A gusty day out at Round Crag today, finally ticking off Mr Crowe's Round Crag beauty 'Farndale Fayer'. I'm pretty divided about my opinion on this route, as part of me thinks it's just a blind highball above an atrocious landing and another part of me thinks it's a great testpiece which is brilliantly brutal and short. Either way it is a serious route and the moves are superb.
It is very typical of Round Crag, with what appears a pitifully small route offering a great sequence of moves that leave a lasting impression. The crag is littered with these desperates, which can often be most pleasant to lead after inspection or top rope practice, but are in another world to onsight lead or solo.
Of the ten or so routes at round crag above the grade of E5, there are a mere two runners that would be likely to hold a fall from the crux of a route; which tells you everything you need to know about the style of climbing here- apart from that once on a route, they are often so steep that there is scarcely enough resting opportunities to chalk-up, never-mind consider rescue or retreat.
So after our interest on Steve Crowe's fine line, I turned my attentions to one of only four routes I am left to do at the crag- Scut de Scun ai (Japanese for 'what will be will be'), which has not been led since its FA in 2002 and the subsequent loss of holds. I've felt the moves before and quickly linked them today on a shunt. It is often stated by climbers trying unrepeated routes or others' testpieces that they "have linked the moves and just need to get it wired for the solo", but I'd like to stress that a route like Scut de Scun ai is hardly your average route in terms of protection and I feel being able to do the moves is a long way from being able to climb it.
Its shallow scoop offers zero protection and maximum exposure, with the slabby-looking wall actually pushing you right out above perhaps the worst fall imaginable. A crucial hold was broken off by Steve Ramsden last year, which now means that the entire second half of the route must be climbed by what I imagine is a way harder sequence. This wasn't the fault of Steve Ramsden, but rather the nature of the rock, which halted Steve Crowe in his original efforts to make the first ascent- handing his 'unjustifiably snappy project' over to Nick Dixon. Since then the rock has calmed down and is now as solid as the rest of the routes at the crag, but at the time Dixon had already climbed the Indian Face on Cloggy and his approach to dangerous routes was made obvious once again in the christening of Crowe's death project "What will be will be".
To be on that scoop (notice the choice of 'on' rather than in), with a now harder sequence than that encountered by Dixon coming up and all the history of the FA of this line would be a real dream for me. But for now I feel I must leave it, with my Erasmus year in Innsbruck fast approaching and too many projects in the local area already to complete. Great route though.
And here's a little video of the Web (E5 6a**) and a strange variation of the English 6c traverse 'Flower Power' without the use of carved holds. The font grades given are a load of tosh from Dave- it is a plain floating English 6c/7a.