Cilfrew Main Crag

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Cilfrew Main Crag
Ollie Burrows on Western Power
Ollie Burrows on Western Power
Rock Type Natural Sandstone
Climbing Style Trad
Approach Time 12 minutes
Area Sandstone
Sub Area Sandstone Far Western Valleys
Local Area Cilfrew Edge
WGS-84 Location 51.682792 -3.7866968
OS Grid Ref. SS 76575 99737
WGS-84 Parking Location 51.682635, -3.781926
GR Parking Location SS 766997
Parking Postcode SA10 8LF
Base Elevation 144 metres (SRTM Estimation)
General Info
Faces Direction South East
Aspect Partially Sunny
Wind Sheltered Mostly
Climbing Type Normal
Midge Problem Moderate
Seepage Quick drying
Crags Within 5.0 km

Cilfrew Main Crag, Cilfrew Outlying Areas, Cilfrew Ravens Cliff, Drumau Road, Dyffryn Woods Crag, Inn Crag, Llandarcy, Neath Abbey Quarry

Cilfrew Main Crag
Trad Grades
<= HVS 33
E1 - E3 15
E4 - E5 2
>= E6 0


The most continuous section of cliff, up to 20m high. Climbs of all grades and quick drying too.


To get to the main edge, follow the main path right, towards the large masonry structure (30 m), and ascend steps at its right hand side. The extreme Far Left End of the crag is now above you in the tree line (60 m away). Follow the track right and, after 30 m, take a short zig zag through the brambles which leads to the toe of the slope and a large fallen tree. Trudge up here, bearing right, to the Left Buttress.


Most routes, or adjacent routes, have trees to abseil from (protect your ropes from the abrasive rock if you descend using this method). Alternatively, you can scramble easily down the fixed rope in the main descent gully.



Crag layout map
Crag Layout

Far Left End

A broken section of crag consisting of minor buttresses and walls. The first climbs are positioned at a high squat square face, just right of a short descent route.

Cilfrew Far Left End, photo by Mikaela Toczek
Far Left End.
Photo: Mikaela Toczek
  1. Mario - HS, 4a
    The high crack, on the left of the face. 6 m.

    Nik Goile on
    Nik Goile on Strontium Dog.
  2. Luigi - HVS, 5a *
    The centre of the clean face via slots. Consider it de rigueur to sport a moustache when attempting this line. 7 m.

    Twenty metres right, past some broken walls, is a small square buttress, to its right is a steep tapering wall with a overhanging prow on its left side, this is Strontium Dog. There are a few short routes to its left.

  3. Pull Your Socks Up - HVD
    The crack, one juggy pull onto the grassy bay. Grovel out or lower off tree.

  4. Silky Purse - VS, 5a
    The left side of the small buttress. 8 m.

  5. Sow's Ear - HVS - 5c
    Traverse in from Silky Purse on steep jugs and pull onto the centre of the face. Proceed as for Pink Sock. A final reach out left leads to a rest, easier climbing and a nice top out. 8 m.

  6. Pink Sock - VS, 5a
    The overhanging crack, passing the low chockstone, proceed up the centre of the face. 8 m.
    Cilfrew Far Left End photo by Mikaela Toczek
    Far Left End.
    Photo: Mikaela Toczek
  7. Strontium Dog - E1, 5b **
    Up to the ledge and then tackle overhanging prow. Good pro and twin pegs at crux. 10 m.

  8. Mega City 1 - E2, 5b *
    Up the arête and capping headwall. 10 m.

  9. Sock It To 'Em - E1, 5a
    Bridge ever wider, then creaky dinner plates over roof, right side of headwall. "PR" not allowed on Mega City 1.

Below this area are some bouldering outcrops

Left Buttress

The most continuous sector of the escarpment lies to the left of the main descent gully (with in-situ rope). The base of the crag is pretty level once you have reached it through the woods.

The Left Buttress stands proud, a few metres below the adjacent bays. The front face of the buttress features some severely undercut headwalls.

Left Buttress.
Photo: Mikaela Toczek

  1. Ball Fondlers - VS, 4c
    The first wall past the FAR LEFT END is a long steep slab, this climb takes its square left hand arête. 12 m.

  2. Golf Ball Wall - VS, 4c *
    A long steep slab, seamed with cracks and a deep cleft at its apex. 12 m.

    Patrick Boothroyd on Amish Cyborg photo by Eben Myrddin Muse
    Patrick Boothroyd on Amish Cyborg. Photo by Eben Myrddin Muse
  3. Dickens' Fruit Corner - HVD, 3c *
    The chimney cum corner.

  4. Pepperami Prize - VS, 4c
    Takes the green nose, faint arête and final headwall without recourse to routes either side.

  5. Sausage Party - HVS, 5a
    Left of the arête. The crack leads to a ledge, then follow a steep groove. 12 m.

    Now to the front face of the buttress.

    Left Buttress photo: Mikaela Toczek
    Left Buttress.
    Photo: Mikaela Toczek

  6. Cornish Knockers - E1, 5b
    On the right side of the arête, start under the overhang and make a nervy rockover to gain the ledge. Amble up the short crack to take the roof at the cracks continuation via another difficult, but well protected, rockover to top out. 12 m.

  7. Sheela Na Gig - HVS, 5a/b **
    Start steeply, left of the obvious handcrack, to gain the substantial and enticing pocket. Arrange gear, extend, and pull through the centre of the roof on buckets! 12 m.

  8. Black-balled (by the Highcross Ladies Mountaineering Club) - HVD, 4a
    The hand crack left of centre of the buttress. Near the cracks end, move right into the corner to avoid a bruising encounter with any loose stuff. 11 m.

  9. Y Ddraig Gwrydd - E1, 5c *
    Start at a cave with a continuous crack at its apex, follow the crack and the overhanging prow above. 12 m.

  10. Mr Poopy Butthole - HS, 4b
    A narrow 'V' shaped chimney, right of centre of the buttress. 12 m.

  11. Amish Cyborg - HVS, 5a *
    Front face of buttress, immediately left of the arête. Take the roof direct at a short hanging corner. 12m

    Left Buttress - Right
    Photo: Matt Woodfield
  12. Escape From the Prison Planet - HVS, 5b *
    The wall right of the arête is tricky at the faint scoop. 10 m.

  13. Bust a Nut - VS, 5a
    Fortunately, no nuts required for this one. Start at the foot of the flake. A couple of overlaps and you're at the top. 7 m.

  14. Gnomes Milk - HD
    The off-width crack. 7 m.

  15. Sloppy Seconds - S, 4b
    Worth leading. A narrow buttress situated in the left corner of the bay, immediately right of an off width crack. 7 m.

Left Bay

At a slightly higher level is a bay with a whopping great overhang on the right. A descent gully delineates the right side of the bay. There are a fine selection of brushes left out for your use as the routes left of 10,000 Unstoppable Watts have only recently emerged from the mud and ivy. Feel free to help out by dusting as you lower or descend.

Left Bay.
Photo: Mikaela Toczek
  1. Asparagus Pee - Dif
    The moist smelly green chimney. Exit using tree on the right hand side. 8 m.

  2. Dog With Two Sticks - E2, 5b
    Steep sidewall above Asparagus Pee. Lower from small tree or get stuck in with a shovel.

    Will 'Crusher' Calvert on the Second Ascent of Western Power.
  3. Cat Flap - E2, 5c *
    The first steep crack. 8 m.

  4. In a Flap - HVS, 5a
    The next steep crack. 8 m.

  5. Head Over Heels - HVS, 5a
    Left of the wide chimney, start as for In A Flap then take the bulge direct. No stepping across the chimney at this grade. 8 m.

  6. Hanner Cant - V Dif
    The central square chimney. Tree lower off. 8 m.

  7. Unflappable - VS, 4c
    A bit of a squeeze but starting from ground level take the arête right of the chimney.

  8. Flap Jack - HS
    The crack, right of the chimney. Tree lower off. 8 m.

  9. Flaps - Sev
    The narrow slab to the same tree lower off as Flap Jack. 8 m.

  10. Tad Cu - VDiff
    The right hand square chimney. 8 m.

  11. 10,000 Unstoppable Watts - E1, 5a *
    Move up to the cave (as for Western Power) and jam leftwards around the obvious block, to get stood on it. Step right onto the slightly overhanging face and climb confidently up, via big slots, to finish at the chunky flake. 12 m.

  12. Western Power - E5, 6b **
    Shockingly good. From the cave, hand traverse out along the very lip of the roof (peg) to the arête. Pull up the arête, initially strenuous but quickly easing, to reach the top. 12 m.

    Then there is a descent gully. The next two climbs start on the left wall of the gully.

  13. FeS2 - VS, 4c
    Starts up Electric Avenue but moves left to the arête for an easier finish. 11 m.

  14. Electric Avenue - HVS, 5a *
    The slightly off vertical face in the left side of the descent gully has a thin pull near the top but is very well protected. 11 m.

  15. Back Passage - Mod
    Half way up the descent gully is an off width crack. 5 m.

Main Buttress

The tallest section of crag, the Main Buttress lies to the right of the descent gully.

Alan Rosier and Roy Thomas on the First Ascent of Shooting Stars.
Photo: Carl Ryan
  1. Fat Slappers - E4, 6a **
    On the right side of the descent gully is a square arête. This climb takes the steep wall to its left, with a difficult to read finish. Traverses in from the gully, until the direct start is brushed off. 9 m.

  2. Shooting Stars - E2, 5c **
    From the ground follow the steep crack (purple thread). At the foot of the bright green face, pull up slots to the left side of the cave, arrange gear here, and finish up the arête. 19 m.

  3. One Shot Too Far - E1, 5b *
    Right of the square arête is a bright green face. Gain the base of the climb by traversing in past Fat Slappers. Take the centre of the face on good slots, then step right at the cave. A thin crack (small wires) permits access to the upper slab. 9 m.

  4. Negligent Discharge - E2, 5b**
    The direct start to One Shot. Start just R of Shooting Stars. Pass the twig runner steeply, "PR?", then good tiles, until a tricky rockover gains the ledgy section. Continue up One Shot.

  5. Shot Your Load - E1, 5b*
    Another steep start just left of Soiled Goods continuing up the upper wall just L of but using runners in the wide crack.

  6. Soiled Goods - VS, 4b**
    Climb a crack to the left facing corner. Passing an obvious chockstone. 20 m.

  7. Cilfrew Capers - E3, 5c *
    Start up the crack but traverse steeply rightwards along the first break (peg) until past the arête and pull up onto the slab. Trend back left passing a diagonal crack and into the corner to finish as for previous route. 22 m.

    Main Buttress, Cilfrew Edge Photo: Mikaela Toczek
    Main Buttress.
    Photo: Mikaela Toczek

  8. Ungolly - Sev, 4b *
    The deep chimney, stepping left to the ledge. Shuffle left to the centre of the slab and climb it to a short right facing corner and top out. 22 m.

  9. Violator - E2, 5b *
    The high steep arête, contrary to first impressions, is juggy and fun. Start as for Ungolly and maybe scope out the line from this route? Once the initial steepness has been committed to, there is a crucial small cam in a pocket on the left side of the arête. 20 m.

  10. Aldebaran - E1, 5b **
    Start at the left facing corner crack and follow the thin crack on the left to a steep face. Climb the face, left of the tree, on horizontal slots. The top out isn't easy. 20 m.

  11. Brown Dwarf - HVS, 5a
    Start as for the previous route, but bridge rightwards beneath the tree and climb the headwall. 20 m

  12. The Tradesman's Entrance - Mod
    Short buttress at a low level, directly beneath the big oak tree. 6 m.



Far Left End

  1. Mario - O.Burrows, A.Rosier - 29/12/2016
  2. Luigi - O.Burrows, A.Rosier - 29/12/2016
  3. Silky Purse - R.Thomas (solo) - 02/03/2017
  4. Sow's Ear - M. Everett, M.Edwards - 14/01/2018
  5. Pink Sock - R.Thomas (solo)- 02/03/2017
  6. Strontium Dog - A.Rosier, R.McAllister - 05/02/2017
  7. Mega City 1 - A.Rosier, R.McAllister - 21/01/2017
  8. Sock it To 'em - R.Thomas D.Davies - 26/06/017

Left Buttress

  1. Ball Fondlers - R.McAlister, A.Rosier - 21/01/2017
  2. Golf Ball Wall - R.McAllister, O.Burrows, T.Hoddy - 29/12/2016
  3. Dickens' Fruit Corner - R.McAlister, A.Rosier - 21/01/2017
  4. Pepperami Prize - R.Thomas Dale Davies - 26/06/2017
  5. Sausage Party - A.Rosier, R.McAllister - 21/01/2017
  6. Cornish Knockers - A.Rosier, R.McAllister - 21/01/2017
  7. Sheela Na Gig - A.Rosier, O.Burrows, R.McAllister - 29/22/2016
  8. Black-balled (by the Highcross Ladies Mountaineering Club) - A.Rosier - 29/12/2016
  9. Y Ddraig Gwyrdd - A.Rosier - 21/01/2017
  10. Mr Poopy Butthole - R.McAllister - 27/12/2016
  11. Amish Cyborg - R.McAllister, O.Burrows - 17/12/2016
  12. Escape From the Prison Planet - A.Rosier, O.Burrows, R.McAllister - 17/Dec/2016
  13. Bust a Nut - A.Rosier, O.Burrows - 17/12/2016
  14. Gnome Milk - R.McAllister (solo) - 16/04/2017
  15. Sloppy Seconds - O.Burrows - 11/12/2016

Left Bay

  1. Asparagus Pee - R.McAllister (solo) - 16/04/2017
  2. Dog With Two Sticks - R.Thomas, E.Jones - 03/06/2017
  3. Cat Flap - R.Thomas, D.Davies - 05/04/2017
  4. In a Flap - R.Thomas, R.McAllister - 24/03/2017
  5. Head Over Heels - R.Thomas - 27/03/2017
  6. Hanner Cant - D.Davies, A.Davies - 26/03/2017
  7. Unflappable - R.Thomas - 13/06/2017
  8. Flap Jack - R.Thomas (solo) - 12/03/2017
  9. Flaps - R.Thomas (solo) - 12/03/2017
  10. Tad Cu - A.Davies, D.Davies - 06/04/2017
  11. 10,000 Unstoppable Watts - A.Rosier, O.Burrows, R.McAllister, T.Hoddy - 29/12/2016
  12. Western Power - A.Rosier, O.Burrows - 11/12/2016
  13. FeS2 - O.Burrows, A.Rosier, R.McAllister - 27/12/2016
  14. Electric Avenue - A.Rosier, O.Burrows, R.McAllister - 27/12/2016
  15. The Back Passage - R.Thomas (solo) - 27/03/2017

Main Buttress

  1. Fat Slappers - O.Burrows - 17/12/2016
  2. Shooting Stars - A.Rosier, R.Thomas - 27/03/2017
  3. One Shot Too Far - O.Burrows, A.Rosier - 17/12/2016
  4. Negligent Discharge - R.Thomas, N.O'Neil - 21/04/2017
  5. Shot Your Load - R.Thomas, N.O'Neil - 21/04/2017
  6. Soiled Goods - R.Thomas, A.Rosier, R.McAllister - 25/03/2017
  7. Cilfrew Capers - R.Thomas, A.Rosier - 25/03/2017
  8. Ungolly - A.Rosier, R.McAllister - 25/03/2017
  9. Violator - A.Rosier - 27/03/2017
  10. Aldebaran - A.Rosier, R.McAllister, R.Thomas - 25/03/2017
  11. Brown Dwarf - R.McAllister, A.Rosier - 25/03/2017
  12. The Tradesman's Entrance - A.Rosier (solo) - 25/03/2017