Great Gully** VD
[The Chimney pitch, 2 kb]267m, 11 pitches. The cave pitch, which is absolutely amazing, is easy compared with the Great Chimney!

Important Tips for the summer ascent that the guidebook route descriptions skip: 1,Full Waterproofs and headtorches essential for all parties - especially in bad conditions as you can't see very well in the cave.
2, Be very experienced in multi-pitch climbs b4 doing this, whatever your rock standard. Give yourself a whole day - it'll take hours longer than whatever you expect it to take.
3,The great chimney is mis-marked in the recent edition of Classic Rock as being near where the Door Jamb is - it's quite a bit higher.
4, You'll need to be John Dunne to climb the Door Jamb out of winter. If you avoid it on the right, try to traverse on the early vegetation terraces even though footprints going upwards will suggest otherwise. Alternatively there is a good rock traverse ledge at the foot of the buttress but you'll have to down climb into a big flake and then lower yourself onto a ledge to get back into the gully: you'll be below the right hand chimney pitch (awkward).
5, The Great Chimney is lightly over-looked by most guides as simply 'awkward' - it's a lot more than awkward! Only 100 Classic Wales climbs gets close by saying it is 'ferocious'.
6, Do not take a rucksack on your back for the Great Chimney pitch, even though it looks alright from below: if your second is quite a weak climber and can't take it, get to the top of the chimney, anchor direct from your harness to a sling on the massive flake directly above the chimney, pull all the spare rope through from your second - clove hitch the middle of the rope to your harness, take your figure of eight knot out of your harness - weight the end of the rope with a hex, drop it down to your second, tie the rucksack on and pull the it up. That done, tie back on again.
7, In the cave there is some knotted rope to 'help' you get to the ledge. Only use this if it's really wet or iced in winter. Instead the original 60's route description was correct when it said climb the opposite side of the cave (righthand wall) to that of the rope and tat on good ledges and then traverse across the inner chockstone to reach the ledge traverse - or just climb direct to the ledge but it's harder and you'll be tempted by the tat.
8, protect your second on the ledge by: sling on inner chockstone and couple of cams before dip. After the low dip on the ledge, there is a place to put an absolute bomber wire in the roof you've just dipped under - nearly any size will do as i recall. 8, If you have low visability, when you exit the gully, do not head immediately left over the wall as this leads to the cliffs. Head right/straight forward for 60-100 yards until a clear and well-walked path is met and then head left to return to the col.
Good luck
Thomson, Simey, Clay, April 1900 Apr/1900

Ticklists: Classic Rock, North Wales Rock Graded List, Classic Chimney - England and Wales, North Wales 100 Classic Climbs, Enigmatic Affection: The Dark Art of Chimneying.

Photo: The Chimney pitch © Simon Caldwell
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This climb is in 116 logbooks, and on 59 wishlists.

Hidden - Solo O/S - 30/Jun/15

Hidden - Solo O/S - 30/Jun/15

Without doubt the worst route I have ever done.
Gibbo - AltLd - 06/Jun/15 with Ollie Keynes

olliebristol - AltLd - 06/Jun/15

Mike Bayley - 2015

Mike Bayley - 2015

A botanical excursion. Numerous pitches grasping at bundles of fronds whilst "climbing" vertical lillies. The guidebook doesn't seem to mention any of this...pretty ungradeable and quite terrifying at times as the feet paddle in muck. Wellingtons with crampons might have helped. Lots of short wet, slimy chimneys with no gear. The Cave Pitch is fantastic but ignore point 7 above. Everyone does the left wall on the tat. Nobody does the right wall.
Babika - 2nd - 22/Sep/14 with jamie skinner

DaveB61 - AltLd - 13/Sep/14 with Mike Dowsett

Character building! Now that is a day out in the mountains! Great fun if a little harrowing at times. Well done Dave for persevering with the Great Chimney Pitch. Dave led all of the awkward chimneys and cave pitch.
MikeDowsett - AltLd - 13/Sep/14 with Dave Bankart

I very rarely give up on a route but this one was so unpleasant I turned back after the 4th pitch. I squelched through copious amounts of veg, put my foot in the hidden carcass of a dead sheep, climbed the odd bit of slimy rock then decided that was enough. It might have been better with a partner although I'm not sure black humour could have improved this 'climb'. Is this a classic? A classic of what? Character building? It's just a revolting gully that would normally be avoided but someone called it a classic and put it in a guide book.
caradoc - Solo dnf - 10/Jul/14

Quite dry, but still got wet. An adventure, some of the route description is now not possible to follow, but the way is easy to follow. Probable VS to most people.
1-2-3-40 - AltLd O/S - 05/Jul/14

A waste of a time.
carl_123 - Lead O/S - 21/Jun/14

Si - 2014

Allanfairfechan - 2014

nj.harris - 2014

Unfinished Business - A Climb For Jon. HVD my arse.
thedatastream - AltLd - 26/Jul/13 with Ben, Alex Thompson

Type 2 Fun!
BenedictIEP - AltLd - 26/Jul/13 with James Pawson, Alex Thompson

Great adventure, "The Chimney" pitch is a beast, one of the hardest VDiffs I've been on but all good fun.
j.buckley87 - Lead O/S - 26/Jul/13

Returned to complete the route in honour of Jon's memory. Dry sunny day made it a lot more pleasant. Mainly soloed/moved together in trainers. Ben had fun leading the chimney, so I took the lead, it would be worth of VS on its own elsewhere! Cave pitch was straightforward, but fun even as the dampest section of the whole climb. Rewarding day out, will need to return for a winter ascent!
Alex Thompson - AltLd rpt - 26/Jul/13 with JP, Ben Powrie

Did I enjoy this.....can tell you my 2nd didn't...I led all the pitches in the wettest conditions, 50 mph winds on top, low cloud, so done authentically. (Is that an extra tick? ;-) Found it a little confusing in places to find the route, particularly after pitch 5. Aided one small section as it was just nails in big boots with moss and grease! Every pitch a battle and the end is fun....erm...Had to use tat a little as only a ghost would have made it up that wall in the wet! The awkward undercut chimney doesn't exist in my mind ignore the description in the North Wales guide and just carry on up to the last pitch. The gear is better than it looks from below. Good luck. Only tackle it if your confident, or like me wanted the tick for the Classic Rock! And yes I enjoyed it.
beds74 - Lead - 02/Jul/13 with Craig Hartley

climbed in the dry (cheating?) - cave pitch a beauty.
JasonV - Lead - 08/Jun/13 with Matt

andy_e - 2nd O/S - 04/May/13

Horrible, wet, mossy gully climb, climbed in B2 mountain boots and full waterproofs
Joel_e - 2nd dog - 04/May/13 with Andrew Erskine, Michael Gallimore

Hidden - 2013

TheAndyBarker - 2013

Deifinitely a character building climb...! Big boots until the Great Chimney
btc - Lead O/S - 20/Oct/12 with Gabby

Harri777 - AltLd - 28/Jul/12 with Chiz

Hidden - AltLd dog - 28/Jul/12

Amazonian adventure! 3.5 hours in flippers
wilkie14c - Lead - 23/May/12 with Dave Clarke

First climb outdoors in a while. It brought back to me all the things I love about climbing - delicate moves, exposure, warm dry rock... The chimney pitch felt about VS - good lead by Matthew
JGW - AltLd - Apr/12 with Matt Tilley

Hidden - 2012

Hidden - 2012

TheAndyBarker - 2012

TheAndyBarker - 2012

captain dringo - 2012

Hidden - 2012

Horribly wet, suffering from mild hypothermia. Left cursing Thomson & Ken Wilson...
Alex Thompson - AltLd dnf - 20/Aug/11 with Jon Thompson

Beast of a climb! Chimney pitch in wet/slimy conditions was harder than Mur Y Niwl!
Graham Westbrook - AltLd O/S - 23/Jul/11

Hidden - AltLd dnf - 23/Jul/11

Quality!! Very keen to see it in winter nick now
craigjfjones - AltLd - 04/Jul/11

Dry ! Cave pitch is great fun and easy, chimney is hard ! PB,DD,S+C
lithos - AltLd - 29/Apr/11

Rob led the Chimney pitch (the hardest VDiff in the world), Rob and I both led the Cave Pitch, various people led the rest. A fantastic route which I even enjoyed at the time, possibly because it was dry!
Simon Caldwell - AltLd O/S - 29/Apr/11 with Pete B, Dave D, Rob, Carmen

Bob - 2011

Tobias at Home - 2011

Tobias at Home - 2011

dan-8990 - AltLd O/S - 09/Oct/10 with AO

wet shit hole!
The Green Giant - AltLd O/S - 08/Oct/10 with Dan with the van

Hidden - AltLd - 01/Oct/10

Hidden - Lead O/S - Sep/10

Less said the better - maybe it will seem more classic in the morning!
Slick - AltLd - 27/Jun/10 with Kevin Vans-Colina

pre-Alps training! Rich lead cave pitch
Egons Issy - 27/Jun/10 with Kate Standeven, Kevin Vans-Colina, Richard Nicholson

Chimney pitch is the hardest. Feet feel like they could slip at any moment. Using pretty much just hands, and looping arm through in-situ rope, I got my foot up into the crack at the back allowing for a hands off rest. I was glad for my long reach as I grabbed the finish hold and swung onto it. The cave pitch started nerve racking as the hand holds are not great and the foot ledge is rather wet and it is dark. on reaching the arete feature the climb becomes easy although I still used a knee to get onto the boulder.
Lawrence Eccles - Solo O/S - 17/May/10

bit of an epic...
aipattison - AltLd dnf - 05/Dec/09 with Henry

had a bit of an epic.
sweenyt - AltLd dnf - 05/Dec/09 with UBMC

Great fun. Perfect weather for this one (piss wet and windy). Classic adventure. Chimney is the hardest bit.
decs - 19/Aug/09 with Sam

in the rain
sgl - AltLd - 19/Aug/09 with duncan

Beautiful day, 6 hour climb including a couple of tea-breaks, interesting route finding, occasionally holds consisting of decaying vegetation and then I got to lead the Cave Pitch for a finale. Quite an adventure. Punctured front and back tyres 1/4 mile from car park on the way home. Many thanks to Ped and Sue at the Red Lion in Ty'n y Groes for putting us up at such short notice!
towdman - AltLd - 28/May/09 with Daniel Armitage

Daniel Armitage - AltLd O/S - 28/May/09 with Paul Armitage

Dirty, moss filled, water fall full of dead animals. Absoluelty superb yehaa
A Crook - Lead O/S - 04/May/09 with Dom Stockton

Hidden - Lead - 2009

Hidden - AltLd β - 20/Dec/08

A banter filled expedition of the most pristine calibre. Enhance enjoyment by picking the shortest day of the year, dont start the route until 12.30, and ensure hurricane winds and zero visibility greet you at the top. dont forget headtorch, map AND compass, victory bottle of stella, and full, working waterpfoofs. Probably VDiff climbing but VERY wet, on the verge of ghyll scrambling. Final pitch must be one of the most enthralling experiences in north wales, as close to a scottish winter experience you can get with no snow. Get involved!!
david morse - AltLd - 20/Dec/08 with Todd,Lea+Ric

Hidden - AltLd O/S - 20/Dec/08

This climb is cold, wet, mossy, dark, slimey, green, scarey, in know way anywhere as easy as a Vdiff but definately one of the best climbs and mountain days out you will ever have!!!
cheeky - AltLd - 28/Sep/08 with Mark Philipson

A true adventure. It felt like climbing into a lost world due to amount of vegetation, moss and slime all the way up. Chimney pitch way beyond VD, poss upper end of VS. Don't ever expect dry conditions, it would take several Napalm strikes for pitches to be dry and free of moss! as for a clean lead, we climbed for survival. A definate must do and save for a rainy day, as this route will never be dry.
mark4344 - AltLd - 28/Sep/08 with Matt Payne

Epic and amazing (though you won't think that while you're on it). Agree with comments below - can a V-Dif include a brutally hard overhang in a very wet, mossy, snotty, slimy chimney with nothing for your feet and a leap of faith to get to the top? It'd be a shame to grade it VS though - XVD is bang on! Obviously a lot of climbers must miss the Great Chimney/converging walls pitch out, a shame as 1, it's the crux and 2, the amount of swear words you excrete going up it, especially if raining and you're wearing a big rucksack, will impress any Turrette's sufferer! The superb cave pitch is easy in comparison! Original grade XVD - Thomson sure wasn't kidding! Belter.
jimorothy - Lead O/S - 17/May/08 with Rachel Crolla

Climbed in rain
tedburt - AltLd O/S - 04/May/08 with Aaron Burdett

Hidden - 2008

Hidden - 2008

BALD EAGLE - AltLd - 11/Nov/07 with Will Wykes

Hidden - AltLd - 27/Oct/07

Dom Whillans - 2007

Hidden - 30/Sep/06

Grade? Impossible to say! Unless there is a system that copes with slime, vegetation, and dripping, greasy vertical walls, with dead sheep en route. Style? Various, and whatever worked at the time. Also scene of first proper leader fall, from the top of the great chimney, down about 5m.
Caralynh - 30/Sep/06 with Lizzie (Flicka)

Jonny M - AltLd dog - 09/Sep/06 with Andre Knirsch

Mike Bailey, Mervin Lamacraft & Adrian Fagg
PanzerHanzler - 2nd O/S - 08/Jul/06 with Mervyn Lamacraft

Ian McNeill - 2006

DanH9883 - Lead - 2006 with Julia

Steve Lenartowicz - 2005 with Clare

An interesting climb for it's grade. Heavy on atmosphere. The Converging Walls pitch from deeply suppressed memories was a little 'out there'. And I dislocated my knee for the first time whilst on the crux of the Cave Pitch. Luckily i didn't come off, it popped back in, managed to complete the lead, and the long walk back to the car!
jimshrimp - Lead - 14/Jun/04

lukewilliams - 2nd - 24/Mar/04

DerwentDiluted - AltLd - Oct/02 with J. Ellson

Hidden - Lead O/S - 09/Jun/01

Hidden - Lead O/S - Jun/01

IanGilbertJones - Lead O/S - 11/Mar/00

alan moore - Solo - 2000

runestone - 2000

Wet and slimey. Backed off after 4 pitches.
Gman - AltLd dnf - Dec/99 with Dan

Dave Musgrove Jnr - AltLd - 06/Jun/98 with Stuart Magill

ColdAndWet - Lead - 1998

Hidden - AltLd O/S - 09/Aug/97

Hidden - AltLd - 18/Jun/96

Hidden - AltLd - 1996

Hidden - AltLd - 23/Aug/95

Budge - AltLd O/S - Jul/95 with Mike Pyecroft

Ian Archer - AltLd - 24/Jun/95 with CDW

chris d williams - 24/Jun/95 with Ian Archer

cornishben - AltLd O/S - 1995

Hidden - AltLd - 05/Dec/93

Climbed with big boots, and rucksack whilst dodging the rain
RichardP - AltLd O/S - 09/Jun/91 with Steve Massey

phardman - 1990

Fopllowed by Chris B & deek on another rope. Ronan was carrying the beers - though he didn't know it.
babymoac - Lead - 25/Nov/89 with Ronan

Nick Biven - AltLd - 1989

biggianthead - 20/Jun/87 with M

Hidden - AltLd - 09/Aug/86

Hidden - Lead - 28/Jun/86

wynaptomos - AltLd O/S - Feb/86

nigehughes - AltLd - Sep/82 with Jim Hindman

leland stamper - Solo O/S - 07/Nov/81

Hidden - 1981

Nigel Bond - AltLd - 23/Sep/78 with Tony Cuddy

mikej - AltLd - 29/Jul/77 with Mike Byles

Hidden - May/77

Chris Craggs - 1975

uphillnow - Lead - 1965 with John Sargeant

Well iced throughout. Lower pitches easy. Door Jamb turned on right wall very icy, a very worrying long stride on to a very icy hold. On belay below Door Jamb a great block of ice fell on to the belay ledge 1 min after I had vacated it. Great cave difficult in near darkness. Alternate leads with Max McGlashan. RUMC meet
oldmanofmow - AltLd - 08/Feb/58

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Total votes cast 57
hard HVD5 of 28
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easy HVD20 of 28
hard VD1 of 28
VD0 of 28
easy VD0 of 28
hard HD0 of 28
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easy HD0 of 28
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