Nelson's Slab

1 Stars
 HS 5a

Adjacent Routes
<< Blind Eye < Dead Eye  |  Half Nelson > Left Ladder Chimney >>

Start under the right-hand edge of the slab and make hard moves (4b for the strong) up and left via a polished niche (overhead gear) to gain the slab. Move 2m left then finish direct.
FA. Frank Burgess, early 1930s


I go to Birchens quite often and always end up soloing stuff. I only climb to about VS but thought I'd try the start move as it seems to generate a lot of debate. Thirty seconds later I was at the top. It seemed very easy for the grade given. For once I actually agree with 'On Peak Rock' and not subsequent guides.
Tom Carnall - 22/Apr/02

Low-end VS 5a possibly but definately not close to HS 4b.
Mark Stevenson - 29/May/02

The first move has a bit of a trick to it and if you can work this out it feels very straightforward. (clue: knee-bar)
dc - 04/Nov/02

I only climb VS, but I found this quite an easy solo. As long as you can do a pull up then you can do the first move. The top slab is just easy and enjoyable. Definitely not worth the upgrade to 5b. I'd go for HS 4c (5a if you're weak!!)
Whealiebob - 17/Apr/03

Yeah I can't see why it is 5b, definitely more like 4c/5a. A bit of a one move wonder really but it is a good move.
Huw - 23/Apr/03

The start is defo strenuous 5a, which is good enough for VS (though an easy one) in my book.
Jamie B - 07/May/03

Agree with the 5a sentiment re. the starting move. Took me several attempts to fathom the trick of getting up however; very polished start. Reckon that's why it gets 5b.
James McN - 02/Jun/03

The first move has a bit of a trick to it (clue: NOT a knee bar) ;-)
Simon Caldwell - 07/Jul/03

Seriously, this route is not VS nor is it any where near 5a/b. BMC give it HS 4b. I reckon this is at the high end of that - mostly down to polish. I am not sure if this kind of grade upgrade is very helpful.
David Bowden - 28/Aug/03

yep, VS 5a is about right for the first move (and I'm pretty tall). BMC grade is VS 5a actually. VS is VS whether you're an experienced climber or not.
Dave S - 15/Jun/04

Irrespective of the difficulty of the first move, the lack of gear on the rest of the climb surely merits VS...
mwh - 03/May/05

To mwh not when the moves are about V Diff, and there is a decent thread on the left (a bit easy to miss?)

The start is about 4b, no question, you can get a good toe jam in the thin crack under the big flat hold, get the jugs, pull up and stand on the flat polished bit, very good but not VS
MattG - 15/May/05

Start is not VS you can get overhead gear in without leaving the ground
tchnorton - 01/Jun/05

The start is a very strenuous move, absolutley no doubt about it!!! What planet are do you come from to think this is 4b?? Im a yorkshireman brought up on Grit who now works in snowdonia, that move at tremadog would get 5a - no question. As for the overall grade: Overhead gear, at ground level? - HS max!!
Shaun Dutton - 05/Aug/05

The first move is great really give it some and before you now it your at the top, no point messing around with gear after the crux move its easy, so feel brave and go for the solo!.
robert bridges - 03/Jun/07

A one move wonder with a ridiculous amount of polish. Might have been a fun move once....
GrahamD - 14/Apr/08

The polish doesn't matter. Hands on jugs, right foot smear anywhere, left foot right up onto ledge, rock up, right hand into crack. Then pad up the slab. HS 4c?
mark20 - 20/Jul/08

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  • Route Grade Votings

    Total votes cast 81
    hard VS 0 of 11
    VS 0 of 11
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    3 Stars 0 of 59
    2 Stars 25 of 59
    1 Star 25 of 59
    0 Stars 9 of 59
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