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Hard North York Moor routes compared to other ‘outcrop’ E10/11’s (Read 4390 times)

Probes

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Now this has its own thread maybe we can get a list of those outcrop routes that have genuinely hard climbing free from the miasma of the E grade. A couple that haven’t been mentioned are Captain Invincible at Burbage, Toxic Bilberries at Wilton, Transform and Purgatory at back Bowden

This would be a fun list I reckon! To pick a few from Franco's post that'd fit the criteria and add a few grades to the ones you suggested:

  • Hard cheese, ~8c
  • Barron greenback, I think Pete said it was around 8b?
  • Nothing Lasts, was it Ned or Dan V who suggested ~8A?
  • Captain Invincible, ~8b
  • Captain Invincible, ~8b
  • Toxic Bilberries
  • Transcendence (I assume you meant this, dont think there's a route called Transform at Bowden), ~7C+ or 8b
  • Purgatory, ~8A+

Toxic Bilberries... I can elaborate on this having put quite a bit time into it over the years. Essentially F7B+ (50/50 full on morpho dyno for small crimp) with a fall that could go all ways depending on if you catch the edge and pop, or miss it entirely, and your trajectory after. Busted ankle on ledge or upside down deckage into banking or gear rip deck or nice friendly swing across face.
After the boulder problem, another 7A/+ boulder and then a rather scary run for the top, with nasty tech 6a rock over to safety. Gaz suggested at the time F8a+/8b as a route.
E8 7a in the guide.

ferret

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The fall is pretty bad off any of it. You start off a ledge on the right and do a no hands traverse along a rail. This is British 6cish (if you can grade no hands stuff) and really cool (the start to Sky burial). Michaela described the original sky burial as two amazing (and not the difficult) comp boulder problems with a no hands rest inbetween. Shame the block fell of the top crux. This start bit is highball height, but you'd take a minging bashy fall if you fell off. You then get to a very good rest at the junction with the new section of climbing.

The next 9 hand movements are almost all of the challenge of the route. If you fall off here you're screwed. The hooks are close by, but having pulled much better hooks, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't hold. I'm struggling to think of a peak equivalent to the fall, but maybe something like falling off the top of end of the affair with no gear? Or from the top crux of knocking on heavens door? I can't really picture those landings perfectly, but it's definitely really bad news. The mats are there as the ground is interspersed with rocks and I hoped they'd bounce me out, rather than limbs getting caught in the brambles, mud and rocks. Me and Tom have wondered about whether you could survive a fall, but falling is our core skill. If one of these people who was actually good at climbing fell off that, with all their muscles stopping their limbs rotating properly, I'd be amazed if they weren't in hospital with multiple broken bones or dead. There is also a subsidiary cliff below this one (that's why I had a 3rd rope with Tom jumping off the ledge). I reckoned I could probably stop before this, but if you didnt, that's another 20m drop. Death gets talked about a lot in climbing, which again is usually hyperbole, but I can't think of many things with a worse fall. 

I don't know the breakdown of that crux section. I probably havent done a boulder problem in a few years. I've done some stuff in the county like Antihydral and some of the other high font 7s on tiny crimps and it's harder than them, but they're kind of easy if you have good skin... I suppose some of the best stuff for me to use as benchmarks are the routes that I've linked on top rope. It's defo harder climbing than anything I've been on on peak grit for example (except maybe the groove, which I failed on, but then it was really hot...)

I've never been on equilibrium,  but I watched someone top rope it the other week. From a rope work perspective, it looked eminently safe for a ground up, if you slung that bottom boulder and had a running belay. Can't comment on the climbing like. Sounds hard.

Sorry. None of that is very useful. I had intended on repeating some routes before now, as i have a few dialled, but the weather didnt play ball. Hopefully Steve will go for another look. That's what we really need!

Thanks for that Franco, sounds an impressive achievement regardless of grade.
I've always been a fan of the E+tech grade system but it's not really enough for these arm chair debates. Despite the fervor I thought Gresham did a decent job of breaking down Lexicon. V8 into V9 or 8c with a low percentage move at the top. Also how if this move was more predictable it might be a grade easier and obviously the long fall with an unknown outcome.
Now the (terrifying looking fall) has been taken maybe we will see a downgrade in the future but his explanation of the thought process seems logical to me. Personally I don't think being out by one grade is particularly unexpected especially on a necky trad route.

Franco

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The crux moves of Lexicon are a lot easier than Immortal. In the ballpark of 4 boulder grades different I'd say for my height. There are lots of other challenges with Lexicon, so that doesn't mean Lexicon is easy or hard or anything. But if you're just interested in the moves, there's no comparison.

That's part of the reason I don't think too much breakdown is useful. Do we really know what we mean when someone says 'a f7B+ or 8A move' on Trad route? It sounds like a benchmarked and well-defined thing, but really those two grades might be used by the same climber about the same route, just on a different day, or talking about something subtly different. 

teestub

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That’s the nature of bouldering grades overall though isn’t it, not just on trad routes, you can have a 15 move 7C or a one move 7C, both are 7C. There shouldn’t be much inaccuracy in this as long as people are talking about the same thing. 

As per your example, I can imagine that Lexicon has a longer crux sequence so the individual moves could well be several grades easier than those on Immortal. I would assume if the whole crux sequence was in fact 4 boulder grades easier than the one you had completed a short while earlier, you would have popped up for a casual 3rd ascent.

Ged

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So to summarise, Immortal has a crux sequence of 7C+/8A (harder than all the high 7 boulders you've done in the county), on snappy Rock, with guaranteed death or unthinkable injuries if you fall.

 I mean it sounds like the real deal, and is surely a huge step up from all other trad routes in the country. Is there anything else claimed with that level of seriousness and difficulty?

ali k

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So to summarise, Immortal has a crux sequence of 7C+/8A, on snappy Rock, with guaranteed death or unthinkable injuries if you fall.

Is there anything else claimed with that level of seriousness and difficulty?
Sounds like Indian Face but with a font 7C+/8A crux instead of font 7A/7B.

Wellsy

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So to summarise, Immortal has a crux sequence of 7C+/8A (harder than all the high 7 boulders you've done in the county), on snappy Rock, with guaranteed death or unthinkable injuries if you fall.

 I mean it sounds like the real deal, and is surely a huge step up from all other trad routes in the country. Is there anything else claimed with that level of seriousness and difficulty?

When put like that it sounds pretty astonishing tbh. Echo Wall? That wasn't described as snappy though and dunno what the Crux sequence got.

Edit: obvs a mountain route mind, can't think of anything like that which is "outcrop-y"

Franco

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I wouldn't get too far ahead of yourself. I'm rubbish at bouldering and even worse at grading problems. It could be anywhere from 7a -8b. Most of us in the Moors climb about 7c, so my general approach is to think it might be a bit harder if my regular partners can't do it. We're only talking in this very specific type of climbing, with absolute rat crimps. Sam Mark's burnt me off on a woodie pinch problem the other day that was probably about 7a+. General standards are not high! But then maybe putting up really hard trad routes with no strength should be a badge of honour? Haha

It is notably not a solo also. Whilst the hooks would probably rip, they added a bit to being able to go for it. And all those other routes mentioned don't boil down to a mere few meters of climbing. It would defo be harder than E11 if it was at the top of cloggy.

Here's a photo of the start of the landing with Tom Randal on the no hands bit. Immortal goes past the 'eye' in the top of the photo.

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-pMbA_629BUg/VwdYPmvaWGI/AAAAAAAAC_Q/wGdz3nqVv8UE4Q3FjnHAwSIwvF4UAY25Q/s1600/IMAG1573.jpg

Here's one with more general hillside scenes. You can just about make out me belaying below Tom, which is just above the landing from Immortal:

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-X90zAaJuMOw/VwdYadfzg2I/AAAAAAAAC_Y/XtWbbdjhMM09QyQfu_8STI_hblTKFiRZQ/s1600/IMAG1581.jpg

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Y78JSb2lfJM/U3qTkNWtm2I/AAAAAAAACqc/YJgsIY_DWXA/s1600/IMG_20140513_141451.jpg

Here's one of the wall before I cleaned the loose rock off:

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-qzSbpaHHhUM/UxDNqODEyOI/AAAAAAAACfs/AP5SQfrpbQ8/s1600/gold+4.jpg



The view from below the 3rd cliff
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-B--ro53X8t8/U5ofZpachvI/AAAAAAAACrY/xA54N3uGIL4/s1600/IMG_20140612_105417.jpg

And a final one just showing what a lush buttress it actually is
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-R6yVwCvj1vQ/U5ofYE0eGsI/AAAAAAAACrM/sZuNz7K7aYE/s1600/IMG_20140612_105513.jpg
« Last Edit: December 29, 2021, 11:59:59 am by Franco »

Ged

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I don't think anyone is getting ahead of themselves, you said with quite a lot of confidence that it's harder than all of the high 7 boulders you've done of a similar style, how is that not saying that it's at least 7C+/8A ish? You've also pretty categorically said that it's going to be a simply terrible fall where death is a distinct possibility. I don't think it's surprising that people are paying quite a lot of attention to those details, it really does make it sound like one of the hardest routes of its style that's been claimed.

Someone above mentioned why you hadn't made a swift repeat of Lexicon, but I guess it's just a different style that's not your forte? I.e. Pumpy sustained climbing to get to the relatively easy crux, rather than desperate crux from a good rest?

P. S. Please don't do the whole self deprecating "I'm rubbish and weak" thing that some brits seem so partial to, it's a bit tedious!

Franco

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I'm not self deprecating, just honest I hope.  I'm mint at falling off things that other people would knack themselves on. I'm also pretty good at working dangerous things to death and then doing them, staying calm and having a quasi religious belief in my calling to climb them. I am however acutely aware at how strong the standard is thesedays. Outside of hanging rat crimps and using footwork to get my weight off my hands, I'm really terrible.  Particularly pinch, sloper, steep stuff, core, heels, toe hooks. I think it's important for me to point this out, because I want to climb in more popular places and don't want people to see me having a mare on raindogs or something and be like "these Moors routes must be all over-graded". It is important to me that people are interested in the hard Trad routes in the North East and that they don't just get dismissed because some of us are really weak.

I haven't done loads of hard bouldering. I've done a handful of things that people graded 8Aish that are generally not considered 8A by many people who have done them. I'm not saying this thing is 7C+ or any other grade. There are some very weird moves on it. I felt more confident the crux hand move on Nothing Lasts was 7cish, but I've never done moves like the ones on Immortal. I hope you don't think I'm trying to dodge the question, but you have a move which is a lateral move, conditions dependent, dependent on how good your skin is, your body length and how much weight you trust putting through your feet. It's got to be one of the hardest things to grade ever. I feel like one of these 9a type climbers who didnt like rats could get on it and think it was 8B. But then I think an 8A boulderer could get on it and think it was 7C. If you look at the debates about Antihydral, that gets from below 7b to 8a, depending on who you talk to and those are conventional moves that are easy to grade.

If you're saying that I said this thing was hard and really dangerous. Yes, I 100% stand by that. Please will someone just go and ab it!

nik at work

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The face on the arête in that first photo is very cool.

This post adds nothing of value to the discussion.

remus

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Toxic Bilberries... I can elaborate on this having put quite a bit time into it over the years. Essentially F7B+ (50/50 full on morpho dyno for small crimp) with a fall that could go all ways depending on if you catch the edge and pop, or miss it entirely, and your trajectory after. Busted ankle on ledge or upside down deckage into banking or gear rip deck or nice friendly swing across face.
After the boulder problem, another 7A/+ boulder and then a rather scary run for the top, with nasty tech 6a rock over to safety. Gaz suggested at the time F8a+/8b as a route.
E8 7a in the guide.

Ace detail, thanks Probes! I've struggled to find much on Toxic Bilberries (admittedly having not looked very hard!) so cool to hear some first hand detail.

Franco

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lexicon. I went there for a look the day Steve was there and led it, which obviously dominated the day. I had a really quick go on it at the end of the day. Probably less than 15 mins. I just had to climb without resting or warming up properly as everyone wanted to leave, so it was basically climb up to the break. Sit on the rope. Do the move above the break that's easier for the tall. Fall off the move to the sloper above. Then do that. Then spent about 5 mins on the top couple of moves which I figured out a different sequence which is probably easier for the tall again. I've been watching the weather ever since, but it's just stayed rubbish. Well keen to get back. I'm sure the climbing below would add difficulty with pump etc. And the fall is large. Also, I like to give any route at least half a dozen sessions, as I hate scraping up stuff.

remus

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Thanks for taking the time to go through the details Franco, appreciate how open you've been about it.

I don't think anyone is getting ahead of themselves, you said with quite a lot of confidence that it's harder than all of the high 7 boulders you've done of a similar style, how is that not saying that it's at least 7C+/8A ish? You've also pretty categorically said that it's going to be a simply terrible fall where death is a distinct possibility.

Grading FAs is hard enough at the best of times, and Franco's admitted he's not a particularly well rounded climber so even if he's confident it felt hard for him I think a healthy dose of "let's see what repeaters think" is warranted.

kingholmesy

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P. S. Please don't do the whole self deprecating "I'm rubbish and weak" thing that some brits seem so partial to, it's a bit tedious!

My impression from climbing with Franco a tiny bit about a decade ago is that he actually is quite rubbish and weak in many styles (no offence Franco -  :wave:), but that he is also very good in his style.  Which is why I don’t doubt that his moors routes in a style which suits him are hard.

Whether they are quite the grades which have been claimed is something which I’m not qualified to opine on.  I think we will only know that once they’ve had some repeats - which in fairness is more or less what Franco himself has said.

 

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