After climbing for almost 20 yrs Sunday 18th April was the first time on Little Chamonix! What an absolute Classic of a route! You have to give credit to the Pioneers once again! Me and my wife were grinning all the way up this amazing route and to top it off we met 2 guys from Newcastle - Andy and Clarky! who were a breath of fresh air and added to the delights! Not only were they polite and helpful but they repeated the route to overtake us and take the Famous photo finish on the last pitch! I just want to say thanks again lads and maybe one day we can return the favour 👍🙏
It's a cracking line, isn't it?
A brilliant route. You do something like that (which is accessible to almost all of us) and it's with you forever. The feeling on that top wall! And, when you bump into great people, well, it doesn't really get any better...
I think it was the first route that Paul Ross (of this parish) ever did, basically as a solo. He might have had a rope with him but no runners (gulp!) I hear he's still doing it, nearly 70 years later. Long may he continue.
The first route he did per se? It's a 1946 Bentley Beetham FA. Ross's first FA is recorded as Troutdale Pinnacle Superdirect, which a couple of friends did yesterday and said was thoroughly fantastic. We climbed next to them up Raindrop (P. Livesey) before doing a group ascent of The Coffin (R. McHaffie). If only we'd got in a Beetham route and a Peascod Route, we could have played Borrowdale Pioneers Top Trumps
The best route.
I am so looking forward to doing this route!
I don't know how to embed the photo, but this is Paul soloing the route, on sight aged (it looks like) 12. He was I think looking for bird's eggs...
He posts on here as USBRIT.
He was nuts, and is not mellowing with age!
You won't be disappointed! And, ever afterwards, when Borrowdale comes into the mind's eye, it will be there for you.
Great photo. Thanks for putting it on. Didn't take him long to go from Little Chamonix to Post Mortem (shudder!) and the Bonatti Pillar.
I can't think of anyone but Paul and Rowland Edwards who've climbed hard for so long. More power to both of them.
An absolute classic route at the grade, or any grade really. Even the rather poor first pitch is made worthwhile by the anticipation of the higher pitches, the slightly bold nature and having to dodge round damp patches quite a few of the times I have done it. Nice tree belay, interesting/fun moves onto and then off the bum ledge across the groove. Great belay on the saddle and an out there top wall.
Last time I did it must have been over 15 years ago, but I still remember some of my ascents vividly and this thread has made me think I need to do it again. Thank you.
I remember doing it about 5 or 6 times, it's so good (but last time was probably as long as 35 years ago). I took at least two relative beginners up it with success.
Cracking route. I repeated it on my 50th a few years back in early April in snow - a brilliant way to celebrate. Glad you enjoyed.
I did it about 30 years ago and can still remember sliding down off the block belay and grinning all the way up that improbable top pitch. Your post sums up all the enjoyment I remember from that day and now I can't wait to go back and do it again.
Brilliant! Thanks for that
My first ever climb
I'd gone on my first meet with the Rugby MC in November 1981 , having just done a fair amount of mountain walking. On the Sunday the bloke I'd got a lift with was going climbing at Shepherd's so I had to tag along, thinking I'd sit and watch. One of the other guys said "do you fancy trying this?" so the rope was tied round my waist and I set off in my ordinary street shoes.
I was totally blown away, I'd never felt anything quite like it before and was immediately hooked!
It's a great little route, very varied for its grade. I confess I got rather blasé about it in the 70s and early 80s, when I must have done it well over 100 times, usually with two students in tow. In recent years I've tried to fit in an annual solo of it if I got down to the Lakes. The move off the block onto the slab always feels insecure. Plus the fact that I'm no longer accustomed to polished rock. Quite the little adventure.
Me and Mrs Moore did Little Chamonix one very cold New Years Eve as a break from the drive from Gloucester to Scotland.
It had been a blue sky day but the headwall was already glowing cherry red in the sunset as we hurried along the road to the crag.
We dodged ice streaks on the first pitch, flopped gracelessly from groove to groove on the second, waited for the in-situ headwall team to finish in the last of the daylight and finally, groped down in the dark.
A wonderfull memory, driving off home past the Christmas lights of Lordore.
The only time I did this climb was in 1985 aged 16. It was quite busy so did some other stuff. The rain came in and was here for the day so we went to the pub. After a few beers (cider for me) we started talking about going back and doing it. We had another round to think about it but this just made the daft idea even more credible We got to the foot of the climb in the pissing rain all four of us and put our socks over our rock boots. It actually went ok but polished bits on the slab were running with water and a bit of a concern. My lasting memory was at the last belay. Soaked through, very sober and watching the little waterfalls running off the toes of my boots.
There used to be a picture of him in the hotel down the road (The Scafell) climbing the top pitch wearing roller skates.
There used to be an newspaper cutting on the wall in the Dog and Gun in Keswick of someone who'd climbed it wearing boxing gloves and roller skates. Sliding across the block to get to the belay below the last pitch must have been fun . . .
Brillliant route, I remember leading it 42 years ago on the top pitch thinking I was the kiddie. Then looked across to the adjacent butress seeing one of my mates powering his way up either inclination or exclamation E4 6a(I think).
> There used to be an newspaper cutting on the wall in the Dog and Gun in Keswick of someone who'd climbed it wearing boxing gloves and roller skates. Sliding across the block to get to the belay below the last pitch must have been fun . . .
some someone! "The Jaws of Borrowdale".
My first ever climb too! As a still rather damp behind the ears teacher I was taken up it by two of my 6th form students back in 1968.
A great route, one of my favourites. The final pitch looked quite intimidating as viewed from the top of the crag the first time I climbed it in the early 1960s but in reality turned out to be sheer bliss.
> I can't think of anyone but Paul and Rowland Edwards who've climbed hard for so long. More power to both of them.
I remember you recounting this somewhere else - with two of your female students being whisked off by these sixth formers, leaving you a little concerned. "Here sir, do you want to try?" Great story
Paul Ross did the FA of Post Mortem in 1956 - just three years after his initiation on Little Chamonix. Post Mortem was probably the first 5c in the Lakes. To British climbers, unused to offwidths, it's horrendous! Whillans failed on it and had to be rescued off it (got his knee stuck.)
Rowland Edwards started a bit later (very early 1960s, I believe). There's a great Bob Godfrey film of Eric Jones and him trying to free Left Wall in 1964. Eventually Rowland freed it and soloed it but claimed neither, as working routes wasn't considered the done thing back then.
Obviously Eric Jones had a long and illustrious climbing career - no doubt about that!
I think Pat Littlejohn started a bit later (circa 1966?) He's significantly younger than the trio mentioned above. His rise was meteoric and it seems that he's still climbing very well indeed.
There's a whole host of 'Burnley boys' (must be something in the water), of whom Jerry Peel is probably the best known, who've been climbing hard since about 1970. And - I can vouch - they're still going well!
What all of these people have in common is that they got good frighteningly fast, without any of the training aids which we're used to today. And they got good at times when getting it wrong could come with a dire penalty.
I'm sure there are others. And it's not a contest, anyway. Some people simply love climbing and will do it as well as they can for as long as they can. Inspiring for the rest of us!
I lived at the rectory and worked at garage when you were at Ulls OB (79/80)