The Sloth Top 50

3 Stars
 HVS 5a

Adjacent Routes
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24m. The crack that splits the enormous roof is a total gripper; though like the school bully (and unlike Whillans!) it isn't as 'ard as it looks once you take it on! The climbing is straightforward though mighty harassing and the route feels like E1. Climb to a sitting position on The Pedestal then step right and climb the short tricky wall to the roof and a big sling on the massive spike of the Cheeseblock. Lean right to get the first of the creaking juggy flakes then launch across these to the lip where solid jamming helps the pull over into the final easy crack. The old roof climbing adage of "keep your feet on the rock at all costs" is worth bearing in mind.
FA. Don “It's OK if you use yer loaf” Whillans 1954


How can something that overhanging be 4c?
Iain S Mcaggart - 20/Feb/02

I agree about the route being intimidating (I didn't dare try it until I had several E2's under my belt!) but not about the grade. The climbing is fairly easy (especially if you are used to climbing steep overhangs indoors), but the gear is good. I'd give it HVS/E1 5a or even 5b.
Nick Smith - 20/Feb/02

hvs def , 4c maybe,big holds all the way through the overhang.
mark s - 20/Feb/02

HVS, yes and the moves to the lip of the overhang are probably 4c, but pulling around to the vertical is 5a or maybe 5b.
Colin Watts - 21/Feb/02

Easy E1 5a maybe, Its bold, and harder than 4c, but not 5b.

I guess that big friends may fit in the flake? Making it a bit safer, but even so, E is also for Effort...
Chris C - 04/Mar/02

I remember Paul Craven soloing it in trainers whilst wearing a duvet in the late seventies. He thought it was severe! I didn't, I was gripped leading it, but I did lead it in traditional style with only the sling on the spike (except I had a freind below to hold the sling on)and no gear in the roof. Ah we were so hard when we were young.
Mike Raine - 07/Mar/02

there is no way this is E1. It is probably 5a but this is before the cheeseblock is reached.
jonathan prager - 09/Mar/02

Having taken a lob off the lip several decades ago before i could afford friends, E stands for excruciating pain as i hit the back wall next to the belayer. Wouldnt recommend it as a first E1, so 5a or 5b for sure.
Phil Leng - 10/Mar/02

How can you upgrade this mega-classic. It has always been HVS 5a and is nothing else.
Gary Gibson - 14/Mar/02

chris c,gear in flake? i wonder why the flakes keep snapping?
mark s - 21/Mar/02

HVS 5a for me. E1 4c would imply that it was a death route or mega-strenuous, neither of which it is. I think it's harder than 4c but not worth E1. There's gear (currently in-situ) at the back of the roof, and big friends or hexes near the end, and the steep bit is over pretty quickly so it's not even that pumpy. Sodding intimidating though - I'd done a couple of E5s before I tried this!
Adrian Baugh - 08/May/02

I concure with GG. I would recommend long ropes or a high second in case of a lip lob (pretty common).
Paul J - 23/May/02

I too always thought this to be HVS 5a. I saw my leader deck it from the crux, so I had to step in (he too fell on his back on the slab, luckily with no severe injury). Pretty scary, but not technically very difficult. A classic in my mind.
wurzel - 26/Jun/02

It's not that easy. If you aren't au fait with upside down jamming the pull over the lip can be a bit of a puzzler, and it's not a good place to hang around and scratch your head...
RobS - 30/Jun/02

Undisputably E0!
Fiend - 04/Jul/02

What a fantastic route. Don't bother about cams, place the usual sling on the block, move out through the roof and slot in a number 9 hex. Bombproof!
Adrian P - 24/Jul/02

Absolutley no need to climb this route in two pitches. No need for cams with a sling on the cheeseblock & a few big hexes above. Many easier HVS's are around.
David Reynolds - 20/Oct/02

I've led this twice, the first time I'd say it was HVS 5a, the second (2 years ago) HVS 5b since I'm sure some of the flake had broken off making it harder.
MarkW - 11/Feb/03

grobeg complete sloth using combined tactic of lashing several men to flake, he climb route wearing only potato sack and with pair of flip floppers brought from deepest russia
Grobeg Beybo - 12/Feb/03

A bit too much beta in this description? However hard it is now, its going to be quite a bit harder soon unless everyones quite careful with that flake...
Toby - 07/Mar/03

I've done this route three times. No need to do it in two pitches: 1 is fine. Gear is perfect and bomber, so it isn't bold in terms of danger, just in terms of exposure. On the crux you can a big hex or friend in above your head. You don't even need to jam - just reach up grab a jug. Upgrading this from HVS 5a would be really bad. Whillans said 'It's easy if yer use yer loaf', and he's still right. I've done it before and after the bit of flake snapped off, and it is no harder.
Eric - 06/Jul/03

If you can climb HVS then get yourself on this route, now! Just don't stop climbing once you're on the roof, wack in the gear and go.
Dave - 01/Dec/03

'Spose it depends on whether you hang around under the roof placing gear as to whether it's E1 or HVS. Reckon it's 5a though. No jamming required & all good holds throughout. Did it in 1 pitch not 2.
Chris Sellars - 21/Feb/05

A tough HVS in my opinion... I took a fall on the roof and bounced off the ledge below making a nice mess of my ankle - as with all climbing, it's fine if you don't fall off!
Dave James - 06/Jun/05

HVS 5a is spot on did it as an early hvs and know a few people who did it as there first, its only hard if it intimidates you.
fenclimb - 24/Dec/05

This routes grade does not matter. The thought off doing this route put the shits up me. If it was on a Pems route 90ft up it would be part of an E4 but it is not. This is Hard Grit for the mortal Climber's. You do not get a roof like this un-less it is on an e3 or e4 Don obviosly had big balls. Don't listn to Best rock climbs ect the sling is shit 2 rock 5's go in then a camlot 3 and the hex on the lip is balls cam 4 smacks in. Don take's his brain out for this one the poor mans big route, you climb this you are taken a risk 50% of the flake is there, you now have to reach like seb on a hard grit route. I cimbed the sloth after 1 yr of e2's vector bla bla the day i did it i played pool with the baran him self what a day, and he told me a seceret about vector which i will share with you all some other time just ask it's brill. I shit my self getting on the sloth i was sick after pulling over the roof. it is 5b climbing all the way with a 5b/5c move over the lip no question. we are talking onsight ascent. this is were the route is so different to them all you have to keep going or it is game over. any one who commits to the roof and just climbs not thinking about the grade or history will achive the greatest roof route in the UK. Forget the grade enjoy the experience you will not find a route like this any were in the world. It is our heratage enjoy forget the debate about the grade who care's every climbers experience will be different and that is why we all climb and have stories to tell in the pub's of this world. Joe Squire Swansea. enjoy, I did
joe squire - 31/Mar/06

Joe Squire - what are you on? This is a good fun safe as houses HVS 5a, its not Ulysees. PS: learn to write.
Jonny2Vests - 07/Jun/06

I agree with a lot of you HVS 5a is spot on. I did this root the other day and it was absolutely brilliant, however not as scary as I thought it would be. One of the earlier comments says someone wanted to lead E2's confidently before trying this, completely not really necessary, I have only lead 3 E1's and one E2 and it was easy; however I have also only lead about 4 HVS (2 on the day) and 5 VS and of course the odd diff. The crux I thought was without a doubt not the overhang but once you've pulled over and got into the huge crack; there is a terrible little move getting to safe ground because there aren't any handholds, unless you can climb E2. This probably isn't that bad as there are huge footholds everywhere. Superb root, well worth a day trip.
Matthew Pearson - 09/Jun/06

Like most HVS leaders I'd saved this one up, avoiding the Roaches for almost 2 years to avoid having to do it.

The suspense was worth it, and like the big bully at work or school it's not as hard as it looks :-)
SteveM - 18/Sep/06

The BMC guidebook gives 5b HVS. The HVS is ok because the climb is well protected whith the sling on the cheese block and the bomber hex at the crux. The roof is really intimidating. The problem with this climb is that it is tried by lots of though guys that have done E2's and E5's etc. and obviously they feel they have to downgrade it to 5a to sandbag everybody else!
Mario - 16/Oct/06

Some of these comments are amazing.

I went to The Roaches with some friends a couple of years ago. I was climbing at HVS and had never climbed harder than HVS.
I liked the look of The Sloth, looked in the book and found it was HVS so I climbed it.
It's superb.
Stop trying to analyze it. If you want to climb it and can climb HVS, just get up there and do it.
Otherwise climb something else.
richard - 13/Jun/07

I feel it is in that Hinterland of HVS's with a little something extra - in this case a bejugged roof with screaming exposure and a beguiling line. God forsake me for saying it, but these E0 arguments are beginning to make some sense.
DuzWalker - 10/Jul/07

I think the upper flake has detiorated significantly in the last two to three years. There used to be only a small part broken now there is a larger gash of pink where the rock is less weathered. This deteriation (probably caused by cams) of key holds on the upper part of the overhang just before the lip makes obtaining the crucial hand jam quite a bit less friendly. I reckon Hard HVS 5b especially as it is has become more green as a result.
Russell E - 21/Oct/07

HVS 5a *** Mega tick. Brilliant.
John Parker - 27/Jul/09

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    Total votes cast 310
    hard E1 0 of 54
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    3 Stars 112 of 114
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