Goliath's Groove

3 Stars
 HVS 5a

Adjacent Routes
<< The Archangel < Don  |  Doncaster's Route > Ulysses' Bow >>

The fine twisting groove is one of the best routes on the crag though not all agree! The initial corner is the thrutchy crux for many, it is usually wedged and jammed facing right, though it can also be layback or even bridged, facing in or out! The midway ledge offers some respite then the upper bulging groove can be laybacked or bridged elegantly to easy ground.
FA. Peter Harding 1947


Crux is undoubtedly the awkward initial crack. Jam ? Wedge a leg ? Bridge ?
John Yates - 02/Jan/02

Beong polished from lots of traffic push the grade of the lower crack up a bit!
Adrian Harvey - 05/Mar/02

"The stunning twisting groove may be the best route on the crag"
I take it this comment is to lull poor unsuspecting 'outsiders' onto this route... The truth is that it is pleasant climbing in the upper reaches, but the bottom 20 feet... gruesome... imagine your worst nightmare vdiff and this is it. In fact a grade of Hardest V.Diff 5a would give a better indication of what to expect. btw there are far better HVS's on Stanage - Congo Corner for example.
gr - 08/Apr/02

Will - 24/Jun/02

Argh. The bottom crack. Flared. Polished. Bridged, lay-backed, fallen off. Ripped trousers and arms. How the hell do you climb that???
RobS - 30/Jun/02

Layback for a few moves then **somehow** move to a bridge for the next two... or bridge it all?

Mike N - 21/Apr/03

ah the bottom crack eh? nightmare. bridge,thrutch, layback,fall. layback,thrutch, bridge fall. jam in left leg and torque like buggery, and rest for ten minutes at the ledge to de pump. that was a month ago and i've still got the scabs! exellent stuff.
karl - 08/May/03

"Protection is perfect throughout"...well I got one baggy friend 4 in on the initial crack, couldn't get anything else in (from spanning/ bridging position- crack miles away) fell off and hit the ground quite hard. Won't be climbing for a while.
jon stew - 11/Jun/03

Looked at it and thought, i'll try the elegant bridging method, got up to the first decent foot holds with no gear and could barely reach the back of the crack to place a wire and didn't have a size 5 friend.
So went with the thrutch technique, the knee locks are amazing and give you a no hands rest on every move! I was quite worried when my whole left leg started getting very hot( route induce DVT?) only nuts 8-9 will be accepted or a size 1 friend. After the initial thrutch, the rest of the route can be bridged pleasantly and laces with gear at about severe.
Jon Greengrass - 17/Jun/03

The initial crack will take a lot of friends of many differing sizes in to slightly flared placements, these have been tested to minor falls..
Woker - 08/Jul/03

Another example of overgrading and over rating routes at Stanage. It's not sustained, or exposed or interesting enought for three stars. It's pleasant and good fun but no more than one star and no where near the best route on the crag, as yer man above says Congo Corner much better. Anyway it's straightforward trad climbing, bridge, then back and foot then jam and lay back, gear above your head all the way.
MIke Raine - 27/Jul/03

Solid standard VS gritstone crack. Get in there and enjoy. Beautiful line and pleasant stance half way with the overhang above which then turns out to be straightforward. Yes it's crap - keep off it and don't make the wear any worse.
The Grizla - 27/Jul/03

I thought the section up to the first ledge was excellent - you can bridge it all the way, although it's strenuous, and I managed to get good gear, two friends and a nut in this section. It gets a lot easier after the ledge.
bill - 12/Sep/03

Have to disagree with Mike's anti - stanage sentiments. This a fantastic route and is definitely HVS.
Simon.A - 22/Oct/03

Bottom: Shiny, thrutchy, a bit nasty
Rest: Bloody great
Perfect gear(Bombproof nuts all the way)
Alex Purser - 20/Apr/04

I have been trying for the two weeks after climbing this to think of a single VS I have climbed which has gear as good as this. Two weeks of searching my cranial filing cabinet and nothing. Not a single route. Admittedly, it would be a slightly different story without a few friends. Excellent fun.
Geoff - 31/May/04

I am one of the 'poor unsuspecting outsiders' mentioned above that tried this on my first trip to Stanage doing routes on saturday. Having tried bridging it I slithered off the initial groove onto a No 4 cam and then retreated to the ground for a rest upset at losing the onsight but comforted by the gear holding well. Anyway next try I slithered off again only one move or so from the safety of the finger jam, this time the cam ripped and I landed on the rocks below on my back. Maybe this is standard fare for gritstone specialists but seemed plain nasty for someone unfamiliar with the techniques. The bruises I have now suggest this route should carry a health warning!
Richard Horn - 29/Nov/04

The finger jam, is that not quite high up? Why did you only have one cam in?
Thomas Gilbert - 16/Dec/04

Hindsight is a great thing...
Richard Horn - 16/Dec/04

My first HVS - admittedly not quite a clean ascent on the first short blank section.
Munir Hassan - 30/Aug/05

the crack should be climbed through out.how ever having completed the climb today with 62 year old bloke who first climbed the rout 25 years ago (he said it was easyer in boots)because you could wedge the whole sole of the boot in.
bob gregg - 17/Sep/05

Hideous and desperate for the first 15ft, but great thereafter. Probably not a great choice if you have a hangover and a paranoia about foot-jamming
Chris the Tall - 11/Oct/05

anyone saying this is easy is climbing well above the hvs grade and talking out of their a.s. if this is at the top of your normal game stay away until you are climbing solid at hvs. i tried it as one of my first hvs's came off hit the deck skined a knuckle allmost off. Next time a year later bridged up it still hard, not easy to put gear in as you are more to the right of crack but got through it, bold and strong arms needed
chris elfleet - 30/Oct/05

bloody awful, the lower cracks a desperate thrutch and the upper is a short realtively easy layback. No way three stars, the Blurter is much much better...
steveoracle - 14/Nov/05

Interesting range of opinions. I did this as one of my first HVS's, as it was considered a soft touch. Laybacked the first 15ft, first piece of gear as the angle eased and it all felt pretty easy. Have been back since and thrutched it, very secure; and bridged it, very elegant but very precarious. I don't think this can be considered hard for HVS unless you're afraid to get physical with those first 15 ft.
EarlyBird - 11/Dec/05

There seem to be a few who've decked off this. Not quite sure how, it's easy to place good protection for the first section without an enormous cam. Good climbing, which is straightforward but energy sapping for the start (I jammed).
katonka - 22/Jan/06

Yeh i fell off and weighted the gear a couple of three times on the initial crack. after the pump out on the ledge the rest is a lot easier then it looks, feels a tad precarious when your pumped out to the max tho, bloody grtstone, bloody love it :-)!
Adam Moroz - 10/Apr/06

Climbed this at VS. When it was 'upgraded' to HVS several years ago (along with many other routes in a new guide)I was so incensed that I soloed it, first route of the day to prove a point - I was not an HVS solo leader at the time. HVD bottom, pleasant VS above.
Andy - 09/May/06

It simply isn't HVD at the bootom, the bottom is the crux and is harder than any VS corner crack I've climbed.
CurlyStevo - 11/May/06

Thoroughly enjoyable, best climb i have found on Stanage so far.... Agree the bottom is not for the light hearted, although i managed first attempt as my first HVS!
Vin - 17/May/06

Wow, what a range of comments, I may as well give my two-penneth!
"Thrutching" such a stunning line just seems an unecessary approach reserved for those who like to battle.
Laybacking is possible but tiring - especially to place protection and doesn't give much chance to enjoy the situation.
Bridging is elegant and fitting of the line - the precarious nature tests your skill and cool. Do it this way and the three stars become apparent!
Not a soft touch as some extreme opinions here suggest - take a look at the list of casualties this route has produced!
Lastly, dont be put off by the hard start - the top looks intimidating but has good pro and much easier moves - a fitting reward for success on the lower section.
kristian birchall - 31/Jul/06

I agree with Kristian, if you elegantly bridge with a touch of laybacking for a move or two, the route is beautiful, and delicate.
Luke - 20/Aug/06

I climb consistently at HVS 5b and have even climbed HVS 5c and a couple of E1's but I couldn't do this one. Really tricky
Steven Shaw - 10/Sep/06

i also climbed this in the 70s ( before friends and sticky boots were out ) when it was graded vs, it rates as my favourite gritstone route and have since repeated it another four or five times , even though i am no longer in my prime it will never be hvs .
pete jack - 25/Jan/07

Thuglaybackbridgejamswingyeeehah! - and what a line.
One of the best routes on grit
Iain Thow - 17/Mar/07

WOW! the bottom section was hard work!

I laybacked the start the got my left foot in the crack right foot smear on the right wall left hand jammed and ugged a bit. Was nackered by the time i got to the ledge but such a nice section then the top is so nice much easier than it looks and no really strenuous moves. Lovely climb!
Cameron Anderson - 20/Jun/07

Fair play to all the codgers that 'Did this in the seventies' saying that it isnt HVS, but have you tried it recently? I dont really believe that gritstone gets that polished (compared to limestone anyway) but I'm willing to bet that this route is not in as good a state as it was in the seventies. Brilliant line and a good route.
Jon Leighton - 11/Aug/08

Grade creep? Maybe not - the 1950s guidebook graded it 'Exceedingly Severe' and described it as the hardest most exposed route at Stanage!
Probably my first real HVS, I've had more trouble with (lots of ) VSs - but it suits my style. Technically competent climbers may have more trouble than those of us who like thrutching :-)
Simon Caldwell - 12/Oct/09

initial crack awkward,unpleasant i can see why people suggest its 5b, i think its 5a but very strenuous type of climbing (unless your very competent; the guy after me bridges all the way to the narrowing leant over dropped a nut in and pulled up job done), VS4b/c above and rather pleasant above.
shaun walby - 11/Apr/10

My first grit HVS insight lead on my first trad day of 2013. It felt like it was constantly trying to spit you out. put all my gear on the wrong side of my harness. Was so pumped when I laybacked the top crack that I was very nearly off ! Still can't believe I got it - get in there !!!!!
BTW couldn't get my number 4 camalot out sorry
Mark Reed - 06/May/13

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  • Route Grade Votings

    Total votes cast 319
    hard E1 0 of 110
    E1 0 of 110
    easy E1 1 of 110
    hard HVS 38 of 110
    HVS 48 of 110
    easy HVS 13 of 110
    hard VS 10 of 110
    VS 0 of 110
    easy VS 0 of 110
    hard 5b 0 of 105
    5b 0 of 105
    easy 5b 33 of 105
    hard 5a 35 of 105
    5a 30 of 105
    easy 5a 3 of 105
    hard 4c 4 of 105
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    3 Stars 82 of 104
    2 Stars 14 of 104
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