Pembroke – make mine a Triple

Where better for a short Easter break than Pembroke, especially with a Wednesday start to beat the crowds? After a somewhat tedious journey, Jim and I arrive at the St Govans car park amidst the seagulls, gorse and bombed-out tanks and instantly know it’ll be worth it.

With no range firing for the school holidays there are a few more options available, and we head for my first ever visit to Triple Overhang Buttress. Most of the routes have bird restrictions (and the classic Deep Throat will have to wait for another trip) but Galactic Coordinator, HVS and Star Control, E2 are both permitted so long as you access them directly via abseil from above.

Both routes start at the same ledges, a few metres above the high tide mark – atmospheric spot though as the swell washes in it crashes on the underside of the ledge with a huge boom! you can almost feel, and sends spray blasting horizontally out for 50ft or more.

GC starts with a tricky pull through a bulge

… before easier ground…

… leads to a stance in the corner level with the base of the final overhang. From here, juggy holds lead out to a very exposed position on the arête above the lip. Plenty of air beneath Jim’s feet!

Star Control takes a parallel line a few metres to the right. The Wired guidebook picture and description don’t match and I spent some frustrating time summoning up the courage to head up a blank wall above the initial groove, with no obvious signs of holds or gear for about 20ft. Good mountaineering judgement intervened and instead I headed left around the arete and up to the roof. Turns out this is actually the right way (the line and description are pretty much right but the pitch lengths and belay position are wrong). Anyway, I skipped the belay and ran the two pitches into one, finishing through steep but juggy territory crossing GC. A BIG 45m pitch and lots of fun. Time for a beer at the St Govans!

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