J2623 The cliffs at Pigeon Rock give excellent varied climbing and prove popular mainly due to their proximity to the road and the generally positive nature of the holds rather than a total reliance on friction. Of course as is usual in the Mournes when required the friction is superb. The best of the climbing is on granite but there is a capping layer of shale to the right side of the cliffs which forms the top pitches of Coccyx, the crags of Pog Precipice and the Far Right Buttress. The Left-Hand Buttress is the largest in extent and up to 80m high. The best and cleanest routes are on the Main Face which is towards the right-hand side of this buttress, with the great garden of Virgo Ledge in its upper section. To the right of the Left-Hand Buttress is a huge area of broken rock and vegetation, with only one short clean wall high up and then the Right-Hand Buttress. This is marked by a gully on its left-hand side and The Gully Wall contains some good routes in the S - VS grades. However the best rock is around the corner on the long clean wall facing the road giving four fine routes in the HVS - E1 grades. To the right and above this is Pog Precipice a tower of shale requiring quite a different technique to the granite below. Right again is a deep gully which provides a convenient descent from the very top of the crag, bounded on the right by the small and broken Far Right Cliffs.
Approach is from a gate (270234) on the Kilkeel/Hilltown road and cars can be parked inside the gate. Be careful not to leave the gate open or block the path which is frequently used by farmers. Follow the track across the river, breaking off below the relevant part of the crag to climb steeply to its base. About 10 minutes from the road.
Descents - From the Left-Hand Cliff follow the top of the crag to the broad slopes to the south of The Thing. Follow these and the broad scree gully down round the bottom of the crag. From the Right-Hand Cliff either a) Follow Coccyx to the top of the crag and then turn right, northwards, along the cliff top to the narrow gully at the Far Right Cliffs. Climb carefully down the top section of this and then round the base of the crags to the bottom, or b) Abseil from fixed gear at the top of Class Distinction. or c) Abseil from pegs in situ at top of Castrol R. From Pog Precipice and the Far Right Cliffs use the descent gully as described in (a) above. Pigeon
The Thing 46m HVS 4b, 4a
H. Porter, C. Moore, D. Patton. 4/4/65.
Protection is poor throughout. Start - a long rib of rock marks the left-hand end of the crag, just right of a stream and small gully. Scramble up the grassy rib to the right of the stream to reach the arete about 5m above the stream bed.
1) 40m Step left onto the arete and move up and left to a blocky fault line running through the steeper rock. Up this to where the angle eases at a grassy ledge. From here the original route moves left onto the crest of the arete. However the lower part of this is fairly crumbly and so it is better to follow the groove on the far right for about 10m before stepping left to grass and regaining the arete. Follow this up past a dead tree to where the angle steepens again. Finish by a strenuous au cheval or a delicate skip on the right. Move up to huge grass ledge and block belay.
2) 6m Climb the left-hand corner of the wall above and traverse off to the right. add comment
To the right of this is a huge area consisting of a little rock and vast amounts of vegetation. Three routes, Moonlight 30m VS (C. Torrans, C. Moore. 1/4/67.), Bwana 18m VS (C. Moore and Party. 23/3/67.) and Pineapple Screwdriver 27m S (S. J. Crymble, D. Farley, G. Kendal. /72.) exist in this area but are mentioned merely for the record. They are so overgrown that the grades are mere estimates.
The obvious left slanting crack line marks the left-hand edge of the clean face of rock on the front of the buttress. Wet Spider 65m VS (C. Torrans, C. Moore. 25/3/67.) follows this fault and can be approached by climbing Pitches 1 and 2 of Virgo and then traversing left, but is again overgrown.
The Fly * 70m E1 4a, 4b, 5b
D. Stelfox, J. McDonald. 17/8/86.
Start - as for Virgo.
1) As Virgo.
2) As Virgo.
3) 40m Directly above the peg belay of Virgo Pitch 2 is a prominent overhang. Climb up and through the middle of this with difficulty to gain the steep wall above. Move up and right to a long narrow ledge. Move to the right end of this and make difficult and airy moves up and left to gain the next ledge system. Continue up, then move back right, and using flakes on edge gain a series of ledges leading back left. Follow these easily to grass ledges in corner. Spraughle up grass banks to finish.
Virgo ** 90m VS 4a, 4b, 4b, 4b
C. Moore, H. Porter. 22/4/65.
An excellent route for its grade, which winds its way up steep rock in an impressive situation. Each pitch has its moments with the technical difficulties on the second and airy exposure on the third. Start: at a short corner with a distinctive crack in its left-hand wall at the lowest, left-hand point of continuous rock forming the main face.
1) 9m Climb the twin cracks of the corner to emerge behind a huge triangular block. Shuffle along to the far end of this and belay.
2) 21m Up onto the sloping ledge above this and steeply up on good holds to an overhanging block. B Special goes straight up from here, while Virgo moves left onto the sloping shelf - the 'hobbyhorse' moves which form the technical crux of the route. Move to the far end of the shelf and climb two mantelshelves to a narrow rock ledge. At the left- hand end of this, on top of a block 2m off the ground, is a peg belay.
3) 30m Move up and right for about 10m to reach a good crack which leads up to a small ledge on the arete. Move right round this and start an exposed traverse horizontally right for 6m to reach a line of weakness which is climbed to Virgo ledge the huge grass ledge in the middle of the upper half of the face.
4) 30m From the back of the ledge, climb the diedre left of the nose.
B Special * 72m E2 4a, 5c, 4c, 4b
R. Cowan, C. Wray. /69. A. Currans (First free ascent).
A good variation taking a direct line to the Virgo ledge after following Virgo pitch 1 and has a short but technical crux. Start - as for Virgo.
1) 9m as Virgo Pitch 1.
2) 12m as for Virgo to the overhanging block, then continue straight up the overhanging wall past the old aid peg to reach the square-cut projecting block of the 'pulpit' (crux).
3) 21 m Continue up above the belay, moving slightly left, then right. Finish up Lunar Wall to Virgo ledge. Poor protection.
4) 30m As Virgo Pitch 4 (or Playtex Pitch 4).
Extrasolar * E1 5b,4b
First recorded ascent J. O'Hara, K. Cheung, 25/6/2013
1) 5b. Climb Virgo until a large overhanging flake can be taken on the right (before the chimney). Once atop, move up and left to beneath a ledge (medium cam above). Surmount this and continue up and left to join B Special, and continue to Virgo ledge. 2) 4b. As per top pitch of Virgo.
Lunar Wall * 73m HVS 5a, 4b
R. Cowan, C. Torrans. 12/8/68.
A good line up the steep wall right of Virgo and B Special. Climbing is characterised by large but fairly flat holds and poor protection. Start - at the foot of a chimney about 4m to the right of the start of Virgo. 1) 43m Climb the chimney for 9m to a ledge. Move left along the steep wall into a groove, which is followed to a small triangular ledge. Move left up a series of ledges to meet the top of B Special at Virgo ledge. 2) 30m As Virgo Pitch 4 (or Playtex Pitch 4).
Penny Black * 59m E2 5c, 5a
R.Greene, R. Cowan (Two aid points). /69. S. Billane (One aid point). 9/75. E. Cooper, T. Ryan (First free ascent). /83.
A superb direct line up the middle of the Main Face to reach the middle of Virgo ledge, with an independent finish on the crag above. Start - 2m right of Lunar Wall at a small V-shaped recess.
1) 35m Climb groove in back of recess to stance. Step up to flake at arete and climb shallow corner to gain square-cut ledge on the arete. Move up and right to good cracks (crux) leading up the wall to below a final small overhang. Climb directly up through this to reach the Virgo ledge.
2) 24m From the right-hand end of the large overhang to the right of Virgo Pitch 4 make an ascending leftwards traverse back over the overhang to gain the nose which is followed to the top.
X-Ray ** 60m E5 6a, 5a
R. Cowan, M. Curran; E. Cooper, A. Moles (First Free Ascent). 15/5/88.
This route offers good climbing up to a small overhang at half height in the wall right of Penny Black and finishes as for Penny Black. Start - 3m right of Penny Black at a thin corner crack.
1) 36m Climb this and the wider crack above to the small overhang at about 15m. Follow the thin cracks in the wall above to reach the last moves of Penny Black.
2) 24m Follow Penny Black Pitch 2.
Playtex ** 87m E1 5b, 4c, 4c, 5a
R. Cowan and Others. /69. J. McDonald, D. Stelfox (First free ascent). 8/86.
A superb route which weaves its way through continuously interesting rock from the middle of the Main Face across to the left of Virgo, and then back right to the top. Start - about 4m right of X-Ray at a short steep corner, as for Geraldine.
1) 30m Climb the corner, as for Geraldine, for about 8m. Make a long step left to gain a series of ledges running left towards the arete (crux). Continue along this line, crossing X-Ray, to reach a good flake crack just before the arete. Move diagonally left up this to gain stance on the arete as for Penny Black. Continue left across Lunar Wall and up to the 'pulpit' belay on B Special.
2) 12m Climb corner above as for B Special, but shuffle left along horizontal ledge to reach the early part of Pitch 3 of Virgo. Reverse this to the peg belay at top of Pitch 2 of Virgo.
3) 20m Above the belay climb a diagonal fault line that moves right to reach the top left-hand corner of the Virgo ledge. The pitch can be climbed as a slightly harder, though less sensational alternative to Virgo Pitch 3. Belay at the third corner on the left after reaching the ledge.
4) 25m Step into the corner immediately left of the belay and gain the arete between this corner and the first corner above the Virgo ledge. Move initially left, then back right into second corner and gain a grass bank under a huge block. Move left up grass banks to join the top of The Fly and finish.
Geraldine * 62m E4 6a, 5a
C. Torrans, W. Jenkins. /67. J. Codling, P. Douglas (One Aid point). 7/79. E. Cooper (First free Ascent). /95.
Start - in the upper right side of the Main Face, below Virgo ledge, is a prominent long overhang, split by a crack on its right-hand side, and presiding over a featureless wall. Geraldine follows cracks on the right-hand side of the face to gain this walll, crosses it and follows the line of weakness to gain Virgo ledge.
1) 38m Climb the short, steep corner at the right-hand edge of the buttress, directly below the final overhang, to the top of a small buttress below the first overhang. Climb through this on the right, move up to the base of the steep featureless wall, and follow a ramp leading left to its highest point. Follow cracks leading left through the overhang which is followed to a small belay ledge at the bottom left of Virgo Ledge. The original line used an old bolt in the middle of the wall, make a series of difficult moves up and right to gain a crack splitting the overhang.
2) 24m Finish up as for Penny Black.
Storm 60m VS
C. Moore, D. Dick. 1/5/65.
A poor route. Start - at the right-hand edge the gully marking the right-hand edge of the Main Face of the Left-Hand Buttress.
1) 25m Up to the right of a prominent rib to a large grassy ledge. Climb the left-hand wall until possible to move right to another grass ledge.
2) 15m Continue up left-hand wall to slanting ledge and up rotten cracks to left and on up to heather.
3) Climb the right sloping crack and ledges to the top. Descent from all previous routes is by the broad gully and ribs on the left-hand side of the cliff (looking up).
Black Widow 40m HS 4a, 4b
R. Cowan, H. Blakely. 5/78.
Start - to the right of Storm gully at the foot of a detached rock buttress.
1) 20m Climb the wide crack of the left side of the buttress. Ascend a short ivy wall and move left to a corner. Up easily but on mixed ground, to a good ledge below a steep diedre.
2) 20m Climb the diedre using good jamming crack on the right (crux). Continue up groove above, over grass to spike belay.
Russian Roulette 55m HS
H. Porter and Others. 7/5/65.
is a poor route which climbs the cracks in the left wall of the black square-cut recess to the right of Black Widow which gains the top of the buttress and then follows a mixture of grass ledges and short rock steps to the top.
Two further routes Debut and Reconnaissance have also been climbed in this area. Neither is worth a detailed description as both take on mostly vegetation and loose rock.
Summer Solstice ** 35m VS 4c, 4c
P. Swail, C. Hiller, 20/6/2012
This line follows the right side of the newly cleaned broken buttress left of Taurus. The FA was climbed in two pitches avoiding rope drag and giving that old school feel of Mournes multi-pitch climbing. A great intro for multi-pitch skills with many good belay stances and a solid thread abseil point. Start on the right side of the buttress up and round the corner at a huge crevice that can be peered right through to the other side. Climb the cracks and holds above to gain a good stance at the large spike on the stepped spur (belay). Move above the spike and make a delicate (bold) move onto the clean slab. Continue directly up the cleaned granite using cracks and classic Mourne flutings to the top. On up heathery slope to block belay, abseil point (Always Check).
Taurus * 30m HVS 4c
J. McGrath and Party. 19/5/68 .I. Rea, M. Rea (First free ascent). 13/5/84.
A fine, steep and sustained pitch. Climb the corner crack on the right-hand side of the black recess, right of Russian Roulette.
Descent for the last three routes is by scrambling down broken rock and vegetation on the right side (looking at the cliff) of the small buttress.
The next two routes are located on the short but very steep wall sitting high above the large area of mixed ground between the Left-Hand Buttress and the Right-Hand Buttress. The best approach to the wall is by an abseil from the top of the crag or by the grass ramp to the left-hand side of the wall.
Spirit of Creeping Cynicism 17m E2 5c
C. Calow, J. Codling, P. Douglas. 14/7/79.
Route follows the centre of the wall. Climb the central, rightward-sloping crack and move left at mid height to finish up a short groove.
Sadistic Fairy 17m E1 5b
P. Douglas, M. Manson. 19/4/80.
5m right of Spirit of Creeping Cynicism below an obvious line of pockets and an indefinite crack. Climb these to the top.
The remainder of this area stretching as far as the Right-Hand Buttress is not inviting. About half-way along is a grassy bay with a vegetated ramp leading up right to an open corner above the gully bounding the left-hand side of the Right-Hand Buttress.
Aces High 20m VS 4c)
(D. Mageean, T. Hawkins. 8/91.)
This route takes the open corner. A poor route Uranus follows the broken rock on the left of this gully opposite Pilfrey finishing by a chimney.
The first two routes are located on the slab at the back of the gully bounding the left-hand side of this crag.
Salad Days 45m S 4a
J. Forsythe, M. Curran. 25/6/83.
A reasonable route, which is usually wet and so not immediately inviting, but still contains some good and unusual climbing. Start - by scrambling up the gully to gain the lowest point of the slab. Step up into crack in middle of slab, and move up, with mantelshelf, and left to gain main quartz fault. Follow this, through small overhang, to gain top left-hand corner of the crag.
The Hawkins Flyer 30m HS 4b
T. Hawkins, M. Cowan, D. Mageean.
Start - at large grassy platform below main slab. From right-hand corner move diagonally left for 8m, passing Salad Days, following left trending steps. Proceed upwards towards small overhang. Using thin crack surmount overhang on left side (25m). Continue to the top.
The left end of the gully wall is dominated by a leaning tower of shale above, through which Coccyx finishes. Just left of this is a hanging shield of rock with a left-trending crackline underneath.
Pilfrey 30m HS 4b
C. Moore, H, Blakely. 6/2/66.
Once good but now perhaps irredeemably lost to the vegetation. Start - at vertical crack in the granite slab beneath this fault, which is a continuation down of the fault line. Gain the crackline and follow it to gain a grassy ledge below the tower. Move right around the base of the tower to gain the belay top of Pitch 4 of Coccyx. Either continue up Coccyx or abseil or back climb down to the main abseil stake at the top of Class Distinction. A right-hand variation by C. Moore and B. Black climbs the right-hand side of the rock shield, but is also badly vegetated and not recommended.
Dacoit 25m S
(R. Cowan, H. Blakely. 5/78.)
A poor route which follows a short broken wall 9m left and above Pilfrey.
The next two routes are poor and grassy but were once pleasant outings and are described in the hope that they might be reclaimed from the vegetation.
The Last Great Problem 21m S (3c
R. Cowan (Solo). /73.
A groove line through rock and vegetation and starts at a small recess in the granite slab 2m right of Pilfrey and 2m above the gully bed. Move right to finish as for Velocette just left of the top of Class Distinction.
Velocette 21m S 4a
J. Forsythe, D. Rankin. 10/5/72.
Start - about 1m right of The Last Great Problem below a triangular recess topped by a long narrow overhang. Gain the recess and step left across the overhang into a grassy corner. Step back right and climb the grassy wall above to emerge just left of the top of Class Distinction, below the tower of Coccyx.
Class Distinction *** 25m S 4a
S. J. Crymble and Party. 23/1/66.
An excellent route, especially in the upper half which forms the obvious open-book corner in the middle of the Gully Wall. Start - below and just to the right of this at a slabby wall. Up a narrow groove and trend left to the overhanging foot of the corner. Bridge up into this and straight up to the top.
Rosa Parks 30m E1 5b
Ian Rea & K O'Hara 17/4/03
Start as for Class Distinction. Climb Class Distinction for 4/5m's just below the first little bulge. Step left and climb flakes on the wall to a left angled crack below bulge. Step right and go directly up wall on edges and flutes.
At the top of Class Distinction, about 5m back and left from the edge are in situ slings for an abseil, the most convenient descent from all the routes on this buttress.
Rainbow Warrior * 25m VS 4b
A. Carden. P. Wells. 10/8/85.
This route gives consistent good quality climbing in an almost direct line. Start - immediately right of Class Distinction. Up rounded grooves to tiny roof. Step right then left up short open corner to gain good ledge on right. Step up and right to belay on left as for Class Distinction. A variation at HS (4b) starts up Faerie Flight but steps left to the prominent line of undercut flakes which are followed steeply with a move left to the good ledge on Rainbow Warrior.
Faerie Flight * 27m S 4a
C. Moore, H. Porter, I. Browne. 27/2/65.
An undistinguished start but gradually improves to give some nice climbing. Start - 2m right of Class Distinction at a broken left facing wall. Follow this to a small scoop, then move up and delicately right to gain the upper wall. Move right along this to a short corner and finish by a mantelshelf up and right to a large ledge and belay. Finish by carefully scrambling up the crest of the buttress to the top of Class Distinction. An easier, less interesting but bold finish climbs the upper wall, direct.
Pi R Squared 30m S (3c
S. J. Crymble (Solo).
To the right of Faerie Flight is a huge grassy ledge above a short rock step. Start - at the broad crack in the wall below the grass ledge. Up crack to ledge and step left to the foot of the left-hand corner and bridge up this to reach a broad ledge. Continue up the awkward corner above, stepping and mantelshelf right at the top to finish as for Faerie Flight.
Nuclear Wheelbarrow * 30m HS 4b
S. J. Crymble, H. Plant.
A well protected test piece which gives a route of a more even standard by finishing up Pillage. Start - as for Pi R Squared to reach the grass ledge. Move right and climb the right-hand corner until the ledge on the left can be reached (on Pi R Squared). Follow Pi R Squared to the top.
Pillage 30m HS 4b
D. Cunningham, Miccles. 19/4/72.
Although rather grassy the upper part of the route is worth doing. Start - at a steep groove line at the right-hand end of the short wall and grass ledge of Nuclear Wheelbarrow and Pi R Squared, about 7m right of Faerie Flight. Climb the groove and up past a small tree to the curving crack above. Climb the wall above to gain the right-hand end of the ledge at the top of Faerie Flight.
Pillage Direct * 30m E1 5b
P. Clerkin, S. McCoy. 27/9/87.
A short but bold and delicate variation on the original. Start - as for Pillage. Climb fluted slab on the right (very contrived) over two small overhangs to come out on the main face. Up this and delicately tend right to thread runner and top.
Falcon ** 27m HS 4b, 4a
H. Porter, C. Moore. 1/8/65
Start - half way between Pillage and the right edge of the buttress is a broad recess starting about 3m from the gully bed. Climb short crack to a blind corner and with difficulty and well-hidden holds pull up into the recess (crux). Continue more easily upwards to the bottom of the upper impending wall, step right to large block and possible belay. From the block step up and right round the corner onto a steep slab. Follow this right for approximately 5m to where a line of weakness leads up left to the top of the buttress. Variation Direct Finish VS 4cTClimb directly from the top of the block via a series of rounded grooves to the top.
Hangman's Break 27m E3 6a
E. Cooper, A. Moles. 24/10/85.
Start - route follows the hanging arete right of Falcon and gives a scary crux. Climb the slab just right of Falcon to the first roof, which is turned on the right. Traverse back left to the front of the arete and with difficulty pull over the second roof. Continue up to join Falcon at the block and finish by either variation.
Coccyx * 76m HS 4a, 4a, 3c, 4a, 3c
P. Gribbon and Party. 28/8/55.
An interesting route with varied climbing which generally follows the crest of the buttress, wanders past the finish of Class Distinction then finishes up the two towers of rock at the top of the buttress. The route can be further lengthened by adding the first pitch of Motor Cycle Black Madonna Two Wheeled Gypsie Queen which starts at the lowest point of the corner of the buttress. Start beside the cave boulders at the edge where the buttress sweeps round to the East Face.
1) 14m Scramble up a narrow grass gully to the foot of the wall. Climb this, initially in the right-hand corner, then moving left (care with rocking block) then back right, pulling up onto grass ledge and block belay below large flake.
2) 10m Layback up to the top of the flake and move right to ledge.
3) 25m Climb the wide groove above and then move left and continue to the top of Class Distinction.
4) 5m Climb the crack in the front of the first tower, above, to belay ledge below second tower.
5) 22m Continue up the wide crack in the tower above and finish by scrambling along rocky crest to the top of the cliffs.
Descent is by following the top of the cliff rightwards to the Far Right Gully and descending with caution past Sugar Plumb Fairy, etc.
Motor Cycle Black Madonna Two Wheeled Gypsie Queen 60m HS 4b
T. Crouch, B. Stocks. 19/4/72.
The first pitch is a worthwhile start to Coccyx but the remainder is poor and grassy and involves the ascent of overhanging ecosystems. Start - at the lowest point of the corner of the buttress, about 3m to the right, but well below Coccyx.
1) 21m Climb directly up the crack in the buttress wall for 5m to a grass ledge. Up groove to belay on top of the boulder as for the start of Coccyx.
2) 21 m Climb wall right of deep crack to right of belay and continue right to overhanging grassy recess and spike belay above.
3) 18m Two awkward short walls behind the belay lead to finishing ledges as for Coccyx.
The next three routes reach a large grassy ledge which is common with the top of the first pitch of Coccyx. Another large block just right of the belay block on Coccyx provides a good anchor for an abseil and has old in situ slings but could need a back-up or replacement.
Back Passage * 40m E2 5a, 5c
P. Holmes, M. McNaught. /86.
A pleasant first pitch but the second has become rather green. Start - just right of the start of Motor Cycle etc. at a thin crack line in the buttress.
1) 20m Climb steep wall on fine holds to a ledge. Up groove above to ledge as for top of Pitch 1 Motor Cycle etc.
2) 20m Climb the steep slab above using rightward-trending corner crack to gain large grass ledge as for Coccyx. Finish up this or abseil off.
Downbound Train 20m E2 5c
W. Poots, W. Barclay. 31/8/88.
A poorly protected gap filler. Start - the first right trending crack to the right of Back Passage. Follow the crack until possible to reach left and up into a faint vertical groove. Step left on to wall and pull up groove to gain horizontal break. Up wall above on small holds and grooves to gain grass ledge. Escape at this point or finish up Motor Cycle etc. and Coccyx.
Yellow Brick Road ** 25m E1 5b
R. Cowan, C. Torrans. /74.
Start - as for Downbound Train but take a rightward-trending line up the wall right of Back Passage. Climb the wall on small holds and thin cracks to a good ledge. Move out right, bridging between rounded flutings, to pull up on rounded holds onto ledge. (Possible belay) Continue up and left to block belay on Coccyx.
Routes on the rest of the wall are descended by an abseil from the top of Castrol R which is on the right-hand side of the wall.
Asphyxiation 20m VS 4b
P. Gribbon, B. White. 10/54.
Poorly protected but good clean climbing. To the right of the wall of Yellow Brick Road is a corner with grass ledges. Immediately left of this is a series of rightward-trending grooves and corners. Climb these to reach the right edge of ledge as for Yellow Brick Road. Move up on right of wall and exit left with difficulty to the end of the long ledge. Belay here, and finish by traversing right to top of Castrol R. Strangle Hold (5b) (M. McMahon. /92.) is a direct start taking the obvious crack 2m left of the original start.
Unsuspended Animation E3 6a/b
John Herron & Tim Wilson, 28-8-1999.
Start 2M left of the line of Phantoms. Climb the knobbly crack to a short open book corner and continue up to the first ledge. On the ledge move left for 2M to a line of irregularities. Arrange 2 micro wires in the very small crack, (T2), this is the last positive protection until after the crux is passed at the top of the wall. Climb the irregularities until it is possible to move right to a horizontal break, (crux, potential ground-fall at this point.), good no. 1/2 friend in break. Pull up onto the next ledge and move left 3M to the base of a rightward trending Deirdre. Climb this, (good gear), passing over the bulge at the top to belay points a little further back. TWIN ROPES RECOMMENDED! It may be possible to arrange gear in Phantoms prior to attacking the crux wall if the micro wires don't inspire enough confidence.
Phantoms *** 25m E1 5b
E. Cooper, T. Cooper. 5/84.
Superb wall climbing on positive holds with good protection and is low in the grade. It follows a thin knobbly fault approximately half way across the clean wall right of Asphyxiation. Start - below twin grooves which meet 3m up. Follow the obvious thin line, with increasing difficulty, up a series of steep walls interspersed by narrow ledges. Exit, with an awkward mantelshelf, onto ledge. An easy traverse right leads to peg belay/abseil point at top of Castrol R. (Possible to move up a further 2m to the long ledge and fix another runner before traversing right to belay).
At the right-hand side of the wall two obvious knobbly faults follow parallel lines to the top of the wall. Citroen takes the left-hand fault and Castrol R takes the right-hand fault near the end of the wall.
Citroen ** 25m HVS 4c
D. Dick, C. Moore. 25/6/64.
A very good climb but protection is poor until a few metres below the top, where a good runner can be fixed for the final crux moves.Climb the blackened lower rock to a small left-facing corner. Continue more steeply on up the wall to a ledge which leads right to belay/abseil point.
Castrol R * 25m E1 5b
R. Cowan, C. Torrans. /68.
This good route starting 1m right of Citroen has a certain seriousness but with care good, spaced protection can be arranged. Up over bulge to ledge at base of the fault. Initial awkward moves lead to good holds and eventually a small ledge 4m below the top. (Sidewinder goes left from here.) Move up slightly right to the crux moves, exiting onto the belay ledge. Abseil descent from belay.
Variation GTX 25m HVS (5b) P. Holmes. circa/90. A better protected finish than the original. Follow Castrol R for 15m and finish by the rightward diagonal crack.
Diesel E2/3 6a
Keith Willett 11th June 2004 (top roped once prior to first ascent)
Start 2m right of Castrol R. on Citroen Wall. Climb straight up wall to right hand side of bulge; surmount this placing good small cams in horizontal break. Continue up slightly right to very shallow groove on tiny side pulls (crux) to next horizontal break just below half height, place 2 good small cams, and follow thin vertical seem to sloping mantelshelf. After mantel continue up HVS finish to Castrol R. Belay on slings at top.
Sidewinder 80m E1 4c, 5b, 4a, 4c
C. Torrans, R. Cowan. /73.
An entertaining girdle which starts as for Castrol R, traverses left to climb the crux moves of Yellow Brick Road and continues left across the Gully Wall climbs, finishing up Class Distinction.
1) 30m As for Castrol R to the ledge 4m below the top. Traverse horizontally left, past Citroen and Phantoms to reach Asphyxiation. Belay in corner.
2) 10m Climb down left to ledge below crux of Yellow Brick Road. Climb this and move left from the top to join Coccyx at the top of Pitch 1.
3) 10m Start as for Coccyx Pitch 2, but move left below the headwall to join the large block belay on Falcon.
4) 30m Traverse left into Pillage. Up this to the top of Nuclear Wheelbarrow. Continue left across the traverse of Faerie Flight, move left around Rainbow Warrior with difficulty and reach the V groove of Class Distinction. Follow this to top. The original route continued on across Velocette, The Last Great Problem and up Pilfrey. These routes are now so overgrown that it is recommended to finish up Class Distinction.
To the right of Castrol R the wall ends in a mass of vegetation but two routes are recorded - the undistinguished Au Revoir 30m HVS (4c) (S. J. Crymble, C. Moore. 5/67.) goes up flakes in the corner to grass ledge, before traversing across Castrol R to finish up Citroen and the poor Archimedes 70m S (R. Merrick, S. McKay, T. Street. 13/6/64.) meandering up the grass and rock further right.
This is the great tower of shale above and to the right of the Right-Hand Buttress and can be approached by a rightwards traverse from the top of Class Distinction, etc. but this should be treated with extreme care as the steep grass is usually wet and slippy. Keeping the rope on and belaying would be very advisable. A better and safer alternative is to abseil from the top of the crag. The crag is characterised by a great square overhang in the middle with the rightward-trending crack line of Honeybunch on its right.
Extensive crag renovation has been undertaken here by Ian Rea. A short rope attached to a heavy stake has been placed at the top of the gully between the crag and the far right buttress allowing easy and safe access to top of the crag, 20 minutes from the road. New abseil stakes have been placed at the top of the crag and an abseil rope left stashed in a small niche for public use. Not all projects have been finished so please don't be tempted to do the few lines remaining.
Scorpion 24m HS
A. Linton, T. McCurley.
Start - up a scoop 4m to the left of The Gift, to the right of a wet chimney at the left end of the crag. Climb the right edge of the scoop to three vertical cracks. Bridge the two right-hand cracks, then step into the left-hand crack to finish.
The Gif 25m HS
C. Torrans, C. Moore. 26/3/67.
Start - 10m left of Honeybunch at the usually wet cleft. Bridge up and over the top of the cleft to the top.
Honeybunch * 30m HVS 5b
C. Torrans, W. Morrow (Two aid points). 9/9/67. C. Torrans (First free ascent).
The best route on Pog Precipice, requiring a careful technique. Start - at the wall under the great square overhang in the middle of the crag. Climb easy rock for 12m to the bottom of an overhanging crack. Climb to a fixed peg, move right towards the crack and onto a sloping ledge. Climb right via the crack to the top.
Sunshine Corner 27m HVS 5a
W. Jenkins, R Merrick. 9/9//67.
A Steep fingery climb requiring lots of wires. Start at a small granite slab 5m right of Honeybunch, with two diedres above on the left. Climb up the left wall into the left-hand diedre, which is followed to the top.
In A Lonely Place 27m E3 5c.
Ian Rea & Phil Holmes, May 05.
Start as for Sunshine Corner, but immediately go left and climb arete right of small square cut roof, which leads to thin crack line in the wall left of the corner. Follow crack to horizontal break. Go left to arete/edge, up this to another horizontal break, then diagonally up left to finish.
Tealeaf 21m HVS 5a/b
D. Cunningham, Miccles. 19/4/72.
Start - as for Sunshine Corner. Climb the right-hand diedre to the top. Steep laybacking and jamming. Quite strenuous.
Resuscitation 27m S
P. Gribbon, B. White. 10/54.
Start - the granite slab at the start of Sunshine Corner is backed by a large square recess, with Tealeaf moving up its left side. Resuscitation follows the right-hand side of this recess. Climb the corner and move right onto a ramp which leads to a short diedre, which is climbed to the top.
Exit Strategy 27m E1 5c.
Ian Rea & Phil Holmes, June 05.
A disappointing attempt to make more of the area of rock taken by Resuscitation. Climb up into the Tealeaf/Resuscitation recess. Go up to the wide crack, then make a high step out right onto a pedestal. Up arete to ledge. From slopping ramp step left onto wall and climb up via thin crack.
Enneirda 30m HS
C. Moore, W. Martin. 23/4/66.
Start - 5m right of Resuscitation, and above it, is a ledge. From this ledge climb the overhanging crack to the top of the ramp of Resuscitation. Follow the diedre of Resuscitation to the top.
Descent from all routes on Pog Precipice is by following the right edge of the top of the crag down to the descent gully at the Far Right Cliffs. The first two routes below are worth doing as a diversion when descending from the very top of the crag, but hardly worth the walk up in themselves.
Nausea 12m VS 4b
Route takes the clean wall that faces into the gully, left of Sugar Plumb Fairy. Pull up over bottom overlap on good holds. Make an awkward step up and slightly right, then straight up wall above, moving right at the top.
Sugar Plumb Fairy 18m S 4a
R. Cowan, I. Sharpe. /69.
Start - the pillar of rock at the top of the descent gully is split by a crack on the road-facing side. Climb up to the crack and follow it and the flanking walls to the top.
The large cleft to the right of Sugar Plumb Fairy is taken by Nutcracker Suite 18m S (J. Dixon, D. Bruce. 5/70.) At the bottom of the buttress is a large area of broken rock and vegetation. Two routes are recorded - Morbid 30m S (J. Anderson, S. Webb. 2/1/65.) and Wine and Cheese 27m S (J. Anderson, S. Webb. 2/1/65.) and both unworthy of attention.