Devil's Cwm

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Devil's Cwm
( Easter Buttress )
Rock Type Natural Carboniferous Limestone
Climbing Style Trad
Approach Time 35 minutes
Area Gower
Sub Area Thurba to Overton
Local Area Hollow Top to White Pillar
Geodata
WGS-84 Location 51.547428, -4.249505
OS Grid Ref. SS 441 855
WGS-84 Parking Location 51.561586, -4.242797
GR Parking Location SS 446 871
Parking Postcode SA3 1PE
Base Elevation 0 metres (Other)
General Info
Faces Direction South
Aspect Sunny
Wind Sheltered Never
Climbing Type Normal
Seepage Quick drying
Tidal
Before/After Low Tide 3.0 hours (See Note)
Crags Within 400m

Blackhole Gut, Devil's Cwm, Eos Zawn, Fetlock Zawn, Hollow Top, Horses Cliff, Juniper Wall, Stalking Horse Zawn, White Pillar, Yellow Buttress

PREAMBLE

First mentioned in Gower Peninsula (1970) and the first routes were described in Gower Peninsula Supplement (1973). The crag was overlooked in Gower & S.E. Wales (2003) and the name was applied to the zawn known by locals as Blackhole Gut.[1]

In 2009 the crag was found again, considered a new find and named on the wiki as Yellow Buttress Lower Tier. The crag was renamed in Gower Rock - Selected Rock Climbs (2012) as Easter Buttress.

This is the sea cliff that falls from the saddle immediately below Yellow Buttress. The crag is tidal and accessible 3 hours either side of low water. A system of ledges at half height can be accessed at all states of the tide. The routes are about 35 metres in length. The rock is excellent in the lower half of the crag, then sharp and brittle in the middle and finally a little loose at the top. Routes may feel harder than their given grades!

Two identifying features are a ridge bounding the right side of the cliff and a large but shallow cave at half-height on the left side of the cliff with a deep crack running through its roof. To the right of this cave a system of ledges extends across the crag. At the foot of the cliff a small zawn runs into a cave below the large cave mentioned above. The routes are described from left to right.

Jeremy Talbot's route descriptions have been added at the bottom of this page.

ACCESS

Access from the free parking at Pilton Green, (SS 446 871 or 51.561586, -4.242797). On the right-hand side of the B4247, approx. 2 miles before Rhossili. Park on the grass at the edge of the track leading to a farm. Cross the road, bear left and take the public footpath (signposted to Foxhole Slade) through the 'kissing-gate' on the left of the sandy-coloured house (Clifflands). Reach the top of a dry valley after about 20 minutes and numerous gates. (1.34km). At the landward end of the valley is a wooden kissing-gate (SS 438860).

Go through the kissing gate, descend a short way (to the Wales Coast Path) and then turn left (east - signposted to Port Eynon) up the steep side of the valley and then head east for 160m on the path until you get to a broad vague valley leading down to the sea. Follow the valley downwards (for 200m) on a narrow path.

From the bottom of the valley head east (left) on a precarious path (in places) past the base of Horses Cliff (fence) for approx 330m and to the 'col' at Yellow Buttress. Scramble down the western side of the headland to sea-level.

DESCENTS

Scramble down easy rocks on the western side of the crag.

THE ROUTES

Yellow Buttress - Lower Tier - Lines described from left to right
Yellow Buttress - Lower Tier - Lines described from left to right
  1. Midwife Crisis - VS *
    A contrived but highly entertaining route. A novel first pitch is followed by a short hard crux, at the top of the grade, on the second. Start by descending to the back of the small zawn.
    1. 4a. 12m. Climb onto an overhanging shelf in the lower cave (easier on left). Cross the shelf to the right, avoiding neolithic burial remains (just kidding). Exit via a thru-cave in the roof and be reborn onto the crag face. Continue up easily to ledges below the large upper cave.
    2. 5a. 23m. Climb the steep, rough, pocketed wall between the cave and the left bounding ridge (crux). Move up and right over the lip of the cave and ascend the easy shallow gully above to the top, taking care with the rock.

  2. Empty Cave - HS
    Start just right of the small zawn on a tidal ledge beneath a small black roof at about 5 metres. Climb a wall and turn the roof on its left. Continue past 2 ledges to gain a shallow groove in the right wall of the large cave. Gain the headwall and climb it via cracks and flakes. 35m.

  3. Cream Egg - 35m HS *
    Bridge the cracked chimney groove right of the low black overhang to gain easier ground at half height. Climb the wall above trending left to finish up a short corner.

  4. April Fools - S
    Climb a wall just right of Cream Egg to gain a shallow groove which leads to the easy ground at half height. Above and slightly right the route takes a left facing corner to a worrying finish. 35m.

  5. Chocolate Bunny - V Diff.
    The corner bounding the right side of the main face. 35m.

  6. Easter Parade - V. Diff *
    The curved rake in the wall of the bounding ridge. Pleasant. 35m.

  7. Monkey Dust - V. Diff
    Follow the left edge of the bounding ridge in a fine position, tackling the exposed overlaps near the top directly on jugs. Another worthwhile easy romp. 35m.

Cream Egg - Lower Tier

Talbot's Routes

Talbot named what we now refer to as Easter Buttress (or Yellow Buttress Lower Tier) as Devil's Cwm. The 'Cwm' is awkward to reach and impossible to view from a distance unless from the sea. It's unsurprising that Devil's Cwm became confused with Blackhole Gut[2].

”About 50 yd. directly S from Yellow Buttress is a great rocky hollow falling for about 100ft. to the sea. Two definite ribs form the L and R edges while the back is made up by a series of narrow ribs and corners. The lower part is at an easy angle, sea-washed and with a profusion of holds; it then steepens considerably at the top. The rock is extremely friable and rotten in the upper section and none of the climbs which have been done can be recommended.” [3]

However Gower Peninsula Supplement (1973) p. 16-17, includes the following routes in Devil’s Cwm, all J. Talbot 1970.


Quote:

24a The Schute 100ft., II/III-

This is the first corner on the E side of Devil's Cwm. Climb the easy angled corner which steepens considerably. Keep to the corner and finish up a pleasant yellow diedre.


24b Devil's Groove 100ft., II/III-

This starts just L of The Schute. Bridge up a steep obvious groove to an open corner with a series of overhangs formed by a downward stratified rock. Climb this and exit direct, keeping to the corner.


24c Cerebus 50ft., II/III-

Just round to the R(E) from Devil's Cwm is a deep gully running back into the cliffland with an obvious cave at the seaward L(W) side. Round the corner L from this cave is a clean narrow wall cut by a distinct block overhang and with a corner L. Climb to the overhang, taking it somewhat left, then up a short slab to a sloping ledge. Move down slightly R, then up a short steep wall to finish.


Several other scrambly routes are to be found in the immediate vicinity.


24d Faith 75ft., II/III-/V-

From Yellow Top[4] follow the upper cliff edge W for a short distance to an obvious grassy depression falling to a gully. Take a track on the W side of the gully and up to a small saddle. Descend directly on the other side by a narrow grassy groove running down to reach the top of the first slab. Either abseil or climb down by its side.

Climb the lower section of the slab, keeping somewhat to the right, and exit to a sloping ledge. Take the upper section either R or L, or direct which is hard.


24e Hope 75ft., II/III-

The slab just R(SSE) of Faith. The lower slab is a superb piece of rock affording three short but interesting problems. Start from the terrace just above the sea and climb the lower slab-

(i) keeping to its R side (II)
(ii) climb it directly by its centre (III-)
(iii) climb it on its L side (III-) to a sloping ledge

Climb the following two short slabs to the top (II).


The Schute and Devil's Groove are probably the routes, Chocolate Bunny and April Fools.

Cerebus appears to be just to the east of Devil's Cwm.

The location of the climbs Faith and Hope is uncertain. The approach "From Yellow Top" appears to locate what we now know as Stallion Cove, some 800m distant.

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS

First Ascents

  1. Midwife Crisis - Nick Smith Peter Morgan 15.9.09
  2. Empty Cave - Jon Roberts Nick Smith 7.4.09
  3. Cream Egg - Nick Smith Jon Roberts 7.4.09
  4. April Fools - Jon Roberts Nick Smith 7.4.09
  5. Chocolate Bunny - Nick Smith Jon Roberts 7.4.09
  6. Easter Parade - Nick Smith Jon Roberts 7.4.09
  7. Monkey Dust - Nick Taylor o/s solo 20.08.18

Notes

  1. first appeared as Easter Buttress in Gower Rock - Selected Rock Climbs (2012) but was referred to in Talbot, Danford-Penning and Richardson as Devil's Cwm
  2. Talbot doesn't even appear to know the name, "Blackhole Gut" despite it being on maps from that era. Had he mentioned it as a place distinct from Devil's Cwm, no doubt the confusion wouldn't have arisen.
  3. Gower Peninsula (1970), p. 82-83
  4. Yes, Talbot probably does mean Yellow Top and not Yellow Buttress. See explanation below.