01690 720214

Egressing Sea Cliffs

By Mark Reeves

Somewhere above is the rock, below me snapping at my ankles are line after line of charging white horses. I am in space twixt the devil and the deep blue sea."
Sea Cliff climbing has its own unique rewards but also has a seriousness that is only compounded by the fact that many of these places are often only accessible by abseil. So if you find yourself unable to climb out, then you will need to consider taking a few light additions to your rack in the form of prussiks and above all else know how to use them.

Leaving the Abseil Rope in Place

Egressing Sea Cliffs

Your best bet to escape a sea cliff is to re-ascend the abseil rope that you have left in place.
Leaving the abseil rope in place sounds logical but even if you have an intimate knowledge of a sea cliff, you always leave the abseil rope in place. If all else fails you'll need this to prussic out.

Preparing to Ascend the Rope

Egressing Sea Cliffs

Prussiking up a rope is a scary proposition, and it is best to have a practice before you need to use this technique in anger. This can be done on a single pitch crag, a rope tied over a tree branch or in an indoor climbing wall. Some friends have even tied a rope up in the garages to practice.

A. Tie a klemheist prussic on to the abseil rope, and attach this to your belay loop.

Egressing Sea Cliffs

B. Attach another klemheist below the one attached to your waist, this is for your foot.

To start with pump the foot loop down and move the waist prussic up. It is more than likely that you will have to repeat this pump action a few time before the slack is taken out of the system. It also allows you to test that there are enough turns in the prussic to bite. If there aren't then add another twist to the prussic.

Ascending the Rope

Egressing Sea Cliffs

A. When the slack is taken you will have to commit to going up. This time you will have to move the footloop as high as comfortable, it is possible to attain a very high step but too high will effect your efficiency in ascent.

Egressing Sea Cliffs

B. From this position, you need to rock over and try and sit on you foot, it is possible even when free hanging to balance in this position. You will now have taken the weight of the waist prussic, so using you thumb release the tension on the prussic and get ready to stand up.

Egressing Sea Cliffs

C. As you stand up move the waist belt prussic with you and when you have got it as high as you can sit down on it and repeat the process.

Staying Safe

Egressing Sea Cliffs

To make this system safer you can tie a clove hitch in the rope below your footloop and attach this to your belay loop. By rolling the clove hitch up every few moves you will have a back-up should the waist prussic fail.


As well as prussic there are a couple of lightweight ascender on the market that will make your life easier. The petzl Tibloc is the lightest and simplest but very aggressive on ropes. Whilst a wild country Ropeman is slightly heavier but less aggressive on ropes.

Egressing Sea Cliffs


Egressing Sea Cliffs


Got A Date Available - Need An Adventure To Match?

Contact our team on 01690 720214 or email - they will be happy to help you find something perfect.

Adventure Sports
Coaching Conference

Adventure Sports Coaching ConferenceOur inaugural Adventure Sports Coaching Conference will seek to explore the role of coach developers in adventure sports performance.


Christmas and New YearOn behalf of all the team at Plas y Brenin, we would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a H....


Scottish Winter Courses 2018Starting January 2018, our Scottish Winter courses are timed to make the most of the incredible wint....


Winter WarmersAs the nights begin to draw in and the temperature starts to drop, Plas y Brenin are pleased to offe....


Peak Performance For Plas y Brenin Paddling TeamWe are delighted to announce that we've launched an exciting new partnership with kayak clothing man....


BMC Women Outdoors Week 5-15 Aug 2017Come and get active for the BMC's Women Outdoors Week here at Plas y Brenin. We have talks, activiti....

What's On In Our bar?

Our friendly and lively bar is open to the public. From talks and lectures to film nights and live music, there's always something going on. Find out what's coming up next here

Adventure Sport
Summer Camps (Age 12-17)

Summmer Camps For Young People Aged 12-17Young climbers, mountaineers, paddlers and mtb riders aged 12-17. Develop your outdoor skills with our top coaches on one of our residential summer camps.

Enhanced Learning Credits

Enhanced Learning CreditsThe Enhanced Learning Credit Administration Service offers funding for armed forces personnel. Plas y Brenin is able to accept ELCAS funding for a few specific non residential courses.

Weather Forecast, Tides and Surf Conditions

Find out what the weather's doing in North Wales over the next five days.

Adventure Map

Working alongside UCLan
to educate
outdoor professionals

University Of Central LancashireFind out how we are working with one of the country's top universities to develop lasting careers in the outdoors.