Robbie Phillips and Alex Moore have repeated Dave MacLeod's Longhope Direct (E10 7a) on St John's Head, Hoy, Scotland.
Looks (and sounds) both amazing and awful.
Having glanced across at St. John's Head from the promontory opposite it's really hard to convey the size and scale of it, because it's unlike anything else the UK has to offer (with the exceptions of St. Kilda or Da Kame). Not only is it totally and utterly out there in terms of its climbing, but I also gather the descent is out of this world too, so even getting to the bottom of it is an adventure in/of its own right...and then there's the fulmars...
Well done to you both
Is it? I've only seen it from the sea, but it didn't look that much larger than the Cape Wrath cliffs, and if anything more negotiable (if you don't go round trying to climb the very steepest bit, obviously).
I can't believe you'd go and try something like this without checking when fulmars nest! Still, sounds like fun and it's great to see people repeating this kind of thing.
> I can't believe you'd go and try something like this without checking when fulmars nest! Still, sounds like fun and it's great to see people repeating this kind of thing.
I believe they nest shortly after it's too cold to climb, and shortly before midges may make climbing impossible. There's another window in September but the days are much shorter then.
> Is it? I've only seen it from the sea, but it didn't look that much larger than the Cape Wrath cliffs, and if anything more negotiable (if you don't go round trying to climb the very steepest bit, obviously).
I'd highly recommend viewing it from closer up, because its size/scale is much more apparent than it is from the boat.
Clo Mor at Cape Wrath is indeed huge, but falls 54 metres shorter than St. John's Had (281 vs. 335m). For general interest, the others I mentioned - Conachair on St. Kilda and Da Kame on Foula - come in at 427m and 376m respectively.
All of this talk is making me miss Scotland a lot...
My recollection of Clo Mor was that it fell directly into a raging sea and also looked pretty steep as compared to the bottom half or so of SJH. It also gave me the impression of being a lot larger side to side. But it was a long time ago. I certainly don't doubt SJH makes a strong impression!
Sure, but you'd think you'd at least want to know what you were letting yourself in for, fulmar-puke-wise. Maybe it's more fun not knowing.
Well done both, and good effort from the camera man too! How far down did he have to go on the rope to get the first shot?
> More of this sort of thing !
UKC can only report on what people climb, so if you want more of this, you'd better get busy
Congratulations to both of you. Amazing to see how climbing ability has improved over the years and how useful all that training inside and out on smaller cliffs pays off to enable hard and free trad climbing.
Beware LHR, there be monsters!
I really enjoyed Robbie’s article as it gives a window onto the true emotions experienced during and after a great goal achieved. I suspect that St Johns has left its emotional mark on everyone who has and will climb on it. As he concluded: ‘and ended one of the finest days of climbing we both ever had.' Of course they had slain the monster. Or maybe it is dormant, awaiting the next adventurers.
Thanks for putting your original topo on your profile
I'd lost the copy of the one you gave Mick when we went with the intention of freeing LongHope (ha!) and ended up seeing the soaring crack to the left of it and doing Big John
That sort of is why I put it there: to encourage future ascents and also, hopefully to get the 2 omitted pitches repeated sometime...soon. They are the Forever Traverse and Unconqueable Flakes pitches, the two pitches just before the big ledge. One of them was one of the 3 pitches Ed said to me then, was the hardest he had EVER climbed. They avoid climbing a series of overhangs (which probably have big jugs on them) artfully navigating on vertical rock thru the mid route main overhang, and encroaching on the highly impressive and just over vertical, unclimbed main mid wall They give added character, maybe, and certainly will not be very hard by today's standard. 50 years ago I stared at this centre wall and have been left wondering when....?
Climbers, please do not forget Aran and Dave Turnbull's route, the most natural route (and how Ed wanted to go until he saw the splitter crack on the right), only E7 so clearly a soft touch nowadays. Now Robbie and Alex have cleaned it up and possibly left in a bit of fixed wires it should be possible to climb rapidly. It may be possible to flash the top roofs, as per LHR Direct, also at a reasonable grade, particularly if someone adds the grade from the Crow's Nest belay, and resting ledge, straight up. I hazard a guess E7 6a, maybe a bit easier if any fixed gear or easy placements. Probably a bit daunting otherwise.
> UKC can only report on what people climb, so if you want more of this, you'd better get busy
The comment was about the climb rather than the article. It's great to see 'adventure' climbing still happening.
Didn't realise he'd tried it. Before your ascent presumably. Seems like quite a few had the FFA in their sights?
Only took 11 days for them to catch on!