The RUNT project. How about a bit of an effort to restore some neglected climbs to something akin to popularity? It seems that people nowadays, when they do trad, all tend to do the same few routes. Looking at Cloggy there are some fantastic routes there are never done. My offering is Gargoyle (HVS 5a). Its fantastic and, according to the logbooks, has been done just 5 times in 50 years and just the once in the last 17. There is a lot of grot that never gets done but some memorable diamonds under the lichen. Pretty well every mountain cliff in the UK must be the same, most of Scotland I would guess too.
That's quite a coincidence: I've just been reading about this within The Black Cliff and was wondering why it had fallen out of favour.
Let's hope we a) get a good summer and b) are allowed out into it...
Black Cleft anyone ;-)
It will be interesting to see if many routes suffer significantly from neglect after just a few months of lockdown in the main growing months.
I like the acronym.
But I have to say that neglect is only a problem if nature starts to reclaim the line or it's prone to getting dirty. If a route stays clean, I'm all for lack of popularity! And if a climb is dirty/vegetated, it's surely open to question whether the neglect is undeserved.
Just as well you didn't call it Clean Undeservedly Neglected Trad.
Great idea. I'll have a think.
Craig y Llyn - most routes have 2 stars or more. One repeat of a route since the mid 80's. It needs a good clean as I found out when I wandered up there a few years ago. the boulder, on the other hand.......
I'm pretty sure if you ask a random number generator to select a Scottish trad climb not in the central belt, 50% of the time it wouldn't even have an entry on the UKC database and 90% of the time it wouldn't have been climbed in the last 3 years.
But the question has to be asked: Why would you seek to repeat mediocre routes reclaimed by nature when you can either a) find and put up new routes which offer the experience of unclean or uncertain terrain while retaining the potential to be great and offering the whole create-your-own-new-route experience OR b) repeat classic routes that are in good condition from now till your dying day without (in the case of all but the most dedicated climbers) ever having to repeat the same one twice?
Maybe this is a project for people who live where there are fewer crags and more people... But where that is the case, surely there are not really any RUNT-worthy routes? I know in central belt Scotland you have to go in search of some really, really overgrown, esoteric garbage to find something that doesn't see at least a few repeats (I know, I've been, I've seen the 2m walls of gorse and I've chosen discretion over valour!).
I'm not arguing against the nobility of the cause. I just find it hard to see the motivation for people who trad climb to do this.
> And if a climb is dirty/vegetated, it's surely open to question whether the neglect is undeserved.
There are many, probably hundreds if not thousands, of routes which are really worthwhile climbs but which are dirty and/or vegetated through undeserved neglect. Most mountain crags in the Lakes and Wales and moorland gritstone crags in the Peak will have several.
The neglect is not due to the quality of the climbing but the general lack of imagination and sense of adventure on the part of many climbers. Drive past Stanage south on a hot dry bank holiday weekend before continuing on over the Snake Pass and then walk in to Kinder North to see what I mean.
The best routes up there are as good as the best on Stanage with the added bonus of no queues or polish if only they weren't dirty which they wouldn't be if even 5% of the Stanage traffic went up there. Stanage may have more quality lines but how many can you climb in one day? If a crag has enough quality routes at your grade to fill one visit then it's worth one visit, if only for a change of scenery.
I don't disagree with you; I'm just saying it's open to question. Certainly cleaning up deserving routes and publicising the fact is a worthy endeavour, if not necessarily likely to succeed.
Both wings of Dinas Mot?
Craig y Gesail?
Bertie's Bugbear (S 4a) - prime example. Fantastic line viewable all the way up to the crag, great climbing, surrounded by E8 and E9 grit architecture and yet the left wall is a carpet of moss and other greenery. Makes for a pleasant lie down mid route in truth, but it's a sad state of affairs.
> Just as well you didn't call it Clean Undeservedly Neglected Trad.
That was the first idea. Then somebody said hang on... wait a minute
Where does one even start? Look at Cyrn Las for example Great Buttress, Trauma Groove (admittedly fairly lethal at the start, and perhaps not a good example) but done because the whole crag was so popular it was difficult to find somewhere to climb
eg 2 Llech Ddu : the Holywell brothers routes
Essentially, it is the missing middle. The top end of today's trad climbers obviously are not interested in such classic hard climbs as we were doing in 1968, while the middle grade climber of today doesn't want to be arsed as I think they say to go for a bit of a slog unless it is to the well known popular routes, and certainly not to flog around to Llech Ddu (where the f...s that? ). Interestingly this came up in another post when remarking on how the mighty are fallen, re Cloggy which used to be the in cliff in Wales: it ended up with no one being able to recommend an E 2 route.
> Interestingly this came up in another post when remarking on how the mighty are fallen, re Cloggy which used to be the in cliff in Wales: it ended up with no one being able to recommend an E 2 route.
I thought as remote mountain crags go Cloggy was still relatively popular when it's 'in'. I went up 3 years ago in a heatwave and couldn't believe how busy it was, about 30 people which was more than my previous visits combined, queues for Great Wall even. Perhaps it is popluar in a heat wave but people are more fussy about what 'in' means.
> Bertie's Bugbear (S 4a) - prime example. Fantastic line viewable all the way up to the crag, great climbing, surrounded by E8 and E9 grit architecture and yet the left wall is a carpet of moss and other greenery
There's any number of great but neglected routes on moorland grit. I did Trinnacle East at the Ravenstones about 20 years ago and it was fine, went back and did it in the heatwave 2 years ago and it was a grotfest. So a great climb, at a plum grade for most trad climbers, on a crag ideally suited to escape the heat, in the middle of the biggest heatwave since 1976 and it was filthy.
> ...how the mighty are fallen, re Cloggy which used to be the in cliff in Wales: it ended up with no one being able to recommend an E 2 route.
Yes, in its day a hundred was quite normal!
Well you didn't some up with them in that post!
Yes I've eyed that one up in recent Summers and mulled over leading it or abbing in with a brush, was top end of my grade at the time.
Didn't see it. Sorry.
Regarding Black Cleft - no, don't want to spoil the memory of White Slab / Black Cleft in the same day...
Great idea, I did Gargoyle back in the mid ninety's following a failed attempt on Aires. I remember the start being a bit exciting but the top section was fantastic with great exposure. Went back 15 years later to do Easy Rider (HVS 5a) as I remembered it looked so good and I wasn't disappointed. I think you even recommended it in another post. Still not been back to do Aires though, I was intrigued by the picture of it in the Black Cliff but couldn't really see the line at the time, think I went too low. Traversing above the final judgement wall at that grade looks wild.
In the Lakes I'm a big fan of Boat Howe Crags. Numenor Direct has got to be one of the best single pitch mountain routes in the area, better than anything on Gable Crag which is often really busy in a dry spell. I don't like repeating routes and so I am drawn to these out of the way routes that might be a bit grubby. Luckily I've got a selection of partners that humour me on such occasions.
Agreed, it's the lack of adventurous spirit that leaves these routes dirty and neglected
People just don't do routes that haven't been logged in some recent years , we/they are looking for info and security to a certain degree and the chance that it could be some dirty badly protected horror show just does not appeal to many nowadays
It's amazing what a bit of graft and a good action pic in a new guidebook can do to restore lost gems.
> Black Cleft anyone ;-)
During the heat wave 2 years ago? I went up 5 times to cloggy doing some amazing routes. On one occasion we went up to the pinnacle area first thing as the guide said it was nice in the morning sun. I think they meant a normal year as we gasped in the sun trying to find shade and waiting for the sun to go round, it was boiling! Shrink was dispatched and it was more than anything I could have hope for. Every time i walked down I looked at the Black cleft still dripping thinking next weekend I will be dry? Everything else for drier and drier but this line never seemed to change. Perhaps it never dries but I'm keen to have an experience on it one day to find out what it's like. Hopefully some other mad man like yourself will have skated sime the slim off and dug the placements out first or will that spoil the fun?!
I did Aries inspired by that Hard Rock picture. I couldn't quite believe how misleading the picture was in practice, loose and grotty, quite unpleasant. Easy Rider and Gargoyle much better. I've never seen anyone else on the Far West, am impressed and will try to get on Farfallino this summer.
Llech ddu is a good example of an entire undeservedly neglected cliff. Loads of multi star E routes that at one time in the seventies I believe were really popular and now must never get done. They are not even in the UKC database. The Great Corner (E2 5b) looks fantastic and Central Route is one of the best VSs in Wales. I guess the lack of photos in a modern guidebook is a big factor.
There are a lot of terrible climbs out there, Agamemnon (E1 5b) on Schmitar anyone? But equally there are absolute shed loads of fantastic climbs being lost and I feel sad about that. Anyway so far my three main targets are The Great Corner (E2 5b), Farfallino (E2 5b) and a day on Wimberry. Having looked at The Black Cleft on numerous occasions it will definitely not be The Black Cleft!
I also really want to do Slanting Slab but will someone replace the peg on the lip, I'll contribute!
Any other suggestions? Any possible partners...?
2018 would have been the year to do it wouldn't it.
I'd be genuinely intrigued to hear the experiences of anyone who's been on it, although I suspect they're a rare breed.
Ironically I'm saying this from the perspective of someone who has indeed climbed it, it's just that I sensibly did it when it came into winter condition.
Did the Great corner in the mid ninety's when I lived in North Wales, it took two attempts, the first involved impatience as there was a party just starting up Central route. We thought we would outflank them by approaching via the scramble described in the old guide. Big mistake, I don't think I've ever done an approach so terrifying. Loose rushes and grass with noting to belay to even if you wanted to, it ended up taking so long that the other party had got to the start of the Great Corner before us anyway, We were so traumatised we just finished up central route and went to do Elliw. The second time we approached via Central Route which is definitely the way to do it. The first pitch of the Corner looked awful but in fact was fine as although the crack is choked with vegetation you actually bridge up the outside of it, the second pitch is fabulously exposed and well worth E2.
Had a good look at the Slanting entry last year and it looks horribly serious, I've wondered if the peg could be replaced by doing the first pitch of Bloody and then abbing down to either replace the peg or fix some gear to jumar up to, a bit contrived but safer than clipsticking the dodgy peg that does exist. Other obscure routes on Cloggy I've always fancied are Boomerang (E1 5b) and The Rumour (E2 5b). Lets hope for and indian summer.
The Mountain Club (who own the hut nearby) are doing a lot of cleaning up there, all that's needed is other climbers to go there and keep them clean.
My nomination is Pencoed Pillar (HVD) which was still a minor classic when I did it back in the early 90s but is apparently verging on the unclimbable these days.
> I know in central belt Scotland you have to go in search of some really, really overgrown, esoteric garbage to find something that doesn't see at least a few repeats (I know, I've been, I've seen the 2m walls of gorse and I've chosen discretion over valour!).
There is a crag in Edinburgh which is 35m high, has routes up to HVS, and yet only one route above Diff has been climbed since 2014.
Boomerang! I remember that! Rubbish top pitch if I recall correctly, mind you that was 45 years ago.
Is that the one on Blackford Hill?
If so, I think there's a reason for it.
Personally I'm quite happy to let crags slide back into oblivion. Someone in a future generation can have the pleasure of re discovering them.
> There is a crag in Edinburgh which is 35m high, has routes up to HVS, and yet only one route above Diff has been climbed since 2014.
And the case everywhere Central Scotland. (Highlands even more so!) A few clean trade routes and 90% not touched. Even with that said, I was at Auchinstarry last year - first time in a long time, the car park crag was really busy and really dirty.
> Craig y Llyn - most routes have 2 stars or more. One repeat of a route since the mid 80's. It needs a good clean as I found out when I wandered up there a few years ago.
Ha yes, eight of those 80s ticks are mine (apart from one, which was 70s). An excellent and really worthwhile crag, though an acquired taste, bold and not unlike slate to some extent. Well worth cleaning up.
True. But it isn't that good and hardly worth getting arrested for :P
Edit: Oh, nevermind. I thought you were talking about some of the crags on Arthur's seat.
It's over twenty years, nearer thirty since I was up there but we had a look and walked away because it just didn't seem very appealing. No natural lines IIRC, funny rock with little in the way of protection. Maybe I'm being overly negative, have a look but I'm not sure it would ever become very popular.
Personally if I were developing a crag in Embra it would be the one in Ravelston Park.
My friend Dunc has expressed enthusiasm for doing Slanting Slab so we will commit to replacing the peg with something useable this summer, assuming lockdown over. Do you think it makes more sense to ab down bloody slab than abbing slightly randomly from the top? Also I went to do Boomerang but retreated. There were the remains of a very old belay peg at the start but no other gear, a fall from the first section would have involved both of us bouncing down hundreds of feet to the path so we abandoned. Looked nice and quite clean though.
> Personally if I were developing a crag in Embra it would be the one in Ravelston Park.
Ooh nice, definitely one to check out.
Did Great Corner last year. 1st pitch very grassy. 2nd pitch a little dirty (had to brush holds as I went).
I wander if the first pitch has been left grassy for winter ascents?
looking at pictures it looks possible to ab down to the lip of slanting from the first stance of bloody, it would mean leaving some gear there. I did Bloody so long ago I can't remember what made up the belay, if the stance is too far right there will be some gear in the grassy crack as you traverse out on the second pitch and with 60m ropes you'll reach the lip of slanting easily.
I remember years ago there were a couple of wires at the lip of slanting, should have done it then but the rains came and next time I went up the wires had rusted to not very much.
Good luck and let me know if you replace the peg, I'll be straight down to do it.
I was just wondering about Craig y Lyn the other day. Wailing Wall was quite the thing at one time, that time being about 1984.
I think it’s safe to say that neglect is not changing the character of the Black Cleft, which is a great route unless dry. I did it with HoseyB, once of these parts, who rocked up in a full Hazmat suit for the occasion. Tremendous day out - well, afternoon out; by the time we’d got up to the crag it must have been 2 pm.
Flat Crag looked like it could use some visits when I walked past it a year or so ago.
its always been grassy I think Mark, I can't imagine that second pitch being particularly winter climber friendly, although I guess anythings possible these days.
Staffin Slip crag.
Probably the single best crack/groove climbing crag on our Islands.. As of 2018 certainly NOT neglected. Probably seen more activity in the last few years than it did when initially developed...
Whilst Neist, Kilt main sector and Rubha Hunish are wonderful in their own right and attract regular traffic, this cliff has generally been lower down the priority list for visitors. It's undergone something of a renaissance recently. Its generally very clean following a little crow-barring and lots of scrubbing by local enthusiasts. Additionally, there are another half a dozen high quality new routes and plenty more to do elsewhere if you have the time and desire.
Grade range E1-E5.
Conditions- a day of dry weather following rain. Showers blow over the top so if your Cuillin objectives are shrouded in SW drizz.. carry on driving (past Kilt) to here. A steady breeze/low humidity in midge season.
Recommended kit = all of the cams you can muster, a handful of wires, some tape or jamming gloves, a chunky 60m single rope, a 60 m static.
> True. But it isn't that good and hardly worth getting arrested for :P
> Edit: Oh, nevermind. I thought you were talking about some of the crags on Arthur's seat.
Would much rather get arrested for cleaning the Great Quarry at the Crags, than for Corbies ;)
Corbies is loose, generally unprotectable, and lacking in belays. Its always going to be someones cup of tea but one could make a case for Deservedly Obscure Neglected Trad.
> a great route unless dry.
Deserves its own thread. The Chasm. Devil's Kitchen. Mur droite de la Grande Cascade (Gavarnie). Benny. More?
Actually don't reply. I'll start a new thread.
Being an optimistic guy I am thinking of cleaning some of these possible gems later this year. My plan is to ab down and replace the peg on slanting slab but whilst doing so clean up the 3 routes that share its start. Gael (E2 5b), Fibrin (E2 5b) and Bloodlust (E2 5b). None of these routes have got any entries in the UKC logbooks, weird huh! Any advice on cleaning lichenous and probably loose routes? I am a bit concerned about pulling stuff off and it bouncing down the terrace so I will at least avoid sunny weekends.
> The RUNT project. How about a bit of an effort to restore some neglected climbs to something akin to popularity? It seems that people nowadays, when they do trad, all tend to do the same few routes. Looking at Cloggy there are some fantastic routes there are never done. My offering is Gargoyle (HVS 5a). Its fantastic and, according to the logbooks, has been done just 5 times in 50 years and just the once in the last 17. There is a lot of grot that never gets done but some memorable diamonds under the lichen. Pretty well every mountain cliff in the UK must be the same, most of Scotland I would guess too.
> Any suggestions?
Bertie's was an interesting experiment in the limits of friction for me when I climbed it very good Ravenstones conditions (despite this it was still damp). A contender for my best ever S lead in terms of difficulty. Its a great line but being a high NE fading corner I'm not sure how you could rescue it without some regularly repeated dodgy and ecologically unwise chemical treatment. Maybe just savour its unique character or save it for a super dry summer. Slow Ledge above Dinas Mot (now VS?) Is the only S I can think of where I 'skated' even more (not a good day to do it as the Mot had weeps).
Anyone thinking of a major clean should maybe contact their local BMC access reps as some overgrown areas do have rare flora.
good point about the local ecology. i'll get in touch with the BMC rep.
> Agreed, it's the lack of adventurous spirit that leaves these routes dirty and neglected
> People just don't do routes that haven't been logged in some recent years , we/they are looking for info and security to a certain degree and the chance that it could be some dirty badly protected horror show just does not appeal to many nowadays
Good thread, but it's unlikely you will generate enthusiasm outside of already existing circles of trad enthusiasts. Here the problem - that climbing has diversified into safer and more accessible forms, and so we end up just talking because no-one wants to challenge the basic parametrs of trad.
So if the route is not clean it won't attract more climbers and it gets dirtier. If additionally the gear is dodgy or route finding obscure thats a further setback. Then there's slow or rarely dry routes/passages. It only needs a n epic or two to set the odds for unpopularity.
Such an example would be the drainpipe crack on Cloggy - notorious for dampness and difficulty to get a secure cam placement. I have a friend who fell here and was helicoptered off long time ago. So here goes - imagine there were a *secure* means of protection at the critical level - to encourage traffic. I believe the climbing above is of great quality and there are 4 routes branching off, all well worth doing. ONE item which would be a gamechanger for the cliff. Howsabout it ??!
No need, especially in this case.
I waited until the drainpipe crack was dry enough to climb it safely , though nowadays I might take some appropriately sized gear.
As I had done already done Vember, when I climbed November we missed out the wet bit at the bottom by a vs variation to the right .
Rather than ruining trad climbing as we know it, an alternative solution may be fixed or even bolted abseil stations.
This would retain the adventure on the individual pitches but facilitate regular ascents and cleaning of the routes.
"Up to a point Lord Copper" but only by a few people who really know what they are doing and where. Getting off Cloggy for example is part of the game and one certainly does not want to see people abbing down routes there, except in emergency. Cliffs with rubbly loose tops where stone fall could endanger other climbers might on the other hand be justified.
Have a like, John , I had to look up that quote.
The last time I did great wall (just, it felt a lot harder 26 years later ) there was a very convenient abseil point 50 m off the deck after all the difficulties. It saved an hour of faff climbing up and down the descent ramp, which if i recall covers quite a bit of loose ground. Helmets were considered essential at cloggy before most other crags in the uk. The wires and tat were past their best and not practical for us to replace on the day, they only felt safe with back up runners on the way down.
In the lakes it is apparent that the popularity of routes is directly related to the ease of descent , especially in modern rock shoes. An abseil point also facilitates a bit of regular light cleaning, it is the catalyst that creates the tipping point.
Has Bertie's migrated?
When I was a lad it was at Indian's Head.
Rick:,Great Wall. The exception probes the rule. Not having either the ability nor the guts to try that I am certainly prepared to concede a single abseil back to the deck: but just one!
Well, I’m not. It’s no tragedy if routes don’t get done. If people are too ****ing idle to walk, it’s their loss.
As a younger climber I do struggle with the mentality here that a route once climbed by some madmen* 20 years ago must be left untouched (and get zero ascents due to the modern factor of safe and accessible climbing) - when a bit of hardwear here or there could make it a great line with more regular ascents. I noticed in America they seem to do whatever they can to rejuvenate interest in trad climbs that may have a sketchy ness about them or at least a particular section.
I’m thinking of a bunch of the trad lines on the dark side of the Avon gorge that nobody climbs but I see every day and they look great but just too many unknowns for me to really want to get on them (especially the scrappy top outs)
I mean it must happen, look at the 2 4 pitch sport climbs in amongst the trad at cheddar, at some point someone bolted these and now they’re popular routes, who decides when this is done?
* I mean no offence but Crocker solo’d most of these things with a beer mat at the bottom.
All reserved for a dwindling bunch of ageing hard elites ! Showcase in a glasscase.
The number of weeks of the year Cloggy comes into condition - 5/6 on average. The drainpipe crack will be half of that. When I was in UK I quit wanting to climb on Cloggy because no-one wanted it as much as me - that was 20yrs ago.
if you have an objection to hard elites there are plenty of routes which would become more accessible to mainstream climbers with the addition of a bolt or two, not just wet and greasy ones.
I don't think you quite took on board my exchanges with Rick. And please don't bring down the tone of this thread which has been very interesting and well argued with the copulative adjective. You are sufficiently well educated to express opinions with more subtle language
> I noticed in America they seem to do whatever they can to rejuvenate interest in trad climbs that may have a sketchy ness about them or at least a particular section
I suggest then you google Yosemite’s Maxine’s Wall, which will tell you a different story.
Seems like you’re out of touch with UK climbing: the Drainpipe crack had had over 80 recorded ascents (Vember, November and Jelly Roll) in the last two years. Reports of the death of trad. are greatly exaggerated.
I'm presuming on the veracity of the thtead's objective; so we don't need to worry about routes getting too little passage ?
We don't need to worry about them. If the prospect of tackling the route in its usual state doesn't appeal to most climbers then let's chalk it up as a victory to the crag and Mother Nature rather than biudgeoning it into submission to satisfy our own vanity.
These routes will still be there for those with incentive enough to do them.
The situation here in SW France - is that many routes risk reverting back to nature on local crags - but I'm taking sport-equipped ! Just because a pitch is in a sector which is less popular, or a longer walk)in, or its the second pitch (ie. not straight off the ground) - then they become neglected.
really, people are getting lazier and more security conscious ie. less adventurous. God help uk trad !
Well if UK trad survives in a sanitised form for the masses on pristine rock and real adventure climbing for the few who like more of a challenge then it all adds to the diversity of the sport. I'm sure there's room for both "extremes".
What about the area in between?
Thats for the inbetweeners.
> I'm presuming on the veracity of the thtead's objective; so we don't need to worry about routes getting too little passage ?
I was replying to your specific suggestion to bolt the Drainpipe Crack. Its clear this is unnecessary.
I was not commenting on the neglect of some UK trad. routes.
> I was replying to your specific suggestion to bolt the Drainpipe Crack. Its clear this is unnecessary.
It's worth remembering that Arthur Birtwistle made the first ascent in 1938 in socks and with no protection. (He also mentioned on the phone that he carried on a short distance up the next crack, i.e. on what later became Vember, but reversed it. When I came to interview him in 1997 aged 79, for my Peak book, I should have asked him more about that.)
I'm sure I've posted it here in the past, but here is the bit about Drainpipe Crack:
'... [Woolworth pumps] were hopeless if it was wet. If you came across a wet patch you took them off, and climbed with your stockinged feet. I climbed a lot in stockinged feet. I did most of the routes on Cloggy in stockings. Things like Drainpipe Crack. You used rubbers when you could, but I climbed an awful lot in socks. Drainpipe Crack was in socks…. I was climbing with a chap called Alan Alsop, who operated in some of these gritstone guides; and there was no guidebook to Cloggy. I mean, we’d no idea what was what. And ... well, it was a good day. But it was hard, that. Alan couldn’t get up it.
So how did you get off the climb?
Off into Curving Crack.
You managed to keep roped up?
Yeah, he came up Curving Crack. Up on the other side. … But I had the idea, having done that, to maybe finish it off somehow. … But I never wrote that up. Then of course the war came, and it never got finished. I think that that was probably the hardest thing that I’ve ever done.
And you wouldn’t have had any protection on it at all?...
No — and it was mucky, too. But it was good weather, it was really good weather, because it was relatively dry. But it was still messy.
I can’t believe you were completely cool on that!
No, I wasn’t ... well, I don’t think I was! ... The technique of climbing at that time was you had to be able to climb down what you’d climbed up, and I don’t think that I’ve ever done anything that I couldn’t have climbed down at a pinch. We climbed down things a lot.
But you couldn’t have done that on Drainpipe Crack ...
Well, I don’t know, I probably kidded myself I could.'
> My nomination is Pencoed Pillar (HVD) which was still a minor classic when I did it back in the early 90s but is apparently verging on the unclimbable these days.
NB. I never used the word bolt or bolting. There will be subtler solutions. A thread ?
> Thats for the inbetweeners.
The accessible trad down here in the french/spanish Pyrenees is v rarely all-out pure. But if done intelligently it makes for some great routes, the ethic is simple: if natural pro is available - no bolts necessary. If you're out on a slab / offwidth - bolts; and believe me there's still plenty of excitement with spacing.
Interestingly enough Yosemite climbing accepts mixed pro in the above ethic. look at Dawn Wall - could we accept this as a new standard?
NB. All my thread input must be taken in the context - keeping trad alive or boosting trad accessibility
Since you mention context, I don't think Dawn Wall and the best routes on gritstone, or even Cloggy, are comparable.
That sounds dismissive.
In fact - are there any semi-equipped routes in the UK ? Has anyone already set such a precedent - at which sites might such routes be acceptable ?
> In fact - are there any semi-equipped routes in the UK ? Has anyone already set such a precedent - at which sites might such routes be acceptable ?
The early routes introducing protection bolts in the UK tended to be minimally bolted. Hand drilling bolts was hard work and those at the forefront of the sport had the least money. There was also the ego of doing a route with the bolts you needed not the rabble, though this is probably a course way of describing the attitude.
Nowadays the consensuss is ( hopefully ) that routes are either fully bolted to create a sport route or clean trad, subject to the local ethics.
A few historically important routes have remained sparsely bolted but they are a significant minority.
Short answer, no.
Nonsense. I remember when they put Greg Chappell on a microphone in the field for a day. ‘Destroyed for ever the myth that only the inarticulate swear.’
And how better can you reply to a pompous pedant who tells you that it is poor grammar to end a sentence with a conjunction than with:
"F*ck you and the horse you came in on."
Or with Churchill's classic riposte: "That is the sort of English up with which I will not put."
Isn’t ‘on’ a preposition?!
That again is not the point I was making. If you think I don't use the word myself you are sorely mistaken as I am sure you may have noticed, but not when I'm writing. (Incidentally Ken Wilson would never allow it). I merely said that up to now an interesting debate had been conducted in a civilized manner without recourse to the kind of language you used. If you had read carefully what I had said and in the context of the route concerned (have you done it? If you have you are perhaps justified in your outburst) I said the exception PROBES the rule. That is not pedantry as is now being implied. It is a careful use of language to make a point, as is my quotation in my earlier reply to Rick.However, I knew at some stage the debate would eventually drop to the usual UKC level. It has, thanks to John Cox, not so mysteriously.
> Nowadays the consensuss is ( hopefully ) that routes are either fully bolted to create a sport route or clean trad, subject to the local ethics.
> A few historically important routes have remained sparsely bolted but they are a significant minority.
> Short answer, no.
That does seem strange, but prob determined by the unspoken ethics. there are undoubtedly some great lines out there, waiting, which would only be consistent and feasible with mixed pro. The possibilities which exists down here on Pyrenean granite - cannot be unique - must exist in the UK also.
Are we (UK) bigger than Yosemite ?
Yes. And so is in.
Double whammy for the pedant who will then attempt to juggle the sentence around in order to avoid a preposition at the end.
It can be done but it doesn't flow as well as the original.
No, we are simply different. Diversity is a Good Thing.
and you are the authority on uk ethics - bravo !
Just expressing a personal opnion in response to your question. I assumed it was genuine, not rhetorical.
Thanks its *seriously* decent of you to discuss such delicate matters which are assumed to be non-starter by the vast majority.
But as you said yourself - Diversity is a Good Thing ! There are a lot of climbers in the UK - who regardless of (because of ?!) uk ethics are all too happy to jump on a plane and go find what they want abroad. But maybe there will be future incentive to stay at home - and maybe it would be nice to have more options - and open zones and lines to greater numbers of less experienced folk.
I think the right initiative would be to allow such developments only on new undiscovered rock. Must be a lot to go at in Scotland ?! Whats already done would remain sealed in history - whether or not it returns to nature.
Bon courage ! - as the french say.
On the commercial side there would be more sales of twin/single ropes and trad racks - more topos too
That's a good point about giving incentives not to jet off to find your bolt climbing venues.
Been thinking about it quite a bit and came up with a sort of halfway measure : natural UK rock stays sacrosanct in terms of bolting so however neglected or wet and greasy a route is, if you can't cope with it stay away
But relax the rules on quarried rock. I suspect there are large quarries all over the country which are neglected and still have some bold unclimbed lines on them. or established routes which people shy away from. Use any safe methods to clean up the routes and where there is a line which will go with a couple of bolts, add them to the natural pro to establish it.
i suppose by extension you could add the odd bolt to already popular quarries to make some necky routes a bit more approachable for the masses but that wasn't what I meant, since we are supposed to be addressing the question of trad routes which have suffered from neglect.
Or simply bolt all quarries up to the hilt.
> Or simply bolt all quarries up to the hilt.
I think not.
Just testing the water ,
Llanynynech seems to have trad and sport co-existing, I see.
For god sake I came to this thread to get away from the covid-19 chat and you’ve started bolt wars.
Did you think it would be about a spot of light gardening?
Sorry, I didn’t quite notice who I was replying to. I have done GW, yes, more than once. And walked back down!
’Proves’ in the original quote already meant ‘tests’, as I’m sure you know. I don’t follow your point about ‘probes’.
When Joe Brown died I though it would be great to have a memorial day climbing on Clog in the late summer.
The Great Corner on Llech Dhu reminded me somewhat of the crux pitch of The Bat.
My suggestion would be The Ocean (E1 5b) on Lundy. It's lower pitches have been neglected for years, until recently when MoB cleaned them.
When i started cleaning Shark (E1 5a) in 2007, it got much more traffic and after finishing the cleaning of p1 in 2014, there are lots of comments saying how good it is. That's very gratifying.
So yes, lets recover those neglected gems for the next generation of climbers...
and as a result of your efforts, Shark looked so clean and well travelled when I was there in 2011 that I climbed it thinking it was Devil's Spine! So you're responsible for my first and last E1 lead...
Done properly, The Ocean is a tremendous adventure.
In the eighties I abbed down the top section of Tempest (E2 5c) armed with the toilet brush from Old House South to give it a scrub. I was only partly successful and the brush came off a lot worse than the green bristly stuff, even though it did make a small impression.
The subsequent teetery lead was, at that point, the hardest I'd ever done. The whole of the Fluted Face presents a special type of climbing, I think.
Well done! But i imagine you weren't impressed when you got to the hanging slab (i.e the crux) only to find that the clean rock had suddenly run out.... I ran out of time to clean that bit and had to dash back for the boat. It was seven years before i got around to finishing it.....
I did Magic Flute and Performance a year or two later. The cracks were incredibly dirty and the rock was slightly crumbly after i'd wire brushed it. I imagine it took a while for the wind and rain to clean them up.
> Where does one even start? Look at Cyrn Las for example Great Buttress, Trauma Groove (admittedly fairly lethal at the start, and perhaps not a good example) but done because the whole crag was so popular it was difficult to find somewhere to climb.
I have hardly ever got lost on a crag, not missed the line or made a wrong move. I mean totally lost. We were supposed to be on
but after 2 & 1/2 pitches we just admitted defeat and abbed off, and that was over 20 years ago. I was looking for signs of worn rock but there was none. Judging by the ascents in the UKC logbooks there has been little activity since and probably after the present lockdown probably now in its original unclimbed state. I wonder if this state of affairs is down to the selective guides today directing traffic onto a limited number of routes?
I've climbed GB in the last 20 years; not everyone logs their ascents. It was nice; a few pllants here and there but those grow on mountain crags, easy enough to follow. The crux was very traditional, good stuff. Another one that wouldn't benefit much, to my taste, from today's rigorous 'cleaning'.
> i imagine you weren't impressed when you got to the hanging slab (i.e the crux) only to find that the clean rock had suddenly run out
That actually wasn't too bad, there was adequate gear and the top was in sight! Might have been different if I'd know what route I was actually on...
I was put off this by your description but I guess with John Cox piping up I should find out myself. I don't know why but I expect to finish the day agreeing with you and wondering why I listened to John, despite me never have met either of you.
I could give you a fairly endless list for Scotland even in popular areas. I mainly seem to end up on routes that people dont bother with but am not overly concerned by a wee bit of moss etc. Andy Moles has a great ticklist on here of unticked (on UKC) three star E1-E5's https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/set.php?id=1166
Theres almost 300 routes on there. Around Fort William the number of 2 and 3 star routes that rarely see an ascent a decade is staggering though we have a very low number of climbers for the amount of climable rock. Binnean shuas is a great example of what you mean though where everyone goes to do Ardverikie Wall and the rest of the routes suffer.
You don't have to be in an isolated or difficult to access place for routes or even whole areas of once popular crags to become neglected , unused , unloved .
Millstone Edge has become a shadow of its former self , it was brought from its previous owner in the mid 50s and became open to the public as I understand it , so when I started climbing there in the late 70s, its popularity , coupled with the absence of easy bolted climbing and perhaps the inevitable generation of plants ( non could have grown previously prior to the faces being uncovered )meant that all the lines were clean and climbed , maybe acid rain or conversely less traffic also helped . It was a truly inspirational and exceptional place of stark impressive angles , open and minimalist and orange.
This is not todays Millstone , tree shrouded and scruffy . The general countenance isn't something that we as climbers can do much about , trees grow , sorry for all those who never have seen Keyhole caves from the old track .
However individual routes are a different matter .
Climbers growing inability to accept, understand and deal with friable rock has not helped the situation , and the general perception that a slight brittleness is something that devalues a route and is reason not to give it stars , or recommend it ( them ) and often the guide books have a negative stance on such things . I am not talking here about dangerous instability and loose blocks . It was something to understand and gain ability to move safely over this ground and enjoy it . Some would say master it , but that does not reflect the partnership that is involved between rock and router . If a current guide book writer doesn't have this sensibility then this will be reflected and so a cycle develops and the routes fall into disrepair . Ive done many route that have been denigrated in this way , just omitting stars will condemn climbs into obscurity .
A good example of less than perfect . is across the way at Lawrencefield where on the back wall a couple of years ago , most of the back wall routes had obviously had a good deal of traffic whilst Holy Grail was neglected and a tree had grown from one of the breaks several feet from the top ,above which it had reached , it is a fine route , but to some perhaps most ,marred by the friability of the rock . Next to it is JJ 2, which I also cleaned but it mustn't have attracted any suitors and is now fern full again ,although a minor route worthwhile when clean .
I like many, climbed most of the lower graded routes ,Diff Severe etc in Millstone in those years but walk through it now and the vast majority are festooned with heather and ferns ,whole bays are lost to vegetation and it would take a massive effort for some of these to be reclaimable , and it isn't confined to easier route Pinstone Street for example looks less than inviting at the moment and the slabby wall to the left of Key Hole caves containing all those good testing HVS / E1 s , Petticoat lane , and Brittle road to freedom etc where the climbing is absorbing, is likewise covered in plants .
It is a similar story at Stoney Middleton where many things are becoming or have become overgrown as the things in the nearby quarries have endless ascents . Ironically some of these have the very traits that I mentioned earlier , snappy edges . Some have far worse , with very dubious blocks en route and unstable areas of rubble above .
There are just so many climbs around that are clean , so many stars and glossy books pointing folk at certain things .then I think until the appreciation of a bit of dirt and the odd friable hold , which I cannot see occuring then these routes will stay unclimbed .
On a different note it will be interesting to see how the tickers or coffee books get when they encounter Extol in the recently published Hard Rock , Dave Birkett climbed it with his cousin and described Wills lead as impressive due to the dirty condition and as I understand poor nature of the rock in some parts . It may well clean up given time , so it is accessible to , what has become a more mainstream clientele , which I can understand .
While I sympathize with your concerns your evidence on stars and general guidebook emphasis of less travelled routes is plain nonsense: there have never been more starred routes at Millstone in the modern guides, nor more encouragement to climb away from classics nor better treatment of lower grade climbers. The problem is with climbers being more like sheep (herding and more risk averse) these days than with any issues in the excellent guidebooks. Elsewhere many 3 star mountain classics are growing gardens despite plaudits and destination artitcles, while places like Horseshoe are rammed.
I imagine that people who would like to see most of our moorland covered in trees would be happy enough to see a number of crags befall the same fate.
i second the nonsense comment.
Re the ferns, at this time of the year they can grow in only a few days!
Millstone, Lawrencefield & Stoney are all remarkably clean.
> Or with Churchill's classic riposte: "That is the sort of English up with which I will not put."
Here's another one, "Why did you choose that book to be read to out of for?"
> The RUNT project.... > Any suggestions?
Avon is sadly neglected these days (as someone intimated upthread). You don't see many people on Main Wall
they are clean but not nearly as in years past , ferns do grow in a few days however heather takes longer to establish and the appearance is the same throughout the year ,
There are many routes lost to ivy at Stoney Middleton and often the place is deserted apart from the bolt lines at Garage buttress , It is just a fact the passage of time
Trends in climbing in this region have changed with the emphasis on bolted routes ,( I played at least a small part in that I suppose , ), and possibly the demographic, time constraints and different motivations of many climbers these days.
Lawrencfield hasn't suffered quite so much in this regard I will grant that , but away from the main area it does look a little less pristine . .
As I tried to say in my initial post there were a few years when Millstone was very popular and regeneration hadn't kicked in at that point , when it was amazing . How much impact those ascents had in keeping it clean is unclear .
Guidebooks no doubt have more stars these days , but that has not always been the case in the interviening years .
I was not trying to knock guidebooks , and I agree that it is about trends , Bolt routes just were not available in past years and they have become prominent now .
Why do you think bolts are such an issue? They don't seem to be from what I see and the low proportion of bolted routes in the UK would make it unlikely. I'd say bouldering and better indoor facilities are a bigger factor. Trad numbers seem very similar now to when I started climbing seriously in the 80s... just distributed less widely and a bit more at convenient honeypots and often at lower grades these days.
I do think the improvement in air quality is a big factor on increased vegetation on grit.
...."same fate befall a number of crags". Idiot.
In winter,, yes please!!
'I'm much better than people understand. I'm a much better climber than they realise.' It's only with hindsight that Johnny's statement, despite being mildly tongue-in-cheek, was proven to be correct. Rarely has anyone moved on rock like the...