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Thunderbird Zawn | North Wales Climbs

Thunderbird Zawn

200m north of bridge to south stack is a prominent sea arch, with a slabby side. It is only just visible from south stack island. The routes are approached by abseiling from blocks down the outside of the arch, a sea level traverse of 40 metres leads to the routes, which are described left to right. This area can also be approached easily from the Trinity House Walls abseil followed by a sea level traverse in to the zawn. This traverse is not affected by the tide until one reaches The Flying Shed, which cannot be crossed at high tide.

Illya Kuryakin VS 4c 20m
Start on the left hand side of the slab, below the corner of Thrush. Climb the wide gash in the left wall for 5 metres, followed by the corner on the right to the top.
Adam Wainwright and Graeme Desroy, 21.05.07.

Thrush VS 4c 20m
The obvious wide corner to the left of the arête of The Man from Uncle buttress, starting at the top of the slab. Climb the corner which steepens towards the top. Pull up and right over a bulge to join the ridge. Finish up this.
Graeme Desroy and Adam Wainwright, 21.05.07.

Napoleon Solo VS 4c 25m
The arête left of The Man from Uncle. Start immediately left of The Man from Uncle and follow the quartz vein to the arête. Step left, follow left side of the arête to join and finish as for The Man from Uncle.
Graeme Desroy and Adam Wainwright, 04.06.07.

The Man from Uncle HVS 5a 25m *
This takes the front face of the thin buttress to the left of the cave below Thunderbird and opposite the arch. Climb the rippled buttress by two cracks running up the face and trend around steeply left where the cracks lead. Finish back right and follow the ridge to the top.
Ian (Wraith) Wilson and Andy Newton, 14/5/91.

Shacks Cousteau E3 5c
An exciting trip up the hanging corner left of The Flying Shed, joining this route at the apex of the zawn.
Description: climb the wall left of The Flying Shed close to the arete of the zawn and directly under the hanging corner. Follow the corner to some jammed blocks, where moves right over the apex of the zawn reach The Flying Shed. Finish up this into the grass above.
Adam Wainwright and George Smith May 2012. http://news.v12outdoor.com/category/climbing-news/page/11/
Thunderbird Zawn - Gogarth

The Flying Shed E5 6a 30m.
The obvious shed like cave thing left of Stingray. Climb up the back on huge flakes, possible belay. Bridge out across the 13 metre roof, round the lip and up the short wall. An utterly magnificent route. Large gear recommended (2x Camalot 5).
George Smith (on-sight), 1997.
Crack Eats Man Alive! E6
The obvious bottom left/top right diagonal fault line through the cave. Start further in the cave, left of Stingray.
1 6b. Surmount a flake and ascend a groove slot. Very awkward. Belay at the end of the roof.
2 6b. Cross the off-width roof into a groove. Go right into a further groove to belay.
3 6a. Ascend the groove and continue rightwards along the fault line to a wild swing around the arête. Belay on the slab.
4 4c. Easily up the wall.
George Smith, 1996.
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Sting Ray 30m E5 (1988)
A kind of counter-diagonal to Crack Eats Man Alive! with all the difficulties concentrated in the first 5m. Extremely marvellous and climbs the most beautiful rock. Start beneath a downward pointing whale’s fin on the right side of the cave.
1. 5m 6a. Gain the fin and shuffle awkwardly out and pull round into a crack. Climb the stiff crack until one can step left to a spike belay..
2. 10m. 5c. Move left onto a good hold then go left again onto the undercut wall. Climb up the arete for 5m then go right and down and around and up onto a ledge and belay as for Thunderbird.
3. 15m. 5c. Move left and go up into a groove. initially awkward moves gains the corner proper, followed by lots of scrambling to the top.
Stevie Haston and Celia Bull, Aug 1988.
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Thunderbird 37m E4
Start on the long quartz ledge, at the left hand end of the slab, under the overhangs.
1 14m 6a. Climb the obvious groove and step across the void onto a wall. Move left, peg, under the roofs, then step down around the arete. Move across to the base of a short groove. Up this, moving left to a block belay.
2 23m 5c. Climb rightwards along a quartz gangway, under a roof (peg) and move round into a groove. Follow this to a small roof, step right onto the overlap and finish up an arete.
Dave Jones and Ray Kay (AL), 15/9/87.
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The Prisoner E1/2 40m.
Takes a line into Thunderbird buttress from the right.
1 25m. 5a. Start on the slab below and right of Thunderbird at a good flake crack. Climb the weakness and go up to a steepening, before moving left across the bottomless corner to gain a hanging wall/groove. Go left around the arête, spectacular, before moving up and around into the slabby hanging groove. Cross the slab to the corner and go up weirdness to construct a belay below a steep groove.
2 15m. 5a. Climb the friable overhanging groove by a series of caterpillar-like gyrations and finish up and across.
Stevie Haston, Laurence Gouault, and Andy Newton 13/6/91.
Follower of Hopeless Causes E7
Start on the opposite side of the arch to Archie is Angry, at low tide. Abseil from the top of the arch.
1
 20m. 6a. Climb the wall to the obvious notch on the arête.
2 20m 6b. Traverse 20 metres left, just above the lip of the arch, passing various pegs (mostly rust free Titian) to a hanging stance on the left hand side, at a good crack and peg.
3
15m. 6b. Move up and lunge right to another peg. Climb up passing two more pegs to an exciting finish.
Mike Twid Turner and Louise Thomas, 14/9/95. This route took four years to complete.

The next 2 routes lie on the front slab of the sea arch.

Fab VS 4b 30m
The left hand line of the slab. Follow a right slanting crack in good rock then climb directly to the top on gradually deteriorating ground.
A. Wainwright and J. Bonnet, 02/06/07.

Lady Penelope S 30m
The right hand line on the slab. Start up a left slanting crack then trend right to finish up the arête of the slab.
J. Bonnet and A. Wainwright, 02/06/07.

Archie is Angry E6 6c 37m.
The first arch one comes to when approaching Thunderbird zawn from the South Stack steps. Climb the side of the arch facing the South Stack Island. Abseil down the outside to sea level then traverse right to the archway. Hard moves across the lip of arch gain a good jug, good wire. Climb straight up through the roof to gain an easier groove
Mike Twid Turner and Kath Goodey, June 1991.
Thunderbird Zawn - Gogarth
Mike Twid Turner on Archie is Angry. Photo copyright Turner collection.

The Swain E2 5b 20m

Around rightwards from the arch, gained by traversing underneath the arch, is a small zawn with an easy chimney line in the back. On the left of this is a steep hanging (?) groove. Climb this to exit left onto a slab, A bit scary.
Leigh McGinley, Ian Wilson, Andy Newton, 8/8/91.
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The Chimney ???
(Soloed by Wraith and Yag)

Rock Climbing Information for North Wales