Boiler Slab

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Boiler Slab
CragShot boiler slab left.jpg
Rock Type Natural Carboniferous Limestone
Climbing Style Trad
Approach Time 20 minutes
Area Gower
Sub Area Thurba to Overton
WGS-84 Location 51.542704, -4.236298
OS Grid Ref. SS 450 850
WGS-84 Parking Location 51.54486, -4.220247
GR Parking Location SS 461 852
Parking Postcode SA3 1NQ
Base Elevation 16 metres (SRTM Estimation)
General Info
Faces Direction South West
Aspect Sunny
Wind Sheltered Seldomly
Climbing Type Family
Seepage Quick drying
Crags Within 400m

Black Hole Crag, Boiler Slab, Engine Room Slab, Longhole Cave Buttress, Longhole Cliff, Upper Blackhole Crag

RAD Notice/Restriction Boiler Slab@BMC RAD

Boiler Slab
Trad Grades
<= HVS 13
E1 - E3 3
E4 - E5 0
>= E6 0


Non- tidal.


A solid and attractive slab that is non-tidal and captures the afternoon and evening sun The climbs are mostly in the lower to mid-grade range.

This cliff contains some excellent easy and middle-grade routes, making it a popular spot for groups. It is also worth a visit for the couple of pleasant E1/2s. The crag has a broad slabby face with a broken buttress to the left and a large overhang at its centre top, with more overhangs below and right. The cliff is named after the wrecked ship’s boiler which can sometimes be seen at low water.


From Overton village green, follow the road south-westward to a large gate where the road becomes a track (bridal path). Follow the track westwards for about a half-mile and then go through a metal kissing-gate. (12 minutes).

Then follow the path for about 100 metres (ignoring the footpath going down off to the left) and then branch off right on an overgrown path and up to another gate. Continue through the gate and then cross the field along its northern edge to yet another gate after a further 250 metres. (6 mins).

Go through the gate and then follow the path branching-off left down a narrow dry valley. This will take you, after about 3 minutes, to the foot of Boiler Slab.

Loading map...

N.B. Parking places at Overton are scarce especially wduring fine weather and, whilst residents are very friendly, climbers have been asked to continue to park carefully and considerately. Since the construction of a new house there are about three fewer parking spaces close to the village green.

The alternative is to park at the Pay-and-Display back at Port Eynon.

parking map of Overton for access to crags near Boiler Slab, Gower


The easiest descent is to drop down the back of the crag and walk down a gully to the right (south) between Boiler Slab and Engine Room Slab.

The Routes

The broken buttress to the left has been climbed on by many outdoor centre instructors for years, but no routes have been claimed.[1]

  1. Scent Of Mutton - S,4a
    Find the most interesting line up the rock to the left of Classic. Better than it looks, but take care with some of the blocks in the central section. 14m.

  2. Classic - HD *[2]
    Climb the obvious corner on the left side of the main slabby face, keeping to its right-hand slab. 19m.

  3. Column - S,4a *
    Start 1m right of Classic. Climb directly up the right side of a shallow pillar just left of a groove, to a shallow depression with a patch of ivy. Climb over this and follow ledges to the top. 19m.

  4. Dulfer - S,4a *
    Continually interesting climbing. Follow the obvious corner right of Column until it peters out. Step right and continue to the bulges above, step left and climb the break in the bulges, then climb directly to the top. 19m.

  5. Swirtler - HVS,5b
    Climb the right edge of the smooth slab 1m right of Dulfer to the bulges above. Go through these in a direct line between Dulfer and Direct. Feels a little contrived, but still pleasant enough. 21m.

  6. Direct - VS,4c *
    Start 4m right of Swirtler at a rib in a black-streaked slab. Climb the rib, then move left to surmount the arch at a good layoff flake. Follow the slab above to a small roof and pass it on the left. Finish direct through the bulges. 21m.

  7. Termination - HVS,5a
    Start 3m right of Direct below a patch of ivy on the overhang above. Climb to it, over it and up the thin crack until it peters out. Traverse leftwards and exit over the bulging blocks left of the main overhang. Previously known as Hotplate. 21m.

  8. Nuclear Arms - E2,5c *
    A one move wonder. As for Termination to the traverse, but continue direct to the roof. Cross the roof directly near the poor PR (good back up wires under the roof). 21m.

  9. Middle Age Dread - E3,6a *
    Start 4m right of Termination at a slight right-facing groove. Climb the groove boldly over the overlap and continue directly up the slabs to the main overhang at its widest point. Clip the PR on Nuclear Arms, then climb the roof to the right by a thin undercut in the roof and a slight flake above. 21m.

    a bird
    Restrictions apply from 1 February to 30 June

    Reason - Nesting ring ouzel. A pair of Ring Ouzel has started nesting below Tokyo please avoid routes from Nemo to Ayesha.

    Please see BMC RAD:
  10. Nemo - VS,4c
    At the right-hand side of the main slab is an undercut recess. Climb out of the left-hand side of this via a groove containing a crack. Move right, then continue direct to a groove through the block overhangs above. Follow this groove taking the jutting overhang at the top directly. 18m.

  11. Tokyo - E1,5c *
    An enjoyable route with a technical move, or a long reach. Start just right of Nemo, below the widest part of the overlap and reach over from a good undercut to a good, if distant flake. Saunter up the slab with good gear, to take a finishing groove through the bulges. 21m.

  12. Tokyo II - HVS,5b
    Start at a vague crack in a slab 2m right of Tokyo. Gain an undercut in the overlap above. Pull over onto the slab, continuing directly to finish through the upper overlap using a rugby ball feature. 21m.

  13. Ayesha - VS,4c *
    Start at the foot of a slab below the right end of the overlap, just under a series of thin undercut flakes. Follow these to finish up the left side of the left arête of the Pinnacle Crack groove. 21m.[3]

  14. Pinnacle Crack - VD
    This takes the obvious broken groove at the right of the main face. 24m.

  15. Girdle - VS,4c
    Start up Classic and follow the obvious horizontal crack at half-height. Finish up Pinnacle Crack or Ayesha. 27m.

  16. Overhang Traverse - VS,4c [4]
    Climb Dulfer to the obvious horizontal crack, then go up to the next crack. Move rightwards to below a small roof then go up to the main roof. Follow the horizontal crack rightwards and exit up a deep cut to the right. 36m.

Additional Photos


  1. Scent Of Mutton - R.Thornton 1985
  2. Classic - A.Osborne, B.Taylor 1949
  3. Column - J.Talbot 1967
  4. Dulfer - A.Osborne, B.Taylor 1949
  5. Swirtler - T.Moon, C.Maybury 1973
  6. Direct - J.Talbot 1968
  7. Termination - P.Hinder, V.Rees 1970
  8. Nuclear Arms - A.Sharp, J.Harwood 20.10.1985
  9. Middle Age Dread - A.Sharp, J.Harwood 20.10.1985
  10. Nemo - P.Hinder 1970
  11. Tokyo - A.Sharp, J.Harwood 20.10.1985
  12. Tokyo II - G.Evans, K.Snook 1988
  13. Ayesha - J.Talbot 1971
  14. Pinnacle Crack - J.Talbot 1969
  15. Girdle - J.Talbot, M.Hicks, A.Barnie - Partial 1971
  16. Overhang Traverse - A.Bevan, R.Bowen, D.Jones 1960


  1. Except perhaps, Scent of Mutton?
  2. "Classic and Dulfer are the first recorded climbs on Gower. "The first recorded ascents were those of Alan Osbourne and Brian Taylor on Boiler Slab in 1949 and its likely that some of the other ridges on the Gower were also climbed in the period 1949-1952, since Alan Osbourne had a keen interest in finding mountaineering-style routes." See, Ashmore, G. & Thomas, R. "Gower and S. E. Wales." South Wales Mountaineering Club (2003): p.20
  3. In the Gower Peninsula Supplement (1973), p.16 is described a variation. Approx. 100 feet. if combined with SW Pillar; 60ft. VI
    Climb the steep wall to the upper roof then traverse L by a horizontal crack below a series of overhangs. Move up L. round a bulge and join route 8 [Overhang Traverse] below the right side of the main central overhang.

    What is the "SW Pillar" referred to here?
  4. Given a grade of IV, A1 in Talbot, 1970. p. 78