Ascent of Rock of Gibraltar on 2010-11-06

Climber: Rob Woodall

Date:Saturday, November 6, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Rock of Gibraltar
    Elevation:1398 ft / 426 m

Ascent Trip Report

The southern end of the Rock is a fairly narrow arete with 3 highpoints. The southernmost is O'Hara's Battery. The middle summit approx 200m N is within the military fence and has some military hardware (a low column). 200m further N is a platform with a water tank, with other military buildings immediately N and below it. By eye I considered the northernmost point to be higher, by maybe 1-2m compared with O'Hara's Battery. Standing at the Battery, the northernmost summit looks higher, noting that the Spanish hills in the background are 1000m or more.

Site publicity (for what it's worth) refers to O'Hara's Battery as the "Top of the Rock". Wikipedia (as at 8 Nov 2010) suggests O'Hara's Battery is the highest point: "To the north, the Rock rises vertically from sea level up to 411.5 m (1,350 ft) at Rock Gun Battery. The Rock's highest point stands 426 m (1,398 ft) above the strait at O'Hara's Battery. The Rock's central peak, Signal Hill, stands at an elevation of 387 m (1,270 ft)." Spanish 1:50,000 mapping shows a 421m spot height towards the N end of the highest section; (note that all summits are a few metres lower on the Spanish mapping than the Wikipedia values).

Andy Martin has the following from a US military map: The
map has a 10 meter contour interval, scale of perhaps 200 feet to the inch, and spot elevations in many places.

For O Hara's Battery the highest spot is 419.0.
For Signal hill 385.0. For Rock Battery (north end of Gibralter) 411.5.

However, the highest spot ... on the map was 424.0, about 100 meters south of Spyglass battery. This point is pretty close to 36.1261 -5.4337. Spyglass battery is the elongated building further north at 36.1272 -5.3441

A long and thin 420+ (10) contour runs north along the ridge crest from just south of 424.0 to the south edge of Spyglass Battery."

The "water tank" top is immediately S of the Spyglass Battery buildings and the described US map features support my site impression that the water tank occupies the highest point.

Access: the Upper Rock can be reached from the town via Queens Rd (by car 12 GBP + "attractions" or on foot much cheaper if you really don't want to see the Grotto and historical sites). Nearest parking is at St Michael's Grotto (fascinating - recommended). Then walk N on St Michael's Rd then cut back S on O'Hara's Rd - steeply uphill all the way. At the top are 2 gates: O'Hara's Battery southward and military base northward. Between these a narrow trail climbs a short way up onto the ridge (then drops steeply down the E side via flights of steps - a popular round-trip hike from Queens Rd).

Public access to O'Hara's Battery is available (3.5 GBP according to the signs on site), although it was all closed up and unattended - accessible via an easy scramble over the low N wall. Once inside, the highest natural rock involves a scramble - which may be difficult to do as part of an official tour!

Looking N from the Battery, the distant top appears significantly higher. This can be reached with some difficulty, through a hole on the fence followed by approx 400m of scrambling along an arete, vertical to E (east), easy angled to W but with a fair bit of brushy vegetation to make matters more complicated, and a few airy moves (never harder than YDS 3). There are (the ubiquitous) Barbary Macaques (apes) for company.

Note: this was an unplanned visit, I had done no prior research, assumed it would be a trivial summit and even forgot to take my GPSr with me.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:446 ft / 135 m
    Extra Gain:16 ft / 4 m
    Round-Trip Distance:0.7 mi / 1.2 km
    Route:O'Hara's battery and south ridge
    Trailhead:St Michael's Grotto  984 ft / 299 m
    Grade/Class:YDS 3
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Bushwhack, Exposed Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Time:20 Minutes

This page has been served 1525 times since 2005-01-15.

Copyright © 1987-2019 by All Rights Reserved. Questions/Comments/Corrections? See the Contact Page Terms of Service