Highly variable, but never more than 3½ hours either side of low water at the east end of the cliff and never more than 3 hours either side of low water at the west. Normally about 2 hours average either side of low water along the cliff. Recessed areas like the Biscuit slightly longer. Some routes, especially those on Elephant Wall, Scutch Wall and Fire Wall have platforms which extend accessibility.
The cut off point of Davey Jones' Locker can only be crossed at the lowest of tides. It should be assumed that you cannot cross this area at any time, so pick you routes in advance and choose an appropriate approach.
Ogmore is one of the most important sea cliffs in Britain. Unsurprisingly it contains the greatest concentration of South East Wales’ best traditionally protected routes. It is wild, steep, exciting and seriously underrated. You will either love it or hate it but whichever it is you must encounter “the Ogmore experience”.
Ogmore is a limestone sea cliff situated between Ogmore by Sea and Southerndown. It offers climbing of a strenuous nature; steep, overhanging, but generally well supplied with holds. The rock is mostly good but some of the finishes may require care. It can suffer from seepage and is extremely tidal, with the tide rising 6m to 9m up the cliff, so beware of in-situ gear and use tide tables. It is a great crag for those who value adventure and excitement in their climbing, but is no place for the incompetent.
The cliff is south facing and so can be hot in the summer and catches the moist prevailing winds. However, on cold clear winter days with a brisk northerly wind it is surprisingly warm and sheltered, even at the belay points at the top of the cliff.
Ogmore has recently been touted as a deep-water soloing venue. Whilst it is true that there are some routes with good depths of water below them at high tide, it is important to remember that the tidal range is staggering and staggeringly variable. More importantly, the soloist should be aware that there are very strong currents hereabouts and a lot of low-level sea caves. Being swept into one of these and drowned is a serious possibility. Aspirants should always check the fall out zones at low water, before considering a deep water solo.
The layout of Ogmore is difficult to get to grips with and abseil in is the most practical way of approach. However, due to the tides, escape can be difficult, without a little forethought.
There are two approaches from the road. The western approach is the most useful, for anything to the west of Mother Earth. For the eastern end of the crag, the Southerndown Approach is more useful, but a parking fee is due at some times of the year. Most climbers who are familiar with the crag will tend to abseil in from various points but be warned that the stakes are of unknown origin or age; always find a way to back them up.
1. Western Access
Follow the B4524 from Ogmore by Sea towards Southerndown (Dunraven Bay) until it reaches a sharp bend passing West Farm (just after the sign marking the boundary of Southerndown). Park above the cliffs in a grassy area bounded by concrete posts adjacent to 'The Barn'. A narrow gully directly below this parking area leads to the Pinnacle. When facing out to sea, the pinnacle is visible to the east (left) and marks the start of Exposure Explosion and is more or less directly above the line of Jumping Jack Flash which lies between Ogmore Popular Area and Elephant Wall.
A smaller parking area to the east of 'The Barn' marked by a danger sign on the cliff top is the prefferred parking spot for access to Davey Jones' Locker and Phaser Wall.
2. Southerndown Access
Follow the B4524 a little further to a sharp left-hand bend at the Three Golden Cups pub, but go straight on down the smaller road sign-posted ‘Beach’. Park in the car park at the base of the hill (parking fee in spring and summer) and walk out to the concrete slipway. Turn back west (right if facing out to sea) to walk into the crag. Note that it is only possible to walk all the way along the base of the cliff at dead low water on spring tides, due to the cut off points round Davy Jones’ Locker and Scutch.
THE AREAS OF OGMORE
THE WESTERN CRAG
- Spangle Texture VS 4b
Start 4m left of the cave.Gain the first horizontal crack traverse left and go directly to the belay on the ledge.18m
- In Dispute With Nappy Rash HVS 5a
- Raw Energy E2 5c
A difficult area to pick your routes as there are fewer natural features hereabouts. The area can be prone to seepage after rain.
Between SIDESTEP and KITE Route No.s 7 & 8 (Left to Right) are the following routes by R. Thomas. These are good, with solid belay metal in situ on the ledge and easy to rattle up and down on a sunny evening when the tides aint brilliant.
Goose Step VS
Sauce for The Goose HVS 5b
Now Your Goose is Cooked HVS 5a
Just Taking A Gander - E1 5b. Climb slabby and spikey rock to about half height and the first horizontal break. Climb up to the second break where the rock starts to bulge and patiently arrange small wire protection. A good No.2 wire placement is overhead to the left. Pass to the left of an old peg with white tat, and gain steep but easier ground. Belay on the ledge above using cams and in-situ metal.
The small prominent buttress standing out from the general line of the cliff. Some of the shortest and easiest routes are here. A good place to escape with abseil point in place if you don't want to climb down Route 1.
FOOLS FANTASY AREA
An area of hard routes but ending at the popular corner of Pluto VS.A good search of the ledges above will reveal good belays for most routes.
OGMORE POPULAR END
Once again a good trawl of the top will reveal good belays and stakes for belays.Avoid leaving rucsacs in view as there are scrotes about especially weekends/holiday times.Try hiding them by Twinkle or gear up at the car.
Some big (hard) roofs are mixed in with old fashioned feature climbs in the HVS to E1! range.
ELEPHANT WALL AREA
This is the rather featureless pale wall forming the right side of the ‘Popular End’ bay. Pinocchio takes the left side of it. The routes from Easy Livin’ to Elephant Wall may be climbed when the tide is quite high, by abseiling to a small ledge beneath the centre of the wall. There is an abseil point at the top, well up the grass slopes,best located by looking for the rotted road mender's spike. (50m seperate rope required as pulling your climbing rope might prove impossible or shower you with rubble). Large Friends are useful in the upper wall and above the second break the rock should be handled cautiously. The wall catches the sun in the evenings and, with the exception of Slime Crime, is usually free of seepage.
TUSKER CHIMNEY AREA
The next routes are round the right arete of Elephant Wall, in a recessed bay. The Wet Look Cave high up on the left proves the most troublesome part of the Exposure Explosion traverse due to its damp and dark position.
This is the pillar just right of Mordred.An excellent ledge at the top with belays allows easy access to Flash Harry etc,bags fairly safe here. The toe of the buttress is difficult to pass except at very low tides,there are no easy ways to escape Tiger Bay.
A very careful pre-climb search will reveal various discrete belays but no decent stakes. Right of Scutch Buttress is the start of the huge Tiger Bay area. The prominent chimney bounding the left side wall is Siren Direct. To the right of the large cave of Siren is a wall of steep compact rock, Sorcery Wall. The crag makes a long sweep into a recessed bay, before moving out seaward as Fire Wall. Running between Scutch Butress and Siren direct is the left retaining wall of the bay, which is split by an obvious diagonal chimney ramp, Siren Direct.
The prominent chimney bounding the left side wall is Siren Direct
This is the wall running across the back of Tiger Bay, bounded on its right by Fire Wall. The first obvious feature is the groove above a prominent shelf, Sorcery itself. The first route is just right of the chimney of Siren Direct.
The obvious right-hand wall of Tiger Bay. Containing Fire E3 and Burn 'Em Up E5. Good new belays in place above this wall if you search them out.
Bute Street Buttress
Around the corner from Fire Wall is a proud square buttress with a high but tidal platform around it and relatively solid finishes. The routes here provide an escape if trapped between Scutch Buttress and Davey Jones Locker on a fast rising tide. Good belays in place or share with the Fire Wall
THE CASTLE AREA
There is now a broad sweep of crag continuing to a small sea stack (The Castle). The bottom part of the crag is mostly good rock but care should be taken with all the exits, which are on rubble. A generally disappointing area which along with the nearby BISCUIT ROCK has Ogmore's highest proportion of strangely unfashionable "adventure routes".Scarce on belays the easiest to find being "monster stakes above the Castle
The next bay is composed of horizontal strata of brittle yellow rock, the Ogmore biscuit variety. The climbing is exposed, frightening and topping out generally leaves people shaking. Well worthwhile and more deserving of the accolade of adventure climbing than anything at Linney Head. The area is bounded on the left by the spectacularly obvious arete of Cream Crackers. Routes can be reached by abseil at higher states of the tide but you must be confident of success or face an embarrassingly damp debacle.Stakes above the arete of Cream Crackers, sketchy elsewhere except above Mother Earth.
- Wafer Thin E2 5b
Takes the left side of the arete stepping off the rocking block is stimulating,located opposite the offshore Castle.39m. R.Thomas ,Eugene Jones.
- Cream Crackers E5 5c **
Climb the left side of the arete(alarmingly) to large ledges.The same point can be reached by taking the crack(thread) on the R of the arete(harder but more secure).Launch up the dusty wall to gain the arete proper("peg runners")Top out at a rock bay,large stake well back.42m.R. Thomas ,John Bullock ,Graham Royle.
DAVEY JONES' LOCKER AND THE SEA CAVES
Check out the position/state of the stakes buried in the grass above before proceeding. To the right is the huge, atmospheric, sandy-floored cave of Davy Jones Locker. At all but the lowest tides the point to the right (east) of this cave is impassable.
To the right of the prow is a bay of overhanging rock. This area can be approached by abseiling down The Hatch or from above Phaser itself(stakes and other belays in place). Glycogen E1 is the obvious left hand overhanging crack.
Route numbers refer to the current Guidebook.
The letters are for new routes, the information here is gleaned from the Climb Magazine article 'Set to Stun: recent developments on Phaser Wall, Ogmore Sea Cliffs, South Wales, by Martin Crocker'.
A) Ogmore Olympics E3 5c
M. Crocker 2008
B) Trogs E4 5c
M. Crocker 2008
C) Man Overboard E4 5c
M. Crocker, R. Thomas 1986
D) A Giant Leap for Crabkind E4 5b, 5c, 5b
I. Parsons, M. Crocker [AL] 2008
E) Prawn Brain E4 5b
M. Crocker, I. Parsons 2008
F) Omega Duicide E5 6a
M. Crocker, I. Parsons 2008
G) Photon Torpedo E5 6a, 5c
M. Crocker, I. Parsons 2008
Route No. 167+, only top part was identified in the article.
DIRTY HARRY WALLS
To the right the crag forms three long slabs divided by corner cracks. The routes make up in length and adventure what they lack in rock quality and reasonable/sensible protection. In other words they are serious.
A Tale of High Adventure, VS 4c - left of Falsity wall. Weave up to and around a blind crack in the upper half of the slab. Serious as not cleaned, new stake at top.
Contains the forbidding but reasonably graded Norwegian Wood E2 and Falsity E2. This wall is much steeper than appearances suggest. Be prepared to leave a rope in place and clean in advance(stakes in place).
The crag now faces west again.
- Norwegian Wood E2 5b
Gain and follow the obvious rightward-trending calcite line over a small roof toa ledge in the middle of the wall(possible peg belay).Follow the calcite line to the arete and continue with care up the arete.45m.
The cliff now turns through a right angle and provides better rock and routes. At the left side of this section is a set of huge overhangs split by two vertical breaks. Storms have virtually destroyed The Hunchback E1 (http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=73257) and The Bills, The Bills. Some roofs have been lost and a few grades are now speculative.
RIGHT HAND WALL
(better known as BECHER'S BROOK and obvious by the large pool leading into the gloomy narrow zawn.)
The cliff now turns to face the sea once more and contains some short routes that are useful when the tide is unfavourable.There are two fixed belays above the main VS cracks(other route are dubious) but the best descent is to walk to the top of Via Normale.
- Against The Grain E3 5c
- Via Normale D
Useful descent,abseil station for the faint hearted.21m.
- Moonlight Flit E1 5b
Start 3m left of the crackline at a green bulging wall.Make hard moves to startand gain a ledge.Finish up the overhangs above.14m.
[[Image:right hand wall2.jpg|400px|thumb|centre|Right Hand Wall topo]First route on left Against The Grain second Via Normaledescent.] BOULDERING On the far East Ogmore cliffs just before Southerndown beach is a prominent rectangular buttress which is west facing and has a crackline going direct up the center. The route is roughly 8m long and above it the cliff is loose and chossy.There are numerous other short walls/overhangs/long traveses extending all the way to the causeway at Southerndown.There are numerous problems done over the last 3 decades awaiting re-discovery.A top bouldering venue for those wanting stamina .
1. The Timely Trick - E1,5c
Direct up the centre of the prominent rectangular west facing buttress. Straight up juggy rock then a big move to a horizontal crack. 0.3 Camalot here. continue straight up the buttress using small slopey holds emulating from the thin crack. Reach for the top to a good mantle.
E.Stephens lead 31.07.2011
Addendum (time indeed plays tricks, done as boulder problems/solos in 1985 along with the 2 lines either side by Graham Royle, Roy Thomas, Mick Learoyd,Eugene Jones.)
There is some steep bouldering not far from the beach at Southerndown which may prove useful if waiting for the tide to turn. Have a look at the Bouldering_in_Bridgend_area page.