Pembroke Climbing Guide
Pembrokeshire, or simply Pembroke as it's known to climbers, is a county in the far south west of Wales in the UK. Pembroke is home to hundreds of pitches of world class trad climbing, spread along miles of beautiful limestone sea cliffs. The area attracts many climbers, including the pros, and has hard climbs such as Big Issue E9 or Chupacabra E8, though there are high quality routes here at every grade.
Not a bolt in sight
The area is exclsuively trad climbing and has no bolts on the routes or at the anchor point. The area is kept as natural as possible and clear of all bolts, so you have to spend time setting up safe anchors at the top of the cliffs. This does mean you have to have a good knowledge of both anchor building and trad placements to safely climb in Pembroke.
Deep Water Soloing
As well as Trad climbing there's some world class Deep Water Soloing (DWS on offer, although it does require you don’t mind a little swim every now and again. The difficulty of the routes range from very easy all the way up to an 8b first climbed by Neil Gresham.
The Most Fun
I recently headed out a couple of times with a few friends to try some of this DWS during the warm spell we had here in the UK. These trips out were some of the most fun we’d ever had climbing, there was no time spent placing gear or belaying, setting up abseils or faffing with ropes. It was just you, shoes, chalk, rock and the occasional splash into the giant puddle we call the sea.
How do I do this?
If you want to give DWS a go here in Pembroke the first thing you want to do is make sure it is summer or early Autumn, consider wearing a wetsuit after that. Chuck your shoes your chalk and maybe a towel in the back of your car and experience one of the freeest forms of climbing.
Top Tip From My Mate Dylan:
Cut a large milk carton in half and attach a string to the bottom section that will go around your waist. You can put some loose chalk in this and use it as an easy to dry chalk bag.
Where to Climb
The deep water soloing is actually covered in most of the standard guide books. Including; The Climbers Club Pembroke Guides, The Rockfax APP, Rockfax Deep Water and a limited amount in the Wired Guides Pembroke Rock.
We found the Climbers Club “Pembroke Stackpole & Lydstep – Vol 5” to have plenty of good stuff in it. I would recommend checking out Cool Man Chu Wall where there are some low to mid difficulty climbs that we loved, try Planktonitis 5+ S0 and Cool Man Chu 6a+ S0. We also really enjoyed the routes on Topology Zawn.
I haven't had a chance to have a go on it yet unfortunately but Perfect Pitch 6a+ S1 is supposed to live up to its name.
Eat, Sleep, Climb, Repeat
There is no lack of places to stay, with loads of campsites, hostels and hotels. For food there is a pub or restaurant in most of the towns or larger villages with plenty for everyone. There are also Cafes and Tea Shops dotted around, if a slice of cake is more your thing.
A Rainy Day
These rainy days do happen every now and again and are, unfortunately, not the best for climbing, but there is a tonne of other stuff to do around the area.
You could head into the seaside town of Tenby down to the beach and use the small but mighty Overhang climbing wall (yes it is actually on the beach). You can spend a few hours in there getting strong and ready to get back out on the rock as soon as the sun comes back out.
If you feel you need some great food go down to Freshwater West beach and visit the AMAZING Cafe Môr, they have the best food van/boat ever. It is a little pricey but worth it for great burgers, lobster rolls, bacon butties and loads more.
Other Great Stuff
There is also, if you look in the right places, some bouldering hidden away up the north of the county, only a little bit but it is really quite good. If you go on a clear day you will see some of the amazing views which can go as far as Ireland if you’re lucky.
Written by Jacob Martin