/ UK Sandbags

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Mark Kemball 02 Jun 2019

https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/set.php?id=3375  - this ticklist is made up of suggestions from the thread https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/rocktalk/biggest_sandbag-704853#x8992837 - I've not included routes outside the UK and have ommitted some suggestions such as Soapgut (HS 4b) which either in my opinion or according to the UKC collective wisdom are not sandbags. 

The original rules are that the routes should be undergraded in the current definitive guide book (i.e. Rockfax grades, which may well be more realistic don't count!).

Please feel free to suggest additions or routes which should not be on the list. I do not have a complete set of current (2019) definative guide books (!) so there may well be routes which have been upgraded on the list...

Post edited at 17:43
1
Andy Hardy 02 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Baluster crack, or to save time, Ravensheugh the entire crag

Post edited at 19:32
FactorXXX 02 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Seth on Gower: 

Seth (E1 5c)

Mark Kemball 02 Jun 2019
In reply to Andy Hardy:

Added.

Mark Kemball 02 Jun 2019
In reply to FactorXXX:

Added.

Lemony 02 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Lorraine (VS 5a) 

Post edited at 19:49
Lemony 02 Jun 2019
Anti-faff 02 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

I think Lorraine (VS 5a) should in there...

Edit:

beaten to the punch

Post edited at 19:51
Graeme Hammond 02 Jun 2019
In reply to Andy Hardy:

agree, that makes Masochism (E1 5b) look soft

DaveHK 02 Jun 2019
In reply to Anti-faff:

> I think Lorraine (VS 5a) should in there...

> Edit:

> beaten to the punch

Lorraine is bog standard VS and I'll personally deal with anyone who says otherwise.

11
Mark Kemball 02 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Do I add Lorraine (VS 5a) or not? Votes / opinions please. Also, please check the ticklist for anything you think should not be there...

3
DaveHK 02 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

> Do I add Lorraine (VS 5a) or not? Votes / opinions please. Also, please check the ticklist for anything you think should not be there...

It's complicated. Lorraine would be E1 at Reiff but I think it's correct and important that it be VS in Northumberland. ;)

2
Mark Kemball 02 Jun 2019
Mark Kemball 02 Jun 2019
In reply to DaveHK:

Well I've added it now. Are all Northumberland climbs sandbags?

DaveHK 02 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

> Well I've added it now. Are all Northumberland climbs sandbags?

I always reckoned that the style of many Northumberland climbs (often hard undercut starts followed by easier tops, generally odd moves) meant that lower grade routes felt hard for the grade but once you got up to E2 they were more like those found elsewhere.

Anti-faff 02 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

If only there was a grade for harder than VS but easier than E1. :-/

Offwidth 02 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

I think Lorraine is classic borderline VS/HVS in Yorkshire terms. Real sandbags IMHO need to be clearly the wrong grade. Parsons Chimney isnt even a potential sandbag in my view its HS and not anything like the hardest at that grade at the crag

Post edited at 21:17
Offwidth 02 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Most routes I've done on popular Northumberland crags were easier than YMC grit averages. Some climbs at Corbys were possibly overgraded. Piano at Kyloe was a clear sandbag.

Post edited at 21:07
Mark Kemball 02 Jun 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

So, I've added Piano (S 4c), shouldParson's Chimney (HS 4b) come out? Opinions please.

Still undecided about Lorraine (VS 5a), but it's in for the moment.

DaveHK 02 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

> Still undecided about Lorraine (VS 5a), but it's in for the moment.

Take it out. Half the fun of sand bags is not knowing they're sand bags and we need to preserve some mystery. Not that Lorraine is a sandbag.

Post edited at 21:47
3
Jon Stewart 02 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Like it. There's some crackers on there!

I have a lot problems with Yorkshire grit, but Demon Wall ain't one of'em - it's a friendly little micro-route with 3 or 4 sustained 5a moves. I guess it helps when you know where the hold at the top is, but at least there is one (unlike say, every route at Brimham). I'm struggling to think of a true Yorks Grit sandbag, but there must be scores of them.

Mark Kemball 02 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

OK Demon Wall (HVS 5a) is out unless anyone can present a convincing case. So, we need a good replacement Yorks Grit sandbag, any suggestions please?

Gordon Stainforth 02 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

I was going to suggest Minion's Way at Brimham, a ghastly overhanging, hand-mangling jamming crack that was given "VS" in the late 1960s ... but that's no good because I see it's now correctly graded HVS 5c!!

Offwidth 03 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Just realised someone suggested this: Norse Corner Climb (HS 4c)... again this is nothing like a sandbag.

Michael Hood 03 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Like the idea of the list but every climb I've done that's on there (mainly grit) really isn't a sandbag.

Lots of the routes in the list are awkward or unusual moves or people have had a bad time on them in less than perfect conditions. That doesn't make them sandbags.

Straight Ahead (VS 4c) when it was given D was a sandbag. Crack and Corner (HS 4c) at HS 4c is not a sandbag, it's just a difficult starting move that could be given 5a.

Surely if a route is only one grade out (adjectival and/or technical) then it's only a grade disagreement and not a sandbag.

Michael Hood 03 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

And in complete contrast to my previous post, can you have a correctly graded sandbag?

Was thinking about Nat Not (VS 4c). Grade is pretty much ok, although  you might be able to justify HVS 4c. But many struggle on this because the climbing on it is just plain weird.

Do we need a separate term for correctly graded climbs that you would point your mates at to see them struggle (safely) on a grade they think they're competent at

Post edited at 08:16
Offwidth 03 Jun 2019
In reply to Michael Hood:

I'd sympathise with the sense of that but I don't think only routes thought to be more than a whole grade out should count. Where a climb like Sentinel Crack is given E2 and most seem to think its really hard E3 in modern terms, maybe that particular grit climb is a sandbag. Masochism is a certain grit sandbag. Routes like Kelly's Overhang with trick moves that are (or certainty seem to be, from all the failures of strong low extreme climbers I've witnessed) are very hard to spot onsight should really be tough E1 in my view, so I'd support that being a possible sandbag as well. Roaches Crack and Corner probably makes more sense as the same grade as Central Climb at Hen Cloud or Mutiny Crack at Burb N  (both HS in the definitive) but I agree its probably not a sandbag. A lot of these climbs at the top of the grades in definitive graded lists were put in with good intemtions as markers to delay grade creep. In the same vein The Toy might or might not make the category, ditto for Matinee (or Mincer).  Freddie's Finale probably wouldn't, ditto for Little Flake Crack, and Stomach Traverse (old or modern ways) and Calcutta Crack.

Post edited at 08:33
James Oswald 03 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Good list. Could you add queer street at Chee tor please?

James Oswald 03 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Also easy pickings at rivelin.

1
Offwidth 03 Jun 2019
In reply to James Oswald:

Easy Pickings is not a sandbag. It is technically hard for the grade and upper borderline for the grade.

1
Jon Stewart 03 Jun 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> Easy Pickings is not a sandbag. It is technically hard for the grade and upper borderline for the grade.

How do you explain the failure of people who normally cruise e2? I managed it by the skin of my teeth, but it's the hardest route I have ever climbed. 

1
The Ivanator 03 Jun 2019
In reply to Michael Hood:

The climbing on Nat Not (VS 4c) is certainly weird, more 5a than 4c IMO and not overly well protected. I think that adds up to sandbag, not one you could point a mate at to have a SAFE struggle on, definite hurt yourself if it goes wrong potential.

Michael Hood 03 Jun 2019
In reply to The Ivanator:

I thought the pro on the weird bit was ok, but sparse (was there any?) on the slab. The slab is only 4b however it can easily feel harder if you haven't properly recovered (mentally) from the weirdness below

Also, if I remember correctly, the rock at the start is very wave washed smooth. Which means it's very conditions dependent and can easily feel greasy as soap. Not a first thing in the morning route

Offwidth 03 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Mainly as it was consensus from the team. Secondly as the UKC votes fit a bordeline route with a slight E2 confirmation bias. Its maybe too hard for me to judge which side of the border fairly but (subject to recent changes since I climbed it) my view was it was a technical ground-up style route with a tricky boulder problem start, that might be E3 but not a sandbag. It wasn't that technically hard as I finally got up it in one push and my theory is I've never climbed anything harder than easy 6b and EP start is crimpy and vertical so doesn't really suit me... all the hardest stuff I did was on roofs and blank slabs. I've failed to climb numerous low extremes and even the odd HVS cleanly after falls and reattempts, when checking routes.

MeMeMe 03 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

> OK Demon Wall (HVS 5a) is out unless anyone can present a convincing case. So, we need a good replacement Yorks Grit sandbag, any suggestions please?

I'd argue that Demon Wall is a sandbag, it's fine if you've done it before but it's hard to onsight. 

It's intimidating, hard to rest on and hard to figure out the top move unless (as I've seen happen a few times) you go up and check out the hold over the top before you do the route.

Spend some time at Almscliff and you notice that it's the route that people struggle on. Once you done it once it's a different route because you know where the hold is and you know you can do  the moves.

Anti-faff 03 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Grit Attack at Brimham.

GPN 03 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

A couple of gems from the Lakes...

Antarctica (E3 6a) You might think that E2 6a will be really well protected...

Powerglide (E4 6a) A brilliant route. Would be a famous E5 if was in Wales.

cem 03 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Jacob's Ladder shouldn't be on the list because Dalkey Quarry is not in the UK

Gordon Stainforth 03 Jun 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> Just realised someone suggested this: Norse Corner Climb (HS 4c)... again this is nothing like a sandbag.

Yes, I should never have suggested that. Apart from having a fierce boulder problem start, it's a doddle. Soloed it on sight in my youth.

Dave Garnett 03 Jun 2019
In reply to FactorXXX:

> Seth on Gower: 

Yes, I think it was E1 5b in the guide when we did it and it was undoubtedly very hard indeed!

Baron Weasel 03 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Silver crack (HS) at Froggatt, I nearly escaped onto the E1 to the left. 

Baron Weasel 03 Jun 2019
In reply to Lemony:

I took a great fall off Lorraine from nr the top to just above my belayer some years ago.

Offwidth 03 Jun 2019
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Again not a sandbag.... just a style some climbers are not used to and even grading softly for this it's no more than low VS at the very most. UKC logbook votes again show a borderline grade allowing for confirmation bias.

Silver Crack (HS 4b)

2
Alex@home 03 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Here are my thoughts from just after I climbed it

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/rocktalk/northumberland_review_points-466096?v=1#x6477761

Edit - Lorraine that is

Post edited at 20:36
Eric9Points 03 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

I thought Klondyker was HVS, admittedly top end but surprised the consensus is E1. Also surprised it only gets a star I really liked it.

I suspect few HVS climbers would make much impression on Fingerwrecker so I guess it's fair enough to call it a sandbag even if you're unlikley to fill your trousers on it. That said I think there are better sandbag candidates at Pass of Ballater but can't remember their names. It's a place that takes a bit of getting used to.

Chris Murray 03 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

The Little Flake Crack (VS 5a) is no way a sandbag. A couple of tricky moves due to the polish, then an easy romp.

Allovesclimbin 03 Jun 2019
In reply to GPN:

Amazing. Those two are the ones I would post. Agree totally! 

Re Lorraine, come on , it is a sandbag , as are some routes at Corbys...Sunshine Superman .. easy at the top ... not for an HVS leader !!

Mark Kemball 03 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Thanks for all the responses - I'm rather busy at the moment, but plan to edit / ammend the ticklist shortly.

Mark Kemball 06 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Ok tick list updated:

Out 

Norse Corner Climb (HS 4c)

Crack and Corner (HS 4c)

Jacob's Ladder (VD) (not UK)

The Little Flake Crack (VS 5a)

In

Queer Street (E3 6a)

Grit Attack (HVS 5b)

Antarctica (E3 6a)

Powerglide (E4 6a)

Still in but undecided

Nat Not (VS 4c)

Not added

Silver Crack (HS 4b)

I think that's all for now - more suggestions??

Post edited at 19:26
Chris Ebbutt 06 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Bloodshot (HVS 5b)

great gear, sound rough rock, a little dirty but hard, surprised it was not regraded in the new guide.

deserves a place in your list.

Chris

Mark Kemball 07 Jun 2019
In reply to Chris Ebbutt:

Added - An Andy Grieve Plymouth HVS, bound to be undergraded!

Post edited at 00:26
M_Robinson 07 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Interesting that Stennis Pillar (HVS 5a) is included. The bottom is a bit run out, but you can protect yourself on the left form falling into the sea, and the moves are totally fine. The voting on UKC logbooks also suggests it's mid - high HVS. Only 5/33 voters think it deserves E1.

Darron 07 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

How about The Arches (E1 5b) I found it very similar in terms of given/actual difficulty to Kelly's Overhang.

Post edited at 12:12
Rob Parsons 07 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Not sure why Kelly's Overhang is on this list. Maybe it feels a little awkward for wall-trained climbers, but that's all.

Chris Ebbutt 07 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Would love to know what grade it actually is, the American who lead me up it was superb at granite cracks and he fought very hard for its short length, E2/3?. Great gear and short but how hard? Reminded me a bit of Unprintable but steeper and a thinner crack.

Chris

joem 07 Jun 2019
In reply to M_Robinson:

I wonder if this has lost a hold, the crux was way harder than the 4c given in the guide. though perfectly safe, i fell off on it so....

Gordon Stainforth 07 Jun 2019
In reply to Rob Parsons:

> Not sure why Kelly's Overhang is on this list. Maybe it feels a little awkward for wall-trained climbers, but that's all.

I'd say it's almost the definitive sandbag at its grade See all the comments and the voting, with a majority of people thinking it's E1 5c.

M_Robinson 07 Jun 2019
In reply to joem:

I was under the impression it was 5a (Just noticed that that's what Rockfax say, CC say 4c)? Which made sense for the little crux higher up. Only got on it at Easter this year, so unless something fell off revealing a new hold I'm not sure!

joem 07 Jun 2019
In reply to M_Robinson:

I was on it a couple of years ago so either i was off route or climbing badly, Both possible, but it felt desperate like at least 5b probably 5c.

In reply to Mark Kemball:

Parson’s Chimney: definitely not a sandbag

Lorraine: definitely a sandbag

Michael Gordon 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Allovesclimbin:

> it is a sandbag , as are some routes at Corbys...Sunshine Superman .. easy at the top ... not for an HVS leader !!

It's not a sandbag though - it's fair at the grade.

guitarshane 09 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Lipp Service (HVS 5b)

A definite sandbag! 

Post edited at 07:49
Dom Goodwin 09 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Giant’s Cave Buttress VS 4c. Supposedly.

I’ve seconded lots of VS in the Avon Gorge, all without falling off. Apart from this one, which I’ve really struggled to second, twice. On my first attempt (admittedly on a day that was probably too cold for my arthritic fingers), I had to retreat from the second crux on P3 and abseil back down the whole route. Eventually made it up at the second attempt, badly dogged with multiple falls on the cruxes of both P1 and P3.

Seems much harder than Suspension Bridge Arête (HVS 5a), also just as difficult as Great Central Route (was HVS now E1 5a), both routes which I seconded cleanly.

Think GCB is well worth HVS 5a.

mike barnard 09 Jun 2019
In reply to guitarshane:

That's an interesting one, as following the guidebook (moving right in to the groove) is indeed E1. However, just continuing straight up instead makes much more sense and is about HVS 5a.

gribble 09 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

I've just remembered another - Shadow Wall (VS 4b) at Bamford.   If you're expecting a run of the mill VS, this one is quite startling.  Seemed unreasonably necky to me.

Post edited at 09:55
Mark Kemball 09 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Update -

Out -

Stennis Pillar (HVS 5a)

The logbooks say it's not a sandbag, so not added -

The Arches (E1 5b)

In - 

Lipp Service (HVS 5b)

Giant's Cave Buttress (VS 4c)

More recommendations? Anything you disagree with? Make your case...

GrahamD 09 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Sorry but no way is Giants Cave anything but standard VS

1
alan moore 09 Jun 2019
In reply to GrahamD:

Yes, unless it's changed a lot in recent years. It's no harder than Unknown Wall or Gronk.

1
Mark Kemball 09 Jun 2019
In reply to GrahamD:

Well, it's been a long time (1975) since I climbed Giant's Cave Buttress (VS 4c) but I note that I had to use a peg and I was a fairly solid VS leader at the time. But basically, I'm going on people's suggestions - see Dom Goodwin's post above. The logbooks voting suggests it's not a sandbag though, I'll leave it in until I get a few more opinions.

Dom Goodwin 09 Jun 2019
In reply to alan moore:

I think GCB is considerably harder than Gronk or Unknown Wall. I seconded both of those onsight cleanly - as I’d expect at VS 4c.

I also felt it was harder to second than Suspension Bridge Arête HVS 5a. 

I’ll probably go for a third go on GCB some time, but still doubt I’ll manage to second it cleanly, even knowing how to do the moves in advance! That tends to suggest it is around high 5a. (I can do 4c moves fairly reliably, 5a maybe and 5b I definitely fall off...) The hard moves on GCB seem quite simply at least one technical grade harder than on the other routes you mention. Both the climbers leading it with me felt it tough for 4c too.

Some of the holds are pretty polished, so possible it’s become much harder than it was years ago? Smearing while trying to do the hard mantel move on P3 doesn’t work too well, for instance.

Post edited at 23:20
2
James Oswald 12 Jun 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

I see what you mean but it's still a sandbag. If I recall correctly it's a 6b crux into a desperate 6a move into a pumpy 5c crack. I just don't think that can be E2! I failed to having led multiple e4s at the time and the odd e5.

I think that it's fun as a sandbag at E2, but wrongly graded.

Mark Kemball 19 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Just added Hawk Slab (HVS 5a) following  suggestion on the other thread (logbook opinion seens to agree).

roger whetton 20 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:Inbred (HVS 5a)

Surprised to find nothing from Creag Dubh Newtonmore? I'd certainly vote for Inbred Inbred (HVS 5a)...

Mark Kemball 20 Jun 2019
In reply to roger whetton:

Looking at the logbooks, it would seem to be top end HVS but not a sandbag - I'll leave it off for now until a few more folks agree withyou (it was '77 when I climbed it, so I can't remember what I thought of it then).

In reply to Mark Kemball:

Inbred - I've only seconded the main pitch 1, but though that's a grade I'm normally OK on I remember thinking it's very go-ey for an HVS leader. Steep, no real let up, awkward holds and fiddly-looking (not plentiful) gear... Hard to really comment but it felt like an E1 5b to me. I am a wuss of course.

Mark Kemball 20 Jun 2019
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

Thanks Dan, so Inbred (HVS 5a) goes in...

Mr Fuller 20 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Somersault at Rocky Valley, Ilkley. It's very steep, very pumpy, and made me think for quite a while that all VS's were utterly desperate. Eight years on I have still not dared go back to try that route. 

Mark Kemball 20 Jun 2019
In reply to Mr Fuller:

Well the logbooks seem to agree with that one so Somersault (VS 4c) is in. Assuming the definitive guide gives it VS 4c.

FactorXXX 20 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Not sure what it gets in the latest Guide Book, but 'The Cracks' at Mother Carey's might be worthy of inclusion:

The Cracks (HS)

I soloed it as an escape route thinking it was Severe and had a couple of thought provoking moments on it... 

Mike-W-99 20 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

> Thanks Dan, so Inbred (HVS 5a) goes in...

Take it out. Solid hvs and not a sandbag.

1
John2 21 Jun 2019
In reply to FactorXXX:

The Cracks has now been upgraded to VS.

DaveHK 21 Jun 2019
In reply to Mike-W-99:

> Take it out. Solid hvs and not a sandbag.

Agree, inbred is not a sandbag.

1
Mark Kemball 21 Jun 2019
In reply to DaveHK:

OK, Inbred (HVS 5a) is off the list... (2 for 2 against, logbooks support the grade).

1
FactorXXX 21 Jun 2019
In reply to John2:

> The Cracks has now been upgraded to VS.

Thanks for the information.
Wasn't sure if it had been upgraded in the 'proper' guidebook.

Jon Read 21 Jun 2019
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Have we had Alternative 3 (E5 6a)? Andi and I failed to make any impression on top-rope, and we've never heard of an ascent (though of course that doesn't mean that much!).

Post edited at 10:14

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