Mars Top 50

3 Stars
 E2 5b

Adjacent Routes
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Stunning positions, excellent rock and sound protection.
You can't go wrong - or can you? For the best experience, wait until it is in good condition and has had a bit of sun on it.
1) 5b, 5m. Traverse right along the fault-line, or drop down to sea level and back up, to a sloping ledge beneath the roofs.
2) 5b, 20m. Climb the intimidating roofed corner and the stamina draining groove above to the top.
FA. Richard Crewe, Tim Dunsby 11.8.1974


I have climbed Mars at least twelve times over the past twenty years, it is a tough route and I have always thought it hard for the grade, the start is nearly always greasy anyway and worth 5b, the route is one of Richard Crewe's who graded most of his routes HVS wich was a fashionable thing to do in those days, I have seen some good climbers struggle hard on Mars, but only a few will ever admit to this. Mars is a great route of character, but E1 5a is streatching things, I live in hope that one day Mars will be given the correct grade of E2 5b, but then again after a fine weekend this route provides plenty of abandoned gear, so maybe HVS 4c is more accurate, cheers....
Brian Tilley - 26/Mar/00

Brian is correct - Mars is E2!
Steve T - 06/Sep/00

Good route, really physical. Loads of gear but sustained and certainly 'value' for E1 .... probably E2 (for effort anyway!)
Jason - 08/May/01

I actually thought that the grade E1 5A was about as accurate as you could get with this route. The moves are certainly 'strange' and intimidating, but not hard in the execution. Gear is good and frequent so I don't see why the route should be higher than E1 (E1 is about as hard as I climb and it wasn't my toughest lead by a long way). I did it in one pitch and it was dry.
Graham - 04/Jun/01

I agree with Graham, E1 to climb, E2 to look at, which is why he lead it in one pitch..
Colin - 25/Oct/01

Lead it again ... this may be E1 if it's bone dry at the bottom ... but it's NEVER bone dry at the bottom! I still think this is E2 for effort!
Jason - 02/Nov/01

We graded it HVS at the time because the holds were too big for it to be Extreme! Given that there is usually an element of dampness around (but hit it about 2pm in the Summer to give yourself the best chance) and it is a strenuous affair in a serious situation I think E2 5b is about right.
Tim Dunsby - 11/Jul/04

We climbed this yesterday and today my legs feel like i've ran a marathon. Fantastic route with brilliant moves on it!! I had been recommended to lead it in one pitch which I did, but if I did it again I would go for the two pitch option.

I think there is at least one section worthy of 5B, and in terms of stamina, its got to be E2.

Get on it!! (In It?)
Adrian Paisey - 14/Mar/05

Superb route. I think that going round the first overhang is 5b. I don't think it's E2 material though as it's well protected and you can have many rests. It's a bloody good struggle. I think we were lucky as it was only a little damp when we did it.
El Greyo - 18/Mar/05

I climbed mars yesterday and have never been so beaten up by a route. I think that adrian paisey's enthusiastic comment above stems from the fact that he rested on a nut. If you are a masochist, go enjoy.
Lee Hogarth - 11/Jul/05

Echo the last comment re: feeling beaten up. I did it some years ago now as an early E1 (was considering it as a first E1 as it was graded E1 5a - low in the grade and all that) but glad I'd had a few other E1 s under my belt before I did this one. We did an HVS in the Ruckle afterwards and it felt like a walk in the park in comparison! A fantastic experience though..
purple sue - 11/Jul/05

Climbed Mars in the dark - this was not intentional, my leader took a long time - there are copious handholds, I could make them out every time the lighthouse beam swung inland and illuminated the chalk marks - I have no idea if there are footholds? I struggle to second 5b in broad daylight.
phantom whistler - 27/Jul/05

I don't understand why people say it's a stamina route. There are several strenuous sections but each is relatively short lived and after each bulge there are excellent no hands rests.
Steve Grey - 12/Dec/06

Did this today and have to agree that it is worth E2 for the traverse and the strenuous bulges too, but has good rest points. Very intimidating for your average HVS/E1 leader!
Chad Harrison - 09/Apr/07

No more talk about grades, it's all about the condition of the route.Today 3/4 damp 1/4 dusty E25b no argument.Better than russian roulette.
tom ogorman - 05/Aug/07

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