Darren Fawr

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Darren Fawr
Darren Fawr
Darren Fawr
Rock Type Natural Carboniferous Limestone
Climbing Style Sport/Trad
Approach Time 30 minutes
Area Inland Limestone
Geodata
WGS-84 Location 51.78095, -3.4201791
OS Grid Ref. SO 021 100
WGS-84 Parking Location 51.770875,-3.415906
GR Parking Location SO 023 089
Parking Postcode CF48 2HP
Base Elevation 364 metres (SRTM Estimation)
General Info
Faces Direction South West
Aspect Sunny
Wind Sheltered Seldomly
Climbing Type Normal
Midge Problem Never
Seepage Quick drying
Crags Within 10.0 km

Baltic Quarry, Bridge Cliff, Cefn Coed - East, Cefn Coed - West, Cefnpennar, Dan-y-Darren Quarry, Darren Fach, Darren Fawr, Dyffryn Crawnon, Morlais Quarries, Taf Fechan, Trefil, Troedyrhiw, Twynau Gwynion Quarries, Upper Mountain Ash, Vaynor



Darren Fawr
Sport Grades
<= 6a+ 3
6b - 6c+ 23
7a - 7b 2
>= 7b+ 0


PREAMBLE

A mountain escarpment with long vertical routes on beautifully weathered limestone, which is much bigger than it looks from the valley bottom.

The cliffs suffer no seepage, with a couple of exceptions, and no midges, so it is a very reliable four-season venue.

It takes about 30 mins to walk to the crag, so a little further than most in S.E Wales, but the impressive situations more than make up for this.

The sport routes here are well protected with stainless steel staples. Lines are mainly on sheets of limestone with many sidepull and flake holds, quite dissimilar to anything else in the area.

Much maligned in the past, many of the trad routes here have not been checked, so a cautious approach is recommended at present. Consequently, trad routes have a dagger symbol in the text.

ACCESS

Pass the A470/A465 interchange northwards and follow the A470 for about 1 mile.
Access route to Darren Fawr

The crag is the clearly visible escarpment up on the right.

Take the first right, sign posted Cefn Coed, and park in a pull in on the left, by a gated track.

Follow this good track to a steel gate, pass this to another steel gate close to the hill top.

Beyond the gate is a poor track leading uphill to a style in the fenceline.

Carry straight up and bear gently left to follow an old post and wire fenceline (demarcating the golf course) shortly joining an obvious quad track leading off to the left.

Follow the quad track for about 10 mins, until close to the summit and a 1m high boulder is obvious close to you on the skyline to the right.

Then drop down left along the grassed edge of the scree slope to a steep gully; the descent gully.

DESCENTS

At the descent gully is the narrower most northerly of two gullys and does not have a fenceline above it.

There are some fixed anchors and possibly fixed ropes, a red for abseiling and white for pulling up, although these are not strictly necessary for competent scramblers when dry.

About 50m north of the descent gully is a cliff top abseil point (two staples) which lead directly (25m down) the route Down and Out in Paris and London.

It is possible, but not recommended, to access by walking either side of the crag.

Descent route to Darren Fawr

THE ROUTES

The crag is split at its centre by the steep descent gully. Routes are described to the left or right side of this gully (looking towards the cliff).

LEFT SIDE

The majority of the climbing is located left of the gully, so this is described first and as approached, from right to left.

MANNEQUINS WALL

Approx 20 metres left of the main gully is the premier wall of the cliff.

  1. Darenot - VDiff †
    Follows the corner crack system, above the ash tree, at the right side of Mannequins Wall. 20 m

    Manequins Wall


  2. Fastest Horse in Town - Fr. 6c+ *
    First line of bolts and big, butch, right trending flake at 5m. Move out rightwards from the cave above to reach big pockets.

  3. Ninja Worrier - Fr. 6c+ *
    A long low flake, leads to good technical walls and a steep finish. 20 m

  4. Dan's Dihedral - Fr. 6b+ *
    The shallow corner. Shared L.O. with Ninja warrior. 20 m

  5. Mannequins of Horror - Fr. 6c **
    Climb the front face of the wall via some tricky sidepulls. Moving left near the top to sloping hand ledge and weakness in the roof. 20 m.

  6. Depression Cherry - Fr. 6c **
    Climb into a shallow groove with quite a thin crux. Finish rightwards at the Mannequins roof. 20 m.

  7. Gladius - Fr. 6c+ *
    Start at a low arch (an easy start is available to the right). At 8 m a big rock-up leads to a long and easy corner/arête. 20 m

  8. Down and Out in Paris and London - Fr. 6c **
    An absorbing, intricate and wandering climb. Fortunately the top section has a good rest before the fun roof finish. 20 m.

  9. Daisy Chainsaw - Fr. 7a+ *
    Slab start to the triangular roof. Pass this, via a trying sequence of moves and a glory jug. Join Weaponized Funk at the easy bit and share it's lower off. 20 m.

  10. Weaponized Funk - Fr. 6b+ *
    The last bolt line on Mannequins Wall. At the 3rd bolt make a tricky step left to good holds. Step back right, rest, and enjoy the airy finale over the capping roof. 20 m.

    The crag now steps back in a series of narrow left facing corners.

  11. Oumuamua - Fr. 6b+ *
    Just left of a cave at ground level is a steep white wall. Bridge up the corner flakes to a step left to gain a pocketed crack. Move past the crack with difficulty and pass the right side of the roof to reach a pleasant head wall. 20 m.

VIBRANT WALL

Vibrant Wall


Left of a fallen ash tree is a recessed section of cliff with vegetated ledges at 3/4 height. The climbs at Vibrant Wall are short and 'punchy'.

  1. Nazi Sheep - Fr. 6a+
    Full height line approx 10 m right of Bongo Bongo Land. Two steps lead to a steepening wall with tough finishing moves. 17 m.

  2. Bongo Bongo Land - Fr. 6b
    Right side of wall, just left of stepped ramp. 12 m.

  3. Will of the People - Fr. 6b+ *
    Cruxy middle section. Shares L.O. with previous route. 12 m.

  4. Herding Cats - Fr. 6b+
    Strenuous at the two long sharp side pulls. 12 m.

  5. Pneuma - Fr. 6b *
    Start at the right arête of an open left facing corner. Thin flake to finish. 12 m.

  6. Invincible - Fr. 6c *
    The wall left of the open corner moving left at the first bolt. Shared belay with Pneuma 12 m.

  7. Dr. Finger Blaster - Fr. 6a+
    Strenuous rock up after easy start. Tip-toe leftwards to utilise the left side of a massive flake. Awkward finish. 12 m.

  8. Vibrant Thing - Fr. 6c *
    Right of the big corner crack. Follow a thin crack to a good ledge. The upper roof is tricky but on good holds. Easy finish left of ivy. 20 m.

  9. Wuthering Heights - Sev †
    Follow the central flake crack by its left wall. Avoid an overlap at 14m by a 3m traverse left to a grassy ledge, then follow a short rake easily up right to the top. 20 m.

Cat McKenna feeling Invincible - Fr. 6c


NATURAL DISASTER WALL

Past a slim tottering tower (Wuthering Heights) is a tall wall with some overhangs, a large patch of ivy and a windswept hawthorn clinging to the cliff top.

Natural Disaster Wall


James Westwood on Fear Inoculum, 6a+
  1. Landslide - E4, 6a †
    At the first continuous full height section of the crag is a PR at 3m, pass this and a TR by a shallow cave. Move up right past a TR over an overlap, TR to a small ledge. Continue up the wall, PR and finish leftwards. Belay well back. 20 m.

  2. Hearts Burst Into Fire - E4, 5c
    Bold. Start midway between Landslide and Avalanche, in a yellow niche. Climb up wall using a mono (RP), small wire up left, through thin overlap with flat holds above to a big jug (small wire). Step left and climb slab to roof (wire) and finish through roof and headwall above as for Avalanche. 20 m.

  3. Avalanche - E3, 5c †
    4 m left of Landslide is a TR at 4m. Pass this and a PR. Continue, passing the left side of an overhang, PR. Continue past another PR and TR to the top and belay well back. 25 m.

  4. The Quiet Earth - Fr. 6b+/c *
    The first line of staples with a roof stack at half height. 22 m.

  5. Rictus Grin - Fr. 6b+/c *
    Climb the sharp flake to a long vertical slot. Small sidepull holds, on a broad rib, lead to increasingly large holds and a final bucket, 6ft below the lower off. 17 m.

  6. The Intensity of Spring - Fr. 6b+ **
    Start at right side of a low strip roof. Aim for a shallow angular niche. Quickly step right to gain undercuts in the strip roof and make a long reach to a distant jug. Compact walls above. 22 m.

  7. Fear Inoculum - Fr. 6a+ *
    Climb onto a pedestal and continue up until a move right gains a short sharp groove with an overhang at its apex. After surmounting this, finish up the wall to the left of the continuation groove. 20 m.

RAINBOW WALL

Around the corner, north of Natural Disaster area, are more tall walls.

Rainbow Wall
  1. Three's the Charm - Fr. 6b+ *
    Immediately left of an ash tree at ground level is a steep flat wall. A few tenuous moves soon lead to delightful pockets and flakes, if you are worried about the tree then you are too far to the right of the line. L.O. at 1/2 height. 10 m

  2. Rainbow's End - Fr. 6b+
    Start at the right side of a low strip roof. After a crux start between bolts 2 to 3, continue up the long shallow corner above. Has a very trad feel, make of that what you will. 20 m

  3. Blue Sky Day - Fr. 6c+ **
    Starts left of the low strip
    Moonage Daydream - Fr. 6b+
    roof. Moves right from the first long layaway and left from the second to climb the centre of the headwall. 15 m.

  4. Moonage Daydream - Fr. 6b+ *
    The wall left of a sharp, 8 metre long, left facing flake. Pretty techy for the grade, with difficulties increasing with height. 15 m.

  5. Feeling Good is Good Enough - Fr. 7a **
    An excellent roof and arête. Once on the hand rail, at Moonage Daydream's 2nd bolt, it's a case of All Systems Go! Traverse in, making a big stretch left across the lip of the roof, then pounce upwards for a jug. Pull over and move left again, to join the arête and tech upwards to a rest. Climb a little higher then move back right to finish up the last two bolts of Moonage Daydream. 15 m.

RIGHT SIDE

The routes are described from left to right, as approached from the central gully.

The next climbs are on the tower on the right side of the main gully, in the centre of the cliffline.

GULLY TOWER

  1. Rock And Roll - VDif †
    The short gully wall of the tower leads to a shallow groove, just left of the front of the tower. At first appearance it seems improbable at the grade. 18 m.

  2. Thunderguts - VS †
    The magnificent corner crack in the front of the tower leads, with strenuous climbing & poor protection, to a grassy ledge 6 m below the top of the tower. Finish straight up the wall above the stance, keeping L of some very loose blocks. 20 m.

    Tower of the Serpent - Fr. 6b+
  3. Tower of the Serpent - Fr. 6b+ *
    The front face of the white tower is quite technical in its lower reaches. 15 m.

  4. Scalar - VS †
    A steep route with some unnerving rock, but in a fine position. Start at a niche just L of a hawthorn. Up the L side of the niche, then up trending slightly R for 10 m to a short flake crack level with a sapling 2 m to the L. Step L to the sapling and climb a steep layback groove finishing over large blocks, to a ledge (option to split pitch). Continue straight up the wall above, over a slight overlap. 20 m.

The wide gully, at the southern end of the cliff, about 50 m to the right, has a route either side.

  1. Joe's Triforce - S †
    The central face at the very right hand end of the crag, about ten metres left of the last gully before the outcrop becomes too short to climb on. Climb the indistinct groove for 5 metres before stepping right by a tiny sapling. Continue upwards trending left on good jugs to finish. 10 m.

  2. Picky's Sicky - S, 4a †
    The 'S' is for stupid. The tottering arête immediatley right of the last gully. Loose. 10 m

FIRST ASCENTS

Daisy Chainsaw, Fr 7a+

LEFT SIDE
Rictus Grin - Fr.6c **

Mannequins Wall

  1. Unknown - Pre-1973
  2. A.Rosier, O.Burrows - 00.05.2020
  3. R.McAllister, R.Brewer - 24.03.2019
  4. A.Rosier, R.Burrows - 00.05.2020
  5. W.Calvert, W.Gregory - 05.07.2016
  6. W.Calvert, W.Gregory - 2017
  7. A.Rosier, R.Brewer - 24.03.2019
  8. W.Calvert, W.Gregory - 2017
  9. A.Rosier, W.Calvert, R.McAllister - 09.06.2020
  10. A.Rosier, R.McAllister - 24.03.2019
  11. R.McAllister, A.Rosier - 01.09.2019

Vibrant Wall

  1. A.Rosier, R.McAllister - 24.03.2024
  2. A.Rosier, R.McAllister - 02.10.2019
  3. A.Rosier, R.McAllister- 02.10.2019
  4. A.Rosier, J.Westwood - 08.09.2019
  5. A.Rosier, J.Westwood - 08.09.2019
  6. A.Rosier, W.Calvert - 15.09.2019
  7. A.Rosier, R.McAllister- 02.10.2019
  8. W.Calvert, W.Gregory - 2017
  9. G.Stainforth, M.Danford - 04.05.1970

Natural Disaster Wall

  1. P.Donnithorne, E.Alsford - 19.09.1988
  2. W.Calvert, R. McAllister - 09.06.2020
  3. P.Donnithorne, E.Alsford - 19.09.1988
  4. R.McAllister, w.Calvert - 09.06.2020
  5. A.Rosier, N.Goile, R.Brewer, L.Jones, O.Burrows, R.McAllister - 20.10.2019
  6. A.Rosier, R.McAllister- 02.10.2019
  7. A.Rosier, R.McAllister - 01.09.2019

Rainbow Wall

  1. A.Rosier, R.Thomas - 23.03.2020
  2. A.Rosier, R.Thomas - 23.03.2020
  3. A.Rosier, O.Burrows - 00.05.2020
  4. A.Rosier, C.Wyatt - 17.08.2023
  5. A.Rosier, N.Goile - 23.09.2023

RIGHT SIDE

Gully Tower

  1. G.Stainforth, C. Heald - 14.03.1970
  2. M.Danford, G.Stainforth (alt) - 04.05.1970
  3. A.Rosier, R.McAllister - 09.06.2020
  4. J.Stainforth, G.Stainforth - 22.06.1971

Far Right

  1. J.Maddison & A. Pickavance (CUMC) - 01.02.2008
  2. A.Pickavance & J. Maddison (CUMC) - 01.02.2008

Additional Photos