Promontory Point

Sadly it appears that the Golf Club no longer permits access to these cliffs – unless approaching by boat you’ll probably need to head elsewhere

Promontory Point

General

Clear Water Bay’s Promontory Point has Multi-pitch trad climbs on a 300ft cliff rising straight out of the ocean, with the added bonus of few other parties around. A lot of potential for new routes still exists.

Approach

Continue along the road past the club house and take a right hand fork down towards the Marina. The island on which Promontory Point is located is on the far side of the Marina and is reached by going past the Boat racks in the far corner to a causeway. Once on the island follow the ridge until you can see a rather large and impressive zawn. From here walk to a small knoll (just pace some prairie grass) just below the top of the hill and gear up. Contour the hillside above the cliff, climbing over one steep gully to a small ridge. Scramble down the ridge to a thread and abseil in (two 50m ropes required). It is advisable to recce the abseil from the other side of the zawn prior to descending to make sure you end up where you want to be.

Routes

From the thread abseil straight down the easy angled slabs to the vegetated ledge beneath. Continue directly down to the left hand side (looking out to sea) of the large slab beneath. About 3-4m beneath the vegetated ledge is a smaller ledge with 2 bolts about 3m apart. Belay here and make a second abseil diagonally across the slab to the start of routes 1 & 2 or straight down the slab to the start of route 3. These routes all start from belays above the overhang at the bottom of the slab and require gear to be left through the bolts at the abseil station.

1 – Electra – VS 4c, 4b
An interesting climb technically easier than Proteus and less exposed. Start in the gully a few feet right of the steep chimney and directly below a crack.

Pitch 1 (4c): Follow the crack directly up to a good ledge on the left.

Pitch 2 (4b): Move up and into the short groove on the right. Traverse right for 30ft and follow a wide shallow groove to a big scoop just left of the Upper Terrace.

Pitch 3: Climb up and left accros the steep slab and continue direct to easy ground.
F.A. Dick Isherwood and Keith Hazelaar

2 – Proteus – VS 4c, 4a*
A good route with varied climbing and some very exposed positions. Protection is reasonable but some care is needed with the rock. Start about 30ft right of Electra at the next steep section of the gully.

Pitch 1 (4c): Traverse right into a shallow groove, which leads up and slightly rightwards across the slab. Climb the groove to a bulge and move right. Continue straight up to regain the groove at the bottom of a distinct, peapod shaped section. Climb the groove with a series of difficult moves where it narrows to a crack. When the situation eases, traverse left, then follow an indefinite staircase up and right to a large ledge overhung scoop.

Pitch 2: Climb rightwards up easy slabs to a broken chimney. Climb the chimney to the Upper Terrace and cross the terrace to a spike belay on the left.

Pitch 3 (4a): Climb onto the belay and surmount the bulge above. Move left into a thin crack and follow this to the large overhang. Step right and climb a square groove to the top.
F.A. Dick Isherwood and Keith Hazelaar

3 – Swan Song – HVS 5a, 4a***
A Hong Kong classic and must do route! The climb starts from a semi-hanging belay, 10ft above an overhang and about 40ft from the sea crashing below.

Pitch 1 (5a): From the niche move up and left to a small groove. Climb this until the holds disappear and you are forced to make a short traverse to the right. Continue up and left via delicate moves for 50ft before moving right to a groove. Climb the groove before moving left across a thin face. Continue up to a sloping grassy ledge, avoiding the large detatched flake.

Pitch 2 (4a): Continue up easily to the large grassy ledge.

Pitch 3: Take any route up the easy wall above.
F.A. Brian Heard and Quentin Ford (1993)

An extended start was added by Martin Lancaster and Garth Jones. This starts at the right hand end of the bottom overhang, approx 8m above the sea. Approach this route by abseiling down the approximate line of ‘Aquila’. This requires some gear to be left in place on a small pinnacle at the left (looking out to sea) side of the large slab (above a corner system) for the second abseil. The gear can be collected by an easy horizontal traverse from the bolt belay at the end of the main pitch of Swan song.

Extended Start – Pitch 3a (E1 5b): Foot traverse left along the lip of the overhang to a vertical crack. Climb this to the second overhang and cross this, past 3 bolts, Place a high runner in crack above and step down and left to belay in a small niche.

andrewlcoxal_swansong-1

Andrew Coxall on the Extended Start to Swan Song (E1). Photo: Stuart Millis

A better variant on Pitch 1 of Swan song itself also exists.

Pitch 1b (HVS 5a***): Move back right to the crack of the extended start and follow this up the slab, good but spaced protection. Climb almost directly up the slab towards some hollow flakes. Tiptoe to the left of these and climb diagonally leftwards to join the original route just left of a large hollow flake. Follow the original route from this point to a bolt belay 10ft below the grassy ledge.

The following routes start from the ledges at the right hand side of the crag. Descend from the top of the island down to the end of the zawn. At the left hand end of the ledges there is an obvious chimney with a good flat ledge at the top. The climbs are best started from this ledge.

4 – Route 3 – HVS 5b
Pitch 1: Move down and left from the belay to an obvious ledge. Make a series of short leftwards traverses, interspersed with some upwards sections, skirting through the first band of overhangs to a poor belay.

Pitch 2 (5b): Move up and right from the belay to the right hand side of the overhang above. Make difficult moves through this before climbing directly up the slab above, to a belay in a corner

Pitch 3 (4c): Continue directly up the crackline above to grassy ledges
Pitch 4: Continue up easily up the rocks above.

5 – Aquila – HVS 5a**
After a long traverse left, the climb follows a fairly direct line through the slabby corner just right of main slab. Difficulty is well maintained and the route on the whole is quite serious.

Pitch 1 (4a): Climb the arete on the left for 20ft until it is possible to move around and on to the edge of the big slab. Traverse horizontally left to a shallow, square chimney. Step across this (awkward) and continue the traverse, descending slightly to a niche which is immediately opposite the spine of rock. A short ascent leads to a scoop and nut belay.

Pitch 2 (5a): Step left and climb a shallow groove to a big ledge. Traverse left to another big ledge and continue to a small stance underneath the arete on the left.

Pitch 3 (4c): Climb the narrow slab slanting up right on frightening rock to a big perched block. Move diagonally left to a good ledge and spike belay in the corner.

Pitch 4: Climb the corner to a narrow ledge on the right. Continue up a steep, awkward slab to a block belay on the Upper Terrace.

Pitch 5: Climb the ‘V’ chimney above until it is possible to exit left. Continue up the slab to easy ground.
F.A. Dick Isherwood and Jack Baines

5 – Route 4 – VS 4c
Pitch 1 (4a): From the belay, step down a few feet and traverse left to the slab proper. Climb a series of short horizontal cracks to a large horizontal crack line. Follow this left for about 20ft until an obvious easy line leads over broken ground to the right of the overhang. Take a poor belay below a short corner.

Pitch 2 (4c): Move leftwards into the short corner and climb this, and the crack line above, to the grassy ledges.

Pitch 3: Continue up a series of short walls to the top of the cliff.
F.A. Dick Isherwood and Jack Baines

6 – The Orc – HS 4a
Technically no more than severe but on appallingly loose rock. Start as for Aquila.

Pitch 1 (4a): Follow Aquila until around the arete and then climb diagonally across to a good ledge in the middle of the slab.

Pitch 2: Climb straight up above the belay and follow the slab rightwards to an overhang. Hand traverse left (poor rock) to a break. Climb up through the bulges (crux) and finish on the Lower Terrace.

7 – Budgie’s Crack – HS 4b*
Something of a classic climb starting 200ft left of where the descent route reaches sea level, at a steep crooked chimney.

Pitch 1 (4b): Climb the chimney to a big ledge above the main overhang.

Pitch 2: Follow the easy angled corner on the left to the Lower Terrace.

Pitch 3: Ascend the slabby ridge above to a small stance and nut belay.

Pitch 4 (4a): Step left from the belay to the foot of a thin slanting crack, which is followed to a bush covered ledge.

Pitch 5: Follow an open groove to the top of a large square pinnacle, on the right. Step left and bushwhack your way through jungle to the cliff top.
F.A. Dick Isherwood

8 – Thorin – VS 4b, 4a
A good route starting some 120ft to the right of Budgies Crack at the base of a narrow left slanting slab.

Pitch 1 (4b): Step left from the ledge to a small scoop in the base of the slab. Move across and into the corner on the left and climb this to a narrow niche. Move up and swing right to a small ledge in the middle of the slab and follow the corner above to an overhang. Move right beneath the overhang and layback round to the upper groove. Follow this to a large ledge and belay.

Pitch 2 (4a): Follow the defined layback crack directly above the belay.

9 – Tom Bombadil – VS 4b
A pleasant climb which tackle the crackline right of Thorin.

Pitch 1: Step down and right to start then follow the crack to where it overhangs. Move right and climb the wall on good holds to a ledge before continuing up a wide crack to a rectangular platform.

Pitch 2 (4b): Climb the crack in the big square-cut corner above.

10 – Gollum – VS 4a, 4a, 4a
An interesting and exposed climb on doubtful rock. Protection is poor throughout. Start at the left hand end of the Lower Terrace, from a nut belay beneath a white overhang.

Pitch 1 (4a): Traverse left below two V shaped grooves. Climb straight up on the left of the second groove, following an obvious line of weakness until an awkward move leads to a sloping ledge on the right of a prominent nose.

Pitch 2 (4a): Climb the broken chimney on the left. Awkward bridging leads to a good stance on the right, although it is also possible to continue on to the Upper Terrace.

Pitch 3 (4a): Climb the open chimney above, as for Aquila, but continue up to an awkward exit on the right. Continue easily above this.

11 – The Balrog – VS 4c, 4b
Start by following the easy ledge from the top of Budgies Crack to a large, flat topped block beneath a clean, square groove.

Pitch 1 (4c): Layback up the groove to the first black-streaked yellow bulge. Hand traverse right then climb the blunt arete above with difficulty to a resting place level with the big overhang. Foot traverse left and climb straight up to an earth covered rake slanting to the right.

Pitch 2 (4a): Traverse leftwards along a V shaped ledge, then climb the slanting groove above to continue more easily to the top.

12 – Valhalla – VS 4c, 4a, 4c***
A fine route with good positions and plenty of exposure. Start from the top of Pitch 2 of Aquila.

Pitch 1 (4c): Step left from the belay on to the arete and make a bold swing left to gain an easier groove. Follow this for a few feet before traversing left for 20ft to small ledges. Continue left for a further 20ft to some more small ledges before moving diagonally leftwards to a large overhung bay.

Pitch 2 (4a): Descend for 15ft until a line of flakes is seen on the left. Traverse across these and continue downwards until stopped by a more difficult section. Move upwards and across to gain a an indefinite groove on the left. Descend this to a good vegetated left and poor piton belay on the prominent arete.

Pitch 3 (4c): Traverse left around the arete to a groove. Move down and to the left t gain a second shallow groove. Ascend this to a scoop in the middle of the slab. Traverse left to gain an easy gully, which is followed to a spike belay.

Pitch 4: Climb the easy wall above.

13 – Fangorn – VS 4a, 4b
Steep and interesting climbing on a somewhat contrived line. Start at the point where the leftwards traverse into the zawn becomes more like climbing than scrambling.

Pitch 1 (4a): Climb diagonally leftwards up a slight ramp to the arete, overlooking an obvious chimney. Climb the slab and bulge on good holds to a ledge before continuing up the overhanging arete to a big platform.

Pitch 2 (4b): Climb the thin crack just right of Tom Bombadil to a horizontal break. Follow this to the arete and make an awkward move around it to a groove. Continue up the groove to a ledge and the belay.

The East Face

General
This is the short but steep buttress on the right of the East Zawn (about 250m right of Promontory Point). Despite its size the cliff offers excellent climbing on rock which is completely sound.

Approach
Descend as for the routes on the right side of Promontory Point. Continue right along ledges to the point where Cannonball Buttress (the narrow projecting ridge on the left of the crag) comes into view. Move along a group of ledges above and right of a small corner, which lead down to a sloping platform just above sea level. The most obvious feature of the crag is a left facing corner (Cutlass) and all climbs are described with reference to this.

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