A hidden gem

5th August 2011
Carn Gowla – Coastguard Cliff 
Supernatural – VS 4b – Lead

For some strange reason the guidebook gives Supernatural 1 star…… How wrong could they be. This is a 3 star climb with bells on!

Carn Gowla is a scary place and as you drop down the grassy slope towards Coastguard Cliff and the sea, there is a feeling that you’re going to just go of the edge. Add to this the sudden holes and Joe’s pre occupation with snakes in the grass and the whole experience becomes nervy. You havnt a clue what is coming up. You start to hear things before you see them.


The two belay spikes mark the spot and Joe and I set to work rigging the ab rope for what is a tricky descent to a hanging belay. We decided to set up above the new ledge. The old one has broken off from what i have been told. By setting up higher you can get gear in the crack which means your not just hanging on the ab rope. It makes for some interesting rope work in a dramatic and atmospheric setting with the sea crashing just below. There was a good swell running on this day and the entire experience was one of excitment.


If you wanted an example of a perfect crack climb Supernatural would be it. Its like a lightning strike down the entire height of the cliff. Well protected, it makes you work hard from beginning to end. There are a couple of sections I would give 4c and the location and seriousness of the climb I reckon probably adds a grade to it. However its one of the best I’ve ever done. The whole package adds up to a great experience and one Joe and I found brilliant. The climbing just brings the best out of you with a combination of small edges, laybacks and jams.


Trying to keep the smiles off our faces we headed for the Triple Butress area for a play on the E grades their (on a top rope I might add). We had intended on Journey to Ixtlan, but this will have to wait for another day. The star of the show however was Supernatural. A hidden gem on the North Coast.

This creature did its best to steal a bit of the limelight. Some amazing colours to be found on the cliffs!

Carn Gowla


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