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28m, 3 pitches.

Rockfax Description
24m. An excellent mini-expedition. Stances can be taken along the way. Climb Chiseller to its top then move round the arete and climb a groove. Cross the flake to a small ledge and then finish up the crucial crack above. © Rockfax

UKC Logbook Description
Deservedly regarded as one of the finest climbs in Yorkshire, even with the hype it is unlikely to disappoint. The route allows mortals to unlock the secrets of the Cow, leading the climber outwards and upwards across the famous old face to joyously celebrate among the ancient carvings of the summit.
Originally regarded as a VDif, most commmonly viewed as Severe, Ken Wilson's Classic Rock now lists it as Hard Severe... is the climb getting harder or are we more and more surprised by it? Dangerous if wet.

(1) At the left hand side of the Cow's front face you will find a short four metre chimney, climb this using a good back and foot technique. Enter the cave in the gully and climb easily up behind the chockstone to a wide ledge. There is an excellent thread belay here. (10m)
(2) Using the thread, ensure the second is sitting on top of the chockstone for the belay to limit rope drag. Creep easily out of the cave, around the Cow's rib and step down to a small platform below a corner with a polished crack. The corner has two very difficult stages that are climbed directly to a giant flake (the upper crack conceals decent handholds within its depths to aid confidence). While the natural line of ascent could be continued up the flake, the classic route traverses rightwards along a ledge, using the underside of the flake for upward handholds to reach a reasonably sized, if not slightly unlikely, platform on the centre of the face below the main overhang: optional belay here, probably dependent on rope drag and whether the wind is hindering communication. (13m)
(3) From the platform, climb up behind the right hand flake awkwardly with a likely body wedge to reach a stance below the crux. A narrowing of the crack prevents the knee passing upwards from a polished downward-sloping foothold. A slight layback on the polished edge at the back of the crack is required and combined with a probable body lunge to gain the crack. From here an easy mantleshelf lifts you onto the glorious summit. (5m).

Unknown 1902.


Connoisseur's Classic Rock, Steve Ashton's 100 Classic Gritstone Climbs, The 3 star way to yorkshire gritstone's heaven, The All New 3 Star Way to Yorkshire Gritstone Heaven.


User Date Notes
colin milton 23 Jun Show βeta
βeta: Nice hand traverse and positions but not that good and the rubbish chute is rubbish
Show beta
βeta: Nice hand traverse and positions but not that good and the rubbish chute is rubbish

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Style of Ascent
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Route of Interest

The Flake Climb

Grade: S 4a ***
(Ilkley (Rocky Valley))