Mercury*** E2 5b
[Mercury - the obvious line, 3 kb]

Rockfax Description
The arching corner is a magnificent line and is climbed in two very long and sustained pitches. Some big cams and nuts are needed to protect the first pitch. Start at the base of the corner.
1) 5a, 42m. Ascend the corner until it starts to steepen and widen. Climb the wide crack to a flake from where easier climbing gains a big ledge on the left and a belay.
2) 5b, 50m. Climb the corner and its subsidiary to its end. Traverse right across the slab on small holds stepping down at a steepening to a pillar of compact red rock and better holds. Move up to small ledges (the site of an old belay) and continue for 5m before stepping right to a weakness in the overhang above. Climb up this and the easy groove above to the top.
2a) 4c, 50m. An easier but poorer finish moves left around the arete from the belay ledge and then climbs up the wall above the edge of the arete on big, but at times dubious, holds to a grassy final 10m. © ROCKFAX

Ticklists: West Country Climbs, Rockfax West Country top 50, UK Extreme Corners, Ultimate E2 ticklist, Alex's Cornwall and Devon ticklist.

Photo: Mercury - the obvious line © Kafoozalem
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This climb is in 61 logbooks, and on 36 wishlists.

kennythescot - AltLd dog - 18/Jul/15 with Luke Robinson

Bristoldave - Lead O/S - 27/Jun/15 with Derwood

started to lead top pitch, grabbed what i thought was a solid block, pulled it and myself off the wall, smashed my head against the rock and landed inverted below the belay.... got back on the lead but head wasn't in the right place and got Dave to finish
dbrooks - 2nd RP - 27/Jun/15 with Dr Dave

Matthew Robinson - AltLd - 07/Aug/14 with Luke

Hidden - 2nd - 30/Jul/14

tim newton - AltLd O/S - 25/Jun/14 with jon stewart

burto - Lead - 15/Jun/14 with hertha

Spectacular, one of the very best!
msoldn - AltLd O/S - 14/Jun/14 with Mark

A great adventure. P1 would be very bold without a no. 5 cam, and P2 is just bold full-stop! It's a good idea to pre-place a rope to belay from at the top (we didn't).
Avon Man - AltLd O/S - 14/Jun/14 with msoldn

had to rescue jimmy, after him pussying out on the offwidth because we didnt have any wide gear. Traverse pitch was wet, so we did the escape pitch. incredible rock, but dont think it would hold a fall.
markalmack - AltLd O/S - 27/May/14 with james marjot

A big route - double abb, pre placed rope to finish plus two big contrasting pitches. New SS peg at the end of the traverse on 2nd pitch.
Johnny Baker - AltLd O/S - 16/May/14 with Sam Richards

alasdair19 - 2014

A big adventure route and a fantastic line, abbing down round the arete and seeing the corner for the first time was awe inspirig! Watch out for the loose bits on P1... I found the offwidth section to be the hardest physically, but the P2 slab traverse was harder mentally. Runout with a very exposed feeling on those small holds.
Nick Russell - Lead O/S - 26/Aug/13 with Steve Shenton

SJS - 2nd - 26/Aug/13 with Nick

Mike W - Lead dnf - 11/Aug/13

aostaman - AltLd - 27/Jul/13

Led P1, scary crumbly rock at top of P1 and on P2. An adventurous route for sure!
RCrockford - AltLd O/S - 26/Jul/13 with Mike B

Lead pitch 1 and had a good fight with the offwidth. Nick set out on P2 but I think traversed too early picking up the latter part of Andromeda Strain. Having made the peg here he watched it fall off into the sea. Going this way makes it very bold with just some shoddy placements in the rough area of the old peg. He finally found a way up to the better peg positioned at the base of the upper wall via some very fragile and dubious holds. What an adventure!
Dilwat - AltLd O/S - 13/Jul/13 with Nick

Ian led pitch 1; I led pitch 2. Not obvious route finding. I traversed too low on pitch 2 (at a point where the corner got a bit chossy) which made for a very serious run-out (especailly when peg in middle of slab snaps off!!). I should've kept going up the corner (via steep moves on the slab)to pass the chossy bit - then you can get good gear at the point where it finally peters out and then you cross the very top of the slab.
nickdonohue - AltLd - 13/Jul/13 with Ian Riddell

Loose block half way up first pitch made the crux of the pitch all the more interesting. Good climb.
Kevster - Lead O/S - 26/Jun/13 with Dave R

Hidden - 2nd - 14/Jun/13

Direct. Led P2.
kingholmesy - AltLd O/S - 2013 with Colin

Hidden - Lead O/S - 2012

Need lots of large cams (4 and 5) to protect crux on 1st pitch
mick1jones - AltLd dnf - 15/Oct/11 with Rich Rogers

tuftynick - AltLd rpt - 04/Jun/11 with rich cross

Hidden - AltLd - 04/Jun/11

datoon - AltLd O/S - 01/Jun/11 with K

khawk - AltLd O/S - 01/Jun/11 with DT

Excellent route despite a brief off-piste choss variation on the top pitch
Neil Adams - AltLd O/S - 25/May/11 with Jim Higgins

Pitch 2. Excellent adventure with some dubious rock. Climbed too high before traversing right.
jameshiggins - AltLd O/S - 25/May/11 with Neil Adams

Incredible and memorable route for adventure if not technical merit. Our 100m ab rope got wet in the sea belayed off thread, nuts and cam in bluff as described in Rockfax, also thread in boulder on edge of cliff so ample to get to belay ledge. Although not hard the top pitch is serious with looong runouts
kevin stephens - AltLd - 11/Aug/10

80m ab in, good sea running.Rock dry apart from part of crack on 2nd pitch but made no difference. Shame about wandering line across slab, otherwise impressive situation. Misha on 1st, me on 2nd. Bold but easy.
philhilo - AltLd O/S - 31/Jul/10 with misha

Had been keen to do this route since Phil mentioned it a few weeks earlier. Enjoyable climbing on weird rock. Not technically hard but pretty run out on P2, which Phil led. Save your big gear for the offwidth towards the top of P1, I didn't and ended up doing it at a run out E1 5a (looks like there used to be a good sling placement but it's loose now). Great route, though agree with Phil that it's not quite a brilliant 'top 50' route. The abseil in is more like 80m rather than 110m as the Rockfax suggests. It's not particularly intimidating as the wall that you abseil down isn't that steep and there are plenty of footholds to get in balance for the knot swap over.
Misha - AltLd O/S - 31/Jul/10 with Phil

Hidden - Lead O/S - 03/Jul/10

The abb in is a little worrying, but we did not need to change at the knot as we had the luxury of an extra long abseil rope. We had slightly mis-judged the tides, so whilst I was being hit by waves, Macca quickly lead up to the high tide ledge for me to belay in the dry (At this point I would like to point out I only had a shorts, chalk bag and shoes with me). It was very cold at the beginning! The first picth was excellent, up this massive crack to the large ledge. Which I had to share with a seagul chick and nest with its mother dive-bombing me. The second pitch (i.e. Mecury connection), is a bold line which follows the crack, smearing with the feet to then abondon the safety of said lovely crack for a barely protected traverse to a bolt and ledge. A fall during the traverse would bring the climber next to the belayer! Macca managed to get to the bolt using crimps and smearing once again. The finish to the top took a bit of time to be figured out. Whilst this was going on the light had faded on us. It was left to me to second in the dusk, not really being able to see my feet and the tiny edges I needed. On the travers I took a massive swing as I could not see anything by this point, but I didnt drop to far. I got to the top at 11:30pm, pitch black. An epic climb and an epic adventure, and a throughly relieved second!
Legs - 2nd O/S - 03/Jul/10 with Macca

I thought the off width on the first pitch was the crux! The top pitch is exciting though. Run out but always in balance and never too hard.
Bobby Gilbert - Lead O/S - 22/Jun/10 with Paul Abram

Hidden - AltLd O/S - 23/Aug/08

P2 One of my more interesting leads. Abseil in had its moments too
chris wyatt - AltLd O/S - 23/Aug/08 with Nik Goile

Hidden - AltLd - 14/May/08

We did Mercury Direct rather than the original version. Led p2
cem - AltLd O/S - 07/Apr/07 with Graham Dolman

I led crux pitch...great climb, glad to have done it after so long, really luck with the weather, it was raining everywhere else!!!!
ecowaller - AltLd O/S - 02/Jul/06 with Nick Arding

Second pitch up the corner was wet so we used the original finish.
jimdanson - AltLd O/S - 02/Jun/06 with Mike Adams

Bern - 2006

Hidden - AltLd - 20/Sep/05

Tim Steward - AltLd - 21/Jun/05 with James Parrot

Mark Kemball - 2nd - 25/Sep/04 with Stu Bradbury

Hidden - 2nd - 20/Jun/03

WB - AltLd O/S - Sep/01 with Guy

Is this really E2? Matt usually climbs VS and he had no trouble at all.
Ian Jones - Lead O/S - 2001 with Oleg, Matt York

Did first pitch (bold off width for a section) but didn't try 2nd as slab was wet. Escaped on Quicksilver (original mercury finish).
nickdonohue - AltLd dnf - 18/Mar/00 with Joe Brown

did the original E1 version. lead p1
colin milton - AltLd O/S - 14/Sep/96 with eric milton

Derek Ryden - AltLd O/S - 03/Jul/95 with Mark Lee, Jim Cheshire

Hidden - AltLd O/S - 1994

While on the halfway belay ledge, three divers were laying an explosive charge out from the cliff. Not realising what was going on, when they detonated it, the belay ledge we were on shook in unison with our bowels and nerves, we were convinced the ledge could disappear and shot up the last pitch of Quicksilver at high speed !!!!! History Lesson:- Quicksilver originally went up the arete left of Mercury's corner (accessed from Mercury Connection) then out left and up the slab which was Mercury's original finish. Most people now climb Quicksilver as the big corner of Mercury instead of the left arete, then the old top pitch of Mercury ie the route originally named Mercury. Mercury Direct was renamed Mercury.
rogerskews - AltLd - 29/May/91 with Bryn Roberts

Hidden - 1991

backrope solo which made top traversing pitch entertaining.
frank ramsay - Solo - 04/Aug/90

TonyF - Lead O/S - 01/May/90 with Pete Scott

Had the runs on pitch one. Do not eat Ginster's pasties. Poor Denis who followeed me. We escaped up Quicksilver. Amazing place with a 300 foot abseil in.
eroica64 - AltLd - 17/Jul/89 with Denis Crampton

HVS when I did it, what a climb for adventure
DDDD - Lead O/S - 1987

Robmwatt - 1984

Hidden - AltLd - 12/Aug/78

Users with this climb on their wishlist are:
kennythescot, WilliamD, Tom McCabe, hutchay, Phoebus, Alex the Alex, Ropeboy, climbingpixie, Mr Tickle, Motown, leon, johnpr, Alan100, Adam Booth, Master Chief, Spearos, Jacob k-d, nickstephens, Dan Walker, Ybot Htulk, Skinny Kin, Owen W-G, richardr, Urgles, Mike H, Alaric

Total votes cast 49
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