deal, then why don't...
Ah, forget it!
This thing about old pegs being trustworthy or not. I was following Rod Haslam on an early ascent/crossing of Raven Tor Girdle (I still claim to be the only person to have done both RTG and Cream Team Special) and we were trying to do it fast, so Rod just used a nut and missed out our last peg not weighting it. I got there thought the peg was ok and proceeded to lean back from it to extract the previous peg. The one I was on immediately pinged and I started swinging towards Rod ripping out gear as I fell with the bank coming quickly into focus and proximity. Finally one held, and I hung there with old gear , masses of pegs and wedges rattling down the rope towards me. I unclipped them from the rope and into my belt and prusiked up to join the line again, Quickest depegging ever done on the pitch. Just don't trust old pegs :-)
Speed climbing, eh! That's how they do these big routes on El Cap so quickly, er... isn't it?
There's a great photo of you pulling a silly face on the belay of CTS in Peak Rock - have you seen it yet?
No Fed Ex Spain are still pissing about getting my copy to me :-(
As I said both Finale Groove and Lighting Wall are easier than Heidelburg Creature in my opinion. Tho as has been said it is always a question of style and my judgement is probably coloured by last week's ascent when it was damp and oozing in every crack making it a very scary proposition tho with bomber gear. (it was supposed to be a warm up route!). On Lightning Wall I always step right straightaway on the wall starting the second pitch, which the guidebook says is harder than going up left and then gaining the traverse, but it is still only one or two moves with your feet on friction, but the hands on good jugs/layaways. I can't think of any other HVS's that are easier. Many of them are considerably tougher propositions. I have done Behemouth again recently. That second pitch is quite tough being very strenuous, making fixing gear difficult. RIP is not bad and a nice route. I did the second or third ascent of that many years ago thinking that I had done a new route! I can't really think where it would rate in the the difficulty scale tho. Probably about the same as Jo.
is it supposed to be in ascending order of difficulty?
Funnily enough the last time I led the Heidelburg Creature, it was immediately after an epic ascent of Astrid in the Black Zawn.
It was positively mundane by comparison, never before (or since for that matter), has the Ruckle felt friendly, mild and safe.
Well it would after Astrid - which is IMHO one of the very best routes at Swanage -it is however somewhat 'adventurous'
And any ascent of Astrid is always epic
In the west country climbs guide there is a graded list and tatra isn't the top of the VS graded list its about 4th (I can remember anvil chorus as being above it - something I've lead and consider to be VS), considering by most peoples opinion and also the Dorset rock fax that tatra is harder than Heidelburg Creature its fair to say as west country climbs go HC is quite a way off being the hardest VS in the west country and is correctly graded at VS (which is what all 3 guidebooks I have for the area have it at)
I like steep ground, and I can name numerous steep VS test pieces on grit and granite that are harder to lead than Heidelburg Creature.
I'd like to add that all the HVS climbs I've done so far at swanage bar black sunshine are correct at HVS all be it none of them being particularly high in the grade.
Behemoth is high on my list as climbs I want to do, it'll be interesting to see how I find it considering it is supposed to be high in the grade and is crack climbing (something I'm reasonable proficient at for my grade) and is well protected, so something I should be safe enough to try.
Yes, but based on the personal views of a lanky bloke with pathetic upper body strength and a strong sense of self-preservation.
HC is physical, but is all there and reasonably straightforward. I have no idea how Black Sunshine has gone up to HVS, unless it is for the terrifying bit after the rock runs out at the top.
I think of the climbs we've both done we are in broad agreement, I find Lightning Wall and Bottomless Buttress a bit harder than you do and silhouette aręte a bit easier.
I guess Heidelburg Creature is one of those borderline climbs that in my view is definitely VS and in others is HVS, much like Anvil Chorus or Little Brown Jug in cornwall (or indeed Altar Crack, Broken Crack and The File on grit).
This climbing game is all so subjective asking other people which climbs are slightly easier/harder than X is almost meaningless. It's pretty clear that many find Jo a complete path at HVS whilst for others its high in the grade!
I couldn't quite work out which one of those cracks was Argo. The obvious nice chalked one seemed to be rather harder than HVS.
Anyway, your list reminds me that there's an HVS bridging corner somewhere between Subluminal and Avernus which is quite easy for the grade.
The start of Argo is fingery 5a with ground fall potential, but you can avoid it to the left by the start of Black Crack. The top pitch starts up a crack that leans to the right - borderline VS/HVS, steep and very exposed but with plenty of gear.
I hope that I am not giving away confidential information here, but I am reliably informed that the forthcoming CC guide will keep Tatra and Heidelberg Creature at VS.
If you mean between Subluminal and Astrid then Grooved Arete?
I don't remember the details re Argo, and to be honest I was holding someone's rope and paying more attention to the approaching water than his efforts. But in general I recall having some issues with exactly where we were meant to be.
Scott: think it was Crepitus, actually? The logbooks don't seem to think much of it, but I thought it was OK.
I thought the start of Black Sunshine was a bit stiff for Hard Severe so gave it (soft) VS at the time (the top we climbed in the dark anyway but it wasnīt anything special), canīt really see any connection grade wise between it and Behomoth!
when I lead it on pitch 1 under the overhang I traversed quite low with my hands on to what looked like a foot hold on the arete, this sequence wasn't at all sustained for VS and had at most a 4c move in it. Other than that very straight forward climbing I thought. Perhaps if you actually climb higher under the overhang before moving across so your foot is on this hold its harder and hence the differing opinions on grades?
I gather that Crepitus is better after someone pulled off the loose holds that made the sound of grating bones!
Crepitus is just E of Avernus.
In reply to BobM
I like that "reliably informed"!
>canīt really see any connection grade wise between it and Behomoth
Not easy, is it! This is what you get when outsiders write guidebooks to an area.
TBF I think the BS upgrade is largely down to people getting lost.
Yes, the name didn't exactly sell it. It didn't seem that loose to me. I forget why we did it now; might have been some tide-related issues foiling a planned ascent of Avernus. Although in that case I don't really understand why it's East of Avernus. I think I need to consult my guidebook.
I think I would rather have climbed that steep pile of tottering earth and boulders in the dark - after all, what you can't see, can't hurt you!
So Tatra will remain as the most serious and difficult VS in the country, gives it the respectability of notoriety I suppose. The 'easy' top pitch is worth 5a on its own
I do agree that what is emerging is an utter fantasy.
The first pitch can be difficult when damp but is both safe and easy to get off. The second is a straightforward hand traverse with reasonable gear and very good feet; to grovel along the ledge is a downright weird way to approach it. The third is excellent, safe and fair for the grade.
There are more serious and more difficult VSīs at Swanage than Tatra and donīt even think about Scottish VS. Iīve seconded Tatra in natty Cuban heeled boots with the leader wearing approach shoes because we were out for a "walk". Looks like you just had a bad day on it!
Which Scottish VS climbs do you find harder than Tatra, having lived in Scotland for 6 years when VS was the main grade I was leading I find the climbing in Scotland generally quite soft in the grade in the modern guide books.
+1 The only thing that I would say is that the traverse is awkward to protect (I chucked a sling around some of that crumbly fault line stuff) and you always have in the back of your mind that if you fall off you might hit that party ledge.
Also P3 has a couple of tricky moves (although well protected) for the grade - 4b isn't it ?
Ok then let's throw this in the mix - Ledgend Direct (now sporting HVS 5a) at Guillemot - a path compared to Tatra ;-)
I'm looking forward to climbing this legendary climb 'Tatra', seems once I've lead this VS that is 5th hardest in the west country climbs guide VS graded list (and below some other VS climbs I've lead that are fair in the grade) that I'll be a solid HVS Swanage leader and well ready for E1 :P
Wasn't Mikes point that it's just a VS with a potentially hard first pitch when its damp (which I'm guessing from the other swanage cave starts I've done it often is at the start) with the rest of the climb being pretty standard VS fair?
At the end of the day its just a climb and its just a grade, the grade boundaries overlap because they are subjective. Because we all climb differently it can't be an exact science. Tatra will probably have been graded for dry conditions. If you personally find the style of climbing hard on Tatra and also lead it in damp conditions when VS was very close to your upper limit you were bound to find it hard. Its also totally normal you would find some HVS climbs that better suit your style easier.
Yep, fair point - interesting to see in the list you refer to that FG is above LW - wrong me thinks, harder it is, force you will need (in the voice of yoda) ;-)
Which ones in particular have you in mind Jim? Because I can't think of any (or if there are, I will avoid them like the plague!).
Also I think that Tatra is a very different climb (in that it has 3 very unusual and different adventurous pitches)
+1 move along now nothing to see, just some chubby bloke struggling up a VS ;-)
More than one bad day on it Jim, I've always found it hard, far harder than FG and LW, I think harder than Behemoth.
By the way this may be just me but I think Legend Direct is well worth HVS as is Tensor 2.
In which case, Higgins definitely.
Yeah the rockfax west country graded list and the rockfax dorset graded list order the swanage climbs very differently, I guess because different authors have their own styles / climbing preferences.
All I know is IMO Swanage is awesome climbing, highly rewarding!
Out of interest how do you get on with steep climbing? What's your style preference?
I found Tensor 2 about 3/4 of the way up the VS grade. Which pitch did you think worthy of HVS?
But it's not gods own rock - GRIT ;-)
this is a swanage loving thread - you can take that horrible abrasive rounded rock on to another thread ;)
Interesting ?? Behemoth is supposed to be a complete b@stard !
Ledgend Direct was my first HVS lead and I remember doing the top moves on pitch one thinking "Is that it ?" It's 1-2 strenuous moves above bomber gear - maybe I was just having a good day ?
GRIT, GRIT, feck, drink, DRINK ! (in the father ted style) - at least Stanage won't fall on top of you ;-)
One of my climbing partners has done behemoth and reckons its fine. Then again horses for courses... If your crack climbing is up to scratch... Can it really be as hard as some of the grit HVS crack test pieces?
Horrible and rounded yes, rock (if you can call it rock) for the sexually-deviant yes (Jimmy Saville used to climb at Stanage regularly you know), but any Swanage enthusiast can scarcely criticise grit for being abrasive, not when they like the flesh-mincing, finger-slicing delights of the Boulder Ruckle.
The only moment of difficulty is getting across to the belay at the top of the first pitch which, I've found, depends on whether or not I am paying any attention to what I'm doing. The second pitch is only a crack in name and virtually a clip up with a sit down rest half way up should you feel the need.
>Can it really be as hard as some of the grit HVS crack test pieces?
No. But then if you imagine meeting, say, Teck Crack halfway up the Ruckle you'll soon see why.
Al must have been on the wrong cliff when he thought he was doing Tatra, if he thinks the top pitch is 5a.
>>just some chubby bloke struggling up a VS ;-)
>In which case, Higgins definitely.
>with a sit down rest half way up should you feel the need.
Which, I would just like to assure other posters who haven't done the route, you definitely will.
>.. If your crack climbing is up to scratch... Can it really be as hard as some of the grit HVS crack test pieces?
And there we have it my wookie friend ;-) Off to K2 now to avoid that nasty crack !!
Work on your weaknesses I'm sure that Jedi master Gresham says that.
As you like graded lists here is one to amuse you, I know jcm & AE have seen this before, but I think it's worth another outing among the Swanage fans on this thread. When it was compiled Finale Groove was used as the touchstone "easiest HVS"
1977 Swanage guide (Richard Crewe) graded list ,and what a tick list!
Cormorant Buttress West HVD
Zig Zag S Altered by rockfall
Crack of Dawn S Fallen down
Jericho Groove HS
Wall Street HS
Parsons Pleasure MVS
Eskimo Nell VS
Sea Ride VS
Old Faithful VS
Easter Egg VS Fallen down
Batt Crack VS
Middle Buttress VS
Giraffe VS Fallen down
Tensor II VS
Quality Street VS
Aquascrotum VS Fallen down
Finale Groove HVS
Lightning Wall HVS
Black Jack HVS
Bosun's Wall HVS
Amber Gambler HVS
Conger HVS (1 pt of aid at crux)
Thunder Groove HVS
August Angie HVS
White Horse HVS
Dead Red XS
Tudor Rose XS
I haven't seen it, actually. Brilliant - proper grades, and quite a few routes I've not even heard of (Snout?!). Loving Mars at HVS, which is not so unreasonable in an old-school kind of way.
While I haven't done it though I have looked up at it and I will eat my hat if it's true that Squid is easier than Tudor Rose!
I was going to mention Bosun's Wall - nice mid-grade Ruckle HVS.
well don't go whingeing on here early next year asking how to improve your crack climbing if all winter you avoided a lovely F6b+ jamming crack at your local wall ;)
Looks like a few surprises there :) Eskimo Nell may have caught a few people out at soft VS ;)
Snout is at Blackers Hole.
Squid- better buy a chocolate hat John! Squid is not too bad if you can bridge up overhanging walls and fist-jam roofs. Very well protected and less scary than Tudor Rose.
Mars was HVS when I did it, but I was stronger than I knew back then.
>Squid is not too bad if you can bridge up overhanging walls and fist-jam roofs
I've heard Indian Face is not too bad if you're confident on unprotected 6c slabs....
so then I googled "chocolate hats", - I never knew!
You mean this?
Me neither. Specialist market, I'd have thought. I won't be eating one of those!
Actually, on the subject of decent not-too-hard Swanage HVSses, Pearly Gates would qualify.
Eskimo Nell at Mild VS must indeed have given a few people a fright. What's the story there, Scott - has something fallen off it, or the line been straightened out or something?
Mostly I'd agree with that list Scott, given a few anomalys and the normal Swanage esoterica, I think the XS list is dead on if a bit limited these days.
One huge exception is Straphothanin, I nearly died on that, as did my second, I have no idea what it is like with the rock I left in my wake, never gone near it since, stuff the size of dustbins falling off as I went to step on them. Ah! Swanage :-)
Most of those routes had a few in-situ pegs which would have taken the fear away, a block fell off along time ago, and as before - we were strong with weak imaginations!
Considering what a short time 1977 - 2013 is in geological terms it is quite alarming how many of the routes on the Richard Crewe list have been destroyed/altered by rockfall.
There are a few on there that have changed grade quite markedly - Eskimo Nell from VS to E1 (I'd go with HVS 5b), Benny from HVD to VS (almost impossible to grade - you probably need to be a VS leader to be comfortable on it, especially the aid pitch). Ledgend has actually seen a downgrade to HS. Aventura rightly at VS and Tatra is certainly testing at VS, but I tend to agree it is the right grade.
Heidelberg is hard VS, but is VS IMO and easier than Tatra. A couple of other good Swanage climbs that I feel are overgraded in the 2012 Rockfax are Coral Prison (gets VS, steady HS IMO) and Tobacco Road (similar). I'm another vote for Ledgend Direct at VS, short hard section with bomber gear is archetypal VS 5a territory.
BTW Have we given up discussing the girdle of the Ruckle?
Did have a little look at it today (and worked a few sections ) yep just as I though - fĢckin horrid hard work !
I'd forgotten how much I love crack climbing - and how bloody knackering it is ;-)
And who told you it was 6b+ ??
Yes, we are now discussing general Ruckle wonderfulness/scariness/Ruckleishness, on the basis that no-one who is even close to sane would contemplate the traverse.
Swanage, innit? Here today, gone tomorrow. So get down fast!
('When the sun comes out, they'll all be doing 'em...' Whillans on Cloggy)
Any idea when the new CC guide will be out? Will it be photo based diagrams like rockfax?
It is at the proof reading stage, so hopefully some time next year. (Though it has been 'due out next year' for quite a while now). Same format as other recent CC guides, with almost all routes covered by colour photo topos. Steve Taylor is the editor and he could probably give you a more accurate forecast.
Nice to see Richard's graded list. As Crack of Dawn and Aquascrotum have fallen I just have Snout and Dead Red left to do. Anyone know if they're any good?
Squid's great, John, just don't do what I did on the overhang, getting my foot caught on my rope so that as I attempted to pull over the lip my leg involuntarily pushed down and the rope pulled me down again. Luckily after several oscillations I realised what was happening and sorted myself out. I suppose strictly speaking it was an aided ascent, even though the rope didn't help me...
Re. Boulder Ruckle Girdle, didn't Mikey Robertson do it in one push? For long traverses I recommend Traverse of the Fossils (13 pitches) and Back to the Future (9 pitches) at Lulworth. Shame that the army don't allow climbers past the Fossil Forest though.
I've now had three plays on the Girdle Traverse in the last two weeks. The terror, the terror. The line is great, the rock is terrible. I knew it was going to be dusty, but in places it is also snappy and it is easy to think something is solid when it isn't. Not recommended.
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