/ Gogarth 50 years on
Read about it here:
This weekend Martin Boysen is going back to Wales to climb Gogarth again, only this time with Rab Carrington.
Fine little read that
Hmmm - haven't been to Gogarth in years
Don't bother - according to one poster on here it's just choss!
Gogarth the route mainly is choss. The balance is redressed somewhat though with other stuff.
Thanks, what a great interview.
No way is Gogarth choss !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Interesting read - and a bonus of an absolutely fabulous video of T Rex. I've not been down in the bottom of Wen Zawn. Looks positively alpine!
Their combined age, must be similar to when Gogarth was first formed in "crustyold" era, when the sea rescinded, and climbers appeared with hemp ropes and plimsoles and balls as big as a T Rex's!!!!
Hope they have fun
>Interesting read - and a bonus of an absolutely fabulous video of T Rex. >I've not been down in the bottom of Wen Zawn. Looks positively alpine!
The first pitch of T Rex is a bit of a gripper in my opinion, particularly if it's slightly damp or greasy as it often is.
Wot he said.
dream of white horses is still on my top two list of best climbs.
Good stuff by great folk but didn't Jackson and Birtles (?) actually do it first but in different bits ie.in combinations with Cordon Bleu? Sure I read an article saying as much.
That poster knows nothing!
That was Rat Race.
Don't comment about a route about which you have no experience of. Gogarth is not all about the top pitch which may be the crux, but the second pitch is no pushover and the big groove pitch (3) is wonderful. It also has some wonderful hanging belays. And it was a tough HVS when I first did it in the early 70's. In fact for a first ascent on a totally unknown cliff this was a stunning first route.
I thought Gogarth was a superb climb when I did it. Excellent climbing in a fantastic position, one of the best E1s around.
I'm not. Because I've done it.
I'm not having a go at the pioneering efforts of the FAs, massive respect, just saying that it is now outdone by almost all of its neighbours. In fact its probably the worst of the sub E5 'classics' on Main Wall.
In which case your luck is in, because if you thought that was good then standby.
Absolutely. Obviously a fantastic first ascent - I can scarcely imagine setting off up the choss and seagrass of an untouched Gogarth - but with the crag now fully explored it turns out to one of the poorer routes. Main Cliff has routes like Scavenger, Big Groove and Assassin (plus all the hard ones I haven't done) which really stand out as among the very best routes I've ever done. Gogarth is very broken with a lot of easy, sometimes overgrown or chossy climbing, and a short crux section of much greater difficulty.
I'm really surprised by these descriptions of choss on Gogarth, it didn't feel like that ten years ago. I wonder if it has gone that way as a result of the neglect that so many crags have received recently. Many starred routes in the mountains have deteriorated, perhaps sea cliffs are going the same way. I did Scavenger about three years ago and that seemed fine.
Did you know The Assassin was so called because Jim pulled off a loose hold and took out a late nesting seabird on a ledge below him. Jim was very upset and named the climb as it's epitaph, when I got up to him he was almost unconsollable, the birds were supposed to have gone by then.
In those days we often did Gogarth as a warm up, I don't remember it being chossy.
Brilliant! (Not the poor thing's assassination.)
I guess it's not really chossy, it just covers some broken ground. The rock on the hard climbing on pitches 2 and the top one is excellent. Similar climbing on that top pitch to Nightride, but Nightride provides a lot more of it (although it is bloody miles to get there and back!).
I can well imagine. He seemed very knowledgeable, caring and protective about nature. A rather private young man, serious, determined and thoroughly decent. When he went off to Cloggy with you and pretty much ticked the crag, we were gobsmacked. A sign of things to come.
Thats a sad story Al.
But its always Interesting to Learn how routes came by their names.
I think I last did it in '09, but every time I've done it it's always been somewhat grassy in places, and the line is kind of random. I don't think these and mountain routes are getting any worse in general though, do you really think there are LESS people doing them? That's just grumpyoldman syndrome. </takeCover>
I think one can make a good case for a lot of mountain routes getting fewer ascents nowadays with most climbers just going for the big starred classics. So there aren't necessarily less folk about (when the weather is good at least) but the numbers are perhaps spread over fewer routes?
Gorgarth was also my first lead there. Supposed to be doing Rat Race but we got lost, fortunately as it turned out, found Gogarth hard enough. Interesting piece.
Jim Moran was a very underrated clmber, and I suppose a person too, he is vastly intelligent and caring, but his skill and boldness is his legacy, but maybe not exatctly all he really deserves in the history of UK climbing, a similar person would be Keith Myhill.
I don't think Jim was underated, Al. As I remember he (and his name) was always up there with the best.
I guess in the Peak he grew up in the shadow of fellow Glossopian Gabriel Regan who was always the star in the Glossop lads, who were coached by the way by Alan McHardy. But in fact Jim's contribution to UK climbing, and I shared some of it with them both, turned out to be Jim's rather than Gabes, who was brilliant but lazy :-)
But what do you base that on?
So there aren't necessarily less folk about ..
No, there are many more. The BMC seem to think numbers have been increasing for years and it's one of the fastest growing pursuits.
I get the impression from what people say about the condition of routes that mountain trad and possibly some sea cliffs are less popular now than in the 80s, say. The reason is presumably that while climbing in general has got a lot bigger, that has followed trends away from hard(ish) trad. As such, Stanage is more popular than ever with low-grade climbers, but a huge proportion of hard climbers find sport and bouldering more appealing than trad. Chee Dale is a great case in point: Chee Tor was where it was at in the 80s (so I'm led to believe) but now it's neglected and overgrown while the sport routes are busy and polished.
Being the anti-social, contrary kind of arsehole I am, I really like the fact that E-grade trad is a bit eccentric these days and the cool thing to do is don a beanie and yell "send it dude" or hang on a rope for hours not climbing some crap polished limestone.
I think with the exception of places like Cheedale, which have suffered due to the lack of an in print guide book, are places like Pillar and Gable actually less frequented? So this is my main question:
For what reason would there be suddenly less people willing to make that trek, despite the fact there is now a much bigger pool of climbers able to do so?
Are modern climbers lazier? Are they less skilled? Less adventurous? Is acid rain to blame?
Until somebody presents a viable hypothesis, or better still, data, rather than misty eyed flawed memories, I don't accept it.
Nice one Geoff thanks for providing that link
When I started climbing everyone used to do pretty much the same thing. Trad climbing for most of the year, and possibly two weeks in the Alps or the Dolomites in the summer. Nowadays, many of the more proficient climbers dedicate their most serious efforts to sport climbing or bouldering. The sport has split into a number of different disciplines.
A bigger pool of climbers, many (possibly considerably more) of whom do far more sport climbing than trad climbing. And when they do trad climb, they tend to go to the popular venues?
I think they might be less adventurous - another side effect of the impact of sport climbing?
I think you've hit the nail there. Although there are now more climbers, that increase is made up of a lot of people who climb indoors and progress to bouldering and sport climbing outdoors. These people don't own guidebooks to Gable and Pillar, they don't look at the routes and long for a hot spell in the summer when they might come into condition.
If it's true that the crags are less popular now than decades ago - and I don't know that to be the case as I wasn't climbing back then - then the reputation of the crags, their place in the climbing scene will have changed. Personally if I see a 3* E2 on a remote mountain crag I get all excited and start asking on UKC whether it's always coated in 3 inches of moss and slime while I wait for several years for a hot spell to coincide with my days off. Not many people are like that.
I assume that when these crags were popular it was when climbing say E3 on a mountain crag meant you were pretty good, it was something to be quite proud of. The routes might have more kudos, they might not have been done thousands of times. I think the status of these crags might have changed hugely in people's minds. These days, if you're on Gable Crag you're eccentric, but if you're on Raven Tor you're the man.
Different skills. Climbing f8a etc is certainly more common.
Possibly. I don't think it's really that adventurous to go and climb established routes with a walk-in, but comparatively I guess it is.
Hadn't thought of that. Could be the immigrants, too.
I climbed with Jim on a few occasions around the mid 70's - a bit before he started hitting the headlines. A lovely guy, with an infectious enthusiasm, and a wonderfully down to earth personality.
Whilst I value your opinion, that is really just opinion.
I've been climbing since the mid eighties, mountain routes were just as green and chossy then, many will be no matter how many people do them.
If you were free climbing on Raven Tor in the eighties, you were the man.
I just don't see much of a disparity between when I started and now (well, 2012, which is when I left the UK). In fact I did a route on Pillar in 2011, but I had to switch because there were two parties already on it. Is that significant? Probably not. None of these empirical type observations are meaningful unless we stand at the bottom with a clipboard for 20 years.
Hi Phil, thanks for the reply. I was reminiscing recently over the many good routes I have done with you.
I climbed Gogarth as one of my first routes on Gogarth back in the early 1970s. I remember it being an incredible adventure. In those days, we used round the waist belays. My second (who was a much larger guy than me) started resting on the rope whilst hanging in space on the second pitch. As he was cutting me in two, I started lowering him which prompted him to get back on and climb it. Phew!
Since then I've been back many times to Gogarth for some of the best and most memorable climbing I have done.
Yeah, I think Gogarth was my first route there, though it could have been Dream.. shortly followed by Mousetrap... of my early routes it was probably Mousetrap that I remember most... the scariest with insufficient large hexes?
Doing The Moon and T Rex with ropeboy in a day from Sheffield (including a beer in Holyhead) felt like we were the cats that had got the cream...
And Kipper I am still trying to forget about you dressed in that fairy outfit in font - it was soo wrong - and we were hoping the delightful Jess Reading was going to wear it!
Geoff, didn't you have a dream weekend on Gogarth once (well, you probably had many) where you ticked several pretty big E5s? I seem to remember you casually mentioning it once, when we were training. I thought, 'That would be an entire climbing career for most of us.'
Apologies in advance though, if my memory's defunct!
Hi Mick. Good to hear from you. Yes you are not wrong; over one weekend in May 1990:
Positron, Hunger, Dinosaur, Wonderwall, Supercrack, Stimulator and a couple of routes on Castle Helen. Those were the days...
Indeed, Geoff. Where have they gone?
They've gone to the young (I hope) which is where they should go to :-)
Reminds me of a friend who over a week did the following:
Sat: Positron, T Rex
Sun: Right Wall, Foil
Tues eve: Curving Arete
Thurs eve: Life Assurance, Recurring Nightmare
Sat: Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Axe
Sun: Great Wall, Troach, Scorpio, November.
At the time I was quite jealous; now, I need a cup of tea at the thought.
Slightly off topic, but for anyone familiar with the Bob Graham Lake District "foot challenge" (42 peaks 66 miles 28K feet of ascent), have a look at Mark Hartell's 24 hour record schedule - essentially an extended Bob Graham to 77 peaks, 109 miles 40K feet of ascent.
The Big Section in the Bob Graham is from Dunmail Raise to Wasdale and takes most people around 6 hrs 30 - well on Mark's section the extra peaks he slipped in whilst keeping to the same overall time almost made me sob thinking about it - I mean after Pike O' Stickle rather than just heading up the ridge to Rosset Pike, he dropped into Langdale then up Pike O Blisco, then Cold Pike, then Crinkle Crags and Bowfell before picking up Rosset Pike then Round to Esk Pike and adding in Allen Crags and Lingmell in addition to the normal BG tops. Absolutely unbelievable.
Chee Tor is busier now that the tunnel has been opened so it's less of a walk in!
The mountain crags are still busy when the weather is kind. Cloggy was absolutely heaving one hot weekend last June. It's probably true though that most people go for the classics (I'm guilty as charged there). Well, they're classics for a reason! What I don't know is whether the mountain crags and less than two star routes were busier back in the day. The easy access crags and easier routes are rammed of course but I wonder if it was ever thus.
Oh and as you know Pabbay will be rammed at the end of May - my fault...
In the summer of, well I'm not sure but it was the late 70's, I had been climbing with Gabriel Regan in the Peak and was off for a couple of weeks in Wales. Gabe told me to look up his mate Jim Moran who was staying down in Llanberis. I met up with Jim who was stocking up on provisions to take back up to his bivvi below Cloggy, no idea how we recognised each other, we'd never met. So I helped out with the supplies and we moved into his bivi by the tarn.
Over the next couple of weeks the weather was fantastic and we knocked off 14 of Cloggy's hardest testpieces, nearly all with Jim leading, plus a load of easier classics. It was probably the most sustained onslaught the crag had ever seen. Of course all were on sight and all were in EB's. The next year we moved to Gogarth.
Almost certainly. I think it was the mid '70s, Al. I remember Roger Whitehead remarking wryly about Jim, "We'll have to keep an eye on that young man." (Somewhat ironic, as Roger was about all of 16 himself!)
You, of course, were one of the Gods (well, you were a mate of Geoff's, you must have been!) So we expected no less of you.
A great partnership. And then the pair of you went on to Gogarth...
>You, of course, were one of the Gods
More of a Ganymede figure, I always think. No offence, Al!
I never thought of myself a god, just surrounded by them :-)
You know Jim was very socialist in his attitudes as to who had the lead, I tried to give Aardvark over to him but he insisted I should stick with it, likewise on several routes I ended up leading at a struggle that Jim would have waltzed up. There was a couple in The Peak that I'd sussed, Borstal Breakout at Hen Cloud, and The Pillar at High Tor, which I convinced him I wasn't good enough to lead and he gratefully accepted.
I can imagine that Jim would have been scrupulously fair about who got first dibs - and I would have thought he'd have been really pleased for you when you bagged a good first ascent.
Although it was a great time, as I'm sure you remember well, there was rarely any quarter spared when it came to new routes or first free ascents. I can remember noses being put out of joint even with best mates.
Things seem more gentlemanly now - perhaps it's just that we're older!
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