HS trad climber new to Bristol - what rack? which routes?

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 brizzledrizzle 20 Aug 2022


I've just moved to Bristol from North Wales. Up there I was mostly trad climbing with my dad (borrowing his rack, leading HS, seconding HVS). 

In Bristol, I've only got a sport rack currently, so I've been to Quarry 3 (leading 6b, enjoyed the multi pitch routes Celestine and Fear no Evil).

  1. What are some of the best easy routes for my first taste of Avon trad? (Easy Route looks like a corker)
  2. What does a standard Avon trad rack look like?
  3. Are there any routes doable with a single rope? (I'll be buying a standard rack of wires and hexes, but would love to hold off on half ropes for now)
 dvidg 20 Aug 2022
In reply to brizzledrizzle:

Easy Route can definitely be done with a single rope - see the pictures here on UKC. It's not exactly hard climbing.

Personally, I don't own my own full rack, so mostly climb with friends. I will say though that Avon has a lot of tree belays, so long slings, cordelette or rope-built belays are necessary.

Dave Talbot has a good list of easy routes:

Post edited at 09:23
 Dave Cundy 20 Aug 2022
In reply to brizzledrizzle:

In truth, the aforementioned list is about the limit of it.  The gorge is a bit limited below HVS.  Once you get into that grade  it opens up quite a few more possibilities.

Ditto, Wintour's Leap.

 Mick Ward 20 Aug 2022
In reply to brizzledrizzle:

You'll get much better replies from others with far more up to date local knowledge. 

Many easy Avon routes (e.g. around the Sea Walls) are highly dangerous due to poor protection. There have been fatalities. Please take great care. 

Would get at least two full sets of wires and another set of small wires (say Rock 1 to 4 sizes). And a couple of bigger hexes, just in case. Many Avon routes wander all over the place as the pioneers were (understandably) trying to find the lines of least resistance. But this means that generally you want double ropes. You also want lots of extenders. You may need to change your krabs over to longer quickdraws for trad. You also want some longer slings for even more extending (e.g. on traverses). 

Route finding can be tricky. 

Much in situ gear used to be highly suspect. But I believe a lot has been replaced? Others will confirm this (or not).

Suspension Bridge Buttress is a different type of rock, more like Peak limestone, in my view safer and easier to read. Some great HVS/E1 routes like Hell Gates, Earl of Perth, Limbo for you further down the line. 


 PaulJepson 20 Aug 2022
In reply to brizzledrizzle:

Morpheus, Nightmare and Sinister are the best <VS routes. A standard lime trad rack will be fine for avon. You'll ideally want some medium cams for horizontal breaks (start up the first pitch of Sinister and you'll see what I mean). 

 CurlyStevo 20 Aug 2022
In reply to brizzledrizzle:

The gorge does have some good routes although there is tonnes of other venues around and about too. Goblin Coomb, Shorn cliff, wintours symmonds yat, dartmoor all have good routes in the easier grades etc. Cornwall and pembroke are great for weekend trips. Swanage and Portland are doable for a day trip also, although swanage is fairly serious in the main (but can be really good). 

Typically with limestone the issues are polish especially on easier routes, loose rock (especially on less travelled routes), less gear on many but not all routes.

Just use the UKC logbook feature and look for routes with atleast 1 if not 2/3 stars and then read the guidebook description, bold routes are normally mentioned.

I'd advise single pitch routes would be better to start with Goblin Coomb could be good?

Half ropes do come in their own on Limestone especially for mutlipitch routes. The gear can be spaced and to either side of the climbing.

Post edited at 10:21

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