Minchen Hole

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Minchen Hole
Will Calvert on The Raven. Photograph: Alan Rosier.
Will Calvert on The Raven. Photograph: Alan Rosier.
Rock Type Natural Carboniferous Limestone
Climbing Style Sport
Approach Time 15 minutes
Area Gower
Sub Area Heatherslade to Pwll Du
WGS-84 Location 51.562100, -4.085623
OS Grid Ref. SS 555 868
WGS-84 Parking Location 51.566835, -4.087865
GR Parking Location SS 553873
Parking Postcode SA3 2DH
Base Elevation 5 metres (Other)
General Info
Faces Direction Various
Aspect Partially Sunny
Wind Sheltered Always
Climbing Type Serious
Seepage Quick drying
Before/After Low Tide 6.0 hours (See Note)
Crags Within 400m

Bosco's Den Area, Bowen's Parlour, Golden Wall, Heatherslade Bay, Marble Arch, Minchen Hole, Pantheon, Prawn Zawn

RAD Notice/Restriction Minchen Hole@BMC RAD

Minchen Hole
Sport Grades
<= 6a+ 1
6b - 6c+ 7
7a - 7b 5
>= 7b+ 0


Topo available Minchin Hole

This huge non-tidal zawn and cave resembles a roofless gothic cathedral. Access has recently been negotiated only for the routes shown in bold type below. (This may be out of date as in 2014 the local NT have expressed no objections to SOME of the former routes that were de-equipped being restored particularly if on the outer sea walls of the zawn and not up the conglomerate features) Please do not disturb the loose rock formations inside or outside of the cave and refrain from vegetation clearance. More info from the BMC here... http://www.thebmc.co.uk/bmccrag/ViewCrag.aspx?id=963

The first bolts on this crag are generally quite high - You may want to bring a clip stick!


Park in the NT car park at Southgate (see Fox Hole Cove for details). On foot, follow the cliff top road running east from the car park. Follow this road, then strike out southwards towards the highest mound in the local area at the top of the third gully along. Follow a footpath down the west side of the mound, to meet the path running along the cliffs above high tide level. Follow this path eastwards (left) for 200m, to arrive at the (very) obvious entrance to Minchin Hole. Scramble across the gully (do not enter the cave) and scramble out to the far side to reach Marble Arch after 100m and Bowen's Parlour and Spring Zawn further on.


The following routes are on the west wall of Minchin Hole, well above the floor of the cave, starting from a grassy terrace.

Left Wall

  1. Fringe Benefits - Fr. 6b
    Used to take the leftmost line on the wall. Might be restored? 10m.

  2. Beyond The Fringe - Fr. 6b *
    The wall to the right of the shallow corner, passing the huge sand and breccia concretion at the start. 10m.

  3. Triple Sigh - Fr. 6b+ (more like 6c now?)
    The rib to the right of the corner. 10m.

  4. Swim With The Sharks - Fr6c
    The wall to the right of the rib. 15m. (low bolt added and old bolts replaced with stainless bots and hangers (361) Aug. 2018

  5. Jump The Sun Fr. 7a / 7a+ ***
    Best at the crag. Start lower down than the previous routes below a series of overlapping roofs. Climb to these, pull over the roof to a good hold and finish leftwards on hidden buckets. 15 m.

    Alan Rosier on Jump The Sun. Photograph: Steve Warrington
    Eugene Travers-Jones on The Raven, 7a+
    Photo: Carl Ryan - Black Planet Photography

  6. Crawling King Snake - Fr. 7a+ / 7b
    The large arête to the right of Jump The Sun on on glued holds direct to an awkward finish. 25m

    To the right of the arête is a big slab.

  7. The Dove From Above - Fr. 6a+ *
    Used to take the left-hand line on the slab. Might be restored? 28m

  8. Blight At The End Of The Funnel - Fr. 5+
    Used to take the right-hand line on the slab, passing a conglomerate ‘Bees Nest’. 28m

Right Wall

On the east wall, working from left to right are the following routes.

  1. Kestrel - Fr. 7c
    A hard start leads to a loose section (which has shed lots of rock recently) and then a reasonable finish. 28m

  2. The Raven - Fr. 7a / 7a+ ***
    A much sought after line. Improbably steep but with improbably large holds, until the very end... 28m

  3. Voice From The Pulpit - Fr. 7a+
    A good route, unfortunately marred by the huge ledge at half-height. Start right of a left facing corner, at a smooth wall below some conglomerate overhangs. Make desperate moves up the lower wall, and through the unnerving conglomerate band to land on the ledge, BB. Follow the sustained headwall to a newer BB (the old one was on a losse block) BB. 28m

  4. Stuck On You - Fr 6c+
    Follow the wall to the right of Voice Of The Pulpit and pull through the loose conglomerate on hidden jugs. It probably wont collapse. Pull out onto a ledge. Scramble up poor conglomerate behind to a BB hidden in a gully. 15m

  5. The Minchkins - Fr. 6c
    The next line through the conglomerate band. 15m (now re-bolted to avoid placing bolts in the conglomerate. As before, including the nice crux into the conglomerate, but then clip a bolt to the right, in sold rock, and continue up the edge of the conglomerate to a new lower-off. About the same grade but more consistent and better)

  6. Gary’s Talking Climbs - Fr. 6b *
    Apleasant route following the pillar of rock, right of the conglomerate overhangs. At the top of the pillar,wander carefully up on conglomerate jugs to the lower off. 25m

  7. Pinch A Minch - Fr. 5
    Up the right-hand side of the pillar. 15m

Minchin Hole

First Ascents

Left Wall

  1. Fringe Benefits - R. Thomas 04.05.1998
  2. Beyond The Fringe - R. Thomas 04.05.1998
  3. Triple Sigh - R. Thomas 14.05.1998
  4. Swim With The Sharks - R. Thomas 10.05.1998
  5. Jump The Sun - R. Thomas 01.09.1998
  6. Crawling King Snake - G. Gibson 00.00.1999
  7. The Dove From Above - R. Thomas 09.07.1998
  8. Blight At The End Of The Funnel - R.Thomas 08.06.1998

Right Wall

  1. Kestrel -
  2. The Raven - G.Gibson 25.05.1998
  3. Voice From The Pulpit - G.Gibson 00.05.1998
  4. Stuck On You - G.Gibson 00.05.1998
  5. The Minchkins - G.Gibson 00.05.1998
  6. Gary’s Talking Climbs - G.Gibson 00.05.1998
  7. Pinch A Minch - G.Gibson 00.05.1998