/ HVS in pembrokeshire

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rockman - on 02 Sep 2014
Planning a weeks trip to pembroke and hoping to try and bag a few HVS.
Need to be well protected and not too steep - are there any fit the bill that are recommended as first sea cliff HVS's?
Gordon Stainforth - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to rockman:

All you seem to be thinking about is the grade, not the quality of the route. You also imply that a well-protected slabby HVS in Pembrokeshire (quite rare) will be a soft option when, actually, it's likely to be technically very hard.

I'm starting to wonder what many people are climbing for nowadays? It all seems to be ticking gone mad. Thread after thread talking about grades and jargon. I can't remember when I last read of someone raving about the quality of a route, or the richness of the experience of doing a particular route.
Gordon Stainforth - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to rockman:

And by 'route' I mean route ... not just some piddling little 30-foot high problem.
dsh - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to rockman:

> Planning a weeks trip to pembroke and hoping to try and bag a few HVS.

> Need to be well protected and not too steep - are there any fit the bill that are recommended as first sea cliff HVS's?

Tactician, Front Line and Army Dreamers at St Govan's head are good choices and not too hard. The first 2 especially you can get gear in pretty much anywhere and there are loads of bridging rests. All 3 are brilliant.
Gordon Stainforth - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to dsh:

He said 'not too steep". Well, Army Dreamers ... OK, it doesn't overhang.
rockman - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to dsh:

Thanks for those - Will certainly have a look.
dsh - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> He said 'not too steep". Well, Army Dreamers ... OK, it doesn't overhang.

None of them feel that steep if you know what I mean. 2 are corners with lots of bridging rests, ok Army Dreamers isn't but the holds are so big you don't feel like it's steep.
Post edited at 21:57
rockman - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Thanks - really useful?
All your assumptions are wrong re the point of the post. Am going there for quality routes - but as there for a while - would like to try and push myself a bit as well. I do not mind if they are hard technically - if I had wanted soft touches - I would have put that in the post.
Gordon Stainforth - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to dsh:

Well, St Govan's felt very steep to me. Not like a 'not so steep' on grit or Welsh rhyolite.
Gordon Stainforth - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to rockman:

Ah, good. The quality of St Govan's is really good, but it is (v) steep and has quite a serious ambience, I think. You did say 'first sea cliff HVS'. I remember in the old days the abseil was scary enough off a couple of loose metal 'rods' stuck in the earth that rattled about in their holes. Maybe that's better now.
Cardi - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to rockman:

Not slabby, but Sunny Corner is one of the best HVS's I've done there. Heart of Darkness is a great trip too, much better than Riders on the Storm IMHO.
dsh - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> Well, St Govan's felt very steep to me. Not like a 'not so steep' on grit or Welsh rhyolite.

That's true but good holds make things feel less steep, and he only specified "not too steep", not "slabby". But then I'm better at that sort of climbing than I am at grit/ryolite so it's good to have a range of opinions from different climbers. Also the climbs I mentioned are really easy to rest and place gear on so he shouldn't get pumped.
Post edited at 22:00
rockman - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to dsh:

> good holds make things feel less steep, and he only specified "not too steep", not "slabby".

Exactly so ...

easy to rest and place gear on so he shouldn't get pumped.
.. and be able to do an easier quality route as well !!!


rockman - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
I did not say it was "MY" first sea cliff HVS - and you had two ? loose rods to abseil off - what luxury .
mattrm - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to rockman:

I really enjoyed Bludgeon at Stennis Head. Plenty of gear and it wasn't steep. Fairly committing in that you have to climb a VDiff traverse to get to the bottom of it. But it's an excellent route, really enjoyed it.
Gordon Stainforth - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to rockman:

> I did not say it was "MY" first sea cliff HVS - and you had two ? loose rods to abseil off - what luxury .

Ah ... so it's not as good as it was :-)

(PS. Love this thing about not MY. Forgive me for not spotting that :-))))))

All those brackets are in case you think I'm not finding this funny.
The Pylon King on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to rockman:


With all of Pembroke to go at, don't bother with St Govans!!!!
mountain.martin - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to rockman:

All the routes mentioned above are well worth doing. The cruxes of Front line and tactician (E1 in the latest guide) are very steep although quite short lived and on good holds. They do require you to place good gear then go for it without faffing around too much.

Saddle head is well worth a visit to warm up on some great vs's. No hands, and the classic Blue sky will give you a good introduction to traditional south Pembrokeshire steep but good holds climbing.
climbingpixie - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to Cardi:

As excellent as Heart of Darkness is, I wouldn't recommend it as a first sea cliff HVS. It's not very hard but it is quite intimidating and a fall could be quite serious. Bludgeon or Tactician would be my recommendations.
The Pylon King on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to climbingpixie:

Yep second Bludgeon and will add Hercules
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The Pylon King on 02 Sep 2014
Jon Stewart - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> The quality of St Govan's is really good, but it is (v) steep and has quite a serious ambience, I think.

I think it has much the worst rock of all the major Pembroke crags. Not only is it horribly polished, but it's also falling down. I'd also say the least serious ambience of all the crags too, except perhaps places even further from the sea like the upper bit of Stennis and B-team Buttress.

In Pembroke, most HVSs will have massive holds and decent gear but they may be steep. At St Govs, they will be horribly polished and so feel a lot more scary and nasty, but less isolated than something like Bludgeon which has a scramble traverse approach.
Solaris - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to rockman:

Craig Caerfai is a good spot, and plenty of other things to go at in the area:
http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=69

The sea can be lively (waves broke over the cliff top during last winter's storms!) and the cliff is tidal so you'll get a good sea cliff experience in a pretty friendly and unserious setting.

I agree with those who recommended Heart of Darkness but it's more like an inverted slab at the beginning of the traverse!
victim of mathematics - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Whilst Army Dreamers is a polished horrorshow, I don't recall either Front Line or Tactician (which is HVS - you can get a hands off rest in the middle of the crux!) being particularly polished. Certainly not enough to detract from their aceness. The start of Front Line is a bit committing though.

Hercules or Whispering Wind (or is it Rear Wind? - whichever is the HVS arÍte at St Govan's East) would be my suggestions. Bludgeon also always gets a mention on these type of threads, though I've not done it.
mountain.martin - on 03 Sep 2014
In reply to victim of mathematics:

> Whilst Army Dreamers is a polished horrorshow, I don't recall either Front Line or Tactician (which is HVS - you can get a hands off rest in the middle of the crux!)

If you can get a hands off rest you are not on the cux of a tough HVS (or easy E1).

I've climbed it at least 5 times over the last 5 years and, unless I've done it wrong every time, the crux is steep, commiting and pretty hard for HVS.

It's a quite short section but if you don't move quickly most HVS leaders will struggle with it.
AdamCB - on 03 Sep 2014
In reply to rockman:

Speaking from very limited experience here, but Inner Space at Mother Carey's was one of the best routes I've done - not technically difficult but amazing and truly memorable.
Stu McInnes - on 03 Sep 2014
In reply to rockman:

All posts so far have talked about the south Pembs limestone. If your staying in the north of the county, at St David's head there are routes such as Twinkler, Barad, both on Craig Coetan, plus loads more in that area. Carreg Y Barcud with Ethos at HVS, plus more amazing routes!
David Barlow - on 03 Sep 2014
Nightmare (despite the name) at St Govan's is a good route, and not as well known as the above St Govan's routes so doesn't suffer from the polish.
victim of mathematics - on 03 Sep 2014
In reply to mountain.martin:

> If you can get a hands off rest you are not on the cux of a tough HVS (or easy E1).

> I've climbed it at least 5 times over the last 5 years and, unless I've done it wrong every time, the crux is steep, commiting and pretty hard for HVS.

> It's a quite short section but if you don't move quickly most HVS leaders will struggle with it.

That what I thought, then I paused mid-crux and realised I could get a wide bridge in. It wouldn't work if you were either short or inflexible, mind.
GrahamD - on 03 Sep 2014
In reply to rockman:

Bludgeon is pretty straight forward (some steep sections but these are bridged) or Hercules would be my suggestion.
Solaris - on 03 Sep 2014
In reply to Stu McInnes and the OP:

I agree with your suggestions, though Barad is steep and now E1, I think.

But for the sake of the OP who may not know the geology of N Pembs, see my post at 23.31 yesterday.
Big Lee - on 03 Sep 2014
In reply to rockman:

Inner Space - VS technically, HVS psychologically. Easy if you have the head.

Front Line - Gear on this was bomber all the way and probably VS if at Swanage.
mountain.martin - on 03 Sep 2014
In reply to victim of mathematics:

> That what I thought, then I paused mid-crux and realised I could get a wide bridge in. It wouldn't work if you were either short or inflexible, mind.

That's me on both counts, but I imagine I would need to be quite a bit taller or have the flexibility of a ballet dancer to get a bridged rest. I'll have a look next time I do it.
Rick Sewards - on 03 Sep 2014
In reply to David Barlow:

> Nightmare (despite the name) at St Govan's is a good route, and not as well known as the above St Govan's routes so doesn't suffer from the polish.

You can put me (along with Jon Stewart and the Pylon King) in the "Love Pembroke - Hate St Govan's" camp, but this one, though not a classic, is actually quite a good suggestion for what the OP was looking for - nice enough climbing, reasonable gear (I think), not too strenuous (unlike the crux of Tactician) and not polished (unlike Front Line and Army Dreamers, which were great routes 25 years ago...)

Of the others suggested, Bludgeon and Hercules are good suggestions - Bludgeon is the more serious situation, but really no more than VS climbing and a great route. If you traverse in and find it busy, I thought Kanda Bongo Man (you'll need the new CC guide for that one) was also a really good route, and like Bludgeon well protected and pretty soft. Rear Wind is a good suggestion too - delicate rather than pumpy, and much better gear than you would expect for an arÍte. Sunny Corner and Malice Aforethought are brilliant routes but I wouldn't recommend either as a first sea-cliff HVS unless you're with a more experienced partner, as they both involve a committing ab in (in the case of Malice Aforethought, with a bit of bouncing to stay in contact with the rock!) and no easier escape route. Twinkler and Barad (now HVS and E1 respectively) are on another "no-one will hear you scream" cliff, and Heart of Darkness is technically easy but pumpy and if you come off (on either end of the rope) you'd probably better know how to prussik...) .

One other I would have suggested was Logos on the back side of Mowing Word, but for some reason the new guide has put it up to E1, which I really don't understand at all, unless something has come off - anybody else done it?

Rick
alastairbegley - on 03 Sep 2014
In reply to Rick Sewards:

I really don't understand the obsession with St Govans being really polished, having climbed Army Dreamers and The Arrow (not HVS but often accused of being horribly polished) again this year I found them fine. Although, maybe that is just in comparison to Avon and the Wye Valley...

I agree with Bludgeon being good (albeit slightly soft)
Rick Sewards - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to alastairbegley:

It's probably true that there are only a few routes that are really badly polished (Front Line is definitely one of them, Chieftain and Clean Hand Blues Band also spring to mind). As well as the polish, it's the slightly trashed feel of the area round the usual ab points (with the grass all worn away, and earth washing down the routes) that puts me off. I suppose it's just that there's about 6 miles of continuous, unspoilt, almost unbroken cliffs to play on, with unpolished rock that feels great to climb, which makes me feel completely uninspired whenever I end up at St Govan's (invariably at someone else's insistence).

Though I will admit that The Arrow (one of my first ever E1s) is a great route - "hate" is probably a bit strong!

Rick
Pursued by a bear - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to rockman: This probably shouldn't be your first route, but how about Space on Space Buttress? It's essentially VS climbing in an HVS situation; steep but not too steep, the easiest line on steeper ground. Committing though; there's a nearly full rope-length free abseil in, and I think this route is the easiest way out (I would check but having just moved house, my guidebook is somewhere in one of a large number of boxes. Anyway, take pruissic loops).

But if you want to check that your mind is properly attuned to just what steep means in Pembroke, try Bomb Bay at St Govan's first; it's pretty much benchmark VS 4c and will let you know which gear your head is in.

T.

kyaizawa - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to rockman:

"Not too steep" - head to St. David's area routes around there tend to be shabbier, and something like Ethos at Barcud swallows gear.
dsh - on 04 Sep 2014
In reply to rockman:
I don't know why people are saying the crux of Tactician is hard. I'm a really crap climber with no confidence these days who mostly gibbers about on VS climbs but I really didn't find it hard at all. I think it would be ideal for what you want after a warm up.
Post edited at 16:07
GrahamD - on 05 Sep 2014
In reply to dsh:

I'd have said Hercules and even Bludgeon were less steep than Tactician. But they are all honest HVS so they will require good honest 5a climbing.
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Neils - on 10 Sep 2014
In reply to rockman:

Was at St.Govans yesterday, lots of loose rock; but there are some great beaches nearby.
Bulls Crack - on 10 Sep 2014
In reply to Solaris:

> I agree with your suggestions, though Barad is steep and now E1, I think.


A well deserved too!

Bulls Crack - on 10 Sep 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> And by 'route' I mean route ... not just some piddling little 30-foot high problem.

Well that 90% of grit out then!
mountain.martin - on 10 Sep 2014
In reply to Neils:

Some of the top outs at St Govan's do seem to have deteriorated in the 5 or 6 years I have been living here.

The first 90% of most routes don't seem to have changed.

Still nowhere near as bad as some of the routes at Trevallan, or my distant memories of Swanage.
Pagan - on 10 Sep 2014
In reply to Bulls Crack:

Come on, everyone knows those pissy little things like Archangel and Piece of Mind aren't proper routes.
Bulls Crack - on 11 Sep 2014
In reply to Pagan:

> Come on, everyone knows those pissy little things like Archangel and Piece of Mind aren't proper routes.

With a stack of mats they aren't!

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