Warning and disclaimer on the fixed protection: This is not a climbing gym, climb at your own risk. Please read the information about the in-situ protection on the safety page.
Grant Farquhar on Bogeyman. Photo Andrew Burr.
BENSALEM 5.10d 20m
Sean Kelly and Tristan DeSilva on the first Bermudian ascent of Bensalem. Photo Sean Kelly.
The next routes require some 5.7 soloing in serious positions to approach. It is possible to utilise the belay at the base of Bensalem to protect the short but steep and serious downclimb.
THE VOMITORIUM 5.10b 15m
This route is barfed up past the tonsils of the Bensalem Cave. Puke steeply past five threads. Avoid a spew on the run out to revisit your breakfast at the two-thread belay on the stalactites in the apex. Drive the porcelain bus home. Video here. Grant Farquhar and Davie Crawford 27/11/10. Second ascent Devin Page 18/12/10.
The first ascent of The Vomitorium. Photo Grant Farquhar.
THE ONLY GAY IN THE VILLAGE 5.10a 20m
Tackles the white streak in the arete right of the Bensalem cave. The handholds and footholds are very fragile in places but the protection placements are in sound rock. Mince past three bolts and three threads. Take the no-hands rest in the closet at the final thread before coming out to run it out up the pink streak in the immac headwall. Bolt and natural thread belays. Grant Farquhar and Bryan Caldwell 20 June 2008. Second ascent Johnny Pearson 2009. Re-equipped with titanium glue-in bolts 2016.
BATHSHEBA 5.11b 20m
Davie Crawford on the First Ascent of Fear Liath Mor. Photo John Langston.
FEAR LIATH MOR 5.7 18m
Just left of the Smugglers route cave is an area of grey, near vertical rock. This route takes the cleanest line on the big grey wall via five threads to a lower-off point. Note- this route features lots of brittle rock (particularly in the first 6m) that must be treated with care. Falling off is not advisable. Davie Crawford 1 March 2010. Second ascent Josh Hill, same day.
This route has been stripped due to the first ascentionist’s concern about the generally poor quality of the rock. The description is left for posterity.
In the section of cliff between the Bensalem Cave and the Great Cave there are three caves at mid-height. The next route gains the curious little middle cave which has some old paraphenelia
SMUGGLERS’ ROUTE 5.6 10m
Climb the runnel to check out the curious phone booth sized flowstone cave. Reverse the route to the ground. FA unknown.
THE GREAT CAVE
The Great Cave is the massive central cave in the middle of the cliff. Approach from the south or north. Both directions require some 5.7 soloing in serious positions. If coming from the south it is possible to utilise the belay at the base of Bensalem to protect the short but steep and serious downclimb. This venue stays dry in the rain unless the wind is coming from the east.
The Roots Wall lies on the headwall above the the Great Cave. There is a large belay ledge at half-height on the left-hand section: The Roost. This is accessed either via Johnny Rotten or by abseil.
JOHNNY ROTTEN 15m 5.10a R
For me the best rock is not what you play. Johnny Rotten.
This pitch takes the rotten canine which could do with a root canal and accesses the Roost from the ground. Unfortunately the rock in the first 20 feet is very fragile. Climb the rounded pillar left of the cave, steeply past three drilled in-situ threads, to the Roost. There are numerous spikes upon which it is advisable to place additional protection slings. Grant Farquhar, Pebble and Kyle Kaptain 11 Jan 2020.
THE ROOT OF EVIL 30m 5.10a
Follow Johnny Rotten to the Roost. Continue directly past three threads to the roof, grovel onto the ledge above and step right to the fourth and fifth threads which can be used as a lower off – beware of rope drag. Grant Farquhar, Josh Hill and Devin Page 14 March 2010 (The Roost was accessed via abseil on this ascent).
Josh Hill and Devin Page on The Root of Evil. Photo Grant Farquhar.
ROOT 666 30m 5.10a
A left-hand finish to The Root of Evil. Follow Johnny Rotten and then The Root of Evil past three threads to the ledge. Step left on the lip and finish up the groove above. Grant Farquhar and Rob Sutherland 1 Feb 2020.
NURSE RATCHED 30m 5.10b
Nurse Ratched, literally, overlooks The Cuckoo’s Nest. Follow Johnny Rotten to the Roost. Walk rightwards along the ledge to two threads. Clip into these and pull your rope through. Now aren’t you ashamed of yourself? The best thing we can do now is to get on with our routine. Climb diagonally leftwards through the roofs past two threads. Watch out though – your filthy hands are making my holds dirty. Crank the lip in a spectacular position to join The Root of Evil at its final two threads. Lower off these. Now, if you don’t want to take your medication orally then I’m sure we can find another way. Grant Farquhar and Rob Sutherland 1 Feb 2020.
DEAD MAN’S HAND 30m 5.10d
The protagonist of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Randle McMurphy, has a dead man’s hand poker hand tattooed on his shoulder which foreshadows his fate at the end of the novel. Follow Johnny Rotten to the Roost. Walk rightwards along the ledge to two threads. Clip into these and pull your rope through. Climb up and rightwards through the bulges past two threads with a long move to gain a handrail on the lip of the roof. When you clip the final thread, above, you will realise that you have been dealt the Dead Man’s Hand. Will this thin natural thread hold or will it blow if you fall? The gamble is yours to take. Climb the crucial headwall leftwards in a spectacular position to the top. Step left to the Root of Evil’s final two threads. Lower off these. Grant Farquhar, Eli Cagen and Sam Shadbolt 21/March/20.
ROOTS MANUVA 30m 5.10a
Traverses the Roots Wall with some sphincter twitching runouts. Wild territory for the grade. A fall will result in swinging completely into space so carrying means of ascending the rope are essential. Start from The Roost. Maneuver rightwards past two threads and two bolts to the belay of Roots Controller, no-hands rest. Clip the bolt right of the belay and run it out to join Three Sheets to the Wind at the final thread and bolt. Grant Farquhar and Marc Burgess 4/Feb/12.
Roots Wall topo by Grant Farquhar.
ROOTS CONTROLLER 12m 5.10d
This route climbs the headwall above the cave and is the final section of The Cuckoo’s Nest. Gain the bolt and thread belay at a no-hands rest on a ledge on the very lip of the cave via Roots Manuva or by abseiling down the route itself. Praise Jah by riding from Babylon to Zion up the very steep and highly exposed headwall past two threads and two bolts. Grant Farquhar and John Langston 8/Feb/10. Re-bolted with glue-ins October 2010.
John Langston on (One Shoe Over) The Cuckoo’s Nest. Photo Grant Farquhar.
(ONE SHOE OVER) THE CUCKOO’S NEST 5.13c 35m
Charlie Woodburn on The Cuckoo’s Nest. Photo Gilly Woodburn.
THREE SHEETS TO THE WIND 5.11a 75m
A three-pitch three-star extravaganza culminating in a very exposed right-to-left high level traverse spacewalking above the great cave. Don’t be fooled by the bolts, this is more like a Gogarth adventure than a sports climb. It’s run-out in places and a fall will result in swinging completely into space, so carrying means of ascending the rope are essential.
- 5.10b 20m. Start left of the crack of Shelter from the Storm. Gain and follow the ramp rightwards across Shelter and Power Junky to the large sloping ledge on Crackhouse. Thread belay.
- 5.11a 30m. Continue traversing rightwards across the weakness in the Bogeyman wall past two threads and a bolt to a no-hands rest in a niche on the arete. Continue up the arete past five threads to a belay on the large white ledge below the large overhang above Bogeyman. Beware of rope drag on this pitch, twin rope technique advisable. The belay ledge can also be gained easily from above by abseiling/scrambling diagonally leftwards 20 feet to the ledge, two-bolt belay.
- 5.10a 25m Traverse leftwards on the lip of the cave past two bolts and two threads to a no-hands rest in a niche. Clip the third bolt and make tricky moves around a rib. Continue to more ledges and the final bolt and thread. Finish up the vague groove above. Mostly re-bolted but a couple of stainless steel expansion bolts remain.
Third pitch: Grant Farquhar, Davie Crawford and Roger the cabin boy 30/01/10.
Complete route: Grant Farquhar, Davie Crawford and Marc Burgess 10/12/11.
Marc Burgess following Grant Farquhar on the second pitch of Three Sheets to the Wind. Photo Davie Crawford.
TWO LINES OF CRACK 5.11c
If you and your climbing partner ever decide to climb a three pitch route, that neither of you have ever been on, with darkness fast approaching and only one headlamp between you, you’ll probably end up on this. Bearing in mind that you don’t know exactly where the route that you intended to climb goes and one of you has no multi-pitch experience, begin on the far left side of Shelter From The Storm and make quick work of the first pitch as you climb precariously over to the ledge on Crackhouse, ensuring that you clip only two pieces of protection. Build an anchor on the ledge, using a thread and bolt on Crackhouse. For your third anchor point, feed a sling through a very thin and sketchy hole on Fresh Squeezed Crack and just don’t put weight on it. (Using the obvious bolt on Fresh Squeezed Crack as third anchor point is considered cheating.) When the second climber pulls the first pitch and reaches the ledge ensure that there is only about 20 minutes of daylight left; getting the timing right for this may take some practice. At this point, take a moment to realise that you have gotten in way over your heads, and make the executive decision to for-go your previous plans and simply finish by topping out on Crackhouse, so as to escape the cave before centipede hour. To enhance the experience of taking on Two Lines of Crack, you should make sure to exhaust yourself prior to your over ambitious adventure by climbing Crackhouse as quickly as you can (on a clean float). Matt Boyer and Jazmyne Watson 24/03/14.
The final pitch of Three Sheets to the Wind. Photo Davie Crawford.
SHELTER FROM THE STORM 5.10b 17m
John Langston on the first ascent of Shelter from the Storm. Photo Davie Crawford.
STORMRIDER 5.10d 25m
Follow Shelter from the Storm to clip the belay anchors. Teeter precariously rightwards along the shelf passing the anchors of Power Junky. Continue to the belay of Crackhouse (crux) and lower off. Grant Farquhar and Devin Page, Spring Equinox 2010.
Josh Hill on the second ascent of Shelter from the Storm. Photo John Langston.
POWER JUNKY 5.12a 20m
The Power Junky lives next door to the Crackhouse. Follow the line of seven threads and three bolts in the wall between the crack of Shelter from the Storm and the line of Crackhouse to the belay. Grant Farquhar and John Langston 15/03/10. Second ascent Dave Macleod 18/3/10. First Bermudian ascent by Jazmyne Watson 01/01/11.
POWERHOUSE 5.11c 20m
Dave Macleod on the second ascent of Power Junky. Photo Grant Farquhar.
CRACKHOUSE 5.11c 20m
CRACK JUNKY 5.12a 20m
Start up Crackhouse to the second thread, step left and finish up Power Junky. Grant Farquhar 29/3/14.
Jazmyne Watson on Crackhouse. Photo Grant Farquhar.
CRACK BABY 5.12c 35m
Born from the Crackhouse. This is a second pitch spawned from the parent route. Climb Crackhouse to the no-hands rest at the belay. Step left to clip the belay anchors of Power Junky. Pay attention but unleash your hyperactivity through the roof above past 3 bolts and 2 threads to the top. Good luck retrieving your quickdraws. Grant Farquhar and Marc Burgess 15/01/12.
Jazmyne Watson on Crackhouse. Photo Grant Farquhar.
FRESH SQUEEZED CRACK 5.11d 20m
Jeff Achey gains the belay plinth of Crackhouse. Photo Andrew Burr.
John Langston high on Fresh Squeezed Crack. Photo Devin Page.
ECTOPLASM 5.12d 20m
Start up Fresh Squeezed Crack to the no-hands ledge. Clip the first bolt of Fresh Squeezed Crack above the ledge. Step right and finish up Technical Ecstasy. Dave Pickford 26/3/15.
Dave Pickford lowering off Ectoplasm. Photo Grant Farquhar.
TECHNICAL ECSTASY 5.12d 20m
Black Sabbath’s sixth album depicts two robots having sex on the album cover. I’m not saying you have to be a fuck ing machine to send this but it helps. This route contains two distinct sections, the upper being harder. Devious moves, weird beta, and steep climbing make this route a real classic. This route needs repeated to confirm the grade as the first ascensionist doesn’t know a grade from a hole in his ass. Six threads and four marine grade stainless steel glue-in bolts. Two bolt anchor. John Langston 25 March 2010.
John Langston on Technical Ecstasy. Photo Devin Page.
BOGEYMAN 20m 5.12c
John Langston nearing the second crux on Bogeyman. Photo Grant Farquhar.
Grant Farquhar stripping Bogeyman. Photo Andrew Burr.
SOUS LES PAVéS, LA PLAGE 25m 5.10c
Great Cave topo. Photo Grant Farquhar.
Crackhouse area topo. Photo Grant Farquhar.
The area of cliff to the right of the large white rock scar has one route.
SCARFACE 30m 5.10c
You wanna play games? Okay, I’ll play with you. You wanna play rough? Okay! Say hello to my little friend! The striking orange stalactite gives superb, pumpy climbing motherfucker! You think you can take me! You’re gonna need a fucking army to take me, you hear! You fuck with me, you fucking with the best! If you don’t clip the eight threads, you die, motherfucker! Who put the threads in? Me, that’s who! Who do I trust? Me! The large gun in the bunker 30m back from the top provides a belay which is literally bombproof motherfucker! You got that? All I have in this world is my balls and my word, and I don’t break ’em for no one. You understand? Grant Farquhar, Davie Crawford and Tony Montana 18/10/09. The threads on this are dynamic climbing rope and will need to be replaced.