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Bold but safe recommendations, e1-e3?

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 joeramsay 02 Jun 2021

Done before I know, but looking to improve my headgame a bit. All my hardest leads have been of the pumpy-but-gear-on-demand variety, and I have a bit of a tendency to make life hard for myself by insisting on fiddling in wires mid-crux. If I want to keep improving I think I need to get used to doing hard moves without this option, so in the interest of getting used to doing tricky moves without a wire above my head, I'm looking for recommendations for routes where you have to climb away from the gear and bust some moves, but where you're still not going to hit the ground or a ledge if you blow it. Any recs would be brilliant!

Post edited at 18:51
 Eric9Points 02 Jun 2021
In reply to joeramsay:

The Pause or The Long Reach.

You won't need a big rack on Blank on the Sub Rosa slabs either but that's a bit below your grade.

 John2 02 Jun 2021
In reply to joeramsay:

Kitten Claws, Carreg y Barcud.

 Michael Gordon 02 Jun 2021
In reply to Eric9Points:

Does The Long Reach count as safe?!

 nniff 02 Jun 2021
In reply to joeramsay:

Silly Arete (Tremadog), Memory Lane (Cromlech), Acid Test (Wintours)

 Eric9Points 02 Jun 2021
In reply to Michael Gordon:

No one has ever died on it.

In fact I'm pretty sure no one has ever died leading anything on the Etive slabs.

In reply to joeramsay:

Good thread. 

Obviously depends where you are? Avon has its fare share of bold routes, but lots have the protection where you really need it to avoid getting hurt.

Krapp's Last Tape (E3 5b) linked with Think Pink (E3 6a)

The Preter (E2 5b)

Kangaroo Wall (E2 6a)

Central Buttress (E1 5a)

All safe routes with some bold climbing in places

 rogerwebb 02 Jun 2021
In reply to Eric9Points:

> No one has ever died on it.

> In fact I'm pretty sure no one has ever died leading anything on the Etive slabs.

You are, unfortunately, incorrect. 

Post edited at 20:17
 joeramsay 02 Jun 2021
In reply to Steve Claw:

Thanks all for the recommendations, keep em coming!

> Obviously depends where you are?

Good point. I live in West Yorkshire so grit, North Wales, Lakes are all good, but I get around enough, and have plans for the south west and Pembroke later this year too

In reply to joeramsay:

On grit: Time for Tea at Millstone, Brown's Eliminate at Froggatt, Wings of Unreason at The Roaches (although E4).

I'd recommend the slate though. The style of 'bold but safe' is very common there with big, basic runouts above easy gear, involving just clipping a bolt. You could climb 100 routes there. In that style and still have loads left to do. 

 mike barnard 02 Jun 2021
In reply to joeramsay:

Winking Crack (E3 5c)

The crux is a crack but you won't be able to lace it up! The fall is definitely into space; my climbing partner can vouch for that.

 Stig 02 Jun 2021
  • In reply to joeramsay:

Left Wall, Cromlech

pretty much anything at Pavey I’d say. Astra, Brackenclock, Capella

Pink Panther comes to mind as well.

Left Unconquerable, Pot Black, Wuthering at Stanage

Silhoutte and November, Cloggy

Or go to Yosemite where you have to run it out

Post edited at 20:36
In reply to Stig:

> Left Wall, Cromlech

> Left Unconquerable

> November, Cloggy

None of these are in any way bold. The very opposite really.

Surprised at people recommending slab or routes much off vertical. To me safe means not hitting anything or tumbling down anything.

 Stig 02 Jun 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

only the title of his post says ‘bold’. If you read his OP it is clear he means routes that involve climbing above gear. The crux of LW is above the last gear, I don’t think you can place any more post crux, albeit the holds are much bigger.

similar with LU. The probable reason people fall off it is they’re trying to fiddle in gear near the top when pumped.

november is well protected I’ll grant you but I remember it being pumpy and you have to keep moving

 Si dH 02 Jun 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

I thought Stig's recommendations were perhaps a bit close to stitch-ups but better than some of the others that are definitely very much on the bold end and not about doing a few moves above good gear, which is what the OP asked for. I guess the problem is that "bold but safe" can mean something else to different people. Silly Arete, Memory Lane, Browns Eliminate - none of these are things you would recommend to someone just wanting to get away from having to have gear above their head for every move! They are full-on head games and you need to be steady well above gear in advance.

How about Adjudicator Wall, Robert Brown, Perseus, Midnight Cowboy, Darius, Five Finger Exercise, Delicatessen, Weaver or Vector, Scoop Wall, Wombat (Malham), Out of the Blue, Sentinel, Moyer's Buttress, Nexus and Plexus, Hawkwing, Kirkus Corner, Earl of Perth, The Plum, Liquid Courage - a bunch of random better recommendations that are all good routes and should fit the bill in places. Time for Tea is a fairly good shout if the guy likes grit.

Post edited at 21:19
 mrphilipoldham 02 Jun 2021
In reply to joeramsay:

The Padder at Eastby.

Extraction at Rylstone (HVS but gear feels bloody miles away).

 Graeme Hammond 02 Jun 2021
In reply to Stig:

> only the title of his post says ‘bold’. If you read his OP it is clear he means routes that involve climbing above gear. The crux of LW is above the last gear, I don’t think you can place any more post crux, albeit the holds are much bigger.

I did get some post crux gear but got geting increasingly pumped when all i had to do was reach left for that massive jug. Idiot! (Also i think OP has done left wall)

Think time for tea is one of the best suggestions so far having fallen off trying to rock onto the ledge it is quite a fall if you go head first like i did, wouldn't want to fall off the final easy move to the top however!

Big Greeny at Almscliff is considered bold by some, you cetainly have to run it out a little but apparently the fall is regularly taken.

Post edited at 21:40
In reply to Stig:

So they're only bold if you are not strong enough to hang around and place the gear. To me bold means there is no gear to place for a stretch.

Memory Lane is very bold but probably not actually dangerous - just scary.

Post edited at 21:45
In reply to Stig:

> The crux of LW is above the last gear, I don’t think you can place any more post crux, albeit the holds are much bigger.

There are wires all the way up the top crack (if that is what you mean by the crux) as far as I remember. Do you mean the left traverse?

 ian caton 02 Jun 2021
In reply to joeramsay:

Cruel sister. Pavey.

Tumbleweed connection. Goat

Mulatto wall. Malham

Face route. Gordale.

Empire. Raven, thirlmere. 

Etc. 

Has anyone taken the fall on cruel sister? I cant imagine it would be very pleasant, or safe. 

Similar for kitten claws anyone taken the fall on the run out? My assessment of the micro placements was that this would be a very bad idea. I thought it was steady but quite bold.

I have taken the fall on pink panther after going of route post dodgy sling, it held but fell off as i climbed past it on my second go, if I had fallen that time it would have been very bad (however I had run out of the right sized micro wires by the dodgy sling which may tame it a bit)

 Jon Stewart 03 Jun 2021
In reply to ebdon:

> Has anyone taken the fall on cruel sister? I cant imagine it would be very pleasant, or safe. 

> Similar for kitten claws anyone taken the fall on the run out? My assessment of the micro placements was that this would be a very bad idea. I thought it was steady but quite bold.

My thoughts exactly. 

> I have taken the fall on pink panther after going of route post dodgy sling, it held but fell off as i climbed past it on my second go, if I had fallen that time it would have been very bad (however I had run out of the right sized micro wires by the dodgy sling which may tame it a bit)

There's another good piece (better than microwires) level with the laughable sling which makes it "bold but safe". 

Roaring Silence (E3 5c) is a good one, but the run outs are sideways. 42nd Street (E3 5c) is a good route that feels bold but is really safe, I think. Astra (E2 5c) was a great suggestion. 

 Kevster 03 Jun 2021
In reply to joeramsay:

Swanage has plenty. Pick something of that grade with stars. The top less reliable band guarantees something of a run out. 

 mike barnard 03 Jun 2021
In reply to ian caton:

> Face route. Gordale.>

Good call. Pitch 2 sounds good for the OP if he's considering 6a tech.

In reply to joeramsay:

This may sound counter intuitive...

Sport climbing is actually really good for this. You have to get used to just climbing regardless of where the bolt is, and not having the option to stop and get runners above your head. 

 AJM 03 Jun 2021
In reply to Robert Durran:

> There are wires all the way up the top crack (if that is what you mean by the crux) as far as I remember. Do you mean the left traverse?

I was surprised by this too. I failed on Left Wall once upon a year because of my insistence that there had to be a runner next to or above me at all times.  

In reply to Jon Stewart:

I've fallen off 42nd street (seems to be a theme here) and can confirm the gear is bomber! In fact pretty much most of the routes at chee tor are probably a good recommendations. Similar most stuff in this grade range at Reecastle.

Post edited at 08:31
 AJM 03 Jun 2021
In reply to Steve Claw:

> Obviously depends where you are? Avon has its fare share of bold routes, but lots have the protection where you really need it to avoid getting hurt.

The upper section of Krapps I remember having spaced clusters of ok gear, but I recall a reasonable trek to the first piece of gear where a fall would probably not be any fun at all.

 Tom V 03 Jun 2021
In reply to Eric9Points:

I took a massive fall/ slide/ cartwheel on it and but for an ancient peg I'd clipped (possibly off line) I would have gone over the big overlap. Death might not have been certain but broken bones would.

In reply to Alex Riley:

I'd add the freebie at the grade, Heading the Shot (E5 6b). I had not climbed above E3 when I lead it. The crux is above the second bolt, the bold bit is getting to that bolt.

In reply to Alkis:

It's a (albeit spicy) f7a+ with the proper bolts in it. The old E5 grade was mostly because the old hangers were desperate to clip. 

In reply to Luke Brooks:

I'd agree with that assessment.

Edit: That said, I found a super nice position to clip the second bolt from that I could have faffed about from even if I needed to thread a narrow eyed steel corner hanger. Not sure I would have wanted to whip on one of those though! 😆

Post edited at 10:19
In reply to joeramsay:

Can only give low E grade grit recommendations as that's what I know. 

Pot Black (E2 5b) is great, feels a bit spooky but you won't hit the deck for sure.

Gullible's Travels (E1 5b) you get gear before the crux move but it's fiddly microcams which I found difficult to place so kind of bold kind of safe

The Bear Hunter (E1 5b) is great. Top is boldish but you won't hit the ground probably

Living at the Speed (E1 5b) is a bit soft and short and not that bold as you have bomber gear at your feet but if you're in the area give it a go as it's fun

Fringe Benefit (E1 5b) is probably the least safe of all of these but I thought the lower nut wasn't as bad as people said and it's only one scary move

 mishabruml 03 Jun 2021
In reply to joeramsay:

The Butcher (E3 5c)

Your post resonates very well with me, I have been trying to do the same for years. For some reason, it has started to come together this year for me and I have started being happy to take big lobs onto good gear, doing hard or droppable moves above gear etc. 

The Butcher is a brilliant line and is absolutely perfect for what you are asking for. Crux is well high up the route, steep so the fall line is totally safe and clear of ledges etc, and there is a huge jug before the crux where you can hang around building a nest of bomber gear.

There is then no option but to climb above the gear and make the hardest and most committing moves with the gear just below your feet. It would be too pumpy (at the grade) to stop and place gear even if there was any to place!

I took the ride several times, sometimes coming half way down the crag thanks to some lovely soft catches from my belayer. I got up it eventually, but only after you give the route the commitment it  demands. It was great, climbing at a deserted St Govans at about 9pm (when it was finally cool!) on Sunday night this bank holiday weekend. I'm really psyched to come back and try to get it clean, or take some more whippers, I don't care!

 iainJ 03 Jun 2021
In reply to joeramsay:

Pathos and Picnic at Brimham, and a second vote for big greeny at Almscliff.

Took a few good whips off Tufted Crack (E1 5c)

Seen some good falls on Dexterity (E1 5b) too

+ another vote for The Big Greeny (E3 5c)

 mrjonathanr 06 Jun 2021
In reply to deacondeacon:

I'd be careful with Brown's Eliminate.

Absent Friends on Chee Tor is a good route with safe gear you need to climb past.Absent Friends (E3 5c)

Post edited at 20:09
 jkarran 07 Jun 2021
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

> The Padder at Eastby.

Is it safe? I could never bring myself to get on it when I was good enough, it doesn't look safe.

jk

In reply to jkarran:

I climbed this recently. It's safe if you don't fall off 😉. 

(realistically it would be a very bad idea to fall off but it's easy climbing. Think 'three pebble slab dangerousness. 

 mrphilipoldham 07 Jun 2021
In reply to jkarran:

I don't think you're ever in danger of decking, from memory.. but it is very bold above decent gear. I'm not denying that a tumble wouldn't hurt of course!

In reply to jkarran:

Doing The vs on the right as a warm up put me off the Padder, it looked exceedingly run out! On the subject of Eastby Pillar Front (E2 5b) is excellent and with some well placed microcams felt safe enough (although a bit of a bold section low down).

Also in the area I thought The Shelf (E2 5b) was very safe with a small cam dispite the rather ominous guidebook discription

Post edited at 15:13
In reply to joeramsay:

I think San Melas (E3 5c) on  Roaches Skyline would fit the bill. Unprotected start but the climbing is steady and you're not that far off the ground. The crux is a precarious-feeling step up from a resting ledge where you get bomber cams and you wouldn't hit anything if you fluffed it.

On the same crag another good shout would be Topaz (E2 5b): a run-out finish above solid gear and a decent fall zone.

Post edited at 17:32
 fmck 07 Jun 2021
In reply to Eric9Points:

It's a bit of A weird one. I soloed Pochemon before lead climb the vs routes

 Misha 07 Jun 2021
In reply to joeramsay:

It sounds like what you’re looking for is routes where you have to place good kit and go for it for a few moves but without significant risk of getting hurt if you come off. This excludes all slabby routes (you want vertical or overhanging if you want falling odd to be reasonably safe). This also excludes routes where it’s ‘too pumpy’ to place gear as you’d still have that option and how pumpy something is depends on how fit you are.

As such, many (most?) of the suggestions above are bad ones. They are either too bold (plenty of routes above I wouldn’t want to fall off on) or too well protected (if you can hang on long enough). I’m actually struggling to think of any particular routes to recommend, simply because what you’re looking for is sort of middle of the road. There are plenty of routes like that but they aren’t particularly ‘memorable’ for being a bit bold as that’s not something I tend to remember. I’d remember something which is either pretty bold or very well protected. The ‘average’ routes may be memorable for lots of reasons but not for being of ‘average’ boldness.

Instead, I’d recommend seeking out vertical face routes and overhangs as opposed to cracks or slabs. 

 jkarran 08 Jun 2021
In reply to ebdon:

I think the VS next to the padder frightened me off. It's a long time ago though.

The shelf gave me a very tedious limp back to the car, safe ish but I slammed in under the gear.

Jk

 mike barnard 08 Jun 2021
In reply to Misha:

I'm a big fan of the sort of routes the OP is looking for, though was struggling to think of stuff from his area. You'd think any route with thin moves between horizontal breaks would fit the bill. Just off vertical is fine but slabs, not so much.

 gazhbo 08 Jun 2021
In reply to Misha:

Mirage at Avon?

In fact - quite a lot at Avon.  I’m sure there are better routes closer to home though!

Post edited at 10:15
 MGRT 08 Jun 2021
In reply to Misha:

> Instead, I’d recommend seeking out vertical face routes and overhangs as opposed to cracks or slabs. 

Ocean Boulevard at Swanage

In reply to joeramsay

I remember Astra (E2 5c) feeling scary at the time, only to fine out after that it was listed on a "Classic Safe Lake District E2/E3" ticklist. In hindsight it's a long runout above a bomber piece of gear where you'd fall into hanging space. 

 fammer 08 Jun 2021
In reply to gazhbo:

You're right next to the gear on the crux of mirage, although there's a few 5c moves to do afterwards before the next gear. At Avon I think Ladder of Desire (E3 5c) and Them (E3 6a) would fit the bill.

In reply to Stig:

> only the title of his post says ‘bold’. If you read his OP it is clear he means routes that involve climbing above gear. The crux of LW is above the last gear, I don’t think you can place any more post crux, albeit the holds are much bigger.

> similar with LU. The probable reason people fall off it is they’re trying to fiddle in gear near the top when pumped.

> november is well protected I’ll grant you but I remember it being pumpy and you have to keep moving

You haven't done Left Wall then.

The OP makes it clear that he wants routes that are bold not ones that should be climbed boldly LU is the opposite of what he is asking for, for the exact reasons you state.

Post edited at 12:57
 65 08 Jun 2021
In reply to joeramsay:

The Pillar at Diabeg? It’s 30 years since I did it but I remember a few 5a and 5b moves above good gear where coming off would have meant airtime but not hospital time. Five star route as well. One of the routes on the main slab fits the bill too but I can’t remember which one, most are very well protected.

Some of the routes on the lower walls on the East Face of Aonach Dubh might qualify.

 Will Hunt 08 Jun 2021
In reply to joeramsay:

If you live in West Yorkshire then Big Greeny is certainly the ultimate in this style at the grade you're after.

I personally found The Padder to be really scary. Not dangerous per se but I found the moves quite tricky and, having spent quite a bit of time on moorland grit, I struggle to trust the big pebbles at Eastby as much as you need to.

My stock caveat for Yorkshire limestone trad is to go in with a few grades in hand and work your way up. Depending on the rock quality on the route/crag the climbs can feel spot on at the grade or really tough.

 Jon Stewart 08 Jun 2021
In reply to Misha:

> As such, many (most?) of the suggestions above are bad ones. They are either too bold (plenty of routes above I wouldn’t want to fall off on) or too well protected (if you can hang on long enough).

Totally agree.

> I’m actually struggling to think of any particular routes to recommend, simply because what you’re looking for is sort of middle of the road. There are plenty of routes like that but they aren’t particularly ‘memorable’ for being a bit bold as that’s not something I tend to remember. I’d remember something which is either pretty bold or very well protected. The ‘average’ routes may be memorable for lots of reasons but not for being of ‘average’ boldness.

These are my favourite kinds of routes, I do find them memorable because even when the consequences of a fall are OK, if it would be a big whipper, I get a massive buzz off the "bold but safe" sequence. I can't be arsed with really struggly well-protected routes. Too much effort, too little buzz. Then with properly bold routes, they're a massive faff as well, triple-checking every last tiny move, making sure it's reversible, in a state of abject terror, while the belayer (who's doing nothing of any value) is freezing to death, also in a state of severe anxiety.

Middle of the road is where it's at!

 Jon Stewart 08 Jun 2021
In reply to mrjonathanr:

> I'd be careful with Brown's Eliminate.

> Absent Friends on Chee Tor is a good route with safe gear you need to climb past.Absent Friends (E3 5c)

AF is just plain safe. You can place gear just before the crux, in the middle of the crux, and just as you finish it. Then it's good gear the whole rest of the way. I think Of Youth (E3 5c) has a go-for-it section, and maybe Approaching (E3 5c) but it's a while since I did them. Chee Tor is a great crag for E3s (but I never did the nails ones Queer Street and Splintered Perspex).

 Jon Stewart 08 Jun 2021
In reply to joeramsay:

Has Five Finger Exercise (E2 5c) come up yet? Great gear with hard moves just above it, then you have to keep going. Then the finale has more great gear then a really committing layback where you can stop and put a cam in blind if you like, but unless you're cruising it, you'll never see if it's any good, and you have to go way above it with full commitment to the top. One of the best on grit!

I don't think the optional cam is that much help, and I caught my mate plummeting off the non-jugs near the top. He was fine, and he got a round of applause for the whipper from everyone at the crag - it's a good one whether you make it or not!

 Misha 08 Jun 2021
In reply to Dave Garnett:

That’s pretty well protected isn’t it?

 Misha 08 Jun 2021
In reply to gazhbo:

Mirage is a good shout. A lot of stuff at Avon is pretty bold though. I certainly wouldn’t put Krapp’s on the list, which someone suggested earlier. Arms Race is another good one - I think the crack runs out before the crux, you could sling the spike but even then you’d get air time. That’s pumpy E4 though.

There’s plenty of suitable stuff at Pembroke. Pleasure Dome springs to mind. Also Lower Sharpnose, though the starts of some routes there are quite bold (but the cruxes are generally high up).

 Misha 08 Jun 2021
In reply to MGRT:

I seem to recall Ocean Boulevard has good gear but not a stitch up so yeah, good shout and definitely steep! There are other routes there in that style. 

 Misha 08 Jun 2021
In reply to Jon Stewart:

FFE is a great shout. Chee Tor - can’t remember specific routes in most cases but certainly some in that style. Queer Street is one in fact and flight time is frequent! Splintered Perspex I found quite hard as well but can’t remember the gear.

 Jon Stewart 08 Jun 2021
In reply to Misha:

Did you manage Queer Street onsight? I've heard it said that if you do, it should make UKC news!

 Jon Stewart 08 Jun 2021
In reply to Misha:

> There’s plenty of suitable stuff at Pembroke. Pleasure Dome springs to mind.

I've belayed a couple of failures on PD, neither took a flyer. One just couldn't do the final move of the traverse, and reversed. The other sprinted out like a man possessed, dropped down to that non-rest after the traverse, couldn't get anything back, went up to the bulge, placed the gear and was pumped stupid so he sat on it. I see what you mean, but IME, heroic screamers are not what that route seems to produce.

 CurlyStevo 08 Jun 2021
In reply to Misha:

> I seem to recall Ocean Boulevard has good gear but not a stitch up so yeah, good shout and definitely steep! There are other routes there in that style. 

above my standard but sort of weird recommendation considering its reputation as a well protected pump fest. Quoting your own comments here "Hard Very Swanage! Steady if you're fit, every time there's a hard move or two there's a jug just above. Couple of good rests as well (would be better without them!). Hardest thing is placing some of the gear as it's fiddly in those knobbly cracks. Well protected though. Nothing hard but was feeling it a bit towards the top. Very good!"

The OP specifically asked for something boldish where the choice between the top and the pump wasn't fiddling in wires!

Post edited at 23:33
 Misha 08 Jun 2021
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Ha, not a chance. 

 Misha 08 Jun 2021
In reply to CurlyStevo:

My memory fails me... although when I said well protected, that didn’t necessarily mean overhead gear all the way. But yeah, perhaps not the best example.

 Misha 08 Jun 2021
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Well that’s true of all these types of routes - sitting on the gear is always an option... but I know what you mean. 

 tebs 09 Jun 2021
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Ha ha that would have been me I reckon? Can confirm the quality and safety of the fall (and thanks for the catch)!

Other suggestions for the OP - Billy Whizz, Equus, Prana, Dark Continent

 Jon Stewart 09 Jun 2021
In reply to tebs:

> Ha ha that would have been me I reckon? Can confirm the quality and safety of the fall (and thanks for the catch)!

On FFE yes, you're that badger. I wonder if the failees on Pleasure Dome will reveal themselves

In reply to joeramsay:

Centrefold (E3 5c)

Absolutely brilliant and well protected, but you can't place gear through the crux as there is none on that section, you leave your gear behind as you enter the crux and you arrive at the end greeted by jugs and bomber gear, or you take a long safe ride into space... Perfect 

 Duncan Bourne 10 Jun 2021
In reply to Andy Clarke:

My friend fell off at the crux on San Melas and a swift leap backwards on the part of the belayer stopped him hitting the deck


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