Tag Archives: Coastguard Cliff

Exploding Antipodian

27th May 2016

Coastguard Cliffs – The Lizard

Aboriginal Sin – E3 – Second
Casablanca – E2 – Alt Lead
Rendezous Manque – V Diff – Lead

Sometimes you have a vision of how a climb will be. I imagine myself climbing it and invent the holds, hoping they will be as good in real life. On a beautiful sunny day, Joe and I stood below Aboriginal Sin and I considered whether I was in good enough form to actually get up it.

The guidebook describes a series of juggy flakes leading to ‘the fang’ that sticks up at the end of the steeply rising and overhanging crack. Easy then! Get on it and move quickly until you can get hold of the juggy fang.

Joe below Aboriginal Sin

Joe below Aboriginal Sin

After creating a bomber nest of gear Joe launched out for the fang and as I watched him fight with the crack and eventually grab the fang, I realised that this was going to be really tough. Of course it’s not over at this point and Joe had another sequence to negotiate before it was my turn.

Now in my mind the holds were going to be positive flakes and the main problem pure grunt. No, the main problem is that the jugs are actually rounded and not positive and so my first attempt ended in some air time. The second time I was lucky that Joe kept me on a tight rope as I used my last reserves to gratefully hug the fang, gasping for air and with my poor arms blown. Of course the exploding hold which literally dissolved in my hand didn’t inspire confidence and nearly shrugged me off again. Still, I got up it in the end and what a great feeling. Brilliant lead by Joe, who is going from strength to strength.

Dave on Silent Movie

Dave on Silent Movie

We joined Tom and Dave who were having there own route fest, baggy some of the class VS and HVS of the main cligg. These really are good climbs, if a bit bold at times.

Happy, Happy Joe :-)

Happy, Happy Joe 🙂

My initial suggestion of a VS traverse turned into a two pitch E2 after both me and Joe liked the look of Casablanca. I led the opening 5a pitch which was great fun. Not difficult, but nervy as the gear comes late. Joes lead of the top crack was another stirling effort. My try ended up with me jammed in the crack facing the wrong way. It was only when I extricated myself and faced the right way that the finishing moves became possible. Still a really good route and maybe I’ll try the top crack on the lead next time if I’m feeling brave.

Before the hard move

Before the hard move

Joe and I finished up a V Diff chimney (great…?) with a laughable belay on boulders that were more likely to kill you than save you. And so at the end of a hot, sunny and memorable day it was icecreams/drinks and a contented drive home.

Get a shave

Get a shave

Uhmm. Are you an ‘inny’ or an ‘outy’

Normal service is resumed…

22nd November 2013

Coastguard Cliff – The Lizard

Silent Movie – VS 4c – Lead
Quo Vadis – E1 5a -Lead
Sirius – HS 4b – Second

After what has seemed to be forever the bright weather came back. Friday turned out to be clear skies and little wind. The south facing Coastguard Cliff provided the perfect warm, sunny venue for Dave, Tom and myself.

Moody Coastguard Cliff's

Moody Coastguard Cliff’s

Dave and I had had a couple of outings to Hawks Tor in the rain and fog, but on each occasion the weather limited our efforts. This time we could go for it with dry positive rock. I’d done Silent Movie with Chris and remembered how good it was. A committing climb where you need to hunt out pro. But the holds are excellent and the climbing thrilling and exposed.

Dave cruising Silent Movie

Dave cruising Silent Movie

Having warmed up it was straight onto Quo Vadis. I figured with the bunch of crocks I was with I’d better pick a jug hauling route rather than a finger stretcher. QV provided this. It has two crux’s. The first is a thuggy haul over an overhang ontothe face. The second is a delicate rising crack which can be tackled in a number of ways.

Tom showing he's got balls - Quo Vadis

Tom showing he’s got balls – Quo Vadis

Tom and I laid back and Dave went out onto the face to the crimpier holds. Both ways are great and the climb overall is worth doing. Typical of the venue. Strenuous start followed by face climbing. It also provided one of our best photos of Tom in the crack. Really exciting and reflects everything about the day.

Dave sat on the belay P1 Sirius

Dave sat on the belay P1 Sirius

Dave wanted to get back into leading and took on both pitches of Sirius. This is also a really cool climb. Exposed with two contrasting pitches. A juggy but exposed traverse, followed by a more technical slab. It was a good lead as the climb is tricky throughout.

Dave leading P2 Sirius

Dave leading P2 Sirius

It was a fitting end to a brilliant return to climbing ways. Cornwall as usual delivered on the ‘spectacular beauty’ front. The booming surf added to the atmosphere and provided lots of distraction when you heard a set thunder in sounding like it was going to engulf you. We are so lucky!


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


The Hungry Sea

4th August 2011
The Lizard – Coastguard Cliff – The Holywood Walls
Limelight – HVS 5a – Lead

Weather plays a huge part in life in Cornwall. We are very much at the mercy of Atlantic weather fronts and on occasions like today you can only hope that the squalls and showers miss you.

Coastguard Cliff was probably not the best place to go on a day when it was grey and windy, but I’d had my eye on an HVS called Limelight for a while. The top of the cliffs were blowy but after dropping down onto the gearing up ledge things settled a bit and at the base it was actually sheltered. The descent route is a little intimidating, with a steep narrow ramp the main acess to the base of the cliffs. They are though essentially non tidal, so even with a roaring sea we were well above the sets.

Holywood Walls

For Joe, who hadnt been climbing outside for a while it was a real senses fest. Wind, noise from the sea, damp conditions and a tough HVS. Not for the faint hearted! However it was not the climb which took centre stage but the patch of sea below us which during the coarse of the day claimed two of my ‘Rocks’ (nearly a third but Pete rescued it) and my Rockfax climbing guide which slipped out of Pete’s pocket when he was partaking in acrobatics on the opening moves.

Holywood Walls

This brings me into the climb. It has a thuggy start with a pull up a diagonal rising crack to get established on the main face. It didnt help that part of the crack was wet and to be fair it is a bit scary as you haul yourself up. Still once through this I found things settled down and good climbing led to the upper groove. This is really the crux, not the bottom part as I had thought.


There is gear, but you leave it below you as you move through a really technical section. It is brilliant climbing; really testing and it makes you think your moves out carefully. Loved it. The final top wall is atmospheric and provides a suitable climax to what is a solid HVS.

Pete struggled with the opening moves and having lost the book I dont think his heart was in it. Joe tackled it with his usual gusto, although by his own admission it was a scary return to the rock. That didnt seem to wipe the smile off his face though.

As the rain came in and we called it a day we tried to get a cup of coffee. The local cafe at The Lizard turned out to have a scary women and we were not flavour of the month when we queue jumped and grabbed the only remaining table, so we retreated before things got ugly. Chips at Pete’s turned out to provide a suitable end to a good days climbing.