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ARTICLE: Five of the best VS Routes in the UK?

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 UKC Articles 01 Dec 2014
Questor, 5 kbAn article identifying five of the best VS rock climbs in the UK

VS – just two little letters but for most climbers it is a watershed moment when they lead their first one. I remember mine – Inkerman Groove at Chudleigh Rocks in Devon - it is now pushing 40 years ago but the feeling of achievement still lingers long in the memory. I think that there are certain 'break through' grades where a distinct step up in ability and approach seems to be needed to get-up them and progressing from Hard Severe to VS is one of them.



Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=6807
1
 innesmac 01 Dec 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

With there being a topo of Eagle Crack does that mean there is a lakes guidebook in the pipe line.....?
In reply to UKC Articles:

What?! Where is Eliminate 'A' (VS 4c)?

Mark - how could you!



1
 The Ivanator 01 Dec 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

...and the best single pitch VSes without Armorican? I've done 3/5 selected single pitch VSes in the article - all good, but none close to Armorican in terms of aesthetics or quality of the climbing.
Good article though and I'm also curious about that Eagle Front topo... spill the beans.
 odox 01 Dec 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Great article Mark. Happy to see Northumberland get a mention

P.S. Marcher Lord and Wilfred Prickles would get my votes!
1
 TMM 01 Dec 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

No Suspension Flake?

Surely OTE couldn't have got it wrong all those years ago?
 Simon Caldwell 01 Dec 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Everyone knows the best single pitch VS is in the Moors
The Night Watch (VS 4b)
 wilkesley 01 Dec 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

I found Eagle Front a disappointment. Did it in good conditions, but apart from the corner pitch at the top I didn't really enjoy it. The pitch with the "Hidden Jug" (am I allowed to mention that) was a bit of a one move wonder, but would have been hard if I didn't know there was a good hold hidden somewhere.
 goose299 01 Dec 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

What about fishers folly at shepherds?

Have done mohammed the mad monk, definatey worth the mention
 Michael Gordon 01 Dec 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Mousetrap is good but not among the best VS routes in the UK (I thought 2 stars).

For single pitch in Scotland, Jamie Jampot (Skye) and Proud Corner (Clova) spring to mind.
1
 John Gresty 01 Dec 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Done four out of the five, haven't done Mousetrap, but can I substitute Fion Buttress on Carnmore for the Scottish route., a superb climb.

John
 BnB 01 Dec 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Integrity, surely?

Must do Jamie Jampot. It's only a few miles from our place on Sleat. I'm always nervous about tides. Sonnemara is also lovely at Neist but overgraded (bomber wire at every move), more like HS.
 Graeme Hammond 01 Dec 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Mohammed the Mad Monk of Moorside Home for Mental Misfits (VS 4c) Really????? Some good climbing in Lanashire but not really at VS, though Samarkand (VS 5a) is fairly good

In reply to Graeme Hammond:
No honerable mention for Lost Horizon (VS 5a)!?
Post edited at 15:48
 Jamie B 01 Dec 2014
In reply to BnB:

I don't think the tide will reach the higher ledge at the bottom of the Jamie Jampot corner, and it would be a pretty heavy sea to threaten it. It's a brilliant pitch, quite sustained at the grade.
 Michael Gordon 01 Dec 2014
In reply to BnB:

Integrity is Hard Severe in my opinion - never more than 4b and always well protected. Certainly the first pitch is one of the best at the grade though!
 Simon Caldwell 01 Dec 2014
In reply to LJC:

Lost Horizon is the 2nd best single pitch VS, after Night Watch
 BnB 01 Dec 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

The initial groove is like a classic grit HS chimney and the slab is a joyous romp, but the three moves (onto the slab, into the belay and halfway up the VS finish) are all worthy of VS in impact if not difficulty. How about MVS?

But it's VS in the book and on UKC and therefore qualifies for this thread.
 BnB 01 Dec 2014
In reply to Jamie B:

Must get on it next summer. Especially if it's all jams as the name would imply.
 Michael Gordon 01 Dec 2014
In reply to BnB:

I still think it's Hard Severe. I also think it's a bit short for a best in UK shortlist (pun not intended) but it's definitely one of the best of its length.

For the Cairngorms, The Clean Sweep springs to mind as a good length (4/5 pitch) route but better than Mousetrap. But even that doesn't compare to the big routes on Shelter Stone Crag!
2
 Brendan 01 Dec 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

I was planning to do F Route on Gimmer when I was there in April but it looked really green. Gutted I didn't do it now!
In reply to UKC Articles:

Looks like a great collection of routes (only done F Route), but, to further stir the pot of unbelievable omissions:

Haste Not. Really, this HAS to be included.
Spartan Slab
Whether Wall/Whither Whether
Old Man of Stoer

I haven't done Eliminate A but it must be something very special to inspire such a consistent gush as it does.
 Johnny Baker 01 Dec 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Have to agree to the inclusion of Haste not. A tad hasty to omit this climb
 Chris Murray 01 Dec 2014
In reply to biped:

+1 for Spartan Slab and Haste Not.

Done Eliminate A and it WAS amazing.

As someone else mentioned, Armorican is a fantastic route with great positions.

I think Via Dolorosa and Chee Tor Girdle deserve an honorary mention too, even though neither fulfils the criteria of being a big mountain route or a single pitch.

Surprised no-one has nominated Jene Genie.
 Skyfall 01 Dec 2014
In reply to biped:

Have to agree, did Haste Not last year. Wild and superb route at the grade. One of the best VS's in the Lakes and I've done a few over the years. Not one to do if you're feeling tentative at VS though..
In reply to Michael Gordon:
> (In reply to UKC Articles)

> Mousetrap is good but not among the best VS routes in the UK (I thought 2 stars).

Yes, very overrated. With one or two exceptions, Cairngorm granite just doesn't seem to lend itself well to good routes easier than about HVS/E1.
In reply to Skyfall:

> Have to agree, did Haste Not last year. Wild and superb route at the grade. One of the best VS's in the Lakes and I've done a few over the years. Not one to do if you're feeling tentative at VS though..

+1. It's better than F route, even. Just about the best VS i've ever done, I think.
In reply to biped:

> Old Man of Stoer

An article omitting that just makes me think the author hasn't done it!

In the lakes I remember more about Botterills than I do about doing Haste Not.

For single pitch Pheonix at Shining Clough is better than the File as I remember them.
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to biped)

> An article omitting that just makes me think the author hasn't done it!

I suspect that all these articles could be more honestly named "The best 5 routes of such and such a grade I hapen to have climbed".
 petestack 01 Dec 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:
> I suspect that all these articles could be more honestly named "The best 5 routes of such and such a grade I hapen to have climbed".

But interesting that this one's already called 'Five of the best' rather than 'The Five Best' used for the series so far?
Post edited at 23:40
In reply to Robert Durran:

It's ludicrious really, isn't it? VS being a particularly big grade. Most people would have trouble suggesting a top 20 or top 30. Picking 5 is quite daft. But it's all part of the modern way of thinking, isn't it, which seems to have a continual forlorn craving for the 'best this' or 'best that' of anything in life. I was ridiculing this 'list mentality' 25 years ago, and it's only got worse.
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I don't think its got worse at all - the climbing mags had loads of these sorts of things back at the start of the 90s when I began climbing, and Wilsons best list books (Cold, Classic, Hard, Extreme) predate that by a decade. You don't need to be the professional old fogey Gordon, leave that to someone with narrower horizons.

These lists are a bit of fun designed to spark debate. I'll write the best grade IVs UKC!
In reply to TobyA:

Debating lists. Wow, that's exciting, Toby.
1
 Michael Gordon 02 Dec 2014
In reply to petestack:

> But interesting that this one's already called 'Five of the best' rather than 'The Five Best' used for the series so far?

Exactly. No claim has been made by the author (sensibly!) that these are the five best routes in the UK. They would really all need to get into the top 20 or thereabouts though?
 Chris Murray 02 Dec 2014
In reply to TobyA:


> In the lakes I remember more about Botterills than I do about doing Haste Not.

Botterill's Slab! How the hell could I have forgotten that?

 Andy Nisbet 02 Dec 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> I still think it's Hard Severe. I also think it's a bit short for a best in UK shortlist (pun not intended) but it's definitely one of the best of its length.

I've always thought it Hard Severe and still do.
 GrahamD 02 Dec 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I suspect that all these articles could be more honestly named "The best 5 routes of such and such a grade I hapen to have climbed".

Obviously they aren't really "best of" are they ? for Blue Sky or Laverado are obvious omissions but I don't think that's the real point - the real point is more about provoking this sort of thread and maybe inspiring folk to try the odd gem they haven't done before.

 The Ivanator 02 Dec 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Perhaps this is an opportune moment to post links to these two lists:
http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/set.php?id=52
http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/set.php?id=147
...200 fantastic British VS routes, in case 5 is not enough for you. The list was debated in an epic UKC thread about 4 years ago, IIRC Gordon was an enthusiastic contributor, so perhaps that aversion to lists is a recent malaise
 simes303 02 Dec 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Great western is flipping shite.
1
 John2 02 Dec 2014
In reply to GrahamD:

Or even Lavaredo.
 goose299 02 Dec 2014
In reply to Le Chevalier Mal Fet:
> (In reply to biped)

> Surprised no-one has nominated Jene Genie.

One of the only routes I've regretted seconding and not manning up and leading myself

 RKernan 02 Dec 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Mutter mutter... What about the classic VS routes at Fair Head?...Mutter mutter
 JELawrence 02 Dec 2014
In reply to The Ivanator:

Couldn't agree more for Amorican. Stunning line stunning location my best climbing experience absorbed in the moves high on the slab with a gentle sea and the sun setting behind.
> ...and the best single pitch VSes without Armorican? I've done 3/5 selected single pitch VSes in the article - all good, but none close to Armorican in terms of aesthetics or quality of the climbing.

> Good article though and I'm also curious about that Eagle Front topo... spill the beans.

 alasdair19 02 Dec 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

hmmm citadel "a cairngorm classic with all that a that entails" a friend slipped on the most and broke his leg. clean sweep probably has more good climbing.

my initial thoughts were spartan slab and old man of Stoer (which I've not done but everyone says I should)

 Michael Gordon 02 Dec 2014
In reply to alasdair19:

Well yes, I meant compared to things like The Needle. Nothing really in the Gorms at VS which gives a similar quality big mountain experience (though I haven't done Citadel).

Of course, one could argue that Spartan and Original Route on Stoer don't quite match Pause and Diamond Face Route...
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

You were the one who seemed so incensed by it!
 Steve Perry 02 Dec 2014
In reply to UKC Articles

I didn't rate The Old Man of Stoer (gulp) so no bother that not being mentioned.
+1 for Jean Jeanie - brilliant!
F Route- good to see that mentioned, I loved that climb.

I'd go with Groove Armada at Sarclet too, it could be HVS but VS in the guide.
In reply to TobyA:

> You were the one who seemed so incensed by it!

No, not remotely. And nothing I said suggested it. I was tired, bored, and amused by the misguided quest to find a 'top five'. That's why I used the word ludicrous.
 andrewmc 02 Dec 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> No, not remotely. And nothing I said suggested it. I was tired, bored, and amused by the misguided quest to find a 'top five'. That's why I used the word ludicrous.

Just to be pedantic, your post is the first time the phrase 'top five' has appeared in either the article or this thread, so I am not sure what you are quoting
Post edited at 23:59
 BnB 03 Dec 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Surely for a route to be in the "best of" it isn't all about the line and the climbing. Jean Genie looks a wonderful pitch but the setting is merely pleasant. As someone who doesn't feel strongly the lure of the coastline, I'm also tempted to point out that the likes of the beautiful Armorican are only a few feet above sea level and therefore lacking something, but I know that wouldn't be a popular view. F route and Eliminate A look more like "proper" climbs to me, so I'll get on them when I'm a bit steadier at VS. Led Bilberry Buttress on Raven yesterday and that went well but at the upper limit of my developing skills. Am I ready for Dow and Gimmer VSs?
 goose299 03 Dec 2014
In reply to BnB:

How could I forget Bilberry Buttress! I only led the first pitch as we were climbing as a three but that crack was tremendous
 The Ivanator 03 Dec 2014
In reply to BnB:

Not actually done Bilberry Buttress, so hard to compare, but if in decent nick Eliminate A is not high in VS and has decent gear. F route is a stiffer test, but well protected. Access it via North West Arete to tick another classic VS (NW Arete is pretty mild for VS, so gives a good indication as to whether you're on form for F route). If you want to up the ante then do F route with the Whit's End start - even better this way, but puts it right at the top of the grade.
 Graham Booth 09 Dec 2014
In reply to simes303:

If you think Great Western is shite, god knows what you class as a good one....
 Al Evans 10 Dec 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Eliminate A and Jean Jeanie.
In reply to Graham Booth:

They probably struggled on it...
 Trad Dave 21 Jan 2015
In reply to simes303:

You're not obviously talking about the one at Almscliffe then. Which one are you on about?
> Great western is flipping shite.

Great Western (HVS 5a)

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