This week's Friday Night Video follows Robbie Phillips and Alex Moore as they attempt to climb Dave MacLeod's Longhope Direct (E10 7a). The huge sandstone cliff is about as close to big wall climbing as you can get in the UK and other than the exceptionally hard climbing, there is soft, loose rock, huge run outs, and of course, Fulmars to deal with. The route had only been repeated once by James McHaffie and Ben Bransby back in 2013.
That was so good to watch. The bit where the gear ripped was rather concerning. I thought this kit we use to keep us alive was rated to take such falls?
Awesome video, and for me really brought home what Ed Ward Drummond and Oliver Hill achieved with rubbish kit, no chance of rescue, no idea of where they were going, no retreat... has to have been one of/the most audacious ascents in the UK ever?
I'm surprised how often I see pros take repeated, large falls onto half nuts (or small nuts) with no inspection in between.
If you take a fall onto any of your gear, you should be inspecting it carefully, especially a large fall onto something that's not 12+ kn rated.
The stuff they were breaking was pretty small. A half nut and an RP3 do not have a large breaking strength, I think they are like 5kN or so (can't find the numbers at the moment), so personally in a bomber placement I'd take a very small fall on them with a little trepidation but by the time my foot was where the gear was, I would not be trusting them. Dunno which cam it was but if the fall was 30m then the piece that held them might have been.... hmm... 12 metres below the climber? A bit more? The cam that ripped could have taken a fall from 8m or even 10m above it and if the breaking wires didn't absorb a lot of the fall energy that would be a really big load, as evidenced by the fact the Dyneema was partially torn.
When I start to kack myself, I tend to start placing gear in pairs, or even in nests when I'm really bricking it. Can't imagine you'd want to do that much faff on terrain that hard though!
Great little video, although it did not make me want to climb the route. It looks like 400m of choss to get to one good pitch of climbing 😂
Great film but I'm quite surprised by the choss
Big John approx 20m to the left is solid (well, it was in 1988)
> Awesome video, and for me really brought home what Ed Ward Drummond and Oliver Hill achieved with rubbish kit, no chance of rescue, no idea of where they were going, no retreat... has to have been one of/the most audacious ascents in the UK ever?
Absolutely. Without detracting in any way from later efforts on this wall, the original ascent was mind boggling. A while ago Oliver kindly sent me an account he'd written of it. It was interspersed with ghostly black and white photos he'd taken (the last thing I'd have bothered to do).
Seems he gave most of the grub to Drummond as he was leading. Would sit on some Godforsaken hanging belay for hours, then have to second yet another collapsing pitch with no hope of a snug rope. The stuff of horror!
I asked Oliver if I could contact the powers that be and get his account on here - 'cos I felt people would be really interested. He felt that it was all so long ago that nobody would be bothered.
From memory, it's an extremely interesting account. Whereas Drummond was in the horror, Oliver was much better placed to reflect upon it - and then experience it for himself.
I would be interested for sure. When I was much younger and still suffering from serious delusions of grandeur about climbing bigwalls etc., having read about the Arran/Turnbull ascent in High I thought this would make an incredible outing, even aiding it. Watching this I am exceedingly glad that my meagre student budget wouldn't have stretched this far... I'm not sure I'd be sat here now...
I think as pertinent a point is that this is an exceedingly good demonstration of why a shroud on a carabiner is a great feature. The Edelrid doesn't have one, which allows the carabiner to open enough when pushed against the rock to allow the climber to land on an open gate carabiner. I suspect this is what happened here...
> I think as pertinent a point is that this is an exceedingly good demonstration of why a shroud on a carabiner is a great feature. The Edelrid doesn't have one, which allows the carabiner to open enough when pushed against the rock to allow the climber to land on an open gate carabiner. I suspect this is what happened here...
Interesting point. That might also explain the Dyneema damage if it was pinched against the rock... that was going round and round in my head, I kept thinking that a) How was the dyneema sling the weakest part there?! and b) If the Dyneema strands started to break, how did it stop half-way through breaking? That doesn't seem likely.
But if the Dyneema was pinched and possibly scraped a short distance across the rock at very high load, _then_ I can see how some strands would have broken while the rest remained intact. (and as you say, that could have opened the crab too).
> Great film but I'm quite surprised by the choss
> Big John approx 20m to the left is solid (well, it was in 1988)
Erm.... hmm... [unconvinced noises]....
Full disclaimer, I've not been on either route but are you sure your glasses are not contaminated with a slightly pinkish colour round the edges? I've been on the Hoy cliffs a fair bit and prospected around a bit more and while there are certainly individual pitches that have excellent quality rock and even perhaps runs of 2 or 3 pitches, in an area of those cliffs that is _that_ big, I would be very surprised not to find at least a few pitches of disintegrating garbage...
To be fair, the top section of Big John is very good rock, but then again so is much (but not all) of the top of LongHope. What I'm a little surprised to read is how bad the lower (majority) of LongHope was felt to be, as I recall it to be adventurous and challenging, certainly, but no worse rock that much of Red Wall at Gogarth used to be at the time. I suppose such rock has become a lot more scarce on established routes over the last few decades so people won't get used to it in the same way.
Have to admit we were very pleasantly surprised. Even the grass pitches were solid
I pulled one hold off: the top of a spectacular layback flake. Mick had definitely used it but evidently he has the habit of pulling down as opposed to out