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Trewavas, Cornwall - Top rope rigging

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 EdF_Bris 28 Nov 2022

Hi all, I'm wanting to explore some of the climbing Cornwall has to offer around new years when I'll be staying there. Top roping at Trewavas seems like a good place to start however I can't figure out from pics / vids what features can be used to rig a top rope at the top of the crag and therefore which gear to get hold of beforehand. Any suggestions or advice in this department would be greatly appreciated.

Post edited at 11:25
 guisboro andy 28 Nov 2022
In reply to EdF_Bris:

There are a few stone blocks but not much else.

OP EdF_Bris 28 Nov 2022
In reply to guisboro andy:

Ah ok, cheers for the reply. Do you know if a rope can be wrapped around the rocks? Or would you need to use trad gear to make use of them?

In reply to EdF_Bris:

You can just use the blocks in a few places  but they are not ideal, and need some thought.

Trad gear and a good experience in rigging is needed to do it safely.

OP EdF_Bris 28 Nov 2022
In reply to Steve Claw:

Hmm ok, I'm confident I can do the rigging safely but I'd rather not depend on my own trad gear placements. I don't suppose you know off hand any crags towards that end of cornwall that have solid boulders or trees at the top which could be used to build a top rope anchor without placing gear?

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In reply to EdF_Bris:

Its hard to say, as they all have some natural belays, but they might not be on the routes you want, or you might only get 1.

Sennen, Trewsvas, Zennor, Rosemergy, even parts of Carn Barra

Definitely bring a 20m ish length of static.

Sorry I can't be more helpful, you might just need to turn up and see what you can do.

 PaulJepson 28 Nov 2022
In reply to EdF_Bris:

Bosigran is the only place I can think of with an abundance of big rocks at the top, but it's a massive multi-pitch cliff so not really ideal for top-roping. 

In reply to EdF_Bris:

I have set up top ropes when taking a group of kids climbing at trewavas but it’s not straight forward and it would be a good idea to have plenty of rigging rope. However, if you belay at the top rather than trying to set up a bottom belay it is relatively straightforward. 

 Sean Kelly 28 Nov 2022
In reply to EdF_Bris:

It's most reasonably well protected on lead, but the HVS to the left of Mascara is rather bold for the grade. I recall on one average runner!

OP EdF_Bris 28 Nov 2022
In reply to EdF_Bris:

Thanks for all the comments. It sounds like rigging a top rope anchor without trad protection at Trewavas may be possible but would be akward and may not be as safe as with trad protection. As @Steve Claw suggests, I think I'll scope it out when I get down there with a 20m odd length of static rope and see what I can make sense of. If trad gear is needed, hopefully I can find the right size cam at one of the nearby millets.

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 deacondeacon 28 Nov 2022
In reply to EdF_Bris:

At the risk of sounding elitist do you know what you're doing? You haven't got any cams but you're going  to look at a crag and see what size you need? Apologies if you know what you're doing but it's not coming across that way 🙂

Seriously, don't go top roping off a cam. Top roping weights & unweights the rope repeatedly which can cause a cam to walk and prove fatal if it walks too far. You'll be at the bottom of the crag so won't be able to keep an eye on it either.  Trewavas is much better suited to belaying from the top of the routes when using a rope. 🙂

Do one of the locals know a better place locally for top roping? 

Post edited at 21:15
 deacondeacon 28 Nov 2022
In reply to EdF_Bris:

From memory Haldrine Cove behind Bosigran would be pretty good for top roping  but I've only been once, I think it may be tidal and my memory is crap 🙂

In reply to deacondeacon:

Not tidal, but a very easy traverse to reach the climbs to the left, this could be problematic in heavy seas. We fixed a static rope and sent kids across “via ferrata” style. (Note this was kids with their experienced parents, not a bunch of school kids.) 

Halldrine Coveis a lovely place for beginners on a warm summer’s day.

Post edited at 21:19
 pete3685 28 Nov 2022
In reply to EdF_Bris:

Whereabouts are you staying and what, if any, guidebook(s) will you be using?

 PaulJepson 28 Nov 2022
In reply to EdF_Bris:

Why spend £70 on a cam which might not work when you could pick up a set of secondhand nuts for £20 and a 10m length of static which you can pretty much guarantee will?

In reply to deacondeacon:

Halldrine is a bit complicated at the top - it's not terribly obvious from above exactly which routes you are looking down onto. It's a better place for early leads than top-roping, especially given the sightly exposed traverse in.

OP EdF_Bris 28 Nov 2022
In reply to deacondeacon:

No to be quite honest... I focussed in on cams because "Trad climbing basics" the book seemed to rate cams higher than nuts in terms of safe anchor protection but reading it again I think it meant just micro nuts. I'd rather not buy any cams because they cost so much.

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OP EdF_Bris 28 Nov 2022
In reply to pete3685:

I'll be staying near Helston and I've borrowed the "West country climbs" guidebook currently.

OP EdF_Bris 28 Nov 2022
In reply to deacondeacon:

Thanks for the tip I've noted Haldrine Cove down.

OP EdF_Bris 28 Nov 2022
In reply to PaulJepson:

Nuts and a static rope it is.

In reply to EdF_Bris:

I always favour a well placed nut over a cam. Cams will go in places nuts won't, and thats when they are useful.

 PaulJepson 29 Nov 2022
In reply to EdF_Bris:

Dont take this the wrong way but if you are not with someone experienced who can go over what you're doing, reign in your aspirations.

If you've not placed trad gear or rigged anchors before and you go and try wing it, there is a real chance of someone getting badly hurt or worse. There are so many subtleties to gear and anchors and even the experienced get caught out from time to time. It's not something you can watch a youtube video about and be ready to go.

If you're genuinely interested in learning to place gear or climb trad routes:

Get a copy of Climbing Anchors by John long and study it, then either team up with a mate who knows what they're doing, join a climbing club, or hire an instructor (there will be plenty down Cornwall way who would be happy to take you and a mate on a proper exciting day introducing you to trad and seacliffs in a safe manner).

If you just go buy some gear and try bodge it then you'll probably get you and/or your mate dead.

 deacondeacon 29 Nov 2022
In reply to PaulJepson:

Agreed. The thought of two people falling into the sea tied in to a 'top-rope' set up is the stuff of nightmares.

 deacondeacon 29 Nov 2022
In reply to PaulJepson:

Me and a mate actually learnt just from a book (the Libby Peter one), but to be honest we'd have learnt much quicker and safely with a weekend course.

Also we were on gritstone  not some steep grass slope above the sea in January lol.

OP EdF_Bris 29 Nov 2022
In reply to EdF_Bris:

Ok it sounds like regardless of how well I think I've practised rigging a top rope anchor using natural features, theres no substitute for doing this in the presence of someone who's experienced to ensure I understand all the subtleties involved and dont expose people to unnecessary risk.

In reply to EdF_Bris:

That's an extremely sensible decision.  The fact that we're umm-ing and ah-ing about which crag might be OK shows you that, actually, they're all a little bit awkward.  And added to that is the risk that if it all goes horribly wrong, you're not looking at a broken ankle, but two people being washed away into the Atlantic...

I am sure you will be able to find a good instructor who could do you a half day on setting up top- and bottom-rope anchors.  They're not likely to be terribly busy during the middle of the winter break.

In reply to EdF_Bris:

There’s plenty of good instructors in Cornwall, world you like some recommendations?

OP EdF_Bris 30 Nov 2022
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Please, yes!

In reply to EdF_Bris:

Stu Bradbury - https://www.facebook.com/seacliffguiding

Pete Greening - https://kernowklimber.co.uk/about

Mark Garland - https://www.garlandmountaineering.co.uk/ (actually based in Devon, but that can't be helped!)

Jay Jackson - https://www.climbcornwall.com/meet-the-staff

Note, there are many others, these are just some that I know personally and trust.

 thegrowler1981 30 Nov 2022
In reply to EdF_Bris:

Also Phill Matthews, climbed with him last year and had a great day out: https://climbingcornwall.com/

In reply to thegrowler1981:

This thread is UKC at its best. Well done to all concerned. The OP has been dealt with gently and with respect for his feelings. The OP’s ambitions have been taken seriously but with all due concern for safety. I’m sure all will hope with me that this interchange will lead to an enjoyable and safe trad baptism which in turn will lead to a lifetime’s passion. 


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