/ Auchinstarry Quarry - Help create detailed TOPO

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StevenF 19 Mar 2020

Hi folks,


I'm new to both outdoor and trad climbing and spent a great day leading some routes in Auchinstarry Quarry today. I used my copy of SMC Lowlands Outcrops to find routes within my ability to climb, but I found the sketches of the rock and routes hard to interpret. I thought it would be a good idea to try and create a more modern topo with photographs of the crag. My idea was to have members use my images and draw routes that they have climbed and name them as per the book. You can use whatever you want; MS paint, snap chat, Instagram . It doesn't have to look pretty - If I get a decent amount of replies, I will add them all into the original image so that there is one high resolution images available for people to download with the routes attached. 

Car park Crag

Link to image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49677225336_8076cb79de_o.jpg

I've started by drawing in the routes I lead today
 

11 - Mister, Ye can walk up roon the back (S)
17 - Scream (S)
18 - Anarchist (VD)


Back Wall

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49677313013_0d5e58308c_o.jpg

Let me know if you think this is worthwhile and please add your routes if you have the time  

*UK climbing will not let me post the image within the post, so I've included a link to the image on my Flickr page. You can choose to download the file in high resolution which allows you to zoom in and see the routes. 


Thanks 

 

Post edited at 00:04
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Mark Bull 20 Mar 2020
In reply to StevenF:

Yes, I think that would be helpful! There used to be some on the long-defunct Scottish Climbs site, but the only survivor seems to be https://www.scottishclimbs.com/wiki/File_AuchinstarryCarPark.html which is rather small and pre-dates the last round of council "stabilisation" work. 

If you can get shots of the Promontory (as far as Spirogyra), the area around the scramble descent (Cracked Arete to Return of the King) and the Trundle slab, that would cover most of the routes that get any significant traffic. 


Here are my efforts: some of the lines might be a bit too straight or not quite finish at the right point, but at least it will help with identifying the starts! 

https://flic.kr/p/2iFYvtz

https://flic.kr/p/2iFYxmH

Route 16a is "Slab left of Scream" E2 5c as per the logbook page. Note that the numbering on the Back Wall topo in Lowland Outcrops is wrong - I have stuck to the numbers in the text.  I have indicated the guidebook line for Red Lead, though there is some variation possible in the lower half: many folk carry on up the obvious crack to the big ledge before stepping back down left. The lower part of Demons and Dead Lizards is shown dashed as it is hidden around the arete. I have no idea where Dwr Budr (route 42 in LO, not listed on UKC) is supposed to go. Reading the description it sounds like it might actually go between White Slab and Demons and Dead Lizards.

Post edited at 11:41
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Mark Bull 20 Mar 2020
In reply to Mark Bull:

> The lower part of Demons and Dead Lizards is shown dashed as it is hidden around the arete.

Actually, I'm not sure that's true: more like this: 

 https://flic.kr/p/2iG1Kq9

Any a key might help for those without a copy of Lowland Outcrops: 

10. Mr Men VS 4b 

11. Mister, Ye Can Walk Up Roon The Back S 

12. Mister, You're On Fire Mister VS 5a

13. First Footer  E1 5c

14. No Stone Unturned S 5a

15. Just stand up E1 6a

16. Access Route  D

16a. slab left of Scream E2 5c

17. Scream S 4b

18. Anarchist VD

19. Tar S

20. Three Cheers for Yer Uncle Bob VS 5a

21. Knock Back  E1 5b

22. Slinky Lizard  HS 4b

23. Cubigoruasry HS 5a

41. High Dive  E3 5c

43. Surface Tension  E5 6b

44. Mascarade  E1 5c

45. Whiplash E1 5b

46. Red Lead  VS 5a

47. White Slab  HS 4b

48.Demons & Dead Lizards HVS 5a

Post edited at 12:48
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icehockeyhair 20 Mar 2020
In reply to StevenF:

Great effort, I haven't been there in ages so don't have anything to add with any confidence. However, I believe a new edition of Lowland Outcrops is in the making and the SMC are happy to accept photos for their books. It would be worth notifying them of your efforts or at least sending the photos in case they do not currently have any decent ones to use for the new edition. See here for details: https://www.smc.org.uk/publications/photos

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alex_arthur 20 Mar 2020
In reply to Mark Bull:

Thanks for this, some lines I wasn't aware of and keen to get on!

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Mark Bull 20 Mar 2020
In reply to alex_arthur:

No problem,  just beware that some of the less travelled lines may be dirty and/or loose (as in even dirtier and looser than the popular ones!). 

Post edited at 14:35
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Chris Craggs Global Crag Moderator20 Mar 2020
In reply to StevenF:

If you want me to convert that into a Rockfax style topo with coloured spots etc and release as a PDF I would be happy to do that?

Chris

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robertmichaellovell Global Crag Moderator21 Mar 2020
In reply to StevenF: Hi Steven, thanks for doing this. As someone pointed out we do indeed have a new edition of Lowland Outcrops in the making, we are planning to have something out this Autumn  or next Spring. Good photos and information are always appreciated, so I’ll drop you a message. Thanks! Rob

Post edited at 06:31
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Mark Bull 21 Mar 2020
In reply to robertmichaellovell:

Hi Rob, is there a way to contribute updates and corrections for the next edition? Several errors were perpetuated from the previous edition into the current one - would be nice to be able to help fix them. 

Post edited at 10:52
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robertmichaellovell Global Crag Moderator21 Mar 2020
In reply to Mark Bull:

Sure, I'll send you a message... thanks for your help. 

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StevenF 21 Mar 2020
In reply to Mark Bull:

Mark ,thank you very much for your contribution! You've clearly spent a lot of time at Auchinstarry! Hopefully the images will go a long way to help people who are new to the location. I've been busy with work just now but I will add edit the image to add in the route descriptions early next week.


Like you, I too noticed a few errors in the Lowlands Outcrops book. The numbered routes in the sketches doesn't match the descriptions, which are often different number from that on the sketch. 

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StevenF 21 Mar 2020
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Hi Chris - That sounds like a brilliant idea! These images are meant to help everyone, so feel free to do what you wish with them. Thanks. 

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StevenF 21 Mar 2020
In reply to robertmichaellovell:

> Hi Steven, thanks for doing this. As someone pointed out we do indeed have a new edition of Lowland Outcrops in the making, we are planning to have something out this Autumn  or next Spring. Good photos and information are always appreciated, so I’ll drop you a message. Thanks! Rob

Hi Robert - That's great to hear and I look forward to its release! I have just added a photograph of the Promontory Crag to the original post - hopefully that will be useful too.  

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StevenF 21 Mar 2020

The forum will not allow me to edit my original post so I've added this image here instead:

Promontory Crag

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49682788041_3eb60f2629_o.jpg

Post edited at 13:30
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Mark Bull 21 Mar 2020
In reply to StevenF:

> Mark ,thank you very much for your contribution! 

You are very welcome! 

> Promontory Crag

Done! 

https://flic.kr/p/2iGfSYy

26. Nijinski  E5 6a

27. Blade Runner  E4 6a

27a. Blade Runner Direct  E5 6b

28. Promontory Direct  HVS 5a

29. Spirogyra  VS 4c

30. Plumline Crack 5c

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Pina 21 Mar 2020
In reply to Mark Bull:

I believe mr.men (10) should be straight up the arete. Does not share the start with 11.

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Pina 21 Mar 2020
In reply to Mark Bull:

I was also under the impression that red lead starts a bit more left of the HS (I.e start at the ledge and go straight up). 

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Planeandsimple 21 Mar 2020
In reply to Mark Bull:

Straight up to the number 20 from the ground and pulling through the overhang TARDIS

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StevenF 21 Mar 2020
In reply to Pina:

Yeah I'm sure that's right, Mr Men goes straight up the arete. 

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Mark Bull 23 Mar 2020
In reply to Pina:

> I believe mr.men (10) should be straight up the arete. Does not share the start with 11.

Yes, I think you are right - just me that sneaks a cheeky side runner! 

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Mark Bull 23 Mar 2020
In reply to Pina:

> I was also under the impression that red lead starts a bit more left of the HS (I.e start at the ledge and go straight up). 

There are some different possible sequences, but I don't really think the routes are independent at the bottom - both routes certainly end up at the base of the obvious hand crack. Would welcome other opinions on this! 

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Mark Bull 23 Mar 2020

> Straight up to the number 20 from the ground and pulling through the overhang TARDIS

Feels a bit like there's already too many routes/variations squeezed into this bit of rock: I'll leave it to the guidebook editor to decide if this warrants a separate entry! 

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Chris Craggs Global Crag Moderator23 Mar 2020
In reply to StevenF:

Did you get my pm? I need your original shots to work from - chris(at)rockfax(sitcom),

cheers

Chris

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StevenF 15:17 Tue
In reply to Mark Bull:

Your input has been invaluable! Thank you very much Mark. I take it you're a regular at the Crag?

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Mark Bull 16:44 Tue
In reply to StevenF:

No problem. 

> I take it you're a regular at the Crag?

Reasonably so - maybe 2/3 times a year for the last 20+ years! 

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StevenF 17:12 Tue
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Hi Craig - Yes I did, sorry. I've tried to send them twice today via email but my internet is playing up (they keep getting stuck in my outbox). I'm hoping they will sent at some point today.

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Milesy 00:39 Wed
In reply to StevenF:

Hi Steven. I don’t log very much but I’m probably the person who spends most time at Auchinstarry. I’m there on average about 3/4 times a week for most of the year, either climbing , gardening or generally cleaning up. 
 

Ive already started some topo work but I’ll be honest with you - even though the guidebook is packed full of what looks like many many routes, a large number of these are heavily overgrown or have decayed into dangerous rubble. 
 

The honey pot routes are honey pots for that specific reason - they’re safe.

A few of us however do skip climbing some nights and try and tackle the back end of the quarry and we have been working for the last few years on cutting back gorse top outs, trundling loose rock to expose... yes more loose rock. 
 

Taking topos of the back walls is challenging due to the amount of green stuff in particular the birch etc. 
 

Once the lockdown is over or at least eased up I’d be happy to have someone else to help out with the never ending maintaining of the place which I need to do very carefully around nesting season. 
 

Chris 

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Milesy 00:43 Wed
In reply to Pina:

> I was also under the impression that red lead starts a bit more left of the HS (I.e start at the ledge and go straight up). 

It does - but no one ever does it that way any more - cause it’s quite bold and not much fun to be honest. The good climbing is at the crux so pretty much 99.999% of people I’ve ever saw go up white slab and then trend left towards the crux which is getting verrrrry wobbly. I reckon it’s only got a few more years in it before it peels off

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Milesy 00:47 Wed
In reply to Mark Bull:

> There are some different possible sequences, but I don't really think the routes are independent at the bottom - both routes certainly end up at the base of the obvious hand crack. Would welcome other opinions on this! 

The “true” start for lack of a better word is far to the left. So from the belay spike ledge you go pretty much up diagonally left to a really awkward flake you have to go out of balance to get around. As my last message it’s really not worth the effort but then again perhaps that’s why the crux is so wobbly with so much traffic now. 

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Milesy 00:51 Wed
In reply to Mark Bull:

> Yes, I think you are right - just me that sneaks a cheeky side runner! 

Mr Men used to have its own low runner you could use before the last stabilisation works.(2008?)  Don’t think it was ever regraded when that little runner was lost, so the side runner in room the back I like to use as well cause the first gear is nearly at the top haha. 

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Milesy 01:18 Wed
In reply to StevenF:

Steven - I’ve looked at your topo for the red lead area and marked out the lines. 
 

im not sure where this belaying from round the corner in the swamp came from but the belaying is from the spike at the ledge. You can always belay a nervous second round the water traverse but I’d be very hazard for that to be considered part of the line (IMHO)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1DzsstFt2EBIwbhiffuIKNdlHwTAmzD9N/view?usp=drivesdk

on your picture I’ve marked approx the line for red lead to the “hidden layback flake” as it’s called as the official line (although as mentioned no one ever does it any more except me on occasion that I can see and sometimes some old timers who come by every now and again)

ive also marked demons and dead lizards which follows a bending flake to the right above the traverse  

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Milesy 01:41 Wed
In reply to StevenF:

I’m also working on putting together the website - http://auchinstarryquarry.com which will be about climbing, it’s history, nature and other things. 
 

Here’s a taster of some of the photos (copyright Ken Johnston - who alongside John Kerry developed the quarry)

Long before nature took hold the quarry was remarkable for lowland climbers because it could be climbed all year round due to the sun- the long gone climb called Christmas corner was named so because it was first climbed on Christmas Day

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1g7OICkt8wBaJrSsBDMLzmsJQweH2jE4B/view?usp=drivesdk

and before the quarry was allowed to fill in with water - Ken notes that the modern day start of trundle slab is about half the length it was before it was filled in and then the fake shore was built up with much rock  

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1uWFJ_FbTrEuIPGdNP3oJ7xaHgowoWkeZ/view?usp=drivesdk

Post edited at 01:44
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Mark Bull 08:37 Wed
In reply to Milesy:

> I’ve looked at your topo for the red lead area and marked out the lines. 

That was my effort, so errors are mine, not Steven's! 

> im not sure where this belaying from round the corner in the swamp came from but the belaying is from the spike at the ledge.

I always belay in the swamp - it's less faff, but I admit it makes communication a bit trickier. Perhaps helpful to show the line of the traverse in though? 

> on your picture I’ve marked approx the line for red lead to the “hidden layback flake” as it’s

> called as the official line (although as mentioned no one ever does it any more except me on

> occasion that I can see and sometimes some old timers who come by every now and again)

I though that was the line I marked - climb to the bottom of the hand crack and use the horizontal break to go left round into the groove? There is a lot of variation possible on that lower section, though - I'm sure I don't always use the same sequence! 

> ive also marked demons and dead lizards which follows a bending flake to the right above the traverse  

Thanks! That agrees with my second effort above. 

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Mark Bull 08:42 Wed
In reply to Milesy:

That's very interesting - looking forward to seeing the website! 

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Al_Mac 09:24 Wed
In reply to Milesy:

I look forward to seeing the website and history, it's always interesting to understand what these places were used for in the past and how they came to be. Some interesting photos of the industry there too. Are the council oblivious to climbers, or ignorant to the damage they're doing? Is this something MCofS or BMC could have a hand in preventing further damage being carried out?

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JSTaylor 09:38 Wed
In reply to Al_Mac:

As someone who was active developing new routes here (with Rob Kerr and others) in the late 1970s/early 1980s I can confirm that the local council’s concern was its legal responsibility should anyone be hurt by the quarry collapsing.  Unfortunately, this meant any stabilisation activities, due to a lack of awareness/concern of established climbing activity, did result in the destruction of climbs.  Maybe today there would have been more consultation with the climbing community? 

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Pina 10:24 Wed
In reply to Milesy:

I still like to do the 'bold' start to Red Lead Chris. I think it's the most direct line so quite nice (and the edges are very positive).

Also agree about belaying at the ledge rather than the swamp. Adds to fun if one of the party falls in the water.

Same for Mr. Men, direct up the arete is really the less contrived line. Though by the time you get a runner in, you may as well have just soloed the line....

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Milesy 12:22 Wed
In reply to Al_Mac:

> I look forward to seeing the website and history, it's always interesting to understand what these places were used for in the past and how they came to be. Some interesting photos of the industry there too. Are the council oblivious to climbers, or ignorant to the damage they're doing? Is this something MCofS or BMC could have a hand in preventing further damage being carried out?


Climbers and the council have always had a good relationship with climbers. John Kerry, one of the people who helped develop the first routes worked for the council at the time and was instrumental in setting up those relationships and getting Auchinstarry turned into a recreation spot / landscaped etc.

In most recent years the chief access officer in north lanarkshire council, Hayley Andrew is also a climber and she used to use UKC as well in the past.

The most recent stabilisation works a decade ago were fairly destructive but climbers were engaged in the process.

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Milesy 12:23 Wed
In reply to Pina:

> I still like to do the 'bold' start to Red Lead Chris. I think it's the most direct line so quite nice (and the edges are very positive).

> Also agree about belaying at the ledge rather than the swamp. Adds to fun if one of the party falls in the water.

> Same for Mr. Men, direct up the arete is really the less contrived line. Though by the time you get a runner in, you may as well have just soloed the line....


For anyone new to outdoor climbing or auchinstarry I always take them over to do white slab and set up the belay on the spike. I think its a very memorable experience hanging over the waters edge, and a great part of the experience of the climb.

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Milesy 12:27 Wed
In reply to Mark Bull:

> I though that was the line I marked - climb to the bottom of the hand crack and use the horizontal break to go left round into the groove? There is a lot of variation possible on that lower section, though - I'm sure I don't always use the same sequence! 

Only for white slab. The two routes should be independently climbable with only perhaps the ledge getting a bit cramped. If you are at the horizontal break you are too far right. From the ledge you are going straight up left directly under the flake.

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Mark Bull 14:02 Wed
In reply to Milesy:

Ak, OK, that makes more sense - I have not tried such a direct line. 

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Mark Bull 15:21 Wed
In reply to Mark Bull:

This better? 

https://flic.kr/p/2iHyt6B

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TobyA 15:57 Wed
In reply to Milesy:

> Mr Men used to have its own low runner you could use before the last stabilisation works.(2008?)  Don’t think it was ever regraded when that little runner was lost, so the side runner in room the back I like to use as well cause the first gear is nearly at the top haha. 

It's got to be over 25 years since I did Mr Men but it has always stuck in my mind as what VS 4b should be like, straight forward climbing but totally effing terrifying! I think I didn't get any gear in until I was near the top. Maybe I missed the side runner in 90s, or maybe it is some weird bit of kit we didn't have back then?

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StevenF 17:49 Wed
In reply to Milesy:

> Hi Steven. I don’t log very much but I’m probably the person who spends most time at Auchinstarry. I’m there on average about 3/4 times a week for most of the year, either climbing , gardening or generally cleaning up. 

> Ive already started some topo work but I’ll be honest with you - even though the guidebook is packed full of what looks like many many routes, a large number of these are heavily overgrown or have decayed into dangerous rubble. 

> The honey pot routes are honey pots for that specific reason - they’re safe.

> A few of us however do skip climbing some nights and try and tackle the back end of the quarry and we have been working for the last few years on cutting back gorse top outs, trundling loose rock to expose... yes more loose rock. 

> Taking topos of the back walls is challenging due to the amount of green stuff in particular the birch etc. 

> Once the lockdown is over or at least eased up I’d be happy to have someone else to help out with the never ending maintaining of the place which I need to do very carefully around nesting season. 

> Chris 

Hi Chris - I think that seems to be the case with a lot of the crags on the Lowlands Outcrops book; a lot of them seem to have either overgrown or eroded over time.  Thanks for all the work you do at the crag. This was my first time climbing there and I really enjoyed it. 

In reply to MIlsey: 

> Mr Men used to have its own low runner you could use before the last stabilisation works.(2008?)  Don’t think it was ever regraded when that little runner was lost, so the side runner in room the back I like to use as well cause the first gear is nearly at the top haha. 

Mr Men looks like a bolt route! I don't have the head for climbs with no protection... yet!

> I’m also working on putting together the website - http://auchinstarryquarry.com 19 which will be about climbing, it’s history, nature and other things. 

> Here’s a taster of some of the photos (copyright Ken Johnston - who alongside John Kerry developed the quarry)

> Long before nature took hold the quarry was remarkable for lowland climbers because it could be climbed all year round due to the sun- the long gone climb called Christmas corner was named so because it was first climbed on Christmas Day

> and before the quarry was allowed to fill in with water - Ken notes that the modern day start of trundle slab is about half the length it was before it was filled in and then the fake shore was built up with much rock  

 

Your website sounds great! I look forward to its launch so I can read up about the history and get a better idea of the routes there. It's a shame that a lot of the route was lost to water, but on another note, I suppose it makes those climb more... adventurous? 

In reply to MIlsey: 

> For anyone new to outdoor climbing or auchinstarry I always take them over to do white slab and set up the belay on the spike. I think its a very memorable experience hanging over the waters edge, and a great part of the experience of the climb.

We tried to climb red lead but weren't sure if we climbed it as it should. We abseiled down to a small ledge on the edge of the water and found a small spike to hang a rope bag over. From there my climbing partner went straight up towards a large shelf, then traversed left - a committing step onto an arete then straight up to the top. I tried to find the route on my photo but finding it difficult to remember exactly where we went! Either way, it was great climb! It felt strange climbing directly over water!

Post edited at 17:54
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Mark Bull 19:45 Wed
In reply to StevenF:

> We tried to climb red lead but weren't sure if we climbed it as it should. We abseiled down to a small ledge on the edge of the water and found a small spike to hang a rope bag over. From there my climbing partner went straight up towards a large shelf, then traversed left - a committing step onto an arete then straight up to the top. I tried to find the route on my photo but finding it difficult to remember exactly where we went! Either way, it was great climb! It felt strange climbing directly over water!

That's the way most folk tend to do it, and the most obvious line, though strictly speaking that's the bottom half of White Slab and the top half of Red Lead. Still includes the crux, though, so award yourselves the tick! 

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