Fern Crack

3 Stars
 VS 4c

Adjacent Routes
<< Argus < Silk  |  Fern Groove > Smash Your Glasses >>

The long crack that is the major feature of the buttress proves to be an awkward customer and quite high in the grade. A slippery layback or awkward jamming start (5a?) leads to a tricky wide section off the ledge and another wide section to enter the upper crack. Escape out left at the top or move right for the extended reach of the short Direct Finish, HVS 5a.
FA. Probably Herbert Hartley or Albert Hargreaves 1930s Direct Finish Chris Craggs 2006


A really fun route, except for the start which is uncharacteristicly difficult and polished to boot. Don't let it put you off though, the rest of the route is well worth it.
matt - 23/Jul/02

start seemed to be a straightforward lay back to me...entry into the crack following that seemed far trickier.
Al.Smith - 15/Dec/02

i agree with matt, the bottom is a bastard. hwvr the reat of the route is good. the mantleshelf at the top of the crack felt a bit commiting, you have to use a typical gritstone rounded break. lovely!
rich - 04/Jun/03

I thought the start was probably the hardest part especially since the far wall is quite polished making smearing for the layback harder. The gear is consistent and good. A very good climb but I'm not sure about its tag of being the hardest VS in the Peak.
Huw - 06/Jun/03

I think I must be the only one to jam the start. Definitely the hardest VS I've climbed, and I definitely don't think it's HVS.
David Jones - 27/Jun/03

Great route right to be among the top of VS 4c , didn't find the opening crack that bad (layback)gaining the final crack towards the top was the crux for me.
Shaun Walby - 28/Sep/03

really enjoyed the start, unprotected lay back made loads of fun untill the stance, tricky but added to the fun. all of the route was outstanding, the move left near the top was quick precreoius. loved the inner hold within the crack at half height. Brillent!!
james turnbull - 08/Mar/04

Difficult start. Layback committing as it then seems to go on and on. Tried jamming, just couldn't do it. Layback was fun, but only once I was standing on the ledge reattaching my wrists. Rest of climb is then fantastic, especially once the crack is gained again.
Martin Walker - 25/May/04

Well I've certainly done easier HVS routes! I found the move to get back into the crack after the initial layback particularly tricky (being short) and the protection for that move poor.
sandy - 20/Jun/05

A real gritstone struggle but split by excellent rest ledges to let you catch your breath. Layback start was technical crux for me. Protection is perfect all the way (despite what you might think from the ground) and you can get you whole arm/leg/head in the wider upper sections. Thrutch and jam heaven! "Go for it" attitude will help.
Lizard - 27/Jun/05

I had some fun on this today! I've been stuck in a bit of an HS rut for months, but after this (and a VS slab afterwards for contrast) I think I can now say with confidence that I can lead VS! For the top moves where you transfer from the crack to the scoop, I don't recommend inserting your leg in the break - it doesn't help get into balance for the fairly delicate step up! Was quite pleased to find a bit of jamming useful on this route, especially for the first move to reach the top of the layback.
cider nut - 02/Oct/05

Technically tough, but never HVS
Iain Thow - 17/Mar/07

Did this and Right Unconquerable on the same day. Found both okay, but this one is the harder route. If this is VS, you need to knock down Right Unconquerable to low VS for better grade consistency or take this one up a notch.
Ed - 07/Jun/10

This is probably on the upper limit of VS. I found all the sections hard - 4c all the way. The protection is good and there are plenty of rests.
pero kalugerovich - 09/Aug/10

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  • Route Grade Votings

    Total votes cast 180
    hard HVS 0 of 61
    HVS 0 of 61
    easy HVS 5 of 61
    hard VS 37 of 61
    VS 19 of 61
    easy VS 0 of 61
    hard HS 0 of 61
    HS 0 of 61
    easy HS 0 of 61
    hard 5a 0 of 61
    5a 0 of 61
    easy 5a 0 of 61
    hard 4c 0 of 61
    4c 0 of 61
    easy 4c 0 of 61
    hard 4b 0 of 61
    4b 0 of 61
    easy 4b 0 of 61
    hard 4a 0 of 61
    4a 0 of 61
    easy 4a 0 of 61
    hard 3c 0 of 61
    3c 0 of 61
    easy 3c 0 of 61
    hard 3b 0 of 61
    3b 0 of 61
    easy 3b 0 of 61
    hard 3a 0 of 61
    3a 0 of 61
    easy 3a 0 of 61
    hard 2c 0 of 61
    2c 0 of 61
    easy 2c 0 of 61
    hard 2b 0 of 61
    2b 0 of 61
    easy 2b 0 of 61
    hard 2a 0 of 61
    2a 0 of 61
    easy 2a 0 of 61
    hard ?? 0 of 61
    ?? 0 of 61
    easy ?? 27 of 61
    hard ?? 12 of 61
    ?? 22 of 61
    easy ?? 0 of 61
    3 Stars 38 of 58
    2 Stars 18 of 58
    1 Star 0 of 58
    0 Stars 1 of 58
    Bag of ..... 1 of 58

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