/ Is Agag's a suitable first multi-pitch trad route

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DizzyVizion 08 Aug 2019

I plan on climbing Agag's Groove sometime in the next few weeks with my brother, which will be the first multi-pitch trad route for either of us, and I just wondered how it compares to other people's first multi-pitch trad routes? I have some single pitch trad experience (my brother more so). I'll lead the 2nd pitch; which could well be my first time leading a pitch if we don't get out to Traprain Law beforehand (married with child so time away is always a point of contention). Anyone know of any other routes between Glen Coe and the central belt of Scotland that could make a good first time multi-pitch route?Having  been up Curved Ridge a couple of times and seen Agag's in the flesh, any other suggested  route would have to be pretty special for us to consider changing our plans. What was your first multi-pitch trad route? And how much experience had you beforehand? Thanks in advance.

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Coel Hellier 08 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

> I'll lead the 2nd pitch; which could well be my first time leading a pitch ...

Overall it's a reasonable choice, but setting off on that second pitch would be pretty intimidating for someone who hasn't led anything before!     There are lots of less full-on ways of gaining experience.

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DaveHK 08 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

It's not a daft idea but some of the Diff/VDiff combos on Aonach Dubh might be a better choice.

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Route Adjuster 08 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

Things to consider:  

- What happens if you freak out leading the later pitches, what's your exit strategy, have you any experience of getting off a crag safely if you've never done multi-pitch before - or if no experience have you even thought about what might be involved or what you might need to do?

- Have you practised the changing over of gear on stances, making sure you are securely tied in at all times - all too easy to forget to tie off after belaying, or untying the wrong rope.  

- Have you ever set up a belay for upward pulls as well as downward pulls, just in case the leader takes a fall?

- make sure that the leader gets a piece of gear in ASAP after leading the belay stance to prevent a factor 2 fall.

I would suggest that you try to find a smaller crag, ideally two pitches (or a single pitch crag and stop mid-way up a climb and create a belay there), so you could practice more safely to get your head around the set ups required, change-overs and communications that you will need to have between each other before you tackle something as long and exposed as Agag's groove.

As with most things in climbing, it's about mileage, familiarity and practising things until they become automatic - that way you can concentrate on the climbing because all of the 'faff' required requires little thought.

Best of luck.....Have fun and be safe.....

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Joak 08 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

Agag's at this time of year is likely to be busy which could put you under some additional pressure. I agree with DaveHK's comment. Aonach Dubh's East Face would probably be a better bet. The Terrace Face can be reached by scrambling up the lower part of The Bow, or a bit more hands on, Eve's Arete Vdiff. From the Terrace the three star Diff, Quiver Rib won't disappoint as a first wee multi pitch.    

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DizzyVizion 08 Aug 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Thanks Coel. I've watched footage of the start of the 2nd pitch and it does look pretty exposed - climb onto block then climb out left and upwards over steep drop. I couldn't know for sure until I'm actually there, but I reckon I might be alright with it. It looks like a relatively short sequence before it eases off, and I've experienced fairly substantial difficulties in exposed positions a few times while scrambling without feeling at risk of panic. I suppose being able to stay calm while in a precarious position is something you should have experience of before moving on to this sort of activity.

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PaulJepson 08 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

Bit further than Glencoe but The Gutter (D) is very good for beginners. 

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Eric9Points 08 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

From what I remember Agags isn't hard for it's grade and if you're confident about leading V. Diff then it would be a great route to go for. However I get the impression you've not had that much experience of leading at that grade so it could become a bit of an epic if both yourself and your brother got a bit overwhelmed by the atmosphere of Rannoch Wall.

If you can get a weekend where it doesn't rain for two consecutive days I'd take Dave's advice and spend the Saturday on Aonach Dubh where the multi pitch routes are easy to get to, a bit shorter and less committing ... and quieter. You'd be able to sort out your technique for swapping leads at belays and all that sort of stuff so that on the Sunday you can do Agag's.

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DaveHK 08 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

Good options on the Cobbler too or Arran. My first multipitch was Caliban's Creep I think.

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abr1966 08 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

It's a great route! I first climbed Agags when I was a pretty competent VS leader at the time but found it a quite daunting experience because of the exposure!

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Eric9Points 08 Aug 2019
In reply to DaveHK:

> Good options on the Cobbler too or Arran. My first multipitch was Caliban's Creep I think.


Or even Loudoun Hill for an evening's multi pitch practice...

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Mike-W-99 08 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

If you do get to traprain there’s a scrappy buttress 100m or so west of overhanging wall. Scope to make up your own multipitch routes there if you want the practice. I’m not aware of any recorded routes but there’s a few obvious lines which I don’t think are hard.

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daWalt 08 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

Glen Nevis has a good selection of stuff that would be right up your street. Polldubh Crags, Glen Nevis

if you're going to Traprain I'd suggestHexagon Wall (VD)

it's not multipitch but contains some elements of climbing you might want to get familiar with...

AG is a great route, you want to enjoy it.

Post edited at 13:51
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Michael Gordon 08 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

Seems like a good choice to me. Nice route and think it was my second lead route after a diff on Lewis. Having read Classic Rock I was preparing for gut wrenching exposure, only to find it was totally fine! A bit underwhelmed in the end.

A much better, more memorable, route than some of the other suggestions here!

Post edited at 14:19
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Graeme G 08 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

As others have suggested there’s quite a few alternatives where you could build up you’re multi pitch experience. Aonoch Dubh is good as the middle ramp let’s you link routes of relative ease. You could knock off a few in a day.

i found stepping out on to the 2nd pitch on Agags daunting. The exposure was immense. Leaving a lovely big placement and stepping on to the face didn’t come easy.

That said it’s an immense route with good protection and belays.

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In reply to DizzyVizion:

It depends how comfortable you are with being uncomfortable and no one can answer that for you.

You could go easy on yourself and pick a multipitch in Polldubh area to sort out all the stuff in an undaunting situation, then hit AG the next day: the comfortable approach.

Or go mountain multipitching on AG for your first multipitch: the uncomfortable approach.

Pros and cons exist aplenty for both, you need to think about what levels of discomfort/risk you are happy to tolerate here.

Have fun!

Post edited at 14:37
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Offwidth 08 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

I think its all a bit 'kill or cure' to lead a first trad pirch up there: lead some single pitch first. I think in many ways it's a better first multipitch than the Aonach Dubh East face routes which are less steep but more involved and bolder (falling off those would be way more serious) and you know you can change leaders or abseil off AG if all goes wrong on pitch 2.

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Fiona Reid 08 Aug 2019
In reply to daWalt:

> if you're going to Traprain I'd suggestHexagon Wall (VD)

> it's not multipitch but contains some elements of climbing you might want to get familiar with...

Hexagon Wall requires the ability to abseil for least one climber so please don't head up that unless you have those skills. 

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JLS 08 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

Go do Little Chamonix (VD) instead.

My recollect of Agags is that towards the end it fizzles out leaving the an inexperience leader literally at the end of their rope struggling to find a belay. Your experience may however be different.  

Post edited at 16:35
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D.Russell 08 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

It's totally fine for a first muiltipitch. It was my first muiltipitch route. followed by eagle ridge the following weekend.

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DizzyVizion 08 Aug 2019
In reply to DaveHK:

Thanks DaveHK. I'll certainly give them a look - do some research.

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DizzyVizion 08 Aug 2019
In reply to Route Adjuster:

Thanks Route Adjuster. Freaking out isn't something I plan on doing, but it's not certain not to happen I suppose. I would say it's unlikely though. I've the experience of doing a couple of lead climbs up the the 30m tower at Ratho indoor climbing centre (aka Edinburgh International Climbing Centre EICA). I had no issues with either height or verticality, including on a couple of overhanging sections. The physical effort was the biggest challenge, but it was fine. I've done a few scrambles including the Aonach Eagach and the Chancellor in the rain (that rock is so slippery when wet), sticking strictly to the crest of the ridge all the way across - it was brilliant. Also done Curved Ridge twice now (and descended Great Gully Buttress, the footage I've edited on youtube here-  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWLH0kEhW00).  I went up via the most vertical sections where possible on both occasions - taking no bypasses and going up Crowberry Tower once as well. My latest ascent was last Saturday on my own, climbing up and down D Gully Buttress 3 times in thick fog (by accident of course) before eventually finding Curved Ridge. I climbed about 10-15 metres of very very steep, dodgy, soggy heather topped terraces (so exposed and nasty). I had to down-climb this and traverse quite a bit before reaching the first section of Curved Ridge. I've belayed upwards and downwards a few times, and set up belays in practice but yet to do so on a route. I've top-roped everything at Blackford Quarry, which I found surprisingly simple - though I do have real doubts about the grading of Gingerness? (HVS? Really?)- Gingeness (route 5) (HVS 4b)  . I've top-roped the easy climbs at Auchinstarry car park including a couple of Severe's (mister, ye can walk up roon the back was tough in the middle, whereas Scream was easy-peasy'ish all the way). I've also done the Horns of Alligin in winter which you can watch here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xticUhNhL3I This was an absolutely amazing, epic adventure.

All your advice is fantastic mate. We're heading for Traprain Law tomorrow afternoon to practice all that you've mentioned. I'm so looking forward to it. Multi-pitch trad and winter mountaineering are aspects of the hills which attract me the most.

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DizzyVizion 08 Aug 2019
In reply to Joak:

Yep, we expect it to be busy too Joak, so we plan to be at the start of the route stupid early - like at first light sort of thing - 6 o'clock'ish in the morning. Would be cooler then too and with fewer midgies. Thank you

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DizzyVizion 08 Aug 2019
In reply to PaulJepson:

Thanks PaulJepson. That looks really tempting! Good shout.

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Michael Gordon 08 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

> I've top-roped everything at Blackford Quarry, which I found surprisingly simple - though I do have real doubts about the grading of Gingerness? (HVS? Really?)- Gingeness (route 5) (HVS 4b)  . > 

Not done the route, but if there's no gear on it then the HVS grade may make sense. At 4b it's bound to feel easy on a top rope.

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DizzyVizion 08 Aug 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

Thanks Eric9Points. We're actually meeting a friend from the peak district who will be driving up to meet us on the Friday and staying at the red squirrel. We'll be going across the Aonach Eagach and the Chancellor again on the Saturday, possibly coming down Clachaig Gully path or maybe just reverse the route and come back across the ridge again- because that path down the bealach with the Pap of Glencoe is horrible!. And then on the Sunday do we'll do the climb before heading home. But we may alter it from Agag's and do a Polldubh route suggested by PaulJepson above.

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DizzyVizion 08 Aug 2019
In reply to DaveHK:

Thanks DaveHK. I've been up the cobbler in 60mph winds so didn't get to thread the eye. Scrambled up the face of it though, beneath that big overhanging thing - really cool and impressive - we had our sandwich on the top of it. But never thought of climbs there. Another great suggestion - thank you.

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Michael Gordon 08 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

> We'll be going across the Aonach Eagach and the Chancellor again on the Saturday, possibly coming down Clachaig Gully path or maybe just reverse the route and come back across the ridge again- because that path down the bealach with the Pap of Glencoe is horrible!

I hope you have mistyped? The pap of Glencoe descent is absolutely fine and the recommended descent. The Clachaig Gully path is NOT recommended - loose and dangerous with several past incidents of people falling into the gully.

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DizzyVizion 08 Aug 2019
In reply to abr1966:

Not sure when if ever I will be able to consider myself a competent VS leader. Could be quite some time away! Thanks abr1966. Food for thought.

Post edited at 21:13
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DizzyVizion 08 Aug 2019
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Yep, I've heard about the Clachaig gully descent being dangerous. Though an Air Cadet leader I know, who has taken a couple of squads down it, roped up, sometime in the early 90's, recently advised that it's doable if approached with enough care and attention, and with plenty of energy left in the tank left (not entirely terrible advice - but I see why it may not be deemed so). But honestly, the pap descent was cut up to bits when I came down 2 months ago, with really badly eroded sections where there are like these dirt islands sticking up, making the going really horrible. I've heard there is another steep descent southwards from the last summit which brings you right out on the A82, so maybe that's the way to go. either that, or reverse course over the ridge again.

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DaveHK 08 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

> I've heard there is another steep descent southwards from the last summit which brings you right out on the A82, so maybe that's the way to go. either that, or reverse course over the ridge again.

Little risk on that descent but tough on the quads as it's quite steep.

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DizzyVizion 08 Aug 2019
In reply to Michael Gordon:

That makes more sense Michael. Protection was non-existent I'd say for about two-thirds of it. I think there was just one short, crumbly lay-back flake section where protection would be possible but not guaranteed - not that I'm an expert, but I remember it practically dissolving in my hands! Still felt easy'ish when top-roped obviously.

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DizzyVizion 08 Aug 2019
In reply to DaveHK:

Thanks Dave. Do you know roughly how long the walk from the bottom of this descent route to the Clachaig might take? Our second car will probably be parked there.

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DizzyVizion 08 Aug 2019
In reply to D.Russell:

D.Russell, thank you. It's good to know of someone doing this as their first multi-pitch before. Cheers!

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timparkin 08 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

You could do a few Polldubh routes. We started with multi-pitch climbs. The Gutter, Right Wall on Styx Buttress, Three Pines. You could have some fun at SW Buttress (Tear) and maybe try PInnacle Ridge if it's quiet and you're OK trying a Severe multi-pitch (hard bit at the bottom).

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DizzyVizion 08 Aug 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

That's also a good shout, thanks Eric. A lady from my office lives right next to it too so could nip in after for tea and biscuits. However, there's a peregrines nest on it at the moment, so apparently parts of it are to be avoided.

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DizzyVizion 08 Aug 2019
In reply to Mike-W-99:

Brilliant! Will definitely be giving that a look

Thanks Mike

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DizzyVizion 08 Aug 2019
In reply to daWalt:

Thanks daWalt. Hexagon Wall - I'll be sure to check it out. I'm going tomorrow - hopefully arriving after the rain stops and it dries a bit. But if it's damp, I'll climb in my boots.

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DizzyVizion 08 Aug 2019
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Thanks Michael. Good to know others have had a similar path and that it's not too bizarre a suggestion. Much appreciated!

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DaveHK 08 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

> Thanks Dave. Do you know roughly how long the walk from the bottom of this descent route to the Clachaig might take? Our second car will probably be parked there.

You hit the A82 roughly where the wee string road to the Clachaig comes off so not long.

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DizzyVizion 08 Aug 2019
In reply to Graeme G:

Thanks Graeme. I'd be both looking forward to, and dreading the start of the second pitch. All part of the attraction though - has to be said.

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DizzyVizion 08 Aug 2019
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

I think you've nailed it there. I'm happy to tolerate the discomfort and risk for the reward of doing Agag's sooner rather than later. Waiting longer and gaining more experience may erode from the experience I could get.

My first real mountain experience I camped on CMD and did the arete next morning with a full pack over a glorious inversion to the summit of Ben Nevis. If I'd bagged some Munro's before this then the memory of it would not now be so pronounced. The experience would have felt less dramatic and special at the time. This is stating the obvious, of course.

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teh_mark 08 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

Something I don't think anyone has touched on specifically: make sure you know what you're doing when it comes to constructing a belay. Unlike on a single pitch where your mate can run round and check your work or help out if you're unsure, you'll be on your own. People often find it a confusing mess of ropes the first times they try to string some gear together into a coherent belay - it wouldn't be ideal to be that person halfway up the crag.

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DizzyVizion 08 Aug 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Thanks Offwidth. I'm heading for Traprain Law tomorrow to do lead some single pitch V Diffs. May even stretch to a Severe if it goes well. I've got the lowland outcrops book so plenty to look at.

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DizzyVizion 08 Aug 2019
In reply to Fiona Reid:

Thanks Fiona. I learned to abseil before anything else. It helped me get used to exposure and taught me how remain in control. But I'll have a good look at Hexagon Wall before heading up. Much appreciated.

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DizzyVizion 08 Aug 2019
In reply to timparkin:

Thanks Tim. That's great info for Polldubh. It's possible we could go there before the end of the month instead of the rannoch wall, so I'll keep this in mind for sure.

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DizzyVizion 08 Aug 2019
In reply to JLS:

I've heard that might be the case which is why I will probably just leave my more experienced brother (who is a far better climber) to cope with the 1st, 3rd, and probably 4th pitch. I'll stick with just the 2nd. Thanks JLS

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DizzyVizion 08 Aug 2019
In reply to teh_mark:

Thanks Mark - that's a great point. We'll be focusing on building belays and rope management quite a bit tomorrow at Traprain Law. Much appreciated

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DizzyVizion 08 Aug 2019
In reply to DaveHK:

Great! I think it took us about 50 mins from the pap path to the Clachaig last time. Not what we needed after a sloggy walk down from a soggy ridge ride!

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Pefa 09 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

Agags is very straightforward until you get to the interesting bit of stepping left out onto the face then if you keep your cool you will see where to go and it feels quite exhilarating. But be careful as before I done it years ago a now experienced climber did tell me he did it when he was learning and the leader I believe went up too soon and ended up taking them off route which wasn't nice.

My first multi-pitch lead was a 3 pitch severe called recess route on the Cobbler, easy route finding but with a slightly exposed crux at the top over a chockstone and onto the face. In fact if I remember right it's the longest climb on the Cobbler. 

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Gordon Stainforth 09 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

I've always found this Clachaig Gully path warning (if it means the zig-zag little path that comes down the N side of the gully) v odd, ever since I came down that way after doing the A E ridge. I've always really hated dangerous precarious descents, but I found it just fine. Nothing LIKE as scary as, say, the standard approach route to Gogarth, or that horrible gully to get to Amphitheatre Wall on Craig yr Ysfa.

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atthedropofahat 09 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

Multipitch isn't a big deal it's just climbing for longer with more faff. Start early in the day when there's a good forecast and you'll have plenty of time to work it all out. At the grade realistically although you could be in exposed terrain or the gear may be more spaced than single pitching at stanage you should be fine being careful. Enjoy it

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Michael Gordon 09 Aug 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

The Clachaig descent is used by walkers. The Gogarth descent isn't. Different kettle of fish. There's also no better alternative at Gogarth. (And I'd still say Clachaig is looser)

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daWalt 09 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

climbing at traprain in the pissing rain?

seriously, I'd avoid that place in the damp never mind when it's sheeting it down.

good luck, take a brolly, and a tent, stay sensible

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Gordon Stainforth 09 Aug 2019
In reply to Michael Gordon:

OK, I get your point.

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Graeme G 09 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

As others have suggested it’ll be whatever you’re coping abilities are. There was a story on here a few years back from someone who tricked a mate in to using Agags as a descent route.  Easy for some, terrifying prospect for me.

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Colin McKerrell 09 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

The approach and descent of agags aren't straight forward.

I'd recommend s'wester slabs on Arran as a great first mountain multi pitch. It's well protected and less steep.

The gutter in Glen Nevis is another great option, providing you have double ropes for, and are happy with the abb descent.

Post edited at 10:34
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DizzyVizion 09 Aug 2019
In reply to daWalt:

> climbing at traprain in the pissing rain?

> seriously, I'd avoid that place in the damp never mind when it's sheeting it down.

> good luck, take a brolly, and a tent, stay sensible

You're right. The forecast before had a weather window of dry warmth from mid afternoon til later at night. But that's now changed to a major thunderstorm about 5 so it's a no go. Gutted!

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DizzyVizion 09 Aug 2019
In reply to Graeme G:

> As others have suggested it’ll be whatever you’re coping abilities are. There was a story on here a few years back from someone who tricked a mate in to using Agags as a descent route.  Easy for some, terrifying prospect for me.

Lol, I shouldn't find that funny. I'd feel a bit concerned down climbing some bits of Curved Ridge, let alone down climbing Agag's. Mental! 

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ogreville 09 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

One more vote from me for the Gutter as a first Multi-pitch. It's a good safe option and the areas for building belays are huge, so there is plenty of space to move around and find gear - I think there is actually a walk-off from it too.

How about Trundle at Auchinstarry? It has a grass platform at 3/4 height which could be used to split into two pitches. I'd use this to practice change-over at the belay, and to do a two pitch abseil from the top....and if you have time, practice prusiking up the rope. 

Someone else also mentioned Loudon hill. Even Pulpit Arête (S)  can be split into a two pitches for the final step up. It's not sexy climbing by any stretch of the imagination but it does provide practice of swinging leads and rope/gear management.

For better context - how many single pitch trad routes have you lead and how many have you seconded roughly. Has your brother got a lot of single pitch mileage?

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DizzyVizion 09 Aug 2019
In reply to ogreville:

Thanks ogreville. I've only lead indoors at 5a (30 metres routes up the tower in EICA) whereas my brother has lead trad HVS (and possibly an E1 I think), single pitch routes.  We're familiar with exposed terrain. I'd say we're not idiots - we've familiarised ourselves with what's required and acquired all the necessary kit - now just looking to get stuck in about it as they say.

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Michael Gordon 09 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

If your brother has lead HVS he'll find Agags a doddle. Get on it! I agree with the point made above about multi-pitch being no different really other than requiring a bit of care with the ropes on the belays and clipping in for changeovers.

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andrew ogilvie 09 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

Apologies if this repeats some earlier advice, I've not read the whole thread.

Good advice from what I've seen, my own might have been to have a day on the easy multipitch routes in Glen Nevis or Polney just as a shakedown but JLS suggestion of Shepherd's Crag also very sensible.

My 2p worth, Agags is an amenable choice but bear in mind 2 things. Top pitch is quite compact rock and extremely exposed and sensational and not a place to lack confidence. Secondly the top of the route is a very exposed place and though the ground is easy/moderate it's not a bad idea to remain roped and secured until you're back on Curved Ridge. You also need to be confident of descending CR at least back to the base of Rannoch Wall.

Have a great day. 

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teh_mark 09 Aug 2019
In reply to JLS:

My first ever multipitch (lead or otherwise) was Little Chamonix, after only a very small handful of single pitch leads and very little apprenticeship on real rock, and with a non-leading enthusiastic victim tied to the other end. I just figured that it wouldn't be all that different to climbing a few single pitches, just slightly more committing.

It was a fantastic adventure...but I'd be slightly reticent about recommending it as a first lead to someone in a similar position as I was - ie the OP. I had a nightmare on the third pitch. I couldn't find any gear I was happy with once on the sloping block, placed some terrible gear anyway, made the very committing move, traversed the break still without gear, finally managed a good hex on the arete...and two moves up pulled it out because of heinous rope drag. Arrived on the saddle belay after a torrid struggle to move for drag, with no meaningful gear and thoroughly gripped. Quite the learning experience.

I've been trying for a long time to find an excuse to go back and do it again in better style!

Post edited at 20:44
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JLS 09 Aug 2019
In reply to teh_mark:

Shepard’s has a considerably shorter walk-in for the MRT than Rannoch Wall. You have to consider others beyond the OP.

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Climbpsyched 09 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

Hi, I replied to your last post about rope length for Agags. 

I wouldn't say it's ideal for your first multi pitch route. Only my opinion of course. I've climbed it a bunch both personal and for work. As someone suggested the Gutter would be a nice introduction and then once you have everything a bit more dialled then go for Agags.

Agags is exposed and still makes you think even though it's a low grade. it is a bit run out at one section with a wee move above it.

There will be tons of people I'm sure that have done it for their first route and survived. Maybe something easier to start with though could be a shout.

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overdrawnboy 09 Aug 2019
In reply to Colin McKerrell:

> The approach and descent of agags aren't straight forward.

Relieved it's not just me that found it so, I failed to find the start of it some years back, blundering about scree covered ledges and gullies in the blazing sun before my partner had had enough and demanded we go down. Three hours of my life I'll never get back. Its far from obvious how to get to it.

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TobyA 10 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

It was my first summer multipitch route after moving to Scotland (I had done some winter routes in the months before), and I had a done at most a handful of multipitch routes before that.

It was brilliant fun, even if it did keep snowing on us! We had a tiny rack back then and it I don't remember it feeling scary, or difficult to make belays or any of that. You do get that "big wall" feel up there looking out over the moor, but that's a reason to go for it, and the reason for its name I guess.

Be sensible and have fun.

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Yohan 10 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

Hi Dizzy, 

I can only provide you with my personal experience having been in the exact same boat a few months ago. I climbed single pitch trad and done a few multipitch seconds about ten years ago and took the notion to go climbing earlier on the year and me and my mate decided aggags would be our comeback. I led the first pitch and when we got to the first stace my mate decided he didn't want to lead so I ended up leading all 4 piches. The belays are all bomber big blocks on good ledges. At the time I was feeling pretty out my depth and was kacking myself on pitch 3 the crux and I felt it was well harder than expected (the climbing isnt hard its just the exposure). But I went back a month later with another pal and it was a skoosh and I've went on to do eagle ridge, recess route and direct route since then. The advice i can give is

- Be able to set up an absail for retreat, I remember thinking if it starts raining now Iam gubbed. 

- Once you top out you need to get back to the top of curved ridge and either decend that or carry on to the summit. The first time we went across a really esposed traverse and up a section and we got roped back up again for it. This is avoidable  by going right and scrambling further up before going left across to the top of curved ridge. 

- Don't go at the weekend. It will be extremely busy the first time we done it we had the wall to ourselfs so we could faff but when i went back on a Saturday with my other pal it was mobbed and theres nothing worse than having folk pressurising you when your already having a mare. 

- Make sure you have both got full phone charge. I had to phone my second to tell him i was safe. 

- Dont forget the guidebook 

Whatever you decide to do have a good one! 

Post edited at 15:47
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DizzyVizion 10 Aug 2019
In reply to Climbpsyched:

Thanks Climbpsyched, I really appreciate it. Your suggestion sounds like a pretty good way to go. Like you say, get everything a bit more dialled before heading for Agags.

I'm lacking the experience, and the time for gaining enough experience to make having a go at Agags a half sensible proposition at the moment.

Saying that, I feel a very strong urge to just go for it. Having studied Agags intently from Curved Ridge on a couple of occasions, the idea of taking it on right now is very seductive and that's in spite of how intimidated it made me feel. The exposure looks awesome.

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DizzyVizion 10 Aug 2019
In reply to JLS:

> Shepard’s has a considerably shorter walk-in for the MRT than Rannoch Wall. You have to consider others beyond the OP.

Thanks, JLS. I get the sentiment; that personal risk should be weighed against the possibility of inconvenience to others.

I read somewhere that members of MRT require rescuing on occasion. That they too go out in their leisure time and take on relatively more extreme routes so that they can experience the thrill of a big challenge. Doing so of course puts them at risk of encountering serious trouble in a serious position.

I don't want to push beyond what I may be capable of right now.

And I'm very grateful for the thoughts and advice from everyone here. It's been brilliant! Thank you

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JLS 10 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

Och, I’m only joking. I’m sure if you have even a basic understanding of “how to do climbing”, chances are you’ll get up and down from Agag’s in one piece. Keep the rope attached to the rock, keep tied on to the rope. Obviously, if you are learning stuff on the job it does have the potential to become an epic and type two fun.

I suggest a run through doing back and forth low level traversing in Achinstarry car park to practice the leader changeovers and perhaps figure out what you’d do to swap over if one or other you bottles their lead.

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DizzyVizion 11 Aug 2019
In reply to Yohan:

Hi Yohan. Thank you for telling me all this. Sounds like you had a memorable time on Agags after being out of the game for so long - my hat's off to you. I'll be sure to follow your advice and report back if/when I make it back. Cheers!

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DizzyVizion 11 Aug 2019
In reply to JLS:

Lol, cheers JLS

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Milesy 16 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

> I've top-roped the easy climbs at Auchinstarry car park including a couple of Severe's (mister, ye can walk up roon the back was tough in the middle, whereas Scream was easy-peasy'ish all the way).

Silly question, but have you LEAD those routes?

If you are comfortable leading severe single pitch, then multi pitch VDiff should be doable. Always have a grade or two in hand for multi pitch.

Have you considered North Buttress on the Bookle? That may be a good stepping stone from Curved Ridge onto Agag's and its easy and spacious enough to take your time and get your rope work slick.

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Lemony 16 Aug 2019
In reply to Milesy:

> Always have a grade or two in hand for multi pitch.

Really? Why?

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teh_mark 16 Aug 2019
In reply to Lemony:

So it's less expensive when you less often have to back off from the final crux pitch that you can't climb?

I wouldn't say always, but I feel pushing the boat out on mulitpitch is for those with experience and a thorough understanding of their own abilities, strengths and shortcomings.

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DizzyVizion 16 Aug 2019
In reply to Milesy:

Hi Milesy, I haven't lead those routes yet. I know, it's a totally different kettle of fish to top roping. I have family and work commitments which severely restrict my ability to do any climbing - woe is me. But I have a window of opportunity to push on and get some climbing next Sunday in or around Glen Coe. We'll probably head for Polldubh and hit The Gutter. Looks like a good option seeing as we'll now have my 14 year old nephew with us. We're also meeting up with a friend who'll be joining us so Polldubh is the winner. But we'll see what the weather does and if it's too wet for a climb, we'll probably scramble Broad Buttress on the Bookil. Cheers

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DizzyVizion 18 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

Went to Traprain Law today and did my first trad lead; a severe route called Double Stretch. Intended on climbing Vertical Ladder a v.diff to the left of this, but started up this route instead. I did step over to Vertical Ladder briefly about half way up, but felt well enough going back right again and continued up to the tippy top on the right hand side. Had a moment or two but felt fit and fresh so it was a really nice climb. My gear placements weren't the best so need to work in that. Used a sling around a block at the top to bring up my brother Stevie - right next to a shrub thingy. It made a secure anchor but it was a bit of a shallow block so felt a wee bit dodgy - like the sling could slip off sort of thing. Also seconded Spider Route 1 and Brute - both Severe's, though on Brute, instead of going right about halfway, Stevie kept going straight up. The climbing was surprisingly fun up this way, even when it started raining when I was halfway up seconding it. It felt slippery when wet (giggidy) as the rock is so polished in places. But powered up like a man on a mission..., a mission to retrieve the gear and get back down to my jacket. Looking forward to Polldubh next Sunday now. And to Agags, eventually. Thanks

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Mike-W-99 18 Aug 2019
In reply to DizzyVizion:

He might have strayed onto Pinch Variation then but above the 5a crux.

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DizzyVizion 19 Aug 2019
In reply to Mike-W-99:

> He might have strayed onto Pinch Variation then but above the 5a crux.


Yep, you're spot on Mike. It was a really direct line that took in the second half of Pinch.  Well spaced gear from a third of the way up, with decent holds at the top steep part. There is a block belay at the top as well, but beware. It is small. Cheers!

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