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Ash Hole

Facing North and surrounded by trees you won't need any sun cream! The crag is sheltered from most winds so even in winter it's still well worth a look, especially as it has a sub 1 minute walk-in! Seepage is minimal and the sheltered nature of the cliff allows climbing in the rain.

The crag has fallen in something of a state of disrepair and could really do with a good clean and re-equipping.

Approach: This venue is found adjacent to the Shoalstone car park in Brixham. After parking in the upper car park a 30 second walk through trees to the R (facing sea) leads to the cliff. Here's a map

History: The crag was discovered by Mark Reeves, who told a third party (who has informed me that naming him was libellous) who then told Paul Twomey - and that was that, the crag more or less matured within a few weeks. Paul Twomey's Ashen now stands as the classic of the crag. Some time after initial developments Dave Henderson had a look at the roof with a ladder and lots of threads (and help from Mark Reeves). The resulting Wayne is an unusual route and the other line now equipped through the roof should be superbly unique (still a project).

The rock is limestone, varying from nice compact stuff to dusty calcite. In-situ gear abounds, although some wires/Friends are needed on all the routes apart from Wayne. Belays come in the form of trees, fence posts and one lower off.

Please be warned that Petzl Expansion bolts are used here and they are now well beyond the best before date.

Access note: So far there have been no access problems but to make sure it stays that way please keep a low profile at the top of the crag, as it's not far from a house.

TR = Thread Runner; BR = Bolt Runner

When approach the crag you will see a short, smooth-looking slab to the right.

White Thorn E5 6b
25ft The thin crack in the slab seen to the right of the approach path. 2 Rock 1's and R.P.s useful (if you plan to lead it!). Probably also E5 as a "bouldering mat" protected solo. FA Paul Twomey, Mark Reeves 6.4.95 (pre-placed gear) (soloed by Paul Twomey).

The following routes are located around the obvious cave and are described from right to left:

Caramel Girl E2 5c
The first ascentionist pulled of a sizeable block, nearly killing his wife. Don't let that put you off as it's gone now. 45ft Start below the cleaned groove on the right flank of the cave mouth. Follow the groove, passing some smooth slabs on the R to a point beneath an overhang. Clip the second BR on Ashen (to the left) before passing the overhang on the left, and then on to a shallow corner and the bolt belay of Ashen. FA Mark Reeves, Paul Twomey 20.7.95.

Ashen E4 6b **
The classic of the crag! 45ft Start left of the previous route, just right of the cave entrance and beneath a line of 3 BR's. Follow the bolt line, making crux moves leftwards by the 3rd bolt to gain a shallow groove/crack. Follow this passing 2 TR and some wire placements to a lower off. FA Paul Twomey, Craig MacPherson, Mark Reeves 12.1.95

New Rose E5 6b *
50ft Good moves to and from the big jug on the lip of the cave. Follow Ashen to it's third BR then traverse left, beneath the roof, on undercuts to gain the prominent white jug on the lip. "Power up the flake for a shake" (or shake up the flake for a rest!), then step left across the wall to join and finish up Wild Ash. FA Paul Twomey, Dave Henderson (both lead) 12.3.95

The next route is found at the back left of the cave (starting at the top of the mud slope, beneath a TR which is clippable from the ground - a stick would be useful for the un-tall).

Wayne Fr.7b+ * #
25ft A unique route which, despite going nowhere, is a "reet laff" and slightly reminiscent of Garth at Hazard Quarry! Climb rather steep rock passing 4 TR. Lower off the last TR after climbing past it to touch the back wall with your feet!! FA Dave Henderson July 1996 (Redpoint)

The following 3 routes share a common start at a flake/jug to the left of the cave mouth

Wild Ash E4 6a *
60ft Gain the flake by a stretch if you're not short or a jump if you are. Make awkward moves up the groove and onto a ledge at the base of the corner/tube. Climb diagonally rightwards to gain the base of a vague groove, which is followed to its termination. Move right to Ashen's lower off point. Protected by 6TR. FA Paul Twomey, Dave Henderson 15.1.95

Sweet Leaf E3 5c #
50ft The climbing is not quite as good as the line. Follow Wild Ash to the base of the corner/tube and climb this to the top. Finish at Ashen's lower off via an exposed traverse. 7TR. FA Paul Twomey, Clark Alston 18.1.96

The Thief of Virtue E3 5c *
45ft An enjoyable and worthwhile route. From the base of the tube on the previous route step left to climb the wall a small overhang (long sling useful for a monster thread). Surmount this and continue direct to the top. Fence/ bush belay some way back. FA Paul Twomey, Mark Reeves 6.4.95

Pheonix HVS+ 5a
45ft A strenuous little chap but well protected (4 TR). Climb the steep groove to the left of the previous routes (TR) to gain a pocketed wall. Move up and then right, passing an amusing TR, to join The Thief of Virtue at its belay. FA Mark Reeves, R. Perry Jan 1995 (utilising an easier finish on the left) As described Mark Reeves 6.4.95

Flight of the Phoenix E2 5c #
60ft Start up Phoenix, traverse R (3 ft above it's 2nd thread) past a thread to the large thread (long sling useful) on Thief of Virtue. Move up and right to the niche on Sweet Leaf and then traverse on to lower off as for Ashen. FA Mark Reeves, Mike Pearce 20.7.95

 


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