/ Best single pitch in the country?
@Chris_Craggs post on best days out made me think.
What is the best single pitch you think you have climbed. Not necessarily a single pitch route, but an individual pitch anywhere on any route.
My vote is going to the top hard pitch on Jaywalk (E2 5c) on the Etive Slabs (pitch 4 I think). I've only done it once, but it has always stuck with me, as having almost every move in the climbing lexicon in a single pitch. And then I got to the the top of the corner, where you swing left and up onto a ledge. There are perfect finger jams. But when I did, there was a peg slightly poorly placed so my hand would rest on the peg. Ethical dilemma! I spent 10 minutes working out how to do it without touching the peg.
Ooh, good game, I'll play.
Diabaig Pillar, Ochre Slab pitch on Vector, middle pitch of American Beauty, middle pitch of Concrete Chimney, second pitch of Nexus
We'll obviously Cenotaph Corner has to be up there. Less obviously, enjoyable pitches that spring to mind include the top of Golden Slipper on Pavey Ark, German Schoolgirl on the slate, third pitch of Aplomb on Plum Buttress, middle pitches of most routes on the nose of the Mot...
Left Wall (E2 5c) for me probably. Long, hard but not too hard, pumpy but not too pumpy, technical but not too technical..... Just hit a sweet spot for me when I did it.
Closer to home: Regent Street (E2 5c), Billy Whizz (E2 5c) and Scoop Wall (E2 5c) spring to mind. Although my favourite is probably Armageddon (E2 5c). Something about the moves, position and exposure that I really like.
I do so little actual 'proper' climbing these days that most of those routes feel like distant memories....
> We'll obviously Cenotaph Corner has to be up there.
Not even the best single pitch on the Cromlech. Mega line but fairly average climbing.
Yes I'm prepared to get slated..!
The best pitches for me are the ones done at or near the limit of my grade and these tend to stick in the memory the most. The list could be long but refined down to:
Left Wall, Scavenger 2nd pitch, Riders on the Storm at pembroke , Micah Eliminate on Christmas Curry, Eve 3rd pitch.
However 2 of the most memorable pitches I was seconding :
Silly Arete and the top pitch of Void.
In this country maybe the Strand?
Anywhere, either the stovelegs on El Cap or the 4th pitch of Candela di l'Oro on Corsica. The former for position and history and the latter for outrageous moves/positions at an easy grade.
The long 5a pitch near the top of Trapeze - magnificent!!
I'm going to throw out a potentially controversial opinion and say that Left Wall is actually a bit overrated. The rock is quite scrappy + shattered and whilst the climbing is good, it's not that good. Furthermore, the original line doesn't even take in one of the best bits - the direct finish - instead scuttling off left across a line of loose flakes. I'm not saying it's crap, because it's clearly great, but given that we're discussing 'the best single pitch in the country' I figured I may as well give it a hard time.
Given that I've shot down someone else's opinion it's only appropriate for me to voice my own, thereby leaving myself open to similar treatment. With that in mind I've been suitably spineless in selecting the best pitch of each country within the British Isles:
The Philistine, though I thought it more E2 than E1
one for mere mortals is North West Arete on gimmer, fantastic!
The Arrow, when the sun is out, and the tide is running and you need to clear your head.
A more amenable one on Dow would be the top pitch of Eliminate A.
The big pitch of Gormenghast on Heron Crag too. And, in that neck of the woods, Yellow Slab (East Buttress) and the crux pitch of Central Pillar (Esk)
The traverse pitch on Heart of Darkness/New Morning is very splendid particularly if the sun is shining and the sea is torquoise. A seal or two helps as well. As does a good mate......and a pint afterwards.
The first pitch of Britomartis, the second isn't bad either, I agree with whoever said the groove on Ten Degrees North, probably the most satisfying pitch I've ever done, on grit I'd have to go for Elegy.
I really rate Suicide Wall, Cratcliffe, if done as a single pitch. It's really varied, good rock, good position, lots of history, a steadily building pump and the feeling at the top when looking back over the lip that it's actually quite a big and steep pitch for gritstone. All that and I only seconded it (must go back).
At HVD the top pitch of Ledge Climb at Bosigran.
Wonderfully exposed, amazing views and a fantastic belay spot once you've got past the ledge.
According to my notes, the second pitch of The Cow: "Amazing route. Really amazing, The first pitch is a pain, but the second pitch is brilliant"
North West Arete on Gimmer is best single pitch of the grade, although Elimniate A on Dow Crag is even better, mind blowing for VS.
The best single pitch route in the country is obviously The Night Watch (VS 4b)
A pitch as part of a multi pitch is harder to pin down!
The main pitch on Botterill's Slab (VS 4c) perhaps?
Or the pinnacle pitch on Main Wall (HS 4b)
Though it's hard to beat the crack pitch on Islivig Direct (S 4a)
Ah, the Left Wall debate. Yes I have heard many opinions - I would say the majority think one of the best routes they have done but others think mostly HVS except the crack and as you point out cops out of the direct finish (which I have yet to do).
My personal memory of it is particularly good mainly because it was right at the top of what I could lead at the time and I can still remember the buzz when I topped out.
Not sure if I want to do it again in case the bubble is burst.
One route I forgot to include in my last post - White Slab, 5th pitch (the one after the lasso pitch).
I think you've hit a crucial point: the memory + timing of when you did the route is absolutely critical.
Every one of the routes I listed in my life has a story attached to it, but I'll save that for another time
> Got to be some good sport pitches too?!
For me maybe,
This Won't Hurt (7a), Llanymynech
Yosemite Wall (7a+), Malham
Cave Route Right (7b+), Gordale
Super Duper Dupont (7c), Chapel Head Scar
The Ashes (7c+), Kilnsey
One each from the Yorkshire big 3 and then couple of classics from slightly less popular crags. Struggling to think of a 7b that fits in this company but sure somebody can think of one (maybe down south?)
Ive not done it but surprised no one has nominated The Axe yet.
I've not got a deep well to draw on, but I'm in agreement with a few others on here:
- Pitch two of Golden Slipper is fantastic, at HVS 5a - the line jumps out even from across the tarn, an awe-inspiring position, delicate and sustained, with just enough gear to keep you safe, but not so much that you can relax.
- North-West Arete (VS 4c) is a really brilliant, 40m pitch with a bit of a kick at the top. But... what about the second, traverse pitch of Haste Not (VS 4c)? Quite a different style - and brilliant fun.
- The traverse pitch of 'Murray's Route' is excellent at Sev, as is D Route on Gimmer and the first two pitches of Thomas run together as one, but I agree that Oxford and Cambridge Direct - climbed as a single 40m pitch - is probably the best pitch of the grade in the Lakes. You're at the top of the crag, with fantastic views, climbing in an exposed position on perfect rock, with delicate moves and good pro. It's just delightful!
Yep, agree with you knocking Night Glue (7a+) - the holds are a bit too sharp to be "best in country".
New Dawn (7c) for 7c?
Building on your list:
All of these have the benefit of no desperate cruxes, just sustained classy moves.
At a more amenable grade The Five Star Finish (HVS 5a) is just brilliant.
If we are just including single pitch routes then the following are hard to beat...
Cemetery Gates (without the ledge belay)
Cloggy Corner (only one pitch really)
Comes the Dervish
Aviation (as a single pitch)
Suicide Wall (Cratcliffe)
Pad Me (before the polish)
A Baker's dozen. Only one of these left to tick!
The flake pitch on Central buttress, doesn't matter which way you do it. Finest pitch, finest route, finest crag, finest area.
The middle pitch of Diagonal, the top pitch of Kipling Groove, Botterills slab really stand out for me. I think they are so memorable because they were not near my limit so I could enjoy every move.
A lot of these routes are way beyond me plus I am not very well travelled but I'd like to give a shout out for Quien Sabe at Bamford, it's like "a route of four quarters", never sustained or pumpy but just the right amount of spice at the grade and feels pretty varied at least for grit. Sure it doesn't have EVERY move in the climbing lexicon, but it always feels so much more than just 12m of single pitch grit!
Trapeze has some magnificent pitches. I think the 2nd pitch? - where you swing out of the corner and up the slightly impending wall on impeccable holds stands out.
> First pitch of Integrity (VS 4c) was just incredible.
An excellent single pitch route on Lundy shares the same name, HS climbing on perfect rock up the seaward side of a pinnacle.
As with a lot of routes on the island, the fun starts a long way before you reach the start of the climb and it's probably not a good choice for people who like numbers painted on the rock.
Some wonderful pitches all over the country here. I'll throw another pitch into the mix
Suicide Wall at Bosigran, Pitch 2 (the horizontal break). I've done it 3 times. First time I was 17, and it was hard. Second time I got it just right and it was easy. 3rd time I was cocky and thought I knew how to do it. I ended up with 2 fist jams in the break, as well as both my feet (squatting), with the gear between my legs, wondering how I was ever going to get out of there without a flying backwards lob. Still don't know how I did....
Back on the Cromlech for me, but Resurrection takes my vote - long, sustained, frightening enough to make it memorable and felt like a hero by the top!
Outside the UK- 9 Lives, Cat Wall, Indian Creek. I tried this on the last day of the trip, and it broke me, but sustained shrinking hands into a flaring roof crack was glorious!
Possibly the best 'easier' pitch in the UK, as already mentioned, is the main pitch on Integrity (VS 4c) on Sron na Ciche on Skye.
In England, 'F' Route (VS 4c) on Gimmer stands out for me (IMO better than NW Arete).
In terms of properly world class pitches, the '6b layback' pitch on the The American Direct (ED1) on Les Dru is just utterly fantastic. I remember smiling all the way up it
PS I haven't done Titan's Wall (E3 5c) yet so I reserve the right to change my mind...
Agree with many other suggestions, particularly Left Wall and Silly Arete, but there's one pitch that few will have experienced (it's not exactly 'accessible', in either sense of the word) that I think is their equal or better: the crux pitch of The Chisel (E7 6b). And I still say that even though I fell off it!
F Route over NW Arete... I guess it's a matter of taste, but I much preferred the latter. F Route was great, but a bit dirty and avoids the much better E1 line of Whit's End Direct!
Pitches that stand out in my mind are:
Either pitch of Peryl at Avon
Top pitch of Yellow Edge, Avon
Shakin' like a leaf, Cheddar
Soul Sacrifice, Swanage
The Bug at Toilladh over Diabeaeg Pillar for me
Lucky Strike? or is that 2?
Another vote for Botterill's Slab main pitch.
Main slab pitch of super direct on Dinas Mot, it was one of those sunless windy days where the Mot felt a very cold place to be, I am sure many readers will have had a similar experience here. I nearly backed off but decided to keep going, I remember eventually clipping a good runner and could physically feel the tension disappearing. The climbing was fantastic also! Have never gone back because it could never be as good the second time.
Eroica pitch 1 on Pentire Head. Oh my God; that layback is magnificent.
The 4th pitch of The Spire on the Shelter Stone Crag is undoubtedly the best E3 5c pitch in the country. 45m of brilliant sustained well-protected climbing on impeccable granite in a magnificent situation.
> Yep, agree with you knocking Night Glue (7a+) - the holds are a bit too sharp to be "best in country".
Nothing against Night Glue, really good route but lacks a bit of line, some sharp rock and peters out a bit at the top so maybe not the very best.
> New Dawn (7c) for 7c?
The obvious choice I guess (together with Dominatrix), but did Super Duper last year a thought it was really top class climbing, varied and sustained all the way and a great line, right up there with any 7c in the north of England. Chapel Head is a lovely crag, much quieter than the Yorkshire 3, if you haven't done it's well worth the trip.
Any suggestions for a 7b? Maybe Wargames at Chapel Head but it is a little unbalanced with much the hardest climbing in the first 10m or so.
It's weird - I've done Night Glue, but I have very little recollection of it at all, certainly not the sort of recollections I'd expect if it were really that standout. I've stronger memories of at least half a dozen random things down south (plus Yosemite Wall and so on).
But I digress - if I were to think of sport climbing then The Ashes (7c+) stands a cut above the other things I've done in the UK (although there's a few similarly graded Yorkshire testpieces that is still love to do which could dethrone it). If I were to group DWS in with that same bucket then Gates of Greyskull (7b+) might get the pick of what I've done so far - biffo jug hauling through some awesomely steep terrain, big grin territory.
I find it harder for trad. Some stand out for perfect rock, some for position, some for the adventure - I'm sure I could pick a different one each time I tried. Right now, maybe Equus (E2 5c), or the flake pitch on Bludgers Revelation (HVS 5a), or something, but tomorrow it could be something else entirely!
F route - affectionately remembered as the only route that, having done it one morning, did it again later in the day. Splendid.
"Have never gone back because it could never be as good the second time"
Another vote for Shrike on Cloggy. Totally amazing.
Elsewhere, the '52m corner' on République Bananiere on the Aiguille de la Republique is certainly a contender. The Rockfax description of "staggeringly good" is entirely deserved. It makes Cenotaph Corner look very average.
I'll second that suggestion. I've done most of the classics at Swanage (which were all good) but that stands out as one of the best pitches I've ever done anywhere.
Sea of Holes (5.10b) sticks in my memory as being a wall of awesome "holes" with little gear, and a welcome change from pulling on small crimps. The Micah Eliminate finish to Christmas Curry was also unforgettable.
As for 7b, I'm hard pushed to think of a super classic, possibly Wargames (7b+) but as you say it is slightly unbalanced.
Quite a few named on here that I've done but can't much remember. Does that say something about me or the climbing?
Interesting that not much concensus here, apart from Gimmer routes? My happennyworth: Kipling Groove top pitch, Lord of the Flies, The Rasp
Two three star pitches but chosen for the personal experience:
Equus on Gimmer. Felt like I was balancing on tinies at the limit of my ability yet somehow still completely relaxed and felt in total control. Don't get many 'flow' days like that.
Springbank on Gimmer, as a mind-blowing solo
Best pitch I've ever seconded Strand at Gogarth. Cursed my mate for grabbing the lead
Obviously an impossible question, but my criteria would be:
In a fabulous place
And which I waited years for and then had to pull the stops out to get up it.
The first pitch which springs to mind for me is the headwall crack of Enigma (E3 5c) on the East Buttress of Sron Na Ciche.
Silver Shadow at Stackpole Head sticks in the memory. Outrageous climbing sidling past huge roofs and up hanging grooves. Added to by an airy abseil approach and severely tidal nature.
Also Silly Arete, Left Wall, Diabaig Pillar, Humdrum.. the list goes on and on!
At its grade the last pitch of Right Angle at Gurnards Head. And Mr Natural, Glacier Point as an "import".
For Canada: Exasperator (5.10c) as one pitch. 15 metres of solid finger locks, followed by a tiny ledge rest, then a thin fingers crux that looks more treacherous than it is, and then a victory lap finish on a hand crack.
In the UK, I had a really hard time thinking of one that's 'objectively' great. In the end, I'd have to put: Lost Horizon (VS 5a). A stunning location, and a beautiful continuous crack that asks for all types of moves and gear.
Can’t pick one so have 3...
Goliath (HVS 5a) The traverse pitch is something else!
The Pinch Direct (E3 5c) Pitch 4 is some of the boldest climbing I’ve done with a rope, fabulous “out there” pitch.
Freeborn Man (E4 6a) So good!
and a bonus foreign one...
The Next Century (5.10d) Pitch 2 is some has some of the best climbing on the best rock I’ve climbed on in the world. Awesome!
Not a route you hear spoken about often.
It's certainly in my Top 10 pitches anywhere, stonkingly good climbing!
> It's certainly in my Top 10 pitches anywhere, stonkingly good climbing!
You didn't see what I did there. ;)
But yes it's excellent!
Knight's Move on Grooved Arete (VD) has got to be one of the most atmospheric and interesting pitches on an easy climb in Britain.
For a single pitch climb of average grade, I would rate Finale Groove (HVS) at Boulder Ruckle, Swanage highly.
Perhaps a different thing but the single pitch which has given me the greatest pleasure over the years is probably Main Wall at Bowden Doors as a solo. A tricky little crux, high enough to make you think but low enough to mean serious injury is unlikely followed by juggy cruising. Best savoured in the last, red rays of a setting sun at the end of a good days climbing.
It was a tricky one, but probably Darius (E2 5c) on High Tor, part of my apprenticeship and I was given some intel on the options on the crux. Brilliant line in a brilliant position.
I’d sneak in The Phantom (E3 5c) and The Ghost (E3 5b) at Bosigran, as you can access the crux pitches relatively easily. They both feel wildly exposed as if you’re right out over the sea. Brilliant moves too.
However, head and shoulders above the rest is my favourite set of climbs anywhere and all within a short walk of each other..
Great list. My only slight tweak would be to include Kafoozalem as ‘the’ route to do at Bosigran in/around E3, simply because it really is one hell of a pitch - technical start, butch middle, and fluffable end. Plus it’s got to be one of the most stunningly coloured walls around with its burnt orange/striped hue.
> include Kafoozalem as ‘the’ route to do at Bosigran in/around E3,
Have you stumbled in from the sandbag thread?
> > include Kafoozalem as ‘the’ route to do at Bosigran in/around E3,
> Have you stumbled in from the sandbag thread?
Yes, it’s quite stiff for E3 isn’t it?
Ha, to be fair it is certainly a step up from The Ghost, The Phantom, and Raven Wall, although I'd still say that within the confines of E3 Dream/Liberator blows Kafoozalem out the water...make what you will of that...
To put it another way, even if they were E4 they wouldn't be soft for the grade!!
Something that really springs to mind is the groove pitch of The Rock Bottom Line (7b+) in Twll Mawr. Touted as 'The poor mans Quarryman', it was brilliant fun and got me psyched for the real deal.
Another one that really sticks in the memory is White Wand (E5 6a). Archangel on steroids.
I should probably stop, because this could go on for a long time...
Surprised you thought Black Magic was better than Darkinbad... definitely the other way round for me.
The upper third of Lord of the Flies (from the girdle ledge) probably amounts to one of the best sections of climbing anywhere in the UK. Simply magnificent. Climbing it from the first 2/3rds of Right Wall is a good option for those who don't feel up to the bold start of LOTF. In my opinion the safest, most direct, and logical way up that wall, even if it isn't a historical route.
First pitch of In Profundum Lacu on Pink Walls, Pabbay, springs to mind. Not far off perfect, that one.
When I lived in Sheffield I could never get enough of Flying Buttress Direct. A few moments of loveliness, especially without a rope. Must have done that one close to 100 times. Still not bored of it.
I totally agree with your criteria, so was pleased to see Right Angle finally mentioned a few posts below yours. I didn't get round to it for ages, and though it certainly didn't require me to 'pull out the stops' when I finally decided to do it, it was absolutely glorious.
I was going to pure Dream/Liberator as top, but thought it might be disqualified as multi pitch.
I would put a vote in for Safety Net E1 5b at the Roaches. A thuggy start followed by a delicate slab, small roof then marvellous laybacking.
> I would put a vote in for Safety Net E1 5b at the Roaches. A thuggy start followed by a delicate slab, small roof then marvellous laybacking.
It is pretty much the perfect microroute, I agree.
In terms of single pitches that really stand out in my memory as having perfect climbing of a particular style:
Varied, steep, technical, pumpy - it has it all.
Great situation, easier than it looks as it carves through the lichen, but quietly pumpy.
Another impressive situation, steady on small wires but never desperate.
Great crack climbing, well protected and satisfying
My very favourite sadly doesn't exist any more. Stiff Little Fingers at Hodge Close used to be a brilliant, well- protected finger jamming crack. It was my first proper E3 lead, done early in the morning. A real loss.
Edit: Just noticed OP was restricted to this country - which disqualifies Sterling Silver!
> First pitch of In Profundum Lacu on Pink Walls, Pabbay, springs to mind. Not far off perfect, that one.
One of the top few on my dream list. Even better (and presumably harder) than Ancient Mariners?
Did the Rock Bottom Line a few days ago. The groove pitch really is amazing, though like most of the sport routes in Twll Mawr, the route is massively overgraded.
Haven't done Ancient Mariners, but those on the trip who did both routes thought that Profundum was the better of the two. I think their reasons were stronger line, and less cruxy. Would love to climb more routes on that wall. The Bonxie looks phenomenal.
> Ha, to be fair it is certainly a step up from The Ghost, The Phantom, and Raven Wall,
I did Kafoozalem and Fay within a few days of each other and remember thinking I wouldn't disagree with swapping the overall grades.
Although to be fair it was blazing hot and fully in the sun when I did Kafoozalem.
I'm surprised this one hasn't come up yet but out of all the routes I've done this one sticks with me as one of my best memories:
The top pitch of Positron
It's got everything a trad route should have - position, good climbing and a bit run out.
I remember that after climbing Kafoozalem, I decided to do the E3 to it's right.
Now Evil Eye (E5 6b) there is a route that at E3 needed to go in the sandbag list!
but going back to the great pitches,
Fear and Fasicination
Plus the best 7c/7c+ in the UK is on the Isle of Man!!! Bradda Sport
I remember Alan Rouse saying the top pitch of Positron was the best he'd ever climbed.
The layback pitch on Big John, St John's Head - perfect rock, amazing setting
> The actual climbing isn't that great, it's just in a wild position.
Having done it last week I would completely agree with that.
I'm trying to think of the best pitch I've done in the UK - surprisingly tough. Red Square (E2 5b) at Nesscliffe perhaps? Strong line, good jams, and the top of my grade so is particularly memorable.
Line, position, technicality and top of one's (my) grade at the time = intensity and reward of climbing experience
Axe on Cloggy
Face Value (first pitch) at Fairhead, (several other contenders at Fairhead)
Aren't threads like this great, let it run long enough and you will have a list of every pitch in the UK.
This is obvious. Archangel is the best route on grit; therefore it’s the best pitch in the country. That’s just simple math.
> This is obvious. Archangel is the best route on grit; therefore it’s the best pitch in the country. That’s just simple math.
Nothing to do with maths (with an s on the end).
Just dreadful logic.
7c New Dawn, Malham, Dominitrax, Kilnsey
7c+ An uneasy Peace,Malham, The Ashes, Kilnsey
8a The Thumb, Kilnsey, Zoolook, Malham
8a+ The Groove, Malham, Supercool,Gordale, Urgent Action, Kilnsey
Thin Ice, Needles, California
HVS Kipling Groove
E1 Red Edge, Esk Buttress
E2 Left Wall, Cromlech, Saxon,Scafell
E3 Lubyanka, Cyrn Las
E4 Great Wall, Cloggy
I think you might need to read my previous post.
> This is obvious. Archangel is the best route on grit; therefore it’s the best pitch in the country. That’s just simple math. <
But logically since grit is good training for southern sandstone that's where the best pitch must be located.
I think the routes at Sheigra's Second Geo are some of the best pitches in the country, being on the most fantastic rock, in an incredible dramatic setting. Geriatrics (E2 5b) was my favourite because it explores the best situations on the face. That said, since there aren't any real lines and you can just climb anywhere you like without getting into trouble, there is something missing I suppose.
One of my favourtite pitches in the mountains is the main pitch of Astra (E2 5c). It's a real journey, where the rock, the moves, the positions and the gear all play in to the experience. I did it at the ideal time as one of my first big E2s but it's still great on subsequent visits. I also like the way the whole crag looks quite crap and overgrown, but when you get past the crap scrambly/wet/vegetated access pitch, you're on some of the very best rock in the country with spectacular exposure.
Big Pembroke pitches are hard to beat. Difficult to pick one, but I love the big Stackpole routes and the whole experience of the crag is extremely exciting and beautiful. I had quite a hard time on Swordfish (E3 5c) which might be why I remember it as such a great route, but Silver Shadow (E2 5b) was just as good. Another Pembroke one that really blew my mind was Gravy Train (E3 5c), but it ends up in a chimney followed by a horrible chossy mess, so it's probably not the best pitch in the country!
Years ago, after a long summer on the sea cliffs, I went and did Elegy (E2 5c) in the cool of the autumn, and was blown away by the intensity of it, compared to yarding up jugs and getting a bit pumped. There's something unique and subtle in bold grit routes that hits a spot other rock types don't. There are moments on many of these little pitches that are emblazoned on my mind, usually the solos which require a momentary flash of self-belief to get irreversibly committed. D.I.Y. (f6B), The Irrepressible Urge (E1 5b), Archangel (E3 5b) are just a few that spring to mind, and I can well imagine that the harder ones like White Wand (E5 6a) and Silk (E5 6c) are even more intense!
Can't believe no one has mentioned top pitch of Bovine yet !
> I think the routes at Sheigra's Second Geo are some of the best pitches in the country, being on the most fantastic rock, in an incredible dramatic setting. Geriatrics (E2 5b) was my favourite because it explores the best situations on the face. That said, since there aren't any real lines and you can just climb anywhere you like without getting into trouble, there is something missing I suppose.
When I saw this thread one of the pitches I considered going for was The Cuckoo Conundrum (E3 5c) in the second Geo, which takes in all the best of the next best three routes routes on the wall (Geriatrics, Wanderings and Bloodlust Direct) in a huge, sweeping, logical, diagonal orgy of stunningly brilliant climbing. The only thing which detracts is the fact that the wall is, as you say, climbable almost anywhere at about 5c max. But, if you put that aside, it is just about as good as climbing gets for me and should get **** (The single star in the logbooks is a joke!). If you've not done it Jon, you now have an excellent excuse to go visit paradise again
Another pitch which really stood out for me was the first big independent pitch on The Spire (E4 6a) (the one level with the Steeple crux). Long, intricate, technical, sustained and pumpy and on possibly my favourite crag. For me the best climbing on any of the four big, long Shelterstone classics (and between them they've got a lot of great pitches!). Having said that, I'm sure that for those who climb E5/6/7 there are plenty of pitches to surpass it on the granite of the Central Slabs and of The Dubh Loch..........
> When I saw this thread one of the pitches I considered going for was The Cuckoo Conundrum (E3 5c) in the second Geo, which takes in all the best of the next best three routes routes on the wall (Geriatrics, Wanderings and Bloodlust Direct) in a huge, sweeping, logical, diagonal orgy of stunningly brilliant climbing.
Haha, yes, I'll definitely do that. The best place to start is in the bottom right, the best positions are along the lip of the cave and the finish of Bloodlust Direct is the most exciting on the face - so it's obvious really what the best pitch is, even though it's quite silly and contrived.
> Haha, yes, I'll definitely do that. The best place to start is in the bottom right, the best positions are along the lip of the cave and the finish of Bloodlust Direct is the most exciting on the face - so it's obvious really what the best pitch is, even though it's quite silly and contrived.
It really didn't feel silly! Just magnificent!
Top pitch of Skeleton Ridge. VS moves up exposed arete in wonderful situation with possibly adequate protection, trying to keep pressure from all four limbs minimal. Then a long safe, relaxing a cheval ( or less painful method for the brave) but still in superb position. As a bonus ice cream on sale within 100 yards.
For me, the top pitch of Gogarth or the traverse pitch of dream of white horses. Too many amazing pitches out there to pick one on its own.
Maybe i just think this because I was on a high after sending my first E2 (Baker's Door (E2 5b)) earlier in the day and just generally feeling super strong, but I thought Soldier of Fortune (E1 5b) was absolutely amazing. Only gets 2 stars and is seen as an escape route for climbers far stronger than I, but an E1 that goes through a roof and which you cut loose on before hauling on jugs to glory?! Found it mind-blowingly good.
Other than that, I can’t believe the top pitch of Dream of White Horses hasn’t been mentioned more - just totally bonkers at the grade and in that situation.
Great North Road
Second pitch on Bishop’s Rib at Chair Ladder (holy shit that’s good)
Comes the Dervish
Also, not a pitch as such, but the bit with the streaky slab thingy on Rainbow Bridge - incredibly good
> Upper flake pitch of Bludgers Revelation (HVS 5a)
> great undercling traverse, awesome position, just fantastic.
I agree that pitch is a pure joy.
I also like the second pitch on Big Top, Aonach Dubh when you go round onto that face. The excellent airy pitch 8 of The Needle on Sheltersone, amazing.
Rock Dancer better for me! Atmospheric abseil and excellent face moves and well protected
Mentioned at least twice!
So am I, considering it’s been mentioned 4 times. ;)
> So am I, considering it’s been mentioned 4 times. ;)
Bloodhound at Gouther, which I've seconded and will try to lead this year has always stood out in my mind as the best single pitch I've ever climbed.
Another one for The Bug at Tollie Crag - having just done it recently. Excellent. - often compared to Diabaig Pillar.
Both fantastic but I enjoyed The Bug more. Trying to work out why and I think it's at least partly because of the feeling of uncertainty when you do the leftwards rising traverse at about 2/3 height moving further away from gear. Not sure the actual climbing is necessarily better, but the nature of the situations were more rewarding
Sorry. I've just noticed "In the country". Still some others have recorded from elsewhere: so here goes with my description. I'd be interested if anyone else has done it and agrees.
Aqua Knobly on Pyweack Dome (Tuolomne) pitch 2 is one of the most extraordinary I have ever done, enormous variety of high class climbing. Start up a steep bridging crack and then step up onto the face to reach a steep layback flake to where the little roof runs out; step over onto an extraordinary wall (5.9) of little knobs which you climb straight up. At the end, one steps with difficulty onto a very steep slab with a bolt at the bottom and a rising traverse, 5.8ish, on tiny knobs until one can reach a crack which gradually develops into a standard 5.7 finger crack leading to the stance on a good ledge. Wow!
Lakeland Cragsman- brilliant climbing
Eliminate A - pitch 5, even as a second, looking out from the belay and knowing that you’re stepping out over sweet fa is amazing!
Integrity- top pitch
New West Climb- final pitch, amazing position and great climbing in a committing situation.
> Integrity- top pitch
That must be the first route with more than one pitch nominated!
Integrity- "The best Severe in Britain" ©JimSh
> Integrity- "The best Severe in Britain" ©JimSh
We used to have that lovely grade MVS. That's what I'd call it. HS is a horrible grade suggesting a nasty route for its standard, whereas MVS suggests a very pleasant, tame route for its standard. Which is exactly right.
But is it the best MVS in Britain? <Starts new thread>
Lovely thread, reading through has brought back some terrific memories so thanks for posting.
Lots I'd suggest from my modest experience has already been mentioned: the traverse pitch on Eliminate A certainly sticks in the mind, as do the main pitch on Kipling Groove and the rightwards traverse pitch on Tophet Wall (HS 4a) ; the sensational moves left on Main Wall are up there, as is the frankly bonkers last pitch of Dream of White Horses. I was very pleased with the second pitch ofThe Fang (HVS 5a) too, though I shan't argue that it should be top of any 'best' lists; similarly the second pitch of Scratch Arete (HVS 5a), very satisfying, but possibly not from the very top drawer.
Further south, the main pitch on Saxon at Carn Kenidjack has been mentioned, and a fine pitch it is too. I'd also throw the leftwards traverse pitch on Suicide Wall (E1 5c) and almost any of the alpinesque pinnacle traverses on Bosigran Ridge a.k.a Commando Ridge (VD) into the mix too, but that may just be me.
I like a puzzle, and within my grade was prepared to cope with exposure and lack of protection, but the one pitch that threw all that at me and then stood back rubbing its hands to see what I'd make of it was Central Buttress (E1 5a). Given HVS 4c in my guidebook, I remember that first pitch very well even though it was 31 years ago. Is it the best single pitch in the country? Probably not. Is it the one that sticks most in the mind? Quite possibly, yes. I've never felt the urge to return.
I was having a bit of a "senior moment" - MVS rather than HS. Definitely!
Funny, 'benchmark HS' would suggest to me a middle of the grade HS. Not sure why it would suggest a hard one...
> Funny, 'benchmark HS' would suggest to me a middle of the grade HS. Not sure why it would suggest a hard one...
I think it depends whether you consider HS to literally mean a hard Severe (ie top end Severe) or whether you consider it to have evolved into a separate grade (like HVS has).
I find the idea of 'middle of the grade HS' very odd. I really don't think Severe can be subdivided that much. I always looked at it as being divided roughly into Severe and Hard Severe, or perhaps Mild S/ S/ Hard Sev at a pinch. The grade just isn't technical enough, surely, to be subdivided further. I never saw 'Hard Severe' as working in any way like HVS, which is really a completely separate main grade, almost as wide as VS, and certainly as wide as E1.
Lions rock near Llanberis
Very challenging question, and I guess it gets to the heart of what climbing means to you.
I’ll say it’s between Lost Horizon @ Baggy Point and Extraction @ Rylstone.
The combination of situation, both of the climbing and the point in my life, along with the people on the other end of the ropes give these the nod; all wrapped up by God’s grace in giving me the opportunity to see them through safe and sound, and in good style.
Honourable mentions’ go out to the last pitch of A Dream of White Horses and Inkerman Groove @ Chudleigh (climbed as a single pitch) for the same reasons.
Has anyone mentioned the top pitch of Jack the Ripper on Stac Pollaidh?
> Can't believe no one has mentioned top pitch of Bovine yet !
This- or Hargreave's original just to be eclectic
> This- or Hargreave's original just to be eclectic
I don't want to cause controversy, but Hargreave's Original felt.... Severely underwhelming considering its reputation. It was pleasant and long (for stanage) trad climbing, but compared to nearby Black Slab it just really wasn't memorable for me.
Don't mean to be controversial but I thought it was black slab! or at least the main way up it
Black Slab's reputation was established before the use of cams became widespread, it was a much more rewarding lead when the only gear was hexes in the two large breaks in the bottom half. Read the piece by Jim Perrin in Classic Rock if you get chance.
It's a bit sad that cams seem to be damaging the routes reputation as well as it's physical state.
A contender for a route that should be downgraded due to the advent of modern protection devices? It was VS 4c in the 1983 Stanage Millstone guide when cam ownership wasn't as common as today.
> I find the idea of 'middle of the grade HS' very odd. I really don't think Severe can be subdivided that much.
I don’t. HS is quite a wide grade. I’ve never seen it as trying to subdivide Severe. More as bridging the significant gap between Severe and VS.
HS is typified by reasonably protected 4b climbing - easier than VS (typified by 4c) but clearly more difficult than Severe, where I would expect 4a to be typical (and any 4b moves to be short and safe).
> I always looked at it as being divided roughly into Severe and Hard Severe, or perhaps Mild S/ S/ Hard Sev at a pinch.
I’m more in agreement that MS is less useful, especially if HVD is in operation. HVD (itself less useful than the other H grades) often means 4a, so is already encroaching on Severe.
> The grade just isn't technical enough, surely, to be subdivided further. I never saw 'Hard Severe' as working in any way like HVS, which is really a completely separate main grade, almost as wide as VS, and certainly as wide as E1.
For me, HS works in exactly the same way as HVS as a completely separate grade with a very clear meaning. I think grades make more sense when they cover a level of climbing that is relevant to you than if they are too far removed from your ability. I lead Severe, can lead some HS but certainly there is plenty I can’t and VS is a grade I can second, but certainly not competently lead.
So HS covers a pretty big range as far as I’m concerned! Anything from softish HS like Sinister, which I can happily lead to tricky ones like Bard the Bowman or Esgaroth, both of which I found a challenge to second.
I think I would accept (on reflection) that HS is quite a narrow grade. I agree with you though that it is very much a grade in its own right. The trouble is there is a massive gulf between Severe and VS - if not two full grades then certainly a grade and a half - and something needs to fill it.
> I think I would accept (on reflection) that HS is quite a narrow grade. I agree with you though that it is very much a grade in its own right. The trouble is there is a massive gulf between Severe and VS - if not two full grades then certainly a grade and a half - and something needs to fill it.
I feel the answer to this question is hugely dependent on the grade you can climb. An E5 leader will be unimpressed by a brilliant pitch on a Diff - “what pitch?”. Whereas a Diff leader might find it hard even to contemplate how one might climb an E5.
Unsurprisingly, many of the answers so far have been pitches on Extremes - harder routes will naturally tend to have more exposed positions, more intricate moves and generally be more impressive. Perhaps it’s good to look for pitches which are exceptional at the grade? I’m going to give some suggestions at the easier end of the climbing spectrum.
Inn Pin East Ridge (Moderate) - OK, I’m slightly cheating here as it would more normally be climbed in two pitches, but this seems to epitomise easy exposed climbing.
Slab Climb, Gribin Facet P3 - a superb pitch on lovely flakes with tremendous exposure close to the edge of the slab - pleasant well protected climbing, not hard for the grade, in wonderful position. In my view, this route vies with routes such as Corvus and The Gutter for the best Diff in the UK.
> Obviously an impossible question, but my criteria would be:
> Compelling line
> Great rock
> Superb climbing
> Stunning position
> In a fabulous place
> And which I waited years for and then had to pull the stops out to get up it.
Good criteria. On the basis of which (even though I only looked at others climbing it, I was saved by the rain) how about Foy Corner (VS 4c)
how about this ? "If" most people in the uk climb on two 9mm (ish) 50m or 60 m ropes ( I suspect they do) then the best single pitch in the uk contains the most quality climbing at its grade possible with these ropes ? If so the I suggest mandrake (hvs ) at quayfoot , regularly done as a single big pitch and just under 50m of three star quality .
I agree with most of that, but The Gutter?! I would think nearly every quality mountain diff beats that.
I really enjoyed The Gutter. My only regret was not to have climbed it much sooner when it was at my lead grade. Think then I would have liked it even more! Felt sustained (for the grade) with enjoyable moves, continued interest and good protection, so think it’s a great route for a Diff leader.
But I take your point that longer mountain routes will always seem preferable for some. Contrast with Slanting Buttress on Lliwedd (another route I’m a fan of) - perhaps more satisfying in terms of a long mountain day and certainly an enjoyable route, but the actual climbing really isn’t as interesting and is far less sustained - it’s a good route more due to its length and developing sense of adventure rather than the actual climbing having continued interest (though the odd bit is nice). Think this is often true of longer mountain routes - similar comments could be made about Cyfrwy Arête for instance. I think Corvus is hard to beat at Diff for combining length with continued interest at a reasonably sustained level.
Austrian all-rounder Babsi Zangerl has freed the Pre-Muir Wall on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. This is Babsi's fourth free ascent of El Cap, having made the first female free ascents of El Nino in 2015, Zodiac in 2016 and the first free repeat of...