So what makes a good climb down Avon Gorge? For me it has to be full height, as it doesn’t matter how long I have climbed at the gorge I still love the achievement of going from the bottom to the top; It has to have contrasting and varied pitches; and it has to have good views of the Gorge and Yellow Edge certainly ticks all those boxes and more.
Guidebooks have a bit of a habit of either making you utterly gripped before you even
get to the base of the crag or getting you psyched for a climb. Luckily Yellow edge is of the latter order and with words like steep, exciting and wildly exposed who would not be chomping at the bit to bag this Gorge classic.
Avon Gorge is renowned for its distinct technical character requiring good footwork and balance and pitch 1 is certainly of this nature. It is a welcome relief to get the bolt clipped (for climber and belayer alike!) which would otherwise make the tenuous moves that precede it terrifying! The second pitch is in stark contrast to the first and has an abundance of big holds and copious amounts of gear and would certainly be a good pitch in its own right if it wasn’t a warm up to what is justifiably the pitch of the route.
If you enjoy exposure, which I do in abundance, then the final pitch is the pitch for you. The odd occasional glance in any direction, other than looking between your legs at the whole of the route you’ve just climbed, will additionally gift you with great views of the gorge. Its an immense position with great climbing and to add to the enjoyment there is
one last style change as you move to the final ramp with a test of your sloper skills, albeit a plentiful supply of them.
As is normal with summer climbing down the Gorge we topped out with the sun setting and over a customary pint and a pickled egg and a lengthy discussion on the route we just climbed, I could see why Yellow Edge is a Gorge classic.
Dean Russell (photo on 2nd pitch taken by Henry Castle)