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Top 5 HVS climbs at Avon Gorge

Top 5 HVS climbs at Avon Gorge

Here I have listed my top 5 HVS climbs at Avon Gorge:

  • The Corpse HVS 5a
  • Malbogies HVS 5a
  • Great Central Route HVS 5a
  • Hell Gates HVS 5a
  • Suspense HVS 5a


Britain’s unique city crag, with very easy access.  Situated along the A4, on the edge of the Avon river, and within the Bristol city boundaries.


Avon Gorge is quarried limestone, and has a selection of climbing available, from a little sport climbing, and a few single pitch trad climbing routes, to the majority, which is multi pitch trad climbing.  The protection can be poor at times, so you need a real head to push on through.


Avon Gorge is also home to a few alpine like routes, if you are looking to hone in those alpine climbing skills.  The limestone cliffs tower over the river Avon.  With sometimes poor protection and thin feet, climbing at Avon Gorge can make for exciting climbing.


Avon gorge boast of more than 800 routes.  With some of its routes topping out near the ice cream van.  A classic and welcomed top out.  Usually at the top of Sea Walls and Suspension Bridge Wall.


Because of the road being so close to the crag, communication can be difficult, so walkie talkies are very useful.


Here are my top 5 HVS climbs at Avon Gorge, in no particular order.


The Corpse

Another Avon Gorge classic, graded at HVS 5a.  It weaves its way up the Main Wall.  An awesome route, with your typical Avon-Gorge-polished and slippery holds in place.  With an exciting move higher up.  The route has good gear, with some in-situ piton (make sure your check them before committing).



A 2-pitch HVS 5a up the central part of the Main Wall.  A sensational and popular route, it even made it into Ian Parnell’s ‘Hard Rock’ book.  So, it must be good.  With 7 or so in-situ piton, probably a few too many for my liking.  The climbing is superb, with the harder moves low down, and several blocked overhangs to cross higher up.  A must do route at Avon Gorge.


Great Central Route

A three starred route on Central Buttress, just to the right of Morning Slab.  It is a 2-pitch route, with slabs and overhangs, graded at HVS 5a.  The route starts fairly high up, so you need a head for exposure.  The harder moves are all in the first pitch, with several in-situ pegs used for protection.  Just check the state of them before committing on them.  You’ll be glad for a bolted belay at the top of pitch 1.  Some guide books grade this E1, others HVS.  It definitely feels like HVS, so please don’t be put off.  This one should be high on your list.


Hell Gates

A 3-pitch, HVS 5a on Suspension Bridge Buttress.  The first two pitches offer some very exciting climbing on pockets and cracks.  With a cave to separate the two pitches.  The cave has a present, make sure you leave something behind!!  The last pitch is an easier, but very exposed traverse.  An unforgettable climb.



A steep pocketed climb up the left part of Suspension Bridge Buttress.  Graded at HVS 5a.  And where it feels steep, there are plenty of big holds to pull on.  A brilliant and worthwhile route.  An Avon Gorge classic.


Here are my top 5 HVS climbs at Avon Gorge.  If you would like some advice on any of the above routes, or others at Avon Gorge, please feel free to get in contact.  We would be happy to help.


Or contact us if you want to go climbing at Avon Gorge.


Contact us via email on info@riseandsummit.co.uk


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