UKH

Welcome To The Weirdness - Fiend on Leics climbing.

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Fiend 07 Oct 2002
Welcome To The Weirdness.

Fiend's view of Leicestershire climbing.


By Fiend.


Crags covered: Beacon Hill, Bradgate Park, The Brand, Carver's Rocks, Crag Y, Craig Buddon, Forest Rock, Granitethorpe Quarry, Hangingstone Quarry, Markfield Quarry, Morley Quarry, Oaks Pinnacle, Outwoods Crag, Pocketgate Quarry.

All comments and corrections based on my own personal experience. If it's not corrected, assume the guidebook details are okay.

Beacon Hill:

A lovely, well situated crag with some of the best - and most unique - micro-routes and bouldering around. Polish is not that much of a problem. A nicer, and cheaper, approach than the main carpark is a walk through the woods from the opposite end of the crag (cheers Nick). Many of the climbs would be boulder problems with a mat down. Without a mat, most are worth their adjectival grade.

Circus of Heaven E1 6a * (not E1 5c) - not completed, very hard, at least 6a.
V Gully VS 4b ** - good
Moonshot Direct E1 5b ** (not E1 6a) - actually easier than Moonshot and almost as good.
Moonshot E1 5b *** - excellent and committing [Leicestershire Classic].
Limbo VS 4c - insignificant
To Be Over E1 5c - not completed, E1 6a at least for the short.
Balsoon HVS 5a - also insignificant.
Starship Trooper E1 6a *** 6m (not 7m) - easy for E1 but a fierce and excellent problem, absorbing [LC].
Collywobble Crack HS 4b *
Third Time Lucky HVS 5c * (not E1 5c) - crux moves low down and not that hard.
The Last Straw HS 4b ** - an extra star because it's well positioned and good climbing.
The Gully Diff * - a star because it's a good introduction to leading, due to being very safe at a low grade (a rarity in Leicestershire).
Jack In The Box HS 4b *
Silk And Satin HVS 5c * 5m (not 6m)
Bow 4a ** - 4m not long enough to get a route grade but a nice problem

Bradgate Park:

Another delightful, if popular, setting - the scenery, including superb ruins and trees, and the chilled vibe just about make up for the hordes of day trippers and extortionate parking charges. Wishing Stone Crag looks fairly bold for bouldering as you could in theory bounce down to the tourist path. On the other hand The Stable Pit is very amenable, with good, fingery bouldering of a slightly eliminate nature.

Yours Is No Disgrace 5c / Green For Go 5b - Both of these lines seem bolloxed up. As it stands, YIND has an eliminate start and then lineless swing right, while GFG starts promisingly and then would shuffle right for no real reason (or maybe it starts right of Tootal, who knows). Far better would be:

??? 5c - A decent eliminate just right of the crack.
YIND (true line) 5c - Bloody great, direct (not left of) to the high point via a good starting crimp and sloping triangular hole. Only a boulder problem but still worth [LC] status.
Tootal 5a - High in the grade but good.
??? (GFG true line?) 5c - A good eliminate can be squeezed between Tootal and Deceptive Crack.
Biceps 4c - Eliminate juggy fun.
The Bulge 5b - Not 5a for those of an average height, interesting top-out.
Thin Crack 5b - Not 4a which was evidently a hilarious joke. One tricky move.
Suffolk 4b - Not 3c, more old guidebook humour.
Maserati 6a - One hell of a good move, proper 6a if you stay to the right of the mini-groove.
Six Digit Wall 6b - Presumably left of the notch, as...
Finger Wall 6a - Goes just to the left edge of the notch. No way to get a 5c problem here, but more good finger moves.

The Brand:

Another lovely crag, sheer quarried walls rising directly out of a lake. The lake, surrounding trees and gardens, shoals of fish, occasional kingfishers, and a comfy grassy top to lounge about on give the crag a very pleasant feel, while the access procedure keeps riff-raff out. Nice.

Sailaway E0 5a ** - Very well protected, sustained and classic jamming that would be a benchmark HVS handcrack if it wasn't for the fact that one side of the crack vibrates alarmingly. The climbing is strenuous and superb but one gets the feeling of having been allowed to survive it rather than being in total control of the situation... [LC] unless you're the person on it when the flake finally 'goes'.
Mango VS 4c *** - No such worries on this climb. Great line, great gear, proper climbing, comparable to any outcrop route [LC].
Dinghy Days VS 4c * - reasonably good climbing but only worth it's star if the gorse is gone and a decent belay can be set up. Otherwise not worth the effort.


Carver's Rocks:

A pointless place - exactly like Southern Sandstone. The rounded nature, sandiness and difficulty of most climbs make it particularly unsuitable for soloing.

Crag Y:

Fairly extensive quarry of reasonable granite, with the climbing limited to one small but impressive buttress. Visible from a working quarry hence Sunday visits are recommended. A squashed car wreck at the base and a continual water outlet over the far side give it the all important ambience. Potentially the new Markfield if it was allowed to survive and given a good clean.

The E1 5c groove E1 5b ** (Not E1 5c) - given stars for being in a clean condition, but usually only worth one star even if brushed. Good line, good climbing, micro-gear is useful for the start as the first peg was pulled out with fingers. Needs a name ('The Bleeding' ??)
Vampires F6b ** - again given stars assuming it's clean which it should be with a little brush. Probably [LC] and worth *** if the bolts were positioned better. Another good line, more good climbing, full weight for F6b with a hard crux and sustained climbing. Micro-cam useful to back up top peg.

....
Fiend 07 Oct 2002
...

Craig Buddon:

A nice crag but overrated IMHO as the climbing lacks distinction. Idyllic situation and less weirdness than is, errr, normal for Leicestershire.

Straight and Narrow HVS 5a * and Blade HVS 5a ** - neither can be that hard as I soloed both.
Starco HVS 5a ** - an extra star for being a good line with fairly exciting climbing.
Soft and Hard VS 4b *
Virago E0 5a ** - not that bold as the Friends are good, and not that classic either as it's awkward.
Trepidation HVS 5b * - tricky, I remember some weird thumb-press manouvre.
Future Times ??? - not completed, if this is climbed just using the arete it felt more like attempting E2 6a.


Forest Rock:

Now access seems to be allowed, it's nicely situated above a well mown green, next to the Pear Tree pub which incidentally does very good and substantial meals. Fairly green and could do with a good brush although it does dry out in summer.

Sorceror E1 5b *** - not completed but a good candidate for E2 5b+ as it's continually strenuous, sustained, the gear is uninspiring (either a loose block or half-arsed friends in peg scars) and then leads to a committing crux. Probably [LC] as it packs a lot in.
(Also: Saucy E3 5c ** on the other hand looks a more reasonable proposition and maybe E2 5c? While Definitely Not E2 5b * on yet another hand looks unreasonably bold and would need a thorough clean.)


Granitethorpe Quarry:

A fairly pleasant quarry due to the open nature and large flooded base complete with scarily large mutant fish. Could do with some cleaning.

Hydro V Diff *
Hydrotactic VS 4b *
The Weatherman VS 4c ** - a good slabby area.
(Also the so-called Ghengis E7 6b 7m looks a lot more like E4 6a 5m to me...)


Hangingstone Quarry:

A very serious looking place that's totally neglected and would need a thorough overhaul before being worth visiting. Alas even the route to set up an abseil to start cleaning is guarded by vicious automated bee defences. Everything looks steep and bold but there are plenty of good lines. Any volunteers?


Markfield Quarry:

Markfield kinda sums up Leicestershire nicely: 90% shit but the 10% that is good is really good. 6 years ago it seemed in reasonable condition, but visiting again after the so-called cleaning, it was very scruffy. The ridiculous Fort Knox fence doesn't help matters. Despite it's appearance, a good crag that needs some looking after.

Gorse Slab V Diff * - definitely worth a star as it's a good line and one of the few well protected easy routes around hence suitable for first leads.
Babies Bottom HS * (not S) - too protectionless to be just S. Lack of line and escapability only warrants one star.
Weak Walk S 4a ** - too rambling to be worth three stars, but reasonably protectable.
Sugar Daddy HVS 5a - quite solid at the grade, strenuous.
Crown S * - can't remember.
Clearway S ** - can't remember.
Kate VS 4c ** - can't remember.
Baptism VS 5b ** - an unusual adventure but not really a good enough line nor elegant enough to be a classic.
Crab Crawl S ** - can't remember.
Chequered Slab HVS 4c ** - excellent and unnerving friction climbing. No holds, no gear - smear or swim!! Only the possible escape stops it being 3 stars. [LC]
Plain Sailing E2 5c *** - awesome wall climbing, safe but requiring committment, technique and finger strength. The bolt can be passed on either side. [LC] and possibly the best route in Leicestershire??

Morley Quarry:

A foul place that would need heavy developing to approach feasibility. Even the few established routes are overgrown and unappealing.


Oaks Pinnacle:

A delightful little place, despite, or perhaps because of, it's brevity. Excellent rock although the tree is unfortunately taking over. The 5b mantel nearby looks very dangerous.

Left Arete VS 4c * - can't remember.
Central Route VS 4c *** - a delightful routelet. [LC]
Right Arete V Diff ** - can't remember.

Outwoods Crag:

Evidently an underrated crag given the lack of stars in the current guide. The only starred route, Oak, looked shit and certainly doesn't deserve a star. The other climbs offer nice slabby climbing on generally excellent rock although a dry summer day is needed due to it's woodland setting. Stars are a bit hard to allocate as most routes are worthwhile though not outstanding.

Mid S - nice climbing.
Split Diff - more nice climbing.
Twee HS 4a - an eliminate very delicate and possibly VS 4b if the line is adhered to exactly.
Clown S * - nice route with a pleasant finish.
Squirrel Diff ** - the most impressive line on the crag, a good, if polished route.
Edge HS 4b * - a technical and bold crux makes this a good route.


Pocketgate Quarry:

More strangeness, now there's a surprise eh. An impressive slab of slate at a particularly provocative angle. It can be very dirty so a good brushing on abseil would be needed. The crag deserves more attention as the climbing is definitely worthwhile when in condition. The steep left hand wall looks pretty serious but has a lot of potential for hard stuff.

The Wall Route V Diff *** - not sure whether this is really a classic as I can't remember much about it. Good line though.
Slip and Slide VS 4c ** - can't remember but this seems about right.
Central Route E1 5a *** - best done without the side runner for the full experience, an interesting and very delicate climb - [LC] if only for the uniqueness.


The End.
Nick Ward 07 Oct 2002
In reply to Fiend:

>
> Hangingstone Quarry:

Alas even the route to set up an abseil to start cleaning is guarded by vicious automated bee defences. >

lol...

nice one fiend - perhaps when you get back, you can help us locals write a new guide book to the area...

and whilst you're off...find someway to keep posting and making me laugh...

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