Cullen Caves

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Cullen cave overview2.jpg

Cullen Caves are the quartzite caves at the west end of Cullen beach. The first is big and has a number of sport projects (who DIDN'T bolt them with resin staples...they've corroded already??)...anyway, the caves have good bouldering as well, especially St Duane's den and St Stephen's Cave.

Below I've put in a load of bumpf for Duane's Den and the Sport cave. I've also finally made it across to St Stephen's Cave (it's ca 100 meters further up the coast). The st Stephen's topo below is based on John Watson's guide, but I'll be adding to it. The grades are all approximate (I've been off for ages and am rusty).

There's a couple of videos on the Media page that might help with some beta.


Directions & Approach

Either by the beach at Cullen, or drive west to Portknockie, park at the playpark and cross fields to a sign on the cliff where you'll find concrete steps down to the caves past Jenny's Well.

Sport Cave /St Loraine Black Lady's Cavern

Sport route wall topo3.jpg

This is the cave "behind" St Duane's Den, ie in the direction of Cullen. The rusty bolts are a good hint that yo're in the correct cave. The over hanging wall has "St Loraine Black Lady's Cavern" graffittied, and sports Cullen Skank and warm ups and projects. The undercut wall opposite this has Underworld etc.

1 – Cullen Skank 7a
John Brown. Jan 2009
Start just to the left of the graffiti naming the cave, using two finger pocket (for left) and slopey crimp (right) move up via side pull. Reach across to obvious diagonal break and the finish between “angel wings”. 1b sit start 7a from obvious break. Finish as above.

2 – Project
From sitting, move up big steep ramp, via pothole and along diagonal break, finish as Cullen Skank.

3 – Project
Sit start, huge undercut, upto diagonal crimp then using small gaston gain the horizontal break to finish again on the "angel wings" at the top of Cullen Skank.

4 – 6b
Good warm up, sit start on horizontal ledge, move up to gain sloping jugs by second bolt.

5 – 6c(ish)
Sit start on horizontal ledge, up via pockets and big undercut. Finish either left (as per #4) or right in damp looking (but dry) pocket.

6 – Project
climb hanging arête from sitting

7 – Traverse
Some one seems to finally started to play here as well, not sure if they’ve managed the traverse but this seems the gist of it. (I’m rubbish at traversing, sorry).

Underworld area

Main underworld area topo2.jpg

1 – Slap my beach up 7a
John Brown. May 2010
From large vertical edge (it’s almost big enough to be a hanging arête), gain the sharp painful pocket (best with right). Move to large left flake thing, then to sharp pocket on lip. Using cobble also on lip lunge for crimps then finish on big sloping pocket on next strata.
2 – Project
Start on large sloping shelf, move to big flake (gaston) up to cobble then finish as above (at least that’s the idea).
2b - Birdshit 7a
Chris Matthew, June 2010
Start on large flat sloper shelf, as per start of Project 2 (above), move right to join and finish Slap my beach up, named for excrement on final hold that almost ruined the first ascent!, and ensuing exclamation of its discovery. 3 – Underworld 7b+ (Morpho)
John Brown. May 2010
Start on large sloper on hanging prow deep in cave. Move through cave “roof” to gain two slopers at equal height, gain jug on lip, and finish with hands in the grass on the next strata above the lip.
4 – Edge of the world 6b+
John Brown. May 2010
Sit start on arête, gain good crimp on lip and move up to finish with toes on lip.
4b - Cerberus 7c
John Brown, May 2010
Start as per Edge of the World, on sloper and pinch and move into undercuts to traverse left (remaining below lip)into slopers of Underworld, then finish.

St Duane's Den

St Duannes den topo3.jpg

1 – Twister 7b+
John Brown. May 2010.
Start with right hand in cave on big break and left on white triangle at top of cave, using toe hook gain blasted pockets, then use heel to gain big ramp. Move up with left via crimps to top of triangle hole, then top edge.
2 – Duane’s World Sit start 7a+
John Brown. May 2008.
Sit start as per Twister, move into diagonal ramp of Duane’s world then finish up and right on big ramp.
3 – Duane’s World 7a
John Brown. May 2010.
From diagonal ramp gain large ramp and move up and right.
4 Reverse Traverse 6b+
John Brown. May 2008.
Gain diagonal ramp from sit start (outside cave), then move back down ramp to finish straight above “Duane’s den” graffiti.
5 Double Pinch Traverse
John Watson. 2008.
5 – Double Pinch Traverse 6b+; From layback crack follow ramp to shattered jugs (they’re still loose!).

6 & 7 Project
Starting either in cave on big hanging arête / edge (6) or on face to right in tiny sharp crimps (7), gain sharp one finger crimp then move up wall to gain top of ramp.

Start of crux of St Duane's Direct, Cullen Caves

8 St Duane's Direct Font 7a+
John Brown. May 2008.
] Standing start in the centre of the undercut arch with your left hand in the vertical crack in the ramp; and right hand in the pock mark pinch at chest height. Gain ramp and then high (small) crimpy side pull and very slopey hold in triangular hole to gain lip. Somewhere between 7a and 7b I think, though I maybe wrong.

Layback Crack Font 6a
(Off photo) John Watson. May 2008
Climb the left-hand crack from a sit start to jump-off jugs.

St Stephen's Cave

St stephens cave panorama topo.jpg

All of the routes in this area have been damaged by fire, they are all covered in ash, probably cleanable, but this cave seems to be popular with the local youth so would likely just happen again. (03/04/11)

1 Kill All Hippies 6b
John Watson, March 2008

2 Flower Power 6c+
John Watson, March 2008

3 The Thorn 7a
John Watson, March 2008

4 The Rose 7b
John Watson, March 2008

5 Welcome! 6b
John Watson, March 2008

6 Protected by Roses
John Watson, March 2008

7 Project
Sit start from slopers on arete of first corner (same start as Welcome) gain the break and reach up to hidden crimp in roof above, match and reach left for small V shaped under cut, match and move for top straight up.

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