/ NEWS: Edinburgh Bridge Roof Crack First Ascent by Robbie Phillips

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UKC News 11 Feb 2020
Last weekend, Robbie Phillips stumbled across a hand crack on the underside of a bridge after taking a wrong turn while walking back to his van. The smooth concrete crack takes red and yellow hexes - being too slick for cams - and traverses above Edinburgh's murky Union Canal, but fortunately Robbie was spared from testing the water (unlike one of his friends when a cam ripped!). He has named the line The Troll Toll and graded it E5 6b to create Edinburgh's first urban crack climb.

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subtle 11 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC News:

I had to check the date there!

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In reply to subtle:

We're not trolling you.

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DubyaJamesDubya 11 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC News:

Hexes better than cams! Proof at last yea nay sayers.

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Alex Riley 11 Feb 2020

Looks ace, how deep is the water? ;)

Post edited at 10:28
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Sl@te Head 11 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC News:

There's a very similar crack under the A55 in North Wales if anyone's interested, it's just outside Tal-Y-Bont, Bangor where the A55 crosses the River Ogwen.....

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rickeden 11 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC News:

Now you need to get a true lead putting in the gear. Not a pink point

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Sean_J 11 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC News:

Not sure he's got enough gear in there. Better place a few more hexes to be safe. Also, does it still count as an ascent if you drop off a few metres from the end of the feature?

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Toerag 11 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC News:

I'm intrigued as to how hexes can work and cams don't.

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Enty 11 Feb 2020
In reply to Toerag:

He explains that the crack is flared upwards, ie it gets wider inside.

E

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Coel Hellier 11 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC News:

OK, well protected, but  ... that long and that angle and 6b ... and only E5? 

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finc00 11 Feb 2020
In reply to Alex Riley:

Not very (but you wouldnt want to fall in. One of the other lads having a bash at it dropped a clip and ended up going for a dunk, he walked out rather wet and slightly bedraggled.

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finc00 11 Feb 2020
In reply to Toerag:

The cams were popping out under body weight as the concrete was so smooth. The hexes could be placed by putting them in narrow-ways, pushing them up in the crack and then rotating them on your finger tips to be wide-ways in the crack. Pretty bomber once you got them in.

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Phil_Brock 11 Feb 2020
In reply to finc00:

Time to go wandering around Edinburgh to look for other routes! Might be a disgusting off-width further up the canal but only if you can't get your fingers over the top of the concrete beams.

Seems like wired hexes would make placements a lot easier and then if placing on lead you could slide them along a bit as you went!

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finc00 11 Feb 2020
In reply to Phil_Brock:

Yeah wired hexes would have made it a lot easier to place I think.

I know the one youre on about! But it would be far too easy to get fingers over the lip (its just about doable with this crack). The bridge beside it looks like it might have a "fun" finger crack, but could be logistically a bit more challenging (much higher, need to reverse the climb as well)

Anyway I could barely do one move on this one so I'm in no real place to be looking for anything harder!

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Plungeman 11 Feb 2020
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Robbie_Phillips 11 Feb 2020
In reply to Sl@te Head:

I’m game! Down in wales Friday haha 

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Enty 11 Feb 2020
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> OK, well protected, but  ... that long and that angle and 6b ... and only E5? 


He said maybe 5:10d at first 

E

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cheese@4p 11 Feb 2020
In reply to Robbie_Phillips:

This triggered a very distant memory of the Parking Lot Crack some dudes were working in LA? in the 70s. There was a little photo in Mountain mag I believe.

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C Witter 11 Feb 2020
In reply to Sl@te Head:

> There's a very similar crack under the A55 in North Wales if anyone's interested, it's just outside Tal-Y-Bont, Bangor where the A55 crosses the River Ogwen.....

I can imagine ambitious climbers everywhere are out staring at the underside of road bridges....! Only thing likely to get done in this weather...

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galpinos 11 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC News:

Very "of the moment" after Ondra's Road Bridge Arete video.

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Stu Bradbury 11 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC News:

Cool! looks fun Robbie, nice find.

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Rigid Raider 11 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC News:

I remember once watching two guys climbing the Blondin cable in the Dinorwig quarries; they had got almost as far as the cradle that's stuck about 2/3 up and they looked absolutely shattered; I wondered how they planned to get past the cradle, which doesn't seem to be held in place by anything other than rust.  They may still be hanging there for all I know.

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Rob Parsons 11 Feb 2020
In reply to cheese@4p:

> This triggered a very distant memory of the Parking Lot Crack some dudes were working in LA? in the 70s. There was a little photo in Mountain mag I believe.


That was Randy Leavitt  and Tony Yaniro.

Edit: see e.g. https://www.instagram.com/p/BVFY9Hnj51S/?hl=en

Post edited at 15:16
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Adam Perrett 11 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC News:

I seem to remember rumours (years back) of Portland climbers attempting to climb a similar, but longer,  crack under the road bridge in Weymouth (over Radipole lake) using custom-made T-shaped ironwork.

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In reply to UKC News:

I have cycled under that bridge to work for 20 years. I should have looked up but I was too busy trying to avoid cycling into the canal. 

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Seymore Butt 11 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC News:

Although climbing on bridges is nothing new (been doing it for years on my local viaduct), maybe BoJo,s` proposed plan to build bridges around Britain could also incorporate proper features for climbing on. Then Rockfax could bring out a guide to Britain's Best Bridges or the like.

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Rob Parsons 11 Feb 2020
In reply to Rob Parsons:

Even better: that Mountain Magazine article in full ... : http://www.widefetish.com/pages/how_to.html#leavittation

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andyman666999 11 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC News:

Would it be a viable DWS when it gets warmer ? 

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Rob Parsons 11 Feb 2020
In reply to andyman666999:

> Would it be a viable DWS when it gets warmer ? 


If the 'W' stands for 'Weil's Disease', then yes.

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andyman666999 11 Feb 2020
In reply to Rob Parsons:

Lol

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cheese@4p 11 Feb 2020
In reply to Rob Parsons:

Well done. Thanks a million for the article Rob. It blew my mind a long time ago, so good to revisit.

Mountain was so amazing at showcasing the US climbing scene back then.

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OliverLevine 11 Feb 2020
In reply to andyman666999:

That canal is stagnant and only about waist deep. Wouldn't want to go into it spine first if at all possible... I'm sure I'm saw Tom Randall suggest a dingy with a pad in it on Instagram though..

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steve taylor 12 Feb 2020
In reply to Adam Perrett:

> I seem to remember rumours (years back) of Portland climbers attempting to climb a similar, but longer,  crack under the road bridge in Weymouth (over Radipole lake) using custom-made T-shaped ironwork.

"Duck Crack" - Mike Robertson and Mark Williams! 1992/3?

Can't remember the grade however.

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Michael Hood 12 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC News:

There appear to be other cracks parallel to the one climbed. Presumably not as nice a crack size or not protectable?

Also, surely this crack is appropriate for a SWS.

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DerwentDiluted 12 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC News:

Weils away the time.

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Shapeshifter 12 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC News:

Similar but longer (I’d guess) crack under the A55 road bridge over the River Dee south of Chester if anybody fancies it. Looks good hands width. 

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NaCl 12 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC News:

How long before someone wants to bolt it to make it more accessible?...

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raussmf 12 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC News:

Let's bolt it and make it more accessible

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Rick Graham 12 Feb 2020
In reply to raussmf:

Almost forty years ago two now well known climbers started bolting the underside of a highways bridge.

They ended up in court .

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Hat Dude 12 Feb 2020
In reply to finc00:

>  he walked out rather wet and slightly bedraggled.

With two old bike frames and a shopping trolley

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Mike-W-99 12 Feb 2020
In reply to Hat Dude:

That stretch of the canal is in one of the nicer parts of town. I think it was all dredged a few years ago. However having seen it the last time they drained it I’d still not fancy falling in!

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JLS 12 Feb 2020
In reply to raussmf:

> Let's bolt it and make it more accessible


Drilling into precast beams with prestressed tendons possibly present isn't a good plan.

If you damage a tendon the bill for fixing that kinda thing could be very large!

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Jon Greengrass 12 Feb 2020
In reply to Shapeshifter:

The A74(m) has a long roof crack at junction 16, looks like hands from the ground, but its so high it could be wider?

you can see it on streetview

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@55.2193148,-3.4128564,3a,75y,64.91h,179t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sDt4ex3KlbCULpx6R1P4oRw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

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Michael Gordon 12 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC News:

This is bloody brilliant! Such a fun video. And a great advert for crack gloves...

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J Brown 12 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC News:

This is fantastic, really great stuff!

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Sl@te Head 12 Feb 2020

> There's a very similar crack under the A55 in North Wales if anyone's interested, it's just outside Tal-Y-Bont, Bangor where the A55 crosses the River Ogwen.....

Went back for a look at this today, I first looked at its potential about 25 years ago and thought it looked amazing. Looking at it today, if it is climbable it would be a very significant achievement. It's probably multi pitch and the crack looks like it's quite thin (finger / hand jamming kind of width rather than fist jamming). It would definitely be doable as an aid route, but maybe too big a challenge to be free climbed? The route starts up a crimpy slate arete which is all I'd be able to climb myself...

Definitely a project for someone!

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Mark Davies PK 12 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC News:

HELCH

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stevevans5 12 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC News:

I've seen at least one or two similar looking bridge cracks over the Birmingham canals if anyone fancies the challenge! Can't remember exactly which bridges but looked to be hand jam sized like the one in the OP

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Wiley Coyote2 12 Feb 2020
In reply to UKC News:

Oh but I do like a bit of daftness now and again. It's a whole new genre!

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chadogrady 17 Feb 2020
In reply to stevevans5:

Pretty sure one of them is under the bridge by 5 ways train station. 

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