/ Carn Gowla routes/approach
Could anyone tell me how many abseils you need to make to get into Mercury?
My old guide says to leave a rope to belay at the top of the crag. How far back is it to the anchor? How much rope do you need?
Also any info on sewage pipe cliff? Is the pipe still in use? I'd like to do Crystal Voyage. The South West RockFax makes no mention of this area.
Any other recommendation at Carn Growla would be welcome. Done The Tomb when it was E2.
Other routes, Supernatural, Sackful, Rainbow games and 4 for Texas. Alex of Gowla is good.
Allow plenty of time. Just finding and fixing abs etc takes ages.
The sewage pipe has long since ceased to be used.
> Could anyone tell me how many abseils you need to make to get into Mercury?
> My old guide says to leave a rope to belay at the top of the crag. How far back is it to the anchor? How much rope do you need?
2x50m tied will get you down easily with the knot changeover on ledges close to the Quicksilver/Mercury stance. You can then ab down the corner of Mercury P1 to a ledge at the base. There's a higher ledge if the tide's wrong.
I would pre-place about a 20-30m length from the original thread belay point. a 60m rope will actually just about make it to the top from the first stance but it's a real stretch.
If tide and sea permit I'd recommend the Mercury Connection pitch. Nice 5a climbing, an easy descent as for Baptist etc. which passes beneath the Crystal Voyage wall and you won't need to cart a load of extra ropes for the ab. CV, Castaway and Silver Dollar all have excellent first pitches, but looser, more vegetated though easy exit pitches. Also recommend Aprez Vous, which is non-tidal.
"I was climbing in Cornwall with Pete, we had done a few new routes and the second ascent of Deja Vu
Pete asked me if I was willing to go with him to make the second ascent of America on Carn Gowla, no problem.
We drove up from the Count House, all we had was a description from Pat Littlejohn scribbled on a bit of bog paper. When we got to the top of the crag, Pete seemed to have an innate sense of where the route was and where we should do the abseil down to the start.
We peered over the top of the crag, and in an horrendous sea mist we could just make out the glacis which is one of the belay stances, the whole crag was dripping and bright green,
"Oh my god", I thought, "he's gonna want to go ahead with this".
This was after all, Pete Livesey, the most pushy climber on UK rock at the time, I just knew he would want to do it and was crapping myself at the prospect of even the abseil.
Pete turned to me and said
"How do you fancy going to the pub Al"
Only been there once and did The Tomb. Is was E2 5b in the 1988 guide. I led the first two pitches. 1st one was fine but the second was a tad run-out. The pegs had long gone so the moves through the overlap was quite exciting. Donít think my mate Dave got any gear in the top pitch.
Wanted to go back for a while but not been able to find anyone quite so keen (mad). Got a trip down there at the end of this month with a mate, Bruce, so I'm keen.
I shall invest in the new (ish) guide, 2000. I know the CC have a new one in the pipe line for this area. When will that be out?
Thanks for the information
That's what we did. The ab in was about 80m - certainly more than 60m but when we tied together a 60 and a 40 we had loads of rope in the sea!
The other way to save on rope and avoid getting the second one wet is to tie a F8 on the first 50/60 m rope, ab down to the end - you'll be in balance on or near the Mercury belay, clip a crab into the knot then use one of your climbing ropes doubled. That'll get you to the ledges. (The higher ledge at the base of the 5a offwidth is probably preferable.)
The ab to mercury isn't as long as rock fax says.
I did it in June, there is/was a large loose block on the wide section of chimney in the first half. Just to pre warn.
Was a great fun route. Easy to find from the top.
Meant to say also that a couple of 6m tapes pre-placed from the top belay point also works. This is what we did IIRC on the FA of Andromeda Strain.
With regard to the comment above about mobile signals, if you think you'll need them probably not a good idea to climb on the N Cornwall Coast!
The seriousness of Gowla is slightly over-stated in my view. Sure it's adventurous, some of the rock isn't perfect but then that's true of Gogarth and with modern gear most of the routes can be adequately protected, and there's a wide choice of great climbs in the VS-E3 range.
Al's story of his visit is great and I've a few of my own from the 70s/80s, but looking down America is far worse than actually getting on the thing and climbing it!
For you hard-core DWS types, the traverse from America Buttress to Red Walls would make Rainbow Bridge seem like a gentle stroll! Another brilliant project would be a free ascent of the huge sea cave at the left end of the Baptist Cliff. There are holds and features, trust me!
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