White Pillar

From South Wales Climbing Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
White Pillar
Zoom shot taken from the "col" a few metres from the southern end of Boiler Slab
Zoom shot taken from the "col" a few metres from the southern end of Boiler Slab
Rock Type Natural Carboniferous Limestone
Climbing Style Trad
Approach Time 35 minutes
Area Gower
Sub Area Thurba to Overton
Geodata
WGS-84 Location 51.546657, -4.247710
OS Grid Ref. SS 442 854
WGS-84 Parking Location 51.561586, -4.242797
GR Parking Location SS 446 871
Parking Postcode SA3 1PE
Base Elevation 5 metres (Other)
General Info
Faces Direction South
Aspect Sunny
Wind Sheltered Seldomly
Climbing Type Normal
Seepage Quick drying
Tidal
Before/After Low Tide 5.0 hours (See Note)
Crags Within a Half Mile.

Above Freelunchers Zawn, Below East Gully Groove, Black Hole Crag, Blackhole Gut, Boiler Slab, Devil's Cwm, Eos Zawn, Fetlock Zawn, Hollow Top, Horses Cliff, Juniper Wall, Liberty Zawn, Paviland Far Far Far West, Paviland Far Far West, Paviland Far West, Paviland Main Cliff, Paviland Way Out West, Stalking Horse Zawn, Stallion Cove, Upper Blackhole Crag, White Pillar, Yellow Buttress




TIDAL STATUS

3 hours either side of low-water. (You can climb here at high-water but is not advisable when there's a swell).

PREAMBLE

This is a truly pleasant and relaxed spot. All the routes start from a tidal platform, reached by scrambling round from the east. It is roughly triangular shaped with a vague groove at its apex, which is the finish of West Kante. The face is of good quality rock lower down, but with a bit of loose rock towards the top and is split by a series of overlaps. The most prominent feature is the sentry box at 5m, which is taken by the excellent West Kante. There is a huge (and rusty) ring peg at the top!

For someone climbing at around severe/hard severe, West Kante is well worth the long walk-in to this beautiful spot.

ACCESS

More people have gone looking for White Pillar and failed to find it than have actually climbed there. Confusing descriptions in some guidebooks haven't helped. White Pillar is Gower's most "out of the way" crag. No other crag is so far from a place to park the car.

It has been said that White Pillar can be seen from Boiler Slab. It cannot! However, if you stand on the little saddle a few metres from the southern end of Boiler Slab and look west you can just see the light-coloured buttress of White Pillar some 903 m distant 'as the crow flies'. Two possibilities:


The most reliable way to get to White Pillar for the first-time visitor is via Boiler Slab:

From Overton village green, follow the road south-westward to a large gate where the road becomes a track (bridal path). Follow the track westwards for about a half-mile and then go through a metal kissing-gate. (12 minutes).

Then follow the path for about 100 metres (ignoring the footpath going down off to the left) and then branch off right on an overgrown path and up to another gate. Continue through the gate and then cross the field along its northern edge to yet another gate after a further 250 metres. (6 mins).

Go through the gate and then follow the path branching-off left down a narrow dry valley. This will take you, after about 3 minutes, to the foot of Boiler Slab.

From Boiler Slab follow the lower coast path west and go over the first headland (Blackhole Crag). Then descend and continue westwards to the next prominent headland, i.e. White Pillar (20 mins.). (2.5 km and 40 mins. from Overton).


The quickest way is via Pilton Green. 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 from 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, after 10m, head steeply up the left (east) side of the valley for a short way. From the top, head eastwards passing through a gate after 540 metres. Continue for another 60 metres and head off down the slope on your right along a vague path. At the bottom, double-back westwards a short way and approach the pillar from its east side. (2.25km and 35 mins. from Pilton Green)

DESCENTS

Descent is by scrambling down behind the east flank of the buttress.

THE ROUTES

  1. Crack And Slab 25m VD
    Climb cracks right of the left arête of the face to a ledge at 20m. Finish up the groove of West Kante.

  2. West Kante 25m S,4a **
    Climb to the obvious sentry box at 5m. Leave this via thin cracks to gain a broken groove. Follow this to a short slab below the headwall. Climb this direct to the prominent groove leading to the top.

  3. Grey Slab 27m S
    Start at thin cracks just right of West Kante. Climb to just below the obvious lower band of overlaps. Traverse right just under these until they terminate and step up to climb a groove. Where it gets loose towards the top, step left to finish up another groove.

  4. Sizzler 25m E1,5a
    Start at the next thin cracks below the left-hand side of the lowest band of overlaps. Climb to and through these with gear being awkward to place, then strike straight on up through the next bands to easier ground. Finish up the headwall.

  5. Bermuda Shorts 25m HS,4a
    Start right of Sizzler at a point below the groove bounding the right side of the middle overlap. Climb to the groove and follow it to the top.

Additional Photos

First Ascents

Alex and Jayne on West Kante, late evening.

  1. Crack And Slab - J.Talbot 1967
  2. West Kante - J.Talbot 1967
  3. Grey Slab - J.Talbot 1967
  4. Sizzler - J.Harwood 16.08.1987
  5. Bermuda Shorts - J.Harwood 16.08.1987