UKC

/ The Stanage VS Challange (1989)

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Jim Walton on 11 May 2015
So my Friend and I attempted the Stanage VS Challenge this Sunday. It consists of the 36 starred VS's from the 1989 Guide. The routes have to be lead and seconded by a roped team and no soloing allowed. I'm a HVS/E1 on a good day climber and found it very hard.

We started at 08:10 at the base of Crab Crawl Arete at Stanage North and it finishes on Heather Wall at the Popular End. There are some really great routes along the way that I had not done before, Counts Crack and The Nose (Counts Crack is a contender for the best VS in the list, possibly on Stanage as long as you can Jam). I'd done all but 6 of the routes before but had forgotten half of them so at least half felt like an On=Sight.

Along with great routes there are a couple that we wondered why they were in the list (See-Saw, bag of shit). Also a couple of real 'Beasts', Wall Buttress is desperate, The Punk probably only gets done a couple of times a year and the Cleft Wing routes are just plain funny.

By 20:15 we had managed 27 before Bird Bans and a soaking wet Hell Crack brought us to a stop. I give upmost respect to a normal VS team who manage this in a day.

This challange also make good 'Alpine Training' as you need to be climbing well, climbing efficiently, build belays fast, good route finding and good on-sighting ability.

Feeling sore today.

Who has completed it and How did you manage it!
Mark Collins - on 11 May 2015
In reply to Jim Walton:

Top effort, I bet you'll be a HVS/E1 climber every day after you've recovered from this.
Jim Walton on 11 May 2015
In reply to Mark Collins:

I'm struggling to pick up my Cup of tea today and my back feels like a fat man has jumped up and down on it.
johncoxmysteriously - on 11 May 2015
In reply to Jim Walton:

Not done it, though in retrospect it would have been a good idea. At one time a friend and I had a semi-serious project to do all the 147 VSs in the 1989 guide in a day. This didn't survive a practice day when we managed about 1/3 of them in about 1/3 of the time (partly because I could never manage to get a sequence which felt safe on one particular one - Paved Vacuum, is it?), but it was fun.

We were rather put off too by this exchange with a capable friend of some wide experience (I suspect the only Brit to do the Nose in a Day twice, 30 years apart).

Me: "How hard do you think it'll be?"

CFOSWEinstantly) "Oh, it'll be the hardest thing you've ever done." (perfectly timed pause) "Unless you've done some very hard things."

Me: "Oh, really, that bad? How do you think it would compare with the NITD, for example?"

CFOSWE: (instantly again) "Oh much harder."

Perfect humblebragging intimidation, and in retrospect, obviously spot on. I can't now imagine what I was thinking.

jcm
Offwidth - on 11 May 2015
In reply to Jim Walton:

Sounds good. Must try it sometime .

My 100 solos in a day on Stanage (with an approach shoe on my left foot due to weird cramp issues) was one of my best days ever (when I was beginning to despair if my feet were not up to climbing anymore). The best bit was the beauty of the edge at the early morning start.... the first 50 routes positively flew past... the day I chose was too hot really so the end section was mostly pain and dehydration but the last few climbs were pretty enjoyable in an almost vicarious out of body sense. I'd asked a few pals if they could spare some time to help me out and was glad somebody came...without Chris Fitzhugh I might have given up at 80.
Tom Last - on 11 May 2015
In reply to Offwidth:
I managed 65 in a day last year and 60 on a repeat attempt aiming for the Stanage/Burbage punter's century a few weeks back. So much of it is tactics isn't it, every time I seem to get something wrong. Agree with the above poster - great alpine training.

Top marks to the OP!
Post edited at 15:09
dunnyg - on 11 May 2015
In reply to Tom Last:

Key is to allways finish on curving chimney. In the rain.
Jim Walton on 11 May 2015
In reply to dunnyg:
The key is also not to leave your food supply on your passenger seat whilst attempting a 12 hr VS Marathon half the height of El Capitain.
alasdair19 on 14 May 2015
In reply to Jim Walton:

thinking of this this weekend though I lack the 89 guide is there a list on here?
TRip - on 14 May 2015
Jim Walton on 14 May 2015
In reply to alasdair19:

Go for it, climb fast but move really fast (like really fast) between the climbs.
The Ex-Engineer - on 14 May 2015
In reply to anyone: Well I'm free tomorrow if anyone is up for it

ByEek on 15 May 2015
In reply to Jim Walton:

Not done that particular challenge but have attempted to climb 50 VSs in a day. We weren't bothered about only climbing starred routes as many of the "true" gems at Stanage are unstarred. By about 2pm we had done 30 including a few cheeky HVS variations including Harding's Finish. I was completely finished off by The Punk.

Hell crack wasn't too bad BTW and I am a wuss on those sort of climbs.
Jim Walton on 15 May 2015
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:

Be advised that four of the routes are bird banned at the moment, this helped led to our failure.
Stu McInnes - on 15 May 2015
In reply to Jim Walton:

Awesome effort, might have a go at that next time I'm up there.

I once did all the diffs at Stanage in a day. My arms feet were in pieces after!
Brilliant Alpine training for soloing on easy ground!
Offwidth - on 15 May 2015
In reply to Stu McInnes:

Stanage diffs are not all easy. Some of the 89 diffs nearly pranged quite a few Extrme leaders.. Straight Ahead being the worst.
Stu McInnes - on 15 May 2015
In reply to Offwidth:

I cant remember exactly as it was a while back, but there was one, I think it had Hell or Devil in the name, that was properly hard!
Fat Paul on 16 May 2015
In reply to Stu McInnes:

Back in the dim and distant past of the late 80s, we led all the VSs on Curbar in a day using only cams for protection. I'm sure that was around 35 routes. That was interesting at times. Some very dodgy placements.
JR - on 18 May 2015
In reply to Jim Walton:

Good effort glad to see people doing this - I originally did this in 2006 and then again in 2011 where I wrote about it here

https://johnroberts.me/outdoors/2011/07/the-vs-challenge/

The E1 Stanage challenge is also a brilliant day out - thoroughly exhausting - it was one of the best weekends climbing in the UK I've had. We bivvied up at Scafell East on the Friday night, did Saxon in the morning, ran back to the car, went to a wedding that afternoon/evening in Skipton. Drove to Stanage at 6am and did all 29 starred E1s from the 1989 guide the next day finishing in the dark at about 10pm

http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/set.php?id=443
Post edited at 16:02
emily roo on 18 May 2015
In reply to Jim Walton:

Tried this yesterday... but the other way round... Glad you had a similar experience on Wall Buttress! How is that VS?!?
emily roo on 18 May 2015
In reply to Jim Walton:

And have more than 1 litre of water between you....
alasdair19 on 18 May 2015
In reply to emily roo:

really good sandwiches only go so far. ..
Stone Idle - on 18 May 2015
In reply to Jim Walton:

Al Jackson and I did it in a morning and repaired to the bar, well chuffed. Over a pint or so we decided to go for the 100 and went back to the crag. Only managed 3 more routes. There must be a moral somewhere.
Jim Walton on 20 May 2015
In reply to emily roo:

Did you succeed Emily?
Jim Walton on 20 May 2015
In reply to Stone Idle:
You led and seconded all the Routes in a morning! Hats off to you sir!!!
Stone Idle - on 20 May 2015
In reply to Jim Walton:

A long morning of course (and see part two). Al is now sailing somewhere exotic and I am fat and lazy. You know how it goes - the older I get the better I was!
themattyshep - on 20 May 2015
In reply to Jim Walton:

I've never been to Stanage, who recons its possible to onsight all 36 in a day?
Jim Walton on 20 May 2015
In reply to themattyshep:
I suppose it depends on your normal lead grade. The ones that I think are 'tricky' for VS are shown below, most of them are well protected just the moves are quite hard (brutal in one case). The Cleft Wing Routes are VS once you man/woman up.

First Sister
Fern Crack
Wall Buttress
Step Ladder Crack
The Punk
Via Roof Route
deacondeacon - on 20 May 2015
In reply to themattyshep:

If you can climb with minimum faff then no problem at all. With challenges like this the actual part that'll slow you down is everything but the climbing.
Can you climb single pitch VS's in around ten minutes?
Can you build belays quickly?
Can you swap the rack over nice and efficiently (or even quicker lead routes in blocks)?
Can you climb VS in approach shoes?
Are you prepared to eat and drink on the go?


There's lots of other ways to speed things up too, but if you can handle the above you'll have no problem.
Offwidth - on 20 May 2015
In reply to Jim Walton:

By that category only WB and VRR sbould be on that list.
deacondeacon - on 20 May 2015
In reply to Offwidth:

All this talk of stanage challenges offwidth, are you guys doing the bmc stanage challenge this year (and the chew valley challenge if anyone from that side is reading)?
Dave Garnett - on 21 May 2015
In reply to emily roo:

> Tried this yesterday... but the other way round... Glad you had a similar experience on Wall Buttress! How is that VS?!?

Actually, just doing Wall Buttress at Stanage and Wall Climb at Curbar in a day would see off a lot of VS leaders!
Offwidth - on 21 May 2015
In reply to deacondeacon:

Chew is pretty likely, pretty much an annual event from TCVC . Stanage depends on the BMC havingman event (we would run it with a few changes or pass it over if we couldnt make it).
deacondeacon - on 21 May 2015
In reply to Offwidth:

They were both great events. It'd be a shame not to have them
TRip - on 30 May 2015
In reply to Jim Walton:

I did this today. Harder than expected. I'm knackered now! We started with Heather Wall and 8:20 and finished with Crab Crawl Arete at 7ish.

Nesting Birds on Wall End Slab and Fern Crack so we substituted them for a couple of extra.

A grant day out. I'd known about this challenge for years. Cheers for giving me the impetus to actually go an climb it.

There were at least three other teams out trying the challenge today. I wonder how they go on?

Tom

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