/ ARTICLE: Lost Rock
True North at Vellan Head is another. We abbed down to the bottom and it took us a while to work out what had happened.
Did Crack in the Sky at Carn Barra not fall down too?
This is likely to turn into a bit of a public service thread!
Should there be a category for 'removed by the local council'? fairly sure some routes have been lost or changed at Auchinstarry & Avon gorge after work to stabilise or improve safety, possibly elsewhere as well
Funnily enough I meant to include both this and Grand Plage (E3 6a), but for reasons beyond me (probably because I'd included a lot already) never got round to it.
Crack In The Sky (E1 5b) is indeed a good example of 'Lost Rock', as the crack that the whole route is named after is very much gone. Whilst what is left of the one side of the crack may be climbable, I can't see it being anyway near as classy as Wraith (partly because there's a whole lot less arete to climb).
Grande Plage is a fascinating one, not least because those boulders at the base are so bloody big! It's hard to imagine them moving at all, let alone moving enough to smash that starting shield into smithereens. The formative E3 6a is now very much E4 6a/b in my eyes.
Sure there's 101 more that I've missed, but it was never meant to be an exhaustive list - just a bit of fun. Sure this thread will add to the fear/fun ten-fold!
Wasn't the block at the top of Wellington Crack at Ilkley removed by the council too?
As you say, there's almost enough to warrant a category of its own!
I was very proud of my (actually rather good) new route on a minor buttress at Lower Sharpnose. Within weeks the whole crag had fallen down - I think "Whole crag fell down" should get extra points.
Worthy of mention might be Yellowslacks, in the 'Dynamited by pissed off farmer' catagory...
And the alliterative 'from Lamb Hill to Land Fill' quarry.
Presumably Mick Fowler gets a lifetime achievement award? I’m sure most of the chalk routes around Beachy Head must get in by default. Sunday Sport, I think?
Good article for bringing out us climbing nerds!
Illinois Enema Bandit
Come to Mother
I thought the Unrideable Donkey was one of similar vintage that only lasted as long as the first ascent but it's not marked as such in the UKC logbook
A great read, as ever. It's easy to imagine the cliffs as being completely static and non-changing but nature is always trying to balance eveything. As you said, it's not a comprehensive article, there are changes on loads of crags and routes.
Just check the date you have put for Romanesque: I think it should be prior to Aug 2018.
The Foggy Dew at Agden Rocher fell down in about 1960ish.
The New Foggy Dew (S 4a) climbed the remains, before this fell down in 2009 a few weeks after we climbed it https://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.php?id=179422
It's since been re-re-climbed as The Brand New Foggy Dew (VS 4b) - get there quick before it disappears again!
There are of course many examples of lost routes in Pembroke, but I think Public Enemy is worth a mention. Pembroke's first E5 is now somewhere under here https://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.php?id=297363
> Should there be a category for 'removed by the local council'? fairly sure some routes have been lost or changed at Auchinstarry & Avon gorge after work to stabilise or improve safety, possibly elsewhere as well
The ramp at Avon is all council work. Apparently there were some pretty good routes there before it was blasted. At least they had the good manners to leave some good routes in their place.
A few years back there was a big fall at Raven Crag Walthwaite in Langdale. Walthwaite Crack (VS 4c) which nestled in a large corner became a wall. Some of the debris went straight through a stone wall and came to rest in a field just short of the road.
I must admit I don't grieve over the loss. It was a rather unpleasant thrutch unless you were good with off-widths.
Not to mention the entire loss of the Power Cave at White Goods... Not that anyone is going to miss it ;-)
Terrific article, thanks for writing it.
Indeed. I climbed the II version in 1982 and found it a rather harrowing experience, more like E5 in my opinion. However, the funny thing about it is that in the database it's on two peoples' wish list!!!
I had an interesting experience on Formula Once as probably my 3rd attempt at an HVS lead. Didn't realise half of it was missing with Tom's ancient guidebook, and my terrible interpretation. Character building ;)
Would this include the 'had a climbing wall built over it' (Ratho)?
Good fun read, but did Whillans actually feature on Central Buttress for Lakeland Rock? It was a great series, but my recollection of him was doing Dovedale Groove with Bonington ("climbing like a ruptured duck" etc). John.
Yet somehow 32 people have logged Walthwaite Crack after it ceased to exist! Who says the UKC logbooks are unreliable...
Ooops, right you are.
Still, what's that they say "never let the truth get in the way of a good story"?
> The ramp at Avon is all council work. Apparently there were some pretty good routes there before it was blasted.
There was the whole superb feature, Unknown Buttress, which included the classic HVS "Unknown Buttress"
I was told of one which was lost a few decades ago when the farmer took a dislike to climbers so he blew up the crag. When the then newly formed Peak District National Park threatened him with prosecution he blew up what was left. And so Dog Rock on Bleaklow has not been a climbing venue since the mid 1950s.
I think Sunday Sport is still there, though Alastair Crowley’s routes on Etheldreda’s Pinnacle have gone - well, the whole pinnacle has gone.
in a similar vein though and as you say I believe a Mick Fowler Route, I seem to recall reading that Great White Fright has fallen down. Of course, this sort of thing is entirely normal on chalk.
I didn't know that, what an amazing bit of climbing trivia!
> Surprised nobody's mentioned Tatra (before 2014 rockfall) (VS 5a) yet. At least the rockfall ended the debate once and for all as to whether it was a sandbag at VS.
Ha ha! A mate of mine tried that recently as a "warm up VS" accidentally trying his first E1 and taking his first trad fall! He wasn't even convinced of me saying it was now E1 till a thorough inspection of my new guide and his older one had been had.
A good portion of Terrier's Tooth?
The rocky block on Moyer's Buttress
Start of One Step in the Clouds
Start of Astral Stroll
The Almighty on Blackchurch Main is/was another big'un.
> Still, it's just as incomprehensible to imagine that this route, which I climbed back in August 2018, was destroyed just a few months later during a massive storm.
I knew you were from the future!
I think Dog Rock is referred to as Yellowslacks these days! But yes, the story is true.
Great article Rob... the only fault being that I'm saddened to not be able to climb a few of those routes. Although I'd agree that wraith only got better for its rock fall. Good job getting all the photos together too.
Do you know what category (lost or altered) earthsea trilogy at dyers lookout falls into? To my understanding it is no more but I've heard that it might still be a goer? Always thought that looked like one of the best
I think I'm right in saying that it is no more, but I only base that on the fact that Caff failed on it when he was down there earlier this year. That said, he was going for the onsight, so maybe with a bit of abseil inspection it might be possible...or not (it is Caff, hence somewhat suggestive as to what's involved seeing as he didn't do it)...
It's funny really, because as Brown said earlier, Earth Rim Roamer was a bit like an onion, insofar as it kept shedding layers. As each layer departed, another layer would reveal itself and present a line to be climbed. Sadly, like the onion, there's only so many layers you can peel back...
It's a shame, as I always liked the notion of the Earthsea Trilogy too. Between them all they represented the holy trinity of hard Devonshire sea cliff climbing:
Part 1: The Slab, located in a pile of rubble underneath Dyer's Point
Part 2: The Groove, located on Lundy
Part 3 The Roof, located at Berry Head.
?In reply to bensilvestre:
Do you mean the right arete of Dyers Lookout (just right of the Walk of Life)?
I abseiled down it in 2013 and at the time I thought there had been a rockfall in the middle section as there was a lot less crack than I was expecting.
Someone has logged it in the last few years so I could have been mistaken.
My account at the time was.....
The most famous lost climb is surely the Bonatti Pillar?
Spookily, I climbed Yankee Doodle, Crack in the Sky and Conscientious Objector in the summer of ‘86. Oops.
Ah so the other one is on Lundy... always wondered where it was. Need to get there one day!
Just seen in the logbooks there is a climb called earthsea tragedy, same grade. Is that a totally different route or the same one in its new state?
A wonderfully post-apocalyptic article.
Thanks for writing it, Rob!
https://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.php?id=230062[crag(16447,"The East Weare Crags")] Another minor casualty.
That has (in a roundabout sort of way) reminded me of another one: Sunlover (E3 5c).
Formerly you used to have to do a desperate, polished, and slightly bold feeling start before traversing out to an airy arete. Now all you have to do is scramble up the massive boulder that made its way a remarkable distance across the ledge during a massive storm a few years back. Inconceivable given it's size, but I guess that shows the forces at play. The route itself feels a lot easier as a result too!
Azure Window on Gozo - https://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.php?id=290341
I'm not sure whether there were any routes on it, but plenty of people walked across it. Now there isn't even a stump !
Makes you wonder how long this will last ?
The rock on Gozo has a definite sense of a custard cream about it - a very soft middle layer sandwiched between two hard layers !
Valid point, you can tell I was on second when I did it again. Compared to the experience I had whilst leading it just seemed so much easier, but that is a fair concern.
Yeah its an interesting one Sunlover I've led it before and after and its gone from hard and safe to easy but bold feeling
and there seems to be a need for a new category "Lost Limbs" please see Si Verspeak on the crux Shield of Coronation Street. After some huge slip Si is clearly in need of two new legs!
There’s a similar thread here: https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/rocktalk/routes_you_have_done_that_have_fallen_down-607250#x7972605
Swanage’s Squeeze Chimney seems strangely named until you realise that one side of it has fallen down. Back in the 70s it was all there, though I’m not sure that I was, in wanting to climb it. A short wall was capped by an overhang with a thin chimney in it. Entering the hanging chimney I found I couldn’t turn my head, in fact, my helmet was stuck. Not wanting to fall out of the chimney and be suspended by my helmet strap, after some desperate strap-fumbling, I removed it and wedged it higher in the chimney, allowing me to continue. The same Joe Brown helmet strap (with a hard to adjust buckle – they had no instant release mechanism like nowadays) featured in another epic: https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/rocktalk/rope_nightmares-347944#x5103779
Regarding the loss of part of the shield on Coronation Street, I was abseiling down High Rock at the time to get a photo for the CC’ 2004 Avon & Cheddar guide. This involved lugging a 100m static rope and a climbing rope to the top, abbing down for the photos, learning how to move past a knot, continuing to the bottom, reascending the gully again, coiling the ropes and descending the gully: a good workout. Unfortunately the several teams on the route were all wearing white/fawn/grey/slate-coloured clothes. I now have enormous respect for proper climbing photographers. The guy who pulled off some of the shield was OK luckily. The rock smashed into the layby below and the fragments strafed a passing car. It did not stop!
You can easily change the colour of climbers' clothing in Photoshop or Lightroom.
No way! The route is now way bolder because the wires that formerly protected the fall from the crux moves and kept you off the deck fail to keep you off the boulder, which is in turn 4m off the deck. I backed off it!
Edit: I see someone else has already pointed this out. Easier but considerably bolder is probably a fair comment.
> Yeah its an interesting one Sunlover I've led it before and after and its gone from hard and safe to easy but bold feeling
Hard and very safe if you had a tall mate to reach over your head to put the wire in. I know of someone who fell off it in its new form and on to the boulder bashing his head hard enough for a trip to the hospital. I'm mean and still make people start from the bottom.
I think those high wire placements (in the little pockets right of the slopy arete) are blown now, or at least very insecure so you have to step up onto the arete before getting the good gear
> I think those high wire placements (in the little pockets right of the slopy arete) are blown now, or at least very insecure so you have to step up onto the arete before getting the good gear
Yes, I thought so. I understand that's how the lad who fell off ended up bashing his head on the large boulder. (The bit that I was describing as super safe was the slightly bouldery start off the ground)
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