Pennard Buttress

From South Wales Climbing Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Pennard Buttress
Pennard Buttress - west side.
Pennard Buttress - west side.
Rock Type Natural Carboniferous Limestone
Climbing Style Trad
Approach Time 35 minutes
Area Gower
Sub Area Heatherslade to Pwll Du
Local Area Pennard and Graves End
WGS-84 Location 51.559764, -4.068604
OS Grid Ref. SS 567 865
WGS-84 Parking Location 51.566835, -4.087865
GR Parking Location SS 553873
Parking Postcode SA3 2DH
Base Elevation 38 metres (SRTM Estimation)
General Info
Faces Direction Various
Aspect Sunny
Wind Sheltered Seldomly
Climbing Type Normal
Seepage Quick drying
Crags Within a Half Mile.

Bacon Hole, Bosco's Den Area, Bucketland, Graves End East, Graves End Wall, High Pennard, Pennard Buttress, Pwll Du Bay, Quartz Corner, The Great Tower

Tidal Status


Bolting Policy

No bolting.


See Pennard and Graves End Access Notes


This is the steep, high pillar at the left-hand end of the main Pennard Section, with a prominent bulge and tats on its left-hand side. Further to the right, the crag becomes two-tiered. The upper wall is very compact with excellent rock and contains the majority of the E2-E3 climbing. The smaller lower crag that continues rightwards from the base of the main pillar is very solid, with some excellent short routes of various grades, particularly good in the HS-HVS, range. The obvious wall at the right-hand side of the valley is High Pennard.

The top part of the main pillar is quite loose and for some routes (like The Throb or 5 Years To Live) it is best to either arrange a hanging rope from the top of the crag, or take a disposable sling to ab off the spike at the end of the first pitches.

DESCENTS: Descent is by walking back from the top of the crag and following a path down the east side.

The Routes

1. The Throb 30m E4,6a *

Probably E5 at the moment, given the state of the second TR, which is in dire need of replacement. It is normal to clip the first TR on Five Years To Live before embarking on the route. Start below a line of thin crozzly cracks below and left of a groove through the roofs. Follow these, TR, to a hard move to gain the base of the groove. Follow the slightly rickety groove to hit vegetation and wade up a further 15m to gain a spike belay (TR). Abseil off. It is also possible to step right from the top of the groove to finish up Arosfa.

2. Five Years To Live 30m E5,6b *

A near-sports route, with some interesting and complicated moves on steep ground. It used to sport a BR, but a good TR has been substituted, albeit one that could do with replacing. Start under the obvious bulge and move up to a TR in a line of pockets. Cross the bulge rightwards,TR to a PR on the arête. Climb the arête to a break, stand up, and shuffle up to the top of the groove. Scramble up to a rock spike belay. Scramble off left, with protection from the rock spike, or leave a sling on the spike (back up advised). Abseil.

3. Arosfa 45m E4,6b,5a *

The first PR on P1 has recently been glued back in. As a result it is no longer possible to use the good pocket, making the route considerably harder.

  1. 30m Start right of Five Years To Live at a groove, with an obvious capping overhang at 15m. Climb easily up to the groove, then make a thoroughly desperate series of moves before continuing easily up to the roof, very poor PR. Turn the roof on the right. Follow a crack up ‘rocking’ ground to reach a ledge. Belay in the corner, TR.
  2. 12m Turn the large overhangs above on the left and continue up the wall, PR, to join and finish up Alpha.

4. Alpha 36m HVS,4c,5a

Start at the foot of the buttress just right of Arosfa, below an overhang-capped corner. Attempting this route whilst birds are nesting is highly inadvisable. Watch out for snakes as well!

  1. 18m Climb a rib to the corner, turn the overhang on the right and follow a rib to the upper of two ledges. It is also possible to turn the overhang on its left.
  2. 18m Traverse right for 5m and climb the wall steeply to a groove, which leads to the impressive square-cut corner and the top. It is recommended that the location of the finishing corner is worked out before embarking on the route – it is the prominent square groove left of Tom Tom.

The crag is now much shorter.

5. Beta 16m VD

Start at the foot of the wide crack right of Alpha, which separates the main buttress from the lower wall. Climb it to a niche below a bulge, move right and continue to ledges.

6. Unnamed 14m E1,5a

The wall between Beta and Beta Plus can be climbed, but is rather loose and poorly protected.

7. Beta Plus 14m HS,4b

The corner 4m right of Beta, past a PR. Turn the overhang on its left or right.

Variant: From the foot of the groove, below the peg, make a long stride left on sidepulls and continue parallel to the groove to gain a ledge. Shuffle right along this until above the groove, at an obvious crack. Finish as the original route.

8. Hun 14m VS,4b

Climb the arête right of Beta Plus, joining that route at the top. Contrived.

9. Knucklefluster 11m E2,5c *

A technical pitch up the wall just right of Beta Plus. Climb the wall until a move rightwards gains a good hold, TR, then move steeply to the break. Step left and finish up Beta Plus or over the roof.

10. Knuckleduster 11m E3,6a

A bold but poor eliminate squeezed in between Knucklefluster and Gamma Minus. Climb the wall and overhang directly, PR. A side runner is used at this grade.

11. Gamma Minus 12m E1,5b

This climbs the prominent corner right of Knucklefluster. At the roof, move right onto the arête and follow this to the top.

12. More Beta than Gamma 12m E4,6a

This is the true arête of Gamma Minus. (Kiwis Can’t Climb takes the left wall of Gamma, starting 1.5m to its left). Very committing; with only one piece of gear – albeit it is good. Boulder up to an undercut in an overhung niche at 5m. Place a key wire to the left and then power/slap up opposing layaways either side of the arête to a large block hold on the edge. Move up and finish as for Gamma Minus.

13. Kiwis Can’t Climb 12m E1,5c

A contrived route taking the left arête of Gamma. Where Gamma moves left, step right and pull over the roof.

14. Gamma 12m HVS,5b *

A well protected and exciting little pitch. Start up the next left facing corner, stepping leftwards to reach good holds. At the roof, cut through it rightwards into a short, sharp and bottomless left facing corner.

15. Trundleweed 12m E1,5b

Climb the rib and short groove 1m right of Gamma.

16. Delta 13m S,4b

The steep and delicate groove right of Gamma.

17. Delta Minus 12m D

Takes the next obvious leftward-slanting break.

18. Flaked Ivy Chimney 12m VD

The steep chimney just right of Delta Minus.

19. Vandal 9m S

A direct line up the short steep wall just right again.

20. Girdle Traverse 53m HVS, 5a,4c,4b *

A right to left girdle of the lower wall.

  1. 18m Start as for Delta Minus. Climb into the overhung corner of Gamma and make delicate moves to the arête. Enter the corner to the left and traverse below the overhang to a ledge on Beta Plus.
  2. 14m Descend leftwards to below a bulge, then move up to the foot of the corner of Alpha.
  3. 21m Traverse 3m under overhangs before pulling onto the wall above. Continue left across two grooves before stepping down onto a grass ledge and belay in the gully.

Directly above the lower wall is an impressive sheet of white rock which forms the right flank of Pennard Buttress.

21. Tom Tom 24m E2,5c

Start below the prominent square-cut corner from the small bush below the centre of the blank sheet of rock, high on the left side of the buttress (Alpha P2). Gain the vague hollow, move leftward towards a prominent thread (good rest). Climb up to the corner, then climb its right wall and arête.

22. Dan Dare 21m E2,5c **

Enjoyable, sustained and well protected - the route of the buttress. Start as for Tom Tom. Gain the vague hollow and move right to the foot of a scoop, follow this with superb small wires to a sharp rock spike (thin tape runner) and the break. Traverse left to an open groove and follow this to the top.

23. Desperate Dan 26m E3,5c **

A good sustained extension to Dan Dare. As for Dan Dare to the break. Move right to below an obvious undercut flake. Gain this with difficulty and move up the groove to finish. Hard work.

24. White Feather 21m E4,6a

A strenuous but contrived start with a slightly better finishing groove. Just left of Timorous Tarzan is a steep crack. Follow this, with feet on Timorous Tarzan, TR, to the break and a small roof just before the final groove. The final groove is protected by 2PRs. The first is situated 1m above the break, and to the right of the groove. The second is hidden in the groove itself. An Alternative finish (E3) joins Desperate Dan at the break.

25. Timorous Tarzan 36m E1,5a

This climbs the calcite-encrusted layback crack on the right side of the wall. Climb the crack to its finish, then traverse right on loose-looking holds to an obvious groove. Climb this to the top.

26. Timorous Tarzan True Finish 32m E2,5c

Climb the wall above the layback crack and clip the second PR on White Feather.

27. Bald Eagle 24m E4,6a

Climb the rib right of Timorous Tarzan, then step left and climb the groove of White Feather.

28. Gull Way 24m VS,4b

Takes the obvious steep corner, finishing as for Timorous Tarzan.

In the right side of the steep wall, right of the wide central groove, are two holes in a broken crackline.

29. Digby 22m E2,5b

Start below the holes and follow the crack to a ledge. From the right-hand end of this climb straight up, 2TRs, to the top.

30. Broken Crack

The broken crack containing the holes provides a poor climb at VS,4b

First Ascents

  1. The Throb - A.Sharp, J.Harwood 25.03.1984
  2. Five Years To Live - M.Crocker 04.09.1988
  3. Arosfa - E.Pardoe, R.Griffiths – Tin Tack 1968[1]
    FFA A.Sharp, J.Harwood 03.12.1983
  4. Alpha - Harold Insley etc. 1958/9
  5. Beta - Harold Insley,etc 1958/9
  6. Unnamed - Unknown Pre
  7. Beta Plus - R.Griffiths, E.Pardoe 00.06.1966
    Variant: Gwyn Evans & Peter Clarke 27 April 2022
  8. Hun - D.Thomas 1996
  9. Knucklefluster - A.Sharp, P.Lewis 1984
  10. Knuckleduster - A.Long 1989
  11. Gamma Minus - E.Pardoe, R.Griffiths 1967
  12. More Beta than Gamma - FA: Martin Crocker (25.10.2010), led with Soloist
  13. Kiwis Can’t Climb - Unknown 1984
  14. Gamma - E.Pardoe, R.Griffiths 00.06.1966
  15. Trundleweed - P.Donnithorne, T.Meen 31.05.1987
  16. Delta - M.Hogge, J.Birch 1967
  17. Delta Minus - SUMC 1966
  18. Flaked Ivy Chimney - C.Shorrock solo 21.09.1996
  19. Vandal - J.Brailsford et al Pre
  20. Girdle Traverse - J.Williams, P.Kokelaar 1967
  21. Tom Tom - P.Donnithorne, E.Alsford 1988
  22. Dan Dare - J.Bullock, G.Evans 06.05.1982
  23. Desperate Dan - J.Bullock, G.Royle 07.08.1984
  24. White Feather - A.Sharp, O.Jones 1986
  25. Timorous Tarzan - P.Littlejohn, J.Harwood 03.10.1980
  26. Timorous Tarzan True Finish - J.Harwood 1pt 28.05.1986
    FFA A.Sharp, O.Jones 1986
  27. Bald Eagle - A.Sharp, J.Harwood 15.04.1984
  28. Gull Way - G.Evans, G.Richardson 1981
  29. Digby - J.Bullock, G.Evans 06.05.1982, J.Bullock, G.Evans – Direct 00.08.1987
  30. Broken Crack - Unknown Pre-1991

Additional Photos


  1. FA recorded here as in Gower & S.E. Wales (2003), p.194. However, Gower Peninsula (1970), p.29, describes this route as
    Tin Tack - 120ft., V+.
    Start L from
    Alpha and just R from the bulge of the curving overhang. Climb a crack (pegs) to a groove and up this to an overhang. Move R and go up to a belay below an overhang. Now go up L and back R above the overhang aand finish up the wall to the top.