Not enough climbing talk on here.
Whats been the best route done so far in 2019, and why?
The Crack (VS) on Gimmer
A truly outrageous route for the grade, with brilliant climbing throughout. Each pitch worth 3 stars, with the crux where it should be (the top)
The M74; because it leads to the Lake District.
Seriously though, The Borrowdale Stare was a very good route, early one dark, thundery morning in June.
Cam High road into Bainbridge then out again on Busk lane in my land rover. No climbing was attempted but we did stop at Kilnsey on the way down to grassington to watch some other people having fun.
Gogarth, everything about the route felt like an adventure. Fun approach, beautiful views, harder pitches mixed with easier/interesting climbing and good belay ledges. Great day out.
Route II on Diabaig, without a doubt, best of the grade I can remember.
probably "Haste not" VS on White gill, audacious position for a VS on surprisingly good rock.
Also climbing a new route at my local crag, worked it for a bunch of sessions before finally leading it . Its not a great route by any means but its also the hardest route I've lead. that climb will be seared into my mind for may years along with the process of working the route.
Central Buttress on Scafell will be done this year if i can tie in the right partner with some good weather. hoping it lives up to the expectations!
In reply to Owen W-G:
I think I've enjoyed Lochnagar's Transcept Groove (IV 5) the most. A pitch of sustained turfy mixed followed by a brilliant chimney. The chimney is the finish of three routes so I got to do it again a month later.
For Rock The Needle (E1 5b) on the Shelterstone. bone dry back in Feb!
Not done much but Brenner-Moschioni on Aguja Guillaumet - good to get up some stuff out there
Astral Stroll (E1 5b) was absolutely incredible. Space walking through wild territory.
Also Earthly Powers (E2 5c) was outstanding. Wouldn't have known about it was it not for the excellent BMC film "the seaside", itself highly recommended if you're looking for some summer sea cliff psyche!
FA of Stone Bridge, on Portland, two days ago. Circa 100 foot traverse, before topping out, through amazing rock architecture, conglomerate, monster jugs where it's steep, only F5+/6a. I'll eat my socks if it's not a future classic.
To get into the sector, you walk across a natural stone bridge (thus the name).
The File VS 4c on Higger Tor. Really powerful moves for me and an experience in jamming.
Are there any professional or sponsored climbers on here that fancy chipping in?
> Route II on Diabaig, without a doubt, best of the grade I can remember.
For purely vanity reasons I'd go for Cherry on Top Finish (III 5) because you don't get credited with a new route on Ben Nevis that often (even if it is about 20 mtrs of proper climbing and probably normally buried completely under a cornice...)! Otherwise it's probably a toss up between Arch Gully (Winter) (V 6) because it was proper hard for me and a good route and a 6b on the slab at Moss Rake that I can't even remember the name of - purely because I thought I would never onsight another 6b again (doing them on slabs is key for me!), so felt great.
> The Crack (VS) on Gimmer
> A truly outrageous route for the grade, with brilliant climbing throughout. Each pitch worth 3 stars, with the crux where it should be (the top)
There are just so many baffling things on this thread. My memory of Gimmer Crack is of a very friendly route on good rock, low in the grade (I'm sure it was MVS in the early 70s ... about right). There was absolutely nothing outrageous about it at all, and because it was rather enclosed in a groove, it wasn't particularly exposed, and even in those days of atrocious gear, it was well protected. Compared with almost all the VSs we were doing around that time it was rather mild and unspecial. (You know, everything, just about, on White Ghyll was in another class.) You just trudged up some nice corner cracks on good rock, after a moderately interesting start. Technically, wasn't it just a lot of 4b?
Toughie... It's been a good year so far for quality and it's only just kicking off
Punsola-Reniu (6c+) because it was an excellent adventure which I got to climb with MrsAJM, which in itself is a comparatively rare treat post kids?
King Wad (E6 6b) because it’s a bit of an iconic route (partly due to the crux being on a highly photogenic arete high above the Pass and partly due to the name!), I was fully expecting to take the mega lob but didn’t, whilst some pretty handy climbers haven’t managed to onsight it! (Comes up as E6 in the link but it’s actually only E5, though that’s a bit of a debate in some quarters.)
A few spring to mind.
For trad, it has to be Exposure Explosion (HVS 5a) and I've shouted about it quite a bit since. It's an epic 7 pitch tradventure with one hard move and one precarious move. A belay in the rafters of one roof and a belay in a wet portaloo sized ledge at the back of a cave. It's like nothing else I've done in the UK!
Sport would probably be Toe the Line (6b) as it's not just the first of that grade for myself but the moves are pretty darn good too! Nicer setting than a lot of sport near me.
I know it's not UK but having done Rebuffat-Pierre (TD- 6a+) and managing to do it clean and free, this is a huge personal achievement for me. The setting was insane, hearing avalanches and rockfalls every few minutes while pulling through the fantastic moves is something else! The story of the rest of the day adds to the memory for me and makes the contrast between elation of managing the crux and pure fatigue afterwards even stronger.
I also did Les Formes du Chaos (WI-4) in February which I could go on about all day and another huge tick in my book. Grade, setting, head space, quality of ice, partner, it all just made it epic.
No bouldering this year.
For various reasons I've not climbed as much as usual this year. But two routes that stick out are
Merlin Slab (D) - outrageously exposed for the grade, in a fantastic location, and nobody else on the crag (though that may well end when the route is included in the next edition of the scrambling guide).
Black Watch (VS 4c) - just getting to the start was traumatic enough, with waves crashing half way up the cliffs opposite. The route looked totally impossible at the grade, but there were holds everywhere. I'm not sure why only doesn't get 3 stars, maybe because of all the other quality routes there.
the Orange 6b+ at Northampton Pinnacle
I think that’s a bit harsh Gordon. Yes, there may be some slight exaggeration in parts, but few on here would argue about the iconic status of GC. The OP invited suggestions for ‘the best’ route - that depends on who’s on it, their sense of occasion and the role that the route has had in their personal climbing journey. It’s not all about being hard or being compared with climbs on surrounding crags
Gimmer Crack is great, and the hard moves on the first bit are out on the left away from the groove. The top bit in the groove isn't desperate but it's burly and there is plenty of air below your feet. I think Gordon has gone a bit mardy or is thinking of the wrong route!
> There are just so many baffling things on this thread. My memory of Gimmer Crack is of a very friendly route on good rock, low in the grade (I'm sure it was MVS in the early 70s ... about right).
Well, my logbook for 1976 says "led through on The Crack (VS-) which was good, but not as good as it's reputation suggests. Quite strenuous but not too hard" so I think I agreed with you. I've always thought of it as a slightly odd choice for Hard Rock given the number of fantastic VS's in the Lakes.
Funnily enough I repeated it last year and thought it was fine, quite burly and now deserving of VS 4C (previously 4b), but still not outstanding.
For me, without doubt, it's been Stolen Chimney (5.10d) on the Fisher Towers. We went on a family holiday to Colorado and Utah, staying with friends in an RV. My wife and I walked in twice to do the route. On the first day it had been raining, we knew we wouldn't be able to get on the route, but thought we'd have a look at the tower. We were probably there for less than 2h, but in that time loads of desert flowers had opened after the rain. A couple of days later we went back and did the route. It felt super easy and everything flowed well. The summit was a unique experience, and we were back with our friends by midday. My wife and I don't get to do multipitch together often due to childcare, but to spend that day and move so efficiently in such alien terrain was a special moment.
Though my year so far has been a bit limited, for various reasons, I've enjoyed everything I've climbed. This one was the most memorable
It's a perfect little route. The rock is really lovely, the climbing pleasantly sustained and thought-provoking, and the protection good. And the crag is a really lovely spot. 😁
Nice to agree on something, Nick! That's more or less what I think: it's good, but not outstanding, i.e. two stars. I vaguely remember an interesting first pitch then it was enjoyable crack climbing. The problem is there's so much excellence nearby. F Route I remember as being 3-star superb, and of course Kipling is something very special indeed. North-West Arete and Asterisk are also very good.
Went to Pabbay - nuff said.
Although I'd add that as well as the mega-classics like Prophesy and U-ei, I did Immaculate Conception (E2 5b) which is a fairly short pitch on a fairly minor crag, so a bit of hassle involved for the amount of climbing. Better be good, with that name, I thought. It was, of course, immaculate. A truly stunning pitch, real class.
Been too busy renovating a house to climb rock much, so two ice routes, Hypercoldai on Torre Coldai, Civetta, which has two sustained WI4 pitches followed by much easier stuff after. Someone mentioned Forme de Chaos above, which I've also done. This is easily as good, but without the crowds - we didn't see a soul all day. Hypercoldai (WI-4)
Also in the Serrai di Sottoguda, Cattedrale di Destra, again two super long sustained pitches, 4 and 4+ which are steep. My friend led the 4+ pitch which was hollow and boomed frighteningly at the top and he just had to continue, but even so, amazing climbing.
The Capella/Golden Slipper link up Pavey. I know it’s two routes but it feels like a logical way up the cliff and gosh it has some fine climbing on it. Add in fabulous rock, a glorious day and a good partnership and it was thoroughly enjoyed.
UK lead: Moac Wall, Lewis
UK 2nd: Neptune, Lewis
Europe single pitch sport: Yellow Submarine
Europe multi pitch sport: Aghios Lemmy
Probably Pluto on Raven. It had been raining and the rock was a little greasy in places, but we had the crag to ourselves and the combination of partner/banter, fading evening light and arriving at the top belay with just enough gear left made it one of the best adventures of the year.
The other contender was Blade Runner on Helvellyn. I'd received 2 phone calls to tell me it had formed and I managed to get a partner for the Monday night with the thaw due Tuesday and at 11pm I lead it and immediately after the temperature came above zero and that was the last time it was in condition. My partner snapped a photo which is in my gallery.
Central Buttress on Scafell via the Marr Variation, Direct Link and last pitch of Nazgul in the evening sun - simply magical.
A close second is the combination of True Moments and Freebird on Castle Hellen - stunning positions
The North-East corner of the Kleine Lafatscher in Austria. A superb line up a wide crack with not much gear - part of the Extreme Alpine Rock Tick list - big cams size 3 and 4 (bd) recommended, we had two size 2 and one 4...could have done with more...amazing line , amazing day and good weather for a north facing route.
Solid Air (vs) at Marsland. Beautiful location, grippy rock and just enough technical interest and gear spacing to be engaging.
The highlight of my first trip to Arapiles earlier this year was one of the easiest routes we did: Bard (12). I think it must be the best HS I've ever done: continuously interesting climbing and superb airy eyrie belays. Arapiles is far from being my style - mostly steep and juggy rather than slabby and balancy - but it's a hell of a place: even the campsite is lovely. And I hadn't realised the Aussies brewed such good pale ale! One final thought, for those who've been: I know the first ascensionists of The Bard quoted Shakespeare to each other on the way up, but does anyone else think that the buttress viewed side-on looks like the man himself in profile?
Barely climbed this year but Britomartis on Saturday, with the sun, the sea and the seals was sublime. The first pitch is where it's at, an easy romp up the juggy flake in such a fantastic position.
Striapach at Fair Head. 26m runout in a featureless flaring squeeze chimney. Took me at least 2 hours to lead the pitch, screaming my way up the last 5 meters with no skin left on my elbows or knee caps.
What a memory though, and what an insane feeling to top out to the comfortable belay and not quite throw up. A treasured tick.
It wasn't the initial plan for the day, but Scott Titt and I were forced to look for an alternative, shaded crag on an extremely hot day at the end of a 2 week trip in April. The crag actually took some finding, as the approach description is a little bit "sketchy".....The unexpected bonus was a route that climbs a striking 100 metre corner line on an underdeveloped and underrated cliff.
Initially balancy and quite bold climbing leads to quite an intimidating, hanging corner crack which varies in angle from off-vertical to gently impending, requiring a variety of jamming, knee and arm bars, bridging, chimneying and laybacking techniques . Thank god I ignored Scott's insistence that I leave the very big Camalots behind!
Both pitches were equally good although we old men found the final 5b bit to be a bit, er, hard. Overall I thought it was at the very top of its grade (and possibly even slightly undergraded.) Best climb (of any grade) that I've done in the Anti-Atlas; better than some 3 star routes and only a short drive from the Kasbah too.
Did Overhanging Bastion again last night which I climbed about 20 years ago. New best route of the year, infact one of the best routes ever!
Stunning climbing in a stunning position. It just needs a bit of traffic to clean it up a bit.
Back in January I did Curved Ridge (II 3) on the Buchaille in early winter conditions, in a group of 5. We started in thick atmospheric clag, but climbed out above the clouds into a brilliant inversion. I've not done much in winter, and thoroughly enjoyed by first trip to the Coe.
In terms of trad climbing, I did Superdirect (HVS 5a) in April as the first route of a sunny morning on the first day of a road trip to Ogwen with good friends, leading all the pitches. It was just perfect: enjoyable climbing, a fantastic line up the rock-waves, and an exciting finish. It also marked a bit of a run of confidence that has seen me take on other HVS routes and three Wilton E1s, which is significant for me, even if modest by others' standards.
Bouldering-wise, on a walking holiday with a friend I had a quick flutter on the Torridon Celtic Jumble (without a guide or a mat), and really enjoyed the rock quality and the slightly bizarre moves of Celtic Knot (f6A); though I've had a lot of fun with a circuit I've been lapping at Windy Clough (https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/set.php?id=3315).
There have also been other days that were wonderful just for the good company. I'm still hoping, though, that the best climbing days of the year are ahead of me!
As competitions restart - and given the fact that we're no longer 'in isolation' - it seemed like a good time to wrap up our video series and look ahead to Tokyo 2020. In this final episode of In Isolation, we look back at...