CARN GOWLA


The massive cliffs that fringe the bleak St Agnes Head, south of the tranquil fishing village of St Agnes, are some of the most impressive but least ventured upon in the West Country. The various buttresses and walls collectively known as Carn Gowla reach their highest around the headland, and are serious cliffs that drop straight into the relentless Atlantic swell. The climbs described here are some of the better travelled at Carn Gowla, although it is rare to see another party on the cliffs. The approaches to, and the abseils themselves, need to be carefully executed with due regard to the prevailing sea conditions. These considerations combined with the isolation and at times unsettling rock quality means that Carn Gowla will not appeal to all. However, for climbers looking for adventure on a grand scale this is a cliff that is unlikely to disappoint, and if caught on a calm summer's afternoon, or a wild spring day, will be a spot not to be forgotten.

Routes

Graded List of Routes
List of First Ascents
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Buttress (click for routes) No. of Routes Route Type Sunshine
or shade
Approach walk Other
America Buttress
One of the most intimidating cliffs in the West Country, the America Buttress peers out northwards...
3
Trad
Sun and shade
Level

5 mins

Abseil
Tidal
The Black Walls
A series of shorter, but still very steep walls and buttresses that extend towards St Agnes Head...
3
Trad
Sun and shade
Level

5 mins

Abseil
Tidal
The Vault Wall
A huge hulk of a cliff that leans out seaward and is flanked on the left by some equally large...
1
Trad
Sun and shade
Level

2 mins

Abseil
Tidal
Seepage
Mercury Area
An enormous, intimidating cliff on which is one of the West Country's greatest lines. The rock is...
1
Trad
Sun and shade
Level

3 mins

Abseil
Tidal
Triple Buttress
A series of shallow buttresses (named A, B and C Buttress) and corners make up this unusual section...
4
Trad
Sun and shade
Downhill

5 mins

Abseil
Tidal
Indian Buttress
At the southern end of the Carn Gowla crags is this buttress of good rock with one very good corner...
2
Trad
Sun and shade
Downhill

5 mins

Abseil
Tidal
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  • Latest Comments

    For CARN GOWLA

    Mercury Direct
    "Surprised to find that this was a choss route in exactly the same vein as Gogart..." 04/Jul

    Journey to Ixtlan
    "I couldn't find the stake belay - I spent so long wandering around the slope loo..." 04/May

    Guernica
    "Pitch 2 is serious, with little protection. Pitch 3 has good protection where it..." 21/Aug

    Mercury Direct
    "A stunning adventure and one of the finest routes I've ever done. We had a 100 m..." 21/Aug

    Journey to Ixtlan
    "How long has the stake belay been there? I had to resort to a very unconventiona..." 09/Jul

    Mercury Direct
    "x2 number 4 cams and x1 number 5 would make the first pitch an easier undertakin..." 29/Apr

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