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What's the easiest route you've bailed on

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 tew 02 Jul 2024

During a recent trip to Pembroke I bailed off Threadneedle Street (HS) it's the easiest route I've bailed on for while. As I managed to get lost on it and couldn't find a juggy traverse, just a blank smooth wall that wasn't anywhere near being a HS...

What is the easiest route you've bailed off recently and why?

Post edited at 09:51
 Wainers44 02 Jul 2024
In reply to tew:

I think I once failed to make it from the car park to the ODG? I realised I might be first to the bar and would have to get them in.....

 C Witter 02 Jul 2024
In reply to tew:

Monolith Crack (HS)... at 182cm and c.80kg I was too fat for the crack. I've never experienced such claustrophobic dread before or since!

I've also escaped a few easy routes due to rain, of course!

3
 johnlc 02 Jul 2024
In reply to tew:

Corvus in Borrowdale.  Graded as Diff although to be honest, that isn't much below my best leading grade!  I convinced my mate that the poor weather forecast wouldn't be as bad as he thought.  Guess what?  Professional weather forecasters know more than me.  Ended up getting wet through and seriously cold on a March day.  Every incut handhold was just a little pool of icy water to ensure that your hands froze into numb claws.  Got to the famous hand traverse pitch which suddenly looked a lot steeper than the photos.  My mate said 'I don't fancy it, do you?' and pointed in the opposite direction to a steep scrappy hillside of near-bottomless sphagnum moss and occasional rock buttresses.

I think we probably ended up climbing harder stuff to get to the top of the crag than if we had persevered with Corvus but there you go.

 Babika 02 Jul 2024
In reply to tew:

Years ago we once failed to get off the ground on some VD on Lliwedd. My partner was an E2 climber at the time.

Yes it was January but all the holds pointed the wrong way and we couldn't find a sensible way up. 

Oh, the arrogance. 

 65 02 Jul 2024
In reply to tew:

Spartan Slab. Possibly not the easiest I've bailed from but the most notable as I'd done it a couple of times before and soloed it about a year before.

Partner, weather and midgies were all good and I had at least 3 technical grades in hand, I just wasn't in the right place in my head, not an entirely uncommon occurence with me. Abbing off high on the route was a right pain.

Edit: sorry, you specified recently. This was 30+ years ago.

Post edited at 10:42
 Robert Durran 02 Jul 2024
In reply to tew:

I once bailed off a 5.2  (mod/diff?) slab pitch in Tuolomne having been traumatised by the 5.6 (severe?) flared chimney pitches we'd already climbed (I'd seconded one pitch and, based on that, refused to lead another).  I was probably climbing E2 at the time.

Great White Book (5.6)

Post edited at 10:59
 Offwidth 02 Jul 2024
In reply to Robert Durran:

A contender for my favorite ever US ascent. The offwidth/ chimney section was just wonderful and on lead I deliberately went up and down and back up bits of it, using different techniques, just because I could (and even popped out right onto the arete at one point).

In contrast I wished at some points I could have bailed from the descent off Fairview Dome. It all turned out OK but it looked terrifying. At least you can rap off SPD if you don't like slab descents.

5
 Robert Durran 02 Jul 2024
In reply to Offwidth:

> A contender for my favorite ever US ascent. The offwidth/ chimney section was just wonderful and on lead I deliberately went up and down and back up bits of it, using different techniques, just because I could.

The stuff of nightmares for me. I remember thinking it was so insecure and slippery seconding that there was no way I could have led those pitches.

> In contrast I wished at some points I could have bailed from the descent off Fairview Dome. It all turned out OK but it looked terrifying. 

I've happily wandered up and down Fairview in trainers!

 TobyA 02 Jul 2024
In reply to tew:

Just a few weeks ago I lowered off Crescent Slabs (S 4a) on Pavey Ark. I was in sight of the belay but about 6 meters out from my last runner - a tiny cam - and probably 10 meters or more above the last runner I was really convinced by. It's some slabby moves into a groove (which turned out to be very easy), and there were various wet patches which may or may not have been holds, it was also spitting rain by this point. Up and down and up and down, trying loads of different sequences and visualizing slipping off all of them, pulling the first runner and bouncing broken down most of the first pitch. In the end I decided after 30 years I've got nothing to prove and would probably upset my family if I hurt myself or worse. I climbed back down to where I was tight on both ropes then lowered off just getting down on our 50 mtrs ropes. So I had done a bit over 25 mtrs of a 30 mtr pitch. Andy went up on "top rope" to my high point - pulled into the groove with no delay and sauntered up to the belay block. I seconded also finding the move I baulked at trivial with a rope above me, but there you go - that's why leading is so much more satisfying than seconding. Most of the time. It was raining by this point so we abbed off, not even finishing the route. 

So severe. I'm sure I've retreated from easier climbs soloing on grit but that's a bit different. 

 TobyA 02 Jul 2024
In reply to C Witter:

> Monolith Crack (HS)... at 182cm and c.80kg I was too fat for the crack. I've never experienced such claustrophobic dread before or since!

I remember it being a squeeze but not that bad, maybe I was much slimmer then but somehow doubt it. I did it with a Finnish friend on one of her first goes at climbing. I do remember she kept saying "my boobs are stuck!" which was a problem I didn't face, and I also thought showed admirable fluency in her third or fourth language! 😆

1
 Offwidth 02 Jul 2024
In reply to TobyA:

I couldn't get in, let alone through (despite fully exhaling). I then climbed up the outside to check it out (tough HVS) but came back down as my climbing partner didn’t fancy it. We checked the guidebook and then found the delightful De Selingcourt's variation.

 Offwidth 02 Jul 2024
In reply to Robert Durran:

This discussion reminds me of a friend who backed off the glacial polished approach slabs for Left Water Crack on Lembert Dome. Another route I'd highly recommend but you would probably hate.

https://www.mountainproject.com/route/105931711/left-water-crack

 TobyA 02 Jul 2024
In reply to Offwidth:

That reminds me, even more recently I failed on a Mod, Telescope Tunnel (M), although I was soloing and I think because I added some difficulty by taking my harness off halfway up I'm claiming I failed on a vdiff. ;⁠-⁠) More seriously, am I the only person to find this route un-doable?

 Abr 02 Jul 2024
In reply to tew:

I once bailed on curved Ridge at a time I was consistent on E2 leads (on grit)!!

 Offwidth 02 Jul 2024
In reply to TobyA:

That's not a mod sandbag anymore. Rockfax need to catch up.

 GrahamD 02 Jul 2024
In reply to tew:

I remember bailing out on a really greasy VD on Cadair Idris once.  Also Grooved Arete on Tryfan, although that was to avoid getting benighted.

 Dave Hewitt 02 Jul 2024
In reply to TobyA:

> That reminds me, even more recently I failed on a Mod

A fair few folk will surely have bailed off the long Mod ridge of the In Pinn. I've seen this done: was once there on a really poor day (wet/cold/windy/cloudy) in summer and stood around at the foot of the east ridge with no intention of trying it while some friends geared up and disappeared upwards into the murk. Maybe 45 minutes later one of them - a perfectly competent hill person - reappeared almost in tears having retreated from the awkward step halfway up. That was almost 40 years ago and I don't think she's been back.

 Neil Henson 02 Jul 2024
In reply to tew:

> During a recent trip to Pembroke I bailed off Threadneedle Street (HS) it's the easiest route I've bailed on for while. 

I wouldn't describe Threadneedle Street as easy, despite what the grade suggests. 

 TobyA 02 Jul 2024
In reply to Offwidth:

> That's not a mod sandbag anymore. Rockfax need to catch up.

what grade should it get then? From memory the moves up to the very narrow squeeze felt hard for a mod to me but don't they always when you're finding something hard when soloing.

 philipivan 02 Jul 2024
In reply to GrahamD:

Also failed on some multipitch on cadair idris. 1st couple of pitches seemed to be vertical grass with no protection. Maybe we went the wrong way. Went and swam in the tarn instead and almost died of hypothermia. 

 Babika 02 Jul 2024
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I once bailed off a 5.2  (mod/diff?) slab pitch in Tuolomne having been traumatised by the 5.6 (severe?) flared chimney pitches we'd already climbed (I'd seconded one pitch and, based on that, refused to lead another).  I was probably climbing E2 at the time.

Great White Book was amazing! I remember leading a pitch where I ran out 50m with absolutely no gear at all until I reached the belay. Yes its easy but best not to think about a slip! 

 LastBoyScout 02 Jul 2024
In reply to tew:

I once bailed on a whole crag. Abseiled into Subluminal @ Swanage. It then started to snow, so prussicked back up in a blizzard! And that was the Easter week, so pretty late for snow.

Also something up in the Dinorwic slate quarries. Got to a point where literally everything I touched seemed to be loose, so got a mate to drop a rope from above for backup. Didn't bail the route, only the lead.

 Robert Durran 02 Jul 2024
In reply to Babika:

> Great White Book was amazing! I remember leading a pitch where I ran out 50m with absolutely no gear at all until I reached the belay. Yes its easy but best not to think about a slip! 

E3 4c ?

Post edited at 13:12
 Offwidth 02 Jul 2024
In reply to Robert Durran:

Your fear must have played tricks. GWB is probably PG with big cams and it's R but a long way from X rated without, if you pay attention 

6
 Offwidth 02 Jul 2024
In reply to TobyA:

At least whatever we gave it in Froggatt to Black Rocks, 14 years back (we always tried to err on the conservative side on upgrades). It can be quite a scary solo as it's awkward if you are not used to such things: it can feel on the cusp of risking being getting wedged forever or a chance of slipping out.

 Sean Kelly 02 Jul 2024
In reply to tew:

Westmorlands Route at Dove Crag.

https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crags/dove_crag_dovedale-481/westmorland...

I managed to get up but knew my partner, a relative novice, had no chance in the wet slimy conditions on that particular day. I had to ab back down to retrieve the gear.

Post edited at 13:37
 Robert Durran 02 Jul 2024
In reply to Offwidth:

> Your fear must have played tricks. GWB is probably PG with big cams and it's R but a long way from X rated without.

Surely a sustained 45m runout has got to be X, or are people missing runners?

Post edited at 13:53
 Offwidth 02 Jul 2024
In reply to Robert Durran:

It's not sustained as I found multiple half rests and I found spaced runners. Lots of pics and beta here:

https://www.mountainproject.com/route/105835754/the-great-white-book

 alan moore 02 Jul 2024
In reply to Robert Durran:

> E3 4c ?

You were climbing at far too high a standard to appreciate thetotal lack of intricacy in GWB. I did most of it sat down.

The approach was scarier than the route!

 Babika 02 Jul 2024
In reply to Offwidth:

It does say you need 5" to 6" pro. I had nothing bigger than a no 9 hex on my harness hence absolutely no gear!

Full mental exhaustion creeping up to the belay. 

 C Witter 02 Jul 2024
In reply to TobyA:

Maybe I was trying to get too deep inside... or maybe it was just the fear that, if I really did succeed in squeezing in, I might not be able to squeeze back out! Awful... I hate really tight spaces, it seems... and I'm not even sorry! :p

 alan moore 02 Jul 2024
In reply to TobyA:

I thought Crescent Slabs was more like VS fwiw.

Post edited at 20:12
 alan moore 02 Jul 2024
In reply to tew:

On a wet Welsh week that included Charity, Sub Cneifion, Christmas Curry and Belle Vue Bastion, I failed completely to get more than 10 feet up the initial slab on Milestone Direct. Nothing convinced me that my feet wouldn't shoot off. Was a little bit surprised, especially on the  next dry day, it was so easy.

 TobyA 02 Jul 2024
In reply to C Witter:

Definitely don't try Telescope Tunnel (M) if you find yourself at Birchen then! 😀 There's a similar moderate caving expedition at Baslow too, can't remember what's that one is called though. I did manage to wiggle out of that one although I did rip the fleece I had on a little. 

OP tew 02 Jul 2024
In reply to Neil Henson:

The bit inside the cliff face was interesting and definitely on the harder side of HS. I might have gone to high for the juggy traverse

 Dave Ferguson 02 Jul 2024
In reply to Sean Kelly:

> Westmorlands Route at Dove Crag.

yes I've bailed on this too, same problem, too wet and slimey despite it being summer.

I've also been shut down by an almscliff severe, but I'm sure I'm not the only one.

 TobyA 02 Jul 2024
In reply to alan moore:

> I thought Crescent Slabs was more like VS fwiw.

Fair enough, although like I said we abbed off from the top of the first pitch as rain was threatening, and we go absolutely soaked as we packed up and walked down in a real cloud burst type rain, so I don't know if the upper pitch is the harder one anyway? It was maybe my ignominious retreat, but from the first pitch it didn't seem like that great a route anyway. It's a bit of a Lakes thing I reckon, but lots of starred routes don't actually have very obvious lines in comparison to other areas/rock types. Not all climbs of course, I still reckon 25 years on that Botterill's Slab (VS 4c) is among the best routes I've done in England and it definitely has a line! 

1
 Dave Cundy 02 Jul 2024
In reply to Robert Durran:

My mate Paul lead the Great White Book in '88.  As a big lad who did a bit of caving and had variable confidence, he back-and-footed it all the way up.  By the top, he looked like he'd slithered all the way down it!

I just stood up and laybacked the edge.  HVS 4b but very memorable 

 Cog 02 Jul 2024
In reply to Dave Cundy:

I also led it in '88 and thought HVS. It was my first route at the Meadows, later routes there seemed a bit more 'normal'.

 profitofdoom 02 Jul 2024
In reply to Abr:

> I once bailed on curved Ridge at a time I was consistent on E2 leads (on grit)!!

I once failed to lead a HS at Avon an hour after leading an E3 ! (But to be fair I think the HS was later graded HVS)*

Now what was my excuse......

*And now it's E1 5b...

Post edited at 22:48
 wintertree 02 Jul 2024
In reply to tew:

Squeezy Bill (VD)

I was not squeezy enough.  

Edit: On this route “dnf” stands for “did not fit”.

Post edited at 22:54
 Robert Durran 02 Jul 2024
In reply to Dave Cundy:

> My mate Paul lead the Great White Book in '88.  As a big lad who did a bit of caving and had variable confidence, he back-and-footed it all the way up.  By the top, he looked like he'd slithered all the way down it!

> I just stood up and laybacked the edge.  HVS 4b but very memorable 

I have a massive aversion to chimneys ( I usually just don't fit at the grade), so I laybacked it too. At least HVS.

 C Witter 02 Jul 2024
In reply to TobyA:

Wha-wha-what? There are some great lines in the Lakes...! But, to be fair, Crescent Slabs probably isn't one of them. I remember finding the start of pitch 1 quite pokey, and the start of pitch 2 similarly a bit goey, but both ease, especially p.2. which soon becomes a ledge shuffle (much like Capella). I did also specifically write in my logbook (years ago): "I wouldn't want to do this route in the wet!" The rock is depressingly slatey below Jack's Rake on Pavey. Above, it's great tuff!

2
 alan moore 03 Jul 2024
In reply to C Witter:

It's worth a star I thought. I remember some 4b ish moves on tiny, slatey spike holds getting into the first pitch groove, and one very insecure move on pinch grips to start the second. I did it as a warm up for Golden Slipper, which felt nice and secure compared to Crescent Slabs!

 C Witter 03 Jul 2024
In reply to alan moore:

Maybe even 2 stars! But, yes, that would make Golden Slipper a 4-star route!

1
 Dunthemall 03 Jul 2024

Jollies Route (HVD)  Chudleigh Rocks - South Face and The ArĂȘte (S 4a) Avon Gorge (Main Area). At the time The Arete was only given Diff!

Any damp and both are skating rinks.

 Rog Wilko 03 Jul 2024
In reply to tew:

Four or five years back I bailed off Jacob's Ladder (VD). On a related question (which is the easiest route you’ve had to aid, my climb of shame is Tarzan's Mate (S 4a), upgraded on here to severe, but is V. Diff in my guidebook. Funny coincidence that these are both in The Coun’y.

 gribble 03 Jul 2024
In reply to tew:

I'm surprised Lands End Long Climb hasn't made an appearance yet!

 alan moore 03 Jul 2024
In reply to Rog Wilko:

> which is the easiest route you’ve had to aid, my climb of shame is [climb(41881,"Tarzan's Mate")

That would be Terminal Arete on Lliwedd in a light dusting of snow, and the drainpipe pitch one of North Buttress on Tryfan; both graded Moderate!

Those VDiff chimneys at Great Wanney are monsters btw...

 Sam Beaton 03 Jul 2024
In reply to Rog Wilko:

Bowfell Buttress (HS 4b) In my defence it was November, sleeting, and I was in full waterproofs, carrying a rucksack, and Scarpa Mantas on my feet

 steveriley 03 Jul 2024
In reply to tew:

I once placed an RP on the approach pitch of Bridge's Route (HS 4b) and got a bit freaked on the traverse at the top.

 Andy Hardy 03 Jul 2024
In reply to tew:

I stood in a sling on Prospero's Climb (VD) due to greasy rock. 

Also had to do likewise on the 3rd pitch of Gillercombe Buttress (S 4a) because the heavens opened.

 Jimbo C 03 Jul 2024
In reply to tew:

What counts as bailing? There have been a lot of short single pitch routes (around VD) that I've started soloing and then not finished (maybe I was warming up, maybe I was scared of going higher, maybe I just wasn't feeling it).

In terms of proper bailing off, it would probably be abseiling from the third pitch of Stoat's Crack (HS) when it pissed it down.

 Neil Henson 03 Jul 2024
In reply to tew:

> The bit inside the cliff face was interesting and definitely on the harder side of HS. I might have gone to high for the juggy traverse

I struggled on the first pitch, although in my defence I was awaiting a hip replacement and couldn't bridge many of the moves. Had to climb a super slippery face / crack, which was quite a bit harder. Fell off several times. Fortunately I was on the blunt end of the rope. Felt the route warranted VS and no pushover at that. 

 PaulJepson 03 Jul 2024
In reply to tew:

Anyone who's done anything for any length of time in the mountains has thought they'd nip up an easy route in mediocre conditions, only for them to deteriorate and think better of carrying on.  

 Dave Garnett 03 Jul 2024
In reply to tew:

Pendulum Chimney (S 4b).  Even though I’d done it before.  The chimney was a bit wet and I just couldn’t persuade myself I was going to bridge up it without breaking my legs.  All in my head. Well, mostly.

 Sam Beaton 03 Jul 2024
In reply to tew:

A' Chir Ridge Traverse (M) abbed off the middle of it somewhere (not sure exactly, visibility was zero), both the ropes and us were covered in mud afterwards from the filthy gully we found ourselves in

 ben b 03 Jul 2024
In reply to tew:

Milestone Buttress was my most ignominious retreat. There were very few good handholds above the really good footholds of the (checks notes), erm, hand traverse I was standing on.

I feel stupid to this day. In my defence it was sleeting and we were very hungover.

b

 Bulls Crack 04 Jul 2024
In reply to tew:

Backed off the wide crack pitch on Gashed Crag last year...ugh

In reply to tew:

> During a recent trip to Pembroke I bailed off Threadneedle Street (HS) it's the easiest route I've bailed on for while. As I managed to get lost on it and couldn't find a juggy traverse, just a blank smooth wall that wasn't anywhere near being a HS...

> What is the easiest route you've bailed off recently and why?

I thought the first pitch was HVS. The rest really great but still VS.

 Robert Durran 04 Jul 2024
In reply to PaulJepson:

> Anyone who's done anything for any length of time in the mountains has thought they'd nip up an easy route in mediocre conditions, only for them to deteriorate and think better of carrying on.  

Yes, I think these situations are missing the point of the thread. Any route can be hard in poor conditions. I think this is about failing on an easy route in normal conditions.

​​​

 Dave Garnett 04 Jul 2024
In reply to gribble:

> I'm surprised Lands End Long Climb hasn't made an appearance yet!

Yes.  I've done it but I climbed across the gap rather than jumping!

I also recall inexplicably not being able to do Valerie's Rib (HS 4b) one time, despite (again) having led it previously (and since).

1
 inglesp 04 Jul 2024
In reply to tew:

I've got Lockwood's Chimney (VD) down as DNF, but really I mean DNS -- it was so wet and claggy we got completely lost before we found our way in.


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