/ You know you're on a Classic Rock route when...

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MusicalMountaineer - on 22 Nov 2016
So I pulled breathlessly onto the first ledge belay of Central Climb at Hen Cloud last Saturday, and tried to get some feeling back into my frozen fingers. While I was bringing up my second, I noticed him making the same grunting/groaning/pained noises that I had on the lead. This continued on pitch two, another sopping offwidth... More grunting, moaning, cursing.
I started thinking, this is rather reminiscent of some other 'Classic Rock' routes that I've been ticking recently
(Namely, the 3rd pitch of Gashed Crag).

Are there any other stereotypical characteristics of Classic Rock routes that people have found whilst on their quest for lower grade glory?
Pursued by a bear - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to MusicalMountaineer:

There's often a feeling of space beneath your feet. For example, Spiral Stairs; I may be in a minority (possibly of just one), but I don't think the route is especially distinguished except for the moves leftwards out to the arete on guidebook pitch two, but the usual first pitch. There you get a feeling of exposure that's unusual for the grade and that, I think, is why it's in the book.

Other routes too share that feeling of exposure you might not expect. Main Wall across the valley has it, for example, as does Creag Dhu Wall. It does seem to be something that's common to a number of climbs in the book.

T.
Dave Garnett - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to MusicalMountaineer:

... when Ken Wilson tells you to go back and do it again because he didn't get the shot he wanted.

(Tennis Shoe. And, no, we didn't do it all again.)
johnjohn - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Dave Garnett:

when Ken Wilson tells you to get out of shot because your chalk bag's too bright.

(I did. Parson's Chimney. And no I wasn't going to use chalk on it or, indeed, climb it.)
nocker - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to MusicalMountaineer:

There was a time when I thought it a realistic ambition to work through Cassic Rock but just refering to the first two posts brings to mind :-
1) Central Climb - I fell from the top of the first pitch on lead. In fairness I got back on and completed.
2) Spiral Stairs - Having been told to "just scramble up" (the first pitch) by a couple about to cruise Left Wall, I actually thought I was not going to get off the ground leading the left traverse pitch.
3) Main Wall - failed to lead twin cracks pitch and only managed the top mantle with a seriously tight rope.
4) Creag Dhu Wall - Could never imagine me leading the groove on pitch 2.

In the last 12 months I have had a number of other humbling Classic Rock moments. Being hauled up Talisman and Clean Sweep by a hugely more accomplished partner and being grateful not to have tried either with a fellow bimbler. Revisiting Pendulum Chimney and remembering why I had such vivid memories fron climbing it with my twelve year old son many years ago. Whimpering when leading Cioch Direct after my mate (ex !) had used our few pieces of big gear on the belay below. Then there was falling off Squareface in a hail storm.......
ianstevens - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to MusicalMountaineer:
> Are there any other stereotypical characteristics of Classic Rock routes that people have found whilst on their quest for lower grade glory?

Polish, queues on a sunny day, and other teams carting cowbells around.
Post edited at 12:31
Mark Collins - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to MusicalMountaineer:

...you can see your face in it.
Rog Wilko on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to ianstevens:

> Polish, queues on a sunny day, and other teams carting cowbells around.

Just adding to this : ropes of four at least, and usually including someone on their debut climb, moving at less than snail's pace. And somehow these teams always get to the crag first, probably because they know they'll occupy the route for all the daylight hours.
I feel some nasty prejudices stirring somewhere deep inside.
GrahamD - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Rog Wilko:

> And somehow these teams always get to the crag first, probably because they know they'll occupy the route for all the daylight hours.


Or more likely because noone else could get their arses out of bed in time ?
Robert Durran - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to MusicalMountaineer:

........ when it's covered in crampon scratches.
ianstevens - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to GrahamD and Rog Wilko:

It doesn't take more than about 3 hours to climb three or four pitches (most classic rock routes are under this I believe?) so what's the need for an early start?

Rog Wilko - no prejudices, just observations. I appreciate that one man's romp is another's metaphorical Everest.
GrahamD - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to ianstevens:

> It doesn't take more than about 3 hours to climb three or four pitches (most classic rock routes are under this I believe?) so what's the need for an early start?


So as not to get stuck behind the cow belled bumblies, perhaps ?
ianstevens - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to GrahamD:

> So as not to get stuck behind the cow belled bumblies, perhaps ?

I'd still rather enjoy a lie-in and some lightly poached eggs beforehand. They probable get up earlier than me anyway, even when I try and beat them.
Mike-W-99 on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to ianstevens:

> Polish, queues on a sunny day, and other teams carting cowbells around.

You'd be pretty disappointed to turn up below squareface and find a team on it.
ianstevens - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Mike-W-99:

> You'd be pretty disappointed to turn up below squareface and find a team on it.

Indeed - but most of the classic rock routes I've done are in Wales.
abseil on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to MusicalMountaineer:

Clean rock, good or excellent line, interesting moves [and I think a sense of history adds a bit too].
baron - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to nocker:
Is 3) actually The Cracks?
Sorry for being pedantic!
Pursued by a bear - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Mike-W-99:

I thought much the same about Gillercombe Buttress one November Saturday many years ago, after an early start when the cold lashing rain turned to sleet on the walk in from Honister. We were third in the queue and by the time we finished the air was full of wet flakes of snow and my fingers were almost too cold to undo the knots.

And we were at the back of a fairly long queue, admittedly after a leisurely start and on a sunny May Bank Holiday Saturday, when we climbed Agag's Groove. But the following day on Archer Ridge, we had the crag to ourselves. Can't remember ever queuing for Grooved Arete either, but that's usually because it's followed a route on the Milestone Buttress. But I think the only time I haven't had to wait for others before climbing Hope was the first time I did it in, admittedly, pretty poor weather.

You pick your route and take your chance...

T.

Simon Caldwell - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Mike-W-99:

> You'd be pretty disappointed to turn up below squareface and find a team on it.

On the day we did it there were about 10 other ascents!
But we did Mitre Ridge first so by the time we got there we had it to ourselves

You'd probably be safe to assume no crowds doing the Chasm though, even though it's virtually road-side
Lenin on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Rog Wilko:

> Just adding to this : ropes of four at least, and usually including someone on their debut climb, moving at less than snail's pace. And somehow these teams always get to the crag first, probably because they know they'll occupy the route for all the daylight hours.

>

I remember walking up to Bowfell Buttress following a group of 3. Now I suspect you know there is a trick to the approach BB, so as if by magic by the time the group we were following arrived, we were gearing up. They were not pleased "because they know they'll occupy the route for all the daylight hours", anyway lucky for them we were doing a different route anyway, which we did, decended, had some butties, then decided to do BB, and still caught them up at the top. Flaming glad we did not follow them up the route.


Mike-W-99 on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to ianstevens:

> Indeed - but most of the classic rock routes I've done are in Wales.

We've done one roadside classic rock tick in wales on a glorious sunny day and no one else on the crag.
Weird how that happens, we weren't even early.
GrahamD - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to ianstevens:

> I'd still rather enjoy a lie-in and some lightly poached eggs beforehand. They probable get up earlier than me anyway, even when I try and beat them.

They probably had a proper breakfast, too
nocker - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to baron:

Absolutely right Sir and thanks for pointing that out. Did I tell you when we struggling to identify the start of Wrinkle so I nonchalantly sidled over to the two experts next to us and enquired which route they were about to do.They answered Kaisergebirge Wall and it was only after much sneaky contemplation of the guide book that we realised we were on the wrong cliff. Now, Main Wall is another of those where I need a HVS leader or "better".
ianstevens - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to GrahamD:

> They probably had a proper breakfast, too

I was being faceious...

Although eggs are the pinacle form of breakfast IMO.
MusicalMountaineer - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to ianstevens:

Whole heartedly agree...
nocker - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to baron:

Baron you are asolutely correct and thanks for pointing it out. Did I tell you about when we were gearing up to attempt Wrinkle but were struggling to identify it ? I nonchalantly sidled over to the two experts next to us and asked them what they were going to try. They responded "Kaisergebirge Wall" and it took us several minutes of frantic guide book pondering before we realised we were on the wrong cliff. Now Main Wall, that's another tick that I need a HVS leader or better to haul me up !
Babika - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to ianstevens:

> Polish, queues on a sunny day....


Puffed up to Main Wall on Cyrn Las one day with two other teams converging at exactly the same time. You know the feeling.

I decided to give way, to avoid having someone on my heels the whole way, only to discover both other teams were heading for The Skull. Result.

If you want to avoid polish then Great Gully is the Classic Rock route to head for. Mainly mud and vegetation as I recall.

wercat on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Rog Wilko:

Of course you actually know long before you reach the crag as the Music of the Hexagons played by numerous large parties reaches your ears. Often the loudest passages are from the leader's Prelude to a Climb.
abseil on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to nocker:

> ....They answered Kaisergebirge Wall and it was only after much sneaky contemplation of the guide book that we realised we were on the wrong cliff....

That is a classic - I thought I was bad at route finding!
wercat on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to abseil:

I once had to tell a macho party of moustached clipped haired british climbers near the Albert Premier that they were not actually in Switzerland at all, let alone near wherever they were making for. Cue much nousy muttering in party about how many K they had tabbed since the valley
abseil on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to wercat:

> I once had to tell a macho party of moustached clipped haired british climbers near the Albert Premier that they were not actually in Switzerland at all....

Thanks, a good anecdote! But this is getting worse ... it looks like the "Ascent of Rum Doodle" team climbing the wrong mountain isn't so farfetched after all...
C Witter on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to MusicalMountaineer:

Classic Rock routes I've been up:

Bowfell Buttress: Seconding, on one of my first outdoor climbs, in two parties of two. It took us about 7 hours... (confirming any lurking 'prejudices'). But, there was no one else around and it was a fantastic summer's day. From the top, views to the Isle of Man, Scotland and the NW coast.

Little Chamonix: Alt-lead with a somewhat hungover friend, who consequently gave me the first and third pitch, though he perked up in time for the last. The first pitch is non-descript; the second non-existent. But, the third is fantastically weird whilst the last is exposed and moves across really dramatic ground. I guess that's where it gets its classic points.

Troutdale Pinnacle and Bracket and Slab: both quite exciting for the grade, no? Leading the Bracket felt bold, given that the twists and turns don't allow you to be over-generous with gear. Likewise, the moves up onto the terrace traverse of B&S, and up off it again on the other side. Beyond being exciting, both TP and B&S also very characterful; you know you're on something classic when its rock features have names, as well as when they meander under and through harder rock.

Gillercombe Buttress: it's long. Can anything else be said to distinguish it? Perhaps awkwardness. It's long and awkward. Is length a criterion for classic-ness? Hopefully not.

There are other routes I'd prefer over Gillercombe, such as Kennel Wall (Gouther) or Thomas (Wallowbarrow). And there are some where THE route is not really defined, e.g. why do Ash Tree Slabs into C Route rather than into A, B or D?

But, overall, I think Classic Rock is fantastic - massive pictures, bizarre write ups by Lord Wotsit and Dave from the pub (who did it in wellies one wet winter in '63, armed only with a woggle and a public school education...), as well as memorable routes that 'oft in lonely rooms and mid the din', 'in hours of weariness', have you recalling their intricacies and peculiarities.
C Witter on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to C Witter:

p.s. I meant 'the terrace traverse of Troutdale Pinnacle', not Bracket and Slab. But, glitch as fk UKC won't let me edit...
Valkyrie1968 - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to C Witter:

> bizarre write ups by Lord Wotsit and Dave from the pub (who did it in wellies one wet winter in '63, armed only with a woggle and a public school education...)

I just wanted to say that I think that this is the best summary of Classic Rock that has ever been, or will ever be, written. Also the amount of hex-bashing on this thread is great - keep it up boys.

MusicalMountaineer - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Valkyrie1968:

Pure gold...
damhan-allaidh on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Simon Caldwell:
I know! My first thought was to reply, you know you're on a classic rock route when you walk 9 miles in and have to queue
Post edited at 17:44
Greasy Prusiks on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Valkyrie1968:

I've been wondering; at what grade does carrying hexes become ironic? I'm worried because at the moment I can't afford a rack of cams but I'd rather attempt an E5 with just a set of nuts for protection than become a hipster git.
Valkyrie1968 - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

I feel like, as with so much else in life, it's all about the approach; if you come at hexes ironically, slapping them onto your harness so as to pretend to be a punter, you can have a good old chortle at the expense of the bumblies, but to me it'd be somewhat hollow - just like a hex itself. The true spirit of climbing with hexes has been nailed pretty well by the above commenters, and it's something that the knowing - those spiteful elitists, with their ability to regularly climb routes graded VS and above, to fall off things, to go somewhere other than Stanage/Shepherd's/Little Tryfan on a sunny Bank Holiday - will never truly understand, for it is, at its core, innocent. And in that innocence it is beautiful.
wercat on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Valkyrie1968:

shiny happy people
nocker - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Valkyrie1968:

In my earlier post, I was about to mention falling off Squareface. Well it was a big hex in the top crack "what" saved me. Much to my son's relief when three or four hours away from the nearest help.
pencilled in on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to MusicalMountaineer:
You know you're on a Classic Rock route when .....
your mind truly appreciates the features of the route, the position and the magical splendour. I went climbing for ages thinking I hadn't experienced rock climbing fully unless I was scared, thinking about my last placements, looking for the next rest, clearing my head of fear and visualising the next sequence while shaking out. Routes like this remind me that sometimes climbing is to appreciate the passing of moments in amazing places. Perspective is wonderful.

andrewmcleod - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to MusicalMountaineer:
Sandbaggery.

No-one wants to be the person who bumps the grade, so lots of them feel hard for the grade...

(particularly Direct Route (VS 4c) although I know the Rockfax gives it VS). Surprisingly mixed bag - some absolute classics but also stuff that is a bit underwhelming (e.g. Will o' the Wisp (HVD)) although lots of really, really good stuff.

You are on a classic rock route when you spend a fair bit of it wondering where to go... good routefinding skills required for a lot of them (e.g. on Gillercombe Buttress (S 3c) there are lots of negative UKC comments but I reckon a lot of them just went off-route which is in fairness very easy).

You are on a classic rock route when it is easy but it still makes you stop and think (often quite carefully!) for a bit

You are on a classic rock route when it is raining, and the only reason you are there is to tick off the route...

You are on a classic rock route (ticking mission) when you climb one to three routes on the crag then leave :P

I have done all the classic rock ticks in Wales, the South West and Yorkshire now, mostly moving together. Just three routes at Hen Cloud and seven in the Lakes to go and England will be ticked off as well, and time to move onto Scotland. Great Gully is still the best so far, though :P
Post edited at 21:33
C Witter on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to andrewmcleod:

I agree re: Gillercombe - it's much better than some people seem to make out, indicating something might have been missed; but, even if you find, e.g., the nice corner of pitch 4 (almost didn't!), it's still not a route that has me fondly remembering its different sections and features... You only need to compare it to Troutdale Pinnacle and Bracket and Slab to feel it's lacking something.
peppermill - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to MusicalMountaineer:

Never actually getting on them because you see the queue, think 'What's the bloody point?' and go do something else.
MusicalMountaineer - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to pencilled in:

Great one!
Climbing on Pillar Rock at the end of October definitely did that for me. Lonely situation, incredible position above Ennerdale, epitomised why I climb.

Re. Sandbaggery... I'm looking forward to some of the Scottish climbs...
Simon Caldwell - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to MusicalMountaineer:

> Re. Sandbaggery... I'm looking forward to some of the Scottish climbs...

Don't get your hopes up - I've done 12 of the Scottish routes so far and the only one that hasn't been a soft touch/overgraded was Eagle Ridge.
lummox - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

Was Eagle good ? Btw, are Clean Sweep and/or Ardeverikie on the list of soft touches ?
Simon Caldwell - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to lummox:

Eagle was excellent, as have been all the others .
Not done Clean Sweep yet but Ardverikie felt easier than the grade. We did Kubla Khan afterwards, supposedly the same grade but significantly harder IMO.

Actually, on reflection, the 2nd pitch of Cumming-Crofton was a bit sandbaggy for S 4a - but the rest of the route was VDiff to compensate. Still one of the best routes I've done though
lummox - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

Eagle and Squareface/ Cumming-Crofton are high up on my list of want to do.. I thought Ardeverikie was on the money gradewise but couldn't feel my hands and feet most of the way up Clean Sweep after crossing the schrund so that might have coloured my opinion ; )
nocker - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

A number of very steady E1 plus climbers in our Club considered Clean Sweep hard even after its regrade to VS 4c. A number of those recording comments on the logbooks on here suggest HVS.
Similarly for Talisman with a significant number of loggers suggesting VS 4c with the approach pitch,1,2 & 3 offering challenges of diverse nature.
Two routes that I was delighted to have been in the company of a hard climbing partner with grades in hand.
MusicalMountaineer - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to peppermill:

We sat for 6 hours underneath Tophet Wall on the May bank holiday. Although, it was definitely worth the wait...

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