/ Must Do Culm Routes

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
James Oswald - on 09 Jun 2012
Off to the Culm Coast on Tuesday/ Wednesday for a 10 day trip that may be combined with Cornwall.
Does anyone have any must do routes that they can recommend. I've read West Country Climbs thoroughly so I guess I'm asking for routes that you felt were underated by the guidebook.
Do you have any suggestions?

P.s. A slightly wobbly hold is ok but I'm not interested in routes like Loose Women at Blackchurch....
Dan Lane - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to James Oswald:

I can recommend Crimtyphon at Compass point. Pretty scary and E2 5b, big runouts...get your mate to lead it, great route though.
Dave 88 - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to James Oswald:

Obviously Wrecker's Slab at Cornakey. While you're there, Heaven And Hell looks like a really good line. Unfortunately tides, rain, darkness have always stopped me getting on it, but it looks solid with good gear from neighbouring routes. Take some big crack gear for the first pitch. It's not in wcc but there's a comprehensive description on here, and a topo on the logbook page for Jolly Hell (don't do that). You can scope it out from Wreckers if you're worried about looseness.
Dan Lane - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to James Oswald:

Oh, and Oswald...I have the definative CC guide to Devon and North Cornwall (Culm Coast) and the West Cornwall guide too if you want to borrow them?
James Oswald - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to Dan Lane:
Dan, that's very good of you thank you for the offer. Sadly, I'm in Sheffield until I leave and won't really be able to pick them up. I have plans to go to Stoney tomorrow, want to come? :)
Dan Lane - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to James Oswald:

Can't, My exams start on Monday :(

I'm happy to post the guides to you. Give me an address and i'll get them in the post ASAP, should be with you by Tuesday.
dale1968 - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to James Oswald: lower sharpnose; mascon, lunakod can't remember how many stars they get...
Iain Peters - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to James Oswald:

The ratings in Westcountry Climbs are just about right, but here are a few really worthwhile routes that aren't included:

Zinfandel HVS 5a @ Bude Pillars. 200m S of Compass Point
Coitionary Tales E1 5b @ Hippa Rock. First headland N of Stanbury Mouth (on walk-in to Oldwalls Point for Matchless etc.)
Wine Dark Sea E1 5b @ Damehole Point near Dyer's Lookout (near The Walk of Life!)
Loose Woman is solid where it matters with good gear.
Mozambique/Angola HVS/E1 5a/b @ Foxhold Slabs (N of Welcombe Mouth)
Summer Wine E1 5b @ Gull Rock
Rite of Spring VS 4b/c @ Blackchurch Rock
Menachurch Point near Northoutt has a bunch of shorter quality routes V/HVS
The Wick HVS 5a @ Sandy Mouth on the Flame pinnacle.

Lots of stuff near Northcott Mouth. Bouldering @ Hartland, Northcott and Widemouth.

If you've got 10 days why not buy/borrow the CC definitive guide? That'll give you loads of good routes not in Rockfax, and then you'll have a reference for all the recent climbs in N Devon & Cornwall to be found on javu.co.uk/ and on the CC new routes website. Without it you'll be missing a great opportunity. The Culm coast is quite complex in terms of approaches and many of the crags are tide dependent.
Dave Garnett - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to James Oswald:

Actually, the first pitch of Loose Woman used to be disappointingly solid and well protected!

My must-do list of understated classics would include:

Sexilegs (Baggy); much better then the overrated Kinkyboots. Really excellent sustained and varied first pitch; standard pleasant botanical ramble / terryingly loose vegetated top pitch depending on your temperament.

Haile Selassie (Gull Rock): At E2 maybe too hard? But well-protected and not too bad if you like thin cracks.

Wine Dark Sea (Damehole): Fun sealevel traverse. Might be a shallow water solo these days?

Matchless (Oldwalls); really atmospheric approach but easier than it looks (crux near the bottom). Proper culm at a sensible grade.

Blisterin' Barnacle (Dyer's Lookout): the poor man's Sacre Coeur. If E2's too hard do Not Blisterin' Barnacle next door (although it's only a touch easier - I think it's good but then I'm biased!)

You should do something at Screda Point (solid but small and spaced gear) and depending on how adventurous you are you might try White Sabbath at Foxhold.

It's worth having lots of small wires and cams for the thinner routes (I developed a good rack of RPs and Aliens)

Enjoy!
Dave Garnett - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to Iain Peters:

Good to see we agree about the Wine Dark Sea anyway!

I was going to suggest the Wick but on reflection I remember it being pretty awkward at the grade and the gear not being so great.
In reply to James Oswald:

> P.s. A slightly wobbly hold is ok but I'm not interested in routes like Loose Women at Blackchurch....

I've done little down there but I have done Loose Woman. I thought it was pretty normal. The top pitch is grubby and unpleasant but climbing-wise its a piece of piss, if you can do the 5b move, you'll have no problem with it.
cuppatea on 09 Jun 2012
Another vote for the WDS. Lotus at Doyden is fun if you have a head for heights!
James Oswald - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to James Oswald:

Sorry, it wasn't Loose Women that my friend tried to persuade me to do but The Verger.. Reading the guidebook tells me that they are quite different propositions!
Thanks
Tom Last - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to James Oswald:

Hi James.

I'm going to have to take you to task with two aspects of your OP!

First, if you're going to climb on the Culm much, then you will inevitably be in Cornwall. Much as I love Devon (and am not Cornish!) the likes of LSN, Cornakey, Vicarage, Oldwall's Point etc are all in Cornwall!

Secondly, Loose Women is solid on the whole. The top pitch is a bit flakey and no gear really, except for a whacking great tree. Nevertheless, if you make it that far, the top pitch will be a breeze.

I would recommend.

Loose Women! - Blackchurch
Wrecker's Slab - Cornakey (more serious and no less loose really than Loose Women)
Matchless - Oldwall's Point
More Than a Match - Oldwall's Point (I've only seconded this but the start is never harder than the stated 5c)
Coitionary Tales - Hippa Rock
Tales of Don Juan - Hippa Rock
The Smile - Sharpnose (I fell off of this like a tit after taking ages and pumping out)

All of those are solid and great.
Tom Last - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to James Oswald:
> (In reply to James Oswald)
>
> Sorry, it wasn't Loose Women that my friend tried to persuade me to do but The Verger.. Reading the guidebook tells me that they are quite different propositions!
> Thanks

Haha, loads of people have told me that The Verger is really a bit of a breeze with easy climbing. Despite really wanting to do it, I've driven all the way to Blackchurch, stood at the bottom and just been so terrified by the look of it - I just walked away.

Loose Women is the 'easiest'/safest route on the main cliff AFAIK - the main cliff is very atmospheric and rewarding.
Iain Peters - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to Southern Man:

The Verger: Great route, done it many times,

P1. 4c - good crack for gear - steady
P2, 4a - OK, it's a trifle loose, but not hard. The stance has some rotting pegs but there's other gear
P3 5a - Airy step R then a good crack, traverse up and L to the arete. Not much gear but no more than 4b/c to the top.

Get on it, you'll be fine and it needs some traffic. I cleaned the top pitch 18 months ago.
Tom Last - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to Iain Peters:

Thanks Iain, that sounds all good, I think I've just a bit of a mental block over it, you know how these things go :)

Maybe late this summer, with any luck. Had the perfect day for it in the autumn, but ended up sweating in the raging heat on Gull Rock instead. Idiots!

Your Count House bench story went in the Cornishman this week btw, in case you wanted to have a look.

Cheers,
Tom
Iain Peters - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to Southern Man:

Cor, hadn't realized Grandad has suddenly got a posthumous knighthood!
Kafoozalem - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to James Oswald:

I think Crazy Streak at Gull Rock is underrated at one star in WCC. It is worth the E1 5a grade. You have to work hard for the gear but it's better than some of the peged routes hereabouts.
Tom Last - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to Iain Peters:

Aaaah apologies, I think that may be my fault!

I think I got it from the Who's Who of British Climbing??? I didn't write it though, no letters to the editor please!

I hope he would have enjoyed the promotion! ;)
ads.ukclimbing.com
JJL - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to James Oswald:

I don't have the guide you are referring to, so apologies for duplication, but a few ideas/suggestions:

- check the bird restricitons before you go to any cliff please
- on a 10-day tour it would be unforgivable not to go to Lundy for at least a couple of days.
- On the culm, Baggy is best at your grades I would say, you could spend three days doing 2-3 star HS, VS, HVS and E1
- towards the end of a 10-day trip you will be up a grade at least - go and do Sacre Coeur as an easy way into E2
- Kenidjack is under-rated. Rock dandcer is better than Saxon (though Saxon is very good)
- You do need to go to Bosigran (for 2 days? Bow wall is best) and Chair Ladder (where I love Bishops Rib for the 4b pitch, but others will disagree)
- Probably worth working out tides and itinerary to optimise access

J
nniff - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to James Oswald:

Sacre Coeur is a must do, not least of all because it climbs such a brilliant feature. Don't park at the village though as the parking fee is extortionate. Go for the alternative option mentioned in the guide.
victim of mathematics - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to JJL:
1) Most of Baggy is bird banned.
2) As is most of Lundy
3) Baggy isn't culm
4) Nor are Kenidjack, Bosigran or Chair Ladder (and they're entirely the wrong end of Cornwall

Otherwise, good advice...
JJL - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to victim of mathematics:

Dude, the OP was talking about a tour - they even mentioned cornwall... and I said to check the bird ban (promontory at Baggy should be ok as will bits of Lundy).

Meanwhile, your sole "contribution" has been a rather limp effort to critique someone else's.

Whatever.
Iain Peters - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to James Oswald:

Re: Bans

There are no bird bans at all on the North Devon & Cornwall coast, apart from Baggy and Lundy,

Peregrines do nest all along this coast, but fortunately they mostly choose nesting sites away from the more popular crags.

There's plenty to keep you going on the Culm, but, if time and weather permit try and visit Kellan Head, Doyden, Pentire and Carn Gowla. There's been a lot of development at all these venues, but the existing starred routes at HVS - E2 are all very good. Zugzwang, Endgame and Flying Circus @ Kellan/Doyden definitely worth the effort ( naturally I'm biased!) and there's much more to Pentire and Gowla than just Eroica, Darkinbad or Mervury.
mark20 - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to James Oswald:
I thought that the Misery Goat is under-rated and pretty steady for E2, certainly way better than the Last Laugh.
Out of the Blue was the best one I did down there, not as bold as it sounds either.
victim of mathematics - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to JJL:

Sorry, you lost me at "Dude".

Yeah, I'm a miserable sod, but he did specifically ask about the culm.
The Ivanator - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to James Oswald: If you go to do Wreckers then don't miss Stormy Weather (also at Cornakey) a brilliant HVS single pitch, the rock and moves are far better quality than Wreckers, but the positions and ambience of WS make it a must.
Sam Beaton on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to James Oswald:

Tydomin and Caranvanserai at Compass Point are both superb and relatively non-frightening by Culm standards
Sam Beaton on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to Southern Man:

The Verger is awesome, probably the most memorable route I've done on the Culm - but I think Iain is underestimating its seriousness! I thought the second pitch was 4c and horrifically loose, with a fairly rubbish belay beneath it. I would give that pitch E1 on its own. The top pitch was technically harder but protected where it mattered (but not higher up!)
Aly - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to James Oswald: What kind of grade range are you after?

If Baggy counts as Culm and you've not been then head there if you can, Lost Horizon, Twinkletoes, Terrapin, Ghecko Blaster and Inferno are all brilliant.

If you've not been to Sharpnose then go there as well! Anything with stars will be awesome but The Smile, Out of the Blue and anything on the Fay fin will keep you happy I'm sure!

If you can get down to Blackchurch when the tide's are good then do something on the big arch like Sacre Coeur.

Pressure Drop at Speke's Mill is well worth doing, and is a good option for a half day if the tides aren't being particularly helpful (it's non tidal).

I've not done the Blisterin' Barnacle routes at Dyer's but they look well well worth it, and if you find the carpark at the farm there's not much of a walk in to get to them.

I think someone above mentioned Crimtyphon at compass point is good, and very steady at the grade, but the warm ups to the right feel a bit rattly. Bude Pillars is only 5 minutes away and Borderline is certainly a great line but I've not done it.
Pagan - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to Sam Beaton:

I think you're being a touch hysterical regarding The Verger - the belay at the top of pitch one isn't the best but you can fill the crack at the start of the second pitch with decent gear and despite the warnings in the guide, it was nowhere near as loose as I'd been led to believe. I had to excavate most of it on lead though (there was just a slope of vegetables with no visible holds when I set off, I was sending buckets of earth back down to the belay) and it was a bit damp - I wouldn't recommend it under those conditions.

As suggested by others, Tydomin and Crimtyphon at Compass Point are both solid, very enjoyable and bottom of their respective grades. If the tides are right, Screda and Vicarage are worth a look. Sharpnose, obviously. I thought Out Of The Blue was a little bold low down (but not E3 bold, as per SWC) but worth the effort, haven't done much else there away from the classic HVSs though.
climbingpixie - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to James Oswald:

Enough of all this nonsense about climbing, the real challenge is how much of the menu at The Pizza Ape you can tick - http://www.thepizzaape.co.uk/welcome.html

I think most of the routes I've done on the culm have already been mentioned. The only advice I have to offer (other than banging on about the amazing pizza shop in Kilkhampton) is to follow the West Country Climbs approach to get to Matchless (we went the CC guide way and it was massively overgrown, prickly and disintegrating. Oh, and full of ants) and to second the recommendation to get onto something on the main cliff at Blackchurch. Given how tidal most of the Culm is you'd be daft not to do Loose Woman if you go to Blackchurch.
victim of mathematics - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to Pagan:

I didn't think Tydomin was Nearly as good s Caravanserai. And the guidebook promise of good but spaced gear was more like quite a lot of gear, but it's all rubbish.
Chris the Tall - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to victim of mathematics:
> (In reply to JJL)

> 3) Baggy isn't culm

Is there any significant difference between the rock on the culm coast and that at baggy, and for that matter, north Pembroke crags such as carreg-y-Barcud. Isn't it all metamorphosed sandstone ?

To the OP, only done a handfull, but Sacre Ceour is excellent, as is shangri-la
Iain Peters - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to Chris the Tall:
> (In reply to victim of mathematics)
> [...]

> Is there any significant difference between the rock on the culm coast and that at baggy, and for that matter, north Pembroke crags such as carreg-y-Barcud. Isn't it all metamorphosed sandstone ?
>
The Baggy sandstone, actually the Baggy Beds, is significantly different from the Culm Measures, which are made up of bands of shale, slate and some sandstone, hence the difference in the type of rock and holds netween Wreckers' and Gull Rock or Lr Sharpnose. Culm itself is a soft coal-like rock, much of which has eroded away on the coast leaving the characteristic fins of the harder rocks behind. Best place to see all these different rock types close together is Maer Clff near Northcott Mouth.
Dave 88 - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to Southern Man:

Haha I've also stood at the bottom of The Verger and bottled it. Looks quite intimidating.

Do not, under any circumstances, listen to Iain. The last route he recommended nearly killed me!
James Oswald - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to James Oswald:
thanks for the suggestions
PontiusPirate on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to James Oswald:

I know its been mentioned before, but the best route on Culm is the way into The Pizza Ape in Kirkhampton! ;-)

(and I see climbingpixie has provided a suitable ticklist!)

As you were (and stay safe down there LJ)

PP
The Pylon King on 11 Jun 2012
In reply to James Oswald:

I am down in the Culm area next week (16th onwards) doing pics for a new guide so bell me if you fancy being photographed.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=508537&v=1#x6901987

Mark

0781 1178351
ads.ukclimbing.com
Jon Stewart - on 11 Jun 2012
In reply to Formerly Known as Pylon King:

yhm
James Oswald - on 11 Jun 2012
In reply to Formerly Known as Pylon King:
yhm from me too (I'm going on the trip with Jon)
James Oswald - on 11 Jun 2012
In reply to James Oswald:

Thank you to all that contributed!
Jonny2vests - on 12 Jun 2012
In reply to James Oswald:

Almost anything at Sharpnose. Awesome is an overused word, but not at this place.
James Oswald - on 03 Jul 2012
In reply to James Oswald:
Thank you for everyone's suggestions, we had a good two days in the Culm. The trip was cut short by rain and by deciding we'd had enough of painful slabs so we went to West Penwith..

Crimtyphon was awesome but Sacre Coeur was absolutely nails and very painful on the feet! I took a lovely slide down it when my calves failed as I was trying to place a wire....

alan moore - on 03 Jul 2012
Sacre Coeur was absolutely nails and very painful on the feet! I took a lovely slide down it when my calves failed as I was trying to place a wire....

Sounds familiar! How do you squeeze size 9 shoes into fingertip jams?
Iain Peters - on 03 Jul 2012
In reply to James Oswald:

Glad to hear it. Come back again when the weather improves (if it ever does!)
James Oswald - on 03 Jul 2012
In reply to alan moore:
It's completely nails. No rests whatsoever and very painful on the feet. I did try it as my 2nd E2 though.....
Al Evans on 03 Jul 2012
In reply to James Oswald:
> Crimtyphon was awesome but Sacre Coeur was absolutely nails and very painful on the feet! I took a lovely slide down it when my calves failed as I was trying to place a wire....

Strange I thouht it was about VS when I did it, a long time ago though. If you think that was tough try Jamaican Dub just to the right, though I think the line has changed a bit since I did it.
Iain Peters - on 03 Jul 2012
In reply to Al Evans:
> (In reply to James Oswald)
> [...]
>
> Strange I thouht it was about VS when I did it, a long time ago though.

Interesting Al. I've done it a few times now, the first quite soon after the FA, and I found the repeats harder even though I was climbing better. I just wonder whether it might be down to the boots. First time round I was wearing a brand new pair of EBs, hard rubber and sharp edges but definitely not sticky. Perhaps they were more suited to those narrow footholds, and therefore placed less strain on the calf muscles than the softer more smeary type of modern boot?


This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.