Crab Island Crag

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Crab Island Crag
( Nightmares )
Chris Wyatt arranging gear at the crux of  Deep Thought
Chris Wyatt arranging gear at the crux of Deep Thought
Rock Type Natural Carboniferous Limestone
Climbing Style Trad
Approach Time 15 minutes
Area Gower
Sub Area Caswell Bay to Mumbles
WGS-84 Location 51.56463, -3.99835
OS Grid Ref. SS 615 869
WGS-84 Parking Location 51.566843, -3.981364
GR Parking Location SS 627 871
Parking Postcode SA3 4JT
Base Elevation 0 metres (Other)
General Info
Faces Direction West
Aspect Sunny
Wind Sheltered Seldomly
Climbing Type Normal
Seepage Quick drying
Before/After Low Tide 2.5 hours (See Note)
Crags Within 400m

Crab Island Crag, Rams Tor


All areas Accessible about 2½ hours either side of low water. Watch the tide in second gulley as exit is problematic once it comes in. For third gulley you can exit east to Rams tor.


No bolting.


A good little area in an Urban Common, easily accessible, sheltered and quick drying. Formerly described as "Rams Tor Bays" in the 1992 Gower and South East Wales Guidebook. Three crags in this area have been developed - Crab Island Crag, 2nd Gulley and 3rd Gulley

Crab Island crag is formed by an undercut west facing Main Wall and a taller south facing Back Wall set at right angles. To the West of the Main Wall is the smaller Left Slab.

The Main Wall is a highly featured undercut slab that offers excellent possibilities for natural protection, a few thin slings will be useful for the multitude of spike runners available. There are also three good pegs at the top of the wall to aid belays. The Main Wall catches the sun from midday.

The Back Wall is similar but a little taller and steeper. Two metal stakes allow for easy belays.

Left slab is just the other side of the ramp which runs under Back Wall. The routes half the size of other here, but still enjoyable and have good spike belays on top.

The first Gully is immediately east of Crab Island Crag. It makes for easy DWS traverses on gentle warm summer days but at low tide any routes that might need to be developed have yet to see conditions which would make them worthwhile. The second Gully is more like a cove and 200m east of this, It contains two towers, a back wall and two side walls. Climbing here is steep and intimidating but, in spite of the diminutive stature, it packs a lot a punch . There are some good quality routes. The third gulley is 80 m east of this and contains 1 possible climb which has been bouldered by nutters. There is actually a very small 4th gulley which might yield a route or two between this and Ram's Tor.


A quicker approach for locals is from the cliff top paths from Rotherslade.

Visitors should follow the B4433 (Mumbles Road) through Mumbles to park at the very end of the road past Limeslade Bay. This is just west of the Mumbles headland (GR SS 627 872), it has a small ice cream parlour/cafe above it. Walk west along the asphalt coastal path for about 500m until it starts to climb up some concrete steps, above Rams Tor. Follow the path a further 400 m until a staggered gap in the fence is reached, a steep muddy path zig zags its way to the top of the crag. When you get to the bottom of this path Crab Island crag is on your right (West) while you can make your way to the Gulleys by going East. 2nd Gulley has a through cave on its west flank which can be used to get in and out at mid tide.

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For Crab Island crag, There is an easy way down on the western spur of the bay.

Alternatively if the tide is up, cut across the top of the south-facing Back Wall, passing two metal belay stakes and scramble down steep rock to a 40 degree slab opposite the Main Wall.n

2nd gulley routes in the niche require you to go down through the cave. For routes on the tower, scramble down a ramp on its west side and for routes on the east face you may need to scramble down the easiest line to the right to Cu ... (its about diff) . Alternatively at low tide you can walk right to the seaward end of the cove.


The routes are described from left to right.

Left Slab

To the side of the main crag is a gentle ramp, the following routes are on the west side of it.

Left Slab
  1. Scrooge - D
    Bold climbing up the left side of the slab. 10m

  2. Baban Iesu - D
    Head direct up the cracked slab. 10m

  3. Five Gold Slings - D
    Pleasant climbing past a good thread. 10m

  4. Unwanted Stuffing - S, 4b
    Get stuck into the wide crack/seam 10m

  5. Forgotten Gift - S, 4a
    Climb the arête just right of the wide crack, bouldery start. 10m

  6. Unwanted Gift - VD, 4a
    A good bouldery start, but soon loses interest. 10m

  7. Christmas Craic - HS, 4b
    A fun route that heads up the twin cracks to finish through the roof. 10m

  8. Festive Friends - VS, 5a
    Climbs the arête. A bouldery start gains the layback crack. Finish more easily. 10m

Back Wall

  1. Dream Of Tormented Ejaculation - HVS,4c
    Follow the hideous chimney, then the more open wall leftwards at the left end of the back wall. 25m

  2. Deep thought - E2,5c
    Make a few moves up the chimney to get established on the pillar below the right hand of the slab. Difficult moves to a break are followed by more difficult moves directly up the slab, easing as the climber approaches the roof. Turn the roof to the left via the bottomless white groove. Take care with the top out. 21m

  3. Suicide Groove - HVS,5b
    An obvious, usually wet, layback crack just left of the cave leads across into the corner on the right. then up the corner finishing out right below the roof. 21m

Main Wall

Rob McAllister on Stormwatch

The next five routes are undercut and start with a long step from the large boulder midway along the wall. This is now harder and bolder following a rockfall.

4. Fat Crack - VS,4b

The obvious wide crack 5m right of Suicide Groove. 18m

5. Something’s On The Wall - VS,4b

The wall right of Fat Crack. 18m

6. Romey - HS,4a

Move slightly left from the step across and head for a short vertical crack. Finish direct. 15m

7. Something’s On The Move - S

From the step, move directly up to the niche and finish direct. 15m

8. Lizetta’s Route - HS,4a

Climb the wall right of the niche. 15m

Making the step across the boulder

9. Stormwatch - HS,4b

From the ground struggle into a small cave at 4m. Climb steep cracks, the angle eases quickly. 12m

10. Unknown - S

The arête left of the first corner. 11m.

11. Where Did You Get That Girly Voice? - VS,4c

The steep left arête of the last right-angled corner. 9m

12. Oyster Bubble - VS,4b

The last right-angled corner. 9m

13. Space Oddity - VS,4c *

The obvious rising line across the face, finishing near Suicide Groove or better up pockets right of Fat Crack. A little bold at the start. 19m

14. Muttley - VS,5a

The crack in the wall right of Oyster Bubble. 9m

15. Dastardly - E1,5b

The crack in the bulge to the right of Muttley. 9m

Second Gully

To date there are three faces which have seen ascents. The through cave leads directly into a square niche in the west wall of the cove....

1. Hg - HVD
The left corner of the niche to the left of the through cave. Surprisingly amenable and good gear. 10m

2. Ti - S
Takes a central line up the blank looking steep slab on the right side of the niche. 10m

We now move to the impending East Facing wall of the obvious tower in the middle of the cove. There are two obvious caves in the middle of the face

3. Zi - HVS 5b *
Climb easily to the central (RH) cave , Move up left to a jugtastic but steep wall 10m.

4. Au - E2 5b *
A direct line up the highest part of the blank looking wall - Right of the central cave. 12m

5. David's route - HVS 5b *
Right of obvious tower (Au). Up to the small overhang/bulge and step right to finish up the steep slab. Route marked by interesting Criss-Cross pattern. E1 if you go up left from the Criss-Cross.

We now move to the cove's right wall which has a large through cave an tower. The first two routes are on the left (west facing) wall of the tower.

6. Al - HVS 5b *
Take a bouldery start from beach onto slab under a large overhang. Work up the corner to the overhang then difficult move left onto black flake. Up and left again and finish up the slab.

7. Ma - E2 5c *
Step up from a boulder onto the slab directly under the overhang. Go up and through the overhang finishing right of the conglomerate at the top.
The next routes are on the right wall of the cove

8. Fe - HS
From a boulder on the beach step up onto a nose. Step left, Take the crystal wall above to a chimney, finish up this.

9. Pb - HS *
From a boulder on the beach step up onto a nose. Follow the slab/corner to the overhang which is turned on the left.

10. Cu - VS *
To the right of the beach boulder Follow the slab to the overhang Place a cam then wonder why you were a little apprehensive as you cruise though it


Left Slab

  1. Matt Woodfield, Zeanne Thomas 16.12.2021
  2. Matt Woodfield, Zeanne Thomas 16.12.2021
  3. Zeanne Thomas, Matt Woodfield 16.12.2021
  4. Zeanne Thomas, Matt Woodfield 16.12.2021
  5. Matt Woodfield, Zeanne Thomas 16.12.2021
  6. Zeanne Thomas, Matt Woodfield 16.12.2021
  7. Zeanne Thomas, Matt Woodfield 16.12.2021
  8. Matt Woodfield, Zeanne Thomas 16.12.2021

Main Wall

1. H.Jones, D.Bowman, A.Wilson 00.00.1985
2. H. Jones, R Saxelby 00.06.1985
3. H.Jones, D.Bowman, A.Wilson 00.00.1985
4. H.Jones, D.Bowman, A.Wilson 00.00.1985
5. H.Jones, D.Bowman, A.Wilson 00.00.1985
6. H.Jones, D.Bowman, A.Wilson 00.00.1985
7. H.Jones, D.Bowman, A.Wilson 00.00.1985
8. H.Jones, D.Bowman, A.Wilson 00.00.1985
9. H.Jones, D.Bowman, A.Wilson 00.00.1985
10. Unknown
11. M.Richards 00.00.1994
12. H.Jones, D.Bowman, A.Wilson 00.00.1985
13. H.Jones, D.Bowman, A.Wilson 00.00.1985
14. H.Jones, D.Bowman, A.Wilson 00.00.1985
15. H.Jones, D.Bowman, A.Wilson 00.00.1985

Third Gully

Please note - this is very provisional - we would like to hear from you if you have done any of these routes or others in the distant past

1. Chris Wyatt,Nik Goile 20.07.2020
2. Chris Wyatt solo 2015
3. Chris Wyatt,Steve Lucoque 2015
4. Chris Wyatt,Steve Lucoque 2015
5. David Boothroyd,Chris Wyatt, 13.12.2018
6. Chris Wyatt,David Boothroyd 13.12.2018
7. Chris Wyatt, 6.9.20
7. Chris Wyatt,David Boothroyd 13.12.2018
8. Chris Wyatt,David Boothroyd 13.12.2018
9. Chris Wyatt,Nik Goile 20.07.2020