050830 Stanage Popular

Overview - I've said it before, and I'll say it again, Stanage Popular s a good selection of climbs (at all grades), and is never particularly busy (if you climb above VS), and from Flying Buttress rightwards can entertain a group for a good few days. However, having now done virtually everything listed in the Mantelpiece Butress area, I think I might have to find a new playground until I'm leading E3s...

Ground Glass (VS 4c):

Seconded Chris - Quite amused that Chris' first piece of gear on his first route back on grit was a #2 Micro nut. Other than that: the grade seems right.

Mantelpiece Buttress Direct (1* HVS 5b):

Solo - I was thinking that the crux of Tippler would be the same as this move (I was wrong), so I decided to get myself psyched for Tippler by repeated this wonderful little roof problem. Commit to the layback, reach up (don't slip and give your spotter a heart-attack like I did), and wander up the rest easily.

Carborundum (VS 5a):

Seconded Chris - I have a feeling the big ledge out on the left is not on-route, hence making this quite a bold start, given the first gear is pretty much above the difficulties. Nice, small-rugosity, climbing.

The Tippler (3* E1 5b):

Led - Wow... That took a lot of to-and-fro-ing to commit to, but once there, I like! Silly moves (or technical) over the first overlap, then a scary traverse to a position that just doesn't feel quite good enough to rest at, and finish over and upwards to glory. Very nice indeed. Ignore those who tell you to put Cams in everywhere - I think I used one huge one before the traverse and one at the end of the upper section, the rest are bomber nuts placements. I might have to return to do the direct version (E3 6a). Chris seconded.

Suzanne (1* E1 6a):

Failed - Still can't quite get this one. I don't know whether it's committing to it, or whether I'm totally missing something. Campus? Long dropped-knee? Tie yourself in a knot? Dunno...

Gashed Crack (VS 5a):

Solo - This made a good brief break from trying to work out Suzanne. Not sure I would ever place gear, even if I'd had a rope with me... The route was so nice, it just seemed obvious to keep going!

Square Buttress Wall (VS 4b):

Seconded Chris - After a failed attempt at the two other VSs here, Chris got annoyed and pretty-much soloed up this with a rope attached. Can't really recommend it, as it's a little polished and there are better VSs around. Soloed slightly later in the day.

Fragile Mantel (VS 5a):

Solo - Recommended the Direct to two guys, then wandered up this while watching them try to get gear in... Really only worth it if you're totally gripped. This VS was another nice romp up, without too much to recommend / or advise against.

Zip Crack (M):

Solo - Used as a down-climb, then realised it was a route, so went up and back down again... Otherwise no comment.

Monkey Crack (VD 4a):

Solo - You might say this is quite apt, given my reputation for being a bit of a monkey, but I think this is one of the best VDs ever. If you're just starting out, give it a go and work on improving your lay-backing. Enjoy. Could do with a star.

Square Buttress Direct (VS 5a):

Solo - Quite a tricky, unprotected move for VS, but it is only 4' (or so) off the ground. Once again, real gear is only available after everything's finished.

Square Buttress Arete (VS 4c):

Solo - Not a great arete, but still with a little more airy-ness than you'd usually expect on a VS.