UKC

/ Top 5 E3s in the UK and Ireland - Update

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A little over a year ago I wrote the article 'The Five Best E3 Routes in the UK?' and (perhaps controversially) included a route I hadn't yet done - Swordfish (E3 5c) - which I got round to doing it whilst on holiday in Pembroke last week. It was worth the wait...

However, I reckon I've done a few other routes I've done since writing the article that would also be worth of inclusion - sure other people feel the same way too. Either way, here's a list of some other personal stand-outs:

Through the Looking Glass (E3 5c) - Taking the full height of Ailladie's Mirror Wall in all it's glory, the climbing keeps coming, and coming, and coming
The Pinch Direct (E3 5c) - We're fortunate that there's not many routes like this, or crags like the Etive Slabs, because I'm not sure my constitution could take this amount of terror on a day to day basis
Yellow Edge (E3 5c) - Ok, it lacks the aesthetics of all the above but there's something truly unique about it (inner city Gogarth?)
The Promised Land (E3 6a) - I could be looking through rose tinted goggles here, as the crux pitch contains more lichen than rock...and the top pitch is total choss...but that bottom pitch - wow!
1
Martin McKenna - UKC - on 14 Aug 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

WTF, is Promised Land E3? I remember being quite pumped pulling out the top flake and onto the wall. Uisdean almost had a meltdown on pitch 1 actually headbutting the wall proclaiming it was the hardest route he had done there that week (he had been climbing E4/E5 out there).

Also, lichen and total choss? Surely we are not thinking of the same route here!!
jon on 14 Aug 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Through the Looking Glass was high on my list a couple of weeks back. Sadly there was no possibility all week of getting anywhere near the bottom of Mirror wall either by boulder hopping or abseil - until just before dusk on our very last day (which was just too late). Seen from the bottom, the lines are evidently brilliant (seen from the side the wall just appears blank.) Sadly, organising a spur of the moment trip when weather, tides and swell are all favourable isn't that easy from the south of France, but we'll see...
1
Steve Perry - on 14 Aug 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Any chance of a link to the original article?
In reply to Martin McKenna - UKC:

Oops, wrong link there Martin - it's should have been the Lundy The Promised Land (E3 6a)

Steve, here's a link: https://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=8536
Post edited at 13:23
Steve Perry - on 14 Aug 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Thanks Rob, good article.

There can't be many buttresses with as many 3*** E3s as Eastern Buttress on Sron na Ciche;

Spock (E3 5c)
Uhuru (E3 5c)
Diuru (E3 5c)
Dilemma (E3 5c)
Pocks (E3 5c)
Creag Dhu Grooves (E3 5c)
Enigma (E3 5c)
Helen (E3 6a)

and that omits The Conjurer which only has two**



peter.herd - on 14 Aug 2017
In reply to Steve Perry:

No doubt the best set of E3's in the World, Steve. Especially perfect when climbed in the evening sun. Everything else pales in comparison ;)
Steve Perry - on 14 Aug 2017
In reply to peter.herd:

I had plans to go and tick some off but breaking my foot got in the way, bah.
Misha - on 14 Aug 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:
Yellow Edge is 'interesting' but nowhere near top 5.
4
In reply to Misha:

I did top-out to Massive Attack doing a sound check, plus an ice cream, which I'll admit might have skewed my memory somewhat
In reply to Steve Perry:

Funnily enough these were all highlighted within the original thread and are now high up on my list of priorities.

Also, I owe you a pint - we used your tat abseiling off The Pin the other week.
Andrew Popp - on 14 Aug 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Ahimsa, Cheddar - probably the best inland limestone E3 I've done.
Steve Perry - on 14 Aug 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Probably not mine Rob, I've not been on The Pin but I'll take the pint
In reply to Steve Perry:

Interesting, maybe it was Parry as opposed to Perry. Still, a promise of a pint is a promise of a pint...
1
Andy Moles - on 14 Aug 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Reckon I might have done a strong candidate for top 5 E3s the other day - Prozac Link on Lewis. OK it gets E4 but it's definitely easier than Dream/Liberator and Interrogation!
TobyA on 15 Aug 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

> I did top-out to Massive Attack doing a sound check, plus an ice cream, which I'll admit might have skewed my memory somewhat

Sounds very Bristol!
Misha - on 15 Aug 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:
Such psyche for Avon shows that you're shedding teardrops due to suffering from unfinished sympathy for the crag. Either that or you're just daydreaming. Anyway, glad you were safe from harm after finishing the route, I recall there wasn't much protection available in places. May be an angel was watching over you. It's hardly the best crag in the world but you've got to be thankful for what you've got.
2
kevin stephens - on 15 Aug 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

I can't remember what was in the original article but seeing as Ireland is mentioned in the title why nothing at Fairhead? Salango, Jolly Roger etc
Michael Gordon - on 15 Aug 2017
In reply to kevin stephens:

I think when this was asked in the original thread folk said they didn't quite compare to the E4s.
kenneM - on 15 Aug 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

If I could give a double like for Yellow Edge I would - it is not just the climbing that makes a route but the whole experience and Yellow Edge has it in buckets!!

Great article and update.


Jon Stewart - on 15 Aug 2017
In reply to Misha:

Great post!
In reply to kevin stephens:
Michael is quite right, there was discussion at the time and it was generally agreed that whilst the 3 star E3s at Fair Head are good they're not a patch on the E4s.

Another route I think I mentioned last time, but haven't so far in this thread, was Roaring Forties (E3 5c) at Rora Head on Orkney. Thought this was better than its more famous neighbourMucklehouse Wall (E5 6a).
Post edited at 08:44
Bulls Crack - on 16 Aug 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

No place for Eroica or The Moon?
In reply to Bulls Crack:

I thought Eroica (E4 6a) was E4 (and the votes seem to suggest the same too) and as for The Moon, I'm not convinced.

Gogarth is one of my all-time favourite crags, but The Moon isn't - for one reason or another - one of my all time favourite routes. I've done it twice and whilst I've enjoyed it, I've never loved it. I much preferred T.Rex (E3 5c) for it's atmosphere, plus its Golden Bough finish, and The Assassin (E3 5c) for it's fine, open face climbing. There's also Wonderwall (E3 6a), Kalahari (E3 5c), and Blue Remembered Hills (E3 5c) (although the latter comes with a severe health and safety warning) as other stand-out contenders for the Top 5 E3s at Gogarth.

That said, I'm still not sure whether I'd have included any of the above within my own Top 5. Amazing routes though, and I couldn't argue in anyone else including them within their own*.

*n.b. I probably could (and would) argue with someone about it, but only for a laugh
D.Russell on 16 Aug 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Is the pinch direct only E3? I thought it was given E4 in some guides? (could be wrong though) haven't actually done it yet.

How about Pleasure Dome in Pembroke? Granted its pretty full value for E3 but probably still E3 ;-) and the ground you cover for that grade is mega.

haha Martin I thought the exact same when I clicked on the link for "promised land". "No WAY that's E3!!!!"
In reply to D.Russell:

If it's any consolation, I thought The Pinch Direct was E6, but there you go.

Regarding Pleasure Dome, I reckon that's got the right kind of calibre, although were you to be extremely picky you could fault it for the lineless/easy climbing over ledges lower down. Still, what comes after is pure quality.
DubyaJamesDubya - on 16 Aug 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:
Silly Arete, Kafoozalem, Foil, Appaloosa Sunset and Adjudicator Wall.
Post edited at 13:32
Jon Stewart - on 16 Aug 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

I'd have The Moon, I think it's an incredible route that sneaks through the most ludicrous terrain in an impossibly spectacular fashion without ever really doing a hard move (except a bit in the well-protected groove which is probably tough 5b but easily forgotten). A close second at Gogarth would be Assassin, much my favourite route on Main Cliff (I've only climbed up to E3 there).

For Pembroke I think Pleasure Dome is the best, followed by Star Gate. If it didn't degenerate into choss, Gravy Train would be up there - an underrated route if ever there was one.

My favourite in the SW is Mastodon 'cause I really like that kind of thing; but Dream Liberator is obviously a biggie. I think the grade's totally wrong though and I had a bit of a nightmare on it (so did the E5 leader who led the crux and took 90 minutes to get the move - guess who).

I would include Archangel. It's a highball with a terrible landing and a VS finish, so in many ways it is a load of rubbish. But it's all about the buzz, eh. Highballing is the crack cocaine of rock climbing, and the Archangel is high quality, well-refined crack and taken in a single hit (onsight, no pads, no rope, no extra grades in hand) it's pretty effective at delivering the buzz.

Can't think of a fifth - but I suspect it will be White Wizard.
snoop6060 - on 16 Aug 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:
I always thought jolly roger at fairhead must be up there, surely. Its a class pitch, bit like doing billy whiz straight into left wall direct.
Post edited at 13:56
mark hounslea - on 16 Aug 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:
I was very impressed with Neptune at Dalbeag tho' some would give it E2

Robert Durran - on 16 Aug 2017
In reply to mark hounslea:
> I was very impressed with Neptune at Dalbeag tho' some would give it E2

If it is E3, which it isn't, it isn't even the best one on the wall!

Post edited at 15:57
Martin McKenna - UKC - on 16 Aug 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:

Not done Neptune, I have done Limpet Crack though. Even if I hadn't though, you just need to look at the wall to determine what one is better :P
Jon Stewart - on 16 Aug 2017
In reply to Martin McKenna - UKC:

I found both routes nice, but rather forgettable.
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Crikey, you know the bar is being set pretty high when you don't include a route on what could be one of the most aesthetic walls in the UK!

Still, I have to agree with you. Compared to The Prozac Link (E4 5c) I found all the routes at Dalbeg lacking that extra something.

Martin McKenna - UKC - on 16 Aug 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Yeah, I mean they are great routes, but I'd also agree they lack that something that makes them extra special. Not sure I'd put them in contenders for top 5 E3's, although they would just be shy of it.
Robert Durran - on 16 Aug 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I found both routes nice, but rather forgettable.

Nor forgettable. Solid three stars, but I agree they are not top 5 in UK! Most of the climbing on Lewis is like that - you can have a day as good as any in the world without doing any truly nationally outstanding routes. A bit like Reiff. Or grit ;-) Prozac Link is probably the exception.
Misha - on 16 Aug 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:
I'm sure the Moon has some 5c moves. Would only be E2 otherwise. Then again, you think the Strand is HVS!

Rat Race is a very good Gogarth E3.

Supercrack and Wonderwall also very good E3s but only single pitch.

Not sure any of these would be in my top 5. Perhaps The Moon would be.

I did lob off the crux of Dream Liberator. Second go it was fine. Decent but safeish fall so probably more E3 than E4. It's also only a couple of hard moves. Someone has apparently excavated some gear placements just below the crux, which would make it quite a reasonable proposition. Top route, got to get back on that wall...

Mastodon, now that's FOMO inducing!
DubyaJamesDubya - on 17 Aug 2017
In reply to Misha:



> I did lob off the crux of Dream Liberator. Second go it was fine. Decent but safeish fall so probably more E3 than E4.

Well it is E3
JimR - on 17 Aug 2017
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> Silly Arete, Kafoozalem, Foil, Appaloosa Sunset and Adjudicator Wall.

Adjudicator Wall would certainly be on my list.
Adam Long - on 17 Aug 2017
In reply to Rob and Jon:

Hmm, tricky one. In some ways I think E3 has potential to be the best grade, as it's fairly accessible, doesn't require mega fitness or hard technical ability, whilst having the potential to access some incredible terrain.

The Moon typifies that for me, I don't think any E3s on Gogarth proper are as good, not even T-Rex - the main wall doesn't really hit its stride until E5 imo. Probably best done as your first route on Yellow wall before you figure out with the same approach you can go all sorts of places.

Archangel have to be up there, Jon sums it up perfectly. A distillation of grit.

Adjudicator wall is probably the best E3 on Peak lime, but it's not such a high bar. Pembroke must have better, but Pleasure Dome? Sometimes I wonder if I did the wrong route, I thought it was shit. Perhaps I need to do it again. Star Gate is in another league surely?

Silly Arete, yeah. Just perfect, intimidating to start, then safe but hard round the roof, then that upper arete you'd been trying not to think about just unrolls ahead and its mega all the way.

Sure the best one must be in the Hebrides though.




Jon Stewart - on 17 Aug 2017
In reply to Adam Long:

> Sure the best one must be in the Hebrides though.

Ah yes! Forgotten that I've done Voyage of Faith (or more likely forgotten that it was "E3"), better than any of the others. Maybe one of the other Dun Ming routes is better than that one, but it is very special, with its devious line and incredible exposure.
Robert Durran - on 17 Aug 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Forgotten that I've done Voyage of Faith, better than any of the others. Maybe one of the other Dun Ming routes is better than that one, but it is very special, with its devious line and incredible exposure.

Les Voyageurs (or at least I thought so). Stronger, less devious line cutting through Voyage and the top pitch's exposure makes Voyage seem a little bit tame!

Jon Stewart - on 17 Aug 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Les Voyageurs (or at least I thought so). Stronger, less devious line cutting through Voyage and the top pitch's exposure makes Voyage seem a little bit tame!

I'll do it next time, sounds like number one on the list! Dun Ming is easily the best crag in the UK.
In reply to Jon Stewart:
Whilst I agree it's amazing, being brutally honest I found it a bit samey. I've had a good few days there, done a lot of the classics, but almost got bored of it by the time I left.

Sron na Ciche still sounds like it's winning the prize of 'Best Crag to Climb E3 in the UK', even though I haven't been there yet. If the forecast looks favourable this coming bank holiday I may try and rectify that...
Post edited at 11:48
Neil Foster - on 18 Aug 2017
In reply to Adam Long:

> ...but Pleasure Dome? Sometimes I wonder if I did the wrong route, I thought it was shit.....

Ooh! Controversial...

Actually I think it often depends when in your climbing career you did these routes, as to the impact they have.

I was a wide-eyed schoolboy when I led Pleasure Dome on my first ever trip to Pembroke, and I thought it was tremendous. I did Star Gate the same trip, and really enjoyed that too, but Pleasure Dome was the most memorable. I also remember seconding it some time later, and really enjoying it again - only this time because of the atmospheric conditions. I had to time my dash to the starting rib to perfection, to avoid the huge waves that were breaking over the rock platform.

But I dare say if I'd done it a few years later at the time I was relishing routes like Darkness at Noon, or Hyperspace, it probably wouldn't have had anything like the same impact.

Timing is everything, and the worst timing of all is the realisation that you've missed the chance to do something you really aspire to, which should have been attainable, but you never got on it. And now, because you're on your way 'back down' you probably never will....

Adam Long - on 18 Aug 2017
In reply to Neil Foster:

Christ, I've not even been 40 a month and you tell me I'm on my way back down!

Never been great on lime as you know, so it wasn't that it was too easy, I did several other E2 and E3s that first trip and really enjoyed them. It just seemed a bit lineless and unbalanced. There was another Pembroke classic I really didn't rate too - Trevallen Pillar maybe? Go anywhere at 5b but no gear?

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