Tag Archives: Pordenack Point


14th December 2018

Cornish weather guarantees that your never guaranteed you’ll get to climb. Despite no real prediction of rain, the dark grey clouds and strong wind felt a real portend of  nastier things to come. Days like this tend to drive people for the cover of their warm homes and it would be easy to right it off and bail.

The other side of the squeeze

But then we would have missed out on a fun days scrambling around Pordenack. Just enough difficulty to add a bit of spice, but not terrifyingly exposed. We’d initially traversed onto the Green Face ledge (a nice little pulse raiser as its all a bit off kilter), but the cold, drizzle and wind meant ‘Mexican Pete’ was not going to be on. So we dropped into the Hidden Amphitheatre which proved equally as moist.

The scramble out

For those who havnt experienced the ‘squeeze’ its well worth it. A cleft through the rocks with jammed boulders, which empties into a hidden area and is the usual descent point for Pordenack. So to leave we exited vertically straight up the spires and landward face. You get an amazing view back across the point and all the thundering drama of Lands End comes into view. On this day, the 10’+ swell just made it spectacular.

Tom, hiding behind me.

Highlight of the day- eating lunch while watching a couple of seals bobbing out in the sea. In the end, a good way to spend a crap day.

One demon down. Another one added…..

8th September 2012

Pordenack Point / Carn Boel

Friends – VS 5a – Lead
Immaculate Groove – E1 5b – Second

A really foggy morning greeted us from our tents at Treen. Treen has a great campsite and was a good choice of venue for the BMC meet. Shame then that most of the BMC was at Treverven Farm campsite on the other side of the valley! It appears Treen hadnt been warned so we ended up on the wrong site.

Even with an inauspicious start the day turned out to be a cracker. The previous evening in the Logan Rock I’d arranged with Nick to meet at Pordenack which would give me a chance to have another go at Friends, the VS that had bested me previously.

Hot. The weather that is... not me!

With everything heating up nicely Tony and Joe set up for the tricky Nothing Much. I set off hoping that things would be easier second time around. They werent. But Friends is such a good climb. Once you are past the overhang the pressure is on to get through it. There are no good rests so by time I reached the atmospheric top out I was fairly pumped, but well chuffed to have made it clean this time.

Tony on the final section of Nothing Much

For Tony, it was straight in at the deep end on Nothing Much but he made a good fist of it, making it clean and getting Joe’s pro out, including the bit he fell on doing the difficult traverse. I think after three HVS’s in a row Joe was pretty knackered.

Me and Nick after some strenuous climbing on Immaculate Groove

Nick had his eye on an E1 on the point across the bay called Carn Boel. Immaculate Groove turned out to be just that. A brilliant technical slab leads to a brutal overhang which needs to be dealt with through jamming. Nick made the slab look straight forward, but found the crack tough on the overhang. Fair play though, he made it even if it cost a little blood. I didnt fair so well, slipping on the slab and then just running out of energy and strength when I needed it most.

So a fair trade. One nemisis conquered in Friends and another created in Immaculate Groove. I will return…

The upper section of Carn Boel, called Terrace Cliff has some meandering routes. From the bottom they look poor, but actually they offer good climbing. I’ve done Kari before which turned out to be a tough V Diff. Tom led Bitter End, another challenging climb which goes up through the heart of the cliff.

Pordenack Point from Carn Boel

And so ended another great weekend. Lots of good routes and good company.


Avoiding the squeeze

4th May 2012

Pordenack Point

Nothing Much – HVS 5a – Lead
Friends – VS 5a – Lead
Wrist Climb – V Diff
Economists Route – V Diff

The aim was to have a go at a set of 3 HVS’s at Pordenack, but the reality was that two is enough to fill you up. Or at least in my case it is.

I tend to think that the routes at Pordenack are in general quite hard for the grade and Nothing Much and Friends proved no exception to that theory. Chris’s assessment of Wrist climb would back that up, with the final traverse and crack being a real challenge for a V Diff leader. Even Economists climb, which Tom and Dave doubled up on for their first alternate lead, is bold in places if not technically difficult.

Ian actually chimneying. A rare sight.

The tough sequence on Nothing Much

We paired up with Chris and Pete on Wrist Climb and me, Dave and Tom on Nothing Much. NM is actually a bit more than nothing. All the difficulty is below the crux, but in damp conditions it felt quite hard and the crux move is exposed and committing. The moves are good though, and getting through the niche is challenging culminating in a less than secure pull up around the obvious flake.

Soaking up the sunshine

Instead of finishing off the second pitch which we had done before, we scrambled back to the gearing up ledge, a pretty exhilarating route in its own right, traversing across the top of all the climbs with lots of airy drops around.

Group Climbing!

Then it was on to friends. In theory an easier climb, but in reality a strenuous and relentless climb once you’ve committed to the main crack. I had a real struggle with this having to work hard throughout and eventually succombing to the pump when I managed to create a really weird nut, Krab and rope knot which I couldnt undo.

Ian wrestling with his nuts....

To be fair I was on my limit then, so this just ensured I didnt make the onsite, but I was only a few moves from the top.

Chris in the upper niche on Friends

Chris on the exposed top moves of Friends

Chris kindly then showed me how to do the top, wild moves finishing off what I had started. Its a brilliant climb, one of the best I’ve done and I’ll be back to clean it. Pete, who had been eyeing the climb up nervously, overcame any uncertainty and gave it everything, making a fantastic job of seconding Chris. Probably the hardest climb Pete’s done so far, so hats off! I made it up on the second, so its just a case of finishing the lead.

Tom and Dave on Economists Route

Tom leading the first and relatively bold pitch of Economists Route

Meanwhile Dave and Tom were on Economists Route. Not technically the most difficult, but bold in places. For their first alternate multipitch lead it was a good choice. It’s easy to forget how challenging Sea Cliffs are at whatever grade so this was a real achievement and I’m sure opens the door to many more ascents.

Finally we all spent some time on Vietnamerica, an E1 with a tricky start, especially now the wedged boulders have fallen down. Its good practice on a climb with thin holds and balancy moves.

Dave high on Vietnamerica

What a cracking day. Hopefully the forerunner to many more this summer. I need to keep working on my stamina. It’ll come, back only with a bit more hard climbing.


A Different church

15th October 2011
Pordenack Point
Wrist Climb – V Diff – Lead
Vietnamerica – E1 – TR

After you’ve watched 127 hours, the access to the main cliff at Pordenack takes on a different complexion. The huge chockstones wedged in the narrow gap make you think. Fortunately Dave, Tom and myself didnt need a blunt knife to make it through.

Pordenack Point


For Dave and Tom Pordenack was a new experience and it never ceases to make me smile when you emerge onto the seaward face from the dark damp gap. Only pausing briefly to gear up we dropped down to the base and around to the bottom of the gulley area.

Tom on Vietnamerica

Wrist climb, as it turns out, is like a mini Diocese. A straight foraward ascent of the groove brings you to a large platform and its at this point the fun really begins. For Dave and Tom there was some added risk as a second, because the first move is a drop across a gulley where a fall would result in a good swing and some close contact with the cliff. Then its a very airy traverse under a huge overhang. No where near as hard as Diocese but with enough exposure to make you consider religion. I think its a fantastic climb for the grade. Completely underated in the guidebooks, but an absolute must for anyone who just loves to climb.

There’s a sting in the tail as well! The final very short pitch is considerably harder than the rest of the climb and provides a suitable finale. Dave made a comment which probably sums up the climb. He felt you could never see what was coming next. Full of suprises….

Dave on Vietnamerica

We finished on a top rope on Vietnamerica, a climb I have done before but now in different condition having seem part of the lower section fall away. This makes it considerably harder,  but Tom and Dave seemed to cope with this fairly straight forwardly. Unlike me who struggled with it. It was the upper reaches which defeated them both, but its here that the climb becomes more about little pinches and crimps and careful footwork. That said, to be doing E1’s after only a few weeks outside is pretty good going!

Ian after the hard start

And so ended a great day. The walk out yielded one last event. We bumped into a group of lads from London (their first time in Cornwall) who were buzzing over how fantastic Lands End was. It called for a guided tour of the narrow gap which hopefully will give them some everlasting memorys of Cornwall.

Emerging from the 127 gap

Smile for the Paparazzi

Pordenack Point (Green Face area)
26th September 2009

The Green Face – Severe 4a – Alt Lead
Mexican Pete – VS 4c – Second
Mr Haggis – HS 4b – Lead (dnf)


The tide meant we were restricted to the top face to start with and as things turned out we stayed here all day. The Green Face area sits just to the left of the first descent gulley and as such receives a good few visitors across the top of the cliff. This means that for a good portion of the time you are climbing with an audience. This is disconcerting to say the least. Its like tee’ing off when there is a queue on the Golf Course.


Still the audience didnt make that much difference ( and we must be famous now with all the photos being taken!). The first climb of the day was interesting. We did the harder crack variation start (or at least Joe did). Quite difficult to protect and tricky, but a good opening pitch. The second pitch introduces a sense of exposure as you go around the corner onto the seaward face, but is straight forward. Finding your way off the summit bloke adds some fun, with a jump across to the main cliff which Joe demonstrated for me. Glad my knee is better….


Mexican Pete is a different proposition completely. I left this climb determined to get my weight down and strength up which is testement to its strenuousness. From the outset it is commiting. The initial vertical crack wipes the smile off your face (until you’ve got through it). Joe somehow jammed and smeared up it, just making a thank god hold at the top. I had the luxury of being able to layback it, but it was still a beast.


The second pitch tackles the Green Face via a overhanging crack. This needs some character from the leader as its not easy and the whole time you are on it, you are on power. The area is very lichenous, but this doesnt detract from the climbing at all. The holds are good and if you get your feet right, its not so bad. The whole climb is brilliant, giving excitment the whole way. An excellent lead by Joe on one of the hardest VS’s I’ve been on, especially the bottom crack. I would put it at 5a technically, not 4c. Its a good job the protection is good.

I saved the bag of shit called Mr Haggis for last. We has looked at the large overhang when we arrived and MH went up the left hand side through what looked like some classic juggy holds. Maybe I went off route but having climbed the bottom section which consisted of two crack’s both of which were crumbling I was faced with a climb up toward the overhang through manky rubbish. The litter of bolders lying on the ledge should have given me an indication of how bad the rock was. Once I reached the overhang I placed a piece of gear in a crack only to realise that the whole section was peeling away. I rekon if I weighted the pro it would have resulted in a rock fall. Freaked out I traversed left and escaped out through a cave/hole. Two weeks in a row. Hard granite next week.


Not wanting Joe to be crushed by the cliff I abb’d off and took the gear out. A disappointment, but it couldnt take away from Joe’s lead on Pete, so we left with big smiles and thoroughly dehydrated and knackered. Another great adventure of the Cornish Cliffs.
Rest of the photos are here.