/ UK Sandbags
https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/set.php?id=3375 - this ticklist is made up of suggestions from the thread https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/rocktalk/biggest_sandbag-704853#x8992837 - I've not included routes outside the UK and have ommitted some suggestions such as Soapgut (HS 4b) which either in my opinion or according to the UKC collective wisdom are not sandbags.
The original rules are that the routes should be undergraded in the current definitive guide book (i.e. Rockfax grades, which may well be more realistic don't count!).
Please feel free to suggest additions or routes which should not be on the list. I do not have a complete set of current (2019) definative guide books (!) so there may well be routes which have been upgraded on the list...
Baluster crack, or to save time, Ravensheugh the entire crag
Well I've added it now. Are all Northumberland climbs sandbags?
> Well I've added it now. Are all Northumberland climbs sandbags?
I always reckoned that the style of many Northumberland climbs (often hard undercut starts followed by easier tops, generally odd moves) meant that lower grade routes felt hard for the grade but once you got up to E2 they were more like those found elsewhere.
If only there was a grade for harder than VS but easier than E1. :-/
I think Lorraine is classic borderline VS/HVS in Yorkshire terms. Real sandbags IMHO need to be clearly the wrong grade. Parsons Chimney isnt even a potential sandbag in my view its HS and not anything like the hardest at that grade at the crag
Most routes I've done on popular Northumberland crags were easier than YMC grit averages. Some climbs at Corbys were possibly overgraded. Piano at Kyloe was a clear sandbag.
Like it. There's some crackers on there!
I have a lot problems with Yorkshire grit, but Demon Wall ain't one of'em - it's a friendly little micro-route with 3 or 4 sustained 5a moves. I guess it helps when you know where the hold at the top is, but at least there is one (unlike say, every route at Brimham). I'm struggling to think of a true Yorks Grit sandbag, but there must be scores of them.
I was going to suggest Minion's Way at Brimham, a ghastly overhanging, hand-mangling jamming crack that was given "VS" in the late 1960s ... but that's no good because I see it's now correctly graded HVS 5c!!
Like the idea of the list but every climb I've done that's on there (mainly grit) really isn't a sandbag.
Lots of the routes in the list are awkward or unusual moves or people have had a bad time on them in less than perfect conditions. That doesn't make them sandbags.
Surely if a route is only one grade out (adjectival and/or technical) then it's only a grade disagreement and not a sandbag.
And in complete contrast to my previous post, can you have a correctly graded sandbag?
Was thinking about Nat Not (VS 4c). Grade is pretty much ok, although you might be able to justify HVS 4c. But many struggle on this because the climbing on it is just plain weird.
Do we need a separate term for correctly graded climbs that you would point your mates at to see them struggle (safely) on a grade they think they're competent at
I'd sympathise with the sense of that but I don't think only routes thought to be more than a whole grade out should count. Where a climb like Sentinel Crack is given E2 and most seem to think its really hard E3 in modern terms, maybe that particular grit climb is a sandbag. Masochism is a certain grit sandbag. Routes like Kelly's Overhang with trick moves that are (or certainty seem to be, from all the failures of strong low extreme climbers I've witnessed) are very hard to spot onsight should really be tough E1 in my view, so I'd support that being a possible sandbag as well. Roaches Crack and Corner probably makes more sense as the same grade as Central Climb at Hen Cloud or Mutiny Crack at Burb N (both HS in the definitive) but I agree its probably not a sandbag. A lot of these climbs at the top of the grades in definitive graded lists were put in with good intemtions as markers to delay grade creep. In the same vein The Toy might or might not make the category, ditto for Matinee (or Mincer). Freddie's Finale probably wouldn't, ditto for Little Flake Crack, and Stomach Traverse (old or modern ways) and Calcutta Crack.
Good list. Could you add queer street at Chee tor please?
Also easy pickings at rivelin.
Easy Pickings is not a sandbag. It is technically hard for the grade and upper borderline for the grade.
> Easy Pickings is not a sandbag. It is technically hard for the grade and upper borderline for the grade.
How do you explain the failure of people who normally cruise e2? I managed it by the skin of my teeth, but it's the hardest route I have ever climbed.
I thought the pro on the weird bit was ok, but sparse (was there any?) on the slab. The slab is only 4b however it can easily feel harder if you haven't properly recovered (mentally) from the weirdness below
Also, if I remember correctly, the rock at the start is very wave washed smooth. Which means it's very conditions dependent and can easily feel greasy as soap. Not a first thing in the morning route
Mainly as it was consensus from the team. Secondly as the UKC votes fit a bordeline route with a slight E2 confirmation bias. Its maybe too hard for me to judge which side of the border fairly but (subject to recent changes since I climbed it) my view was it was a technical ground-up style route with a tricky boulder problem start, that might be E3 but not a sandbag. It wasn't that technically hard as I finally got up it in one push and my theory is I've never climbed anything harder than easy 6b and EP start is crimpy and vertical so doesn't really suit me... all the hardest stuff I did was on roofs and blank slabs. I've failed to climb numerous low extremes and even the odd HVS cleanly after falls and reattempts, when checking routes.
> OK Demon Wall (HVS 5a) is out unless anyone can present a convincing case. So, we need a good replacement Yorks Grit sandbag, any suggestions please?
I'd argue that Demon Wall is a sandbag, it's fine if you've done it before but it's hard to onsight.
It's intimidating, hard to rest on and hard to figure out the top move unless (as I've seen happen a few times) you go up and check out the hold over the top before you do the route.
Spend some time at Almscliff and you notice that it's the route that people struggle on. Once you done it once it's a different route because you know where the hold is and you know you can do the moves.
Grit Attack at Brimham.
Jacob's Ladder shouldn't be on the list because Dalkey Quarry is not in the UK
> Seth on Gower:
Yes, I think it was E1 5b in the guide when we did it and it was undoubtedly very hard indeed!
Silver crack (HS) at Froggatt, I nearly escaped onto the E1 to the left.
Here are my thoughts from just after I climbed it
Edit - Lorraine that is
I thought Klondyker was HVS, admittedly top end but surprised the consensus is E1. Also surprised it only gets a star I really liked it.
I suspect few HVS climbers would make much impression on Fingerwrecker so I guess it's fair enough to call it a sandbag even if you're unlikley to fill your trousers on it. That said I think there are better sandbag candidates at Pass of Ballater but can't remember their names. It's a place that takes a bit of getting used to.
Amazing. Those two are the ones I would post. Agree totally!
Re Lorraine, come on , it is a sandbag , as are some routes at Corbys...Sunshine Superman .. easy at the top ... not for an HVS leader !!
Thanks for all the responses - I'm rather busy at the moment, but plan to edit / ammend the ticklist shortly.
Ok tick list updated:
Jacob's Ladder (VD) (not UK)
Still in but undecided
I think that's all for now - more suggestions??
Added - An Andy Grieve Plymouth HVS, bound to be undergraded!
Interesting that Stennis Pillar (HVS 5a) is included. The bottom is a bit run out, but you can protect yourself on the left form falling into the sea, and the moves are totally fine. The voting on UKC logbooks also suggests it's mid - high HVS. Only 5/33 voters think it deserves E1.
Not sure why Kelly's Overhang is on this list. Maybe it feels a little awkward for wall-trained climbers, but that's all.
Would love to know what grade it actually is, the American who lead me up it was superb at granite cracks and he fought very hard for its short length, E2/3?. Great gear and short but how hard? Reminded me a bit of Unprintable but steeper and a thinner crack.
I wonder if this has lost a hold, the crux was way harder than the 4c given in the guide. though perfectly safe, i fell off on it so....
> Not sure why Kelly's Overhang is on this list. Maybe it feels a little awkward for wall-trained climbers, but that's all.
I'd say it's almost the definitive sandbag at its grade See all the comments and the voting, with a majority of people thinking it's E1 5c.
I was under the impression it was 5a (Just noticed that that's what Rockfax say, CC say 4c)? Which made sense for the little crux higher up. Only got on it at Easter this year, so unless something fell off revealing a new hold I'm not sure!
I was on it a couple of years ago so either i was off route or climbing badly, Both possible, but it felt desperate like at least 5b probably 5c.
Parson’s Chimney: definitely not a sandbag
Lorraine: definitely a sandbag
> it is a sandbag , as are some routes at Corbys...Sunshine Superman .. easy at the top ... not for an HVS leader !!
It's not a sandbag though - it's fair at the grade.
Giant’s Cave Buttress VS 4c. Supposedly.
I’ve seconded lots of VS in the Avon Gorge, all without falling off. Apart from this one, which I’ve really struggled to second, twice. On my first attempt (admittedly on a day that was probably too cold for my arthritic fingers), I had to retreat from the second crux on P3 and abseil back down the whole route. Eventually made it up at the second attempt, badly dogged with multiple falls on the cruxes of both P1 and P3.
Seems much harder than Suspension Bridge Arête (HVS 5a), also just as difficult as Great Central Route (was HVS now E1 5a), both routes which I seconded cleanly.
Think GCB is well worth HVS 5a.
Sorry but no way is Giants Cave anything but standard VS
Yes, unless it's changed a lot in recent years. It's no harder than Unknown Wall or Gronk.
Well, it's been a long time (1975) since I climbed Giant's Cave Buttress (VS 4c) but I note that I had to use a peg and I was a fairly solid VS leader at the time. But basically, I'm going on people's suggestions - see Dom Goodwin's post above. The logbooks voting suggests it's not a sandbag though, I'll leave it in until I get a few more opinions.
I think GCB is considerably harder than Gronk or Unknown Wall. I seconded both of those onsight cleanly - as I’d expect at VS 4c.
I also felt it was harder to second than Suspension Bridge Arête HVS 5a.
I’ll probably go for a third go on GCB some time, but still doubt I’ll manage to second it cleanly, even knowing how to do the moves in advance! That tends to suggest it is around high 5a. (I can do 4c moves fairly reliably, 5a maybe and 5b I definitely fall off...) The hard moves on GCB seem quite simply at least one technical grade harder than on the other routes you mention. Both the climbers leading it with me felt it tough for 4c too.
Some of the holds are pretty polished, so possible it’s become much harder than it was years ago? Smearing while trying to do the hard mantel move on P3 doesn’t work too well, for instance.
I see what you mean but it's still a sandbag. If I recall correctly it's a 6b crux into a desperate 6a move into a pumpy 5c crack. I just don't think that can be E2! I failed to having led multiple e4s at the time and the odd e5.
I think that it's fun as a sandbag at E2, but wrongly graded.
Looking at the logbooks, it would seem to be top end HVS but not a sandbag - I'll leave it off for now until a few more folks agree withyou (it was '77 when I climbed it, so I can't remember what I thought of it then).
Inbred - I've only seconded the main pitch 1, but though that's a grade I'm normally OK on I remember thinking it's very go-ey for an HVS leader. Steep, no real let up, awkward holds and fiddly-looking (not plentiful) gear... Hard to really comment but it felt like an E1 5b to me. I am a wuss of course.
Somersault at Rocky Valley, Ilkley. It's very steep, very pumpy, and made me think for quite a while that all VS's were utterly desperate. Eight years on I have still not dared go back to try that route.
The Cracks has now been upgraded to VS.
> Take it out. Solid hvs and not a sandbag.
Agree, inbred is not a sandbag.
> The Cracks has now been upgraded to VS.
Thanks for the information.
Wasn't sure if it had been upgraded in the 'proper' guidebook.
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...