Scary starts...?

Swop tips on moves, route conditions, etc.
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Scary starts...?

Post by bergie » Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:53 am

What routes or pitches do you guys think have the toughest or scariest starts before you place the first gear? Trad or sport, single pitch or a specific pitch on a multi pitch.

I spent some time on the British grit a few years ago and experienced quite a tough start, but haven't been in that situation in SA.....yet! It was an E2 with the first gear about 4m up. It was a small single finger pocket that could take a nut. Unfortunatily your finger is in the pocket where the nut needs to go!! My first attempt at the finger/nut-shuffel-swop ended up with me taking the express lift back to the start. Managed it on the second try with a very painful ankle.

There must surely be many stories way worse. Care to share them?

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Re: Scary starts...?

Post by Justin » Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:21 pm

This was years ago but I remember being scared.

Before the Berlin Wall (Bad Kloof, Montagu) got retro-bolted (bolts were added in between the ones that were already there - the FA's were East Germans from the Elbsandstein area).

The route on the far right: You started off a ledge, moving out right and suddenly you have a rather big drop below you with about 3-4 meters to the first bolt.

My partner did not put me on belay because I would have pulled him off the ledge (and down the hill) if I had fallen. The route is now safe :P
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Re: Scary starts...?

Post by shorti » Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:20 pm

Nice topic Bergie.

Last Rites in Upper Tonquani is a no-brainer. The entire first pitch is virtually unprotected. At the halfway fall across move there's an ancient peg and a loose nut placement. That's pretty much it for about 30 meters of climbing above a bed of sharp rocks.

Sands of Time in Lower Tonquani starts halfway up the cliff on a ledge below a magnificent scooped slab. The belay is to the left from a tree. Where the slab meets the ledge you can place a nut (i.e. at your feet). Then you have about 5-6m of climbing with no gear at all. The whole route only has a handful of good placements. The rest you have to climb on sketchy gear that's likely to rip.

Pitch 4 of the Angus-Leppan route (Sentinel) is pretty much entirely unprotected. Only after the traverse you get a cam placement at foot level. It is rather pointless to place it, since you are only going to create rope drag and ensure that your second will now also have a scary traverse. It's not difficult, it's just a little airy and not much for your hands to hold on to.

I've never even considered climbing Here be Dragons (also on Sentinel), but just the thought of it scares me. Basically you start above what is probably the biggest drop in the country.

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Re: Scary starts...?

Post by Daydreams » Fri Sep 02, 2011 2:23 pm

"chines foot binding" at Paarl rock, first bolt must be 10m off the ground. Need to fight through the lichin to reach it. Almost shat myself. Awesome climb none the less!

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Re: Scary starts...?

Post by SNORT » Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:02 pm

There are many bouldery and scary starts on trad routes

Last Rites (also called Coffin) did claim a victim many years ago - a fella called Colin Forbes. Me and a bunch of other guys including Colin Crabtree carried him out He bust his back.

Children of a Lesser god has had bolts added but it is still a long way to the first bolt.

Sanitorium (25) at the Ledge has a very tricky start with dodgy gear.

The last pitch of Boulder Highway (22) and Eternity Road (23) and Don't squeeze I'll Laugh (21) all have tricky starts with no gear.

This is just a few - the list is long!

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Re: Scary starts...?

Post by ant » Sat Sep 03, 2011 10:32 am

Does anyone else have this problem on
'Monday mornings' (25 R)

Even on the redpoint :pirat:

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Re: Scary starts...?

Post by Tristan » Mon Sep 05, 2011 10:36 am

Hmm, starts are scary cos the ground is so damn close. I have other routes that spring to mind under the 'scary' heading, but they not scary to start...necessarily :jocolor:

A few from my archive: I down-sized them ti fit here.
A route on the Llanberis Slate: E4 6a (23/24 ish). The gear in picture is 11m up and at the end of the crux. It is the 1st gear.
Wales_Llanberis_Stack_5.JPG (47.3 KiB) Viewed 2915 times
The pic doesnt show the start, but this is from the Crimean coast near Foros. The start is protected by 1 Russian bolt 4m up. Fine if you have a Russian biner that FITS the hanger
Ukrain_Crimea_11.JPG (30.63 KiB) Viewed 2915 times
When you get thins wrong you tend to break things. My swedish friend being dragged out after he fell Ice climbing and broke his ankle. My partner and I were then avalanched by metling Ice for our 5 rap-decent. Sometimes you should just take the others' mishaps as a sign not to climb
IMG_0052.JPG (31.98 KiB) Viewed 2915 times

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Re: Scary starts...?

Post by Tristan » Mon Sep 05, 2011 10:39 am

Dangermouse: 23 R/X. That is mid-crux and you will hit the ground. Not sure it's still the "start" though by the thread's definition?
cedarberg17.JPG (21.35 KiB) Viewed 2913 times

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Re: Scary starts...?

Post by jgb » Mon Sep 05, 2011 7:48 pm

Ha!! Chinese Foot Binding daydreamer!! Thats probably too easy for most of you guys who climb 'hard' or 'scary' lines, it only goes 16/17 or so. But as daydreams points out, first bolt is 10m up. What he didn't say is that the second bolt is 30m from the first one and although the climbing is easy from there the 3rd bolt is like 70m from the 2nd (so i guess the point of a rope is only really to get back down). I will never forget that climb, took us totally by surprise in 35 degrees of full sun exposure. Was a good styley lead by the daydreamer that day. Sorry bit off the topic. Well done to the Noy (spelling?) brothers for their great work there.

P.S. The guide book does mention its a 'bit' run out.

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