Box Bay

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Box Bay
SWMC Beginners' Day, 2007
SWMC Beginners' Day, 2007
Rock Type Natural Carboniferous Limestone
Climbing Style Trad
Approach Time 10 minutes
Area South Coast
Sub Area Porthcawl
WGS-84 Location 51.48412, -3.72272
OS Grid Ref. 8047 7753
WGS-84 Parking Location 51.49013, -3.72237
GR Parking Location SS 805 782
Parking Postcode CF36 3UN
Base Elevation 0 metres (Other)
General Info
Faces Direction West
Aspect Sunny
Wind Sheltered Seldomly
Climbing Type Family
Seepage Quick drying
Before/After Low Tide 3.0 hours (See Note)
Crags Within 2.0 km

Box Bay

Kelly Carr and Gary Lewis enjoying Left Corner (VD), Box Bay


3 hours either side of low water.


No Bolting


This is a newly rediscovered crag of very good quality sea-washed and chemically weathered limestone in a pleasant situation. The routes are mostly in the S-VS range with good gear and good lines. There is also the most extensive and worthwhile bouldering in the guidebook area, concentrated in the zawns and on the walls about 300m west of the crag, as well on as the frozen wave of rock some 200m to the east. Many of the routes on the Main Face have been previously climbed by Mick Reynolds (the BBC cameraman on Everest) and Dave Hillman, but details are not available, so ascents are credited to the first to record them.


Leave the M4 at J37 for Porthcawl and follow the A4229 towards the town. At the third roundabout follow the signs to Nottage and Rest Bay. Follow the road for about a mile to a minor road junction overlooking the sea.Turn right to the paying car parks then walk back E descending 100m before the bluff.To avoid paying don't take the right turn to Rest Bay but keep on the main road parking near the shelter then walk back west passing a bluff and WW2 bunker. About 100m after the bluff, drop down to the sea and then strike back westwards (away from the direction of approach). About 200m on, after some low cliffs with some excellent bouldering, is the long incut of China Zawn, also called The Long Geo, the first area where the rocks are 10m high. Some 25m right from this is Death Zawn and round the corner is the largest (17m) of the walls, the square-cut Main Face. Owing to the vague nature of these instructions if you find it could you switch your phone on and get the GPS co- ords.


Descents are by obvious scrambles down gullies at various points.


The China Zawn/Long Geo

The rock is sound on both the overhanging left wall (Mao Wall) and the longer slabby right-hand face.

Mao Wall

  1. Chairman Mao - HS,4a
    The corner at the left end of the wall. 10m

  2. Roy Sauce - E1,5b
    From the base of the wall, climb flake cracks in the arête directly to the top. 10m

  3. Harrowed Ground - HVS,5a
    From the base of the wall climb the right trending crack to good jugs and the top. 12m

  4. No Spring Chicken - E3,6a
    Start 2m right of Harrowed Ground. Rock over onto the ledge, make a long reach,then storm directly up the wall, 2PRs. 12m

  5. Porthcawl Beach Party - E5,6a *
    Right of No Spring Chicken is an overhanging groove. Climb this for 4m, then swing left and climb up via small holds either side of the thin crack in the left wall. Gain the wider crack and finish spectacularly. 12m

  6. A Quest For The Truth Of The Origin Of….. The Innards Of A Pancake Roll - E3,5c *
    Start at the back of the zawn and follow a rightward-trending ramp for 4m. Move onto the steep face on the left and gain a pancake. Finish direct. Good on the rare occaisions that it dries out. 12m

The Right Wall

  1. Witches And Bitches - HS,4a
    Traverse the obvious break from the highest boulder at the back of the zawn to finish over the central overlap. 20m

  2. Limpet Slot - E1,6a
    Start opposite Quest etc. Pull up to a slot and finish direct. 12m

  3. Barnacles Have No Soles - E2,6a
    Start 2m right of Limpet Slot. Stick clip the PR and make difficult moves upto the break. Finish Direct. 12m

  4. Pre-Placing Barnacles - E6,6b
    Short and nasty. Start below the central of three runnels at the top of the cliff. Pull desperately up on a chicken head above a terrible landing and make a hard move up to the break. Finish easily. 12m

  5. Lemon Grass - E1,5c
    Start opposite Spring Chicken at a polished right-facing layaway. Make thin moves up and finish via the v-cleft. 12m

  6. Sir Psychosexy - HVS,5b *
    Start 1m right of Lemon Grass below a chicken head chert knobble in the blank wall. Use it to gain a break and better holds, then follow solution cavities to the top. 12m

  7. Wide Eyed And Glueless - E1,5b
    Start 1m right of Sir Psychosexy at a runnel and make thin moves up. Finish direct from the ledge. 12m

  8. Pie Eyed And Clueless - HVS,5a
    To the right a shelf at 3m peters out. Climb to the shelf, then move left from a layaway. Finish direct. 12m

  9. Wide Legged And Crotchless - E1,5a
    Climb the bold, blank wall 2m to the right of Pie Eyed And Glueless. 12m

  10. Lemon Chicken - VS,4c
    Start 3m right of Wide Eyed etc. below a spike of rock. Climb to this and continue direct. 12m

  11. Johnny And His Chinese Eye - HS,4b
    Climb the wall 1m right of Lemon Chicken, through the left-hand quartzite sheet. 12m

  12. Soy Sauce - HS,4b
    Climb the wall 1m right of Lemon Chicken. 12m

  13. Orange Duck - HS,4b
    Climb just left of the arête of the easy descent staircase. 12m

  14. Faffy Friday - S
    Head up the corner left of Palm Pain, then break out right and pull steeply over the bulge to finish. 10m

  15. Palm Pain - VS,4c
    To the right of the staircase is a rectangular recess. Climb up to the left-hand side of the recess and finish direct. 8m

  16. Cato And The Hunchback Disguise - VS,4c *
    Climb straight through the centre of the rectangular recess on spectacularly good holds. 8m

  17. Sunday Outing - VS,4c
    Start below the right-hand end of the recess. Climb to it, then swing right and continue up on big jugs. 8m

  18. Prowl In The Evening Sun’s Rays - HVS,5a
    Start 3m right of the recess and make a bold move up to gain jugs and some good moves. 8m

  19. Bitches And Witches - HS,4a *
    Start from the ledge 7m to the right of the staircase descent. Climb across left with feet at the level of the bottom of the recess and continue roughly at the same level, to finish just left of Lemon Grass. 50m

Death Zawn

This is the square-cut zawn about 25m east of Chinese Wall (The Long Geo). It has a steep left-hand wall. The following two routes replace Do It In 517s (J.Crocker, D.Jones 1993).

  1. Sunbleached - HS,4b
    Start just left of the base of the arête and climb a groove to finish through a big cleft. 12m

  2. SanctiMoanious - HVS,5b
    Climb the arête, starting on the right and moving to the left at half-height. 12m

  3. Brittle Bone Syndrome - E1,5a
    Climb off a boulder on the right of the arête. Follow a crack trending right until it opens out into a giant orifice. Reach strenuously back left and finish up the headwall. 12m

  4. Chee Tor Girdle Traverse - E2,5c *
    Climb the vague crack to the right of Brittle Bone Syndrome, moan about the TRs and finish up the tower. 12m

  5. Stone Washed - E1,5b *
    Start 4m right of Brittle Bone Syndrome and climb the obvious crack. 12m

  6. Sustentaculum Tali - E1,5c *
    The thin wall to the right, PR. 12m

  7. Herpisimplex 10 - E1,5b
    Just next to a large chimney climb the thin crack without touching the far wall. 12m

  8. In Sickness And In Health - HS,4a
    Bridge up the chimney, with protection placed in Herpisimplex 10. 12m

There is a short route (The Geo Graduate 4b, C.Shorrock 1995).

The Main Face

Round to the right (east) is the obvious main face, a 17m high rectangular wall with various prominent cracks. To its west (left) is a narrow zawn containing a pool and a boulder. Left of the zawn is an area with a raised pavement at its base.

Main Face - Left Zawn
  1. The Pathetic Shark - VD
    Left of the raised pavement and set back is a chimney/gully that leads to a hanging arête. 8m

  2. Unashamed - VD
    On the left side of the pavement is a crack by the arête. A stiff pull up the crack onto the ledge leads to a bulge to finish. 8m

  3. Unphased - M
    fro the middle of the wall step left to gain the ledge, then follow easy ground up to the right. 8m

  4. Unnamed - VD
    Start up the big crack, then step left at the niche to finish straight up. 8m

  5. The Gas Filled Dolphin Carcass - VD
    Climb the wall above the pavement. 8m

  6. Unclaimed - S
    The small crack in the wall to the right leads past a tricky bulge. 8m

  7. Where’s Me Spinach? - VS,4c
    From the toe block above the pool at the right end of the pavement, reach out and thug strenuously onto the arête. Climb this directly to the top. 8m

  8. Howard’s Way - HVS,5a
    A fine and surprisingly exposed traverse around the arête onto the steep wall above the pool. Start at the right end of the pavement and climb the left ramp of the block. From here traverse deviously around Spinach arête on good holds to the ledge of Don’t Snog etc. Finish directly up the crack or continue right to the end of the wall. 15m

  9. Bikinis Are Yum - E3,6b
    From the boulder in the pool, make desperate moves up using the evil vertical slot. Use holds on the left to gain the break. Continue to the ledge. The route remained unrepeated for nearly ten years and there is some local scepticism about the first ascent. 9m

  10. Plutonic Plankton - E2,5c
    From the boulder in the pool, lean accross and pull into the smooth crack. Follow this to easier ground. 10m

  11. Don’t Snog The Labrador - HS,4c
    Gain the prominent right-hand crack in the left wall of the zawn, by traversing in from the back of the zawn. 9m

    The next three routes are on the right-hand wall of the zawn.

  12. Junk - VD
    Climb the wall towards the back of the zawn following a crack line and a small overlap. 9m

  13. Rise Above the Water - HS,4b *
    From the boulder in the pool, step rightward into a smooth corner and gain a ledge at 4m. Step left and follow the arête to the top. 8m

  14. Cow Eyed Arête - HS,4b
    To the right of the pool and bounding the left-hand end of the main wall is a square-cut recess. The left wall of the recess is formed by a pillar. This route takes the left arête of the pillar. 8m

  15. My Friend Shep - HVS,5a
    Climb the groove in the left arête of the square-cut recess left of the gully bounding the left side of the main wall. 8m

  16. Left Corner - VD
    The obvious corner at the left side of the main cliff. 12m

  17. Aah-ck-ak-ak-ak - VD
    The first crack right of Left Corner. 14m

  18. Jellyfish Tickler - HS,4b
    The wall just to the right, starting by an obvious pocket. 14m

  19. Peaceful Easy Feeling - S *
    To the right is an obvious crack, which forks at 5m. Climb this taking the left-hand fork. 14m

  20. Jack’s Noisy Squealing - S
    As for Peaceful Easy Feeling, but climb the right-hand fork. 14m

  21. Valley Girls - S
    The wall right of Jack’s Noisy Squealing finishing up the right edge of Up And Down. 14m

  22. Up And Down - D
    The obvious groove toward the centre of the crag. 14m

    To the right is an obvious rectangular cut-out at 4m.

  23. Olive Oyle - S
    The wall to the left of the left crack rising out of the letterbox. 14m

  24. Popeye - S
    The left-hand crack rising from the letterbox. 14m
    Main Face - Right of Letterbox

  25. Sweet Pea Souper - VS,4c *
    Climb the wall between the two cracks rising from the letterbox. 14m

  26. Bluto - S
    The right-hand crack rising from the letterbox. 14m

  27. Estuary Scum On The Welsh Riviera - HVS,5b
    Climb the tricky wall down and right of Bluto, finishing more easily. 14m

  28. Surf's Up - HS
    The faint scoop in the "tricky wall" and left trending deep crack above. 14m

  29. Slingshot - VD
    The groove about 5m right. 14m

  30. Mill Pond - S *
    Traverse the face at two-thirds height from the ledge right of Slingshot, finish up the crack of Aah-ck-ak-ak-ak. Best done at the end of a summer day at high tide, with the sun setting over the sea and a beer waiting at the top. 20m

    Right of Slingshot is a black buttress.

  31. Black Buttress - S
    The front of the buttress. 10m
    Main Face - Black Buttress Area

  32. Prickly Bulge - S,4b
    The gully wall of the buttress. 10m

  33. Injector Chimney - D
    The chimney to the right of Prickly Bulge. 10m

  34. Injector Corner - VD,4a
    Climb the corner 1 metre to the right of Injector Chimmney via a hard move to start followed by nice laybacking.

  35. Injector Wall - HS,4c
    To the right of Injector Corner is a hanging wall. Start on a couple of positive crimps just above the lip of the wall and launch directly up via a couple of good dynamic moves. Finish more easily.

    To the right is a series of blocky overlaps.

  36. Strapadictome - VS,5a
    Starting at the corner of Injector Wall pull straight up the juggy blocks trending right over the apex of the prow / blocks. 8m

  37. Strapadictome Variation - VS,5a
    Jump / Dyno for a hanging jug on the right hand side of the hanging prow trending leftwards to finish as for Strapadictome. 8m

  38. The Overhangs - E2,5c *
    At the east end of the main face, set further back is a cave. Climb up a groove in the cave to the roof, then pull through the roof, using the cracks to the left. 7m

  39. Right Rib - HS,4a
    To the right of The Overhangs is a blocky overhanging rib. Climb it trending slightly left before straightening up anf finishing via a fist jam in the crack above. 6m

  40. Time Waits for Nomad - VD,4a
    1 metre right of Right Rib is a wall broken at mid height by a ledge. Climb easily up to the ledge and then make a thin move or two to top out. 6m

  41. Oily Wall - VD, 4a
    On the right hand side of the blocky Zawn that contains the "Overhangs" area is a crude oil covered wall. Start to the left of the obvious crack and climb the wall direct via some small holds and a committing "rock-up". 5m

  42. Smooth Crack - VD
    Climb the obvious crack in the oil covered wall. 5m

  43. Oligenous Arête - S, 4a
    To the right of Smooth Crack is an oil covered arête. Climb it direct. 6m

  44. Xenophilius Lovegood's Crappy Cup of Tea - VS,4b
    Take the centre of the overhanging wall to the right of Oligenous Arête direct finishing over the highest part. 7m

Little Zawn

This is the square-cut rift just to the east of the main face, which provides a convenient descent. The left wall can be climbed at Diff to V Diff (The Slab, C.Shorrock solo 1995). The routes described are on the steeper right-hand wall.

  1. The Drowned Rat - S,4a
    Climb the arête on the lefthand side of Little Zawn. 6m

  2. The Slab - VD
    Climb any line you like on the left hand wall of the zawn. 5m

  3. Follow the Spiders - VD,5a
    To the left of No Belayer is a vague crack. Start at a right facing small flake and boulder up the crack trending leftwards finishing via a dodgy looking large flake. 6m

  4. No Belayer - VS,4c
    To the left of Jacob's Ladder (referred to as Belayer's Folly on UKC Logbook) is a leaning wall. Climb the wall direct using crimps and avoiding the jamming crack of Jacob's ladder (not needed anyway). 7m

  5. Jacob's Ladder - VS,4c
    Climb the central jam crack, taking care with the finishing holds. 7m

  6. Dead In The Water - VS,5a
    The thin crack right of Jacob’s Ladder. 7m

  7. The Electrician - E1,5b
    Climb the wall between Dead In The Water and the arête on its right. 7m

  8. The Drowning Man - D
    The arête itself. 8m

  9. It's Only Me-D
    The crack taking pains to avoid the arête.7m.

  10. Mother Mary's Mantle-S
    2m right again. Mantle the block. 7m

  11. The Quibbler - HS,4b
    To the right of Mother Mary's Mantle is a short prickly wall with another overhanging block bounded by a vertical crack on it's lefthand side. Climb the wall below and up through the crack.

  12. My Head's Full of Wrackspurts - HS,4c
    Take the prickly wall and overhanging block direct.

First Ascents


Mao Wall

  1. E.Rees, The Old Harrovians 00.00.1999
  2. M.Crocker, J.Harwood 26.05.2002
  3. P.Smith, The Old Harrovians 00.00.1999
  4. R.Thomas, P.Smith 00.00.1999
  5. M.Crocker, J.Harwood 21.07.2002
  6. M.Crocker, J.Harwood 26.05.2002

The Right Wall

  1. N.O’Neill, The Old Harrovians 00.00.1999
  2. M.Crocker, J.Harwood 22.06.2002
  3. G.Ashmore 16.08.2002
  4. M.Crocker solo 21.07.2002
  5. R.Thomas 00.00.1999
  6. J.Crocker, D.Jones 02.07.1993
  7. R.Thomas 00.00.1999
  8. R.Thomas 00.00.1999
  9. R.Thomas 00.00.1999
  10. P.Smith, The Old Harrovians 00.00.1999
  11. E.Rees, The Old Harrovians 00.00.1999
  12. N.O’Neill, K.O’Neill 00.00.1999
  13. R.Thomas 00.00.1999
  14. Mikaela Toczek & Matt Woodfield 22.03.2019
  15. J.Harwood 23.06.2002
  16. N.O’Neill, The Old Harrovians 00.00.1999
  17. J.Harwood 23.06.2002
  18. G.Ashmore 16.07.2002
  19. E.Rees, The Old Harrovians 00.00.1999


  1. C.Shorrock, A.Glawe 13.04.1995
  2. G.Ashmore, R.Thomas 21.07.2002
  3. P.Smith, The Old Harrovians 00.00.1999
  4. G.Ashmore, R.Thomas, M.Jordan 18.07.2002
  5. M.Jordan, C.Shorrock 14.12.1997
  6. R.Thomas 00.00.1999
  7. N.O’Neill, The Old Harrovians 00.00.1999
  8. E.Rees and The Old Harrovians 00.00.1999


  1. Giles Davis 08.02.2015
  2. Unknown
  3. Unknown
  4. Unknown
  5. C.Shorrock, A.Glawe 07.04.1995
  6. Unknown
  7. J.Crocker solo 02.05.1993
  8. M.Jordan, C.Shorrock 14.12.1997
  9. J.Crocker 18.05.1993
  10. J.Crocker 14.05.1993
  11. J.Crocker, T.Pearce 02.05.1993
  12. J.Crocker solo 02.05.1993
  13. M.O’Neill, The Old Harrovians 00.00.1999
  14. P.Smith, The Old Harrovians 00.00.1999
  15. E.Rees, The Old Harrovians 00.00.1999
  16. Unknown Pre-1995
  17. T.Pearce, J.Crocker 11.05.1993
  18. G.Ashmore 01.04.1995
  19. T.Pearce, J.Crocker 11.05.1993
  20. C.Shorrock, A.Glawe, D.Herbert 07.04.1995
  21. A.Glawe, C.Shorrock 13.04.1995
  22. T.Pearce, J.Crocker 11.05.1993
  23. J.Crocker solo 02.05.1993
  24. J.Crocker solo 02.05.1993
  25. C.Shorrock, A.Glawe 13.04.1995
  26. J.Crocker solo 02.05.1993
  27. G.Ashmore solo 02.07.2002
  28. Nick Smith (solo) 03.08.07
  29. J.Crocker, T.Pearce 00.00.1993
  30. E.Rees, The Old Harrovians 00.00.1999
  31. C.Shorrock, A.Glawe 13.04.1995
  32. C.Shorrock solo 13.04.1995
  33. C.Shorrock solo 13.04.1995
  34. E.Rees, The Old Harrovians 00.00.1999
  35. R.Mogridge, R.O’Brien 00.00.1999


  1. E.Rees P.Smith 1994
  2. E.Rees, The Old Harrovians 00.00.1999
  3. E.Rees, The Old Harrovians 00.00.1999
  4. Unknown Pre-1998