Original Route Top 50

3 Stars
 HVS 5a

Adjacent Routes
<< Andromeda < Perseus  |  Tales of Yankee Power > Flaky Wall >>

A right of passage for HVS leaders - the exposure of the huge face is well felt, a great experience at the grade. Start on ledges below the groove. Move 3m left then climb up and pull back right into the groove. Climb this, past various bits of old gear, and plenty of good wires, to the ledge at the top. Abseil off or continue for a short pitch (4c) to tick the summit direct from a ledge, or up a groove on the right. The obvious direct start is about a grade harder.
FFA. Steve Read, Steve Hunt 1958. FA. (as Bastion Wall) Pete Hassell, Peter Biven and another 1953.


The main pitch was superb-one of the most exciting and enjoyable leads I've done at this grade.
We did the top pitch for completenes-traversing rightwards along the ledge to its end and then up a steep and rattly wall. Next time i think i'd ab off.
Chris Heald - 07/Feb/02

A truly excellent *** HVS which is no pushover. I personally would not point an ambitious VS leader at this one as it is very sustained and rests are hard won.
Graham Dolman - 08/Feb/02

Perhaps its just me but I reckon that any 'competant VS leader with ambition' who cruises this should move straight to E2!
It may only be 5a but getting a rest is not easy and hence placing the plentiful gear can be difficult.
Roger Whetton - 10/Feb/02

I'd agree, it's not the soft touch that the BMC guides make out. Brilliant though.
Budge - 05/Jul/02

Excellent route and would agree with the above. Maybe at this grade it warrants one of those pumpy symbols because there isn't much for your feet, especially the left one when you need rests.
paul - 27/Jun/03

Just done it, and would agree with all the above comments. Quite sustained I thought, and yes, not much in way of rests in the first half of pitch one.
Brian Mead - 20/Aug/03

again, if you're a vs leader wanting to try an hvs, head off to harborough rocks and build up your confidence first! this route is pumpy and quite awkward at times - no pushover - take lots and lots of gear with you
hans - 31/Jul/04

The VS leader comment is a sandbag. This route is (inevitably) very polished, to the extent that flat footholds can feel insecure: though confident at HVS I found this very tough. The polish also detracted significantly from the route's quality, imho.
Chimney Rocket - 11/Sep/04

I thought the polish made it harder than Debauchery!
John Alcock - 16/May/05

Reckon it's nearly worth E1. If HVS was your top end I think you'd still have a battle on this one.
Matt - 31/May/05

Yes E1 5a wouldn't be out of place..this is very sustained and pumpy. And why on earth would anyone not consider doing the top pitch?
alan moore - 02/Jun/05

yeah agree with everything thats been said and the gear aint that good until the climbin eases at about half height definately closer to E1 than vs
Cragdog al - 09/Jun/05

its only VS, sustained 4c all the way up :-)
Sam and will - 27/Jul/05

Hmmm dunno about that sam and will! Hardest move only just 5a but it comes when you're beginning to get tired. Certianly is HVS because you cant really hang around on that section AND thread it with gear! Not E1 though.
oliver aram - 10/Aug/05

have to say am note quite solid at HVS so found this a real struggle mostly due to not getting any rests to put gear in and looking up and not being able to see any possible rests. for me on site more like E1 but i agree looking back more top end HVS. if a Vs climber now only aspire to this route if you are strong, wait to improve your style first
chris elfleet - 21/Nov/05

Solid HVS, all the holds are good if you take the time to find them. Don't agree with the comments about polish, didn't notice any which badly affected holds.
Alex g - 15/May/06

Glad it's not just me that found it hard as nails for HVS. It seems there are two types of people here, those who managed to get a rest on it and those who didn't. I'd like to join the first category please. Will have to give it another go for that reason!
Crispin - 29/May/06

Tough for HVS but no harder. Good sustained climbing all the way. The route is not polished - whoever says it is has never climbed in the Avon Gorge! It has just had lots on traffic. A 'not to miss' climb worth on 3 stars.
Supersteve - 18/Jun/06

Fantastic - especially the layback switch move. Yes, its polished but positive enough to not matter too much. Its def not harder than Debauchery (John Alcock) but is a solid HVS. What I dont understand is why the route has the kink at the start - if done direct (with inevitable, unavoidable but careful use of the tree) the grade is maintained, there's good gear and the line is purer. Done it both ways and prefer it direct. When the tree goes (not long now I'm afraid as its properly dead) the direct route could be around E2 5c ish.
Jon Leighton - 18/Jul/06

The flake/block low down on the traverse across to the groove is loose. It sounds hollow and actually moves
Tim Gledhill - 02/Oct/06

I can report that the flake is now definitely gone and though possibly a little harder the grade is thought to be unaffected. The rock that fell of was around 20Kg and has been kept for prosperity. Nobody was hurt.
Jon Leighton - 27/Sep/07

The tree stump is gone as of today.
Dan Arkle - 16/Aug/10

Six years on, I wonder how much that 20kg block is worth now Jon?
Nigel Edley - 20/Jul/13

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