/ The Grooves, Cyrn Las
My mate has somehow persuaded me that giving The Grooves (E1 5b) a try tomorrow with him is something I should do. Seeing as all three pitches get 5b, I suspect I might be in the unusual role of seconding all of it. I've climbed very few E1s in the UK at all, haven't led one since two summers ago and that (Westering Home (E1 5b) was a redpoint after falling off and then seconding my mate before trying again. I've not even led HVS this year although I did second someone up a Idwal HVS 5b a few weeks back OK.
Tony will cruise the Grooves I'm sure, but am I likely to come to much grief seconding? It looks mainly quite straight up so I hopefully no massive swings in space potential for the second or similar?
And any practical advice for the team? I hear hexes and medium and big cams are useful. I've done Main Wall years back but it was part of an enchainment so we had packs on. I guess we want to take at least trainers up the route as it must be a bit of a scramble back down to the bottom?
It’s very steady, Toby, you’ll be fine as long as you avoid the Overhanging Arête finish!
It goes fairly straight up an, er, groove. The only slight issue seconding-wise is that the crux is down the bottom of the first pitch, so it’s hard to get moral support/communication/full-on hauling.
I don’t recall it being terribly hard at the grade, and it probably suits weak/fat/old people - no offence - as it’s a bit old-fashioned and might reward experience rather than muscle.
It’s a very enjoyable route; good luck.
It's a great route, definitely not hard at the grade.
> It’s very steady, Toby, you’ll be fine as long as you avoid the Overhanging Arête finish!
But that's the best bit!
and it probably suits weak/fat/old people
I might stand a chance one day then!
Interesting, I thought the 2nd pitch was the crux and remember it being sustained and awkward on a trip where I was going quite well. I seem to recall from previous posts that TobyA is a crack fan though so probably no problem for him.
Its a cracking route Toby. The first overhanging bit on pitch one is hard but its on good holds. From memory the second pitch had the crux(?), but since that pitch is a bit shorter comms will probably be a bit easier..
With all this dry weather we've been having it will be in primo condition! Have fun!
They used to give the first and last pitch 5a but oddly I found them both harder than the 5b pitch.
It's a pretty steady route. I've taken seconds up who were not the strongest climbers and none came to grief!
The only bit I remember finding hard was a section where I thought it'd be useful to be able to jam, so you should be ok.
Don't be tempted into giving Great Buttress a go unless it's drought conditions and you like ''that sort of thing"
I first did it in February (a very mild one admittedly) and lad who followed me up it had never climbed above VS and did it in Klets - he did fall off a lot btw!
I led it when I was climbing solid grit stone VS(That includes Goliath's Groove). I found it sustained and tiring without any really hard sections. Well worth giving it a try.
I don't remember anything too hard except the top pitch where the antiquated guide I was using wasn't clear which of the grooves to follow at the top !
I'd say the crux move is definitely in the middle pitch, though the start of the final pitch felt a little bit bold - and kinda exciting with it starting to rain! Don't think we used anything larger than a 3 camalot. Cracking route. Have fun!
While you're up there, it's well worth going on to do something on clogwyn y ddysgul.
Phenomenal route. If you have another hour left, ab back in and do the overhanging arete finish in addition to the standard E1 finish. I wish I had! Trainers probably a good shout although I can't actually remember the descent.
Thanks Dave - you have a touching faith in me after my performance in Dovedale the other weekend!
> I led it when I was climbing solid grit stone VS(That includes Goliath's Groove). I found it sustained and tiring without any really hard sections. Well worth giving it a try.
I have led Goliath's Groove and I consider myself pretty solid on grit VS - with the exceptions of the very dangerous ones, I can't think of a grit VS that I've failed on - so thanks sjminfife, you've thrown me a mental life ring that I will desperately keep clinging to tomorrow!
> I don’t recall it being terribly hard at the grade, and it probably suits weak/fat/old people - no offence -
None taken; I'm definitely weak, I often feel old, and do like pork pies a bit too much.
I shall report back later on what happens. My friend was worryingly enthusiastic on the phone earlier, so seems pretty convinced it's all going to go swimmingly. I jokingly mentioned TRip's suggestion over text last night that once we knocked off the Grooves, we head over to Cloggy to do Cloggy Corner. Shall we say the levels of psych only increased at what I thought was self evidently a ridiculous suggestion!
The Grooves is great, very memorable. I found pitch 2 to be definitely the crux. PS I found Cloggy corner way easier than The Grooves, just me probably
Can you still claim the onsight after all this beta? ;)
I always think of The Grooves as benchmark mountain E1 and superb.
So, how’s it going so far?!
01:09 and just got home and am having a beer to counter act the two coffees I drank on the drive back home!
We did the Grooves this morning, Tony led it all - very proficiently - but I did it all with no falls, and I think I could have probably P1 and P2 if I had gone for it. I thought P3 was the hardest, although Tony informs me it is the easiest! We didn't take packs up with us so had to the rather tedious scramble down back to them, then flogged up the hill where we did Gambit Climb (S) on Clogwyn y Ddysgl which was fun and in the early evening sun. We went down the Clogwyn Y Person Arete which was distinctly more worrying than going up the climbs with ropes on!
Thanks for all the tips folks.
40 years ago when I led it I remember using a big loose tooth like spike in a socket to go right. If that has gone over the decades then I expect pitch 3 would have been a bit harder.
I am glad you got on it, it's a great route in an amazing situation.
> We did the Grooves this morning
Thanks for the report, and glad to hear it went well - for me it is one of the climbs I remember most and most fondly. I led p. 1 then seconded. Though p. 2 was the hardest I found it very straightforward. I got really gripped on p. 3 because of the exposure and because my leader did not take in for ages despite my screams - massive loops of rope were hanging well below me and blowing in the wind (thanks Bernie!)
On a side note, as time goes by my respect for Joe Brown just increases. Imagine the state of The Grooves on the first ascent, probably loose rock and earth abounding, yet he led it
No, I think getting that was the crux! I jammed most of the route, (showing my Peak Grit VS bias nowadays I guess!) but you can't do that so much on pitch 3 so you have to pull on some holds.
> On a side note, as time goes by my respect for Joe Brown just increases. Imagine the state of The Grooves on the first ascent, probably loose rock and earth abounding, yet he led it...
A very good point indeed. Brown seems to have had an enviable ability to get up extremely hard stuff for the day, in dire conditions, if need be. And obviously, on first ascents, the outcome is even more in doubt. (Is it possible at all, at prevailing standards?)
Told you you’d be fine! I did it ages ago but don’t remember it being too terrifying.
As for the next Big Mountain E1 objective, I think I did the Groove on Llech Ddu (probably dry at the moment) around the same time...
Nice one Toby, the Groove next, simialr but a bit more veterinarian as my mate put it when elbow deep in a very slimy crack on the second pitch
Please don't encourage Tony (my mate and intrepid leader yesterday)! I really ache today, all over, and it wasn't a particularly big day out in terms of walking and metres climbed, so it was definitely having to pull hard on the Grooves!
Actually your delightful description of the Groove might not attract Tony, he favours terrain where is sports fitness makes the moves feel relatively easy, I'm not sure if crimp power helps in veterinarian cracks!
Glad you enjoyed it Toby. It is certainly one of the best climbs of its grade in Wales. But not when cold and damp!
There's also Elliw up there, It was cleaner than the Groove when I did it but quite tough for the grade.
> Please don't encourage Tony
I have a suspicion what veterinarian cracks may involve, and suggest we find some alternative crimps, but either way it sounds like an adventure.
For the record, Toby totally smashed The Grooves and at the top of the second pitch declared it was like VS in the Peak.
What is interesting is that this climb must have the highest % of votes for 3*s that I have seen on UKC. Only one person didn't give it top marks and they awarded it 2*s!
Well done Toby and Tony. I'm knashing away in frustration, due to a tennis elbow problem, in all this sunny weather.
Was it busy on Saturday? There were 3 teams on it on Sunday. A very social day though not sure they appreciated my swearing when I fell off the crux of The Edge of Time.
Yep, people before us and after us too, but not nearly as busy as main wall!
> There's also Elliw up there, It was cleaner than the Groove when I did it but quite tough for the grade.
Not a route I was aware of before, cheers for the tip off it sounds good
Highpoint of my uni climbing career.
Walked up one day in '73, seconded first pitch, second pitch too wet so escaped up Green Caterpillar.
Did it in its entirety the day after.
As a strange adjunct: does anyone else have those weird dreams where you are in a state of having had sex with a woman ( neighbour, work colleague) but don't have the benefit of all the details etc......?
I have the same sensation about Subsidiary Groove. Feel like I've done it but ...
> As a strange adjunct: does anyone else have those weird dreams where you are in a state of having had sex with a woman ( neighbour, work colleague) but don't have the benefit of all the details etc......?
Somnambulism is no defence...
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