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Gogarth South



Written by Simon Panton

Published by Ground Up
Reviewed by Karin Magog


For me the one thing that makes UK trad so special is the wealth of sea cliff climbing we have. I haven't sampled it all but Ive experienced a lot of it - the amazing Barra Isles, Lewis, Skye, Sheigra and Reiff in the north; Swanage, Cornwall, Devon and Lundy in the south; and the Welsh gems of The Gower, Pembroke, Pen Trwyn and Gogarth. I guess a lot of people would cite Pembroke as their favourite sea cliff venue, but for me Gogarth has always had a special place in my heart. I used to pour over the CC hard backed guide in between lectures back in the mid 1990s, putting pencil crosses next to routes I wanted to do, and one of my best climbing days ever was on North Stack wall back in the foot and mouth year of 2001, when I led both The Cad and The Long Run Direct, two E6s in the same day. In recent times Ive got more into sport climbing and hadn't climbed at Gogarth for numerous years, until we had a fantastic week down there this September. Simon Panton of the Ground Up team kindly sent me some PDFs of the new guide and we headed down with a list of climbs wed never got round to doing. The weather was fantastic and we ticked several classics such as Mousetrap, Television Route, Blue Remembered Hills and North West Passage. The week rekindled my love of Gogarth so I was really excited to receive the new Gogarth South guidebook and finally the secrets of the wealth of climbing between Yellow Wall and Rhoscolyn were to be revealed.

Gogarth South follows the same excellent format of the other Ground Up guides, sticking with the traditional smaller guidebook size and not the more recently popular A5 size. I much prefer this smaller size, finding it much more practical, especially when carrying it up multipitch routes. The guide contains a vast amount of previously undocumented routes, from Trinity House Walls north of Mousetrap Zawn, passing through the well known crags around South Stack Lighthouse and the lesser known areas such as Penlas Rock and Smurf Zawn, to the vast and varied routes in The Range, before taking in Porth Dafarch and Trearddur Bay on the way down to the more well known Rhoscolyn. The guide is packed with excellent photo diagrams and approach maps, as well as detailed crag introductions on the character of the climbing, conditions, approach and access restrictions. There are some superb action photos, both large and small which really capture the nature of the climbing. Some of these are really atmospheric and will certainly get your palms sweating. The front cover shot of Nick Bullock on Angel Dust in Blacksmiths Zawn is excellent and is a route I hadn't heard of till recently, but which has now been added to my growing ticklist.

The book also has a very detailed and useful introduction, a graded list of the starred routes, a route index and a very interesting historical section. For those that fancy something a bit different theres even a chapter on sea level traverses. The guide also has an addendum at the back which includes the very newest routes for both Gogarth North and South. Its also good to see many local businesses support the guide and I particularly enjoyed reading the DMM advert.

Gogarth South is a superb looking guidebook and congratulations must go to the whole Ground Up team for the excellent job theyve done. If you think that Gogarth is only for those operating in the extremes then you need to check this out. Yes it's true that there are stacks of excellent looking hard routes but the area certainly has plenty of lower grade routes to go at too; with a grade range from Diff to E9 there is plenty of choice for everyone. In all Gogarth South has 630 action packed routes, in a glorious setting, with its own microclimate (it's usually sunny here when it's tanking it down in The Pass). I can't recommend it highly enough.

Gogarth South Update from Groundup Productions:

Purchasers of the new Gogarth South guide may have noticed the appearance of extra straight lines on some of the crag topos. Typically the start of a pitch line, which usually bends and twists according to the line of the route, has been joined by an extra straight line linking the start and finishing nodes.

This has occurred on p47 (route 8), p77 (route 37), p84 (same route line), p95 (route 15), p101 (same route, route 10), p113 (route 13, 19, 22, 25) p127 (route 19), p131 (same route), p159 (route 18) and p219 (route 58).

The strange thing is that the printer's ripped proofs were all fine, as were our working files. The printer accepted responsibility for this problem and agreed to produce a re-print of the entire print run.
The new books have now arrived in Llanberis and a batch has been sent on to our national distributor, Cordee.

If you have purchased a copy of the original guide and wish to swap it for one of the new error-free books then please return your book to the original place of purchase.


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