Classic RC Journal article: HM Kelly [1927] on the first ascent of Moss Ghyll Grooves

A new venture for the Website entitled: Classic RC Journal articles

The first chosen is ‘The History of Moss Ghyll Grooves’ by HM Kelly [please click on link], which appeared in the 1927 RCJ, the year after his first ascent. His list of first ascents also includes such classics as Rib and Slab [Pillar]  and Tophet Wall [Gable] and he was President of the Club for 1930/31. This article also appears in “From Kinder Scout to Kathmandu; A Rucksack Club Anthology 1907-1986” published by The Rucksack Club in 1987.

It is a classic article about one of the great climbs of the Lake District. I first became aware of it when Classic Rock was first published in 1978 and, in the arrogance of youth, determined it would be a climb to do when I got older…sure enough I finally climbed it in 2018! 

Andy Tomlinson on 2nd pitch Moss Ghyll Grooves, just before moving out left to the ‘Pedestal’ as described by Kelly.  Photo: Jeremy Windsor.


  1. Great post Andy, I turned back on it in 1962 no faith in a jammed not runner. Two years later turned back on another great route when I lost my “Shibboleth” My mate Stan said we have turned back on the best climbs in Britain. Still not done them!!

  2. I did SHIBBOLETH with Mike Ryan and the late Dave Booth around 2012 what a route, we did the TRUE FINISH which puts it up a grade, sharing leads it is the hardest trad route i have ever done in Scotland. Amazing lead by Robin Smith with the gear he would have had or not!!,even with a modern rack its still no pushover.

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