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Rock Climbing in the Isle of Man
The Chasms

 

From the wireless station above Cregneish Village (single track road, car park at end) a path descends towards the sea. Ignoring the obvious tourist path to the green gate in front of a ruined cafe, follow the line of the wall to the bottom right corner of the field. Cross the stile and follow the cliff top path for about 20 yards to the top of an easy ramp marked by a four inch high piece of rusted iron stanchion. Immediately below the descent ramp is a level grassy area containing an ancient hut circle This forms a convenient picnic area / base and is the reference point which marks the division between the East and West sections of this complex area of buttresses.Owing to the complexity of the area and the lack of readily identifiable landmarks the routes in each section are described from the ends adjacent to the hut circle i.e. from left to right for the East section and from right to left for the West section.

THE CHASMS - EASTERN SECTION

Just 10 yards North of the hut circle is the top of the descent gully leading down below a smooth steep wall which is split by an obvious crack (Torque Test). Turn left at the bottom of the gully and walk past Tower Slabs, the 25 foot high slabs split by a chimney, and go down and around Tower Buttress. Down again past a 40 foot quartzite fang to a 30 foot smooth wall split by a thin crack, Gardener's Wall. The bay at the back of this is the Quad; from here starts Wests Route. Across and up from Gardener's Wall below a square buttress with many overhangs (unclimbed) to a fine chimney, Central Route, and down again for a few yards to the last main buttress and the start of Leg Up.

HUT CIRCLE BUTTRESS

IMPENDING MADNESS ~ 30' ~ HVS 5a
Climbs the West bounding wall of the Hut Circle Buttress, via three short overhanging walls separated by ledges.

MIKE'S HORROR ~ 50' ~ V Diff
A chimney groove on the main face of Hut Circle Buttress, just right of the left arete.

STROUD ~ 50' ~ E1 5a
The left of the two hanging corners right of Mike's Horror. Reach the corner from the easy slabs. Piton runner in situ.

HAYLEY HOLLOW ~ 120' ~ Sev
In the chasm on the right end of the face. Climb the crack on the right wall.

TORQUE TEST WALL

GRIPCITY DUDE ~ 65' ~ E2 5b
The wall and small roof between the left arete and Torque Test. Climb the centre of the wall to the roof (in situ peg). Step right over the roof, finish direct.

TORQUE TEST ~ 60' ~ HVS 5a
Climbs the obvious good crack in the wall of the descent gully.

KREMMEN ~ 70' ~ E3 5c
From the red boulder take the good ledges on the left. From beneath the in situ pegs climb straight up then trend right to finish.

GERIATRIC HIPPY ~ 60' ~ E2 5b
Follows the very thin crack between Kremmen and Commander Cool. Start just to the right of the low in situ peg. The low peg has been left in place for the safety of others, the first ascentionist has soloed the start but feels the peg is important for anyone wishing to on-sight the climb.

COMMANDER COOL ~ 60' ~ E1 5b
Climbs the wall to the right, up a shallow scoop in the upper half. Piton runner in situ.

TOWER SLABS

CHIMNEY CRACK ~ 60' ~ V Diff
Start in the narrow chimney which splits Tower Slabs.
1/30' The chimney direct to large ledges.
2/30' The easy angled crack behind the stance.

Tower Slabs offer several short and often quite hard slab / wall problems.

TOWER BUTTRESS

TOWER BUTTRESS CRACK ~ 60' ~ HVS 5a
Starting in the chimney between Tower Slab and Tower Buttress, climb the edge of the chimney to its top, then traverse awkwardly right to the base of the crack and climb this direct.

WHIPPER SNAPPER ~ 60' ~ E2 5b
Climb the centre of the overhanging wall below Tower Buttress Crack to the shattered band. Traverse right to the arete, then up to the scoop and easily to the top.

WALLOP ~ 75' ~ E1 5b
Start left of Whipper Snapper, climb the face directly below Tower Buttress Crack, (avoid using the left ramp), and finish up the crack of Tower Buttress Crack.

TOWER BUTTRESS ~ 80' ~ V Diff
The Eastern wall can be climbed almost anywhere at a uniform standard.

GARDENER'S SLAB

COMING OUT ~ 35' ~ VS 4c
The wall left of Gardener's Slab, up the middle.

GARDENER'S WALL ~ 30' ~ Sev
Actually a crack up the middle of the wall, best climbed by layback.

SLIPPERY BED SNAKE ~ 35' ~ VS 4c
The arete right of Gardener's Slab.

WESTS ROUTE ~ 100' ~ Sev
The back of Gardener's Wall is an enclosed area known as The Quad. Climb the crack in the East wall, almost in the corner, to a large perched block. Walk along the ledge to the chimney which is followed to the top.

CENTRAL ROUTE ~ 120' ~ V Diff
A good chimney climb in two pitches. Finish around the silhouetted chockstone at the top.

JOHN'S INITIATION ~ 100 ~ Sev
Climb Central Route for a few feet then traverse diagonally across the right wall to a crack in the corner. Follow this until just below the top, step left and finish via a short steep notch. A direct start up the steep, flared chimney in the middle of the wall has been top roped (5a).

JOHNATHAN'S DILEMMA ~ 90 ~ V Diff
Climb the chimney / crack to the right of John's Initiation.

LUCKY STRIKE ~ 30' ~ V Diff
A few feet lower than Central Route, on the side of a large isolated block is a steep slabby wall with a thin quartz streak. Climb this finishing slightly left.

LEG UP ~ 100' ~ Hard Sev 4b
Starting from the foot of Johnathan's Dilemma climb up and right to a stance in a shallow cave in the face of the buttress. Finish up the left edge of the face. A direct start up the lower corner has been climbed at VS 4c.

LEG HIGH ~ 110' ~ VS 4b
Climbs roughly up the middle of the face on the right.

SLAB AND WALL ~ 110' ~ Diff
Start near the right edge of Leg High Buttress on the outside of the gully. 1/60' Climb on the left of the wall, steep at first, to a stance below a large block. 2/50' Climb the wall to the right of a large depression, move into a corner at half height. At the top where it becomes a slab bear right to finish.

The Tooth is a large spike of rock almost directly below the descent gully.

TOOTH DIRECT ~ 60' ~ Hard VS 5a
Climb the seaward face of the Tooth from right to left, finishing up the left edge.

TOOTH ~ 120 ~ Diff
Climb easily up a corner on the Eastern face, then traverse to the arete and follow this to the top. Descent is by abseil or reversing the route.

PLAQUE ~ 25' ~ VS 4c
Climb the landward face of the Tooth, just right of the left arete. A direct variation up the middle is also done.

BULGING WALL ~ 120' ~ V Diff
Takes the easiest line up the seaward face of the leaning buttress just East of the Tooth.

Immediately below Hut Circle Buttress are a number of short routes at sea level on a buttress composed of three corners.

BLACK SLAB ~ 50' ~ Sev (T)
The slabby, black right wall of the central corner.

KORNER ~ 50' ~ Sev ~ (T)
The right corner, with a small bulge at 25'.

TENDERFOOT ~ 50' ~ VS 4c ~ (T)
A fine V-groove up the middle of the wall to the right. Reached by a 15' overhanging crack.

THE CHASMS - WESTERN SECTION

From the Hut Circle will be seen an enormous overhanging prow. A wide crackline right of the prow is the second pitch of Dragonquest. In the slabs below this is the thin crack of the first pitch, and the starts to Speckled Band, Spinal Therapy and Virginia Flake. The upper part of Spinal Therapy is marked by obvious brown V-cracks. These routes are reached by walking across the level grassy area, dropping down a few feet to a large chasm (start of Army Route), and then scrambling across and up the large boulders. Then climb down a short steep wall and cross the scree below Counterpoint, passing beneath a 60' high smooth grey wall undercut at the base (Twill and Herringbone) and then down a short grassy gully to the slabs below the right wall of the huge prow.

ARMY ROUTE ~ 80' ~ V Diff
Starting just above and right of the chasm, climb the steep slabby walls up right of the loose pinnacle, then step left and up to finish.

PULLOVER ~ 30' ~ VS 4c
Start just around the arete to the left, and above a large chasm. Climb the steep scoop then move right to finish up Army Route.

THE PRIVATE ~ 85' ~ Mild Sev
1/35' In the chasm left of Army Route, climb the Southern wall past two horizontal cracks to a large ledge on the right, then over the block.
2/50' From the block move 10' South to the wall across the chasm. Pull onto the wall and move right and up to a small wall and then straight up.

COUNTERPOINT ~ 60' ~ E1 5a 5c
1/40' Climb the wide crack and short groove above to belays on the ledge.
2/20' (Runaway Wall) Climb the alarmingly steep crack in the right wall of the corner to good finishing holds.

WHERE SEAGULLS DARE ~ 60' ~ HVS
Starting from the grassy patch on the left of Counterpoint, climb the wall on thin holds, trending right, and up to a narrow sloping ledge. Follow the crack left and up until an awkward stance on top of the pedestal is reached and then straight up to finish.

HERRINGBONE ~ 65' ~ HVS 5a
Just left of the shattered bay is a clean grey wall, with an undercut base. Pull onto the wall at an obvious weakness in the middle and traverse diagonally right and up to a short gangway. Pull awkwardly onto the slabs above and then climb these more easily to the top.

TWILL ~ 60' ~ Sev 4a
Start as for Herringbone but climb the left trending crackline to the upper slabs.

TWILL DIRECT ~ 50' ~ VS
Start as for Twill but continue up into the corner, piton runner in situ. Step right out of the corner and climb direct up to short slabs.

THE LOOM ~ 50' ~ HVS 5a
Climb the deceptively steep and thin groove in the arete below and left of Twill. Traverse left along the thin band of overhung slabs to finish at the start of Twill.

VIRGINIA FLAKE ~ 120' ~ VS 4c
On the left of The Loom is a corner crack below a flake. Climb these and the loose wall above until an exit right can be made around a blunt arete. Not recommended.

SPINAL THERAPY ~ 100' ~ HVS 5a
Below and left is a steep buttress immediately right of the huge prow, with obvious V-cracks in the middle of the steep upper section. Climb an easy angled slab, then traverse left to an ivy field and up to the base of the V-cracks. Follow the left crack in a fine position to the top.

SPECKLED BAND ~ 120' ~ VS 4c
Make a rising left traverse across to a ledge leading back right into the corner. Belay in the corner. Climb the arete on the right then step back left into the crack and up to the slab to finish.

SCARFACE ~ 150' ~ E1
1/100' 5a Starting at the first corner around the left arete of the slabs of "Speckled Band". Climb the corner and pull over onto the slabs. Belay at the top of the slabs at the wall.
2/50' 5b Climb the centre of the face and from the small pinnacle climb onto a ledge. Take the right hand crack above to finish.

DRAGONQUEST ~ 90' ~ E2 5a 5b
1/30' The thin vertical crack to the left of the start of Spinal Therapy. Climb direct to the first belay of Speckled Band. (Finger Ripper).
2/60' Traverse left to the end of the ledge, then climb the impressively steep fault line up the prow on the left.

BIRDSPIT ~ 100' ~ VS 4c
The wall left of the huge prow contains two parallel cracks. Reach these direct from the foot of the prow and climb them first on the left, then on the right.

FULMINATOR ~ 120' ~ HVS 4c
1/90' Climb the corner to the right of the more westerly, smaller prow, starting at the very toe of the buttress, much lower than the previous routes, where a chimney leads up to a big ivy field. Follow a crackline into the chimney groove and follow this to an exit right of the capstone. Struggle through the ivy field to the foot of the corner.
2/30' Climb the corner direct, or finish via the left wall.

GULGOND ~ 60' ~ VS 4b
On the seaward face of the large block immediately below Twill is a fine crack rising out of a deep chasm. Climb the crack direct from the bottom, over several bulges. Belay at the top of the block just below Twill.

The end of the Western section is marked by a long line of slabs just below the moor.

CHANCERS SLAB ~ 60' ~ VS 4b
The long band of slab contains a prominent downward pointing triangular flake about 50 yards from the left bounding wall of Fulminator. Climb direct to the flake then up and left to a slabby finish.

XANADU WALL

To the East the Chasms are bounded by a series of vertical cliffs terminating at the headland adjacent to the Sugarloaf (the obvious sea stack). Most of these cliffs are unclimbed and in view of the predominantly poor rock and the very high resident bird population they are probably best left so. However, the first section of cliff, rising above the steep grass rake which runs straight down to the sea contains some serious and high quality routes. Access is from the moor at the top and down the grass rake.

SHARDIK SHUFFLE ~ 70' ~ MVS
Start near the top of the grass rake at an obvious dirty chimney crack. Climb the wall left of the crack until a pull over can be made into a large vegetated niche. Step left and climb a wide subsidiary crack to the top.

JUDGE DREDD ~ 100' ~ E1 4c 5a
Further down the grass rake is an impressive hanging corner. Start left of the corner in the dirty chimney crack of Shardik Shuffle and traverse right on delicate rock to the base of the corner, bolt runner. The corner is climbed direct on good holds. A direct start is also possible.

XANADU ~ 200' ~ HVS 4c
Start at the foot of the obvious fault line which rises up the cliff from right to left. 1/120' Become established on the fault line with difficulty and continue up it using firm holds on the right wall. Continue on the same line to a shallow cave.
2/80' Break through the overhang and climb the steep main wall to finish

On the same wall but starting slightly lower down the grass rake is a huge corner facing out to sea. This feature is not at all obvious when viewed from the main Chasms area.

MYLREA ~ 200' ~ VS 4b
1/45' Climb the short wall and the loose rock and grass to reach the base of the corner proper. Old peg belay on right wall. This part of the route is sometimes soloed
2/110' Climb the corner to a small ledge. Piton belay.
3/45' Continue up the corner to an overhang which is surmounted on the right. the final overhang may be climbed on the right, or an exposed traverse can be made on the right wall to finish.


All text © Manx Fell & Rock Club and Mike Caine