I did Dream Liberator back at the end of June and had a pretty interesting time on it, I'm curious to hear other people's experiences.
I think I did a sequence pushing 6b on the crux, or at least about as hard 6a as I've almost ever experienced. I probably did it in an overly difficult way, although I spent a long time looking for holds and sequences before fully committing (thanks for your patience Jon). The fall would be safe, but it would be a few metres. The crack down and right below the roof is so full of chopped wires and peg stubs that the gear options that are left are now at the bottom of the crack.
Overall I feel like the route was tougher than about half of the E5's I've done. Presumed that was just me, but saw Jake's comment recently saying something similar.
Ed Booth wrote that a peg and block got pulled off last year by a tensioned rope. Anyone know if they were by the crux?
In reply to tim newton:
The peg that came off when I was seconding was after the crux at the start of where it traverses right. I think the way I tried it was too low as I saw the pic in extreme rock after and they were much higher up. Trying to pull into the crack low felt hard! Especially as the rock was wet...
In reply to tim newton: My thoughts exactly Tim! A (very) hard 6a move going low into that crack, a fair way above and to the side of the gear didn't really feel like E3.
I came across the same video as well as seeing a few pictures, and was surprised by the peg, it would've been nice to have. Also found the upper wall pretty tricky, spent about an hour moving up and down looking for the belay.
Agreed that, when compared to an E5 like Pacemaker or one of the softer E5s at Pembroke this seemed harder.
I think that routes like Dream Liberator have become "harder" as our climbing style has changed, I did this route 18 years ago and it was fair at its grade (I remember no peg on crux). I think that the wall routes of Sharpnose, at least the ones everybody mostly does, and many of the amenable e5 wall routes in Pembroke are frankly technically straight forward, coupled with the fitness that climbers generally have from sport and indoor it's not so hard to climb an e5 anymore if you are fit and pick the right ones. I think climbers have a lot less "trad" in their repertoire these days....perhaps.
I think part of the answer lies in the intrinsic vagaries of any grading system. I'm sure we have all experienced anomalies, particularly abroad where one crag is "soft" and another quite the opposite for no apparent reason. Same deal with Cornish granite, compared to other areas. It's idiosyncratic, so don't worry about it, just drop a grade or two at first until you get dialled in to the nature of the rock. That's what I like about the eccentricity of British rock climbing, it's like the weather..very variable, and long may it remain so, the climbing that is!
I agree with John, Dream Liberator features a climbing style that isn't 'in vogue' these days. I thought Dream Liberator was the same sort of level of difficulty as Kafoozalem, but with a bit of the character of Raven Wall thrown into the mix for good measure.
Another good example of this would be Fallen Angel up at Pavey Ark, which itself is definitely E4 - it's just that there's not many of us actively seeking out nightmare chimneys these days!!
> I agree with John, Dream Liberator features a climbing style that isn't 'in vogue' these days. I thought Dream Liberator was the same sort of level of difficulty as Kafoozalem, but with a bit of the character of Raven Wall thrown into the mix for good measure.
I seconded Kafoozalem (did it fine and without delay), Raven Wall (fell off, but I really really hate that kind of thing, it was inevitable) and Dream Liberator (which I basically couldn't do). DL was a notch harder for me.
I would say that I was going well the day I did it, but I had a severe cider induced hangover after the final night of the BMC International Meet so I don't believe that was the case.
Another possibility is that I was still drunk and don't remember all of the events accurately! My second, Adam Booth, had climbed Everest the week before - he said DL was the better of the two routes...
I'm a particularly bad barometer for granite routes though, because I'm so spectacularly bad at them. For me, the brainless jug-pulling of Sharpnose E4s are easier than the slippery thuggery of granite E1s.
> I would say that I was going well the day I did it, but I had a severe cider induced hangover after the final night of the BMC International Meet so I don't believe that was the case.
> Another possibility is that I was still drunk and don't remember all of the events accurately!
I can personally confirm the accuracy of your statement Rob. That was one helluva party. I couldn't believe it when I saw you heading off for the Great Zawn, just climbing the stairs in the Count House was E3+ for me on that day!
Hi Iain, yeah I definately was not climbing on that Sunday, but too be fair Rob had taken it pretty easy all that week
Hi Tim grade wise I reckon DL fits the Hard E3/ Soft E4 pretty well and is very similar Raven Wall & Kafoozalen, but it is easier than other E3's like Cain and is alot eaiser than Immaculate arete. The whole route definately feels out there and commiting, but you get a hands off rests before and after you get commit and pull through the roof. It also has good rests after the steep bit of the second pitch. Like a lot of Cornish granite you have got to get on with it and then, more often than not you will get a rest. You will know when you get on a Granite E5 just try any of the routes to the right of the Dream
One of the problems with grades is that generally speaking they are compiled by locals who are "dialled" in to the type of climbing on offer and this seems to apply particularly to Cornish granite, I suspect partly because it has a tendency to acquiring a surface sheen that can be frictionless. I can't count the number of times I've witnessed an ungainly slide by some obviously very talented climbers from the first moves of Beaker Route VS at Bosi, usually in the afternoon when the sun just adds to the lack of friction. Whether all these routes should be subjected to grade creep is a moot point!
> I haven't done anything on the seaward face yet - not least because the crevasse puts me off!
The crevasse is funny. Chris Craggs, Neil Foster, and others swear by unmantelling and traversing round. Tim and I looked at this option, then looked at each other in total disbelief, and then decided to do the jump. The jump is brilliant, right up your street! But that move on Dream Liberator is proper, proper hard.
No way I'm doing a jump across a gaping void onto a narrow, sloping platform 10 metres above the raging sea. As I see it, get it wrong and you're dead - fall into the sea, bash your head unconscious against a rock (even with a helmet) and drown. It is however possible to get some gear in above the void, so I'll be going for that option! I don't care if others think that's wimping out...
In reply to tim newton:
I have done DL several times and though it's very condition dependant (the first time I did it the crux hold was the first dry hold) I think it's hard for E3 and harder than Raven Wall or Kafoozalem. If you want a really fun time get on the first pitch of Liberator properly.
Thanks for the replies. Although I found Kafoozalem and Raven wall pretty hard, I thought hardish E3's was a fair enough grade for them. Personally I found DL a significant step up from them both. Not just the move, but the commitment, with the crevasse jump and a non aidable crux. I guess I just had a particularly bad time on it though.
I'm not trying to complain about the grade, nothing better than struggling of falling off a route, but it's one of only two routes I've ever done that I definitely disagreed with the grade.
Wasn't trying to compare it to soft wall E5's, but comparing it to a similar-ish route I did recently, Witch hunt, with a short, hard, safe crux. Personally I found the moves on witch hunt quite a bit easier, plus you could lower off witch hunt fine to the ground so not committing and the peg is high enough for you to aid most of the witch hunt crux if you struggle.
> No way I'm doing a jump across a gaping void onto a narrow, sloping platform 10 metres above the raging sea. As I see it, get it wrong and you're dead - fall into the sea, bash your head unconscious against a rock (even with a helmet) and drown. I
Quite a few people (usually the fit) say Raven wall is harder than Kafoozalem. I definately found Kafoozalem harder than Raven wall (I am heavy and never that fit). Raven wall I would agree is harder to read. Dream Liberator crux is probably quite height dependent, I am 6'4" and do not find the roof too bad as I can reach over into the good bit of the crack.
For people not wanting to do the jump an alternative way (and usually quicker way into the Zawn, which involves much less walking and also has the added bonus that when you finish the route you have all your stuff at the top, is to ab at the back of the Zawn down by Omen and if you have got to the crag early you can do Xanadu in the morning sun as a warm up
I've abbed into the top of the Zawn twice (for Desolation Row and Xanadu) but don't think you can get to the starting ledge for Dream Liberator etc that way, or can you? The West Face starts from the boulders by the sea but the ledge is quite a few metres up and above the sea and I thought there's no easy way to get to it from the bottom?
Hi Misha, I can confirm you can (not sure with a big sea or very high tide)it is slightly scary moving off the boulders onto the wall as it can be a bit greasy, but is fine after a couple of moves and you get a couple of good cams. The first time I did Dream Liberator my mate said I would not get the full tick unless I did the jump!! So for the full historical experience do the jump with or without a rope it is actually much worse thinking about than doing, but if you want to just get on with the climbing and with the minimum faf ab in.
The west face, liberator, foals lode etc all start back from the sea in the almost permadark and damp, very intimidating place for any leader but also a very lonely place to leave a second.
> No way I'm doing a jump across a gaping void onto a narrow, sloping platform 10 metres above the raging sea. As I see it, get it wrong and you're dead - fall into the sea, bash your head unconscious against a rock (even with a helmet) and drown.
All the thoughts running through my head as I prepared to jump! So I chickened out. If you reverse-mantel the ledge there are good footholds below, from where you can span across the gap, first with your arm and then your leg. Bit scary being bridged across the gap but its not too hard to swing yourself over, if you've got a bit of flexibility!
> If you reverse-mantel the ledge there are good footholds below, from where you can span across the gap, first with your arm and then your leg. Bit scary being bridged across the gap but its not too hard to swing yourself over, if you've got a bit of flexibility!
That looked *so* much more scary to us. Grim, damp, terrifying. No.
Did it a few weeks ago - great route & def a bit of a sandbag. V hard move over the roof and I didn't fancy the fall - reckon you could easily break something swinging into the slab below. My gear was well off 2 the side too.
Then again, as per prev post - I might just be cr*p on granite: found Raven Wall & Kafoozalem tough aswell, though not quite so tough.
The jump is OK - we got 2 bomber nuts in to create a super safe baby bouncer.
Love the vid - I thought I was being a bit cheeky using that rest round the corner but according to Livesey it's the key to success.
In reply to tim newton:
Having done it and fallen off the crux, I agree it's nails! We thought E4 and pushing 6b, certainly very hard 6a - physical, technical and blind as you can't see what you're going for above the roof.
As others have said, the nearest gear is now in the vague horizontal break where there is a hands off rest on the arête before the crux (by the way, I didn't think to go round the arête like Livesey does in the video as you can get a balancy hands off rest on the left hand side of the arête anyway). I had three bits of gear, none of which I thought was really bomber but collectively they were good enough - must have been as it held! A BD purple cam was pretty crucial. The fall was fine - a few metres but safe. Not really an E3 6a fall though, as to my mind that should have decent gear on the crux, not some way below and to the side! If you blow it on the pumpy layback type moves up the crack above the roof, you'd go a pretty long way (I fell off below that). At least it means you get to do the entire crux sequence if you do fall off, rather than having a rest half way up after slumping on a bit of gear
It would be a more balanced route if the crux was easier as the rest of the route is E2 (and fairly solid at that, though with plenty of good rests) but that crux certainly makes it memorable!
As for the crevasse, we climbed onto the ledge by dropping down then bridging and stepping across, good gear overhead for the first person over and not too bad for the second person once the overhead gear is out as you can drop down further and bridge across when you're pretty much level with the belay on the ledge. So nowhere as bad as we thought it might be. Still wouldn't fancy the jump though, respect to those who do it! Possibly the most adventurous and intimidating approach I've done to get to a route!
I thought overall the route definitely warranted E4, I seconded the last pitch which I found very strenuous and a bit scrittly so no easier than the one below. There was jammed gear in the best placement below the crux which I couldn't use but otherwise I didn't think it was bold or hard for 6a. On its own, off a nice solid grass stance I wouldn't think the middle pitch would be considered any harder than E3