Just thought I'd start a ticklist of those routes that we are delighted that we will never have to do again, be it due to fear and sketchiness or horrible, sharp, uncomfortable moves etc...
two that sprung very readily to mind:
Slimefest up a blowhole. Greasy and pretty much a solo with a rubbish top out.
is it possible to put entire crags on a ticklist? Yes GOP Cave, we are very much looking at you.
Chequers Crack, without a doubt. On about the fourth visit. Never again !
Chien Lunatique HVS 4c
I hugged the ground when I got to the top!
I've only been to St Loy the one day. Did a whole bunch of routes, then at the end of the day decided on a "wee look" at the Damned. The next thing I know I'm at the junction the The Boldest, and the crucial microwire placement before the rest and the crux. Only this time (after having done The Boldest that morning) I am completely freaked and couldn't get the wire to sit right. So I pulled up to the rest, then composed myself and stepped up and right into the crux sequence knowing that if I fluffed it there would be no gear that would stop me. I could have backed off by going leftwards through the crux of the Boldest.
The rationale at the time was "I don't want to have to come back to do this again".
I've never been back to St Loy. Such a perfect day.
What's wrong with that? Fine route.
For me Clachaig Gully, great fun but I aint going back in there ever.
Cordelia, Mur Cenhinen.
What's wrong with 'Massambula' and 'Gnat Attack'?
Working my way through the ‘Classic Rock’ tick list and need to do Will of the wisp.
A series of sideways terraces and a short good bit on the corner. The approach however was horrible, a slog up grassy banks and a fir plantation.
I suspect the route made Classic Rock to fill a large hole in the map of Wales at the front of the book.
You’re not that chap I once saw fluff the final move of Massambula, are you? He’d be *such* a YouTube hero by now if I’d only had a video camera.
Gnat/masambula not bad routes like a lot on the list, just when you've done them I imagine there is a sense of relief you don't have to do sketchy run out start on snappy rock ever again 😀
An not the YouTube star, happily none of my much punting has been caught on film
Savage God at Blackchurch. We were on what turned out to be the second ascent. It was loose, greasy, scary and downright horrible.
A recent one for me is Darkinbad the Brightdayler (E5 6a) at Pentire Head. A windy and ominous day, no chalk, rain whilst climbing, and crux sections that keep on coming. I was mentally drained by the end of it and won't ever do it again... apart from when I cross it to do Black Magic (gulp).
On another note I often think "thank God I don't have to do that again" about sport routes after redpointing them. Perhaps that's just because of the quality of the routes I climb!
We started the day by cherry picking sentences from our various guidebooks and writing out the resulting description to make the route sound less scary. If the Paul Williams guide described a hard pull into a groove and the Ground Up best of just described a pull we wrote down the Ground Up sentence. We obviously took the highest grade.
The route was then epic. Hours of terrified, seemingly overhanging, ledge shuffling eventually led to a ridiculous, outrageously rusty piton. To make things worse the piton stuck out and required tying off. Fortunately I recalled what my friend John always said about the existence of such gear. The very fact it still existed meant one of two things, either it was much stronger than it looked or the climbing was so easy nobody ever fell off.
I will definitely never lead that again.
Three Pebble Slab
Isn't the hardest or sketchiest route out there, but I've never been so spooked on a climb before, and relieved to get to the top. Don't see myself repeating that!
and I did not lead the psychological crux!
I did the physical one, and even slightly wet it felt heavenly after the traumatic loose 5b p2!
Still, I went there for an adventure and I did get what I signed for. Ticked, great story in the pub, gives you some kudos...but I probably won't do it again.
Having done gnat attack yesterday i could already envisage doing it again so make of that what you will.
The crux is getting up the arete, the traverse is easy, but fall off, and you could easily hit the floor. Worrying.
The first pitch (traverse) of The Old Man of Stoer with an angry sea under me and all the holds soaked in spray.
> Three Pebble Slab
> Isn't the hardest or sketchiest route out there, but I've never been so spooked on a climb before, and relieved to get to the top. Don't see myself repeating that!
Agreed. I was also thoroughly spooked and relieved to top out.
Any idea what grade it is?
Lockwood's Chimney is the first one that springs to mind for me. Though I made such a meal of it maybe I should have another go, surely I'd make a better job of it second time round?
I must admit I felt the same
Hades (E1 5b) on the devils kitchen cliff. Probably the most terrified I've ever been (and I've done a bit on the Lleyn). Everything needed tapping and most of it was hollow, pulled several holds off and gear was woeful. Got to the belay, equalised 6 pieces, lent back and 3 of them popped. Didn't trust anything to ab from so had to push on. Hats of to Martin Boysen who did the first ascent. I've studiously avoided that section of cliff ever since.
Cool route. Proper extreme walking
> Savage God at Blackchurch. We were on what turned out to be the second ascent. It was loose, greasy, scary and downright horrible.
And the same goes for several other routes at Blackchurch (though I enjoyed climbing there - great place - my cup of tea)
The Trident (E1 5b).. plain old nasty. But that said, I will probably do it again and again..
Subterranean Rabbit Launcher (HVS 5a) . A climb that has its merits but very glad I have a) done it and b)never have to do it again. Goes up through a shaky limestone hanging tube that feels like it wants to collapse around you. The one thing I do remember is climbing up into the tube facing the cliff and popping out the top facing the sea with no sensation of having been turned around in the tube.
I think it might have been called Couloir Copt (Aig Sans Nom) in the Aig Dorees.
Thin black ice far steeper and iron-harder than it was related to me as a route. A guide at the Cabane laughed at the idea of anyone doing it the next day.
Never want to be bombarded by whining rock bullets and exploding boulder rounds perched for hours on my front points again ...
Probably Mousetrap (E2 5a) for me.
Whilst I've done a couple of the Red Wall trade routes and The Moon, Mousetrap Zawn had too high a ratio of the compressed talcum powder to the more solid red stuff for my liking.
And my leader went off route on the first pitch and ended up too high before crossing the quartz fin, on ground which had clearly not had much traffic, kicking bits of scrittle down whenever he moved. At one point he looked down and said "if I fall off now, I'm probably going to die aren't I", and the best I could come up with was that potentially he might miss the floor but instead hit the wall of the corner with enough speed to probably break both legs. Not my most fun belay.
Of course, he managed to sort himself out, and the next two pitches were rather more pleasant, but between that experience and the dearth of other inspiring things to do there I feel I can safely avoid going back to that Zawn any time soon...
The top pitch of Subterranean Rabbit Launcher has now collapsed. Shame, great route name.
That is brilliant
> What's wrong with 'Massambula' and 'Gnat Attack'?
Agree. Had a minor moment on Massambula when I find the top jug was wet, but generally ok. Gnat attack is fine, steady slate climbing.
Preposterous Tales (E2 5b) on the other hand....
Two that came to mind I’m pleased to see have already been mentioned:
Scoop Connection (E2 5b) (scary)
Chequers Crack (HVS 5c) (hard)
Also: Fiesta de los Biceps (La Visera) (7a). Despite training hard for it, I was found wanting and had a grim time. Can’t really say I ‘ticked’ it, but I did get from the bottom to the top. Won’t be going back as I don’t see myself getting that fit again. I’ll stick to bouldering these days.
filthy disintegrating climbing, includes a through route which has, annoyingly, the best rock at the narrowest. Anywhere else on the route, you could probably use the nutkey to suit your girth! Again, great for the pub, I don’t know anyone else climbing it...great kudos. Been there, done that. Never again!
With us it was the nearby "The Verger" Al. Not difficult, just awful. Defo never to be repeated.
Rain on Darkinbad sounds exciting. I’d say the only reason I wouldn’t do it again is that bold start above a back breaking flake. One of the best routes in the country.
Primate is very good there, pretty absorbing but mostly solid. Mantrap is great if you want to ratchet it up a notch after Mousetrap (same first pitch and a bit) but I guess you don’t!
Dogs of War is probably not a route to do again but I thought it wasn’t that bad (unlike that piton, which wasn’t worth clipping... can’t remember if I did). Mostly solid on mostly ok gear. Mostly.
I have quite fond memories of The Verger (E1 5a). It certainly cured the monster hangovers we had acquired in the free bar at the campsite the night/morning before.(The owner's birthday bash.) Found the flora adorning the holds on pitch 2 rather pretty.
Be warned - Black Magic is both harder and scarier than Darkinbad. I think I may have missed some gear in the upper half of the main pitch, but it is one of the few times that I have been so scared that I really didn’t enjoy the route. Pulling a big block off when I was miles above my gear didn’t help.
It's not in the "I would have lowered off if I'd found anything that I thought would have taken bodyweight" category.
I was probably not really climbing well enough to be on it.
Yeah, but you’ll do other adventures again. Do it twice, it’s not an adventure, and yet all adventures are the same in some sense - it’ll be fine, just like last time, just like next time.
Is it possible to have one that I haven't even climbed yet but at the same time thinking, I will never do that again?
It even gets the dreaded Black Spot in the guide!
The Verger’s brilliant!
What is wrong with some of you people? The Verger is exactly like what you’d expect from the guidebook and/or looking up at it. If you don’t like that stuff, don’t go there. But what’s with moaning about it afterwards?
> Preposterous Tales (E2 5b) on the other hand....
Can't argue with that, although it did take me two attempts! First attempt got to where the cave widens and was in such a mess I had to back off. Have since been back in much better conditions and enjoyed it! Wouldn't like to do the first pitch again though.
Although it was a brilliantly rewarding experience, I'm not sure I'd volunteer climbing Creeping Lemma (E2 5c) anytime soon...
> What's wrong with 'Massambula' and 'Gnat Attack'?
My thoughts too. Both fine climbs.
I perhaps might nominate either Glover's Chimney in a blizzard and Surform at Irishman's Wall - an abrasive struggle!
> Preposterous Tales (E2 5b) on the other hand.... Can't argue with that, although it did take me two attempts! First attempt got to where the cave widens and was in such a mess I had to back off. Have since been back in much better conditions and enjoyed it! Wouldn't like to do the first pitch again though.
And I found all of it fine, lovely climbing... Which mirrors some much of this thread, one's experience may vary.
I've done PP twice, with completely different experiences each time. Which rather underlines your point !
Cautley spout icefall. I lead it at about 10pm by head torch and about 10m from the top really had that feeling that I'd bitten off more than I could chew. I was stood on an ice mushroom looking up at the final bit of ice and it was around 10cm thick with water flowing behind it. I placed my last 2 ice screws and gently climbed the last part using someone else's axe placements where I could and this really helped because I was totally pumped and scared as a mofo! I've never been more glad of a good bolt belay in my life. When we got back to my car at junction 37 where I'd met my climbing partner earlier I had a flat tyre, so my partner offered me a lift home and a beer as he had a case in his boot - just get the case I told him. Anyway, 2 days later I get a call from another mate asking if I know anyone who has gone to climb cautley spout as his parents are on a mountain rescue body recovery! We rescue my car that day and saw the mountain rescue and ambulance pass us and all I could think was poor bastard, that could have been me - thank f*ck I don't need to climb that again. Harrowing - I didn't need an adrenaline fix for months afterwards!
What a route - I think I did the 4th ascent back in about 90. I'm not sure I'll ever go back to do it again, but the flying groove through the roof is something else!
A brilliant route, and sadly underappreciated - but very thought provoking. Probably closer to E3 than E2 as I reckon a fall from the crux would take you frighteningly close to the floor
The Mincer. Name gives you a clue.
> Probably Mousetrap (E2 5a) for me.
> Whilst I've done a couple of the Red Wall trade routes and The Moon, Mousetrap Zawn had too high a ratio of the compressed talcum powder to the more solid red stuff for my liking.
> And my leader went off route on the first pitch and ended up too high before crossing the quartz fin, on ground which had clearly not had much traffic, kicking bits of scrittle down whenever he moved. At one point he looked down and said "if I fall off now, I'm probably going to die aren't I", and the best I could come up with was that potentially he might miss the floor but instead hit the wall of the corner with enough speed to probably break both legs. Not my most fun belay.
> Of course, he managed to sort himself out, and the next two pitches were rather more pleasant, but between that experience and the dearth of other inspiring things to do there I feel I can safely avoid going back to that Zawn any time soon...
I probably felt the same when I first did Mouse Trap but have done it again and enjoyed it.
> I reckon a fall from the crux would take you frighteningly close to the floor
Yes, that thought did occur to me.
> With us it was the nearby "The Verger" Al. Not difficult, just awful. Defo never to be repeated.
No way! I loved The Verger, it was a brilliant and atmospheric route. Probably helped that I didn't lead the disintegrating middle pitch, which my partner pretty much had to excavate. I'm not sure I'd rush back to do it again admittedly - I was quite relieved to top out after tiptoeing my way up the crumbling arete.
For me, the route I'm most glad I never have to climb again is Puffrisset in Lofoten. I found myself irreversibly committed on the 3rd pitch and had a total meltdown, thinking that there was a chance I was actually going to kill myself on it. It's not particularly hard, just insecure, poorly protected and grubby, but it's the most scared Ive ever been on a route by far!
> Fortunately I recalled what my friend John always said about the existence of such gear. The very fact it still existed meant one of two things, either it was much stronger than it looked or the climbing was so easy nobody ever fell off.>
That's a great quote. My main concern with situations like that is the strong possibility that everyone who has been there before was climbing better than me!
He said it to me when I encountered bolt hangers literally fluttering in the breeze on Delaware Slide (E4 6a).
Having now read the UKC route description it speaks of slinging the bolt head with a wire so it's obviously snapped off since I climbed it. This suggests you might be right!
I have had several "Shit shit shit shit shit, how the f*ck did I not fall offf that? Am I really alive? At least I NEVER have to come back" routes.
Suicide wall at Idwal was one (HVS); the Paul Nunn Peak guide was a relatively frequent source.
Alpine (and greater ranges) peaks deserve special mention. All those routes where the lightning strikes, the rock falls, or the storm comes in, just after you get back to easyish ground. Once you have tasted a few epics, the merest scent of one narrowly avoided makes your heart race. Finding one rope 2/3rds cut through when pulled down from an abseil in the dark in the Dolomites is one.
Amusing to do it once...
Once is enough bird poo...
Spantastic. Especially when a hold I had behind the pillar snapped off as it was unbeknown to me actually made out of bird sh*t Spantastic (HVS 4c)
The Adversary and I only seconded it thank f*%#
> Cordelia, Mur Cenhinen.
I think previous threads have already established that you're not going to get a lot of sympathy for that, as only a handful of other people on the planet have ever done it. However, I am one of that handful, and I can say it was a harrowing experience for me too, steep, poorly protected, insecure, and when I did it, with the head broken off the crucial belay peg on the first stance.
But still not as harrowing for me as Journey to Ixtlan, on Carn Gowla, which I think still maintains its status as the most horrible experience of my climbing career (a near drowning on Fox Promontory doesn't count as I hadn't even got onto the start of the route).
Is your ascent logged in UKC?
Much appreciated reply, anyway: maybe a couple of references will evoke a bit of interest in one the most remote routes in Pembrokeshire.
Skeleton Ridge. Absolutely classic, but a dangerous route - I still have a scar from where a large piece of the ridge I was resting my hand on just came off without warning and landed on my arm. My partner led the first pitch, standing on tiny flints embedded in the chalk and working his way up without a piece of protection in sight. Great route, and I’ll probably do it again, only once my selective memory filters out the near death experience element of my original trip there!
> I have had several "Shit shit shit shit shit, how the f*ck did I not fall offf that? Am I really alive? At least I NEVER have to come back" routes.
> Suicide wall at Idwal was one (HVS); the Paul Nunn Peak guide was a relatively frequent source.
> Alpine (and greater ranges) peaks deserve special mention. All those routes where the lightning strikes, the rock falls, or the storm comes in, just after you get back to easyish ground. Once you have tasted a few epics, the merest scent of one narrowly avoided makes your heart race. Finding one rope 2/3rds cut through when pulled down from an abseil in the dark in the Dolomites is one.
The problem with the alpine/Dolomites stuff is that the route may change but the risks on the next one are similar so you'd have to give up that style of climbing to benefit from not having to do it again.
> The Adversary and I only seconded it thank f*%#
I feel the same about Krapp's Last Tape. When I seconded I was so spooked by the crap gear and lack of any positive holds I swore never to lead it. Years later I ended up seconding it again and swore never to second it again either!
Having climbed Skeleton Ridge on a perfect day last year I'd do it again every year if it was not for the admin.
I'd pass on The Crisp (HVS 5a) on the inner Needle again though. I swam out to it with the intention of soloing it. As I got a short distance up it I began to realise I had mistimed things and slack water was over and the tide was beginning to run.
Swimming back proved exciting.
> I feel the same about Krapp's Last Tape. When I seconded I was so spooked by the crap gear and lack of any positive holds I swore never to lead it. Years later I ended up seconding it again and swore never to second it again either!
I fell 80 feet off Krapp's Last Tape (E3 5b), leading. It was HVS at the time. I ended up just above the belay at the bottom - unhurt - a close escape. Led it later, not that day. I agree about the gear, typical Avon or worse
Not in the logbook, I'm too disorganised to record routes in any form.
It's interesting that that stretch of coast from St Davids Head doesn't see more traffic, given there are so many good multi-pitch routes there at reasonable grades on excellent rock - everyone heads for the much tamer southern bays. But the crags do have very different characters, from the pleasant low grade rambles of Craig Coetan, Porth Llong's grassy epics to Trwyn Llwyd's sheer magnificence (I don't think I've done a better sea-cliff HVS than Barad, and Twinkler beats any Cornish granite VS I know).
But Mur Cenhinen is different again, it seems a sullen and unfriendly piece of rock, and at its seaward end it feels utterly remote.
Belaying my friend on Gnat Attack is probably the most terrified I've been whilst not actually climbing. I enjoyed it immensely on a top rope though!
Twinkler was very good, and hard enough (for VS) to put us off trying Barad. A great cliff, easy access and big atmosphere.
I was only seconding, but it was still disgusting. The leader thought the same. The route name is quite apt with regards the quality of the holds and rock, and the gear at one of the belays. Never again.
That's disappointing - it sounds worthwhile in the guide.
> I fell 80 feet off Krapp's Last Tape (E3 5b), leading. It was HVS at the time. I ended up just above the belay at the bottom - unhurt - a close escape.
The gear must be better than it seemed!
Gnat Attack is a boulder problem route as I recall it. Remind me which bit is alarming?
> The gear must be better than it seemed!
Yes - holding a long fall like that. I must have stripped SOME gear, but sadly I now don't remember what stripped, or what held me
Crowberry Gully on the Buchaille in summer. Horrific!
Aquascrotum at Fisherman's Ledge. The whole tottering buttress moved!
belaying him up to the first bolt. Seemed fairly highball up to that first bolt as I recall!
Well certainly not a climb easily forgotten. I can only remember 3 bits of year in 150 feet, but this was about 45 yrs back! A crag where any rain reduces the friction to absolute zero!
> The gear must be better than it seemed!
Evidently. In truth, it’s up to the first good gear at about 8m or so that seems bold. You’d bounce off several ledges if you fell before the gear though. The remainder is well protected, to my mind, at least.
But I doubt that this is a universal point of view bc, when I did it a year ago, it didn’t look recently travelled.
Confusion (VS 4b) at New Mills Torrs, the higher you get the more the gear relies on wobbly blocks and then there's the top out onto a near 45 degree mud bank. Once at the back of there the cracks are great for anchoring to, just a slip on the way there is likely to see you halfway back down the route with a couple of blocks coming down after you. In all likelihood I will do the route again though.
I feel quite envious of everyone who has replied to this thread. My inner mid-route thought these days is more often "FFS, I'm sure I've been here before."
Nearly killed myself on King Bee Crack (HVS 5a), which I thought would make a good first HVS after having led about 8 easy non-overhung VS routes and when my proficiency at placing gear was low, and my proficiency at jamming was nil.
Unfortunately I lobbed off it (after having to downclimb to where the gear became meaningful again), and given the forecast for Snowdonia this weekend, I fear a rematch is on the cards. Will be very pleased to tick this off once and for all. Assuming I don't die.
Are we allowed winter routes? Some have been included so above are mine... winter routes are probably different because you can jump on them when they aren’t in.
Azrael E45c , Lower Sharpnose Point ,E4when I did it but note it is now listed as E5 5c which is what I wrote in my guide.
Poor rock , pegs long rusted away (about 2006) and no decent back up gear. Could not retreat as nothing to retreat off ! Happy days !
A big contrast to the superb routes near by !
Superb - well done. I did it years ago. I didn't find it too bad once we were on it. But it took half a dozen views down into Dual Zawn from the lip on the other side - terrifying view in!
Great Gully on Craig yr Ysfa wet and slimy.
I'd recently done an E7 on slate and was keen for another. This looked like my sort of thing at the time (slabby, bold but not too hard technically). Often routes like this provide a great headpoint experience as you 'tame the beast' and figure out all the little intricacies that take it from a horror show to something reasonable - not so with this one. The climbing felt alright if a bit insecure, but the gear was piss poor: a 00 friend and 6m that would definitely have ripped if you fell on it but was put in to direct the rope and stop it lifting off the next piece, a decent skyhook at 16m just below the crux moves that sat in a solid hole and would definitely have held in a fall. The final gear was two opposing RPs (1 & 2) at 20 of the 22m which were a bit of a 'thank god' placement.
On the lead everything went smoothly up until I placed the skyhook and committed to the crux rockover - the rope hooked over my leg and the skyhook lifted off and slid down the rope towards my horrified belayer. I was left with 4m of hard slab climbing to the next gear with no possibility of falling, and the ledge I'd rocked onto was small enough that my feet were already tired - thankfully my belayer had the good sense to shout 'go on, you'll be fine!' knowing that he wouldn't have time to get round and drop a toprope before I got knackered and slipped off.
I've never felt such relief as when I'd wobbled through the next few moves and slotted in those RPs.
Have you climbed it since the rock fall?
Yes, move left at the scar, (April '18).
Rat race at Gogarth. That chimney pitch. Never ever again.
Thanks, yeah what an incredible place. I had to close my eyes as I abseiled over the lip - there was no way I was going down there otherwise!