"Zelda" a 3* HS 4b in fantastic suroundings
A 3* classic, graded Hard Severe. It’s 2 pitches take you 180 feet out of the old quarry to stunning views over the River Wye.
The route is at 'Wintour’s Leap', situated 2 miles upstream from Chepstow, on the English side of the River Wye. The area gets it’s name from an old legend. In 1642, Sir John Wintour was being chased by Cromwell’s troops and rather than getting captured, he galloped his horse over the edge. He survived the fall and swam down river to the safety of Chepstow Castle. The geography must have changed somewhat since then, as it was quarried around the early 1900s. You would do well not to try and copy Sir Wint! I have no idea what happened to the horse!
A view toward the crag.
The area of Chepstow is well served by Bus and train routes. However, this route is a few miles off the main roads and is best served by your own transport, be that a car, bicycle or LPCs. (Leather personnel carriers).
The path at the top of the crag is part of the 'Offa's Dyke' long distance footpath.
Use the "Wye Valley" Book, written by the Climbers Club.
Take the M4 motorway, heading east from Wales or west from England, and go on to the M48 spur. On the West side of the 'Old Severn Bridge' head north to Chepstow. At the first roundabout, turn Right, drop down the hill into the town and cross the bridge over the Wye and into England. Head North for Tutshill.
Map of the area
Park near the Rising Sun Inn. (This is slowly turning from being a great pub into a restaurant). Head north some 100 metres until a lane on the left takes you to the old quarry entrance. Follow the path off left and it will descend in a loop to the right. On your left will be the River Wye and views into Wales. The path snakes down into the old ‘Woodcroft’ quarry until it enters a vegetated area overlooking the river. When the path splits, take the right fork and head down over steep scree and an earthen path until it levels off nearer the river. Turn right, almost back on yourself so that you are now under the beetling expanse of the Great Overhanging Wall (GO Wall). Follow the wall north until the path rises up, and at it’s furthest end, on a ledge some 3 metres above the floor of the Far South Bay, you will be under the corner of “Zelda.”
The route, @55 metres at HS 4b
The first pitch is very easy to protect and goes at 4b. Start up the corner until a series of horizontal breaks. So far, you could practically throw your rack at the corner crack and something would stick!
The first corner
Traverse left under an old bent piton, and then pull up onto the arete above. Follow the rising ramp as it traverses left and up. The protection is less plentiful now, but always there if you look. About 35 metres above the ground you will find an obvious 2 bolt belay station.
The second pitch is no harder, but seems far more committing. Another 20 metres at 4b, with an airy traverse to start. Move up and then traverse right along the obvious break to a nose that splits the wall. You will pass a sound peg some metre or so and slightly higher than the traverse line before you reach the arete.
The foot ledges are broken by the arete, but if you find the hidden 'magic' hold, out of view on it’s other side, you can easily swing around to more foot holds and an easy but exhilarating step around the arete and up to another peg.
Leading toward the nose.
Move up on thinner ledges to a short hand traverse back left for a metre or two, and then pull up onto a ledge below a small sentry box. The third peg is on the left inside edge of the box. Pull up and finish on slightly harder ground, but again, with good protection not too difficult to find.
Finish on a big ledge with a huge crack behind, that eats big hexes, backed up with a sling around the tree.
A full set of wires, bigger hexes, smaller cams and some slings.
A carafe of good wine and some sandwiches are helpful, but not essential.
Nearing the 'sentry box' and 3rd peg.