The Spook Top 50

3 Stars
 E1 5b

Adjacent Routes
<< Exit Chimney Two - The Sequel < Sapphire  |  Toiler on the Sea > August Angie >>

A sustained, varied climb and one of the best E1s at Swanage. Start under a prominent, smooth-sided corner.

1) 5a, 18m. Climb a corner to the roof, and swing right to beneath the smooth-sided corner. Climb the fine corner to the mid-height break and belay on a ledge to the right.
2) 5b, 15m. Step right onto the wall and climb easily, but boldly up to the chert band and roof - old hidden peg. Arrange good gear, then step left and climb the overhang to finish up the bold wall.
FA. Richard Crewe, P.Sharman 31.3.1974


The guidebook is not specific about which direction to take for the second pitch. There are two roofs above both of which have a rusting peg in situ (mentioned in the description) take the right hand route (facing the rock) which takes a corner bypassing the roof to gain the headwall. To the left is much more difficult ground...
rich foreman - 25/Jun/01

Totally superb ... why doesn't this route get 3 stars!?
Jason - 05/Nov/01

Top pitch is fairly serious if you go left - Moves after the initial section are tricky and protected by poorish small wire(s). Not at all obvious which way to go.
Steve Culverhouse - 13/Nov/01

Definately three stars and probably E1 overall. On the seond pitch I went straight up and climbed the roof at it's widest point, all jugs, and simply stunning, right out there in space, E1 5b though not HVS 5a.
Mike Raine - 05/Oct/03

I was confused as to which direction to take on the second pitch. I initially climbed up right, from where I identified a rusting peg, under another small roof, out to my left. Assuming I was on the wrong line, I downclimbed, and continued up left. The rusted peg was in a shocking state, so I placed a small wire, under the roof, which I rested on. In my pumped state, the last twenty-five feet, or so, were bold and scary. The hardest HVS I've been on, and certainly felt more like E1, if you go left.
Gavin McGrath - 07/Nov/03

From the first stance you can get 2 good runners to protect the start of pitch 2.Step RIGHT on to the wall and climb upto the chert band and hidden rusty peg. There is an excellent half friend around to the right and a bomber big nut left and up which between them make the long move to reach the "pancake hold"directly above the rusty peg more comfortable. A great climb, one of Swanage's gems.
Tim Dunsby - 11/Jul/04

agreed, i went left and was totally gripped on a footless mantel!
ian - 13/Jul/04

Nice one Tim - your comments made it into the new guide!

An excellent route btw. Head right asap from the belay for a great finish
Owen W-G - 03/Aug/05

My favourite Swanage HVS. Pitch 1 in particular is a real gem.
GrahamD - 12/Dec/05

I remember doing this, it was my first HVS. Nearly fell off the top, i went left and got very pumped. One of the best climbs i have ever done.
James Wade - 27/Jan/06

There seems to be a fair bit of confusion about the second pitch; this is because the photo-diagram does not show the line in the description. On the photo-diagram the line is directly above the main corner. Going this way is great climbing, fairly well-protected, steep and sustained. The description takes you further right. Going this way is easier, harder to protect, and not quite as good. The description is presumambly the original line.
matt perks - 10/May/09

Great route but the guidebook is confusing about where to go on the second pitch. The description says 'Go right' but the line on the topo indicates that the route goes left. I went left (a rusty peg was in situ) which was great climbing. But did I do the second pitch of 'Toiler on the Sea' instead of 'The Spook'?
Roslyn McKendry - 14/Jun/10

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