Obviously not all of us are able to plan our climbing days based on weather, but rather when you can get off work!
Can anyone recommend some good multi-pitch that goes in the wet (autumn/winter too, so cold!)
I have the obvious listed such as the Idwal slabs for N Wales and Middlefell, Corvus, grade 3 scrambles for the Lake District.
I will be going for a weekend so if there are a few close together (an hours walk) that would be perfect.
Many thanks. I thought as much, but as i only usually climb grit i wasn't sure what the consensus was.
Any you can recommend?
what guidebooks do you have ? I suggest look in them for suggestions as they will have the classic easier routes described and you can plan your days depending on where you are eg Langdale or Borrowdale or Buttermere or Coniston , Ogwen or The Pass or Molewyns or Tremadog ?
There are a couple of guidebooks called Easy Climbs and Scrambles one each for Wales and Lakes,
If your logbook is up to date, I'd suggest you don't try climbing in the wet as you've not got a lot in hand grade-wise and seem to have almost no experience of mountain routes. I realise that's a bit blunt and maybe not what you're after, but it's probably the best advice nonetheless. There's no consensus about which routes "go in the wet", because it depends entirely from one climbing team to the next and from one day to the next.
Being out in the lashing rain and cold, it's easy to start to lose the plot. You're wet, shivering and the rock is slippery. Your partner is miserable and desperate for you to finish your pitch; or else, they're having an epic above you and seem ready to fall off. You need to be able to have confidence, be well within your climbing comfort zone, make good decisions, place good gear and know how your party is going to retreat, possibly by multiple abseils.
You might do better to go for a big hill walk or maybe put in some easy scrambling, e.g. Jack's Rake. Or... enjoy the warmth of a climbing wall until the next break in the weather. Otherwise, make sure you know how many layers you're going to take to keep warm when you're exposed to the wind and p*ssed through, crawling at up a cliff at 20m/hr; confident at climbing by the light of a headtorch; and suitably experienced in rigging safe abseils on multipitch climbs. Ideally, you should also have climbed the routes in the dry first and know for yourself whether or not they'll feel alright in the wet.
Good points and I agree...
so perhaps I better hold off suggesting Lockwoods Chimney in the dark after the pub.....
Very important to be aware of the weather and how it's likely to change; e.g. if it's currently raining lightly there's a huge difference once your on the rock between the rain stopping and the sun coming out and the rain settling in properly, cloud level dropping etc.
For that "pair" of scenarios the rock itself may be equally slippy for both, but one will feel (and be) a lot harder than the other, one you might be warming up, the other you'll be getting colder.
Well a good shout on Idwal slabs would be The Ordinary Route but note what others have said about your experience. The descent also requires some experience.
In the Lakes I seem to recall Gillercombe Buttress being OK in the wet, and I imagine Raven Crag Gully would be fine, as would Bowfell Fell Buttress.
Gillercombe Buttress (did it on Sept 5 in 5 pitches) feels pretty desperate in the wet on the hard pitch about 2/3 way up, better dry conditions or Grey Knotts Face.
BB will feel HS or harder in the wet.
Even Needle Ridge in the cold wet can feel like an E2 with numb hands, easier with axes for sure.
Hind Crag Buttress and Southern Buttress on Hind Crag are excellent mountain routes but again will feel HS in wet. Not polished like other mentioned routes.
Raven Crag Buttress is good, but no pushover in wet.
Newlands Gully is fine in the wet, and sheltered.
Harristick and Spillikin on Harrison Stickle are ideal.
I don't think Harristickorner and Spillikin Ridge are ideal - I did them a few years back on a very cold December day after a route on Gimmer and found the route-finding confusing and gear pretty sparse. Plus it's a S, which puts it at the OP's top grade.
If I were to choose some, in ascending order of difficulty I'd think about:
- The Bell
- Crinkle Gill
- Mill Gill and Harrison Stickle's SW ridge
- Pinnacle Ridge (St. Sunday)
- Harrow Buttress and Chockstone Ridge, then the scramble to the top
- Eagle's Nest Ordinary and Pinnacle Ridge (Westmorland Crag)
All potentially serious in rain, wind and poor vis.
I totally agree with comments above ( C.Witter ). I would also suggest that the Idwal routes and descent are quite polished and extra challenging when wet which may not suit you. Moelwyns rock is very rough and may be a better option. ( Chic and Slick perhaps ). Alternatively try out some scrambles but perhaps take rope and some basic gear. Lion Rock, near Fachwen / Llyn Padarn, may suit.
Anyone know the name of the grade 3 / diff ridge onto Crib Goch? Thought that was really good.
Also 'enjoyed' a wet day on Giant's Crawl, but the OP should bear in mind that this isn't necessarily a recommendation.
The snakes and ladders tour of the slate quarries is a good wet weather option. Although it comes with a grade of hvs, it's not particularly strenuous or technical, i guess it depends how much common sense/luck you have. As no amount of climbing mileage is going to make you better at not falling off rusty ladders. The most sketchy bit from memory was crossing massive rubble/scree slopes.
> Anyone know the name of the grade 3 / diff ridge onto Crib Goch? Thought that was really good.
I think the Clogwyn y Person Arete would be a really good wet day out, but the Parsons Nose might be a bit spicy in the wet.
I think the latter (starts up a gully). It did feel about diff, though think the guidebook gave it grade 3+ and called it Parson's Nose.
> Also 'enjoyed' a wet day on Giant's Crawl, but the OP should bear in mind that this isn't necessarily a recommendation.
Probably the only time I ever set out deliberately to do a route on a wet day wasGiant's Crawl (Summer) (D) We did the old socks over rock boots trick and it was fine. Remember getting very wet and it would have been pretty serious if cold and windy.
> Surely, there's more fun to be had in the Outside errrrr SHOP?
Well possibly, but if you want to do a multipitch Lakes rock route in the rain, there are many worse options than Outside Route!
> - Eagle's Nest Ordinary and Pinnacle Ridge (Westmorland Crag)
Eagle's Nest Ordinary is awkward for the grade and greasy at the best of times and not a good wet weather choice.
Lakeland mountain routes get much harder and often slippery in the wet, although I've had good outings on Gimmer Chimney and Outside Route on rainy days.
All the easier Tryfan ridges are safe to try in the wet as long as you expect to find them a bit harder than the grade. All the Ogwen stuff is pretty clean, if a bit polished.
All my early mountains days took place in the rain. Its amazing how easy mountain routes are when you finally catch one in the dry!
Many thanks for the suggestions and words of warning, I take them in the genuine manner they are intended.
For what it's worth, I do need to update the logbook! I'm running around the VS mark now, having done some VS multi at tremadog. However, I agree I am still inexperienced at the larger multi stuff.
I think I will look more at the grade 3 scramble/diff stuff (if it's not blowing a hoolie of course!) If it really looks like it's going to be gopping then it'll be a low level hill walk for sure.
How does Grey Crag go? It looks interesting as it has a decent walk in and some Mods/Diffs to go at.
700m up might mean it is a non starter depending on weather.
Grey crag has the bonus of there typically being a walk off escape after every 2 or 3 pitches (between routes). The suggested itinerary above sounds reasonable having done it in the dry this year. Not sure how the rock fares in the wet, but lots of options and it probably won't be busy!
> How does Grey Crag go? It looks interesting as it has a decent walk in and some Mods/Diffs to go at.
The holds are generally positive, steepest and most difficult part of Harrow is at the start. A big rucksack can be a pain in the chimney above. Chockstone Ridge has one strenuous move but on good holds.
From the (long!) list of climbs I've done in bad weather, a few thoughts.
In heavy rain, or after prolonged rain, Ordinary Route on the Idwal Slabs resembles a fish ladder.
Milestone Buttress direct route is a barrel of laughs in the wet. Before you set off, you need to know that people aren't laughing with you.
The routes on the east face of Tryfan are all sheltered from the worst of the wind and rain when a front brings weather from the west. Keep telling yourself that while you're there.
In anything but dry conditions, the first pitch of Needle Ridge on Great Gable is like a steep ice rink. There may also be ice, since it's November.
Troutdale Pinnacle goes much better than you'd expect, though of course that does depend on what you were expecting. In heavy rain when you're on the steepest bit of the steep wall following the leftwards traverse, water will run into your left sleeve and out of your left trouser leg. Be sure you're comfortable climbing with wet underwear.
Gillercombe Buttress goes in the wet and cold. My strong recommendation is that you don't.
More once therapy allows me to endure the memories.
Thoroughly enjoyed this haha, and the underlying tone isn't lost on me!
Think laterally and do a canyoning course?
(sorry for being flippant, and good luck!)
By the time I finished reading this out to the room we were all falling about laughing - mostly in recognition of our own experiences. Thanks for summing it up with humour and not stern warning. The message was clearly there
Cheers to you
The Moelwyns suggestion isn't a bad shout. The weather is often better there than in central Snowdonia anyway and the rock has lots of positive holds and is rough. I've done Mars, Chic and Pied Piper there in the wet at various times and they were ok, although a grade or so harder than usual. Fish ladder for Idwal Ordinary is exactly right! Take a wetsuit and flippers 😁 The Slabs and Tryfan routes in the wet are definitely 'type 2 fun'. Bowfell Buttress felt desperate in the wet, with the slabs above the crack being a brown trousers job.
Generally scrambling is a much better idea than climbing when the weather is rubbish because you can keep moving. The gills are often sheltered and all the water rushing past stops you noticing the stuff coming down from the sky. They can still get epic though - be prepared to avoid sections (and still get very wet). Brian Evans/John Fleetwood's Lakes guides and Mike Peacock's recent Welsh one have lots of stream suggestions.
Lots of fun to be had!
Cyfrwy Arete goes whatever the weather. Like others have said though, Clogwyn yr Oen in the Moelwyns is a good shout because the texture of the rock means that you get great friction even when its running with water. I did Slack a few weeks ago on my way home from work in the pissing rain and it was fine, if a bit more exciting than usual.
If you’re determined to climb in the rain you need to know a bit about the lithology (i.e. the physical characteristics of the rock). The idea of doing Idwal Slabs Ordinary in the rain makes me shudder. Those polished cracks are easy in the dry but greatly changed by being wet. My first thought on your post was the Moelwyn crags. Much of the rock there isn’t much affected by being wet as the rock has a cindery surface which doesn’t become polished and has a grippy surface. First pitch of Pinky is a good example. Many of the routes also feature quartz encrustations which are usually rough enough on the surface and useful for the hands and feet. But remember that cold wet hands don’t go well with small handholds.
> I totally agree with comments above ( C.Witter ). I would also suggest that the Idwal routes and descent are quite polished and extra challenging when wet which may not suit you. Moelwyns rock is very rough and may be a better option. ( Chic and Slick perhaps ). Alternatively try out some scrambles but perhaps take rope and some basic gear. Lion Rock, near Fachwen / Llyn Padarn, may suit.
Maybe it is just me but I usually find the polished routes in Wales not too bad in the wet as the polished holds are only a little worse than when dry (did Grooved Arete in the wet for example). It's any sort of dirt or slime that is the problem.
Lorton Gulley on Grasmore in the Lakes is good sport in the (very) wet, more of an advanced scramble than a rock climb but a good day out
I climbed Hope in the pissing wet a few years ago (it was actively raining and the climb was bordering on an actually a waterfall) and even the slippery cracks on p2 were okay. It's unbelievably grippy rock. Saying that, I don't know how much I'd trust my feet on the crux of Tennis Shoe in the rain.
Adam and Ardus both go in the wet at Sheperd's Crag in borrowdale if you fancy something a bit more testing. The initial ramp pitch of Ardus is bit unnerving
Also another vote for Troutdale pinnacle
However you want to label them (they are in the Meirionydd guide, for instance, which is/was the southern part of the NP) the point is that they get less rain than the Pass/Ogwen. Llanberis is about 15% higher annual average rainfall than Blaenau, and the Pass and Ogwen will be wetter still. That plus the rougher and more pocketed rock makes them worth investigating when it's lobbing down further north.
I don't disagree that the Moelwyns aren't a great venue. More a comment that Snowdonia goes a lot further South than there.
Indeed it does, I was on the Arans a couple of days ago, but when it comes to weather those southern Moelwyns crags tend to have more in common with the Rhinogs and Arenigs than the Glyders and Snowdon. On tuesday, for instance you could see the tops of Manor Mawr and Moelwyn Bach, but everything north of that was a wall of cloud. I've had a lot of trips where I've left Llanberis or Nant Gwynant (where I used to live) in rain and climbed in the sun on Oen or Wrysgan.
> I climbed Hope in the pissing wet a few years ago (it was actively raining and the climb was bordering on an actually a waterfall) and even the slippery cracks on p2 were okay. It's unbelievably grippy rock. Saying that, I don't know how much I'd trust my feet on the crux of Tennis Shoe in the rain. <
I was going to mention that I thought Hope and Faith went well in the rain. I also remember some routes on the Milestone including Soapgut being surprisingly OK when rain is sheeting down. I think its also due to a lack of vegetation and greasiness on some popular routes even if they're polished,
Bowfell Buttress is fun in any weather. I once set of with a mate to climb it on a November day. We had been camping at Langdale and had missed the weather forecast - no mobile phones or such tech in those days. It looked like a dry day but it was cold. We walked up via the Climbers Path, and when we reached the base it had clouded over, We were wearing EBs and carrying our walk in boots. At the crux crack the drizzle had turned into fine snow, and on reaching the top of that pitch the snow was starting to pitch on the rock and it was becoming slippery. I brought up my mate and by the time he had reached me the snow was pitching more heavily and starting to accumulate so we had a discussion on whether to ab off or climb on. We decided that as the hardest climbing was now behind us, it would be as quick and easy to press on but decided to swap our EBs for the big boots which gripped the snow covered rocks better. We quickly reached the top by which time we were in blizzard conditions. We descended the Band and on reaching our tents took shelter, had a brew up and went into the ODG for a meal, before returning to the tents. In the morning the storm had passed, but the tent walls were bulging inwards and we emerged into two feet of snow. The skies had cleared and we were in a winter wonderland of snow covered mountains.
> I was going to mention that I thought Hope and Faith went well in the rain.
Yes, that is my memory. The surface is so worn that there is zero lichen and the friction remains remarkably good. Also, if the rain stops they dry out astonishingly quickly.
Left Edge and Central Route on Carnedd y Filiast are good in the wet. I think the Mountain Rock guidebook has a symbol indicating routes which can be done whatever the weather, so there's probably some others in there that would work too.
Can confirm your comment re Direct Route on Milestone Buttress. Negotiating the awkward block on the second pitch was fun. I didn't trust the only (highly polished) foot placement so opted instead to jam my left thigh in the big vertical crack to the left of the block. I knew those pies would come in handy one day.
> The snakes and ladders tour of the slate quarries is a good wet weather option. Although it comes with a grade of hvs, it's not particularly strenuous or technical, i guess it depends how much common sense/luck you have. As no amount of climbing mileage is going to make you better at not falling off rusty ladders. The most sketchy bit from memory was crossing massive rubble/scree slopes.
That's a ****** brilliant day out. DO IT!!!
However the "snake" (the 18m climb in California) can shamelessly cheated by either yarding hand over hand up a giant chain or even more shamelessly aiding it with a couple of slings and clipping big krabs (but they need huge opening like DMM boa or Petzl William, most krabs can't clip the chain, too big). Actually it could be bypassed entirely... but that would miss on some fun
Is climbing up a chain shameless on a journey which involves several literal ladders?
I thought the HVS grade was for yarding up the chain. IIRC the wall behind it is utterly blank.
> Is climbing up a chain shameless on a journey which involves several literal ladders?
That was a tongue in cheek description IMHO using the chain is expected. I have watched someone casually climb (fast and relaxed, no big deal) it in raining/very wet conditions, slightly to the right of the chain, to say I was impressed would be an understatement!