/ Major and minor crags

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The Pylon King on 27 Apr 2014

How would you define each?

(no, not happy and sad)

Number of routes?

Length of routes?

Popularity?

The Ivanator - on 27 Apr 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

All quarries are miner crags aren't they? Or is that just casting the debate in the open? ;-)
aln - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

> How would you define each?

By area, country, or worldwide?

Ramblin dave - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

If you can say "I'm really looking forward to our trip to [area] - I might finally get out to [crag]" without your mates giving you funny looks then it's a major crag.

I sometimes wonder if you could allocate stars to routes on a similar principle, ie based on the difference between a route that you might reasonably plan a weekend for, a route that you'd pick a crag for, and a route that you'd walk to another section of the crag for. As per the Michelin guide:
One star - Very good climbing in its category
Two stars - Excellent climbing, worth a detour
Three stars - Exceptional climbing, worthy of a special journey

Michael Gordon - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

How good the crag is definitely comes into it as well.
In reply to Ramblin dave:

>
> I sometimes wonder if you could allocate stars to routes on a similar principle, ie based on the difference between a route that you might reasonably plan a weekend for, a route that you'd pick a crag for, and a route that you'd walk to another section of the crag for. As per the Michelin guide:

> One star - Very good climbing in its category

> Two stars - Excellent climbing, worth a detour

> Three stars - Exceptional climbing, worthy of a special journey

We have done a similar thing in the recent Rockfax books, on the maps the size of the locator star is a measure of how good the crag is,


Chris
The Pylon King on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to Ramblin dave:


> One star - Very good climbing in its category

> Two stars - Excellent climbing, worth a detour

> Three stars - Exceptional climbing, worthy of a special journey


Thats how i usually allocate stars
Nick Russell on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

> How would you define each?
> Number of routes? / Length of routes? / Popularity?

How well known they are?

If you say "I'm going to [major crag] this weekend" to your (climber) friend from a different part of the country, expect a response like "Awesome, I'm planning to go there later this summer"

On the other hand, if you say "I'm going to [minor crag] this weekend", expect "Where's that?", unless they're a seasoned local.

Admittedly, this leaves a lot of intermediate ground.
The Pylon King on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to Nick Russell:

Yep, thanks that makes sense.
Offwidth - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to Big Lee:

That cant work. Horseshoe is very busy.
Big Lee - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

I think popularity primarily. I can think of crags that rarely see visitors but have a large number of routes (eg Huntsham), which feel minor as a consequence, despite their size.
Big Lee - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to Offwidth:

Sorry, don't know where horseshoe is? But if it's very busy then is it not a major crag?
Gordon Stainforth - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to Big Lee:

Horseshoe is a major very ugly man-made hole in the ground.
Mick Ward - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to Big Lee:

No.

Mick
johncoxmysteriously - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to Big Lee:

> But if it's very busy then is it not a major crag?

No, of course not. F*ck me, Fallen Block Slab is busier than Cloggy.

jcm
The Pylon King on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

Maybe there is some sort of formula?

number of routes x mtrs x stars =
Big Lee - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

You mean Fallen slab at Blacknor? I'd class that (and all the beach boulders) as part of Blacknor.

But yes Cloggy and Scafell are good examples of crags that are not popular due to conditions but 'major' nonetheless. Probably more due to the quality of routes rather than length that makes them 'major'. Otherwise every grit crag is a minor crag.
Fraser on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

Number of independent lines, 75%-ish of which are of a decent length, ie more than 15m. No shorties or link-ups.
johncoxmysteriously - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to Fraser:

Oh, for God's sake man. Of course grit has major crags.

Major crags can be identified by the elephant test. They're hard to define, but you know one when you see it.

jcm
Mick Ward - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

> ...but you know one when you see it.

Thank you... always pleasant to return to sanity.

Mick
ads.ukclimbing.com
Offwidth - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to Mick Ward:

Except in true JCM fashion he makes a good point in a baseless complaint: no one said grit doesn't have any major crags ;-)

also on great routes on what some regard as essential grit crags, like say Widdop, Cratcliffe, Black Rocks, Wimberry, Hen Cloud, the place is more than often desrted.
The Pylon King on 28 Apr 2014
johncoxmysteriously - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to Offwidth:

Someone said major crags have to have more than 75% of their lines over 15 metres. That rules out most grit crags.

jcm
johncoxmysteriously - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

Well, none of those is major, for sure. All of them have some nice routes but they're not major crags.

It all depends of course how many 'major' crags you think there are.

jcm
Fraser on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

As Offwidth stated, I never said grit didn't so I'm unsure where your comment came from.

Do yourself a favour, re-read my post and the very first line of the OP.
johncoxmysteriously - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to Fraser:
Well, you suggested a criterion which would rule out a lot, if not all, grit crags, including some indisputably major ones. I was pointing out that this criterion couldn't be very good for that reason.

I'm unsure if you're being deliberately tiresome or genuinely needed that explaining to you. Mind you, the same goes for Offwidth.

jcm
Post edited at 14:00
Offwidth - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Some would argue the short routes should never have been listed on grit except as boulder problems. In any case, that wasnt what you said and a man who can be so picky about words should expect to be held to hihger standards.
seankenny - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to Fraser:

> Number of independent lines, 75%-ish of which are of a decent length, ie more than 15m.

Well, that's Font out of the picture then.
Big Lee - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

Would say these are Mid-size by National standards and major by Somerset standards :-)
Nick Russell on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

I reckon all pretty minor. Brean is possibly the most major of the bunch. I've met people from London and Birmingham there (on the sport, of course), so it is known outside of the local scene. Bear in mind that from London it's a similar drive to get to Portland (definitely a major area) and from Birmingham Malham (also definitely major) is not much furher.
The Pylon King on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to Nick Russell:

So basically everything in the Bristol/ Mendips area apart from Cheddar and Avon gorges would be classed as minor?
The Ivanator - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

Like Cloggy, Fairy Cave has its own guidebook, surely that makes it internationally significant. ;-)
r0x0r.wolfo - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to Fraser:
As someone else said, that's font gone and a lot of significant grit crags.

Length of routes doesn't seem to have a great deal of bearing.
Post edited at 16:43
CurlyStevo - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

Goblin comb is the closest to major. Its also quite a descent length and unquarried unlike much of the rock in Avon.
CurlyStevo - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

> So basically everything in the Bristol/ Mendips area apart from Cheddar and Avon gorges would be classed as minor?

if you just have major and minor as classifications I think you may be right. North of the Seven in that area it would just be wintors and symmonds yat then I guess.
johncoxmysteriously - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:

>wintors and symmonds yat then I guess.

Those aren't major crags. They don't have a single great route between them.

jcm
Nick Russell on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

> So basically everything in the Bristol/ Mendips area apart from Cheddar and Avon gorges would be classed as minor?

Depends on the context, I guess. Nationally, I would say that's a fair assessment. If I were, say, writing a "Bristol and Mendips limestone" guidebook, I might be inclined to list Avon and Cheddar as "nationally important" (or some such) and some of the others you mention as "other major local crags". Does that seem reasonable?
JJL - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to seankenny:

Font's not a "crag" though, is it? It's a collection of boulders.
Fraser on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

> As someone else said, that's font gone and a lot of significant grit crags.

> Length of routes doesn't seem to have a great deal of bearing.

Well it does to me. The OP asked "How would you define each?" I defined 'major' ones by the criteria I stated - that's my opinion and hoefuly answered the OP's question. The minor ones are the rest. I'd agree Font is major, but equally I'd not call it a 'crag' as such.

Not entirely sure what cox is moaning about, but no doubt it's just him doing his usual smug, argumentative shtick. It seems we're not allowed to disagree with him, ever. Tiresome indeed.
JJL - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

I've climbed at all but one of those; none of them is major.
JJL - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Yes - I thinik Avon and Cheddar are the only Majors in that area.

Never mind though - the south east has none at all until you get to Swanage
Ramblin dave - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to Fraser:

> Well it does to me. The OP asked "How would you define each?" I defined 'major' ones by the criteria I stated - that's my opinion and hoefuly answered the OP's question. The minor ones are the rest. I'd agree Font is major, but equally I'd not call it a 'crag' as such.

> Not entirely sure what cox is moaning about, but no doubt it's just him doing his usual smug, argumentative shtick. It seems we're not allowed to disagree with him, ever. Tiresome indeed.

So which gritstone crags would you consider to be "major crags"? Apart from Millstone and the Upper Tier at the Roaches, I'm not sure how many would actually fit your definition...
CurlyStevo - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

> >wintors and symmonds yat then I guess.

> Those aren't major crags. They don't have a single great route between them.

> jcm

There are 22 3 star routes and nearly 40 2 star routes at wintour's leap.

Symmonds yat I take your point there are only 3 3 star routes there but there are over 20 2 star routes.
alan moore - on 28 Apr 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:
The question is relative;
When I lived in the Forest I used to think that the Wye Valley crags were minor. Now that I live midway between Auchinstarry and Rosyth quarries, I've had to revise that opinion...
As for all that junk south of Bristol: local crags for local people. Cheddar excepted, of course.
johncoxmysteriously - on 29 Apr 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Yes, I know: I've done some of them. Great routes they aren't.

jcm
CurlyStevo - on 29 Apr 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

central rib route III and zelda are worth the stars IMO. I must admit I've not done as many routes as I'd like there but I find it hard to beleive all those 3 and 2 star classics are crap.

Do you think Avon Gorge is that much better? At my sort of grades I don't although I do rate suspension bridge buttress.
Gordon Stainforth - on 29 Apr 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Kangaroo Wall is said to be rather amazing.
CurlyStevo - on 29 Apr 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I've heard freedom is good - not got around to it yet though.
The Ivanator - on 29 Apr 2014
johncoxmysteriously - on 29 Apr 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:

It's not really about the climbing but the legends and the aura. Avon has them. Wintours doesn't. Kangaroo Wall and the rest are nice enough outings, but really, what are they? Who put them up, even? They're just not great routes. Whereas Amanita Muscarina is a great route.

jcm
The Ivanator - on 29 Apr 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Climbers put up King Kong, Kangaroo Wall etc. Same as climbers put up Malbogies, Amanita Muscarina etc. Or were the Avon routes put up by mythical demigods?
johncoxmysteriously - on 29 Apr 2014
In reply to The Ivanator:

Sure, sure. If a new Dinas Cromlech were discovered today, and a couple of our modern E9 leaders were to put up Right Wall2, that would be just the same route, right?

jcm
armus on 29 Apr 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

My mate and I would choose outcrops that you can see from the road, few more than 50' high, not really crags. That was to avoid crowds. Because we didn't know what to expect grade or protection wise, we soon learned to top rope them. We must have put up lots of new "routes", Didn't think that they were worth claiming. So if you come across an outcrop with channel peg in the top, that was probably us.
seankenny - on 29 Apr 2014
In reply to The Ivanator:

I think you are rather missing John's (very good) point.
r0x0r.wolfo - on 29 Apr 2014
In reply to Fraser:

To be fair. If we're talking internationally, the only major grit crag would be Stanage. Then we're talking seacliffs, Malham and Scotland.
The Ivanator - on 29 Apr 2014
In reply to seankenny:

No, I'm perfectly aware that we attach mythical status to some climbs and significant first ascents are legitimate grounds for Deitification.
pasbury on 29 Apr 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> (In reply to CurlyStevo)
>
Who put them up, even? They're just not great routes.>
> jcm

Littleohn, Strapcans, crocker, Gibson - all active here. I also have a vague idea that Pete Boardman was involved on the FA of something on GO wall (but I may be going senile).

So plenty of history there.
johncoxmysteriously - on 29 Apr 2014
In reply to pasbury:

>Gibson - all active here

Case closed.

jcm
GrahamD - on 29 Apr 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

I don't particularly care whether Wintours routes were put up by 'names'. On a national scale it is most certainly OT a minor crag. OK I'll concede that the rest of the Wye is not in major crag territory but not Wintours.
CurlyStevo - on 29 Apr 2014
In reply to GrahamD:

agreed
ads.ukclimbing.com
johncoxmysteriously - on 29 Apr 2014
In reply to GrahamD:

>On a national scale it is most certainly OT a minor crag

What does OT mean?

It's borderline, I suppose. Like I said before, it's a bit of a daft debate. It depends how many 'major' crags you think there should be. To me, it's pretty obvious that in the Bristol area Avon and Cheddar are first and the rest by comparison nowhere.

jcm
pasbury on 29 Apr 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
And here surely?

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=234898
Post edited at 13:47
GrahamD - on 29 Apr 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

"OT" is "NOT" typed on a PC with a knackered keyboard.
Kafoozalem - on 29 Apr 2014
In reply to pasbury:

Don't mock - that place has history. I started climbing there :-)
The Pylon King on 29 Apr 2014
In reply to armus:

If its in the Bristol and Mendip area then please tell me more as i am working on the new definitive guidebook.
j0ntyg on 29 Apr 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:
Sorry, it was the Lakes. However on thinking about it we could have been in the guide books today. They have bouldering, we were between that and proper crags. We didn't keep any records. It may be worth the UKC starting a new category. But what to call it? Halfway house? Boulder climbers, you can advance? All suggestions welcome.
It really was a good time though, no-one around except the ravens and buzzards. No teams before you. We did whatever we wanted, including falling off the rock, without being jeered by a silly person on the ground.
Armus was my climbing partner in those days.
Post edited at 17:15
The Pylon King on 29 Apr 2014
In reply to j0ntyg:

Sort of what i am doing now with all the esoteric stuff i go to ;)
j0ntyg on 29 Apr 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:
> Sort of what i am doing now with all the esoteric stuff i go to ;)

Good luck to you, it is really enjoyable. What does esoteric mean?
About my ex climbing partner armus. he was no good. He could only lead two grades, Severe and HVS whereas I could lead three grades, Moderate, Diff and V.Diff.
Post edited at 19:28
leland stamper on 30 Apr 2014
In reply to pasbury:

Oi, I was just giggling at some of the inane comments the PK has got out of you lot and then one of my photos appears. Next jcm will be slagging it off for not being far enough north or having proper routes.
I'd like to point out that after two visits to Tockington I feel I have some history with it. It's not yet in my major crag list but it is definitely minor. It's also S. Glos so may not be part of Mark's guide.
Al Evans on 30 Apr 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

I remember the late great Dave Pearce trying to describe Brownstones Quarry to somebody who had never been
"It's as good as <pause> Cloggy"
And we all agreed!
Michael Gordon - on 30 Apr 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

> If a new Dinas Cromlech were discovered today, and a couple of our modern E9 leaders were to put up Right Wall2, that would be just the same route, right?
>

It would lack the history but I have no doubt it would quickly become a 'major crag'!
Tom V - on 30 Apr 2014
In reply to The Ivanator:

The quarry next to Rob's Rocks was on telly on Monday night -a major criterion, surely?
crossdressingrodney - on 09 May 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:

I remember being distinctly underwhelmed by both the Central Rib Routes and by Zelda. I thought they were very poor for 3 star routes.

King Kong and the two Angel routes felt like they justified at least 2 stars to me, maybe three. Same for the two Wyndcliffe 3 star VSs.

Freedom is great BTW, although quite polished low down and shares the revolting top section with that other VS; felt more like HVS, 2 stars to me.

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