/ E1 5a
I was just reminiscing about a particular partnership I'd had and recalled only one occasion when his normal cool seemed to be wavering and that was on a two pitch route with this grade. Realistically it should have the same clout as HVS 4c or E2 5b, shouldn't it? I've been trawling through my notebooks, though, and haven't done many in this category.
Anyone got memorable examples ( or routes that should be regraded as this)?.
(I thought the route in question now lay at the bottom of the Bristol Channel but it's still shown in the UKC logbook...)
Isn't there one on a slab somewhere in the peak? I don't think it's a popular one. Something pebble slab?
yes, now you mention it.....
Strangely, one of the best single pitches in the Lakes is (mis)graded E1 5a, Razor Crack (E1 5b). It's definitely E1 in terms of overall difficulty, extremely well protected and is sustained on good holds and jams - but not so sustained and steep and juggy that it would justify E1 5a as it's not overhanging. lt's E1 5b.
As for real, bold E1 5as, I generally quite like the grade - but can't think of any particularly memorable ones. I see them as a quick route that won't involve a lot of hanging around placing gear so choose them for an easy life.
Anywhere near Brownspear Point by any chance?
No mate, over the water. I'd forgotten about Brownspear.
Ah yes, Mainsail. Excellent route
Pitch one of Flat Iron Wall.... Character forming or lethal!
Very true. It wasn't akin to sandpaper back in 1988 either.
Two that spring to mind are:
Flat Iron Wall (E2 5b) an equally traumatic main pitch to belay my mate on and then to follow after he belayed in the wrong place and politely told me not to fall off!
Woolly Jumper (E1 5b) Seem to remember some bold climbing on both pitches which fit the brief.
Two words; ‘California’ and ‘Arete’.
Motorcade at Froggatt, Mather Crack at New Mills ( in 1990 Kinder guide) both E1 5a, not really two of a kind.
> 1997. A mate fell from the top groove of this and hit me belaying. He's not lead a trad route since.
> (There is enough gear to make this safe if you place it)
If you've got enough small wires and micros it's fine and it's not a strenuous route to hang around on placing them.
Two memorable E1 5a's for me are The Boulder on Cloggy and Spider Wall on Gogarth.
The Boulder was my first E1 lead, I reasoned (correctly) that it was basically an HVS 5a with not much gear as it was originally graded HVS in the days when people expected big runouts. I'd recently been finding HVS's very easy so thought it should be fine, the climbing was fine but with only 2 runners in c.150' it was still rather less protected than I had expected.
Spider Wall, also originally HVS, is quite different in that it has plenty of gear, unusual for E1 5a but it has very sustained 5a climbing and in a wonderfully isolated and potentially very serious position.
Being out on the seaward face of the Wen Zawn promontory nobody can see you, not even your second, nobody knows you're there and there's nothing but sea until Ireland. As you move further and further out onto the face with some tricky routefinding (you could easily end up on harder ground as it's the easiest route on this part of the face) the sense of isolation and commitment just builds and builds.
Just give pitch 2 a miss, its nothing special and the rock very poor, finish up up Britomartis, easy though with no meaningful gear for most of it.
> It was VS in the 1970s, but is no doubt more polished now than it was then
I remember Central Buttress being horrendously polished in 1969, and seeming absurdly undergraded then at VS. The few old rusty pegs for protection (I don't think you could get on anything else) at least 20 feet apart (maybe 30?) did not inspire confidence ... Shortly before this, i.e. about a week, I'd done Giant's Cave Buttress, Hard Severe, my first route at Avon, which had seemed quite friendly and straightforward. I now see it's regarded as a sandbag, which seems very odd, unless a lot has fallen off. My logbook reminds me that straight after GCB I did Dawn Walk, which I found fine in spite of very minimal protection, and then we finished up a thing called Boilerplate Direct (H Sev) which I recorded as 'v. hard and serious'. I can still remember being very scared on that. Of course it's possible I was off route, but I don't think so.
> Two words; ‘California’ and ‘Arete’.
Pretty sure that's E1 4c which I have soloed 3 times.
> Isn't there one on a slab somewhere in the peak? I don't think it's a popular one. Something pebble slab?
I think you misspelt HVS ;)
This is my favourite grade: you only have to be able to. Limb HVS but still get an E point!
personal favourites over the years are;
Rock Dancer at Kenidjack
Wild Rover at Rhoscolyn
Corbeau and Tiger feet at Corbys
Flakey Wall at Cummingston
Central wall at Seredipidy Crag
The Pause and Raspberry Ripple at Etive
The Verger at Blackchurch
Secreatries Direct at Polldubh
...a few safe ones in there but most great ways to scare yourself silly...
My first E1
Oesophagus. Chudleigh. "An HVS requiring E2 levels of fitness."
Loot. Chudleigh. Polished chimney hell.
Ah. Chudleigh. The crag of dreams...
Well this is an absolute classic at that grade. I watched Johnny Dawes kick out his only runner on Red and Yellow and Pink and Green, Orange and Purple and Blue (E1 5a)
> Oesophagus. Chudleigh. "An HVS requiring E2 levels of fitness."
> Loot. Chudleigh. Polished chimney hell.
> Ah. Chudleigh. The crag of dreams...
> I remember Central Buttress being horrendously polished in 1969, and seeming absurdly undergraded then at VS. The few old rusty pegs for protection (I don't think you could get on anything else) at least 20 feet apart (maybe 30?) did not inspire confidence...
I must have first done it in about 1969, then several times in the early 1970s. I remember it being quite polished only on a couple of holds in a couple of areas (such is memory), and as I said I presume it's worse/ a lot worse now. Good point about the protection - not very good - in those days (in the typical Avon style/ mindset) we just clipped into the existing pegs, assuming they'd hold a fall..... and that's right, there was no other protection whatsoever, though we carried nuts.... anyway I thought it seemed VS in 1969
> Satan's Slip is a good one at the grade. Slab padding with very little gear. Focussed my mind a bit.
IMO Satan's Slip should be E2 5a or E1 4c. There is virtually no gear that would hold a long fall and plenty of "interesting" moves far above the gear. Has anyone ever taken a leader fall on it?
The truth was, it was one of the first times I'd ever climbed on limestone and it seemed very alien to me. There was just so much less friction than rock types I was used to, and I found it quite hard to 'read' the rock.
> The truth was, it was one of the first times I'd ever climbed on limestone and it seemed very alien to me. There was just so much less friction than rock types I was used to, and I found it quite hard to 'read' the rock.
That's the thing - I was climbing at Avon all the time, and was very used to the rock and and the style/ type of climbing
Rock Idol (Mother Scarey's) is a very noteworthy E1 5a
E1 5a and HVS 4c have similar 'clout', while in my experience E2 5b is frequently friendlier relative to the overall grade. When things get stupidly bold it tends to become E3 5b, but not always!
> E1 5a and HVS 4c have similar 'clout', while in my experience E2 5b is frequently friendlier relative to the overall grade. When things get stupidly bold it tends to become E3 5b, but not always!
I'd definitely agree with that, HVS 4c and E1 5a are almost always bold whereas 5b is a normal tech grade for E2. E2 5b is more like VS 4b which is common VS grade and rarely serious, its VS 4a that's a dodgy grade to beware of.
I think a similar thread about E3 5b routes would throw up some real nasties.
All the safe but solid E1 5as seem to be in the process of upgrade. I can think of The Smile at sharpnose and something down at lands end which i think are still that grade. Routes that seem to have been upgraded include Liquid Courage at Staden Mars at Swanage and Kraken at St Govans
> I think a similar thread about E3 5b routes would throw up some real nasties.
A mate suggested E3 5a for Tabula Rosa. Started life at VS and has now reached the dizzy heights of HVS 5a. Yorkshire gradings, eh?
In the immortal words of Andy Say, 'A truly character deforming experience...' Would totally agree.
As Franco Cookson once wisely pointed out, one problem with terminally loose routes is that, instead of hanging off wobbly jugs/flakes, you try to furiously crimp the sides. So, in reality, things can be technical grades harder. Either way, such routes are memorable (well, if you survive).
You do?? In my experience of loose routes, both crimping and doing anything ‘furiously’ are unwise.
> You do?? In my experience of loose routes, both crimping and doing anything ‘furiously’ are unwise.
Noting comments above, might Cemetery Slot be downgraded to E1 to encourage the masses to do it?
I'm very proud of an E1 5a I did on Craig Dorys - "Error of Judgement". As the Lleyn guidebook comments: "it certainly was, an appallingly loose line". Given the strength of the competition in the Lleyn on that front, I thought this was a strong endorsement.
> I think a similar thread about E3 5b routes would throw up some real nasties.
A more useful thread might be regarding the E3 5b lines that aren't quite so necky.
Terrapin (E3 5b) at Baggy Point remains my pinnacle of trad - for now. I was so in the zone I honestly was not aware of how necky it felt. I'd convinced myself I might take a long one down the slab but was unlikely to hit the deck and therefore it wasn't too dangerous. Some friends nearby said they had to walk away as they couldn't bear to watch, if that means anything.
> A more useful thread might be regarding the E3 5b lines that aren't quite so necky.
Are there any?
> Are there any?
Possibly, but it misses the elegance of the original question.
an opportune moment to divert the discussion about boldness and E points away from the other thread where I'm afraid I'm guilty of seeming to detract from the magnificence of Steve M 's achievement. That was never my intention so since I opened up this particular line of discussion it would be more fitting to carry on the debate here, If it's been "done to death" as someone implied it still hasn't resolved issues in some minds, either mine or those who disagree with me,
I reckon that a grade like E1 5a usually implies more boldness than is the norm for a route with 5a moves. (It might be extremely strenuous or sustained or it might be very loose but in most cases it's lack of protection that gives it this grade), If a way is found of reducing the risk (placing a bolt or hanging a rope and krab from above) then the route is no longer E1 5a but maybe HVS 5a or even VS 5a. It's what E1 5a is all about and why they are spicier routes than E1 5b tends to be. By extension this applies to grades like HVS 4c and even more so to E3 5b .
(It has been explained to me that this would be cheating and I had a shrewd suspicion it might be but during that short time span that I am cheating, the grade has been effectively lowered. If I cheat by pulling on a piece of gear I lower the technical grade: if I cheat by arranging illicit protection on a route graded for its lack of the same, I lower the adjectival grade.)
> Are there any?
> Ocean Boulevard?
Ignoring my comment above,
But there's scarcely (even) a 5a move on it.
> Corbeau and Tiger feet at Corbys
Urm, Tiger Feet at Corbys may be a bit harder now as part of the side pull that helped you on the traverse is now sitting on my desk after it rather unhelpfully came off in my hand when I tried to lead it last month!
Blimey, 10 ascents in the logbook.
Never heard of that place. Logbook makes E1 5a sound like a cissy grade
Just to keep the E1 4b company, there's also an E1 4c, E1 5a, E2 4c, E3 5b (must be solid!) and a HVS 4a on the same slab.
I believe lack of pro and rock quality are to blame.
Unfortunately(?) I never did any of these as the quarry was developed after I left Leicester. I don't appear to be rushing back
E2 4c must take some beating in the adj/tech stakes.
There's apparently an E3 4c on the Arbroath-Montrose coast (Red Head Escape Route). It's referred to as "suicide territory".
Sounds like fun
> Never heard of that place. Logbook makes E1 5a sound like a cissy grade
To be fair it wasn't that hard, just unnecessarily dangerous due to completele lack of gear (I was looking for it!). I think E1 4a would actually be a fairer grade for it. It's a great looking slab, and the quarry is an interesting place to explore.
has it ever been VS?? HVS 4c in the Drummond guide. I remember seconding it in school daps (gym shoes in about 1973). I went out and bought my first EBs afterwards.
Yes, Central Buttress at Avon was given 'Very Severe' in the guidebook before Drummond's (as we discussed above). Unfortunately I've mislaid that early guide, but my logbook at the time (1969) confirms that it was VS. Each pitch had one or two old, bent, rusty protection pegs, at the very most (there was no other protection). Equally incredibly, Malpractice, which we did next, was also given VS.
> For me E1 5a can be summed up with two routes
> Rock Idol
When I climbed that many years ago it was HVS. And the gear on it seemed fine. When - and why - did it get upgraded I wonder?
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