Sunday, 16 October 2011

Ginny Greenteeth - Hawkcliffe

I quite like Hawkcliffe, its sort of forgotten but somehow the lines aren't that dirty and the climbing is amazing. I had always noticed 'Ginny Greenteeth' in the guide and after rapping down it on my last visit, knew that an onsight was off the cards for me.

I returned today, lonely, to have a quick play with the plan of giving it a quick shunt and realising it was hard and bold and then doing something else. However, i found the climbing excellent and wanted to be able to revel in a clean ascent.

The crag (that i could see) seemed dry after the nights light rain and i was delighted to see Emerald Buttress (and what a buttress it is) looked reasonably clean and totally dry. After setting up a shunt line and giving a 10 or 15 minute chalk and clean i flashed (on shunt) up to the really cool balance stand up just below the crux, near the 'arete'. The start is tricky and a bit bold - i would advise taking a pad, then you make moves past 'gear slots' which i thought looked shit (until i found the ACTUAL gear slot which is rather good!)

By this time i had already set my heart on climbing the line today and i spent the best part of an hour i think? or so figuring how to make the top mantleshelf/reach/horrorshow more bomber. Eventually, my beta was to stand in the hands off chillout (which is a must just before) and let my fingers dry out!
From here a crimpy pull and poor feet lead to a sloper then a slight readjustment to a good hold and highfoot. Move right to a good hold to top out, don't try to go direct.

Ginny Greenteeth - Picture courtesy of '' taken from

Cool little website with some good photos, historical stuff and quality anecdotes - take a look!

I tried the line as a oner, then again and decided it was worth a punt but i and i'm happy to admit it, decided to leave a hanging line of the top section... just in case.

Setting off, the intial moves felt easier without a shunt and i quickly found myself just below the 'chill out'. A terrific move (i think the move that made me want to solo the line actually) utilising a thumb sprag (not like the photo!) allows me to arrange my feet so i can take my hands off. I chilled here for what felt like ages but might only have been a minute or two. Hands up to the crimpy parts of ledges above and then VERY specific feet (i found that if i didn't have the bang on it didn't work for the next move - scary shit!) i was really pulling hard to the sloper that allows a slight piano-play to the better nubbin. It's not over though, as the left foot is now ready to pop off the overhung crimp but a right foot pushed against a small flake allows more balance and santuary. A couple of moves right (around a metre) from the slopey ledge leads to a good hold and footholds out right and an ok top out into grass.

What a route. What a buttress. But what about the grade... E5 6a*** is bold 6a but i felt there was a 6a move low down then sustained 5c up to the cool reach seen in the photo. This move is probs 6a (especially if you do it like that!) and i thought the top was hard, still 6a, but hard.
The gear is a funny one. I turned up today to solo the line as i had previously rapped down and seen some shitty pockets and Nik Jennings had soloed the line so i decided it was probs just a solo... however i totally missed the good rock slot about a half metre lower than the shitty pockets until i found it while shunting... The problem is i'm not convinced the gear will keep you off the deck from the top crux... A running belayer will, but i usually find you end up going further than you think from rope stretch, belayer pull etc etc...

For what it's worth - i think it's tricky to read, the crux is at the top, you're facing a long fall or potential deck (maybe softened by rope stretch) and it's not a path up to that point. E6 6a+*** for my money, but it might feel a bit nicer with gear and a fellow climber in the vicinity, perhaps?

But regardless, it's an amazing climb, 10 minutes from the road. Convienient to get to, scramble up to and set up a abseil on and the climbing is quality. The buttress isn't that dirty, it seems to take sod all seepage. I'd recommend a pad or two for the start, you may as well! I'd also recommend the gear, which if i had seen last visit i wouldn't have come back today on my own. I would have still headpointed it though...

I want to get good enough to onsight/flash climbs like this, so this was a brilliant little education for me.


Adam Hughes said...

Good effort Dave. Went and soloed it today, as well as Shamrock, which is outstanding.

simes303 said...

A nice little write up Dave.
I onsighted Ginny in about 2003 and thought it was more like E6, as did the two I was with who had climbed it some weeks before.

Dave Warburton said...

Good effort! The onsight was beyond me, but it's an excellent climb. In fact the entire buttress is class. The crag got a bit of attention last year; i hope it retains enough popularity so that GG and others can remain onsightable into the future.


simes303 said...

I also headpointed Pigeon and onsighted Shamrock on the same day as Ginny. A brilliant day!!