/ Scrambling grades

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Flinticus - on 28 May 2014
Having recently gone up Tryfan and Bristly Ridge via Main Gulley, I was comparing them to Curved Rdige on Buachaille Etive Mor.

Curved Ridge is grade 2/3 whereas Tryfan North Face is usually described as a grade 1 as is Main Gulley.

However this doesn't tally with my experience: Curved Ridge was easier than the routes I took up both Tryfan and Bristly Ridge, though I was intentionally seeking out moderately difficult sections on both Tryfan and Bristly Ridge rather than taking the easier options. I certainly had to employ much more 'climbing' style moves than on Curved Ridge which is mainly simply grabbing the next hand hold in front and pulling up.

What do others think?
RyanOsborne - on 28 May 2014
In reply to Flinticus:

I think those grades are spot on. I've done the North Ridge of Tryfan a couple of times, and thought it was Grade 1 by both lines I did it.

I think Grade 2 / 3 is spot on for Curved Ridge, rather than Grade 3. It's certainly easier than Clogwyn Y Person Arete for example.
jezb1 - on 28 May 2014
In reply to Flinticus:
Easy to make Tryfan grade 2 if you hunt out the more interesting lines, same with Bristly, all in my humble opinion of course.

I've not done Curved Ridge.
Post edited at 12:17
malky_c - on 28 May 2014
In reply to Flinticus:
I think parts of the north ridge of Tryfan (particularly higher up on the final approach to the far north summit) are graded 2 by some guides. However they are avoidable by the easiest route.

However, you probably have a point. One of my favourite North Wales scrambles is the Clogwyn y Person arete up onto Crib y Ddisgl, which is graded 2/3 like Curved Ridge. I can assure you it is a fair bit harder and more exposed than Curved Ridge, and has a couple of awkward thrutchy moves up a chimney.

I was tempted to say that Scottish scrambling grades are on the easier side, but I am aware that some of the routes on the N and E faces of Stob Coire nam Beith on Bidean have quite a fearsome reputation (not tried them yet), so it probably isn't as simple as that.
Post edited at 12:21
Scarab9 - on 28 May 2014
In reply to Flinticus:

having done Tryfan blind folded, carrying 7 watermelons and hopping all the way I'd definitely put it more like grade 2.

Sorry couldn't resist :-) More seriously aren't the grades meant to represent the path of least resistance rather than what fun you CAN have if you search for it? I could make my staircase harder if I threw some extra obstacles on it.
Oujmik - on 28 May 2014
In reply to Flinticus:

I've done all the routes mentioned and would broadly agree that the grades aren't too helpful. Problem is which such long and wandering routes that summarizing all difficulties in a single grade results in much disagreement. For example Aonach Eagach has been every grade available at one book or another. Some say it is technically too easy to be anything other than grade 1, others says it is too serious and inescapable to be anything less than 3.

I certainly feel that Bristly via Main Gully should be a 2 due to the technicality and danger of the gully, but you could argue that you can avoid the entire route on the scree, so it shouldn't get a grade at all! Certainly I never felt in any danger on Curved Ridge and it was only a little harder technically than Tryfan.

I just use the grade as a very general indicator and try to read up and find pictures before setting off.
Flinticus - on 28 May 2014
In reply to malky_c:

That Clogwyn scramble looks interesting.

From the UKC log: Fantastic climb. Easy route finding on really great rock. A couple of exposed moves especially with the Dog in tow, literally in Tow. Certainly atmospheric.
leethebee - Solo - 18/May/14 with Wentworth (My Patterdale Terrier)

I don't think Flint would be a willing partner even at his best.

Many of the ascent parties appear to have used ropes.
Flinticus - on 28 May 2014
In reply to Oujmik:

Personally I prefer my scrambles to be upward trending, with rock in front of my face, rather than horizontal like the AE. There's certainly a fundamental difference between climbing up and having hand holds and being able to wedge yourself / feet / hands in cracks & gullies than travelling upright along a ridge. AE is technically easy but serious.

Seems there could be a case for both adjectival & technical grading.

Re Bristly Ridge: if you took the scree route you are no longer on Bristly Ridge so the its grading doesn't matter!
Wesley Orvis - on 28 May 2014
In reply to Flinticus:

Done all mentioned more than once and agree with the grades given. I think scramble grades are given for the easiest line, Curved Ridge doesn't really have a harder line than the one you take whereas the othe two do.
Oujmik - on 28 May 2014
In reply to Flinticus:

In addition to the two categories you have identified:

a) Ridges
b) Upward trending rock

You must add

c) Routes that are sketchy, loose and unprotectable and don't feature enough rock (or enough viable belays) to get a climbing grade
Flinticus - on 28 May 2014
In reply to Oujmik:

Where you are more likely to be grabbing a handful of heather / grass and hoping you don't pull out the turf??

Those kind of routes I only take if I have to.
Flinticus - on 28 May 2014
In reply to Wesley Orvis:

I'd say Curved Rdige is a fairly clearly defined line on an entire face wheres Tryfan North Face is an entire face. How come it doesn't have a whole set of seperately named scrambling routes, like you get with climbs or boulder problems?
jezb1 - on 28 May 2014
In reply to Flinticus:

> I'd say Curved Rdige is a fairly clearly defined line on an entire face wheres Tryfan North Face is an entire face. How come it doesn't have a whole set of seperately named scrambling routes, like you get with climbs or boulder problems?

The North Ridge is in one sense a defined line, you stick to the ridge and pick your own lines and that's the beauty of it.

All the routes on the East Face start at various defined points, and therefore get their own names and grades.
Gerry_Doncaster - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Flinticus:

Done them all too. Tryfan and Bristly are Grade 1 if you take the easiest lines, though you can certainly make them harder. Main Gulley is probably more of a Grade 2 purely for the moves required to pass the chockstone, the rest of the route can be done at Grade 1.

I found Curved Ridge harder than any of them. I would give Curved Ridge a top end Grade 3 for difficulty, exposure and inescapability. Clogwyn Y Person Arete (with the exception of the Parson's Nose start) is definitely easier and less intimidating than Curved Ridge in my opinion.

I find that Scottish scrambling grades are harder than Welsh grades, which in turn are harder than Lake District Grades.
Mike Peacock on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Flinticus:

> Having recently gone up Tryfan and Bristly Ridge via Main Gulley, I was comparing them to Curved Rdige on Buachaille Etive Mor.

How do you do Bristly Ridge via Main Gully?! They're two entirely different scrambles.
Flinticus - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Mike Peacock:

Well, I'm not an expert on the routes but it looked like main gully finishes early and then Bristly Ridge takes you the rest of the way. I was following route suggestions given on another website.
malk - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Mike Peacock:

get chaining dude..
CurlyStevo - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Flinticus:
You must have gone a less than optimal way up Tryfan and Bristly Ridge (although I don't remember doing main gully in this combination). There is nothing hard on these routes and Tryfan North Face is open to a lot of variation.

The polished corner near the top of curved ridge is worth the given grade (should be slightly easier than a mod)

That said overall N Wales scrambling grades are definitely harder than Scottish ones sometimes by a long way.

Main Gully I have done on its own and I think the move over the chockstone is worth Diff!!!! This is much harder than anything on curved ridge and is a total sandbag at grade 1.
Post edited at 13:40
Mike Peacock on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Flinticus:

I'm not sure you mean Main Gully. Main Gully is a grade 1 scramble on the main cliff of Glyder Fach. You do start up Bristly Ridge using one of two possible gullies though.

Perhaps I'm wrong, though, perhaps you do mean Main Gully followed by a traverse left across the face to reach Bristly.
Mike Peacock on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Oujmik:

>

> I certainly feel that Bristly via Main Gully should be a 2 due to the technicality and danger of the gully, but you could argue that you can avoid the entire route on the scree, so it shouldn't get a grade at all!

That's a pretty bizarre thing to say. It's possible to walk round many scrambles if you go far enough away from them and find an easy walk around!
Flinticus - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Mike Peacock:

Have a look at this thread. I exited under the rock arch at the top of a gully on the right of Glyder Fach when approaching the ridge from Tryfan descent.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=587728

According to other's posts this is Dexter / Main / Right Hand gulley.
Flinticus - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Less optimal? Yes, intentionally as I didn't want the easier route. Tryfan, as you say, has a lot of variation, and I took advantage of that.
Mike Peacock on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Flinticus:

Ah, now I see what you mean. Whilst Sinister Gully seems to have been named for a while (i.e. in the original Ashton scrambling guide) I'm not sure how long the name "Dexter" has been in use.

I think some confusion has arisen on the thread as Main Gully itself is a different route http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=117937
Flinticus - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Mike Peacock:

So there's a Main Gully as per your link above, then another gully called variously Dexter, Right Hand or Main?
CurlyStevo - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Flinticus:

> Less optimal? Yes, intentionally as I didn't want the easier route. Tryfan, as you say, has a lot of variation, and I took advantage of that.


how can you comment on the grade of the route if you deliberately took a harder line?
Flinticus - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Well, this was part of my whole querying of why the North Face, which is fairly broad, is classed as a single route, when it is acknowledged that there are many routes up the north face. If you compare it to, say, Curved Ridge or Ledge Route, these routes are narrow and in a clear line and you don't really have many options before you are straying off the route.

Everyone who scrambles up these two routes will have gone an almost identical way whereas on Tryfan North Face, their paths may never have crossed and difficulties can vary enormously.
pass and peak - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Flinticus:

Only been up 2 of these and in winter! But Curved ridge only attains the higher winter climb grade if its combined with an ascent of the Crowberry tower (usually requires an ab off back into the gap) Just wondering if this was the case with the summer scramble grading of it?
CurlyStevo - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Flinticus:

Well you can't really grade for anything but the easiest route IMO - I'm pretty sure you could find an E1 variation but if you can do the route at grade 1 well that's what it should be.

I can't mind if the guidebook attempts to give a precise line up the lower buttress of Tryfan NF but the last section is continuous, obvious well described and around grade 1.

Bristly Ridge is much more obvious IMO and is easier to follow than ledge route.

For scrambling and mountaineering in general being able to pick a line you are happy with / is the easiest is part of it IMO.

Wulfrunian - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Mike Peacock:

> How do you do Bristly Ridge via Main Gully?! They're two entirely different scrambles.

Rather, two entirely different Main Gullies. "Main Gully, Glyder Fach" and "Main Gully (or RH or Dexter), Bristly Ridge", if you will.

It seems Mr. Ashton doesn't have the monopoly on naming gullies. Heard Dexter refered to by all three names from a variety of sources over the years. Mind you, I've often heard it called Sinister Gully too. I only hope that when the handrails are installed, they put some decent signage up too.
Mike Peacock on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Flinticus:

> So there's a Main Gully as per your link above, then another gully called variously Dexter, Right Hand or Main?

Yes, that's right. I've never heard of the right hand entry gully to Bristly Ridge being called Main Gully before, though I suppose it could be called the main gully (without capitals), as in "the main gully on to the ridge".

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