Third Sister

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Third Sister
Third Sister
Third Sister
Rock Type Natural Carboniferous Limestone
Climbing Style Sport/Trad
Approach Time 35 minutes
Area Gower
Sub Area Thurba to Overton
Local Area Three Sisters
Geodata
WGS-84 Location 51.554057, -4.263057
OS Grid Ref. SS 432 863
WGS-84 Parking Location 51.561586, -4.242797
GR Parking Location SS 446 871
Parking Postcode SA3 1PE
Base Elevation 25 metres (Other)
General Info
Faces Direction South
Aspect Sunny
Wind Sheltered Mostly
Climbing Type Normal
Seepage Quick drying
Crags Within 400m

Above Freelunchers Zawn, Deborah's Overhang, Deborah's Zawn, First Sister, Paviland Way Out West, Rams Grove Crag, Rams Grove Seaward Crag, Seaspit Small Cove, Second Sister, Sister 2 and Half, Stallion Cove, TV Zawn, The Crag That Time Forgot, The Hole, The Knave, Third Sister, Tooth Fairy


PREAMBLE

The Main Crag, situated 213 m east of the Second Sister and in a spectacular location, is a series of solid bulging and overhanging walls rising in a leftwards direction above the loose lower section. The starts of the left-hand routes on Sister Main involve exposure out of context with their length. The classic older routes start from a grass terrace running up left at two-thirds height from just above a rickety fence. The most obvious feature is the shallow cave 4m up French Undressing, but beware, the nest is thought to belong to a pterodactyl. The large two-tiered crag below the Third Sister Main contains several sectors.

ACCESS

From Great Pitton Farm (Mewslade)

An approach, involving payment of a parking fee, can be made from the parking at Great Pitton Farm.

From the main Rhossili road, turn left in Pitton (south) to Great Pitton Farm (SS 427 876 or 51.556076, -4.267799) where there is a car park. The honesty box no longer exists and a system of seasonal tariffs is now in operation. Payment is made via a machine or paybyphone Ⓡ. See Pitton Parking for information on charges. Currently a maximum of £5.00 is charged for parking from 06.00 to 22.00.

Turn left when coming out of the car park and follow the road, past some houses and farm buildings, until it then becomes an unsurfaced track. At this point, the main track appears to veer off to the right. You should take the left fork (public footpath but marked, "Private Road"). Follow the track uphill for 75m passing through two gates. Then follow the track further (for 350m) until you come to another gate. Go through the gate and either follow the sign-posted footpath directions directing you via the edges of the field or strike out diagonally rightwards across the field for 260m to reach yet another gate.

Pass through this gate to head down a shallow grassy valley towards the sea to reach another gate on the Wales Coast Path after about 50 metres. This is the top end of Rams Grove (SS 430868). 1 km. (15 mins. from parking).

Go through the gate and head down the dry valley along the stony track to the lower coast path at the bottom of Rams Grove. Then walk east along the narrow and sometimes exposed path. This approach will take you past First Sister, Second Sister, Sister 2.5 and then to the foot of Third Sister Lower. From here, walk/scramble eastwards to get to Third Sister Main and the Tooth Fairy or descend the grassy slope below to get to Third Sister Bottom. (Approx. 1.6 kilometers from Pitton Farm).

From Pilton Green

Experimental GPX file (Please Test): Pilton Green to Third Sister Main.gpx

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 gate and then, after a few metres of descent, join the Wales Coast Path' and then go through a green-painted steel gate on your right (signposted to Rhossili) and then go up the steep path 30 metres to the top.

At the top, head west along the wide and grassy path until you reach a gate/wall after 300 metres. Go through the gate/wall and, at a split in the footpath after 90m, take the left fork and follow the Coast Path for a further 300m as it winds through patches of gorse. Go down a short section between high gorse and hawthorn bushes to another gate. You can check your location by looking down the dry valley to your left; you will see a small pinnacle on the far side of the valley and also an agricultural roller in the corner of the field to your right. (8 minutes and 800m from steel gate)

Go through the gate and then cross the top of the dry valley and follow the path up and round to the left for about 110 metres until you come across a large abandoned steel roller (there are actually two). From here, head down towards the sea and down the steep grassy slope. Third Sister Main is on your right and the Tooth Fairy a little way down on your left. (Approximately 2.3 kilometres and 35 mins. from Pilton Green).

PLEASE NOTE: A fence just below Third Sister (Main) has recently become damaged as a result of climbers and walkers climbing over it. This has resulted in sheep escaping from the farmer's property. The farmer has, over the years, been very tolerant of climbers on his land. The fence has been rebuilt by the Local BMC Access Officer (Stuart Burns) in November of 2023.

You are asked not to climb over the rebuilt fence as this will inevitably, over time, lead to its collapse once more.

If you wish to access Third Sister (Main) from the other crags, (Lower, Bottom, Sister 2.5, etc.) and vice versa, it is very important that you do so by returning to the top of the cliff and walking around and NOT. by climbing over the fence.


THE ROUTES

Many of the routes on Third Sister Main have been re-geared to a high standard (2009).(exceptions being those of Martin Crocker)

The routes on the main crag are described from left to right, starting at the top of the terrace.

3rd Sister Main

Third Sister Main
Sport Grades
<= 6a+ 4
6b - 6c+ 4
7a - 7b 2
>= 7b+ 2
  1. Do Be Doo - E3, 6a *
    Take the bulging wall a few metres right of the boulder blocking the top of the terrace, below a vague arête, PR. 10m

  2. Chilean Flame Thrower - Fr. 7b/7b+ *
    A route for boulderers. The steep wall between Doo Be Doo and Fire In Their Eyes is quite intense to the break. 10m

  3. Fire In Their Eyes - E6, 6b *
    Start right of Do Be Doo and just left of Flaming Fingers. From a ragged pocket swing up the overhanging wall rightwards, PR. Pinch a rib (Friend 2), then move strenuously up to a leftwards pull PR, to the break. Continue to the top past a final PR. 10m

  4. Flaming Fingers - E5, 6b *
    Start at a seat-like feature about 9m below the top of the terrace running up the crag, below a low PR. Power up this wall, 3 PRs, to hit the chossy break. Step 3m left, and make a tricky move up into a thin flake crack to finish. 18m

  5. World In Action - Fr. 7b+ *
    About halfway down the ramp Follow a series of glued in bolts up the bouldery start to a desperate sequence which eases soon enough. Take a breather at the break then finish up the easier upper overhang and slab sharing a loweroff with Popped In, Souled Out. 18m

  6. Popped In, Souled Out - Fr. 7b *
    The second line of bolts left of the pterodactyl cave. There is good rest above the first roof. . 21m

  7. Chilean Flame Flower - E6, 6c
    A desperate pitch up the leaning and reachy wall just right of Popped In, Souled Out, below a high PR. Climb the wall, with a very bold first clip and nightmare moves, second PR, to eventually gain the break at a worryingly loose block. Step a little right and pull easily up the headwall to finish. 15m

  8. Leftism - Fr. 7a+
    plate hangers left of nest, lowish L.O. before rubble.
    Mateusz Andrzejewski on "The Enema Affair"
    Mateusz Andrzejewski on The Enema Affair

  9. French Undressing - Fr. 6c+ *
    Start below the right side of the pterodactyl cave at 4m. Climb awkwardly up to this via 2 bolts, and stand up. Make the tricky crux moves upwards/ rightwards and follow a vague groove to the top. Lower off well back on the wall of the 4th tier 18m

  10. Twilight World - Fr. 6c **
    The line of bolts on the wall to the right of French Undressing. 18m

  11. South East Wall - Fr. 6a+ **
    A very good pitch initially following the rightward-slanting ramp/crackline. After a few meters branch off vertically upward following a line of bolts to an interesting lower off. 18m

  12. Fiesta - Fr. 6b *
    A good pitch. Start 3m right of South East Wall Follow a line of holds just right of the bolts to a lower off shared with South East Wall

  13. Bob's Your Uncle - Fr. 6c
    Harder than it looks from the floor. Identify the rightward-slanting crack up and before the deep gash. Climb the bulge to gain it then continue to the L.O just below the terrace. 18m

  14. Fanny's Your Aunt - Fr. 6a +
    Start from the gash move R at 3rd bolt across 10 Bears onto the R wall and proceed steeply to the LO on the prow.

  15. Ten Bears - HVS, 4c
    Climb the discontinuous crack system in the prow 6m right of Bob's Your Uncle. Finish with care. Rough As. 12m

  16. Sister Mary's Blessed Finger - Fr.6a
    This is a two tiered climb. A Tricky start to the bottom of the crag is followed by a pleasant outing up the tooth. 18m

  17. Enema Affair - Fr. 5
    The shorter bolt line to the right of Sister Mary's Blessed Finger. You can either share the start of that route or walk in from the right. 10m

3rd Sister RHS

Up and right (Facing the land) of the 3rd sister is a small craglet containing much loose rock and very little, if any, worthwhile climbing. However, if you find yourself suffering 'long distance bolt clippers syndrome' on the third sister you could pop across the valley for some proper character building stuff. There is one route to date :

  1. Bored of clipping bolts - VS, 4b
    Find the square cut corner in the middle of the crag. Start at the lower continuation crack leading to its left hand side and climb to the top avoiding pushing too hard on the massive block on the right which does not seem to be attached to anything. 10m

Isolated Buttress

High up is a further route An isolated buttress with only one very exposed route so far can be gained by following the high path under Sister 2.5 and then dropping over a grassy notch. There is a safety line that should be left in situ. Marked on RHS topo

  1. The Tower of Ecthelion - Fr. 6b+ *
    Climb the steep crack then move left to blind climbing up the beautiful exposed face on perfect rock. When lowering, remember where you are and tie a knot in the end of the rope!

3rd Sister Lower

Third Sister Lower
Sport Grades
<= 6a+ 13
6b - 6c+ 6
7a - 7b 5
>= 7b+ 0

The large two-tiered crag below and 60m to west of the 3rd Sister Main contains fourteen lines and are listed from left to right:

This section of crag can be reached from Third Sister by descending a short way and climbing over a small fence and going west for about 60m.

It can also be approached from Sister 2.5 by continuing along the lower coastal path below Sister 2.5 for about 50m. The crag is found just after the path narrows considerably. At the narrowing you are directly above Third Sister Bottom and so please be careful not to dislodge blocks.

topo of "Third Sister Lower"
3rd Sister Lower Tier
  1. Ramp It Up - Fr. 5
    Above the narrow path coming from below.Sister 2.5, an obvious narrow ramp. 20m.

  2. Teenage Rampage - Fr. 6a
    Direct over bulge, joins previous. 20m.

  3. Groovy Baby - Fr.5
    Groove L of rib. 20m.

  4. Ballroom Blitz - Fr. 5+
    L side rib.

  5. Blockbuster - Fr. 6c *
    R side of rib.

  6. Ugly Lovely Climb - Fr.5
    Obvious chimney/ crackright of rib. 12m.

  7. Amblimance - Fr. 5
    The wall to right sharing previous belay.

  8. Two Nans And A Grandpa Fr. 6a+ *
    The excellent pocketed wall. 11m.

  9. Peruvian Marching Powder - Fr. 5
    Last route on the wall moving left to shared belay. 11m.

Third Sister Lower RHS

Rock climbing topo of Like a Scorpion, Third Sister, Gower, South Wales
Like a Scopion
  1. Like a scorpion- Fr. 6c+
    The most left-hand line of bolts on this patch of rock.
    1. Start at the belay at the bottom of the cliff. Continue straight up to the new lower off shared with spunk wizard .
    2. Scramble up to a copious ledge where a tricky boulder problem leads to a beautifully exposed arete at the top of the cliff.

  2. Gemini Spunk Wizard and His Sexually Active Teapot - Fr. 7a **
    The most left-hand line of bolts gained by the first half of Harriet Harman. Continue straight up to the new lower off (2023 ) at the top of the tower.

  3. Harriet Harman & the Lehman Sisters - Fr. 6c+
    Start from a niche on the left of the crag. Proceed a up a short slab and wall to the ledge, step right and follow the bolts to a belayshared with uprising.

  4. Uprising - Fr. 7a **[1]
    Sustained with a tricky bulge around half-height.Shares some bolts above the crux bulge with Harriet then move right to a good lower belay where Harriet continues boldly.

    topo of "Third Sister Lower" right-hand side
    Lower RHS


  5. Water - Fr. 6c+ ***
    Crux move at the bulge. Sustained and excellent.

  6. Arab Spring - Fr. 6c **
    Fingery, blind crux. Good.

  7. Power Vacuum - Fr. 6c *
    Intricate climbing below the bulge, then a hard pull onto the upper face.

  8. Gafsa - Fr. 6c *
    Technical climbing to the bulge. Easier above.

  9. Moshe Dayan Is Coming To Get You - 7a+ **
    Climb Mubarak to the second bolt, then traverse the lower diagonal break to gain Gemini at the top of the bulge. Technical and surprisingly sustained.

  10. Mubarak - Fr. 6b *
    Technical and then easing.

  11. Gaddafi Groove - Fr. 6a
    Pleasant.

  12. Starting Block- Fr. 5+
    The left hand line of bolts on the short wall.

  13. 16 Kn Working Load - Fr. 6a
    The next.

  14. Test Block - Fr. 4
    Shares belay on L with 16 Kn Working Load.

  15. Tricky Treat - Fr. 4+
    Last one, hangers.

Third Sister Bottom

Third Sister Bottom
Sport Grades
<= 6a+ 5
6b - 6c+ 10
7a - 7b 1
>= 7b+ 0

A well-hidden, non-tidal and sheltered little crag in a beautiful location. A sun trap!

From Third Sister Lower descend the grassy slope below and go around to the west (right) for a short way, Scramble easily down the short ramp.

Alternatively, if approaching from Pitton Farm, it's possible to walk down Ram's Grove and follow the narrow path eastwards to a point (roughly below First Sister) where you can descend to the rocky beach. Walk/scramble 150m eastwards to Third Sister Bottom. (See Access Notes).

topo of "Third Sister Bottom"
Third Sister Bottom
  1. Foam Under Sister - Fr. 5
    Pleasant slabby face.

  2. Prim - Fr. 6a
    Pleasant technical climbing up the steep slab.

  3. The Haworth lassies - Fr. 6a+
    Techical slab and wall climbing.

  4. Las Mariposas - Fr. 6b *
    Gain the corner, hop onto the arête and tackle the leaning wall.

  5. Weird and Wayward - Fr. 6b+ *
    Unlikely territory for the grade.

  6. Moirai - Fr. 6b+
    A hard pull through the overhang gains the hanging corner.

  7. Thankless Child - Fr. 6c *
    Hard moves to turn the overhang.

  8. Serpent's Tooth - Fr. 6b+ **
    Nice moves on steep ground.

  9. The Daughters of Lear - Fr. 6c **
    A direct line through the longest and steepest section of overhangs. Technical rather than strenuous.

  10. The Underling - Fr. 7a+
    Steep and then slab.

  11. The Underling's Undercling - Fr. 6b+
    Powerful sequence through the bulge.

  12. Lost in Translation - Fr. 6b
    Steep pulls through the left side of the final big overhang.

  13. I don't want to dance! - Fr. 6c *
    But dance you must, for strength alone will not avail you.

  14. Ginny - Fr. 5
    Layback up the corner and wall left of the slab.

  15. Pleiades - Fr. 5
    Pleasant climbing up the slab. Beware of loose blocks in the corner.

  16. Touching the Rusty Ring - Fr. 6b
    Keeping to the right of the slabby wall gives the grade.

Additional Photos

First Ascents

3rd Sister Main

  1. Do Be Doo - M.Crocker, J.Harwood 26th April 1998
  2. Chilean Flame Thrower - Goi Ashmore 23rd April 2010
  3. Fire In Their Eyes - M.Crocker, J.Harwood 7th June 1998
  4. Flaming Fingers - M.Crocker 21st August 1988
  5. World in Action - A.Sharp 1989
  6. Popped In, Souled Out - A.Sharp, P.Lewis, J.Harwood 6th February 1988
  7. Chilean Flame Flower - M.Crocker 21st August 1988
  8. Leftism - ET Jones & R.T 2018
  9. French Undressing - A.Sharp, P.Lewis 10th October 1987
  10. Twighlight World - A.Sharp, P.Lewis, J.Harwood, A.Wilson, R.Powles, A.Hughes 10th October 1987
  11. South West Wall - J.Talbot, R.Corbett 1963
    FFA A.Sharp, P.Lewis 1986
  12. Fiesta - A.Sharp, P.Lewis, J.Harwood 10th October 1987
  13. Bob's Your Uncle - A.Sharp, R.Powles 6th October 1987
  14. Fanny's Your Aunt Roy Thomas E.T Jones 2018
  15. Ten Bears - R.Powles, A.Hughes, A.Wilson 10th October 1987
  16. Sister Mary's Blessed Finger - R.Thomas G.Ashmore 2009
  17. Enema Affair - R.Thomas G.Ashmore 2009


3rd Sister RHS

  1. Bored of clipping bolts - Chris Wyatt, Steve Lucoque 14th December 2009


Third Sister Lower

  1. Ramp It Up - R.Thomas Gary Gibson April 2019
  2. Teenage Rampage - Gary Gibson & Roy Thomas
  3. Groovy Baby - Roy Thomas & Gary Gibson 6 April 2019
  4. Ballroom Blitz - Gary Gibson & Roy Thomas 2019
  5. Blockbuster - Gary Gibson & Roy Thomas
  6. Ugly Lovely Climb - Gary Gibson & Roy Thomas April 2019
  7. Amblimance - Gary Gibson & Roy Thomas May 2019
  8. Two Nans And A Grandpa - Gary Gibson & Roy Thomas 2019
  9. Peruvian Marching Powder - Gary Gibson & Roy Thomas 2019


  1. The Tower of Ecthelion - Danny McCarroll, Bethan McCarroll and John Bullock 2022
  1. Like a scorpion Chris Wyatt, Sergi Topy Feb 2023
  2. Gemini Spunk Wizard and His Sexually Active Teapot -
  3. Harriet Harman & the Lehman Sisters - Goi Ashmore 12th September 2009
  4. Uprising - Gary Gibson June 2019
  5. Water - Gary Gibson
  6. Arab Spring - Gary Gibson
  7. Power Vacuum - Gary Gibson
  8. Gafsa - Gary Gibson
  9. Moshe Dayan Is Coming To Get You - Goi Ashmore, Geraint Morris 19/May/2021
  10. Mubarak - Gary Gibson
  11. Gadaffi Groove - Gary Gibson Roy Thomas June 2019
  12. Starting Block - Roy Thomas & Gary Gibson June 2019
  13. 16 Kn Working Load - Roy Thomas & Gary Gibson June 2019
  14. Test Block - Roy Thomas & Gary Gibson 2019
  15. Tricky Treat - Check the name Gary Gibson Roy Thomas 2019


Third Sister Bottom

  1. Foam Under Sister - Roy Thomas & Gary Gibson 2019
  2. Prim - John Bullock & Danny McCarroll 2019
  3. The Haworth Lassies - Danny McCarroll & John Bullock 2019
  4. Las Mariposas - John Bullock & Danny McCarroll 2019
  5. Weird and Wayward - Danny McCarroll & John Bullock
  6. Moirai - Danny McCarroll & John Bullock August 2020
  7. Thankless Child - Danny McCarroll & John Bullock 2019
  8. Serpent's Tooth - Danny McCarroll & John Bullock 2019
  9. The Daughters of Lear - Danny McCarroll & John Bullock 2019
  10. The Underling - Gary Gibson June 2019
  11. The Underling's Undercling - Gary Gibson 2019
  12. Lost in translation - Danny McCarroll & John Bullock May 2021
  13. I don't want to dance! - Bethan McCarroll & Danny McCarroll September 2020
  14. Ginny - John Bullock & Danny McCarroll May 2021
  15. Pleiades - John Bullock & Danny McCarroll 2019
  16. Touching the Rusty Ring - Roy Thomas & Gary Gibson 2019

Notes

  1. Somewhere, hearabouts, is/was Sexploration - E4,5c.
    Start 30m left of the wooden fence blow [sic.] the Sister. Climb the broken wall to intersect an incipeint crack in the white wall. Gain a good square-cut hold. Undercut over the bulge above and pull onto the hanging slab. Continue to good cracks and finish easily. Belay on the terrace and scramble to the top of the cliff via a short chimney.
    M.Crocker 31.05.1998
    Gower & S.E. Wales (2003), p. 106