West Yorkshire > Ilkley (Cow and Calf) >
 
A Climb*** S 4b

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A Climb Alternative Finish >>
[A Climb, 2 kb]28m, 3 pitches. An excellent mini-expedition. Stances can be taken along the way. Climb Chiseller to its top then move round the arete and climb a groove. Cross the flake to a small ledge and then finish up the crucial crack above. © ROCKFAX
Deservedly regarded as one of the finest climbs in Yorkshire, even with the hype it is unlikely to disappoint. The route allows mortals to unlock the secrets of the Cow, leading the climber outwards and upwards across the famous old face to joyously celebrate among the ancient carvings of the summit. Originally regarded as a VDif, most commmonly viewed as Severe, Ken Wilson's Classic Rock now lists it as Hard Severe... is the climb getting harder or are we more and more surprised by it? Dangerous if wet. (1) At the left hand side of the Cow's front face you will find a short four metre chimney, climb this using a good back and foot technique. Enter the cave in the gully and climb easily up behind the chockstone to a wide ledge. There is an excellent thread belay here. (10m) (2) Using the thread, ensure the second is sitting on top of the chockstone for the belay to limit rope drag. Creep easily out of the cave, around the Cow's rib and step down to a small platform below a corner with a polished crack. The corner has two very difficult stages that are climbed directly to a giant flake (the upper crack conceals decent handholds within its depths to aid confidence). While the natural line of ascent could be continued up the flake, the classic route traverses rightwards along a ledge, using the underside of the flake for upward handholds to reach a reasonably sized, if not slightly unlikely, platform on the centre of the face below the main overhang: optional belay here, probably dependent on rope drag and whether the wind is hindering communication. (13m) (3) From the platform, climb up behind the right hand flake awkwardly with a likely body wedge to reach a stance below the crux. A narrowing of the crack prevents the knee passing upwards from a polished downward-sloping foothold. A slight layback on the polished edge at the back of the crack is required and combined with a probable body lunge to gain the crack. From here an easy mantleshelf lifts you onto the glorious summit. (5m).
Unknown 1902

Ticklists: Connoisseur's Classic Rock, Steve Ashton's 100 Classic Gritstone Climbs, The 3 star way to yorkshire gritstone's heaven.

Photo: A Climb © MikeLeeds
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PUBLIC LOGBOOKS
This climb is in 268 logbooks, and on 19 wishlists.

Jacob Forshaw - Lead O/S - 11/Sep/14

Wizzy - Lead O/S - 31/Aug/14

A for arse I presume. From green slime into pigeon poo and upwards to a grovelling finishing crack... Had to use a Tactical Knee.
Alex the Alex - Lead O/S - 30/Aug/14

Cow Udder into the top of this, dirty...
papashango - Lead O/S - 30/Aug/14 with Luke Dyer

nick ferro - 23/Aug/14 with Sonam Norbu

Ed lead p1, I ran p2&3 together.
thomaspomfrett - AltLd rpt - 30/Jul/14 with Ed Poulter

Night solo in approach shoes. Slightly awkward positioning.
shah - Solo β - 20/Jul/14

Covered in what can only be called bird-shit. Awkward positions for tall people. Seconded in boots.
shah - 2nd O/S - 18/Jul/14

Thrutch crux.
SafeNath - 2nd β - 03/May/14 with ao

Tried this last year when it was spitting with rain and did not have the balls to complete the step across the chimney as described in rockfax guide. Glad I went back to it, great little climb.
jonnysims - Lead O/S - 13/Apr/14 with Andy Laing, andy knight

John Brayshaw - AltLd rpt - 08/Apr/14 with Keith Roberts

guisboro andy - AltLd - Apr/14

Nez - 2014

metcalfe1990 - Lead - 2014

Whitty2012 - AltLd - 16/Nov/13 with Tom Whitford

Hidden - AltLd - 28/Sep/13

Lead repeat. Brothers on the Cow... superb. No idea why Rockfax tried to change such a sublime route, probably because the move into that cave in front of the chockstone is trad hard. To miss out on the undercling trav and picnic ledge beneath the overhang would detract massively from the atmosphere. Such a class belay.
jimorothy - Lead - 26/Sep/13 with Rory McKeating

Covered in poo.
K Mckay - Lead O/S - 21/Sep/13 with Rich Pooley

Matt Cooke - AltLd rpt - 14/Sep/13 with Andrew Cooke

SPD224 - Lead O/S - 10/Sep/13 with Rhiannon Lawrence-Francis

Hidden - 2nd - 10/Sep/13

Hidden - 13/Aug/13

Hollywood - 13/Aug/13 with karly54

BnB - 30/Jul/13

Very dirty. The last 5 or so meters is the dictionary definition of thrutching!
blackreaver - Lead O/S - 16/Jul/13 with Greg

GAshby - 2nd O/S - 16/Jul/13

Just as far as the belay then carried on to do the ferdinand hand travere. Seconded p2
adamwesthead - AltLd rpt - 11/Jul/13 with Zeb

zebster - AltLd rpt - 11/Jul/13 with Adam

Hidden - AltLd O/S - 16/Jun/13

tobyk - Lead O/S - 11/Jun/13 with Emma Akam

Hidden - AltLd O/S - 25/May/13

Hidden - 19/May/13

Hidden - 2nd - 07/May/13

First led Sept.'94 with Sarah.
jshields - 2nd - 05/May/13 with Jonathan Harrison, Ed James

scrambler8848 - Lead O/S - May/13 with dom mckensie

rfdl100 - Lead O/S - 14/Apr/13 with Rikki

Montecore - 2nd - 13/Apr/13 with Richard Lizzimore

ERH - 2013

Seymore Butt - 2013

mikecollins - Lead O/S - 15/Sep/12 with Laura D

Led 2. Brilliant route, great exposure and sense of scale for a relatively short route. Loads of variety and some great, and worrying moves. Rockfax route suggests you belay on top of the flake which seems like a really bad / difficult idea. Got led into this and had all sorts of problems, ending in a hanging belay! A true epic with a finish in the dark!
mattwilk - AltLd O/S - 04/Sep/12 with Rich

Night time dash up the final pitch. Fun first multi.
rich.wy - 04/Sep/12 with matt

Tenko - AltLd O/S - 26/Aug/12 with Neil Ashcroft, Matthew Diggle

matt.budge - Aug/12

David Cowley - 2nd O/S - 28/Jul/12 with Liam Martin

Very awkward and unnatural climb. dirty with glass bottles behind the flake and in the exit crack. dont know why this gets 3* in the guide book.
Liam Martin - Lead O/S - 28/Jul/12 with David Cowley

Harry Holmes - Solo O/S - 15/Jul/12 with Joanna

Hidden - AltLd rpt - 14/Jul/12

samthom - AltLd - 14/Jul/12 with Fergus, Dave

mzchambers - Solo O/S - 25/May/12

Led pitch 2, an absolute beaute!
Mr Fuller - AltLd O/S - 23/May/12 with Ben Lewis

bigredsquirrel - AltLd O/S - 23/May/12 with Mr Fuller

Hidden - AltLd rpt - 13/May/12

John Brayshaw - AltLd rpt - 07/May/12 with Josh

jcurrie93 - AltLd - 07/May/12 with john brayshaw

clint87 - Lead - 06/May/12

alias dave - AltLd O/S - 05/May/12 with Sam.EB

Sam Simpson - AltLd O/S - 05/May/12 with Christian Turford

Hidden - Lead O/S - 16/Mar/12

I found this quite scary. Thanks to Simon for leading all the pitches. A great route but shame about all the pigeon poo. Climbed in three pitches starting up chiseller.
stev1e.wilso - 2nd - 26/Feb/12 with Simon

simon1985 - Lead - 26/Feb/12 with Steve Wilson

Tricky with the layer of Pigeon Poo!
petegunn - AltLd - 24/Feb/12 with Davina

Hidden - AltLd O/S - 24/Feb/12

Hidden - Lead O/S - 2012

Sam Simpson - AltLd O/S - 2012 with Christian Turford

Hidden - AltLd - 2012

enjoyed so much the first time but disappointed when i came back. Far too much pigeon crap and litter everywhere unfortunately.
thetradlad - Lead rpt - 03/Dec/11 with Faith, Louise Hall

Louise Hall - 2nd O/S - 03/Dec/11 with Jake Lodge

lead all the pitches, very good route. Last pitch in the dark and i used the big cam on the belay ledge, awkward scary top out.
Boj S - Lead O/S - 31/Aug/11

aJmes1 - 2nd O/S - 31/Aug/11 with bojan sretovic

1 and 3
kitkat78 - AltLd O/S - 29/Aug/11 with SteveM

SteveM - AltLd - 29/Aug/11 with Kat

Steve Lenartowicz - Lead - 21/Aug/11 with Clare

dannyboy83 - Solo O/S - 21/Aug/11

stewart100 - 2nd O/S - 27/Jul/11 with Adam Jordan

AMJ098 - Lead O/S - 27/Jul/11 with Stewart Jordan

Hidden - AltLd O/S - 10/Jun/11

spragglerocks - AltLd O/S - 09/Jun/11 with Steve M

SteveM - AltLd - 09/Jun/11 with Rachael

as one pitch, very extended runners so no rope drag
Graeme Hammond - Lead O/S - 30/May/11 with Becky E

Becky E - 2nd - 30/May/11 with Graeme Hammond

Hidden - AltLd O/S - 16/May/11

munch88 - 2nd O/S - 20/Apr/11 with dan sutcliffe

succa89 - Lead O/S - 20/Apr/11 with munch88

Tom Keaveny - Lead O/S - 24/Mar/11 with Luke Harper

luke harper - 2nd O/S - 24/Mar/11 with tom keaveny

Scottish78 - 2011

SteveM - AltLd - 2011 with Kat

Started on chiseller, nice moves around the bulge and into the overhang, set up another belay because of rope drag. The last pitch to the top was covered in bird s*** and the last moves to the top were an awkward struggle. Good mini adventure, maybe not 3***...
David Kay - Lead - 14/Nov/10

Hidden - AltLd O/S - 09/Oct/10

jonny taylor - 2nd - 17/Sep/10 with James

Jimmy O - AltLd O/S - 17/Sep/10 with Jonny Taylor

Chris Ellis - AltLd O/S - 12/Sep/10 with Louise Pellett

Hidden - 2nd - 02/Sep/10

zeb took the second pitch
adamwesthead - AltLd β - 24/Aug/10 with Zeb

zebster - AltLd O/S - 24/Aug/10 with Adam

dazwan - 2nd - 11/Aug/10 with Woody

farmus21 - 2nd - 08/Aug/10 with Jo

farmus21 - Solo - 08/Aug/10 with Jo

Hidden - AltLd - 02/Aug/10

ankyo - Aug/10

djprepie - 2nd - 29/Jul/10 with Lee

yatess79 - 2nd O/S - 02/Jul/10

First pitch by the original start - having done them both a couple of times, I think it's better than Chiseller and more in keeping with the rest of the route - just make sure you back-and-foot the right hand chimney, rather than walking up the broken rocks to the left! Not sure if the move right into the cave is more awkward with feet on the ledge (from Chiseller) or hands (from the chimney) - both are rather unnerving! Finished via Ferdinand.
Simon Caldwell - Lead rpt - 29/Jun/10 with Carmen

took ages as had to wait half an hour at the first belay for the extremely slow team ahead of us then another half hour at the second belay. But worth gritting our teeth and waiting to complete it - a unique route and a real giggle. donal p1, p3, me p2. Followed gritstone guide and did the slab start rather than the chimney start - improbable and fun move round the giant chockstone, then did second belay at the niche to avoid rope drag. follwed top of flake rather than hanging off underside - both seemed equally possible. Cunningly offloaded dangling gear to donal at the top before getting stuck into final offwidth! PS the slab start is miles better than the poxy gully aka chimney
pebbles - AltLd O/S - 29/Jun/10 with donal

Did original start up the gully as freaked out on chiseller certain I was going to fall to my death so down climbed (chipped holds VERY polished!). Then did Ferdinand Hand Traverse to finish - fecking solid!
samcook - Lead O/S - 26/Jun/10 with Damian

Lead 2nd and 3rd Pitch. AMAZING!
thetradlad - AltLd O/S - 25/Jun/10 with Dan Tyas

Jonny M - Lead O/S - 20/Jun/10 with Andre Knirsch

hokkyokusei - 2nd - 19/Jun/10 with John, Josh

daprince - Jun/10

I took the first, Vince the finale...
cjbaker - AltLd O/S - 28/May/10 with Jack Sage

I lead the second pitch. Somewhat underwhelming. Scary exposure but the moves are lame. Don't believe the hype.
vincentchopper - AltLd O/S - 28/May/10 with Chris Baker

I lead pitches 1 and 3
Andrew Wilson - AltLd O/S - 14/May/10 with John Brayshaw

John Brayshaw - AltLd rpt - 14/May/10 with Andy Wilson

Hidden - AltLd O/S - 17/Apr/10

Hidden - AltLd O/S - 17/Apr/10

Hidden - AltLd O/S - 14/Mar/10

Very good climb, watch out for rope drag!
spannard - Lead O/S - 12/Feb/10

Nice climbing. No need to do it in three pitches though, just run the last two togethor.
lrandall - AltLd O/S - 03/Oct/09 with Andy C

2nd
Ewan Russell - AltLd O/S - 01/Oct/09 with Tom postgrad

Bird S**t paradise!!
reubensampson - AltLd O/S - 27/Sep/09 with Gareth Threlfall

David_Gledson - Lead - 20/Sep/09 with Andy Quinn, Mike Quinn

MikeDowsett - AltLd - 06/Sep/09 with John Harrison, Pete Scott

rob led the first pitch and i led the rest in one push
raptorheli - Lead O/S - 12/Aug/09 with rob

robblowen - 2nd β - 12/Aug/09 with Simon

Mark Salter - AltLd O/S - 09/Aug/09 with Gareth Lewis

Good trad style climbing. Wall climbers will hate it! We had a mini-epic but got there in the end
stevevoidstar - Lead O/S - 08/Aug/09 with Scott Chafer

shugsan - AltLd O/S - 25/Jul/09

duzinga - Lead O/S - 05/Jul/09 with Omer

Hidden - 2nd O/S - 05/Jul/09

timbo58 - Lead - Jul/09

al jackson - Lead - Jun/09

What a let down. Green and covered in bird shit, a truly disgusting experience. Smelled as though someone had vomited down the last crack and it was full of glass bottles and beer cans.
Dave Foster - 2nd O/S - 23/May/09 with Andy

Hidden - Lead O/S - 22/May/09

adamwesthead - Lead O/S - 09/May/09 with Forshaw

willworkforfoodjnr - 2nd O/S - 26/Apr/09 with J Airey

Daniel Sutherland - AltLd O/S - 22/Mar/09 with Chris

I think we finished it this time but my notes say not! This route gives me the willies!
good_value - 2nd dnf - 21/Mar/09 with Rob S

First multi pitch. Cold and damp. Rob lost bottle. One for next time. Exposed.
good_value - 2nd dnf - 01/Mar/09 with Rob S

Climbed in Mountain Boots. Probably one of the best 25m that I have ever done. What variety!
TerryB - 2nd O/S - 2009

Teappleby - Lead - 2009 with max

Done in one pitch. Hard crux.
kitch22 - Lead O/S - 01/Jul/08 with Adam Maybury

lankystreakof - 2nd - 01/Jul/08 with John Walsh

Truly one of the finest short climbs I have come across. Having visited the crag my whole life, it was a major surprise to find such a large shelf in the centre of the Cow - you could have a picnic at the second belay!... perhaps.
jimorothy - Lead O/S - 28/Jun/08 with Rachel Crolla

cyril - Lead O/S - 14/Jun/08

John Brayshaw - AltLd rpt - 06/Jun/08 with Mark Kitching

Hidden - AltLd O/S - 06/Jun/08

cat22 - AltLd O/S - 04/Jun/08 with Andy B

Super polished and exposed, got a shock! Student was parping it.
Zoomer - Lead - 02/Jun/08 with A Student

Hidden - Solo O/S - 20/May/08

Started from the cave after climbing Chiseller. Bit bold for me. glad I wasn't attempting to lead it.
Rawstron1 - 2nd O/S - 15/May/08 with Tim

Hidden - Lead O/S - 11/May/08

led pitch 2
GrandmaOfShoes - AltLd O/S - 11/May/08 with Sam Cartright

lead pitches 2+3 as one. covered in guano and cider...
joe_alexander - Lead O/S - 17/Feb/08 with Henry Castle

JdotP - 2nd O/S - 10/Feb/08 with Bjarte Grytli Seim

AndrewJenkins - 2008

daveagriff - Lead - 2008

JSA - 2008

Lead P1 Gully start this time.
Will Hunt - AltLd rpt - 24/Oct/07 with Steve Sharland

A great climb that let me touch the Cow. Really traditional in nature and a pleasant surprise to have 2 pitches on a grit route. Lead both pitches.
Will Hunt - Lead O/S - 07/Oct/07 with Annie

Massive faff, great fun.
net - AltLd - 01/Sep/07 with Neil & Tanya

Neil Pacey - AltLd O/S - 01/Sep/07

Hidden - AltLd - 09/Aug/07

connor - Lead - 20/Jul/07 with simon holdsworth

Led pitches 1 and 3. Pitch 2 is definitely the most interesting, but they are all very varied and give a good climb overall.
Will Smith - AltLd O/S - 10/Jul/07 with Richard Storrie

Hidden - AltLd O/S - 10/Jul/07

Hidden - Lead rpt - 29/Jun/07

Hidden - Lead O/S - 17/Mar/07

Hidden - 2007

Hidden - Lead - 2007

Hidden - AltLd O/S - 2007

Hidden - AltLd O/S - 02/Dec/06

Ropes and clothes needed a wash after leading the pigeon-infested second pitch
jonny taylor - AltLd O/S - 02/Dec/06 with Flicka

Hidden - AltLd O/S - Oct/06

mje1398 - Lead O/S - 30/Sep/06 with John M

Hidden - Lead O/S - 23/Sep/06

Benwa - 2nd O/S - Sep/06

dellboy - AltLd O/S - 22/Jul/06 with Stuart Heald

Stuie - AltLd - 21/Jul/06 with James Dell

Cletus the rock climbing cowboy - 2nd O/S - 17/Jul/06 with Rob

Dax H - AltLd O/S - 15/Jul/06 with Marcus Evans

Hidden - Lead - 09/Jul/06

robman - Lead O/S - 17/Jun/06 with Craig

Hidden - 2nd - 03/Jun/06

Birdie - 2nd - 19/Mar/06 with Matt K

Birdie - 2nd - 19/Mar/06 with Matt K

attitudeclimber - TR β - 2006 with paul gibson

pnorth - TR dnf - Dec/05 with Tim Ewington

penrithblencathra - Lead - 26/Nov/05 with Ed or Jon

erica - 2nd - 14/Sep/05 with John

John Brayshaw - Lead rpt - 14/Sep/05 with Erica

Previous ascent I took the original start, so this was my first ascent of Chiseller
Simon Caldwell - Lead rpt - 28/Jun/05 with Carmen

Alternate leads with Mike.
clive-greenwood - Lead O/S - 2005 with Mike Nuttall

MikeLeeds - 2nd - 2005 with Clive Greenwood

Hidden - Lead O/S - 05/Sep/04

Hidden - Lead rpt - 29/Jul/04

DavidR - AltLd O/S - 27/Jun/04 with Aidan McGuffie

Hidden - Lead O/S - 12/Apr/04

Mattyk - Lead O/S - 24/Mar/04 with John Kilner

Hidden - Lead - Jan/04

Nobby - 2nd - 2004

Hidden - AltLd O/S - 07/Dec/03

Phil West - AltLd O/S - 23/Nov/03 with Chris Tan & Shaun Walby

Hidden - AltLd - 16/Oct/03

Hidden - Lead - 13/Oct/03

Mark Collins - AltLd O/S - 24/May/03 with Neil Henson

Neil Henson - AltLd - 24/May/03 with Mark Collins

Hidden - 2003

Stone Muppet - 2003

sdht - 2003

Hidden - AltLd - Sep/02

Hidden - AltLd - 21/Aug/02

Hidden - AltLd O/S - Jun/02

Reapeted wi Art.smith (Lead all, Art. 2nd)
stevo smith - AltLd O/S - 06/May/02 with Mark Hargreaves

The Pylon King - Lead O/S - May/02 with Fiend

Hidden - Solo - May/02

Just Another Dave - Solo O/S - 28/Mar/02

Whealiebob - 2001 with Robin

John Brayshaw - 2nd rpt - 12/Sep/00 with Andy Ellwood

smudge - Lead O/S - 02/Sep/00

jim_randell - AltLd O/S - 07/Jul/00 with SL, RL

Alaric - 2nd O/S - 31/May/00 with Syd F

alan moore - 2000

John Brayshaw - Lead rpt - 24/Sep/99 with John Kennedy, Martin Cooper

John Brayshaw - 2nd rpt - 07/Jul/99 with Chris

Hidden - Lead dnf - 16/May/99

MartinN - 2nd O/S - 02/Apr/99

Roget - Solo O/S - 1999

Hidden - Lead - 1998

OriginalGeckoboy - 1998

chrishedgehog - AltLd O/S - 14/Aug/97 with Mark Gill and Pammy

Neil Conway - Lead O/S - 20/Jul/97

Hidden - Lead O/S - 23/Mar/97

Hidden - AltLd - 1996

Siderunner - AltLd O/S - 1995 with Andrew D

thinair48 - Lead O/S - 1995

John Brayshaw - Lead rpt - 29/Jul/94 with Richard Spryut

crater - Lead O/S - 22/Aug/93

Rampikino - 2nd - 16/Apr/93

John Brayshaw - AltLd rpt - 20/Sep/92 with Andy Farley

tapley - Lead - 19/May/92 with Alison Tapley

Year is a guess! Took the original start. Can't remember whether we went up the left or the right side of the flake, just that it was a desperate struggle!
Simon Caldwell - AltLd O/S - 1992 with Martin

Hidden - 1992

steve prior - AltLd - Sep/91 with Paul B

Hidden - Lead O/S - 13/Apr/91

PaulHermes - 1991

Hidden - Solo O/S - 1988

rob.grafton - AltLd - 1987 with barry maybank

Hidden - Lead O/S - 08/Sep/86

Tim Bateman - Lead - 30/Sep/85

Pete Pozman - 2nd rpt - 29/Apr/85 with Mark Walker

Tim Bateman - Lead - 08/Mar/85

Hidden - AltLd - 06/Oct/84

Pete Pozman - AltLd O/S - 18/Mar/84 with Dev

99bolivar - 2nd - 1984

hazeysunshine - Lead O/S - Jul/83

John Brayshaw - AltLd O/S - 01/Jun/81 with Shaun

John Marsland - Lead - 1979 with Ken

Hidden - AltLd - 1979

John Marsland - 2nd - 1978 with Cliff Barker

Hidden - Solo - 12/Apr/77

Tom V - 1972

Howard Dixon - Lead - 1971 with Martin Dixon

mikej - Lead - 25/Aug/68 with Bill Lawrenson, Dave Williams, Nigel Sumner

greenbuoy - Lead - 12/Apr/68 with G Habergam

mikej - Lead - 18/Feb/68 with Bob Elsom, Robin Hudson

RichardMc - Lead O/S - 15/Oct/67 with DUMC Freshers

Dave Musgrove - 1965

Users with this climb on their wishlist are:
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Voting
Total votes cast 85
hard HS0 of 30
HS1 of 30
easy HS12 of 30
hard S4 of 30
S9 of 30
easy S2 of 30
hard HVD2 of 30
HVD0 of 30
easy HVD0 of 30
hard 4c0 of 27
4c0 of 27
easy 4c0 of 27
hard 4b0 of 27
4b21 of 27
easy 4b5 of 27
hard 4a1 of 27
4a0 of 27
easy 4a0 of 27
3 Stars19 of 28
2 Stars7 of 28
1 Star0 of 28
0 Stars1 of 28
Bag of .....1 of 28
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Style of ascent

Soloed11 of 268 (4.1%)
Lead88 of 268 (32.8%)
Followed48 of 268 (17.9%)
Toproped2 of 268 (0.7%)
Alt Leads93 of 268 (34.7%)
Unknown26 of 268 (9.7%)

'Climbed'102 of 268 (38.1%)
clean O/S134 of 268 (50.0%)
clean β5 of 268 (1.9%)
clean rpt23 of 268 (8.6%)
dnf4 of 268 (1.5%)