/ Which crags can’t you revisit? For fear of...
I’m realising there’s a growing list of crags that I’m kind of avoiding, due to routes on them that I should put myself on but will require more mental fortitude than I seem to have at present.
My starters for ten; Reecastle and White Noise. Gouther and Castration Crack. Huntsman’s Leap and Bloody Sunday. Etc etc....
For Peak District grit, Millstone has always scared the crap out of me
Hen Cloud grins at me every time I slink past to The Roaches.
I've never really felt like revisiting Chapel Point after seeing someone break 2 vertebrae after decking out from the start of Ultravixens...
Also somewhat ambivalent about revisiting the N Face of Ben Nevis in summer conditions after finding what was left after the local MRT had recovered someone's remains from The Long Climb a couple of years ago.
Crags I'm refusing to revisit because of my dignity being battered on previous visits? I enjoy that kind of stuff!
Ramshaw. Don’t think I need to elaborate.
Add Hodge Close because of Malice in Wonderland and also the some day inevitable rematch with One Step Beyond to your list.
Yep, thanks for reminding me...
Earl Crag, due to the fact my climbing partner and I have received a call on 3 separate occasions whilst there advising either a loved one or friend had died.
For Peak District grit
Black Rocks, Lawrencefield, Cratcliffe and some of the quarries (now wiped from memory!)
Millstone?! Lawrencefield? Your hands don’t know they’re born. Try Wimberry.
Gimmer - Eastern Hammer.
White Noise isn't so bad. OK, I messed it up first time, but all you've really got to do is climb up to the crux (not too hard), and then lock down real hard on a crimp to get a good finger jam (hard). Then you're laughing.
Gowder in Borrowdale. Mate pulled off a 200 lb rock which missed me by three inches. Absolutely no desire to go back.
Would like to go back to Etive but, 30 years later, can still recall the seething mass of midges that descended on me at a belay. We were doing a second route, Spartan, after seeing most other teams leave. Schoolboy error. D'oh!
Langcliffe quarry. Circa 40 years on, the horror is still vivid. I know there has been some cleaning and bolting but, even so, am not in a mad rush to go back.
Goblin coombe. Ticks. Ugh.
An unlikely one, given its valley location, but I always used to find Raven Crag Langdale really spooky. I had a terrifying experience there as a new leader, finding myself runout, off route and struggling to find any good gear. This fear was then fed by a few other experiences (e.g. abseiling with an increasingly distressed girlfriend) and by the very sad news of a death on the descent. But, I've also had some very good experiences there, and the dread has begun to lift.
I also used to dread Trowbarrow - and sometimes still do: as I live quite near the quarry, I've done all the decent easy routes several times. Which... means every visit I feel compelled to climb something a bit harder than normal. There's something about the rock, too, which plays on my mind: some days it feels good and grippy, but other days it's like soap; sometimes it feels solid and I dismiss those who say it's all going to fall down; other days if feels entirely composed of carefully balanced choss; and sometimes it will take all the gear your rack, whilst at other times I'm haunted by the idea of cams skidding out or a particularly crozzly crack just refuses to allow your nuts to seat well.
Brrr... Even thinking about it, I can already feeling the slug of dread oozing in the pit of my stomach...
The Etive Slabs.
For fear of death.
> Langcliffe quarry. Circa 40 years on, the horror is still vivid. I know there has been some cleaning and bolting but, even so, am not in a mad rush to go back.
+1. Been there, smelled it, probably at the same time as you
> due to routes on them that I should put myself on but will require more mental fortitude than I seem to have at present.
Based on that, all of them ;-(
We went there and I was shoved into leading The Corner ('a fine mountaineering route', according to the guide). Thought I was going to die. Bridged up the corner, showering stuff down and realised that my crucial left foothold was the top of a slowly detaching flake. Stepped off it and it gently fell between the ropes, thankfully missing those below. Nine people assembled at the bottom; five finished, all roped together. Never again, I thought.
About six weeks later, Boggie persuaded me to go back, for Tabula Rosa. I led the first pitch - death if you fall off - to avoid leading the second, which had a grim reputation. Boggie (wisely) refused to lead it. We had a blazing row on the (non) belay, both coming up with any old excuse, no matter how ludicrous. When Boggie finally snapped, "I'm a married man!" fatally I weakened. There was a gleam of triumph in his eyes.
Ten feet out from the belay... no way back. A sea of little flakes, brittle, horribly insubstantial. No gear to speak of. Just a single drooping peg, aeons away, taunting.
No matter how carefully you moved, it was simply a question of time before a flake would snap. Then you'd be off, straight past the belay, which would rip. Time ceased to have any meaning.
It was an interesting experience! But I won't be back.
Red Walls. Pagan.
Terror beyond all terror.
I'm only just getting over the mental scars from Redshift ten years ago.
Symonds Yat - each time I've been there, I've narrowly avoided being brained by rocks falling from the chossy slope at the top of the crag; and on one occasion, we finished our day when a nearby climber decked from the top of the crag. Walking out to the sounds of sirens and blue flashing lights left a distinct feeling of "I'm done with this place".
AFAIK the climber was ok, remarkably. I think he had managed to detach himself from the abseil, and fall the height of the crag before rolling down the slope, so definitely in the death-fall territory!
You are absolutely on the money with that Trowbarrow description. I suspect most locals feel the same...
Mother Scareys Kitchen
> The Etive Slabs.
> For fear of death.
As far as I know only one person has ever been killed there and they fell off the path along the top.
Personal experience has demonstrated to me that it's perfectly possible to walk/limp away from 100 foot whippers on the slabs. Minus a few ounces of skin of course.
> For Peak District grit, Millstone has always scared the crap out of me
Ok, another vote for Millstone because it means I will have to get back on Embankment 2, which despite only being VS and despite me being OK with jamming still manages to spit me off.
In reality, I won't stay away though, because the rest of it is so good.
> White Noise isn't so bad.
Agreed. It was my first E3 and I came down thinking 'Oh E3 isn't as hard after all'. Of course I subsequently found myself corrected - several times
Well that's scotched an old story. In the pre-bolting days I would look at Langcliffe as we drove past and the reply to the question of why we never went was always "Everyone climbs there once.....nobody does it twice" Sometimes with the addition of "...Not even Mick Fowler"
Another vote for Ramshaw Rocks, me and a mate, rejected the whole crag once, and I've never felt the need to return.
Nicely recounted! I see from my old Lime Climbs (Livesey's 1973 supplement) that we attempted Midnight Buttress in 1978, got off route after the iron spike on pitch 3, got very scared by the Jenga-like rock, retreated, then comleted - in total terror - The Black Table (which shared the first pitch of Tabula Rosa). I know we went there because we were seduced by the length of the routes (350 400 ft) but were destroyed by the experience and by the smell from the nearby tip. I won't be back either.
I forgot the jackdaws, too! The birds, the birds! When you enter the quarry they all begin circling in the air above you, cawing and croaking, as though they can already scent death on the air. And when you stick you arm deep into some awful crack, along with the desperate cheeping of chicks, the smell of bird shit and fear hits you.
It also reminds me of the smell of late autumn and winter - when I go to a crag and smell that: leaf rot and damp air - a thrill of fear always goes through me. "Let's just have a relaxed day, shall we?" you say to your partner, as you struggle to swallow your sandwich...
> The Etive Slabs.
Me too - for fear of shitted kex and becoming the equivalent of cheese on a grater! The only exception to this is Spartan Slab - I've done this pleasant route three times. I filled my trousers on both of the other routes I did there (Hammer and Jaywalk).
> Personal experience has demonstrated to me that it's perfectly possible to walk/limp away from 100 foot whippers on the slabs. Minus a few ounces of skin of course.
No there was a fatality there about 20 years ago of someone on a big run out who didn't place enough gear I heard about it at the time.
I was attacked by a cloud there on a wee belay above the crevasse on The Pause by midges at tea time, I couldn't open my eyes to belay properly it was so bad. As someone said upthread get your routes done there in midge free windows or you will be viciously and mercilessly attacked whilst belaying on tiny ledges or worse leading.
Yep, we had the bright idea of doing spartan slab on a cloudy August day with light winds. They got me belaying a mate up onto the final stance. Not something I'd like to do again
Parrock Quarry in the Lake District. Over the years I've seen a fair few of the routes I've done become a pile of rubble. The last time I climbed there I followed a fridge sized block down after underclinging it. It just missed my belayer; a quick count of finger found none were missing, but nicely mangled so got to visit Barrow Hospital.
Yep, although now an ex-local. Love Trowbarrow, but even thinking about leading anything harder than Coral Sea fills me with a little trepidation...
Then again, I haven't been on the sharp end for years
> I filled my trousers on both of the other routes I did there (Hammer and Jaywalk).
I nearly shat myself on the 5a slab pitch on Swastika. I remember having to step up on a smear and not knowing whether it would stick and looking at a 150ft tumble if it didn't. Enjoyed the 5c and 6a pitches though. That was more than 20 years ago. Never been back.
Black Rocks for fear of youths throwing any of my kit, I've left unattended, into the bushes. (for a laugh?)
> I nearly shat myself on the 5a slab pitch on Swastika...
My worst moment was on the 2nd 5a slab pitch on Jaywalk. I went too far right and I was 20m above good gear (12m above an RP) and I nearly slipped off a wet patch getting onto the ledge. Had I plummetted, I would have done a 150 foot cheesegrater move! When I looked down afterwards, I saw the correct route would have been a lot easier. Just like yourself, I enjoyed the technically harder (and well-protected) crux pitches.
I very nearly came off the Hammer Scoop pitch on the lead too. Glad I didn't!
>...Never been back.
Apart from my 3rd ascent of Spartan Slab, it's been nearly 20 years for me too!
Symond's Yat where, nearly 40 years ago, my climbing mate Simon fell to his death.
Climbing at the roaches and watched a bloke doing sloth - just thinking about doing it at the time. He went ok at first then started to struggle going across the overhanging bit - flapped in a bit of gear for ages swapping from hand to hand - pulled past it then arrived at the edge of the lip spent - feet fell away so he was hanging vertical staring back at the wall - time passed we watched from below. He let go then headed back into the wall on a big pendulum swing. I still remember turning away so as not to see the impact. Never considered sloth since.
I have similar memories of that pitch on Jaywalk. A 5a traverse 10m+ above last gear, telling myself to keep going and praying I'd stay on!
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