/ 100 years - First ascent of Central Buttress Scafell 20/04
WW1 started in August of that year. Siegfried Herford was killed by rifle grenade - 28 January 1916(aged 25)
Talismanic achievement. Long may their climb be remembered
Well worth bringing this to people's attention - thanks.
Sorry Dave. You're right . It's Sansom.
I met his nephew once. CB great achievement - respect for those guys.
What a great route that was, before the chockstone fell out (v glad I did it before that). In British rock climbing history it ranks with Cenotaph Corner, Right Wall and The Indian Face.
Herford is certainly under-appreciated. He was definitely ahead of his time. Kirkus was about his equal, but even bolder; Edwards, a shade better; Birtwistle, a shade better again; and then we had Dolphin and Joe Brown.
and dont forget Peter Harding!
Happy Birthday Central Buttress.
Thanks a lot for pointing this out. Seeing it, I immediately recalled that we did it in April so I looked at my diary (every route over 49 years (so far)) and lo and behold - we did it on 20th April 1971 which, it seems, was it's 57th anniversary. Till now, though knowing the story of the 1st ascent, the date had not registered with me.
I've often thought back to our having done it so early in the year - I wouldn't go near Scafell in April these days. But we were young (ish), in The Lakes for a week, and the day before had done "Perhaps Not". "Oh boy" we thought, "we can do Hard VS - now what's the top Hard VS on our (and everyone's) list?" So CB it had to be, and since nobody had told us it'd be cold and damp up there, off we went the very next morning.
It turned out to be one of those "break-through" days - unforgettable.
Go on then, who was there today enjoying the beautiful weather while I was stuck working?
Good post, sir. Never done it. I really should.
Sad that both should die young and in War. Herford in 1916 and, Kirkus was a Navigator in the RAF and shot down in Sept 1943 over Germany.
Agree - such a terrible, sad waste of life. I've never known much about Herford's character but Kirkus seemed such a gentle, unassuming soul. The death of Maurice Linnell was enough tragedy for one life - and more. But to think of such a gentle person being part of an apparatus of death (I know, it had to be done) is awful.
Steve Dean once introduced me to the late Guy Kirkus, Colin Kirkus' brother. A lovely person. Innate decency.
'The chaos of our lives...'
Great route, after a day on the East , Andy Parkin and I found the Central Buttress deserted and after a few solo's tied a single 9 mm rope round our waists and one crab in hand did Central Buttress. I lead the flake clipping the sling with our crab and Andy finished up Nazgul not finding any thing to clip, I remember the rope curving out for 100 plus feet in thin air. Must have been a bit like the early ascents.
Three teams did it yesterday in rather cold, greasy and windy conditions - probably similar to those on the first ascent!
Agreed. ... Very sad that the two best climbers of their respective generations should die for their country
In praise of the old CB ... how I remember the classic old 'Great Flake' pitch. It was very intimidating, because, pre-Friends, there wasn't much gear (except at the chockstone). It had a very committing feel, with rather smooth rock on either side. The chockstone was a huge peculiar thick spike sticking out sideways to the right that was very awkward to get round and then get established on as a footledge - while very helpful in providing holds it, in effect, 'got in the way'. IIRC, to get the left foot round it, and on to it, was a very tricky move with the right foot very high on the right wall above the chockstone. The next move was the crux, because you then had to move the right foot up very high again and then somehow 'get started' i.e. move the left foot up a bit, but you were in such an extreme layback position that you were kind of locked solid. I had a couple of gos, but you couldn't hang around too long because it was a surprisingiy strenuous 'resting position'. You had to go at it in a very determined, quite dynamic way with a bit of a bounce, and as soon as you moved your left foot up you could get a bit of purchase with your right, and you were on your way.
Even then, it was still very strenuous and relentless - 'in yer face'; you had to do quite small moves with the hands, keeping the left hand above the right to prevent any barn-door movement, so it seemed quite a long way - though quite fast because you had to keep the momentum going. All very very thrilling. It was one of those bits of climbing like Cenotaph Corner that had a totally classic feel; it actually made you feel quite 'important' when you were on it, if you know what I mean. It had this enormous sense of history, and you couldn't help being aware of all the great pioneers who had gone before you up this very crack, like a who's who's of British climbing.
Then came the magic moment when you reached up left with the left hand to find the greatest jug in the world (the top of the flake in effect being a jug that's 40 feet long). Then another nice surprise, a nice little hole about an inch in diameter on the top edge of the flake that you could get a tape through for a perfect thread runner. Then it was sheer joy - a scamper leftwards on the easiest hand traverse in the world, on perfect rock, in a truly stupendous position. If only there was more climbing like that. Then you were at the perfect haven of Jeffcoat's Ledge, one of the great classic ledges of Britain.
And one of Herford's nephews was up at Hollowstones to watch them.
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