Route Grade Votings
Total votes cast 212
Access the lowest point of the ramp with difficulty, then climb the delicate slab above. Friends provide adequate protection but beware the final rounded moves. Quite a bit harder (and scarier) for the short, or in less than perfect conditions. A start up the right arete is The Defiance Variation - a bouldery f5.
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Friends tend to slip out as their hold isn't secure.
One of my favourite routes, but make sure you have some friends as there isn't any passive pro. And the moves at the top are definitely thought provoking if there's no gear below.
Side runners available just below half height, for the friendless. The top out is hard for the short - a good reason for assiduity in finding pro. A worringly unprotected topout can be avoided by seeking a finish by the crack to the left.
The only hard bit is right at the very bottom, getting off the ground. The top is relatively unprotected but a doddle. No more than VDiff - maybe VD 4b?
Nice. Very overgraded for anyone with experience; very much a chop route for a novice leader if they don't use side runners. Plain old ungraded Severe IMHO.
Certainly harder than the adjacent Trafalgar crack, so not VD. Prob HS IMHO. Quite committed and would scare new leaders!!
But adjacent Trafalgar Crack is a highly overgraded Diff with a problem start so no problem grading this one VDiff ;-)
I really liked this route. Not more than S, 4a, though.
lead this route a few days ago and only needed 2 friends in the breaks which were bombing! Another amazing route though which is very thought provoking! Hardest bit was finding something for an anchor at the top!! Sloper Tastic!
Great route, but like most routes at Birchen - Best when soloed. Use an old guide for the 'real' grades'!
Start is a 4b move - the rest is no harder than 3C. However a scarcity of sound protection (friends a requirement) ultimately puts this route at Severe (4b).
As a vertically challenged not particularly strong climber this climb certainly got my heart racing. The first cam placement was perfect for size 3 1/2, the second break which will accept cams is not very accomodating, and my size 1 1/2 was very shaky - the shape of the break will never inspire confidence even with the perfect sized cam. The top is worryingly slopey, but fortunately rough enough to give good friction even to my little hands on a hot and sweaty day.
Soloed this one. Don't remember having any difficulty at all, which is strange because I'm not very good. Very simple padding. Def. Severe, maybe 4b for the start (or harder starting direct).
andy sims has got it right. I'll bet it's hard with a big rack of cams! VD with 'hard start'.
There are 2 bombproof cam placements on this route in pockets that could have been made for size 2.5 and 3 friends. I could see how this would scare the pants off a timid climber but it is a brilliant route and safe (but mildly runout) if you put the gear in the obvious places.
i go with S 4a. Not hard, just balancy, and as long as you have the correct size cams for the totally rectangular cam-scars, fairly well protected. Some of or freshers did it this weekend, and didnt have problems with it.
One of my favourite solos at Birchen and definitely done best that way. On all the occaisions I've 'led' it I've never placed a single runner. The friend placements in it are far from good, so I agree totally with the earlier comment about it being a chop route for the novice and easy for the experienced. Technically I agree with 4b for the start(though it is a lot easier if you can reach your foot directly on to the slopey hold and find the undercut with your right hand). Its a bit like Heather Wall; forget the grade and enjoy the great climbing.
I brought back two small wired tri-cams from the Czeck Rep recently, one of them fitted perfectly (and solidly) halfway up the slab in one of the holes. I've never seen these things for sale in the Uk (made by viaMont, Czeck) but are a definite improvement on the original taped tricams. They cost me £2 each (BTW Czeck-made "Friends" are £14 each in Prague! Go there and fill your boots!)
What's this nonsense about it being V Diff for experienced climbers? V Diff is V Diff whether your experienced or not - that's what grading is all about. If you do the start properly (ie don't use the Trafalgar Crack start) it is 4c but seems easier as it's from the ground and protected. Not sure that the gear on the upper half of the slab is that good - if you think the gear is good then Severe, if not, then it's definitely VS.
Anyone who thinks this route is VS is in for a mighty shock if they try Crows Nest farther along the crag! That will show you what a VS is really like :-)
Nice route, I found good protection with size 2 and 3 friend. The start is the hardest, but is just a hop up and your on the ledge. I can see the top out above the last bit of gear scaring some, but by the time youve got there you trusting the friction and can smear and pad and over the top.
This is a fantastic route with 2 bomber quadcam placements which is perfectly adequate given the length of the route, although the start is quite hard i would probably grade this route VD4c
the route is best wen soloed as some one else said but a brilliant stroll with a tricky start
Agree with it being tricky start, but cams fit well in the pockets at the breaks.
I agree, vaguely awkward start, and then just a little bold though not difficult. Managed to fit a RE flex 2 and 3 in pockets somewhere along breaks which seemed fairly good. Nothing for top half. Not sure I found any particular challenge with top out - guidebook made me expect worse than I found.
Forget the friends here, I climbed it with 3 solid tricam placements, also the wired ones. nice slab that!
I think HS4b would be about right, maybe even VS, when you cosider the lack of gear and being a bit run out. It's not as bold as Sunset slab at Froggatt,but not three grades below. Technically straightforward though, with good friction where you need it,i.e. the top-out.