Silhouette Arete

2 Stars
 VS 4c

Adjacent Routes
<< Judgement Day < Bottomless Buttress  |  The Fin > Cima Petite >>

The left arete of the huge roofs of The Fin is extremely exposed and gives extraordinary climbing for the grade. The second pitch is outstanding. One of the best VSs in the Boulder Ruckle.
1) 4b, 17m. Climb a crack to a small ledge. Traverse right and up a short corner to a sentry box and belay.
2) 4c, 18m. Traverse right along the fault-line for 5m then climb rightwards to gain the exposed arete. Ascend the arete to an overhang. Pull over and climb past a large flake to an easy exit groove.
FA. Brian Snell, K.Knight 14.5.1978


The second pitch is outstanding and very exposed, pulling past the overhang gives food for thought at the grade.
Brian Tilley - 29/Mar/00

The move right and up the arete is very exposed for the grade, remember to look down at the view as you climb the arete!
Mal Dickson - 07/Jun/00

Superb route .... great exposure but with excellent gear all the way.
Jason - 13/Aug/01

What ever you do don't look down at the view as you climb the arete!
Jim - 20/Mar/02

Apparently a significant block has come off the traverse at the beginning of pitch 2. I've not reclimbed it since hearing this. Take extra care on this section until someone posts an update
Jason - 29/May/02

Pitch one felt easy for 4b, starting pitch 2 was 4c, the rest was 4b but very exposed and great gear all the way, very atmospheric with big seas below !
Ewan - 07/Oct/02

Merits 3 stars. One of the best VS's at Swanage. Starting the traverse on pitch 2 is psychological crux, but good gear and holds in abundance.
John Yates - 28/Oct/03

Took a high diagonal traverse at the start of pitch 2 and found myself in a place with few holds and little gear. Tried to get to safer ground but a hold snapped and I took a heavy fall onto the ledge.
Take the guide's advice and start low on the horizontal fault.
John Wellbelove - 10/Feb/04

Following on from Jason's comment, another significant block has come off the traverse, check out the picture! - I think the rest of that break is fairly solid, but you now have to make the move up from the break a little further left.

Great climbing, but I completely failed in trying to pull up from the fault onto the face/arete so my partner had to take over. Personally I thought that move was harder than 4c, but I'm out of practise so not sure. The traverse is the best bit, (beta spoiler....) you need to do a hand traverse along the lower ledge, the foot holds don't look like much but they're actually pretty reasonable.
cider nut - 28/Sep/05

I think the way to do the traverse is with your feet in the big break. Bridge up out of back of the sentry box and fix a good high runner. Shuffle across on good footholds until you are about half way to the arete, then pull up on to the wall above. Now you can stand in balance, fix a thread runner, enjoy the exposure and pose for photos. A memorable pitch and probably the best VS at Swanage.
Bob M - 03/Oct/05

I tried the traverse with feet in big break first, but found the hand holds too vague, and discovered the lower traverse was easier. Either way, you've still got to pull up onto the face, which is the bit I failed on! (I could see the thread runner... far above me...) Must go back when my elbow's recovered and I've got my strength back.
cider nut - 07/Oct/05

The second pitch is very good, not just the traverse but also pulling over the small roof to reach the finish. However! The finish is to pull out on steep and loose dirt. It took me a long time 30mins cleaning off and then checking for stability the rare rocks in the dirt. All the grass that would normally hold all this together has been eroded away. I then found the aluminium stake at the top to be vey loose and not very deep into the ground. It may have been easier and safer to finish this climb a few years ago but it is getting worse. It just reminds you that you can never underestimate the ruckle! Would I climb it again? Probably.
Stephen Woods - 25/Sep/09

Second pitch is fantastic. I bridged up a couple of moves, got some good gear in then traversed across just above the big break on good positive holds to a thread, then up through the slight overlap etc.
As the previous comment though, the top out was horrendous. We'd had the forethought to drop a sling down (cordlette) from the stake. I'd strongly recommend this, or about 8m of rope, as the final mud/loose rock scramble to the top is now one of the worst I've seen on the Ruckle. I'd have rather reversed the whole climb than try to crawl up the loose rock/loose dirt to the stake without the safety of the sling to haul on. Make sure you through it absolutely straight down from the stake. Our ended up about 4m right which just added to the horror. Great climbing though :)
christopher brooke - 10/Oct/11

My second time on the route after about 15 years and it is brilliant. Pitch one is very good and pitch two is totally awesome. Definitely a must-do route! Don't be put off by previous doom-laden comments about the top-out, it's fine. And the belay stakes are solid.
John Parker - 16/Oct/17

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