Brilliant is the word to describe the climbing on Guernsey’s clean south facing sea cliffs!
There are approx 1400+ routes on the island, mostly single pitch between 40 and 100ft (8-30m) with some up to 3 pitches and 210ft (65m) long. All the routes are either on blue granodiorite & gneiss walls or orange gneiss slabs / dihedrals.
Bolting is NOT ALLOWED therefore there are no sport climbs. Some of the harder climbs (E1+) have fixed knifeblade pitons, the majority of which are 15+ years old and not to be trusted, however they do make route identification easier due to the rust stains, so please don’t remove them!
Grades range from moderate to E5/6 6b with plenty of potential in the E3 6a + range for new routes. Climbs tend to be quite varied from delicate slabs to thuggy overhanging jamcracks.
A normal British trad rack will suffice for protection, but having RPs / Brass offsets would help on many routes irrespective of grade. Local climbers tend to use 50m double ropes mainly to avoid rope drag, but also in case of emergencies. Most crags involve a short scramble down from the cliff top car parks, but some need an abseil approach / prussik escape. Best times of year are autumn & spring, as summer can be a bit too humid and winter can be wet, especially when attempting crack climbs, however it rarely snows, so climbing is possible all year round.
Due to the lack of local climbers you will almost certainly have the cliffs to yourself, so be aware of the dangers of climbing on sea cliffs, especially as there is a 35ft (10m) tidal range on spring tides. It will often feel like you’re new-routing due to lack of chalk and traffic! If in doubt get in touch with the club, we can invariably find someone willing to act as a guide and climb with you or offer tailored advice.
Please log your routes on www.ukclimbing.com and let us know if you do anything you think is new.