Chudleigh has managed to get itself a reputation for having dodgy, polished routes and is well known as the crag everyone loves to hate. Well, don't be put off! It does have many endearing qualities and these are given far less praise than they deserve. For a start it is one of the best bad weather crags in Devon, benefitting from its location in the rain shadow of Dartmoor. And there are shed loads of good routes - The Spider E1, for instance, is one of the finest routes of its grade in the West Country - 2 totally contrasting pitches, the first being bold and delicate and the second giving exposed, strenuous but better protected climbing! There are many other excellent routes here, generally on very good limestone and many have not yet become polished to a serious extent.
This is not a definitive guide; I have included only what I think are the best routes, and not the less popular North Face. The definive guide to the crag is South Devon and Dartmoor (Nick White/Cordee)
On the opposite side of the valley is a steep white crag - this is Black Crag and saw a bit of a clean up in 2008 thanks to Simon Wooster. A guide can be found here.
Gear: A standard leading rack usually suffices; bunch of wires, quickdraws and Friends etc (note: Friends are not to be fully trusted here as the hard, polished rock is somewhat lacking in friction and the cams do not always bite).
Please Note that many of the in-situ pegs at Chudleigh are "Cassin Rings". Despite their new-looking appearance there is major concern over their strength after the ring on one broke. As always back up where possible and bear in mind that these pegs are all at least 20 years old.
Updates on the current state of fixed gear at Chudleigh
Approach: From Exeter take the Plymouth Road (A38) up over a Haldon hill. At the bottom of the other side take the exit signed Chudleigh (next to a garage). Carry on for a mile or so, through the town until just after a traffic calming sector (and small garage on the left) a left turn leads into Rock Road (easily identified by the Police Station at the top). From Plymouth take the first exit for Chudleigh, drive up towards the town and take the right turn into Rock Road (100 yards passed Garden Centre on Right and just before traffic calming).
About 100 yards down Rock Road is a roadside parking on the right (straight ahead, over the valley is the Palace Quarry - no climbing). Remember to park close into the hedge as some large vehicles use the road.
Walk through the swing gate on the right then follow the main path taking the right hand option where it splits. Carry straight on (passing the obvious North Face down to the right) until the path descends over slippery rocks. A 20ft high wall can be seen on the left - home to the polished Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Mo (all graded Difficult). Carrying further down over more polished rocks leads to Pixies Hole - a chalk coverered bouldering area in the entrance to a cave.
THE SOUTH FACE
PIXIES HOLE AREA - as well as the following routes this secteur also home to some fine, albeit polished bouldering. Zillions of eliminates exist but the most obvious non-eliminate "classics" are the left arete 6b and a left to right traverse at about head height 6b.
Big Bird E5/6 6b** 70ft
A rarely repeated route that is said to be pretty hard for the grade. Due to lack of traffic it is normally pretty dusty and the second peg is in a poor state but it should be possible to back up with a large friend to the left. Boulder up the left arete of Pixie's Hole bouldering wall (ie just right of Chudliegh Overhang), then make a boldish move from an undercut borehole strike to gain a good shelf and Peg. Climb direct above here, via a slim groove, to gain a further peg. From here traverse right along a break until beneath an overhanging niche. Climb this to a peg (with an old Maillon on) then exit steeply above to belay on a vegetated ledge and reasonable abseil station (2 pegs linked with rope - rope replaced summer 08). FA Nick White 1988
Big Bird Direct E4/5 6a *
A worthwhile but normally dusty direct finish to Big Bird. Can stay dry in the rain. From the second peg (poor) contine pretty direct passing 2 more pegs (not too bad condition; tat repalced 2008).FA Jon Gandy 1993
Chudleigh Overhang HVS 4c, 4c* 100ft
To the left of the well chalked bouldering secteur is a polished corner crack leading up to a large roof.
1) 50ft Climb the corner to the roof, then get your bold committed muscle out, do some stuff to get to the lip of the roof then layback this to gain a much friendlier area. Much easier climbing leads to a ledge with a double peg belay (possible abseil to avoid the rather poor second pitch)
2) Move up then make a righwards traverse along some ledges until beneath a short crack. Nip up this to another ledge then the short wall above leads to the top. FA Tom Patey (1 Point of Aid) 1960 FFA Pete Biven, Jim Braven 1961
Drip Dry E4 6b, 4c 45ft
Just to the left of Chudleigh overhang is one of the most polished cracks in the world. Hard!
1) 45ft Climb this to gain a thread in the roof then make some powerful moves left then up to another thread. The wall above leads steeply on better holds to the belay ledge and possible abseil descent/lower-off. FA Frank Cannings, Denver Rainford 1963 FFA Pat Littlejohn (Pitch 1) 1982
A less polished indirect start to Drip Dry also exists:
Drip Dry Indirect E4/5 6b
From the start of Chudleigh Overhang head up and left to a groove (good wire). Hand traverse left along the shelf (poor peg, back up Camalot 2/Friend 3) to gain the original route at it's first thread. Worthwile and possibly pumpier than the original. FA D.Henderson, Mark McManus 13/07/2009
GAGOOL BUTTRESS - a fine wall of limestone.
Logic E1 5b, 4c* 95ft
1) 45ft. Just around the arete to the left of Dripdry a ring-peg is visible at 15 feet. Climb polished rock to this (back up small wire just above) then move up and right. A roughly direct line leads to a belay ledge. (Possible abseil descent to avoid the top pitch)
2) 50ft Step up to a block on the left then move up and right to gain a groove. Climb this, taking note of the fine vegetables, then move left to easier rock leading to gain the top. FA Frank Cannings, P. Badcock, A. Thompson 1965
Gagool E1 5b, 4c** 100ft
An excellent route for lovers of fingery limestone wall climbing. HIgh in the grade and requiring careful footwork.
1) 50ft. Start as for Logic to the rusty ring peg (wires to back up just above) then make a thin traverse on small but incut holds at the level of an overlap. After 10 feet move up into a crack, which is followed to gain the belay ledge. (Possible abseil descent to avoid the top pitch)
2) 50ft Step up to a block on the left then move up and right to gain a groove. Climb this, taking note of the fine vegetables, then move left to easier rock leading to gain the top. FA Ian McMorrin, W. Weilly 1965
Gagool Direct E4 6a, 4c** 60ft
Fine climbing with a bold start on pockets, followed by technical wall climbing. The first 15ft are protected by Skyhooks placed in pockets (or very cunning wires). Described with an enhanced variant to give an excellent pitch on good quality limestone.
1) 45ft. Start directly beneath Gagools upper crack (i.e. the crack in the centre of the wall that starts about 20 ft up), 10 feet left of the start of the original. Climb a short groove then move left to follow pockets direct to meet Gagool, just beneath it's crack. Traverse rightwards on incut holds just above an overlap then make tricky moves direct up the wall above until easier climbing leads to the belay. Abseil off, or continue up the Gagool original finish.
Slyboots McCall E4 6a* 50ft
This eliminate line starts on just right of the left arete (Combined Ops) then trend up right to gain the first of 2 pegs. Reliant on pegs.
1) 50ft Climb direct past these and direct above. Belay as for Combined Ops. The exact grade depends on what holds you use - can be harder if climbed ultra-direct.
2) Ab of or finish up pitch 2 of Gagool. FA Nick White, Mark Courtier 1984
Combined Ops E2 5b, 4c** 100ft
A superb steep route up the left arete of the buttress. Take plenty of small wires (Rocks 1-3).
1) 60ft Start to the right of the arete at a rising crackline. Follow this to the arete then climb it direct. A funny step up leads to a semi-rest in a niche (good small wires). Above this, crux moves lead steeply passing a peg to gain a bolt/peg belay.
2) Most ab from here; alternatively either climb ivy ridden steep stuff above the belay (4c) or trend up the corner to the left to gain a tree belay at the top og the corner to the left (Sarcophagus). FA Pete Biven, Barrie Biven, Cliff Fishwick, Jim Braven 1962
THE COMBAT WALL - steeper stuff. Some good routes that tend to stay dry in the rain. In days past it was a popular "training" wall for top roping.
Combat E3 5c** 90ft
The classic of the wall is justifiably the most popular route of it's grade at Chudleigh (pretty high in the grade). About 10 ft left of the arete are twin cracks leading to a recess beneath a small roof.
1) 60ft Gain a position beneath the small roof (either boulder up direct or pull in from the left). Sort out some gear (bomber wire in the base of the crack of Oesophagus on the left) to protect you for placing a small wire in the base of the flake on right. Swing up rightwards and traverse to the arete. Move up passing a peg (on Combined Ops) to a semi-rest and good small wires. Head up leftwards on the steep wall, to gain a "sentry box" type feature - weak thread in the top and good small wire. From here make some long reaches and follow improving holds above to gain a bolt/peg belay common with Combined Ops.
2) Finish up Combined Ops (or Ab off from the bolt and peg) FA Pat Littlejohn, Steve Jones 1971
Tendonitis E4 6a * 80ft
A fingery direct on Combat. From the flake traverse 15 feet up, continue direct (peg with tat on) to gain the "sentry box" on the original, up which you finish. FA Dave Cope, B.Frampton 1984
No Bolts Please, Nick E6 6b 60ft
Free climbs the old aid route Obstreperous and then adds a harder finish. One of Chudleigh's hardest routes is a strong contender for its most eliminate! Consequently the grade is dependant on exactly what you decide is "in" or "out"! If you going for the onsight you'll reckon everything is in...headpointers can be more picky to boost the grade to a possible E7!!
1) 60ft From beneath the small roof 10 feet up Combat, pull around on "pegged out" pockets (gear in base of Oesophagus to the left and the base of the Combat flake to the right). Follow these to their termination then head up left across the wall (getting fairly bold), then up to gain fairly decent hold on Before the Storm. Arrange some gear (small wires including a fine "key-holed" walnut) then climb the bulge above directly (6c if done totally direct, however this is silly so you'll probably make it 6b by reaching slightly right). Worthwhile as a training top rope problem and a strong ethical statement. FA Denver Rainford, Brian Housley (aid) 1966 FFA Ken Palmer 1991
Oesophagus E1 5a** 65ft
Strenuous climbing up the obvious crack to the left of Combat. If you're a solid E1 geeza/geezette you find it all right; if not...
1. 65ft Follow the crack, not wasting too much energy on the gear, to gain a niche at 45 feet. Exit this on the right with some awkward moves, then climb above to gain the peg/bolt belay shared with everything else. FA Barrie Biven, Jim Braven 1962
Before the Storm E4 5c* 70ft
Good wall climbing but with equally good fall potential. Start just left of Oesophagus.
1) 70ft Climb up a few ledges to gain the narrow wall between Sarcophagus and Oesophagus. Climb this, using a short slanting crack, to a junction with Oesophagus. Arrange gear then traverse right for a couple of moves on edges. Move up to a good hold (bold) where poor gear can be arranged (a bit fiddly and in a bold position). Traverse right to gain the base of the sentry box on Combat (good gear). Move into this then finish direct above (as for Combat). Abseil off or finish up Combined Ops. FA Robbie Warke 1984
Sarcophagus VS 4c, 4c 100ft
The overhanging corner. One of Chudleigh's best lines and the hard bits stay dry in fairly poor weather. It is however, full-on polished to the maximum!
1) 30ft Climb the corner to a cave stance at 30ft
2) 70ft Move up the chimney type crack above untill a hanging wall on the left, after about 20ft and beneath a large overhang. Traverse this on small, polished holds to gain a short corner (possible belay - useful if you haven't sufficiently extended your runners). Follow the corner to a good tree belay. FA Tom Patey 1960
Ossuary E7 6c *
A tricky and worthwhile route taking the blank-looking wall between Sarcophagus and Into the Groove. Start a couple of metres left of Sarcophagus. Climb the shiny slab to a roof. Place crucial gear (Peanut 2, RP2) then climb the wall above via undercuts on the right. Lower off, or finish up Concerto. FA Dave Henderson 25 October 2009 (belayed by Jerome Taylor)
Into the Groove E6 6c 80ft #
Another ethical statement from Ken Palmer (the other being his ascent of No Bolts Please, Nick) re-climbing a route previously lead with 1 bolt. To my knowledge it is unrepeated in the described form (but what do I know?). It climbs the thing bottomless crack in the wall 20 ft left of Sarcophagus to the large sloping ledge on Concerto, then finishes up that route. Fa Dave Cope with a bolt runner 1985 FBFA Ken Palmer (using Skyhook for gear) 1991
About 20ft left of Sarcophagus is an alcove. This is usually well chalked and is home to a V4/English 6b traverse (start on the boulder on right then traverse left to finish up the corner) and Simon's Problem V9 6c/7a problem to the right of the corner via poor slopers to a long move up to a break (low start at V10).
White Edge/Concerto Combo E2/3 5c** 100ft
Smart climbing - strenuous but the crux is mostly on good holds. It takes a line through the roofs left of Sarcophagus. Think about your rope-work on the start or you'll regret it further up!
1) 100ft Climb the left edge of the alcove to gain a ledge beneath a roof. Move right to the arete then make a few moves up to a a couple of pegs. Pull through the bulge above on a sloping ledge and good rest. Move up to the roof above then climb to a block above. Nip around the overhang above then scratch onto the slab above and a thin crack. Finish up the corner above to a large tree belay (as for Sarcophagus). Concerto: FA Frank Cannings, Andy Powling (some aid) 1966 FFA Steve Bell 1979 White Edge Pete Biven, Ian McMorrin 1966
Uncertain Smile E5 6c Fr7c
The naughtily bolted 45 degree roof.
1) 30ft Gain a bendy peg belay beneath the roof then do a few jumps and stuff on pockets (2 bolts), through the roof to gain the right edge. Turn the lip and move onto the slab above. Bolt. It is possible to strip the route from this then retreive the karabiner by abseil from the top of Sarcophagus, or you can continue to the top.
GREENMANTLE AREA - A short distance leftwards along the crag is the barred entrance to a cave. To then right of the cave is are Green Mantle and Tar Baby. One of Chudleigh's easier sectors, home to the popular introductory route Green Mantle which has been the start of many a climbing career!
Greenmantle Diff* 80ft
Start to the right of the barred entrance.
1) 40ft Slippery ledges lead up right to a crack. Climb this for about 15 ft then traverse right. Large holds lead up to a ledge, then move on up to another ledge and belay.
2) 40ft Above the belay ledge is a groove - climb this to the top. Alternatively, (easier) climb the croove that heads up right to a good tree belay (as for Sarcophagus) FA J. Brooks, R. Cockran 1964
Tar Baby Severe 4b* 80ft
Another fine, and ironically un-sticky route.
1) Start as for Greenmantle but rather than moving rightto the crack, move left into a small hanging corner. Climb this, past a tricky step up, to ledge infested rock above. The top corner leads more steeply to a tree belay. FA Steve Dawson, P. Butler 1966
SPACE BUTTRESS / GULLY WALL BOULDERING - Above the barred cave entrance a steep gully leads up to an overhanging wall. The lower half of this provides good pumpy bouldering, ideal for getting fit on (using everything this is about V4/6a with the crux being the final section to gain the slab above). Above the bouldering section is a bit of a sloping slab, and above this are the blocky overhangs that form Space Buttress. A metal cage blocks of the the entrance to a cave. It is possible to gain this area by scrambling direct up the gully - this is not recommended, a far easier approach being the tree route descent/ascent (see map).
Saturn Five E2 5b * 40ft
Do you have big arms but poor footwork? If so this is the tick for you. Make the effort to back up the pegs.
1) 40ft Start from the cage and traverse up right until beneath a line of weakness (identified by 3 pegs with tat on them). Yard your way up this to a final lock for a wobbly hold. Pull around to finish on easier angled rock.
Note: The route has normally been described with a direct boulder problem start (pulling onto the slab from a jug on the lip, and using a calcite pocket above) which bumps the grade up to 5c. However, given that it is not really necessary now the cage is there and harder than the rest of the route I have described it with a start from the cage to provide a more balanced climb. FA Steve Bell, J.Grubb 1979
Major Tom E3 6a* 40ft
The weakness in the large overhang left of Saturn Five. A very fine route for lovers of steep stuff.
1) 40ft From the cage a few moves lead up to a short crack/slot. Now move up to the roof above and a rusty peg runner. Either traverse rightwards at this level or reverse down to the slot and then traverse right until until holds lead up to the roof. (Both options are technically the same grade but the latter has the benefit of overhead protection for some of the way). Either way you'll find yourself beneath a weakness in the roof on some good holds (essential gear #1 or 0.5 Friend and wires). Follow good holds through the roof (peg up to left - hard clip) to then make several locks on smaller holds to an easing in angle and then the top. FA Chris Nicholson 1984
SALOME AREA - The large ledge beneath Space Buttress forms the top of the Seventh Veil wall. This is particualry popular with groups and consequently very polished.
Salome V.Diff* 50ft
Rather polished but still a good early lead. The gear is generally good, as are the holds. Start on the right side of the wall at the foot of a ramp.
1) 50ft Climb the ramp up and left to it's termination beneath a steep wall. Climb the steep crack on the right up this to finsh. Good tree/stake belay.
Seventh Veil VS 4c 40ft
Start 20 ft left of Salome, at the bottom of the glistening wall. A bold route.
1) Climb a diagonal crack rising rightwards to the a small ledge. Step left then climb interesting rock to the top.
Seventh Veil Direct E1/2 5a 40ft
The shiny wall left of the original has no gear, is fairly fingery and ridiculously polished as a consequence of heavy abseil use. E2 if you slip off; E1 if not - good luck!
To the right of the Seventh Veil wall is the Hot Ice Butress(ette).
Hot Ice E4 6a** 25ft
A fine route that is ether top roped or soloed. Although one hold on the route has 'evolved' this has not really changed the grade - still a hard E4. The lower arete is polished but strangely enough this shine diminshes as height is gained. Mats definitely make the route more approachable!
1) 25ft Climb the arete to it's top and a small overlap. Move right a bit to step up onto the wall above. Climb this scarily on small edges to the top.
The wall right of Hot Ice has been climbed - Flinger's Sleight Return E3 6a/b start just right of Hot Ice and moves up to a sharp pocket. Climb above this with a few tricky moves then head up the right hand side of the all above.
Kush E5 6b/c* 25ft
Start around the arete left of Hot Ice at a small groove leading to a small roof.
1) 25ft Climb a short groove to a small roof. Pull around this using a very sharp pocket on the right, to gain a good edge. Funny moves lead above this to the top. Graded for a solo but it may be possible to protect the top section with a poor small wire and tied down Skyhooks. FA Dave Henderson (solo)
COW CAVE AREA Continuing along the crag, passing a tree root descent (used for getting down from the majority of routes, and also serving as a reasonable access route for Space Buttress, the path descends towards Cow Cave. Above the slope is a short wall with 2 cracks:
T.N.T. HVS 5a 30ft
The thinner right hand crack has some balancy moves. Tree belay.
Guy Fawkes Crack VS 4c 35ft
The wider left-hand crack is perfect for those into thrutchy 'orrible stuff/ routes of character. FA Nev Hannaby, Eric Rayson 1960
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes E3 6a* 50ft
To the right of Cow Cave is a series of mis-aligned grooves. A technical route that can stump shorter climbers.
1) 50ft Enter the bottom groove and climb to its termination at a bulge. Move left and up into the second groove and follow it with much weirdness past a couple of pegs. Move right at its top (peg) then climb the wall above on improving holds. FA Frank Cannings (with points of aid) 1964 FFA Pete Leedell 1971
Smokey Joe E3 6a*
... Is a basically a direct on the previous route. Move right at the top of the first groove then climb direct to join the finish of the original. FA Nick White, Chris Nicholson 1984
Charlie Chaplain Walks on Air E4 6b 60ft
A rarely climbed route - would be better as a boulder problem (if the landing were better). It climbs the obvious super steep groove arching across the lip of the cave. 1) 60ft Climb the groove, passed an old peg, with stack loads of difficulty. Join and finish up Loot. Or, finish up the next route:
The Mane Man E4 6c* 60ft
An impressive route through the roof above Cow Cave. Possibly unrepeated?
1) 60ft Somehow get to the top roof (up Loot or Charlie Chaplain..) and climb through it via the thin crack. A thread and peg protects this. After the roof do more hard climbing (there used to be an in-situ wire on this - now missing) to eventually gain the ladge above. Tree belay.
Loot HVS 5a * 60ft
A superb route with comedy get-yer-helmet-stuck potential! Large Hexes/ Friends are useful. It climbs the obvious groove/crack-line left of the cave. Old school HVS which many think to be E1 these days.
1) 60ft Boulder up to a hanging chimney and squirm up this until you can't breath any more. Extricate yourself with a blind move out to a jug and climb the corner above past a peg. Now for the extra nice bit - move left onto a slab then climb to the roof where you turn the left side to gain a crack/groove. Once in this you'll be fine on the easier finish. FA Nev Hannaby, Eric Rayson 1960
Twang E1 5b ** 60ft
A very smart route which is perfect for those just getting into the extreme grade! A technical crux followed by an exposed, committing finish on big holds.
1) 60ft Climb up to the ledge left of Loot. Arrange gear in the overlap above (tricky if you're short) then make some fingery moves to a scoop (wires). Tricky moves pass this to gain slabbier rock lead to a short corner on the left. Pull through the bulge into this then have a little breather on the left (Possible belay but this will make the top bit more serious) before moving up a steep corner until level with a prominent block on the right. Swing out wildly onto this (or calmly with nice footwork) then make a tough reach up right. Finish on big jugs above.
The steep rib/arete above the peg on Twang is taken by Highly Strung E4 6b. This is now missing a peg and is also quite eliminate. The following 3 routes are all worthwhile, especially as an introduction to 2 pitch climbs given the pleasant midway stance. They can also be done in one pitch.
Reek HS 4b* 65ft
A very worthwhile route. Start as for Twang.
1) 40ft Climb to the ledge 12 feet up Twang then make a short traverse leftt around a bulge. Move up the groove above then step right to a small belay stance.
2) 25ft Climb the slab up and left for about 12 ft then climb the wall on the right to finish. Tree belay. FA Eric Rayson, B. Waistell, Nev Hannaby 1961
Spearhead HVS 4c* 65ft
Pretty similar to the last route.
1) Follow Reek to the ledge and then climb the wall on the right (from the left side of the ledge). Nip through the "spearhead" left onto the stance of Reek.
2) Climb the slab up and left for about 12 ft then climb the wall on the right to finish. Tree belay. (as for Reek) FA Eric Rayson, B. Waistell, Nev Hannaby 1961
To the left of this is an obvious, wide crack - Barn Owl Crack. At the base of this crack (about 15 ft up) is a ledge.
Leek HS 4b 65ft
Just left of Reek/ Twang's start is a small corner.
1) 40ft Climb the corner then step left to the ledge. Climb above here to gain the groove to the right of Barn Owl Crack and follow this to a stance above.
2) 25ft Wander up the slab above and finish up Reek (ie up the wall on the right). Tree belay.
Barn Owl Crack V.Diff ** 70ft
Despite being rather polished and bold this is a good route "of character".
1) 70ft Climb to the ledge then up the crack. At the top finish leftwards. It is also possible to miss the scary middle bit by moving right, climbing past the stance of Leek then back out left - at the same grade)
A worthwhile variant to the Barn Owl Crack original can be made by moving left from the base of the chimney crack, then climbing the pillar to the left. The buttress above Cow Cave is home to a V.Diff, Ash Tree Buttress.
Moving down the slope left of Barn Owl Crack leads to biggest bit of the rocks. On the right of this (about 20 ft left of Barn Owl Crack) is a steep corner-crack:
The Slot HVS 5a* 70ft
Has had several write-ups trying to tempt people onto it but this doesn't seem to be working. Go on - do it, it's supposed to be really good! Scramble up to a good ledge (continuation of the ledge on Barn Owl crack) beneath the corner crack.
1) Climb the corner-crack, very much in a traditional fighting/struggling style, through an overhang then up the wall above. FA Nev Hannaby 1960
Panga E3 6a* 70ft
Quite a toughy! Start on the slab to the 10ft left of The Slot beneath a flake.
1) 70ft Climb to the flake and a peg runner. Make a tough step up left onto a small foothold then do more hard stuff, heading slightly right, and up into a groove. Peg. This leads, after another tricksome move, to easier vegetated rock. Finish up left to a ledge and peg belay.
2) Either ab off or finish up the wall above. FA Ian McMorrin, Pete Biven (2 points of aid) 1966 FFA Steve Bell, Bruce Woodley 1979
MACHETE WALL AREA Beneath and to the left of Panga is an overhung niche, which is taken by South Face. Above this is Machete Wall. The next feature left is the slim groove high on the wall - this is Inkerman Groove and the obvious steep, blank-looking wall to the left is taken by Black Death. Beneath this is the line of cracks taken by Wogs, finishing up the crack left of Black Death.
It is possible to abseil down from the belay atop Machete Wall/Inkernman Groove. There is normally an in situ abseil station although (as with any insitu gear) this should not be trusted implicitly - my 50 metre single rope reaches (doubled), but check yours!
The following route was originally done with a harder finish (above the niche climb direct to 2nd peg on Panga and finish as for that route) but the description is of the best "combo".
South Face/ Machete Wall/ Penny Lane Combo E4 6a** 80ft
A very good value hybrid.
1) 80ft Climb the wall on the right side of the niche until beneath the overhang. Traverse wildly left along the break for a few feet to gain an obvious ring peg (BACK IT UP with a good wire and Friend). Move up the hanging groove above then make some blind moves around onto the steep slab above. Climb direct above here to an obvious peg runner (on Machete wall), followed by another just above. Climb slightly leftwards above these, passing a good foothold, onto a slab above. Traverse left beneath the overhang then follow the thin crack above, not without interest, leading to easier ground and a peg belay on ledge. FA Roger Geartrick 1983
Machete Wall E2 5b *** 80ft
A superb route starting to the left of the South Face niche. It used to be a stiff E1 but the consensus now seems to be E2. There are two ways of climbing the crux section, described separately below. The first (left hand) is more sustained but easier; the direct has a harder move.
1) 75ft Climb for 15ft to a large break beneath a groove. Make a smart rock over type mantelshlef move into the groove and follow it to another big break (large Friend handy). Climb direct above here to a peg and then a further peg just beyond. Move up and trend left, passing a good foothold, until it is possible to move right onto a slab. Move up right onto a large perched block then make a "funny" step left into a groove. Climb this to the ledge and peg belay/ab station.
Variation: E2 5c Climb direct up the slim groove above the double pegs onto the slab. Move up onto the large block then climb the thin crack direct above. FA Eric Rayson 1960
Mortality Crisis E4 6a** 85ft
An excellent route combining strenuous and technical climbing. It is, however, slightly marred by a good rest and possibility of escape into Inkerman Groove. Start as for Machete Wall
1) 80ft Climb to the "smart mantel" of Machete Wall then step up and left to a Stainless steel ring peg runner. The wall above leads to a white groove, old peg runner (common with Penny Lane and backupable with a small wire), then follow the groove to where it petres out. Clip a good peg with difficulty then move up leftwards to a good rest on the edge of Inkerman Groove. Sort out some gear then step up. Traverse out right to a thread runner and undercut hold, then climb the wall above with some hard moves to an easier finish and the belay of Machete Wall. FA Nick White, George Szuca 1985
Penny Lane E3 6a/b* 85ft
Good technical climbing which is harder for shorter geezas. 1) 85ft Start about 20 ft left of the previous route and climb easily up cracks (up Wogs) to a ledge at 25ft. From the right hand end of this climb a groove (peg - this section is common with Inkerman Direct) to a horizontal break then step right around a rib. The wall above leads to a rusty peg in a white groove (shared with Mortality Crisis) from which a hard traverse leads right to the slab beside the perched block on Machete Wall. Step up and left beneath the overhang until beneath a thin crack, which is followed (with interest!) to the peg belay/abseil station. FA Pat Littlejohn, John Hammond (filed-down penny as point of aid and slightly different line to that described) FFA Steve Bell, J. Grubb 1979
Inkerman Groove VS 4c*** 100ft
The best VS at Chudleigh and one of the top VS's in Devon. Hard for the grade but not too bad with a confident approach. To the left of the start to Penny Lane is an obvious line of cracks - the line of least resistence which is taken by Wogs.
1) 100ft Follow the polished line (as for Wogs), through a niche and above until level with an overhang on the right. With good high gear in the slanting crack, step across onto the wall above the overhang then make an exposed and balancy traverse to gain the base of the hanging groove. Follow the groove, with plenty of gear and technical interest to match, to a small ledge after about 30 ft. A rising traverse now leads up and right to gain the ledge and belay of Machete Wall
2) Ab off or climb the short wall above to top out. FA Eric Rayson, Nev Hannaby 1960
Inkerman Groove Direct HVS 5a** 90ft
A good and strenuous route.
1) 90ft Climb the original to gain the ledge at 25 ft. From the right hand end of this climb a groove (peg - the section to here is common with Penny Lane) until beneath the overhang. Move left under this and then up to a peg. Pull through the roof and into the groove of the original and follow this directly to the top. Note: not many people climb this finish and vegetation is building on the top section. Take care and make sure you have good gear in the groove!FA Andy McFarlane, A Pearson 1971
Black Death E4 6a*** 90ft
The best E4 at Chudleigh is strenuous but well protected.
1) 90ft Follow Inkerman Groove to it's traverse then climb the wall above on a series of pockets to enter a niche/groove by some awkward moves. Peg Runner above. Use an obvious undercling on the right to move up and right, then a few more tricky moves lead slightly leftwards through the bulge to gain good, hidden holds. Finish more easily above. FA Denver Rainford, E. Phillips (13 points of aid!) 1966 FFA Pat Littlejohn 1982 (previously done with 1 pt of aid by Paul Dawson 1980)
White Life E5/6 6b *** 90ft
An exceptional alternative finish to Black Death which is protected mostly by pegs. With a long quickdraw pre-placed on an otherwise hard-to-clip peg (the first peg after the Black Death) the route is about Fr7a+/b.
1) 90ft Follow Black Death to the top of it's niche/groove. Clip it's peg (good small wire back-up). Climb left and up to a another peg to gain a thin break under a bulge. Desperately clip the peg out left (unless you have a pre-placed sling!) then move left into the base of a steep groove. Gain the groove above (peg runner) then finish direct. FA Nick White, Pete Bull 1985
Wogs V.Diff *** 100ft
An un-PC name but a fine route with planty of character and a good line to boot. A popular route and consequently very polished, making it "not the best route for a damp day". It can be split into several pitches as a good intro to multi-pitching.
1) 70ft Climb the obvious line as for the previous routes - just follow the polish with the crux being a steep exit from a niche at 35ft.From here gain the crack above and follow it to a stance on the left, atop the pillar and well endowed in the view department.
2) 30ft Climb up and left on the easiest line to a fine tree belay. A short man made wall on the right leads to the top. FA I.B. Prowse 1923
Variation Finish A worthwhile finish which makes the top bit more worthwhile. Strangely it see's little traffic and is consequently is getting a bit overgrown - go and do it!
2a) 30ft From the pillar stance move up to the bay above on the left. A step right leads to a projecting ledge and the wall above leads to the top.
At the top of the crag above Wogs is a small cave - this is called Problem Cave. The crack through the roof goes at 5a and other problems exist to either side.
To the left of Wogs is a more vegetated area of rock. This is home to 3 routes, all of which obviously "would benefit from more trade". Here are details for the best one - make up the other two yourself but don't forget a selection of gardening implements - machete, trowel, spade etc.
Tantalus E1 5b, 5b * 120ft
Start about 25 feet to the left of Wogs at an overhanging crack.
1) Climb the crack to then move out leftwards. Make a few moves up to belay at a horizontal break beneath a large fault-line.
2) Climb the fault to a ledge then move left and up the wall above to gain a broken groove using pockets. Climb the groove then finsih leftwards. Tree belay. FA Andy Powling, Brian Neely (2 points of aid) 1966 FFA Brian Wilkinson, Andy Gallagher 1979
NEVER ON A SUNDAY AREA Left of the the Wogs area the path descends a steep slope. At the base of the slope two caves are visible - the following routes start beneath these:
Scar VS 4b, 4c 120ft *
The first feature after descending the slope is a pair of caves about 10ft up.
1) Climb the wall to the right of the caves then move left onto slabby rock. Move up to a spacious belay beneath the corner.
2) Follow the corner to the remains of a tree then climb the oevrhanging right wall to a tree belay.
3) Climb up and move left to an easier finish. FA Nev Hannaby, Tom Patey 1960
Never on a Sunday HS 120ft *
A superb second pitch.
1) Climb to the pair of caves and move awkwardly out from the right hand one onto slabs above. Follow these to the good ledge above and belay.
2) Above is the large corner taken by Scar and to the right is a smaller, short corner. Climb this for about 10ft then move up diagonally right, following cracks, to a small ledge around the arete. Climb the wall above in fine positions to gain a tree belay. FA Dave Bassett, Alex Allan 1961
The Leap Year Finish HVS 5a *
A very worthwhile pitch providing a fine and very exposed pitch from the belay terrace of Scar/ Never on a Sunday
1) Pitch 1 of Never on a Sunday, or Scar.
2) Follow the large corner above (as for Scar), to the the top. Traverse left across the wall until a hard move leads to better holds and peg runner. Surmount the bulge above and climb the steep wall above to finish. FA Frank Cannings, A.R. Thompson 1964
WESTERN TOWER Left again the crag is slightly broken in it's lower half but opens up higher to form a very fine wall of limestone taken by The Spider. On the left of this section a shorter wall, composed mostly of calcite, can be seen.
The Fly HVS 4b, 5a *
A tough and well positioned second pitch, sharing the superb positions of The Spider but at an easier standard. About 20 ft left of the twin caves is a ledge at 8 ft.
1) Nip up ont' ledge then ascend the crack to the right to another ledge. Follow the groove above to the a spacious stance.
2) Move left then climb a steep wall, heading left for a large "perched block". The steep corner formed by the right side of this leads up onto the block, after which the climber must move left to gain the faultline. Get the fear a bit, maybe do some shaking then make some scary moves left beneath the bulge to fortunately gain a good hold. Phewweee. Follow the groove above then make a long step out left to the lip of an overhang, then climb the wall above to finish. FA Frank Cannings, Joe Raven 1965
The Spy E3 5b, 5c **
A superb route, the first pitch has been cleaned up a bit in 2008. The meat of the route, the second pitch, follows the slanting fault at two-thirds height. Start 10ft left of The Fly beneath a zig-zag crack. Quite low in the grade (by Chudleigh standards).
1) Follow aforementioned crack to a ledge then move right to climb a wall (bit tricksome), passing a peg, to gain another ledge. The corner above leads with difficulty, onto the slab on the left. Follow this to a belay stance shared with The Fly.
2) Climb up to the vegetable-patch-ledge above then climb up to the "perched block" (the one that makes an appearance on The Fly). Nip around the right of this (as for The Fly) then climb above for 10ft to gain a good side-pull (The Spider takes a line slightly to the left) beneath the fault-line/bulge. Traverse trickily right beneath the bulge to gain a monster jug. Climb the groove above to join The Leap Year Finish before making a stride left onto the lip of an overhang. The wall above leads more easily to finish. FA Pat Littlejohn, John Hammond 1968. FFA Ed Hart 1973
The Spider E1 ***
The best E1 at Chudleigh and a South West classic. High in the grade. Both pitches are challenging and overall it is tough for the grade. The first pitch is bold and delicate, the second well protected (smallish wires) and in fantastic positions. Start in the same place as The Fly (20ft left of the twin caves, beneath a ledge at 8ft).
1) 5a. Climb to the ledge then climb the steep wall to the left direct to an overlap. Pull through this onto a ledge, place a good wire then traverse left beneath a bulge (small wire placement) until it is possible to pull onto the slab above using a good hold. Climb the slab, with a poor wire placement for the cunning, to a good ledge and peg belay.
2) 5b. A stunning pitch. Climb up rightwards to a vegetated ledge then climb the wall above to the "perched block". Move up the left side of this and onto the ledge above. Climb directly above to the obvious way through the bulge and pull onto the steep slab above on small but positive holds. Head diagonally right across the slab to gain a welcome tree stump, then climb on better holds direct to finish. FA Frank Cannings, Pete Biven 1965
Great Western VS **
A fine route that is a bit spoilt by polish on pitch one. About 10ft left of the start to The Spider is a shallow corner (this is just to the right of where the wall becomes characterised by calcite flutings.
1) 4c. Climb the corner, passing a small ledge on the left, to a second ledge beneath a break and bulge above. Traverse left on good handholds, beneath the bulge, until until you can pull up onto a good ledge (possible stance, not recommended unless you've fluffed up the rope-work). Climb the slippery slab on the right to gain a nice ledge and peg belay.
2) 5a. Climb the wall above until beneath the small overhang. Peg runner and good back-up. Make a luverly move left to pull around into a groove, leading to a stance.Good view and tree belay.
3) 3c. Climb the vague line above on big holds to finish. FA Nev Hannaby, Eric Rayson 1961
STALACTITE WALL An under-rated wall of calcitic limestone, home to some of Chudleigh's boldest and hardest routes.
Grim Reaper E3 5c
Technical and with scant protection up the slab right of the following route.
The Harvestman E5 6a*
A very fine although rarely climbed pitch. Some very good fall potential on the upper section, coupled with tricky climbing, make this route extra exciting.
1) Wander up somewhere to the right of Whoremoans to gain a break, then pull up above at a tiny right facing groove in the calcite headwall. Follow this then move left onto a slabbier section; try and calm down then make a couple of scary (but actually quite easy!!) moves to an often vegetated finish. FA Robbie Warke
Whoremoans E6 6b** 50ft
Basically a harder version of the previous route, featuring a large run-out from good gear. A speedy belayer will provide extra peace-of-mind for the bold finish. About Fr. 7b. Start beneath the obvoius protruding peg.
1) Climb calcite (handy thread runner to make the "running belayer" more effective!) to a small roof. Pull through this to gain a shelf/break above then make a couple of moves left to the peg. Good wires and small Friend. Now make a funny move up to get stood on the good hold to the left of the peg. Climb direct above, on hard to see holds, until a move right gains a steep slab (with good fall potential). Finish above this on better holds (common with The Harvestman). FA Nick White
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