UKC

Creag Dubh gear - Seriously??

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no doubt I will get slated for this post and my lack of balls, but it's a rainy afternoon and there hasn't been a good grade argument for a while...  

I was lucky enough to enjoy some of the great weather Scotland has been having recently last week and finally got on The Hill (E2 5b) at  Creag Dubh (Newtonmore).  It's a route I'd been wanting to get on for ages to add to my collection of 4* Scottish E2s and E25b is normally a grade I'm happy to jump on. I know this crag has a bit of a reputation but I thought the lack of gear was ridiculous! I actually backed off it (1st route backed off this year). I got as far as the ledge below the 'useless peg' and didn't fancy basically soloing into the unknown for what looked like the entire first pitch.  I did spot an utterly rubbish looking flake for a sling and a shallow RP in broken rock down the back of the same flake, either of which I wouldn't consider even lowering off. but that was it.  All in all it despite the easy climbing didn't feel very E2. Maybe I'm just getting old and sensible but I was pretty disappointed by the rather unbalanced level of boldness, is this is just what Creag Dubh is all about? was I just having a bad day? does it have a special grading system all of its own, the Curbar of the highlands perhaps?

 Vigier 14 Sep 2021
In reply to ebdon:

It’s not called: “ Creag Death” for nothing! 😂

 nniff 14 Sep 2021
In reply to ebdon:

That's the experience I remember from 1984, including the RP!  Cracking route, though.

In reply to Vigier:

I thought the Creag Death stuff was a bit of machismo to scare off southern softies like me, what I didn't expect was 15m of no meaningful gear above a load of spikey rocks! I think one of the logbook comments got it right with 'like sport climbing but without the bolts' 

But you can't just say oh yeah it's Creag death though and then make up a new grading system! or rather it seems you can!

 Fergal 14 Sep 2021
In reply to ebdon:

Which other soft touch E2's did you do?

Horses for courses,  local "Stork" used to solo Over the Hill just to warm up.

Post edited at 12:59
In reply to Fergal:

If that's a dig at my climbing...

I climb E2 or harder pretty much every time I go trad cragging thankyouverymuch. It's not a grade that's a huge deal for me. Hence the shock at how un-e2 this felt!

Allthough perhaps all the 20 or so e2s if done in the last 18 months were all soft?  

I'm not surprised he soled it you might as well! 

Post edited at 13:04
 Vigier 14 Sep 2021
In reply to ebdon:

With bolts it would probably be the most popular crag in Scotland!

 Fergal 14 Sep 2021
In reply to ebdon:

Why so serious?

I thought it pretty steady, yes it's bold, but that's why it gets a grade of E2 5b.

Which other E2's have you done in Scotland.

In reply to ebdon:

I seem to remember a nut by the useless peg being ok while not exactly great. So E2 rather than E1 or E3, though it was a while ago so could have changed.

The grades routes feel that depend on a key piece of protection often does depend on how much you trust it and that will vary from person to person. Particularly true of old pegs.

In reply to Fergal:

there's bold and then there's bold - I normally expect my trad to include some gear! I would say this felt more E3 5b (bearing in mind this is the opinion of someone who only got about 1/4 up the climb) and E3 5b is a shit grade.  

I haven't actually done tonnes of rock in Scotland (it's a long way away from me)  but I've done most of the classic E2s around Gairloch, 2 or 3 at Sheigra, a few at Reiff (yeah I know, holiday grades...), the Pillar, a couple of the classics around Polldubh, and a smattering of other single pitch ones (Galloway hills etc...).  I like to feel I know my around E2 and normally climb in the Peak and Lakes - neither of which are known for soft touches.

and sorry - not serious - forgot to add dam the internet for lack of subtley (ps dislike wasn't me)

Post edited at 13:43
In reply to ebdon:

I thought E2 5b was fair, I found a micro cam to back up the peg although I wouldn’t particularly like to test either. The rest of the pitch has pretty good protection from what I recall and good gear comes not long after the peg. Despite being steep the climbing is also pretty basic, you can down climb most of the pitch which is probably what made it not feel more serious. I can think of plenty Scottish E2’s that I thought were harder and or bolder, Jump So High Direct at the same crag for example (great route btw, I thought the best at Creag Dubh).

In reply to CMcBain:

I did indeed downclimbed from the peg - so not that serious.  sounds like I should have quested on but I think I was just shocked by the boldness (and Garry Latter's description of the peg).  I was just disappointed as I had been looking forward to climbing this for ages.

I saw from the logbooks that E25b is the consensus - I was just surprised by my own very different experience, I was sort of hoping I'd just missed some obvious crucial gear. Think I've done about 8 E3's this year and it felt a lot bolder then all of them (although they were all soft touch)

does jump so high have any gear? that's was next on my list 

In reply to ebdon:

I had an emotional first time visit to “Creag Death” climbing on a VS called Take Off. 20m of jenga block choss followed by 20m of pulling on steep grass to a dead tree stump with tat around for an abseil. The first 10m pitch was alright actually, climbing next to a big tree which we got stuck in while abseiling off, all while witnessing a team to our left knock off a microwave sized block which exploded into a million pieces below. A day full of character. 

Post edited at 14:15
 Mike-W-99 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Harrison_Connie:

> I had an emotional first time visit to “Creag Death” climbing on a VS called Take Off.

You need to go back and do some of the good routes then. 😄

 Gary Latter 14 Sep 2021
In reply to ebdon:

There are many well protected routes at Creag Dhubh. Jump So High Direct has good gear at the crux, easier steady run-out up walk above to the good ledge at the base of the crack. Large blue cam protects the crux. Lots of varied climbing, superb if climbed as a single pitch. Middle crack, common to the original Jump So High feels a bit nippy for E1 5b though…

Another great generally well protected E2 is Wet Dreams. The routes up on the Barrier Wall are generally better protected - shorter steeper, couple of sets cams doesn’t go amiss. 
 

on the Great Wall, Inbred Super Direct is superb well protected 40m pitch; Strapadicktaemi is also great, though a bit run out on first pitch, though above decent gear, unlike The Hill.

There used to be a decent nut placement to back up the peg on The Hill, though sadly that’s long gone. Agree that route is much better protected from shallow groove beyond the peg.

 Gary Latter 14 Sep 2021
In reply to ebdon:

There are many well protected routes at Creag Dhubh. Jump So High Direct has good gear at the crux, easier steady run-out up wall above to the good ledge at the base of the crack. Large blue cam protects the crux. Lots of varied climbing, superb if climbed as a single pitch. Middle crack, common to the original Jump So High feels a bit nippy for E1 5b though…

Another great generally well protected E2 is Wet Dreams. The routes up on the Barrier Wall are generally better protected - shorter steeper, couple of sets cams doesn’t go amiss. 
 

On the Great Wall, Inbred Super Direct is superb well protected 40m pitch; Strapadicktaemi is also great, though a bit run out on first pitch, though above decent gear, unlike The Hill.

There used to be a decent nut placement to back up the peg on The Hill, though sadly that’s long gone. Agree that route is much better protected from shallow groove beyond the peg.

In reply to ebdon:

I thought all of Jump So High Direct was well protected. Worth making sure it’s fully dry though as top sometimes seeps. As Gary said, best done as one big single pitch to the top rather than belaying on the ledge (If the ledge wasn’t there I think it would be a contender for best E2 pitch in Scotland).

I think the Creag Death moniker is a bit unwarranted. It took me about 8 years of climbing in Scotland before I visited. Mainly as often drove past going to the NW!

Plenty of the routes do have good gear and even the bolder ones like Ticket to Ride etc are pretty honest. The rock is so compact it’s pretty obvious when you just need to forge on and not fall off rather than trying to place crap gear in flaring seams.

In reply to ebdon:

There is a rp where the sling over the spike is and you can get a 000 cam by the peg or a small nut instead, either way just above it is a bomber cam, and to be honest the peg is okay

In reply to Gary Latter:

Cheers Garry (and CMcBain), you've saved me a rather embarrassing rant about how shit the crag is based on 1/4 of a route I haven't done! sounds like I need to go back, which shouldn't be much of an effort - I always think the area around Newtonmore/Kingsussie is one of the best locations in the highlands, although it's not on anythings doorstep it's day tripabble for so much. 

I'm also constricted to single pitch in the higher grades, as my wife, although the love of my life and amazing in almost every other way refuses to second anything harder than VS, which is why Creag Dubh, with fixed ab points, always appealed (on paper anyway).  

In reply to newtonmore:

>  ...and to be honest the peg is okay.

How do you think you know it is?

 Dangerous Dave 14 Sep 2021
In reply to ebdon:

I have climbed quite a few routes at CD and generally they are what you would expect for the grade. Its been a while since I did The Hill but I don't remember thinking it was undergraded. If you can move quickly on steep ground that wall doesn't feel too bad. 

Final Solution for example is probably about 6a+ as a sport route but with the 1st gear at 12 meters you are glad its easy!

In reply to ebdon:

> I saw from the logbooks that E25b is the consensus

Logbook consensus should probably be taken with a pinch of salt as it's essentially a poll taken with a strong anchoring bias.

Obviously it's difficult to remove the bias as you would really need to be able to log the route without any knowledge of the guidebook grade - however a good start would be to hide the existing consensus before voting.

In reply to Robert Durran:

Just some secret local knowledge 😉

In reply to newtonmore:

> Just some secret local knowledge 😉

I'm genuinely intrigued. I would consider any old peg highly suspect and would be dubious about a new one unless I trusted the judgement of the person who put it in. If an old peg had recently held a significant fall, I'm still not sure whether that is an indication it would necessarily hold another one.

In reply to Fergal:

> Horses for courses,  local "Stork" used to solo Over the Hill just to warm up.

Is that the same Stork who did the second (?) ascent of Requiem 25 years ago or so? So, quite handy at this climbing lark I guess! 😆

 Fergal 14 Sep 2021
In reply to TobyA:

Wow the bumblies have descended, when i said other soft E2's, i was meaning in Scotland! not The hill, which i feel is fair at E2.

If you look at the list of venues ebdon gave for his Scottish E2's they are all soft, so i was in fact right!

I mention Stork soloing Over the hill as an attempt at humour and get dozens of dislikes,  UKclimbing is weird these days.

 "why so serious" not the climb, a posters attitude, go figure.

 andyinglis 14 Sep 2021
In reply to ebdon:

I seconded a mate on it about 2 weeks ago and the longest run out between gear was about 2-3m. More gear than I had recalled on it…. And I backed off it first time I tried it.

If your sport fit and head is in the game then the Great Wall routes feel easy for the grade. If your head it’s in the right place or not use to the style then yeah I’m sure they can and do feel hard for the grade. 

Andy

In reply to Fergal:

I take it as quite the compliment to have my climbing compared to Stork!

I just had a quick look at my logbook (whitch I only started last summer) since then I have apparently climbed 24 E2s and 10 E3s (all lead)* none of whitch were worse protected then the Hill. Perhaps I am just bloody good at picking soft touches.

* please no one go through my logbook and tell me everything I climb is a soft touch.

 andyinglis 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Gary Latter:

Gary did you do an e4 left of fuhrer a few years ago? I’ve been struggling to find a name and description for it…. Is it in the smc new routes journal for the climbed year?

Andy

 Gary Latter 14 Sep 2021
In reply to andyinglis:

Aye, it’s called Fou Rire. Reasonably well protected. Pitch 1 is described in the logbooks - second pitch was added later. Guess it’s in 2016 SMC Journal.

I also climbed another adjacent E1 5b - Suckmaboaby, but for some strange reason that one didn’t make it into the journal. 🤣 Named as was under the impression that the original name of the adjacent censored LMF was Lick My Fud, but turns out it is actually called Little Mother F@&@&rs…

 andyinglis 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Dangerous Dave:

That’s a slightly misleading post Dave….. final solution is a bit harder than 6a+ (Although hardest moves are probably getting off the ground!), and there are up to 6-7 pieces (depending on how hard you look) before the bomber kit at 12-15m. You still really wouldn’t want to mess up the 5b/c moves at 10-11m!

 Gary Latter 14 Sep 2021
In reply to TobyA:

> Is that the same Stork who did the second (?) ascent of Requiem 25 years ago or so? So, quite handy at this climbing lark I guess! 😆

Nah, pretty sure Stork (Paul Thorburn) hasn’t climbed Requiem. I climbed with him lots throughout the nineties.

Possibly you’re thinking of Spider - John McKenzie, who made an early repeat of Requiem.

 andyinglis 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Gary Latter:

Excellent thanks. Was there recently and had a phone scroll through PDF’s of the journals but missed it obviously.
Have you looked at Calum’s route? Must be very close to Harder than your husband…. 

 DaveHK 14 Sep 2021
In reply to ebdon:

It's a long time since I did it and I expect I was going pretty well but I don't remember thinking it was that bad. I remember it being very easy for 5b. Maybe it's just a style of climbing you're not comfortable with rather than it being the wrong grade? I know I'd probably find it more taxing these days despite probably being as fit/strong as I was when I did it.

Post edited at 20:22
In reply to DaveHK:

It's a bit odd, I found the climbing fine, very easy in fact (the small amount that I did). I whent up, down, traversed about a bit to check I was on the right line, back up, fiddled about with gear ect... i just made the decision if i cant get any meaningful gear in before having to commit above the peg it just seemed unjustifiably bold. If it had been harder I would have probably just pressed on!

Maybe I'm getting to old or sensible for such antics. I was just a bit shocked as I often get spanked by routes that are too hard but almost never because they were too bold. If it was half way up the route I wouldn't have blinked it just seemed quite harsh straight off the deck.

 DaveHK 14 Sep 2021
In reply to ebdon:

Back when I did the Hill I did quite a lot of soloing in places like Northumberland so my head was probably fine with the lack of gear at the start because it was just like a county solo!

My head for that kind of stuff is shot just now for a variety of reasons. I'm not too bothered by that or even too bothered if it never comes back, I'll just avoid that sort of route as it's meant to be fun.

 mike barnard 14 Sep 2021
In reply to ebdon:

I wouldn't say it's that bad for bold steep E2 5b. Did it I think in 2010 when I hadn't done many E2s. Got through the bold start OK but then got stupidly pumped higher up - my main memory is wedging one arse cheek in the niche higher up for 10 minutes while my arms slowly recovered!

 DaveHK 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Gary Latter:

> Nah, pretty sure Stork (Paul Thorburn) hasn’t climbed Requiem. I climbed with him lots throughout the nineties.

> Possibly you’re thinking of Spider - John McKenzie, who made an early repeat of Requiem.

Or Paul Laughlan. Who I think did the second or maybe third ascent of Requiem.

In reply to Gary Latter:

> Nah, pretty sure Stork (Paul Thorburn) hasn’t climbed Requiem. I climbed with him lots throughout the nineties.

Okay... it's just a mis-remembered 'memory' then. Probably crag gossip I got told when I was in Glasgow in the mid-90s and a regular visitor to Dumby - all be it to fall off the boulder problems a lot, and the HVSs occasionally! Or maybe it was two names close to each other in a Scotland report in one of the mags (didn't you used to write them Gary?) that I mixed up.

> Possibly you’re thinking of Spider - John McKenzie, who made an early repeat of Requiem.

Do you know how early? I really can't remember now but I sort of thought it was unrepeated until the early or mid 90s? Could be totally wrong on that though. I remember being just stunned looking up at the route first time I went to Dumby and just thinking how could anyone climb that. I'm under the impression it still doesn't get many ascents even now - what? - 40 years after Cubby did it?

In reply to Fergal:

Was that aimed at me? If so, I don't understand. Sorry. You are totally correct about me being a bumbly though!

 DaveHK 14 Sep 2021
In reply to TobyA:

> Okay... it's just a mis-remembered 'memory' then. 

I googled 'Paul Laughlan climber' to check the spelling of his surname and what turned up was a couple of ancient UKC threads with you saying you thought Stork had done Requiem and other people questioning it.  

 Jon Stewart 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Vigier:

> With bolts it would probably be the most popular crag in Scotland!

Yeah it would, and there'd actually be some lines that went somewhere up those faces. I just wandered around aimlessly on The Hill, and after a few figure 8s, I was eventually a bit higher up and presumably I found some tat to ab off, with a sense of vague disappointment. Another E2 I did was similar.

That rock just doesn't make good trad routes - on the faces there's just holds of  various sizes in various places, there's no features or landmarks (unless you count an old peg) to follow.

Tricky though, because while the trad routes are annoying, if it was bolted it would boring. 

In reply to DaveHK:

Oh no. This will probably come up again in another 20 years time, and I will have forgotten again that I have got this wrong a number of times already! I wonder why incorrect things stay in your mind, even when once corrected?

Anyway, cheers, and kudos to that Paul, not that Paul!

 DaveHK 15 Sep 2021
In reply to TobyA:

> I wonder why incorrect things stay in your mind, even when once corrected?

I've got a few things like that, the trouble is I remember the discussion but not the right answer!

 mike barnard 15 Sep 2021
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Yes, if you want big lines you don't go to Creag Dubh. I don't think many would be disappointed by the quality of the climbing though on routes like The Hill.  

 DaveHK 15 Sep 2021
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Yeah it would, and there'd actually be some lines that went somewhere up those faces.

That wouldn't be lines, that would be lines of bolts.

 Dangerous Dave 15 Sep 2021
In reply to andyinglis:

> That’s a slightly misleading post Dave….. final solution is a bit harder than 6a+ (Although hardest moves are probably getting off the ground!), and there are up to 6-7 pieces (depending on how hard you look) before the bomber kit at 12-15m. You still really wouldn’t want to mess up the 5b/c moves at 10-11m!

Yeah your probably right, I had forgotten about the bottom tricky bit. I was to scared of getting pumped to hang around to look for gear lower down that I blasted up as quickly as possible to the good gear. If you bolted it not only would it be a bit rubbish I would be surprised if it was any harder than F6b!

The run outs make the climbs on that wall.

 andyinglis 15 Sep 2021
In reply to Dangerous Dave:

Yeah your right Dave it probably would be a 1 star 6b rather than a good (and memorable) trad route. I think its got the easiest climbing of any e5 that I can think of, partly on the basis of Laughing Knome not being e5). It is all about the style of climbing on that wall.


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