Well here we are, summer seems to have finally arrived, the days are long which allows for some brilliant days out at the crag! so we are going to high light some key climbing crags/venues out there to give you some ideas or to kick start your climbing season.
Sea mist at St Govans
This month we are starting with the mighty Pembroke. A truly massive venue with so much climbing at all levels, at just about every angle you can imagine. The area is made up mainly of coastal crags, although there are a few inland venues and even some good bouldering to be had near Fishgaurd. St David's offers some amazing slab climbing on hard compact sandstone plus the incredible Craig Llong with its super steep lines, you have to see it to belive it!
But when most climbers mention Pembroke their minds will conjure up images of St Govans and its surrounding crags. When I first went to this incredible climbing mecca i could not believe how much rock there was it just seems to go on for ever. The rock here is limestone and is generally, but not always, steep and offers positive holds to climb on and there is usually plenty of protection which has allowed a strict no bolting policy to flourish, giving us one of the best trad climbing venues in the UK.
James Mitchel on 'the Butcher' E3 5C St Govans
There are routes of all grades from Moderate upwards (currently topping out at E9) and although by the sea not all of the areas are affected by the tide, so it is possible to find some climbing at any time providing the military are not training. The MOD own large areas of land and close this off to the public whilst they are training / live firing so it is not always possible to climb at some venues (see guide book for restrictions). In general it is usually necessary to abseil in and then climb back out, so this can make climbing in Pembroke feel committing at first and it would be wise to leave an abseil rope in place and know how to climb back up it in case you cannot finish your route for what ever reason.
A committing abseil into the space face
Pembroke has some truly fantastic routes with many being very famous and included in many list of classic climbs and any aspiring trad climber will probably have a very big tick of routes in Pembroke.
Simon on 'Get some in' E5 6A St Govans
For me one of the great experiences is climbing above the sea and there are so many walls that rise high above the sea to choose from and this can really add to the experience.
James Mitchel on 'Pleasure Dome' E3 5C Stennis Head
It also offers other possibilities including forgetting your ropes and leaving your harness in the car and indulging in some deep water soloing, using the water as your safety net. Climbing free can be exhilarating it can also be bloody scary so a word to the wise is to start very easy and see how it feels, climb with a friend and always have plan for escaping the water in case you fall in.
Simon on 'World of Bonobos' F6c+ Newton Head
The DWS are given sport grades to give an indication of their overall difficulty plus an S grade gives you an idea of how serious the route is.
All in all there is something in Pembroke for every one which has to make it a must visit for any climber. So for that reason alone it is our first 'Crag of the month' so get down there, enjoy the climbing and tell us all about it when you return.
not sure your ready to tackle Pembroke by yourself yet? or fancy trying something a little harder, contact us about guided days with a qualified mountain instructor.
next month we will visit the Gower.