/ North Wales classic E1/HVS

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marky - on 01 May 2019

After suggestions to revisit classic E1/HVS’s in North Wales. 

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AlanLittle - on 01 May 2019
In reply to marky:

Where to begin? Just work your way through the graded list in the Ground Up guide. Personal favourites:

Concrete Chimney, DoWH, North West Passage, True Moments/Freebird (thought Gogarth - the route - was overrated)

Dinas Mot Superdirect, personally preferred West Rib to Diagonal, Nexus, Plexus

Cemetery Gates (probably, not done it)

The Plum, Helsinki Wall

(No real classics in those grades on slate)

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DubyaJamesDubya - on 01 May 2019
In reply to AlanLittle:

The Grooves on Cyrn Las

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ripper - on 01 May 2019
In reply to AlanLittle:

> (No real classics in those grades on slate)

German Schoolgirl, if you can stretch it to E2?

Also, off the slate, Great/Bow Combo on Cloggy ? (Llithrig is supposedly a classic but I was underwhelmed).

And a load of stuff I haven't done yet

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Darron - on 01 May 2019
In reply to marky:

Barbarian

Octo

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dunnyg - on 01 May 2019
In reply to Darron:

combat rock , looning the tube, seems the same (slate)

britomartis (gogarth), one of the HVS at the far end of main cliff look good too but not done yet.

cenotaph corner (almsot goes without saying?),

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Kirill on 01 May 2019
In reply to marky:

Mur y Niwl at Craig Yr Ysfa

The Groove at LLech Ddu

The Corner at Clogwyn Du'r Arddu

Hydro at Craig y Don

Post edited at 15:42
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DaveHK - on 01 May 2019
In reply to marky:

The ones with more stars in the guidebook are generally held to be of better quality.

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Gerry on 01 May 2019
In reply to marky:

Sheaf

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pasbury on 01 May 2019
In reply to marky:

Plenty at tremadoc; Meshach, Merlin Direct, Scratch Arête, Stromboli....

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pasbury on 01 May 2019
In reply to marky:

I think these three can be linked on Idwal slabs; Suicide Groove, Javelin Blade and Rampart Corner - all bloody good on their own.

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Michael Hood - on 01 May 2019
In reply to pasbury:

JB & RC are on same level, but there's apparently a good HVS crack up the wall left of Groove Above on the next tier.

Post edited at 20:47
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nuts and bolts on 01 May 2019
In reply to marky:

Virtually an unanswerable question I feel but for me White Slab on Cloggy is the best E1 on the planet. 

And just before everyone starts shouting that it is now E2 I am referring to the Paul Williams (definitive guide to cloggy )which includes the lasso move on pitch 4.

Post edited at 20:55
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d888veh - on 01 May 2019
In reply to marky:

 I climbed Falcon again 30+ years after first doing it. Superb, sustained and well protected providing you take a full rack. RP's to large cams. 

Ps. Scramble pitch to belay is not without interest!!!

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ripper - on 01 May 2019
In reply to pasbury:

> I think these three can be linked on Idwal slabs; Suicide Groove, Javelin Blade and Rampart Corner - all bloody good on their own.

Followed by Grey Arete, if you like a run-out

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Offwidth - on 02 May 2019
In reply to ripper:

Neither Grey Slab nor Grey Arete are particularly run out with modern microcams. Both are well worth the journey up there via routes on the Slabs/ East Wall and continuation walls

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alan moore - on 02 May 2019
In reply to marky:

Maoi Man and Ardvark on Gist Ddu are one of the best days out I ever had. Maoi Man is harder, Aardvark, better.

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Solaris on 05 May 2019
In reply to Michael Hood:

Continuation Crack, with direct start? - Brilliant, I thought.

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Darron - on 05 May 2019
In reply to alan moore:

Aardvark. Good shout. With the caveat that it’s probably not as clean as other classic routes so worth reserving for a very dry spell. If we are in the general area we should perhaps mention Doom and Acheron on Cowarch.

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planetmarshall on 05 May 2019
In reply to dunnyg:

> cenotaph corner (almsot goes without saying?),

Not necessarily. I thought it overhyped.

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pasbury on 05 May 2019
In reply to planetmarshall:

Yawn. No it isn’t, who was it who said gritstone was 50ft of action? The corner is 150 ft of action with a really interesting, hard and uncertain crux at the end.

Plus history.

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Gordon Stainforth - on 06 May 2019
In reply to pasbury:

You only have to look at the comments in the logbook to see that it is not overhyped, with a huge number of people raving about it as a total classic that not only lives up to, but often exceeds, expectations. I suspect that anyone who is underwhelmed by it has left it too late in their climbing career, when they are climbing at a much higher standard. Also, those comments fail to appreciate its near-unique (?) quality of perspective when you are climbing it, bridging between those huge vertical walls - on the walls themselves you don't get that, just the massive exposure.

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TobyA on 06 May 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> I suspect that anyone who is underwhelmed by it has left it too late in their climbing career, when they are climbing at a much higher standard.

I seconded my friend up it - it was great fun, but I think sometime the history of such routes gets them elevated to a status that it would be hard for any route to live up to. I didn't think of trying to lead it because I've never led 5c in the UK so figured I'd probably need winching up the crux. As it was I didn't find any bit of the route desperate. Plenty of 5a moves I've failed on in the Peak that feel harder. The protection is excellent too, I'd suggest anyone who is unsure like I was take a big rack and tries leading it - don't let the supposed 5c bit psyche you out.

But the history also mean that it is polished and just has that slightly sad very well used look that lots of 'classic' English and Welsh routes have - Main Wall across the glen is another example where I felt the wear rather detracted from the experience.

So I don't think its necessarily only people who have climbed much harder who might be a bit underwhelmed by such routes, I definitely haven't, but maybe people who have climbed other places beyond the UK honeypots.

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useful on 06 May 2019
In reply to Kirill:

Mur y niwl was VS when I did it about 6 years ago. Has it changed? 

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Kirill on 09 May 2019
In reply to useful:

I did it in 2016. Graded HVS in North Wales Rock. 

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C Witter on 09 May 2019
In reply to TobyA:

> But the history also mean that it is polished and just has that slightly sad very well used look that lots of 'classic' English and Welsh routes have - Main Wall across the glen is another example where I felt the wear rather detracted from the experience.

I think this is an experience pretty specific to the Pass and Ogwen. On the whole, the Lakes is nothing like this in terms of polish/scratches/worn placements; up here you get a good number of *** classics with layers of moss on them!

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TobyA on 09 May 2019
In reply to C Witter:

Plenty of Lakes routes I've done - nothing particularly hard - are polished and clearly well travelled. I'm sure there are exceptions but I don't think the lakes is that quiet...

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C Witter on 09 May 2019
In reply to TobyA:

It's true that there are some that are very well travelled, e.g. Bowfell Buttress, which suffers from being popular for both summer and winter ascents. But, coming back from Ogwen to the Lakes was positively refreshing! After a very enjoyable but, nonetheless, polished Milestone Buttress Superdirect (with three bits of insitu gear welded in place) I was climbing a few days later on Haste Not, exclaiming joyfully at the grippiness of the rock - and even patches of moss! It was a busy bankholiday... so there were 4 teams, including us. Heaving, by Lakes standards! Normally get a crag to yourself!

Post edited at 18:56
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marky - on 09 May 2019
In reply to C Witter:

Thanks for all the comments. 

We did True Moments/Freebird connection on Castle Hellen and Gogarth on the Main Cliff which was a great day. For a contrast the next day we did A Grand Day Out on the slate in Upper Australia quarry which was an adventurous day?

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SGD - on 09 May 2019
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

I'll 2nd the shout for The grooves. Simply amazing route and I'll add rampart corner on the idwal slabs.Rampart Corner (E1 5c)

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EarlyBird - on 10 May 2019
In reply to useful:

It is very hard at VS. You wouldn't do harder at the the grade in North Wales. 

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featuresforfeet - on 11 May 2019
In reply to EarlyBird:

Glad it wasn't just me! Though also found Lion pretty harsh too.

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Paul Sagar - on 12 May 2019
In reply to Darron:

Barbarian is amazing but also an absolute monster. See my logbook entry for amusement (everyone else’s, not mine)

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Gordon Stainforth - on 12 May 2019
In reply to Paul Sagar:

I remember really enjoying it; a fabulous, long, very sustained, technically varied pitch. I was climbing quite well then (1983) but was astonished by how hard it was for HVS, which is what it was then given. In my logbook I wrote that 'it felt like the hardest pitch I've ever led!'

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Siderunner - on 12 May 2019

Emulator (soft but sustained E1), Ramp (HVS), Gauntlet (HVS) would be a good day's climbing at Gogarth upper tier (RH of lower tier for Emulator obvs).

Could nip around for King Bee Crack (HVs) & Breaking the Barrier (E1) at Holyhead Mtn if still feeling fresh ... in which case you're ready for E2s!

At Tremadog I agree with previous posters about The Plum and Falcon being excellent. One Step in the Crowds is also an interesting E1, and not just for it's punny name.

In the Pass, Brant Direct is a fun well-protected HVS pitch that hasn't been mentioned. Superdirect on the Mot is my favourite route in the pass (already mentioned).

Post edited at 11:19
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jezb1 - on 12 May 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> I remember really enjoying it; a fabulous, long, very sustained, technically varied pitch. I was climbing quite well then (1983) but was astonished by how hard it was for HVS, which is what it was then given. In my logbook I wrote that 'it felt like the hardest pitch I've ever led!'

Similar notes in my logbook even at E1! I did it one summer's evening a couple of years ago and finished a sweaty mess even though I was cruising E1's.

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Mark Kemball - on 12 May 2019
In reply to Paul Sagar:

> Barbarian is amazing but also an absolute monster.

Beta alert!

When I first tried this, I got through the roof OK, reached the ledge to traverse left, started to foot-traverse it, found I had no handholds at was unable to stop myself toppling slowly backwards, I hit the slab below first with my feet which then inverted me, so the back of my head (fortunately inside a helmet) slapped into the slab. Not too hurt I took a breather, got back on and fell off again in exactly the same place. Barbarian 2, MK 0! At this point I decided enough is enough and abseiled off. Ontaking off my helmet, I found a 2 inch crack in the back. (Old style, 1970s  fibre glass helmet.)

Fast forward a couple of years, I decide on a rematch. Through the roof, got to the ledge going left, hand-traversed instead, no problem! (Note this was back in the 70s, so things may have changed.)

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Gordon Stainforth - on 12 May 2019
In reply to jezb1:

Two things I remember most strongly about it: a superb blank arete after the tricky traverse left. (I think my tree-climbing in Kensington Gdns days helped me here, because I had become pretty good at desperate rounded barndoorish laybacks). Then you did a difficult step left onto a good small flat resting ledge and thought, great, it's in the bag! It wasn't. Although it was a bit easier, it was very strenuous, first up a groove and then up a jamming crack in its left wall. Hard, pumpy jamming every inch of the way to the top. Leaving one VERY 'well-exercised' at the top.

Post edited at 11:33
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overdrawnboy - on 12 May 2019
In reply to marky:

Shrike has to be one of the finest E1 routes in Wales.

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EarlyBird - on 13 May 2019
In reply to overdrawnboy:

It is amazing but isn’t it E2?

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AlanLittle - on 13 May 2019
In reply to EarlyBird:

Recent upgrade. Pretty sure it was still E1in the ca 1990 guide I had

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Dave Garnett - on 13 May 2019
In reply to EarlyBird:

> It is very hard at VS. You wouldn't do harder at the the grade in North Wales. 

I agree.  Some years ago we did Mur y Niwl largely because Agrippa and the Girdle were wet but I recall being surprised by how hard it felt.

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Michael Hood - on 13 May 2019
In reply to Dave Garnett:

MyN has been on my wish list for some time. I presume it's better to think of it as HVS and then go "that was a bit piss easy" rather than think of it as VS and have an epic.

I think Great/Bow on Cloggy is another VS/HVS borderline route to be treated similarly and I'm sure there are loads others.

Post edited at 11:33
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overdrawnboy - on 13 May 2019
In reply to EarlyBird:

Shame if it puts people off, one hard move well protected and then romp away on jugs. Definitive E1 much easier than the likes of Troach or Serth which are my reference point for E2.

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EarlyBird - on 13 May 2019
In reply to overdrawnboy:

> Shame if it puts people off

It would be. It's a superb route. I think you could justify either grade. That top pitch does keep going!

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EarlyBird - on 13 May 2019
In reply to Michael Hood:

You are correct - that would put you in the right head space.

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Paul Sagar - on 14 May 2019

King Bee Crack is amazing. It was my first attempt at a HVS lead. Didn't know how to jam. Or place good cams in a rush. Nearly died.

It's not technically HVS, but I did Noah's Warning at Dinas Cromlech yesterday - absolutely mind-blowingly brilliant. It gets VS but that's a lol grade. It's definitely HVS.

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pasbury on 14 May 2019
In reply to Paul Sagar:

Have you done Cobweb Crack? It is VS but a full value one.

Plus a Joe Brown route tick.

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Martin Hore - on 14 May 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> Neither Grey Slab nor Grey Arete are particularly run out with modern microcams. Both are well worth the journey up there via routes on the Slabs/ East Wall and continuation walls

Health warning re Grey Arete!

See the two previous posts in which we participated:

2013 - https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/rocktalk/grey_arete_is_e1-552863

2018 - https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/rocktalk/grey_arete_glyder_fawr-683051

I thought it was very run-out indeed as did many others. Your last post in 2018 was interesting.

Martin

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Darron - on 14 May 2019
In reply to Paul Sagar:

Yes, I’ve just realised that both my recommendations could be described as that . You certainly know you’ve done ‘em! Great routes for all that.

Off topic but it’s occurred that the Peak equivalent might be Kelly’s Overhang at Stanage.

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