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Soloing

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 madman70 15 Jan 2020

Roaches Upper Tier I am considering soloing “the sloth” on the upper tier, I was hoping for some beta and advice on how to prepare as I’m comfortable with climbing 5a but then I can flash a soft 7a in a gym, but from my understanding it is very different between outdoor and indoor. Any advice would be appreciated.

48
In reply to madman70:

Make sure the area beneath is clear of innocent bystanders.  A really wet day or late at night should be OK. 

2
 fammer 15 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

If you have to ask it's probably a bad idea

 scott titt 15 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

Climb another 200 grit routes, then think about it again.

 enotsnad 15 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

Climb it on lead. Then half way through thank your lucky stars your on a rope. 

If you've climbed it a number or times, feel confident and conditions are good and still want to solo it then ask yourself the question why?

3
In reply to madman70:

Actually, if your profile is genuine and you really are 16, I'm sorry.  I need to be clear; I was joking.  It's a ridiculous idea.  Have you ever even led HVS?  Let's put it this way, if I was going up to the Roaches to solo an HVS, it wouldn't be the Sloth. 

Post edited at 12:06
In reply to madman70:

You could always do what I call alternative soloing. Place gear on lead up until the sling around the block at the back of the roof, find yourself in extremis on the lip cos you're weak and can't jam, and then go for it anyway on face holds and some how find yourself on top. Actually, scratch that.

5
 stevevans5 15 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

While bits of it are similar to a juggy roof climb you might find indoors, it's a whole different experience that you can't really prepare for climbing indoors. Trad grades also don't compare well with indoor sport grades, although the Rockfax  tables are pretty good!

I would really recommend climbing it with a rope and gear on lead or second (depending how much placing gear you have done, I really wouldn't recommend it as a learning to place gear route!)

 UKC Forums 15 Jan 2020
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In reply to madman70:

Get back under the bridge 

 Brown 15 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

Having attempted to onsight solo Flying Buttress Direct (E1 5b) which is in someway a similar proposition I have the following comments:

  • Get good at down climbing
  • Know your body
  • Know when to turn back

I set myself strict limits on how tired I was allowed to feel and down climbed as soon as that threshold was reached. This led, in retrospect, to me backing off near the top and reversing back through the entire roof. I do still have the onsight solo awaiting me as everybody agrees that a controlled retreat to a rest preserves the onsight.

I was also soloing a lot of gritstone routes at the time!

19
 barry donovan 15 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

Why ?

1
 Iamgregp 15 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

I'm thinking this might be a troll...

 MeMeMe 15 Jan 2020
In reply to Brown:

Fairly impressive reversing the roof, I don't think I could have, you'd have likely found it a lot easier to have pushed on for the top! 

To the OP:

What's your motivation?

Why not find a friend and lead it?

It's far from the ideal candidate for an onsight solo if you're not used to gritstone climbing.

 deacondeacon 15 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

Your profile points towards someone who isn't a troll so here goes:

You're comparing two different grades on your post. Don't take advice on soloing, and most importantly, don't solo The Sloth. 

pasbury 15 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

Trip trap trip trap went the bridge.

 HeMa 15 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

0/5 for trolling ...

weak sauce and not good at all.

crawl back under the bed or mommy's lap to grow.

3
 Brown 15 Jan 2020
In reply to MeMeMe:

I agree. I had however set myself limits. I was not going to go any higher than I was 100% confident in down climbing. I met that limit and backed off.

At the time I was soloing a lot of routes and that was the rule that made me happy. Generally I always stuck to it although there were a couple of routes where I pushed it a bit far.

 PaulJepson 15 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

It's regarded as E1 territory and HVS climbing. Just looking at someone climbing it from the belay on Right Route put the willies up me, and he was cruising it with a rope. 

If you would feel comfortable cutting loose on a horizontal roof, 20m off the deck then more power to you. However I would suggest you have MANY grades in hand to attempt it. Once committed, there is no way you're getting back to the cheese block. If you make it to the lip and fudge it, there's a good chance you're dead. 

 Sir Chasm 15 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

You'll be fine, just don't let go, 7a gives you plenty in hand.

38
 tehmarks 15 Jan 2020
In reply to Brown:

> I do still have the onsight solo awaiting me as everybody agrees that a controlled retreat to a rest preserves the onsight.

That's one long shakeout you must be having. Surely you can't still be pumped?

In reply to madman70:

When I was just a bit older and maybe only a little bit wiser than you, I attempted to solo The Sloth onsight. I pulled round the lip and found that the holds were covered in snow (it had started snowing without me noticing). I reversed safely to the ground. So best pick a day without snow showers. Probably avoid rain too. And have a bit in reserve in case of retreat.

Post edited at 13:07
 Brown 15 Jan 2020
In reply to tehmarks:

It was in 2009.............................

In reply to Brown:

> Having attempted to onsight solo Flying Buttress Direct (E1 5b)............ backing off near the top and reversing back through the entire roof. 

How tall are you? I too retreated from high on the route from an onsight solo attempt. I only just managed to get purchase with my feet back on the slab by swinging and I am 6'4". I felt it might have been more or less im possible for the short!

 Brown 15 Jan 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

6ft. I worked out a reversible method first and I did the retreat onto the slab a couple of times first before heading further up. I had many grades in hand at the time and had a static'ish method if I recall.

This was for me what made trying to onsight it acceptable.

 WaterMonkey 15 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

Go and lead Pedestal route (just to the left but uses the same start) and then come back and tell us if you fancy soloing the Sloth.

 Mike505 15 Jan 2020
In reply to Sir Chasm:

7a indoor vs HVS fist jamming and hauling on friable grit flakes...

Post edited at 15:27
 Mike505 15 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

I'll be honest it's not one I'd consider soloing. It's a great route, but the flakes you haul on through the roof flex a little from memory and may come off one day, then through the roof it gets a little more 'traditional' fist and hand jams from memory. What's your reason for wanting to solo it anyway?  

 n-stacey 15 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

Please let me know when you plan to solo it, I'll gladly shout up advice!!!

1
 Philb1950 15 Jan 2020
In reply to PaulJepson:

It actually used to be graded HS back in the day, but stiff at that grade! The climbing is relatively easy for the grade. We sometimes used to downclimb it, but the flakes are a bit creaky so that,s probably the main risk. You should absolutely know if you can solo it before you set off.

 Rob Parsons 15 Jan 2020
In reply to Philb1950:

> It actually used to be graded HS back in the day ...

The Sloth? I find that difficult to believe. In which guidebook?

 aln 15 Jan 2020
In reply to Philb1950:

> You should absolutely know if you can solo it before you set off.

That's not possible. 

 Philb1950 15 Jan 2020
In reply to aln:

That is possible if you have enough grades in hand. Most solo climbers of harder routes absolutely know what they can or cannot do. No one I know has a death wish.

1
 Al Randall 15 Jan 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

I think reversing Sloth, after the roof, is far more impressive than actually getting up it. It's not something I would relish. I seem to recall pulling out of the roof back to the vertical was the crux but this was in the late 60's so memory may be failing me. If memory does serve you are going from sharp jugs, albeit that you are hanging upside down to having to pull round on awkward hand jams.

To the OP:  You are far, far too inexperienced to consider this, it's not a sensible idea. I don't care how many indoor 7a's you can get up, this is simply not the same in any shape, size or form.

Al

 Philb1950 15 Jan 2020
In reply to Rob Parsons:

I’ve wracked my fading memory and I think you’re correct. Sorry about that, but it was a long time ago. It was graded VS in the Roaches guide circa 1968/9. I think the argument was wether it was HS or VS and VS won out in the end. 

1
 aln 15 Jan 2020
In reply to Philb1950:

No it isn't. I have solo climbed lots of routes, up to whatever my current lead grade was. You can know if you can climb the route, but you can never know if you can solo without injury or death. So many other factors to consider. Holds snapping, rockfall, being more tired than you expected, etc.

1
 Philb1950 15 Jan 2020
In reply to aln:

If you’ve soloed up to your lead grade, you might be lucky to be alive. I never really considered objective danger, but took extra care. Jimmy Jewel and Paul Williams we’re caught out by that. I hasten to add all this was a long time ago and some of the routes we soloed at Stoney was pure stupidity, but we got away with it.

1
 aln 15 Jan 2020
In reply to Philb1950:

> If you’ve soloed up to your lead grade, you might be lucky to be alive. I never really considered objective danger, but took extra care. Jimmy Jewel and Paul Williams we’re caught out by that. I hasten to add all this was a long time ago and some of the routes we soloed at Stoney was pure stupidity, but we got away with it.

Well exactly. 

 Simon Caldwell 15 Jan 2020
In reply to Philb1950:

I'm pretty sure there was a Don Whillans quote in one of the old guidebooks in which he said it was HS

 Philb1950 15 Jan 2020
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

Well he made the first ascent, so there you go.

 gravy 15 Jan 2020

Up to the Cheese block no problem then the roof, especially with no beta, ohh scary, hands left? hands right? jam? where do my feet go, ohhh its a long way down, I can't reverse, even a bit...

Can you operate confidently with that drop? -splat!

Assuming you do make it to the lip and you know where you're going and you're not blindly slapping for something good while your arms drain and your feet aren't finding anything that will hold you and the creaking flakes and the missing crumbly bits don't freak you out to might make the lip.

And  then...

The worst bit, the horrible thrutchy balancey squirm into the big crack with your feet under where you can't see and the bulge pushing you out and that horribly insecure part chicken wing in the great man-eating crack (that you can't seem to get into) as your other hand flails around trying to find an actual hold but all there is is rough roundness -  sure you've got friction galore but it's useless unless you can press and if you press you know you will surely, slowly, fall backwards out of the crack...

I actually think I might have nightmares about this tonight.

What a brilliant route and what a terrifying prospect.

In reply to Philb1950:

> That is possible if you have enough grades in hand. Most solo climbers of harder routes absolutely know what they can or cannot do. No one I know has a death wish.

I would respectfully disagree about absolutely knowing what you can and can't do. There are two obvious variables - the state of the route and how you're feeling/operating on the day. Re the former, Robert's account of getting round the lip on the Sloth and finding the holds covered in snow, is a perfect example.

Re the latter, Jim Perrin wrote a great essay once about soloing in Bus Stop quarry, just down the road from where he then lived. He'd soloed stuff like Massambula, Scarlet Runner (on which a hold later snapped on me; luckily I was seconding), 1000 tons of Chickenshit. And then, a day or two later, he backed off Gnat Attack. Maybe he was tired. Maybe his mind was distracted and he wasn't in the mood. Maybe, as he wrote, he simply didn't fancy a particular move.

Which brings us to the third, crucial variable. With soloing, as long as you've got grades in hand (and here I totally agree with you - get grades in hand!), relative security of moves probably matters as much, if not more than grade (e.g. sharp 6a crimps, versus greasy 5b slopers).

If you solo as a way of life, you know full well that somewhere in the chamber is a bullet with your name on it. The trick is dodging that bullet.

Mick

2
 DaveHK 16 Jan 2020
In reply to Mick Ward:

> relative security of moves probably matters as much, if not more than grade (e.g. sharp 6a crimps, versus greasy 5b slopers).

To illustrate that I found soloing the slopy 4a/b traverse on Sword of Gideon far more worrying than the 5b moves on the direct start. Although there's also a bit height difference too!

 Lankyman 16 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

I backed off part way through the roof, tucked my tail well and truly between my legs and haven't been back since. This was decades ago. It's that kind of route with a presence and an atmosphere out of all proportion to it's height. People stop and stare whenever someone's on it. One time I watched a guy go for it with his only runner a floppy sling on the cheeseblock. He really struggled on the lip and I thought he was done for, possibly in a very public and horrible way. Thankfully he just about managed to get back to the merely vertical and throw some more gear in.

 Philb1950 16 Jan 2020
In reply to Mick Ward:

Well, usually you know how you feel physically and modify your aspirations accordingly. That’s not to say that something might happen “en route”, as Al Rouse found out whilst soloing Kirkus,s corner and dislocating his shoulder which led to a hairy human pyramid rescue and surgery.

I think eyes might tell me the state of the route, but an unplanned retreat from round the lip of Sloth would be scary

 Brown 16 Jan 2020
In reply to Mick Ward:

I've always added an extra component or grade into my analysis.

I call it the popoffability factor.

It is my impression of the random failure chance. It's very different to the difficulty and could be thought of as an answer to the question of, if I climbed this move a hundred times, how many times would I fall off.

This can be seen at work with Alex Honnold on Freerider. He chose to solo the technically harder boulder problem pitch over the teflon corner as despite being easier the corner is notoriously popoffable.

 Simon Caldwell 16 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

Best troll for some time. Too often people spoil would would otherwise be a successful one by replying to their own thread, but you've managed to avoid the temptation and remained silent throughout. Well done!

Deadeye 16 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

DFTT

In reply to Mick Ward:

> He'd soloed stuff like Massambula, Scarlet Runner (on which a hold later snapped on me; luckily I was seconding), 1000 tons of Chickenshit. And then, a day or two later, he backed off Gnat Attack. Maybe he was tired. Maybe his mind was distracted and he wasn't in the mood. Maybe, as he wrote, he simply didn't fancy a particular move.

I remember finding one move on Gnat Attack harder than anything on Massambula (and that's iffy enough - I'd never have soloed it) 

In reply to Simon Caldwell:

> Best troll for some time.

I think creating a credible profile as a 16 year-old is cheating.  That's why I cracked and gave some sensible advice.  Maybe I was trolled but at least I don't have naive teenager on my conscience.

In reply to Al Randall:

The only person I've ever seen climbing down The Sloth is Simon Nadin. I was taking pictures of him on his route Loculus Lie for my Peak book (he did it several times so that I could get different angles, shots) and used the Sloth as his 'descent route'. Made it look about as easy as coming down stairs.

 Brown 16 Jan 2020
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

Or is it a good Troll. It is too reasonable to be a good troll. 

If you feel you are comfortable climbing 5a and generally flash french 7a then onsight soloing HVS is a reasonable thing to aspire to.

I climbed at that level for many years and during that time onsight soloed 209 HVSs. Whilst the majority of these were short gritstone routes there were a number of bigger more serous routes such as solo trips to Llawder, Crummackdale, Craig Bwlch y Moch, Carreg-y-Barcud, and Ravensdale.

The number I backed off off is multiples of that.

I have never hurt myself soloing. Bouldering however. That is dangerous. I had to stop climbing for several years after breaking my knee bouldering.

1
 MischaHY 16 Jan 2020
In reply to Mick Ward:

> If you solo as a way of life, you know full well that somewhere in the chamber is a bullet with your name on it. The trick is dodging that bullet.

Very much agree. When I was soloing a lot, some days, some moments, just felt 'right' - and that was when I went. 

I had days where I onsight soloed E5, and then afterwards backed off a VS. 

Softly, softly. I'm not a suspicious man, but those moments of decision seem to carry more weight than others. Instinct is a funny thing. 

7
 Timmd 16 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

When I look back on being 16, and in my early 20's come to that, my perception of risk was rather different to my late 30's. 

Do lots and lots of climbing on grit, of cracks, and hand jamming, and overhanging hand jamming, and then ponder it.

It ultimately seems to have turned out that emotional risks in one's personal life and leaving the comfort zone in that sense, is more rewarding than physical risks, along the lines of vulnerability and what have you.

My 16 year old self 'had no brain' when it came to physical risk.

Post edited at 13:10
 Timmd 16 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

Possibly google about the changes in the brain leading up to the age of 25 to do with risk perception...

In reply to Timmd:

> Do lots and lots of climbing on grit, of cracks, and hand jamming, and overhanging hand jamming, and then ponder it.

When I've soloed things that were serious, or anywhere near my leading grade, it was always when I'd been climbing a lot and in the relevant style.  It seemed like a natural thing to do and I had no doubt as to the outcome.

The idea of just rocking up at a crag I didn't know, on rock I hadn't climbed on, involving a technique I'd barely ever done and soloing the steepest, scariest looking route on the highest part of the crag... wouldn't have struck me as very sensible.

 Timmd 16 Jan 2020
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Batshit crazy - in a friendly way - could be my term for it, but we mean the same thing. 

Post edited at 13:39
 Iain Thow 16 Jan 2020
In reply to Brown:

Re. Bouldering v Soloing injuries I've had the same experience (albeit at lower grades). I used to often  solo at or close to my leading grade (VS/HVS in those days) but only ever hurt myself once (the classic thing of "indestructible" 20-something being blase about an easy route I'd done loads of times) but nearly all my outdoor injuries have happened bouldering (several sprained ankles, a torn knee cartilage, broken hand, broken finger, sprained wrist and several ligament injuries). Isn't there a Whillans quote about the dangerous bit of climbing being near the ground?

 Iain Thow 16 Jan 2020
In reply to Mick Ward:

It's the absolute golden rule of soloing isn't it - always be prepared to back off if something doesn't feel right. Listen to your body, pick your routes and pay close attention to what condition both you and the route are in that day. I've soloed E2s if they were nice short slabby ones on a good day but have also backed off Moderates.

 Rob Parsons 16 Jan 2020
In reply to Lankyman:

> [On 'The Sloth']: One time I watched a guy go for it with his only runner a floppy sling on the cheeseblock. He really struggled on the lip and I thought he was done for, possibly in a very public and horrible way. Thankfully he just about managed to get back to the merely vertical and throw some more gear in.

I had the same experience many years ago - except, in my case, the person involved did finally fall off after a hell of a lot of thrashing around and shouting out.

It was a hideous fall to witness: he smashed into the slab below.

 Jon Read 16 Jan 2020
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Didn't Justin Critchlow solo the Soth, and immediately afterwards someone led it and the main bit of the flake our young hero had been swinging on under the roof, broke?

To the OP: You will die. Please don't.

In reply to Jon Read:

> Didn't Justin Critchlow solo the Soth, and immediately afterwards someone led it and the main bit of the flake our young hero had been swinging on under the roof, broke?

Yes, I think so.  But none of the normal laws of nature apply to Justin.

 Timmd 16 Jan 2020
In reply to Dave Garnett: I can remember being a teenager and talking to my Dad (who was/is a climber) about soloing, talking admiringly about people in magazines, and a few years later talking about needing/liking 'that moment' in a solo where you need to balance and trust to the friction of the rock (gritstone), and now appreciate why he seemed nervous at the idea of his youngest son doing that while out and about.

Post edited at 16:01
 Alex@home 16 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

Do it. Think we're a bit short of Darwin award nominees this year

6
 Tom V 16 Jan 2020
In reply to Timmd:

That moment.

"The meeting of two eternities, the past and the future."

Thoreau, "Walden".

 JimR 16 Jan 2020
In reply to Tom V:

When I was young and stupid I did a bit of soloing. My solo career ended when a hold broke and I went flying through the air crashed through a tree and ended up unconcious in a gorse bush. I woke up a bit later and staggered off to the pub and that was the end of my career as a soloist!

In reply to JimR:

> When I was young and stupid I did a bit of soloing. My solo career ended when a hold broke and I went flying through the air crashed through a tree and ended up unconcious in a gorse bush. I woke up a bit later and staggered off to the pub and that was the end of my career as a soloist!

Was it a good pint?

In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> The only person I've ever seen climbing down The Sloth is Simon Nadin.

I was once there, must have been early 80s (stuck on Humdinger trying to sort out the reach). Some guy came along, soloed up Ruby Tuesday, down Sloth, asked if he could solo past me on Humdinger (thought I'd see how to do the reach move whilst "hiding" in the niche), then soloed down Saul's Crack. Might have been Phil Burke but I'm not sure.

At least it showed me exactly how to place my feet to do the move on Humdinger 😁

 springfall2008 17 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

> Roaches Upper Tier I am considering soloing “the sloth” on the upper tier, I was hoping for some beta and advice on how to prepare as I’m comfortable with climbing 5a but then I can flash a soft 7a in a gym, but from my understanding it is very different between outdoor and indoor. Any advice would be appreciated.


HVS 5a is around F5c->F6a in technical terms, but it's 24 metres long and voted as closer to 5b technical so it could be more like soloing a long F6a+/F6b. If that sounds fine then go for it!

24
In reply to springfall2008:

Have you bothered to read this thread?  Lacking relevant experience, equating sport grades with trad is a recipe for disaster. And, again lacking relevant experience, basing soloing decisions purely on numerical grades - especially sport ones - is an invitation to an early death.

Mick

 springfall2008 17 Jan 2020
In reply to Mick Ward:

> Have you bothered to read this thread?  Lacking relevant experience, equating sport grades with trad is a recipe for disaster. And, again lacking relevant experience, basing soloing decisions purely on numerical grades - especially sport ones - is an invitation to an early death.

Totally agree!

 Adam Long 17 Jan 2020
In reply to Jon Read:

Beat me to it! Didn't he also do it with a paper bag on his head? Keen to get keen!

 Jon Read 17 Jan 2020
In reply to Adam Long:

Deffo

 Seymore Butt 17 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

Go see the latest Brit Rock Tour and watch Jesse Dufton lead it while being totally blind. Might get some ideas of what to expect. Then watch how Neil Gresham goes on whilst being blindfolded and on a top rope.

In reply to Mick Ward:

Hi Mick, I remember going back as a relatively new climber to routes like Hairless Heart, Sex Dwarves, Sniveling and thinking they had been fine to second, surely they’ll be ok to solo. Those three were all responsible for harrowing experiences where time stood still, holds and smears reduced in size to nothing, and the coefficient of friction was decreasing as every minute passed. Unfortunately those experiences are just words unless you are actually stood out on an ocean of blank grit, so it’s difficult to get across to someone posting for advice. So many times over the years repeating the mantra ‘I’m on top rope, I’m on top rope’!

In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

Hi Paul,

Oddly enough, I never used the rop rope mantra (perhaps I should have) but you've beautifully summed up the 'it all goes to shit' experience where grades (and pretty much everything else!) go right out the window and you're confronting your imminent demise. Sex Dwarves seemed all right on the day (but it might not have been all right on another day). Have never done Sniveling. Hairless Heart seemed another kettle of fish altogether. If you're short of latching the first crimp on the top slab, it's a step up on pure friction and faith. I remember making the move several times, with Paul Mitchell, working the then unclimbed E6/7 to the left. Paul was having a bad night when it came to lead the latter. I was tempted to mutter the immortal line, "Do you mind if..." but thought it would not be well received.

Remember lurching for the break on Pebble Mill, sans corde. Another long reach for a shorty and one you really wouldn't want to fluff. But still seemed no way as dire as fluffing Hairless Heart.

Respect!

Mick

1
 Sean Kelly 17 Jan 2020
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> I remember finding one move on Gnat Attack harder than anything on Massambula (and that's iffy enough - I'd never have soloed it) 


The problem with Massambula is not the top as you have a couple of bolts a few feet lower, but the start is pretty iffy and no real gear until that first bolt, a long way up. Gnat attack is really just one move but it must be polished as hell by now. I've soloed more on snow & ice and run it out on a few 5's, but as Mick says it really is a form of climbing Russian roulette.

Incidently, I seem to recall that Tony Ryan actually soloed Sloth in reverse in the early 80's!

Post edited at 21:22
 McHeath 17 Jan 2020
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

>you've managed to avoid the temptation and remained silent throughout. 

Or he's already tried it? 

 Timmd 19 Jan 2020
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

> Was it a good pint?

One hopes so, it not being a good pint after all that would be a waste of a decent accident.

Be careful out there peeps, and make the most of still being alive.

Post edited at 18:44
 mark s 19 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

I've led it a fair few times and soloed it once.

My advice is just lead it, it's not worth trusting those flakes. 

I don't know why I did it, nothing gained from it. 

 madman70 20 Jan 2020
In reply to Iamgregp:

unfortunately not i am genuinely considering is but i probably will try and lead it first then if im comfortable then i will solo it.

 madman70 20 Jan 2020
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

when its in season i'll go and prove not only to myself but to you i can do it.

19
 deacondeacon 20 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

In season? 

 madman70 20 Jan 2020
In reply to dinodinosaur:

ill practise getting over that roof first.

In reply to madman70:

> when its in season i'll go and prove not only to myself but to you i can do it.

That looks like a really bad reason to solo something 

 McHeath 21 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

Have you ever climbed any roofs/overhangs before? Your profile suggests that you're more of a slab specialist... 

 Timmd 21 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

> when its in season i'll go and prove not only to myself but to you i can do it.

The climb I learned the most lessons on (I've not done many to be fair), was on a climb I did to save face in my teens. It was on Knight's Move on Burbage, a fellow college student said 'I thought you were supposed to be shit hot', never something I'd claimed, but I felt piqued into climbing something interesting looking, and started off up it, and realised I didn't have faith in my belayer, but I was climbing now, and retreat would feel like a defeat and a loss of face. I placed my first runner which was a wire I didn't extend, and carried on past the crux, to be told my runner had fallen out, so I laughed from a sense of fear and placed a Friend, and continued on a bit further and placed another wire, and got to the top and waved goodbye to my belayer who was going back with the college class (I'd dropped off the course because of personal reasons), and set about abseiling down to retrieve my gear.

In hindsight, I shouldn't have used a belayer I wasn't comfortable with, I should have extended my wire so it wouldn't have wiggled free so easily, and I shoud have placed a back up runner for my abseil as I went back down to retrieve my gear.  If I'd fallen off onto my gear which had wiggled out, or had some mishap in some other way, I'd only have been there in the first place because I felt piqued into saving face. It was fun to climb a route I'd not looked in the guide book about first, quite an adventure, but one should never climb anything to save face or to prove something to others.  It's got to be for yourself that you climb anything, you're probably more likely to be a positive place mentally and more able to make the right/best decisions too. 

Should something bad happen when you're out to prove something, that motivation could follow you around for ever as a regret, more so than for doing something out of pure enjoyment potentially...

Post edited at 02:23
 Michael Gordon 21 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

> when its in season i'll go and prove not only to myself but to you i can do it.

No-one gives a damn if you do it or not; they just don't want to hear about someone crocking themselves. But definitely leading it first is a good idea. 

 deacondeacon 21 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

No one cares if you solo it, most people posting on this thread will have soloed HVS. You'll just ruin loads of people's day if you fall off. It's a right pain in the arse helping mountain rescue carry the stretcher back to the road and it takes bloody ages. 

2
 Rob Parsons 21 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

> unfortunately not i am genuinely considering is but i probably will try and lead it first then if im comfortable then i will solo it.

Back to your original question: "I was hoping for some beta and advice on how to prepare as I’m comfortable with climbing 5a but then I can flash a soft 7a in a gym"

The hardest bit on The Sloth is where you're getting out from under the roof, and securely back into the vertical. What you (probably?) won't have experienced in a gym is the somewhat insecure jamming involved - so that's what I suggest you practice.

But, anyway, leading the route first will be a good way to find out what you're up against.

As already mentioned, the flakes under the roof are somewhat friable: there's always a risk that they could break when you're pulling on them.

Whatever you do, take it easy, and enjoy it.

In reply to madman70:

> Roaches Upper Tier I am considering soloing “the sloth” on the upper tier, I was hoping for some beta and advice on how to prepare as I’m comfortable with climbing 5a but then I can flash a soft 7a in a gym, but from my understanding it is very different between outdoor and indoor. Any advice would be appreciated.

I'm reading this thread as a bit of a troll.

I've seconded the Sloth, and I've seen someone solo the Sloth years ago.   

I couldn't watch .

Ask yourself these questions 

What would you gain ?

What could you loose ?

The nature of the route means almost certain death if you take a fall from the roof and other climbers don't want to be traumatised by seeing you go splat.

If your really serious just lead the route and have fun doing.

TWS

Post edited at 08:29
 mark s 21 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

I was there yesterday. It was dry 

You are either on the wind up or  will not solo it.

You will see the genuine solo climbers don't do it for recognition , they do it for personal reasons.

From reading your comments If I was a climbing partner of yours I would stop you doing it.

I've climbed with the best climbers and seen some amazing things done. They are all very capable and know what they are doing. Experience keeps you alive and fit to climb another day.

Forget your fantasy and just enjoy climbing 

Post edited at 09:38
 HB1 21 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

I climbed The Sloth once. IIRC I got something in above the Cheeseblock, whipped upto to the overhanging bit, got established on that, but realised that all my cams were on my right side, and so I couldn't reach them, as my body was held pretty tightly in and around the flakes. So no gear until over the lip and onto the finishing bit. It was a bit scary. I've not done it since. I don't like to see others do it. I won't do it again

In reply to HB1:

Bombproof obvious hex 9 or 10 right near the lip just before you do the jam or reach to get the jugs that take you back to vertical. Or an appropriate cam

I would want that gear on my right side. Presumably you were hugging the flakes too much 😁

The friableness (or should that be friability) of the flakes is IMO the main reason why soloing The Sloth is rather high on the climbing risk scale. The flakes look nothing like they did 40 years ago and they were already well broken in the late 70s.

The account of the first ascent indicates that the flakes stuck out enough that Don Whillans could effectively lay down on/inside them.

 HB1 21 Jan 2020
In reply to Michael Hood:

Thanks for the advice, but I don't have plans to repeat! I did it in July 1996, and strangely it seems to have been the only climb I did that evening. TBH I think I was showing off at the time, and wasn't particulary worried about the lack  of gear.   Anyway, as Whillans said "its easy if you use your loaf"

 jkarran 21 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

> when its in season i'll go and prove not only to myself but to you i can do it.

Soloing on rotten flakes is dumb, you might as well play Chicken in traffic.

I'd be way more impressed to see you exercise good judgement in the routes you choose to test your mettle.

jk

In reply to madman70:

I see Third Degree Burn (E2 5b) is another Roaches climb on your wish list. That would be a hell of a lot safer to solo than The Sloth, despite having a significantly higher grade. I watched someone onsight solo The Sloth last summer, and they hung off a hand jam around the lip while they paused for photos and waved at  the crowd. That's how much you could do with in reserve.

 Martin Hore 21 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

Despite all the good advice on this thread your later posts suggest you're still contemplating this. Please don't do it. At least not until you've done loads of leads at E1 and E2, and are completely comfortable leading UK 5c. Indoor 7a is irrelevant. And (sorry if it sounds patronising) you are at least 4 years older than 16, and still certain you want to do it, for your own satisfaction, not to impress anyone else. 

And then, my advice would be still don't do it!

Martin

 jamesg85 21 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

when I was climbing at my best I could climb some 6cs in the gym but the most I'd solo would be about severe and even that was pretty unadviseable. I climbed quite a few HVS routes on lead but remember looking at the Sloth and thinking that was intimidating. 

Basically I think I was around the same sort of ability as you but it would have been completely crazy of me to solo The Sloth. I think the only people you'd see solo The Sloth would be solid around E5 plus leaders with plenty of experience. 

I think it's easy to look at trad climbs and think ah that's probably a piece of piss compared to these crimpy indoor climbs at around 6c but it's a whole different kettle of fish really. Basically, I think it would be a terrible idea and don't want to see an article about someone getting badly hurt at the Roaches which is a very strong probability if you were to attempt it.

Take your time to go steadily through the grades on lead and forget about soloing for the time being. Get solid at each grade and progress that way. Just enjoy your climbing in a safe manner. All the best.

Post edited at 16:48
 Wanderlust 21 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

Getting on the lead is a good idea (assuming you know how to place gear). This will make you realise that your indoor grade is irrelevant.

If you can't jam, you can't jam (and there are plenty of 8a climbers who can't).

1
In reply to Wanderlust:

> If you can't jam, you can't jam (and there are plenty of 8a climbers who can't).

People go on about jamming on The Sloth, but it's got jugs all the way through and over the lip. I just followed the jugs expecting there to be some jamming/grovelling to turn the lip, but before I could say "that's a good jug" I was stood up back in balance.

 Raskye 21 Jan 2020
In reply to mark s:

> I don't know why I did it, nothing gained from it.

In retrospect you’re absolutely correct. At the time, it probably meant everything in establishing who you were to yourself. It did to me on other routes. 

 Wanderlust 21 Jan 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Fair enough. I was expecting jugs all the way (from what I'd heard) and found it an absolute grovel! Perhaps I was just boxed/had tunnel vision.

 Michael Gordon 21 Jan 2020
In reply to Wanderlust:

Jon does climb E4...

 Wanderlust 21 Jan 2020
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Ah yes, that'll help! Hoping to experience it as a juggy romp myself one day

 Brown 21 Jan 2020
In reply to Wanderlust:

If the OP gets on it on a rope he will never be able to go for the onsight solo.

Worth considering

3
 Fellover 21 Jan 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Yeah, tbh the most confusing thing about this whole thread is the number of people who seem to think the sloth has obligatory jamming.

 deacondeacon 21 Jan 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Yep. I love a good jam but didn't use any. Just lovely jugs all the way. 

In reply to Michael Gordon:

> Jon does climb E4...

Not often, and not when I did sloth the first time (although I did wait til I'd done a couple of e2s!). 

 GrahamD 21 Jan 2020
In reply to Fellover:

For me it did.

> Yeah, tbh the most confusing thing about this whole thread is the number of people who seem to think the sloth has obligatory jamming.

In reply to Fellover:

> Yeah, tbh the most confusing thing about this whole thread is the number of people who seem to think the sloth has obligatory jamming.

The Sloth (IMO) has two cruxes. First one is psychological, actually getting yourself established on the roof when you're next to the cheeseblock. Second is physical, getting past the lip back into vertical in the wide crack.

That move round the lip can be done in two ways, either get a right hand jam in (best jam is slightly lower than you might expect) and then reach up. Or move very slightly left on the "handrail" and make a long reach up straight to the next big holds.

Second method (IMO) requires slightly more strength but with the propensity for more climbers nowadays to be wall trained, this way is available to more people.

Back in the day, we were generally less strong (for climbing) and more likely to have gritstone jamming experience when attempting a climb like this, so the jamming method was more popular.

This all comes with two caveats. Firstly it's not really a cruxy route, the two cruxes I mention are just slightly harder than the rest. Secondly it's many years since I've done this route and further crumbling of the flakes may have made going across the roof as hard (or harder) than my two cruxes.

Finally, don't forget to enjoy the semi-sitdown once you get into the wide vertical crack that allows you to see the ground between your feet. Nicely exposed but secure rest 😁

1
In reply to Brown:

> If the OP gets on it on a rope he will never be able to go for the onsight solo.

> Worth considering


Err... to quote the OP: 'Any advice would be appreciated.'  With over 100 replies, don't you think the onsight solo might have gone out the window a long time ago?

If the OP gets on it on a rope, he's got far more chance of staying alive (and hopefully coming to his senses).

Worth considering?

Mick

1
 Lankyman 22 Jan 2020
In reply to Mick Ward:

Many of the responders on this thread are old enough to have the gift of HINDSIGHT which, of course is a great survival aid. I can recall many of the stupid things I did caving and climbing in my teens and twenties which I survived, probably through sheer luck. Setting off up a snow gully on Fairfield in bendy walking boots with no axe (age about 14/15) still makes me sweat. As it steepened, I managed to scrabble around and find a stone to hack a few footholds and escape to safety. As luck would have it I lived and didn't become one of those unfortunate accident statistics that I read about over the following decades. One that always saddens me is the death of an 18-year-old would-be cave diver who died just a few metres into an unexplored pool in Barbondale in the 1980s from inexperience and ignorance. I could well imagine the excitement and anticipation he would have felt as he set off from the surface, literally into the unknown. What a great adventure! Just minutes later he would have realised his awful predicament, unable to find his way out and rapidly running out of air and options. Who knows, if he'd had the internet then and posted about his intentions? Almost certainly, wiser heads would have popped up and advised a lot more caution (and a hell of a lot more experience). Then he might have lived to look back and reflect

To the OP - you have the benefit of the UKC collective hindsight - use it or ignore it at your peril. At least you've got the option unlike many who aren't around to change their choices.

 gravy 22 Jan 2020

Now then:

Some trolling rules have been broken (returning to the scene of the crime) but this could be misdirection...

OP: troll or serious post?

 mark s 22 Jan 2020
In reply to gravy:

£50 on it being a wind up. 

 Brown 22 Jan 2020
In reply to Mick Ward:

I personally don't think that there has been anything in this thread that would invalidate an onsight of this route.

You would get as much information from the guide book. Possibly some comments about hex sizes or a large cam and talk of there being a juggy sequence or a grovelly sequence. If the OP were to head out and miraculously sketch his way to the top I'd be happy to credit him with the onsight.

 If anything, with 100 vague and contradictory replies I'd have though he is almost on for the ultimate form of accent. The beta sandbag flash.

1
 Fellover 22 Jan 2020
In reply to GrahamD:

> For me it did.

Fair enough. I guess what I'm saying is that imho it goes at HVS with no jams and that using jams didn't seem to me like it would make it easier!

 Fellover 22 Jan 2020
In reply to Michael Hood:

> The Sloth (IMO) has two cruxes. First one is psychological, actually getting yourself established on the roof when you're next to the cheeseblock. Second is physical, getting past the lip back into vertical in the wide crack.

Wouldn't disagree with the psychological but last time I did the sloth I was with a friend who doesn't climb much, so as I was doing it I was trying to work out the easiest beta for them - I felt like there was a move through the roof on flakes that was harder than the lip turn. That's where they fell off. Managed all the rest first go (tbf they may have had a tight rope around the lip). As you say though it's not really a cruxy route atall.

> That move round the lip can be done in two ways, either get a right hand jam in (best jam is slightly lower than you might expect) and then reach up. Or move very slightly left on the "handrail" and make a long reach up straight to the next big holds.

I'll give the jamming method a proper go if I ever get back on it

 Iamgregp 22 Jan 2020
In reply to gravy:

I’m still thinking it’s a troll...

 GrahamD 22 Jan 2020
In reply to Iamgregp:

Almost certainly 

 jamesg85 23 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70

You said it right when you said it is very different between outdoor and indoor. Indoors all the holds are the same colour, it's a whole different kettle of fish outdoors when you add in route reading etc. You'll become a better climber by going through the grades gradually, learning rope techniques and gear placement, route reading and technique etc.

I remember I could climb about 6c/+ at best when indoors but outdoors my best was about 6a. I found even V1 boulder problems difficult. Those first trips outdoors to the Peak were very humbling!

Post edited at 02:10
 UKB Shark 23 Jan 2020
In reply to madman70:

I’ve soloed in excess of 100 HVS’s on grit over a period of 35 years and often thought about the Sloth (and Flying Buttress Direct) as it would be a cool, wild and exciting thing to do.

What puts me off is that you are always on the stop watch on overhangs so cant climb at your own pace as it were as it’s too pumpy. I can imagine getting over-excited, freezing up or panicking and then not having the option of shaking out and calming down and reversing down or off as you typically can on less steep HVS’s. 

Also I sometimes looked back at the close to the limit solos I did when impetuous, brave and young and am annoyed at the risks that my younger self took on behalf of my current self, not to mention unborn offspring.

Its obviously your choice and everyone has their own perspective but you did ask for advice and whilst I’m not going to lecture as a seasoned HVS soloist who climbs harder than you I haven’t done it - though I have been tempted. 

If you do go for it then it will be the ride of your life - one way or the other...  ;-)

Check out this article I wrote on risk https://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/features/a_few_thoughts_about_risk-1237 

 Al Randall 23 Jan 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

I have also soloed lots of routes on grit but tended to pick those I was familiar with or those where I felt I could escape from if the worst came to the worst.  Indeed I put up an E3 solo in the South West on the basis of the latter.  As it turned out it was more inescapable than I had at first thought but being a slab I felt in control.  I wouldn't feel fully in control on a roof. Even so things do go wrong.  I once set off to solo Right Hand Unconquerable having done it many times before but many years previously.  Unfortunately I had forgotten the knack of getting onto the top and could not complete the moves.  I had to shout down to my son to run round with a rope to rescue me.  He proceeded to make a huge song and dance about it in order to embarrass me. I think everyone on Stanage gathered to watch the drama

Al

 JLS 23 Jan 2020
In reply to Al Randall:

>"Unfortunately I had forgotten the knack of getting onto the top."

I'm half reminded of the story of someone reaching the top of some similar climb and asking a bystander to, "stand on my hands".

Sounds like something Al Evans might have recanted.

Anyone remember the details of that story?

Post edited at 11:21
 UKB Shark 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

There is a story about Dougie Hall being so pumped at the end of a route he was soloing that he rested his chin on the top so he could shake out to recover before topping out

 JLS 23 Jan 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

>" rested his chin on the top"

I wonder if there is an exercise for training that in the Crimped App?

In reply to UKB Shark:

Although I've never considered it and I'm no longer climbing at that grade, I would have thought that Wombat (E2 5b) was a preferable solo to Sloth. Might get away with just a broken ankle if you drop off.

 pete osullivan 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

I remember Jim Curran asking me to step on his hand at the top of Fallas in the Avon Gorge way back in 1974, it's been blown up since

In reply to madman70:

I’ve always thought that if someone is asking for advice on soloing something, they should not solo it and no advice should be given either. If you want to solo something, you’ve got to be 100% certain you can do it, based on your ability and experience. No one else can make that call for you and if you need advice, it means you don’t have the required ability and experience. You might do one day, of course. The route will still be there.

I led The Sloth a few years ago and found it ok but I was leading E3 at the time. If I were at The Roaches again, I might consider leading it again as it’s a cool route. However I have no interest in soloing it. It would be a buzz for sure but I can’t justify the risk. I should be fine if I were to lead it beforehand for practice (these days I lead E5) but as others have said it’s just not the kind of route where you can be sure of the rock (fragile flakes), be able to stop and chill if you have a bit of a moment (it’s steep) or be able to downclimb without great difficulty if you need to.

I don’t do much soloing but when I do, I make sure the rock is solid, the moves are secure and reversible and the climbing is easy for me (preferable V Diff / Severe, VS if it’s the right type of route and very, very rarely the right kind of HVS). On the whole though I’m not a fan of soloing  as I prefer to challenge myself by leading something at or near the top of my grade. Soloing something would just be a short buzz but it wouldn’t prove anything to myself or anyone else, nor do I want to prove anything to anyone as that’s not what climbing is about for me. That’s a personal view though.

1
 profitofdoom 23 Jan 2020
In reply to pete osullivan:

> I remember Jim Curran asking me to step on his hand at the top of Fallas in the Avon Gorge way back in 1974, it's been blown up since

Jim Curran's hand has been blown up?? Shocking

 Dave Cundy 23 Jan 2020
In reply to profitofdoom:

Rather 'Pythonesque',  dontcha think

 profitofdoom 23 Jan 2020
In reply to Dave Cundy:

> Rather 'Pythonesque',  dontcha think

Maybe..... anyway I was scared someone would bite my head off for joking about the dead i.e. Jim Curran

But I knew Jim Curran personally

 UKB Shark 23 Jan 2020
In reply to Michael Hood:

IIRC Wombat is notorious for shedding holds


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