One of the jewels in Gogarth’s very ornate crown. Home to several of the benchmark routes. From the undeniable classic and ridiculously popular Dream of White Horses to the more intimidating and less frequented T-Rex. That is just half the story. Since the last guide a whole host of routes have cropped up in the most unlikely of places. If you look around the zawn and think where would I really not want to climb, then you can guarantee that someone has edged their way up it. From VS to E7 this zawn has something for everyone.
Drive straight off the A55 super highway and continue straight on through holyhead keeping the ferry port on you right, just before the road runs out turn left and follow the road signposted south stack?, that runs along the side of the harbour, as you approach the end of the road a small road branches off left with a sign for ‘Breakwater country park’. Follow this to a car park at the end.
From the car park take the main track up the hill that is steep to start with, and exhausting in the summer heat. It does flatten after 400m, where a pleasant walk that often has some rare orchids and the lesser spotted rock rose which are indemic to the maritime heathland of holyhead mountain. Eventually a fork in the track is reached, the right hand fork follows the telegraph poles to north stack, the left fork leads up to a small ‘Col’. Head over the saddle and down the descent to a great flat spot on the promontory, and the classic view of Wen Slab.
At low tide and with calm seas the routes around wen slab are access by abseiling off large blocks at the end of the promontory, to a boulder hop across the zawn to the base of your desired route. watch out for waves from the fast ferry.
Alternatively the first routes can be accessed in strong seas or during high tide by walking back up the descent path and walking around the top of wen slab on a small and exposed track. A short scramble can be made down a gully to an abseil point on blocks on the right. Abseil down this to a ledge some 20 metres above the sea, where it is easy to traverse to your choosen route.
A further alternative can be utilised for A Dream of White Horses, by carrying on carefully scrambling down to a prominent notch in the arete, where you can descend the groove and traverse onto the slab.
Hydrophobia 45m HVS 5a
An alternative first pitch to the next route. Climb the square cut chimney right of the start of Dde and then move left to join and finish as for the parent route.
C. Jones, S. Hoste, S. Smith Oct 1981
Dde 105m HVS *
A pleasant route up the RHS of the slab. Start from a boulder below a steep groove, capped by an overhang, to the right of the first chimney of Wen.
1. 150 feet 5a. Move right into a thin crack on the wall of the groove. Climb this over the bulge and continue up the crack in the slab to a good ledge and belay about 15 feet from the arete. If the lower pitch is avoided and the climb is started from the first stance of Wen, the grade is VS.
2. 50 feet 4c. Continue up the slab to belay duty in a sentry box.
3. 150 feet 5a. Climb the obvious diagonal break of flakes leading up to the left to below the small overhang. Make an awkward move up to the foot of the crack on the left of the overhang and climb this direct to the top.
J. Brown, B. Sharp 13 May 1966
Monday Club Blues E1 5c
Gains the first belay of Dream via the finger crack in the corner between the starts of Dde and Dream.
T. O’Rourke, 1990
A Dream of White Horses
150m HVS 5a ***
The girdle of the Wen Slab, from the bottom right-hand corner to the top left. A fine climb, with technically sustained climbing in elegant positions. Start from the foot of the zawn, at the foot of the groove of Dde
; or start from a notch in the arete, level with the first stance of Wen
, reached by careful scrambling another 60 feet or so down from the abseil point.
45m 5a. Climb the left edge of the groove to the ledges leading across to Wen
. Climb straight up the wall above to a large spike. Move up and right to a small niche.
25m 5a. Traverse horizontally across the slab at first and then diagonally up to reach the spike on the above pitch.
25m 5a. Traverse horizontally left with increasing difficulty to join the Wen
35m 4c. Move up and then traverse left along an obvious line of diagonal flakes for about 15m to a good ledge. Continue in the same line, but higher and harder until the line peters out. Climb down to the left to a short broken chimney, about 6m right of The Concrete Chimney.
45m 4c. Traverse left to The Concrete Chimney
and across a slab to a peg under the roofs. Climb down the rib on the left to easier ground, then left and up to huge spikes. Climb up and left, then down to another peg. Swing down and across on to the final slab. Exit at the left of the slab into a final square-cut groove at the left-hand end of the overhanging barrier. Climb this groove to the top.
E Ward-Drummond and D Pearce (Oct 18/19 1968
The classic shot of Ed Drummond & Dave Pearce climbing A Dream of White Horses, Craig Gogarth, 1968.
© Leo Dickinson www.AdventureArchive.com
2a. E1 5a
Descend from the second belay (first belay for the shorter variation) for 5 metres whilst completely ignoring the obvious line of holds which constitute the actual route! When halfway down to the Wen ledge, notice a tenuous line of white flakes leading leftwards. Climb on frail rock with laughable protection until you reach the corner. Go up this to meet the third pitch of ‘Dream‘, one third of the way along, passing a dodgy hanging flake. Belay.
Echo Beach 80m E2
An eliminate above Dream. Start from the first stance of Dream.
1. 40m 5b. Move up to gain and follow the quartz band of If boldly leftwards across Zeus to gain the belay of Wen.
2. 40m 5b. Go up left under a roof, then cross High Pressure and The Quartz Icicle to join and finish as for The Quartz Icicle Original Finish.
Mal Duff, T. Dailey (1980)
If 62m HVS
Seldom climbed and may be undergraded. Start from the first stance of Dream.
1. 40m 5a. Move up to gain and follow the quartz band above Dream boldly diagonally leftwards into shallow scoops to climb over the small roof on Zeus at the left side. Follow a crack up then go right to belay on a small ledge just right of the upper part of Wen.
2. 22m 5a. Climb up and right to join Dde at the final groove.
E. Drummond, B. Whybrow, J. Rogers (25 May 1969)
Butt 80m E4
A full length eliminate climbing the steep and soapy initial wall to the right of Zeus P1, before following a long direct line up the slab right of Wen. Access from the Dream abseil to sea level.
1. 5c 20m. Start on a rock platform, just right of Zeus and the obvious groove, where a right-trending flakeline crosses the steep black wall. Go boldly up the slippery wall on edges to reach the disappointingly snappy flake. Follow this past dubious wires and precarious moves right to reach an obvious spike on the arete. A shallow groove/crackline above leads pleasantly to the base of the ledges.
2. 5b 60m. Follow a vague seam directly up the slab through the traverses of P2 of Dream and P1 of Echo Beach with spaced protection. A thin quartz seam runs down just to the left of the overlap which Zeus traverses underneath. Head for this, following it past a slight bulge onto the upper slab, traverse right over blocks at it’s top to finish up the final groove of Dde. This pitch presumably shares some common ground with Zeus and If.
Jaime Robertson, Andy Scott. 17/04/11.
Andy Scott heading up the huge top pitch of Butt E4 5c on Wen Slab, Gogarth
Photo: Scott collection
Zeus 85m E2**
Climbs the slab between Dde and Wen. Start at sea level below a groove right of Wen.
1. 85 feet 5a. Move left onto the wall and go straight up to where it steepens. Step left to a small niche then move up and bear rightwards to good ledges.
2. 145 feet 5b. Climb the crackline paralell to Wen and continue in this line across Dream and If until it is possible to move right and gain a line of small roofs. Step right and pull through these at the widest point then continue directly to take a stance on Dde below the final wall.
3. 45 feet 4b. Step right from Dde to climb a thin crack to the top.
LR & LE Holliwell (5 Sep 1970)
Wen 100m HVS ***
A very good route following the obvious chimney/crackline in the middle of the slab. Start from the bottom of the zawn, directly below the first chimney, or from the first stance depending on the tide.
1. 85 feet 5a. Climb the chimney to thread the hole. Continue up the groove to ledges and belay on the right.
2. 150 feet 4c. The crack and chimney.
3. 115 feet 5a. Climb over a bulge on the left and up a thin slanting crack to the obvious traverse line. Follow this left to grass and belays.
Joe Brown, Martin Boysen 8 May 1966
High Pressure E4 *
A 70s eliminate. Slap the slab and ride the ripples. Start from the first stance of Wen.
1. 100 feet 5c. Follow The Quartz Icicle p1 for 25 feet. Step right and forge up the bold pink slab to belay on Dream.
2. 90 feet 5b. Find a way up the section of wall between the finishes of Wen and The Quartz Icicle via “a prominent crack” and “a second narrow crackline”.
Pete Livesey, Ron Fawcett 19 July 1976.
The Quartz Icicle E2 ***
Takes a thin vein of quartz up the slab between Wen
and The Concrete Chimney.
Start from the first stance of Wen
120 feet 5b. Move diagonally left to the foot of the quartz vein. Follow the vein to where it opens to a crack. Climb the crack and continue to belay on Dream
in a broken chimney about 20 feet right of The Concrete Chimney.
80 feet 5b. The Diamond Finish.
Climb diagonally rightwards to gain a small curving groove. Continue rightwards to a thin diagonal crack in the slab. Climb up and left to a crack which leads to a junction with the top of Wen.
about routefinding on this pitch.
Ed Drummond, Ben Campbell-Kelly (p1 9 Nov 1968, p2 31 Aug 1969).
Variation: The Quartz Icicle Original Finish
2a. 80 feet E2 5b
Climb straight up, then left to join a crack. Follow this to a jutting overhang and step left onto the lip. Move up the slab with difficulty, then back right and up the crack more easily to the top.
Ed Drummond, Ben Campbell-Kelly 9 Nov 1968.
The Concrete Chimney HVS ***
Start from the first stance of Wen.
1. 145 feet 5a. Follow the obvious diagonal line leading leftwards to the arete overlooking the chimney. Climb the steep bold and delicate slab above to gain a thin vertical crack. Climb the steep wall above on large holds in bubbly rock and move left above the overhang. Continue to belay on Dream in the chimney.
2. 80 feet 5a. Climb across the overlaps and slabs to the left into an overhanging groove. Climb this and step right at the top, on to the final bulge of the chimney.
Peter Crew, Joe Brown 12 Feb 1967
Variation: The Concrete Chimney Direct Finish
2a. 70 feet E1 5a. Chimney climbing in a sensational position. Climb straight up the final overhanging section of the chimney on appalling rock.
LJ Wood, J Entwistle Sep 1967
Link up: The Concrete Dream HVS
An excellent combination that gives a great way across the slab combining the amazing main pitch of The Concrete Chimney, with the last pitch of Dream… Start by abseiling down to belay above the first pitch of Wen, or climb Wen to this point.
1. 5a 50m. As for The Concrete Chimney p1 to the same often-busy belay of Dream….
2. 4c 45m. As for Dream…p4
Rubble E7 83m.
The softest route in the world (at the time Hubble was regarded as the hardest route in the world). The concrete chimney that The Concrete Chimney climbs 3m of. The most obvious line at Gogarth.
1 33m. 6a. Super steep out of the cave at the bottom on the finest of Welsh pebble dashing. Move left out of the concrete to belay at the end of T-Rex, pitch 1. Appalling protection.
2 27m. 6a. Follow T-Rex to the huge ceiling and go through the right end of this to join The Concrete Chimney and belay.
3 23m. 5a. As for The Concrete Chimney Direct Finish. .
Paul Pritchard, Leigh McGinley (AL). (on-sight). (10/91). Second ascent by Caff and Nick Bullock
Games Climbers Play Original Start 30m E6 6b **
The amazing bubbly line right of the corner of T-Rex. Unfortunately the initial moves are brick hard with difficult to place protection, a bad landing and are out of keeping with the rest of the pitch which is truly amazing. It gains the belay at the end of pitch 1 of T-Rex. A fantastic outing in its own right and could be combined with Metal Guru/The Golden Bough or Rubble.
Dave Pearce, Ed Drummond 26/27 Sep 70, (magnificent and unhinged skyhook frenzy). FFA Ron Fawcett and Gill Kent, 1979. Graded E4 6a in the 1981 suuplement! Climbed free in combination with Rubble/The Concrete Chimney
by Mike Twid Turner & Grant Farquhar (AL) 1996, not sure if second free ascent of the Original Start
Games Climbers Play
A somewhat crazy epic wandering line. Described as originally climbed. A free version is for mad bastards only. Any takers?
1. 30m Aid or E6 6b free. Games Climbers Play Original Start.
2. 30m Aid. Reverse the T-Rex traverse to climb up into the corner of Metal Guru. Make a huge pendulum down and left to an obvious niche and find a belay.
3. 20m 5c. From the niche, climb past a roof to a small rib (peg) and climb the steep wall above to a ramp. Follow this leftwards to the belay ledge (old pegs).
4. 40m 5c. Gain Dream and finish as for this.
Dave Pearce, Ed Drummond (AL) 26/27 Sep 70 (Aid)
Hardback Thesaurus 30m E8 ** (1988)
“Climbing calls are revised at Gogarth ‘breaking’ be a lot more common than taking in” From Ed Douglas’s glorious commentary to the film Gogarth.
Go on a diet for this one. Start at a tiny flake/groove. Trend diagonally out left then out right to an orange quartzy break (crucial 2.5 cam slot). Up left to overlap and traverse right. Either arrange skyhooks and small pieces of thread, or stuff the overlap full of small cams. Arrange skyhooks above the roof. Pullover the overlap onto the upper slab, utilising a heel to bring you closer to the rock, then run it out up the twin ramps up rightwards to hidden pocket and the sanctuary of the T-Rex traverse line. Traverse right to the belay. Terrifying 60 foot skyhook popping fall optional.
Johhny Dawes, Bobby Drury (Ground-up) 15 May 1988. At the time graded E7 and considered to be the first ground up first ascent of an E7. Current concensus is that this route is in fact E8!
2nd Ascent : Mike Twid Turner 1990s.
T-Rex 115m E3 ***
A real man eater of a crack guards the upper section of the route, where the climbing is easier but still involved, inspiring and overwhelmingly good. Start by hoping across boulders at low tide to reach to bottom of an obviously strenuous slot, that leads about 15m up the cliff, about 15 metres left of the true concrete chimney.
1 40m 5c. Start up the chimney, until it turns into off-width, where it requires some pumpy laybacking to exit the feature into the corner/groove above. Climb this until a selection of pegs, where it is possible to traverse right along obvious large pockets to a belay on what remains of a cluster of pegs, and some wires.
2 35m 5b. Climb the wall above and follow some cracks to just below the roof to arrange some gear, before descending slightly to sneaky traverse left along a quartz seam. A bold step over a bottomless groove/corner continue up easier ground to belay in a corner just below the traverse on the last pitch of Dream.
3 40m 4c. Climb up to and then traverse as for the last pitch of Dream.
Ed Drummond, LE Holliwell, D.Pearce, J.Rogers (2pts) 8/6/69. Second ascent Richard McHardy. FFA Pat Littlejohn 1971
Variation: T-Rex Original Finish E3
3a 35m 5b/c. Climb up to join Dream. Traverse left along this for a few metres then climb the steep groove left of The Golden Bough and ground above.
E.Drummond, LE Holliwell, D.Pearce, J.Rogers (2pts) 8/6/69. FFA P.Littlejohn 1971
Variation: The Golden Bough Finish E4 5c 35m
3a. 35m 5c. Follow T-Rex to Dream and finish via the golden groove directly above.
E Drummond, C Dale July 1973.
The obvious direct on T-Rex
. 50m 6a. Start as for T-Rex
but continue up the corner above the traverse to rejoin T-Rex
on the final bit of p2.
Choose a finish, most appropriately The Golden Bough
Steve Long, Chris Parkin 13 July 1989. One of the top 5 E4s in the UK according to Tim Neill.
Games Climbers Play Direct
E4/5 (1 pt. Aid) **
Start at the next groove left of T-Rex.
1. 20m 5c. Climb the groove to the overhang. Pull over this and move up left to a spike. Climb the groove above and step right to a small belay ledge.
2. 30m 5c. Climb steeply up the cracks on the left to reach the obvious niche and junction with the original route. Continue up this to the belay.
3. 40m 5c. As for Games Climbers Play p4.
Described in A Game One Climber Played Chapter 11 of Deep Play by Paul Pritchard.
Pat Littlejohn, Richard (Nipper) Harrison (1 point) 29 May 1977
(It’s a) Broad Church E6/7 77m
1 20m 6a. Start at a groove left of the start of Games Climbers Play. Go up the groove to a bulge. Swing left and go up to a peg belay.
2 12m 6b. Hard work allows progress up the groove, past a peg and a warthog, to a rest. Reluctantly carry on and swing right to belay on Games Climbers Play. There was a warthog on first ascent to protect traverse right but it snapped in hands of second on first ascent.
3 20m 5c. Follow Games Climbers Play p4 to join Dream and belay.
4 35m 6a. Go up and left and pull through a roof (just left of The Golden Bough Finish) to gain the top. Not clear how this relates to T-Rex Original Finish. (Alternatively, don’t bother – finish up Dream instead for a well earned panad) Pegs placed off aid ground up so possible to be replaced on lead if keen.
Nick Dixon, Noel Craine (AL). (2/5/97). Reliant on in-situ gear and carabiners: E6 if good, E7 if not.
Variation: The Collection Plate E7 6b
1a 20m 6b. A direct start to Broad Church, start left of first pitch, climb wall to roof traverse right and pull over roof into shallow groove (peg?), climb up to belay on first pitch.
Nick Dixon and N Craine (1997)
Climbers on Mr Softy
Mister Softy E6 80m
A fine outing up the back wall of the zawn. Start at the base of the obvious pillar approximately 10m left of T-Rex.
1 15m. 5b. Climbs the obvious pillar to a small overlap. Pull over this into a decomposing groove and follow this to a disappointing stance, old pegs.
2 40m. 6b. Move left into a groove (passing 2 old pegs) and climb up and right onto a hanging slab. Follow this to more old pegs, rest. Weird moves leftwards and upwards bail round an arête into a groove. Follow this, where angels tread to fear. Upwards and leftwards to join The Janitor Finish, halfway along it’s traverse. Belay here.
3 25m. 6a. Climbs the obvious groove above to a deep slot. Traverse recklessly leftwards to a short hanging groove. From the top of this, exit rightwards onto the Dream of White Horses slab. Finish up this with disconcerting difficulty
G.Smith, A.Wainwright (AL ground up). (30/8/94). Repeated by G Farquhar and N Craine (AL) 96 not sure if second ascent or not.
The Mad Brown E7 80m
A fabulous expedition up the looseness left of Mister Softy. None of the pitches are excessively serious or difficult.
1 20m 6a/b. Climb the first 7 metres of Mister Softy to a large fin. Swing round left and cross the wall on good holds to gain a straight crack leading to a roof. Surmount this to gain a wide crack and good resting holds. Traverse left and stupidly enter the huge hole. Belay on in-situ ice pegs and a cam 4.
2 35m 6b. Move out left, peg runners, and grasp a suitcase shaped thread block. Good holds lead up to a crack. Slap for the short arête on the left and gain the slab above with difficulty. In-situ ice peg, possible belay. Follow the Conan traverse to belay on the in-situ thread of Mister Softy, just right of the pegs. Good belay.
3 25m 6a. Follow the top pitch of Mister Softy for 7 metres, up the wide-open groove to a good spike and arrange protection. Step down and swing left round a fin to gain diagonal cracks. Go up to an obvious hand jam and left into a niche, peg runners. Exit the niche, left to attain a sloping boss. Cross the headwall leftwards for 5 metres to better holds in the mosaic choss. Go straight up the shallow groove in obscure holds to the roof. Surmount this in a position of sensational rope drag.
G.Smith, A.Wainwright (AL). (1996). Abseil inspection after numerous days of ground up attempts ended near top of pitch 2. Repeated by Belgians
. No jokes about chocolate and paedophiles please.
Notes: The first two pitches are difficult to escape from and stay dry. (Unless you are blessed like Leo and Noel and happen to leaving the cave on the lowest tide ever). One possibility would be to trail an abseil rope, though this may dislodge loose stuff from the lip, without great care.
Conan the Librarian E6 *** 95m
The first pitch combined with The Janitor Finish gives an outstanding outing. Well protected and highly recommended space walking. The line of this route is truly gobsmacking. It goes up the inside of the arch underneath the promontory opposite Wen slab and then traverses across the outrageous back wall of the zawn underneath A Dream of White Horses. Abseil off the promontory down the Uhuru wall opposite Wen slab to reach the base of the zawn (tide dependent). The right hand side of the Uhuru wall contains a massive groove, the line of The Unridable Donkey. Start just right of this.
1. 25m. 6b. Climb diagonally rightwards up the slab to gain the right arete of the wall. Step right around the arete into an amazing bottomless hanging groove. Storm up this with immaculate palming and bridging until it is possible to exit rightwards to a hanging belay off rusty pegs and cams in the horizontal crack under the roof at the top of the groove.
. 12m. 6a. The Janitor Finish
The most popular way of doing the route is one of the best trad routes in the world. From the belay, gain the wide open groove up and right. Follow the wide groove until level with the obvious traverse right across the zawn.
3. 18m 5c. Follow the traverse line right to eventually gain a hanging stance on the Wen slab side of the arch.
4. 25m.5c. The Golden Bough, or a more sensibly follow the crowds across Dream
Johnny Dawes and Craig Smith (alt leads) August 1986. It rained most of the time we were on the first ascent.
Second ascent Paul Pritchard & Dave Green, 1986
Variation: Conan the Librarian Original Finish E7 **
2a. 36m. 6b. Gain the wide groove of the second pitch Continue up this until it peters out in steep territory. Many peg runners hereabouts.Traverse desperately leftwards on a very narrow slab sandwiched between overhangs and continue left to reach easier ground on The Unridable Donkey, optional stance. Finish up and right skirting the edge of the orange scarred rockfall area.
J.Dawes and S.Donahue, 1986 (1 PA, standing on a peg by mistake) FFA S.Mayers, G.Farquhar (1992)
Johnny Dawes on Conan. Photo by Heinz Zak.
The Undertaker E7 6c 25m
A direct start to Conan the Librarian, starting 7m around to the right of the original, under the arch. Belay on a ledge, accessible approximately 2hrs after high tide. It takes the obvious wide crack until a swing left on a spike can be made to a peg which can be backed up by RP’s. Swing out wildly across the roof to gain the base of the Conan groove and continue as for that route.
The Unrideable Donkey 60m E7
The massive open corner in the arch is a stubborn little number. The top pitch has been affected by rockfall but is still climbable.
1. 40m 6b. “The groove of grooves”. Climb the corner to where it begins to overhang. Desperately bridge/thrutch past 3 poor pegs. From the 3rd peg grasp up and left to a wobbly niche and a rest. Bridge back to lip of second roof and climb the groove to a warthog below the third roof. Exit leftwards to belay ledge.
2. 20m 5c. Step back right and continue in the same line skirting the edge of the rockfall scar.
Paul Pritchard, Nick Dixon 12 July 1987
James McHaffie on The Unrideable Donkey. Copyright Alastair Lee
Igdrazil E2/3 53m
Climbs the steep slabby wall opposite Wen Slab, crossing Uhuru at half height. Start at a group of isolated pinnacles at the base of the wall to the right of Broken Mirror.
1. 30m 5c. Head up rightwards towards a cave then go straight up a groove for 6 metres. Go left then up the wall (peg) then trend up leftwards to the belay ledge of Uhuru.
2. 25m 5c. Step left off the ledge and climb a short groove and ramp back up right until above the belay. Continue straight up the wall (peg) to the top.
LE & LR Holliwell 1 point aid (18 May 1969)
Broken Mirror E3
A bold and serious route up the centre of the wall. Start at a ledge at the centre of the base of the wall, 25 feet right of the start of Uhuru.
1. 25m 5c. Climb cracks bearing slightly rightwards to a ledge on the right after 10 metres. Step left and climb up to the belay of Uhuru.
2. 20m 5c. The obvious crack leads directly to the ramp (of Igdrazil). Cross this then climb thin cracks to the top, unclear whether the final section is common with Igdrazil.
Ron Fawcett and Pete Livesey (19 July 1976)
A fine route which climbs the steep wall opposite Wen Slab. From the foot of The Trap, traverse right round the arete and cross the foot of the Thor chimney. Continue traversing round the wall then make a short ascending traverse to a small stance with a large flake about 20 feet above the boulders.
1. 25m 5a. Step right and climb a series of thin diagonal cracks until it is possible to reach a small ledge on the right. Move up then back left to the continuation of the cracks and follow these to a good ledge (old pegs) and belay.
2. 20m 4c. Traverse horizontally right to the foot of a hidden shallow corner. Climb the corner to a good ledge. Move right into the loose groove and follow this until it is possible to move left near the top.
D Alcock, G Rogan 2 points aid (AL) (12 Feb 1967)
Boogie Woogie VS 56m
The rib right of Thor.
CJ Phillips, M Wallis (8 Aug 1988)
Thor VS 56m
Takes the slanting diagonal break on the left hand side of the Uhuru wall. Start from the foot of The Trap.
1. 28m 4c. Traverse right around the arete to a wide chimney blocked by an overhang. Climb the bed of the chimney to a small cave. Climb the steep crack in the right wall and a short chimney through the overhang to a small stance.
2. 28m 4c. Continue up the obvious crackline, trending right all the way to the top.
J Brown, P Crew (AL) (6 Jan 1967)
The Cryptic Rift
A hidden and dark underworld, that resides inside the promotory that britomartis climbs. To reach the first few route, abseil down the front lefthand corner (looking out), as for the boulder hop approach to the base of Wen Slab. A short distance down from the top is a rift that runs through the promontory, descend to a ledge near the outside of this and continue down into the rift for a further 15m to a sloping tidal ledge on the right.
Escapegoat 15m E1
This would appear to take the line of least resistance to the boulder choke/ledge at the mouth of the rift. Scramble off.
Crispin Waddy, Johnny Dawes 29 July 1987
Agrophobia E4 5c 65m
Classic Waddy madness.
1. 15m 5c. Leftward slanting crack to a hanging belay.
2. 10m 4c. Gain and belay on the boulder choke/ledge. Possible escape by scrambling off.
3. 20m 5c. The wall on the right to a thread. Continue up the crack to belay below an overhang.
4. 20m 5b. Finish up right.
Crispin Waddy, Conroy Malem, 29 May 1986
Dislocation Dance E3 5c ** 27m
An amazing route ideal for those days when the sun is just too hot. This atmospheric route virtually loops itself end just above where you started, takes in some territory for the grade.
1. 20m 5c. A crazy sounding expedition across the zawn.
2. 10m 4c. Agrophobia p2. Scramble off.
Crispin Waddy and Dave Holmes 26 July1986
Evidently Chickentown E5 6b 35m
Crispin Waddy, Dave Holmes 26 July 1987
More Waddy madness. Hard for E5, confusing route description (and rightly so) but good.
The Wild Underdog E7 6b/c 30m
The flake line right of Evidently Chickentown. Start up that route, follow the chimney to the bulge at it’s crux. Step down and right for 3 metres to a ridiculous 1m square slab on the arête. Grasp the huge flake and bar relentlessly into the hanging groove. Loosely ascend this to a large thread in the roofs above. A remarkable route.
George Smith July 1996
Instant Van Goch
E5 6b 23m
A delightful trip up the painted wall, underneath Wen Zawn arch (faces west). From the ‘dam’, step onto the wall and climb diagonally left on magnificent holds to a good rest. Venture up and right, past two pegs, to gain an enormous undercling. From this, lunge for the very dubious looking block and continue in the same line leftwards to a huge spike. Lower off. Magnificent varied climbing and so forth.
George Smith, James Harrison,1996.
The Britomartis Wall
Minute Man HVS
The nose of the buttress between Thor and The Trap.
1. 25m 4b. Climb the groove to a large ledge.
2. 25m 5a. Climb up to an overhang, traverse right underneath this into a chimney and follow this and it’s right wall to the top.
LE & LR Holliwell, J Rogers 25 Aug 1970
Start beneath the right arete of The Trap, left of Minute Man.
1. 25m 5b. Take the left side of the arete to the large ledge of Minute Man.
2. 20m 5a. Follow Minute Man to the overhang, turn the overhang on the left and finish up the arete.
D Howard Jones, J Brown 19 Oct 1978
The Trap HVS
The obvious chimney on the front face of the buttress. Start from the foot of the abseil on ledges.
1. 25m 4c. Get in there. Climb diagonally outwards to the overhang and up the narrow section above. Move left where it widens to a large ledge and belay.
2. 15m 4a. Continue up the shattered groove on the right and up the final wide chimney.
DE Alcock, G Rogan 4 Feb 1967
Friday’s Extendable Arms E2 5c
A useful and exciting alternative start to Britomartis when the state of the sea would involve an enema climbing round into the groove from the ledge. Start in the base of The Trap. Move left to a hold on the left arête and continue steeply on good holds to the ledge (joining Gobbler’s Arête). Continue up to the second diagonal ledge and move left around the arête to find an immaculate hand traverse leading across the face to join Britomartis about halfway up it’s first pitch.
Nick Arding, Dave Pearce, 10 Oct 2003
Star of the Sea E2
Climbs the outside of The Trap.
1. 25m 5c. The chimney and crack lead to the large sloping ledge.
2. 15m 5a. Take the groove on the left to join and finish up the final few moves of Britomartis.
D Durkan (1 point) 1 Nov 1970
Gobbler’s Arete E3
Takes the left arete of The Trap.
1. 25m 6a. Climb the wall right of the arete via a ramp and cracks to the large sloping ledge.
2. 15m 5a. Climb the crack on the left to join and finish up Britomartis. Unclear if this is the same as Star of the Sea p2 or different.
B Wyvill, R Evans 10 Sep 1971
Takes a parallel line to the right of Britomartis.
1. 40m 5b. Step around the arete from the base of The Trap and strike up forcefully to follow the line of jugs to the LHS of the large sloping belay ledge.
2. 20m 5a. Move right and climb the steep crack to the top.
Gary Gibson 4 April 1980
The Sad Cow E3
A direct on Vend-T, which takes the obvious pink wall to the ledge right of Britomartis.
1. 40m 6a. Follow Vend-T to the point where it strikes up forcefully to the ledge. Step right on small flakes and climb directly, crux, to reach better holds and a little crack. Finish slightly left to the large sloping ledge.
2. 20m 5a. Vend-T p2.
Crispin Waddy and George Smith, May 1991
Magnificent steep wall climbing up the north wall of the promontary. Abseil off the front of the promontory to a large ledge above the sea and belay.
1. 120 feet 4c. A tricky traverse left gains the main line of monsterous jugs and flakes in the centre of the wall. Follow these to a small belay ledge about 10m below the top.
2. 70 feet 4c. Traverse rightwards along the easiest line to finish near the arete.
DE Alcock, G.Rogan, 11 Feb 1967
Toiler on the Sea E2
Good climbing up the crack on the wall left of Britomartis.
1. 40m 5b. Start as for Britomartis/Spider Wall. Move left to the crack and climb this to the belay ledge of Britomartis.
2. 25m 5b. Continue up the crack to the top.
Gary Gibson, D Beetlestone, 3 April 1980
Spider Wall E1
More good climbing on the wall left of Britomartis.
1. 45m 5a. Start as for Britomartis. Traverse above the lip leftwards to the base of the steep crack (Toiler on the Sea). Climb this for a few metres until it is possible to move left to a flake. Step back right and climb the shallow groove to the belay ledge of Britomartis.
2. 15m 4c. Climb diagonally leftwards into the groove. Up this to a ledge and escape on the left.
LE Holliwell, DS Potts & LR Holliwell, 29 June 1969
The Bluebottle E2
A right to left diagonal lip trip over the arch. Start as for Britomartis/Spider Wall.
1. 45m 5a. Traverse above the lip leftwards all the way to the belay of Spider’s Web.
2. 35m 5b. Move up to the roof above the belay. Turn this on the right. Follow the crack and groove above to a junction with Spider Wall. Finish up the steep crack.
Ed Drummond, B Campbell-Kelly, 30 Aug 1969
.Stanley’s Arch E2
Annie’s Arch in reverse.
1. 45m 5a. The Bluebottle p1. Belay in Spider’s Web.
2. 15m 5b. Annie’s Arch p3 in reverse.
3. 20m 5b. Annie’s Arch p2 in reverse.
S Lowe, R Cully 2005
Billy Budd E6 6b 17m
A good steep pitch with perfect rock and protection. Abseil down to the island underneath Spiders Web arch. Pendulum into the cliff and clip an in-situ nut. From here, go rightwards under the roof for more gear – pull round the roof and deal with the leaning crack above. Pull over a bulge and grab the ‘handle’ (don’t use this feature for a thread as it will break – good wires instead). The next bulge is easier, continue up Spider Wall to a belay, with difficulty.
George Smith, Crispin Waddy 1991
The 4th Dimension E7 6b/c 27m
Start from the island (the ‘whale’) underneath Spiders Web, gained by abseil from the top. Use the abseil rope to pendulum onto the wall, as for Heinous Flytrap. Follow Heinous Flytrapleftwards for 3 metres until obvious good holds lead rightwards through steep rock to an in-situ thread. Difficult moves lead leftwards to another in-situ thread. A flake on the left side of a roof leads to good holds and a vague easing of angle. It is possible to step left here into a niche and get a good shake out. Once rested, or bored, climb up rightwards to a large undercut block thing, runners and kneebars. Clip a peg on the right and make hard moves past this rightwards, crux, to gain the slab of Britomartis. A quality pitch on very good rock. Steep and safe.
Adam Wainwright 16 July 1996
Heinous Flytrap E7
Takes the left arête of the wall, then large roof crack under Barfly. Start from ‘the whale’ (see appendix A). Swing into the groove in the middle of the steep wall (on a rope).
1 17m. 6b. Climb the groove to its top then out left along the obvious undercuts (etc) to a technical kneebar crossover crux (with a ‘Greek kick’ if you want) and on up large flakes to belay where it eases at jugs in a slight recess with a small spike.
2 10m. 6b. Continue up a short crack on the left, then swing out left onto a huge flake and duck round and under and then move up to belay at the left hand end of the obvious large roof crack.
3 13m. 6b. Follow the crack rightwards to lip.
4 20m. 4c. Easier to top.
Crispin Waddy, George Smith (AL) 23 July 1992. (Ground-up stylee, except top pitch which was red-pointed on gear).
Appendix A – Access, comfort and escape.
Abseil straight down to the route from a thread under a boulder above the wall, clipping into the top two bits of in-situ gear on the not yet finished “4th Dimension & how to get there”. This enables the swing to the groove to be made easily from the whale-like island. However, it’s best to belay on it. The 2nd is a very uncomfortable hanging belay. If the belayer lowers off, with the rope clipped into separate runners, then one can, by pulling on alternative ropes, set up a swing that allows a good ledge, about 7m up Spiders Web, to be gained. This is a much more comfortable belay. This method also allows escape to be made. The second can then prussik (only about 15m) to regain the route.
Appendix B – Tides and seepage.
The island seems to remain above water at high neap tides, unless it is rough. However, it may be hard to swing into the route at this state of the tide.The 1st pitch is often damp-ish at the bottom in the morning, but this bit isn’t too bad.
Access to routes found below.
From the Wen Zawn Promontory, traverse (right looking out) towards North Stack for 50m to a small wall. Abseil from here (3 pegs and good gear) to easy ground below Ipso Facto
Spiders Web area
Spiders Web E5 68m
A thrilling trip with some awkward moves. Good gear, standard rack.
Start from the foot of Genuflex.
1 18m 5c. Pitch one is pegless and tough.
2 25m 6b. Bridge the chimney to its top. Extend the web with sling. Bridge down to the lip. Reverse arm bar a slot, good wire #1. Swing out across the lip and layback vigorously.
3 15m 5a. ..and so on.
Joe Brown and Peter Crew (A1) Aug 1968. Rated as “Fairly Impossible” free climbing prospect in the 1990 guidebook graded list.
George Smith, Tim Bonner proved it possible in June 91.
Thread about Arnis Strapcans and Spiders Web here
Bar Fly E6/7 6b
From the base of Spiders Web chimney, swing out across the straight crack leading towards the lip of the Web. Finish at a spike in a groove. Wires, cams. E6 in bone dry conditions, E7 in the usual Wen Zawn conditions. Best visited at the end of the day, when it comes into the sun.
George Smith. June 1991
The Boston Struggler E5/6 70m
A very good route which deserves to become a classic
1 23m. 5c. Climb pitch 1 of Blowout, then layback flakes leading out leftwards from the huge wide chimney left of Spiders Web. Belay at the arête.
2 13m. 6b. Swing into the wild roof slot and jam round the lip with more gambling bars than Monte Carlo. Belay in the groove above.
3 34m. 5c. Swing round right and climb the gently overhanging scoop of knobs and flakes above the Web, finishing rightwards. A bit loose.
George Smith, Dave Kendall. June 1991
A complex route which climbs a chimney under the arch. Start as for Genuflex.
1. 15m 4a. Move right around the corner and step across the foot of the chimney. Climb the steep wall until it is possible to move across into the chimney under the overhangs. Good stance and belay.
2. 20m 5b. Climb down for 10 feet then diagonally left across to the arete and a poor stance.
3. 15m 4c. Climb the wall above, move right and over a bulge to easy ground.
Joe Brown, BA Fuller 18 Sep 1967
Blowout E2/3 5c
Start as for Genuflex.
1. 30m 5b/c. Take the right hand chimney/crack directly, then break right onto a slab after the first bulge, follow another crack on the right to a belay on Archway.
15m 5c. Move up the slab above then climb rightwards into the loose corner, use good footholds to traverse right again to the arete and blindly grope round this. Ascend the balancy left arete above on uninspiring holds and continue to the top. This pitch may have suffered some rockfall in the initial corner/groove.
M. Wragg, G.Hardhill (1 pt) 1 June 1977
There appears to have been some fresh rockfall on Blowout – it is certainly much harder and more serious now than the E2 book grade would suggest.
Genuflex E2 5b 40m
The wide crack in the edge of the wall opposite the arch. Start from the sloping ledge on the arete directly opposite Britomartis. Climb the deep chimney to the overhang. Pass this with difficulty and continue up the steep cracks, moving right to the top.
Peter Crew, Baz Ingle 18 Feb 1967. Originally graded VS.
(Will Mawr gets the) Vulcan Lip Lock E4/5 6a
Is found left of Genuflex. As one descends to Spiders Web, one passes a smooth North Stack like wall, which one may be tempted to test ones fingers upon. Take RP’s etc. Gain a ledge at 3 metres and climb a short left facing corner to a thin flake which leads quite boldly, to a square roof, thread. Go right around this on the right, crux. Step right to an easy flake and follow this to the top.
Stevie Haston, Celia Bull June 1988
Forgery E5 6b 34m
Follow Will Mawr around the roof then traverse left across the lip to a groove, bold. Climb this and a vague rib till trending left gains a peg on Annie’s Arch.
Crispin Waddy, John Vlasto July 1989
Fibonacci E5 6a 35m
Climb the centre of the North Stack-like wall by a thin crack to the middle of the roof, pull through this, crux, to the second roof passing a loose undercut flake. Move right carefully in to the groove on Forgery and follow this route to the top, passing a peg.
D.Rudkin, M.Stygall 9/7/11
The topo on page 197 of the Gogarth North guide is incorrect; the one shown here displays the correct lines of the routes on this wall.
30m E1, 5b
The chimney line and corner to the right of the Ipso Facto
Climb the chimney to the overhang, pull up into a loose corner and continue to the top.
A Morley, D Ferguson, M Rowlands (21/12/97)
Ipso Facto 30m VS 4c
The steep little wall right of the descent gully.
M Howells, B Whybrow 18 Feb 1967
Stallion VS 4c
Climbs the crack left of Ipso Facto.
Paul Dewhurst, Colin Buckley Nov 1984. Rediscovered as Kraken by P.A.James, A.Leary in April 2008
Annie’s Arch E1 105m
A marvellous excursion at a reasonable grade through territory usually reserved for much harder routes, It traverses above the big sea cave and continues the traversing theme across Spider Wall.
Start as for Ipso Facto
below the easy wall 15m left of the huge arch.
20m 4c. Climb cracks in the wall and step right to the arete. Climb this until a step across into a groove can be made, belay.
20m 5a. Step down and right and cross the wall with trepidation. Continue to the arete and move up to a hole. Traverse down and right to a slab which is descended to a corner, belay.
15m 5a. Traverse right to gain the arete, loose, step down and make a wild move round a big fin to step right onto a slab. Descend this for 5m to a corner and belay, on the lip of the cave. (As for Spiders Web
30m 5a. Step down to a crack and follow this right for 3m. Make a descending traverse to a big flake on Spider Wall
. Move up to a big spike and traverse right into the next crack system, (Britomartis
). Descend this for 3m until a traverse right leads to the large sloping ledge and a belay at the top.
20m 5a. Vend-T
B.Campbell-Kelly, AJD Ferguson (1 pt) 11/12.6.70
Variation: The Archie Gemmill Variant E2 5b
I haven’t felt that good since Archie Gemmill scored against Holland in 1978 YA HOOR!
Alan Leary and Howard Jones May 1998
30m VS 4c.
Steep climbing up the wall to the left of the descent. Start below the first groove along the ledges, and climb it to the top, most easily on the right wall after the initial few feet. The groove direct is harder and more serious.
T.Taylor, D.Garner (1970)
Climbs the vague crack 5m right of Mr. Seal. Go up the crack to a ledge and bear left. A step right gains a quartz jug and the top.
J.Dalton, F.Williams. (11/4/90).
Mr Seal 30m VS 4c
Nice climbing, although bold in places. Start left of Mustang, at the next groove along the ledges. Climb the groove/ramp, on big holds at first, until a couple of trickier moves lead to a ledge. The small wall on the right is then crossed to gain a triangular slab, and a finish is made up the groove at the back.
AD Newton, AJ Howells, CM Parry (25/08/1981)
Miura 32m Originally graded VS 4c it appears to be much harder
Start at a pointed block on the traverse along the ledges, left again from Mr Seal, and beneath the third groove along the ledges. Climb the groove until it leans leftwards. Traverse left and climb a bulge and continue (loose) to a small overlap. Pass the overlap on the left. Finish leftwards then rightwards.
T Taylor, M Barraclough 5 May 1970
The Tail 32m E3 5c
Start as for Miura. Climb the groove direct to the top.
J Brown, D Jones, 19 Oct 1978
Huncho E2 5b
Quite a serious pitch. This takes the shallow groove 3m left of The Tail. Climb the groove, bold, to a bulge, lots of poor runners. Move up carefully to gain easier ground. Finish up left on weird but excellent rock. Shares common ground with Miura.
Martin Crook, Andy Newton, 18 April 1994
Start at the the LHS of the ledge.
1 25m 4c. Climb diagonally leftwards to a steep groove and belay.
2 20m 4c. Finish up the groove.
T Taylor, D Garner 4 April 1970
“I was belaying at mate when I was about 16. He took an 80ft fall straight into the sea. The chap Simon didnt really hurt himself badly but he did not really go climbing again. We all thought it was the first wet point ascent!” Twid.
Flooze VS 4c 37m
A much better way of climbing Maverick. A good pitch at the grade. Start as for Maverick. Climb up leftwards around the shallow arête and up into a shallow groove. Climb directly up the wall, on excellent holds, steep, to reach the top. Belay well back.
D.Ferguson, C.Brown, 1993. Rediscovered as Comandero by Andy Newton & Martin Crook 1 April 1994