Climbs 77
Rocktype Chalk
Altitude 2m a.s.l
Faces S

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Rick climbing Cold Front (C5+) © Lee Harrison

Crag features

Chalk sea cliffs with many established climbs up to 25m in height. The chalk is variable in stability and care must be taken. There is in-situ gear consisting of bolts, warthogs, and bull dogs. These are not maintained by the BMC. Bear in mind that the medium in which the gear is fixed is not totally reliable. Many routes have lower-offs which are generally reliable but need inspection given that no organisation is responsible for their maintainance. The crag is also an excellent venue for traversing with possibilities beyond those described in the CC guide. The crag is largely tidal with the exception of the routes to the West of the Pipe area.

The Climbers Club guide to the crags is available online for free here.

Since publication all the 4x4 and Six of the Best Routes have fallen down. The Seaward face routes were still present, except Cold Front.

Please adhere to the following ethics:

* Only use the established holds on the routes. Do not create intermediate holds.

* Axes should be gently placed in the holds in order not to damage them or cause the surrounding chalk to fracture. Do not treat the cliffs as an ice climbing venue as you will damage the holds with heavy swings and contribute to sections of the route fracturing off.

* Mono point crampons should also be used in order to preserve the placements.

There is an agreement with the National Trust that there is no topping-out in order to protect the rare flora along the top of the crag and doing may compromise access. Bird bans have sometimes been applied. Please check the BMC access notes by the following the link below.

Chalk grades are quoted as being one to two grades higher than equivalent mixed grades in the Southern Sandstone guidebook. Given that there are no chalk grades in the logbook, I have uniformly converted to mixed M grades by uniformily lowering by 1 grade. Bear in mind that C grades are difficult to compare to M grades. Whilst the sequence of hooks may be easier, the routes are a lot more commiting due to the instability of chalk and falling on in-situ gear not recommended. Routes may also change with time due to collapses, sometimes stripping bolts locally. Check that there is sufficient in-situ gear before attempting a route.

Approach notes

There are notes in the Southern Sandstone Guide and this should be read as some nesting and flora exclusion zone restrictions may apply.

Please consult the BMC access and conservation section before climbing at this crag.

Restricted Access

There are two types of climbing here: ‘traditional’ Dover-style ice climbing and sport-chalk (using pre-placed gear and lower-offs). The former lie on the cliffs immediately east of the beach at Saltdean (below the Lido), and the sport-chalk routes on both this cliff and the cliff east of the beach below The Smugglers Rest pub in Telescombe Cliffs (the name of the place not the cliff). All recent activity has been on the sport-chalk routes. The coastguards at the Solent Maritime Rescue Co-ordinating Centre (MRCC), should be phoned on (02392) 552100 before and after climbing. The chalk cliffs from Brighton to Newhaven and the wave-cut platform at their base are designated as an SSSI. Although the main interest of the site is geological, some rare and uncommon plants grow on the cliff face and in the narrow strip of cliff-top chalk grassland. The cliffs support a locally important colony of breeding seabirds, and a diverse community of beetles and spiders.

Seasonal Restrictions

Dates: 1 January to 31 July

Reason: Nesting Birds

There are two access restrictions agreed with English Nature: - The seaward side of the cliff-top fence must not be disturbed as the cliff-top turf is a very rare habitat. Do not top-out, and do not abseil or top-rope from the cliff-top. If this is ignored the future access for climbers will be put in jeopardy. Most of the new-style routes are equipped with lower-offs, but anyone doing the longer routes on the Western Cliff and a few others will need to install their own lower-offs/abseil stations below the crumbling cliff-top. This would be an improvement on the previous practice on many of the routes of using slings hanging down from the fence posts to belay on at the top. The other (variable) restriction is if peregrines are nesting - no climbing within 150 metres of the nests For information on any nesting restrictions, please phone the BMC's Access & Conservation Officer on 01614 383309.

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