Mountain Ash

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Mountain Ash
Rising Sap - Fr. 6a+, Photo by Daniel Bryan
Rising Sap - Fr. 6a+, Photo by Daniel Bryan
Rock Type Quarried Sandstone
Climbing Style Sport
Approach Time 15 minutes
Area Sandstone
Sub Area Sandstone Central Valleys
WGS-84 Location 51.677583, -3.364094
OS Grid Ref. ST 057 985
WGS-84 Parking Location 51.677518, -3.36791
GR Parking Location ST 055 985
Parking Postcode CF45
Base Elevation 222 metres (SRTM Estimation)
General Info
Faces Direction West
Aspect Partially Sunny
Wind Sheltered Seldomly
Climbing Type Normal
Midge Problem Moderate
Seepage Quick drying
Crags Within 5.0 km

Abercynon High Buttress, Cefnpennar, Mount Pleasant, Mount Pleasant (X2), Mountain Ash, Mountain Ash Natural Buttress, Mountain Ash West, Navigation Quarry - Cilfynydd, Penrhiwceiber Quarry, Pontygwaith Quarry, The Gap, Troedyrhiw, Tylorstown Quarry, Upper Mountain Ash, Ynysboeth, Ynysybwl Lady Windsor Quarry, Ynysybwl Upper Quarry


New sports routes allowed.


A good, popular crag that received a complete face lift in 2008.

Basically the quarry is a large, west facing, box.

The rock is mostly very good quality sandstone, which dries very quickly, apart from the routes in the main bay.

Almost all the sports routes are well equipped, although some have only a single BB at present (this is noted in the descriptions).

The left-hand section contains two fantastic orange walls and is a good sun trap in winter.

The right-hand section by contrast is shady and can be damp after heavy rain.

Between these two sections are some short walls with some easy slabs for the novice sports climber and a short terrace - the Sports For All Wall. In the very centre of the crag is a long and continuous slab which is very worthwhile.

Mountain Ash Natural Buttress Lies uphill, left of the quarry and comprises of a poor north buttress and a recently re-discovered better southern buttress some 300m to the right.

(Please stop stealing lower-off crabs from this crag).


If on foot, take the train to Mountain Ash, and leave the station onto the first road encountered. Turn left, and follow the road out of the town for about 400m to a track crossing through an old works. Go through this and continue over a footbridge. From the end of this footbridge cross the road and walk straight up to the main road (A4059). Turn right and proceed for about 400m to the last few houses in Mountain Ash. Turn left onto the estate and immediately left again, then take the first right to an obvious track leading uphill past some garages. Where the track veers off right, scramble up the bank to a path and follow this rightwards to enter the quarry.

If coming by car, simply follow the A4059, and take the first turning right after the first few houses to reach the same spot. If you pass a garage on the left you have gone too far. It is possible to park on the estate.



The routes are described from left to right (as approached).

Broken Walls

At the extreme left end of the quarry are some poor, broken walls.

  1. What’s The Arc De Triomphe For Then? - Fr. 6a
    Left of the main section of this orange wall is a section of poorer rock, guarded by vicious brambles in summer. At the extreme left is a short slab with one hard move. 9m

  2. The Old Firm - Fr.6b+ *
    Follow the centre of the rib/pillar to the right to a wide terrace. Follow the short crack above to finish. 18m

  3. Coggers Lane (John You Prick)- Fr. 6a+
    To the right is an overlap, which is climbed to the terrace. Finish up The Old Firm. 9m

  4. Beef Tasting Strawberries - S
    Unbelievably poor. The short square pillar just left of the good orange wall, climbing past an extremely poor bolt. 6m

The Orange Walls

Outspan and Ripe and Ready

The prominent orange walls and arêtes at the left hand end of the quarry are superb and a real suntrap in winter. The first three routes start on a terrace, 4m above quarry floor level.

  1. Outspan - Fr. 7a+ **
    A real quality route, which takes the left-hand line on the orange concave wall. Very fingery and committing to gain bolt No.2. Using the arête, stay on the face all the way to the lower off. 11m. Martin Crocker.

  2. Hot Cross Guns - Fr. 7b+ *
    Links Outspan with Ripe and Ready giving a more sustained route. Start as for Outspan, climb to borehole hold at 3m (clip 2nd bolt on an extended Q-draw) move right to a bolt between the two routes and join Ripe and Ready. The corner right of Ripe and Ready is Not used.Martyn Richards.

  3. Ripe And Ready - Fr. 7b+ *
    Unbelievably hard for those with a short ape index. Start just right and follow the corner (easier) or climb direct to the second BR. Either way arrive at the third BR and make an absolutely massive dyno from a poor egyptian to good holds and an easy finishing wall. 14m.Martin Crocker.

  4. Pastis On Ice - Fr. 7a+ **
    The striking arête. Start by using a sloping sidepull and mono, below the first bolt hanger (originally the arête was gained by traversing in from the right). At the top of the arête is a very long and committing move from a rattly, book-like flake. 12m.Martin Crocker.

  5. Cointreau - Fr. 7a+ **
    Start as for Pastis but move up to a wide bridge and a series of spaced pockets. 12m.Martin Crocker

  6. Choice Cut - E2, 5c
    Just right of Cointreau but starting at a higher level is a thin crack. Top out. Poor. 8m. Paul Donnithorne.

  7. Blacker Than Black - Fr. 6c+
    A boulder problem just right. Two staples and no lower off. 6m

The Short Walls

At at lower level in front of the last routes are some shorter walls.

The Short Walls. Pictured are Branch Manager to He Sawed
  1. Branch Manager - Fr. 7a
    Starting from the quarry floor is a steep wall forming the left hand side of a cleared bay. Left of the main orange section is a single bolt marking this route (use a clip stick)! 6m.Roy Thomas.

  2. Totally Stumped - Fr. 6c+
    Follow the vague scoop left of the rounded arête. 8m.Roy Thomas.

  3. Molybdenum Man - Fr. 6c *
    A splendid little problem up the aforementioned rounded arête. Deceptively hard. 8m.Martin Crocker.

  4. Ferndale Revisited - Fr. 7b *
    A horrendously technical wall, just right of the arête, which has got considerably harder since the loss of some holds. Wimping out left along the scoop near the top reduces the grade. 9m

  5. Dusk - Fr. 7a+ *
    Another short problem just left of the main corner. BB right over the sloping top. This route has become progressively harder since the first ascent as loose flakes have dropped off. 11m.Eugene Jones.

    There is now an overgrown gully, right of which are a series of amenable slabs.

  6. I Came - Fr. 6a+ *
    Right of the angle of the corner is a slab with a headwall. This route takes the left-hand side of the slab and subsequent headwall. 12m

  7. S'not Yours Fr. 5c
    Another short but worthwhile pitch with a tricky thin start.

  8. He Sawed - Fr. 5
    A short but worthwhile line up the shorter section of the slab just right. 6m

  9. Into The Valley Of Death - S, 4c
    Right again is a long continuous section of short slabs, separated from the last route by an earth-filled chimney. This route mantles awkwardly onto the right-hand arête of this chimney, then steps up and left along a natural line of ledges for 3m before finishing direct. Unprotected.6m

  10. I Conkered - Fr. 6a+
    The first bolted line to the right, 1BR. 5m.Roy Thomas.

  11. Taking The Pith - S
    A route up the slab to the right. 5m

  12. Bring Back The Birch - Fr. 4
    The slab 6m to the right, 1BR. 6m.Roy Thomas.

  13. Under The Axe - Fr. 6b+
    Just to the right is a prominent v-groove at the top of the slab. Climb the rib down and left of this past 2BRs, stepping into the v-groove at the top. BB. 9m

  14. No Barking Up This Tree - Fr. 4+
    The wall just to the right with one tricky move. 1BR, BB. 8m.Roy Thomas.

  15. A Sight For Saw Eyes - Fr. 6a+
    The wall at right angles to the main slab has a dynamic start. BRs, BB. 9m.Roy Thomas.

  16. Carpet Bombing - VS, 4c
    Just to the right is the square arête of Tragedy. This route takes the slab left of Tragedy to the small tree.9m

  17. Tragedy - E1, 5a *
    The square-cut arête to the right is unprotected and rather good. single bolt belay and tree. 9m

Central Section

The Central Section - Rising Sap takes the centre of the butress.

The routes hereabouts are also slabby but have a considerable height advantage over their neighbours.

  1. Left Edge - Fr. 6b
    Necky climbing up arête to the left of Future Holds, finishing up the blunt rib of Tragedy. Not a sports route in the classic sense and climbed 5 years prior to the following version. Both claimed routes have new bolts 2022.

  2. More Than A Feeling - Fr. 6b
    A bolted version of Left Edge, laybacking the arête right to the top. Last two bolts and lower off shared with The Future Holds.

  3. The Future Holds - Fr. 7b *
    The wall immediately right, with a tricky middle section and a horrific rockover to pass the top bolt. 11m

  4. Belgium - VS, 4c
    The loose and vegetated groove system bounding the big slab in the centre of the quarry. 27m

  5. Aphrodite's Curse Fr 6a+***
    slab right of belgium to ledge then upper slab and left arete of final groove

  6. Narcissi - E1, 5b *
    Climb Belgium for 8m, then move right to a groove in the centre of the slab, old PR. Move up left to a crack, which is followed to the upper slab. Gain the final loose v-groove from the left. 27m

  7. Fatal Reflection Fr 6a+**
    Start from the boulder just left of the low roof of Rising Sap. Take the slab and high blunt arete to a ring belay.

  8. Rising Sap - Fr. 6b+ **
    The obvious bolted slab. Pull through the roof at 3m (hard for the 6a+ recorded in rockfax and on ukc) and pad up the slab to finish up the right side of the finishing arête by a newly (2022) installed belay. 26m

  9. Weeping Stump - Fr. 5+
    To the right of Rising Sap is another long line of bolts up a slightly loose groove. 24m
    No Chips Round Here.

    50m right of Rising Sap, before the obvious Sport For All terrace is a steep shadowy wall.

  10. Attrocities - Fr.6b+
    The left arête of the wall. Make some tricky moves rightwards and up, between bolts 4 and 5, to avoid the chossy chimney. May even be worth a star with some more 'traffic'. 9m

  11. A Clip Round The Year - Fr. 7a+
    Some odd holds have ‘disappeared’ to create a harder and better proposition. The steep wall left of the corner is split by a diagonal crack low down. Climb the wall left of (but using) the crack, past 3BRs, crux. Instead of following the holds out right, pull straight up on a couple of big crumbly pockets past a poor PR to a single BB. 10m

  12. No Chips Round Here - Fr. 7b **
    Better. As for the last route, but follow the bolts out right on superb but widely spaced buckets to a BB. 17m

  13. Constantinople - Fr. 5+
    The corner, step right at sapling to a shared L.O. LOOSE.

  14. Helmet Man’s Day Off - Fr. 5a
    The left line up the slabs at right angles to No Chips. 11m

  15. Ant Frenzy - Fr. 5a
    The right line. 11m

  16. Homebase - Fr.5+
    Right again and just before the start of the Sport For All Terrace is clean slatty arête. Climb this. 25m

  17. Cymru Euro 2016 - Fr. 5a
    The shallow corner right of 'Homebase'. 11m

Sport For All Terrace

Just right is the start of Sport For All Terrace, a ledge starting 6m above the quarry floor. Rising from it is a short fingery wall.

  1. Little Polvier - Fr. 5+
    The corner bounding the left end of the terrace and the subsequent crack. 15m

  2. Slap Happy - Fr. 6c+
    The first route starting from the Sport For All Terrace. Take a thin left-trending crack past BRs to an awkward step right to the BB. 9m

  3. Sport For All - Fr. 7b+ *
    The ‘blank’ face to the right is not as blank as it at first appears, especially given the strangely jagged ‘solution’ pocket high up. Quite thin. 9m

  4. Sporting Supplement - Fr. 6a+ *
    A smart pitch up the scoop to the right, with a devious finish. 9m

  5. Sunday Sport - E3, 5c
    The thin flake to the right has a bold start, 1PR. 9m

  6. Abdominal Showman - Fr. 6b+
    The flake left of the corner. This is supposedly Fr.7c if climbed directly, but this is really too contrived. The arête to the right is the top section of the next route. 9m

Main Bay

Back down on the quarry floor, is the obvious right-angled main bay, with some long, quality routes, as well as some dross.

  1. A Certain Peace - Fr. 6b*
    Start from the quarry floor, below the arête that separates Sport For All Terrace from the Main Bay. Climb the wall under the arête, to gain the arête, which is followed to its end. Finish up a short crack to a shared B.B. 14m

  2. Misadventure - Fr. 7a **
    The superb wall to the right of the arête, is climbed awkwardly to the B.B. 14m

  3. Mountin' Ass-Crack - Fr. 6b+
    The vertical crack, culminating in a tight fist insertion. Shared B.B. 14m

  4. A Far Cry From Squamish - E4, 5c *
    The well cleaned diagonal crack, best started from the left of the cave. 15m

  5. The Theory And Practice Of Glue Sniffing - Fr. 6c+
    Follow Jetlagged for 5m, then swing left below the ledge to gain an arête. Slap up the blunt arête to gain a ledge and slim corner, then follow the slim corner and continuation flake to the top. A direct start over the roof apex of the grubby cave formerly inhabited with a struggling beech was added in the last century. 17m

  6. Jet Lagged - Fr. 6c
    A bouldery crux section up the wall left of the main corner, gives access to a large resting ledge. Finish easily up the wall above. 17m

  7. Sennapod Corner - HVS, 5a
    The big right-angled corner crack is a bridging exercise with no specialist crack climbing techniques required. Step left at the top to avoid poor rock. Eats Friends 1.5 to 2.5. 21m
    Main Bay right hand slabs.

    The slabs are the last feature in the quarry and contain some fine routes. However, they do get mossy and it is best to abseil in (easily arranged) and give them a scrub with a large wire brush.

  8. Whiter Than White Wall - Fr. 7a+ *
    The wall right of the corner has one very hard move (a dyno) that is much easier for the tall. 18m

  9. A Load Of Rubbish - E2, 5b
    The series of cracks right of Whiter Than White Wall, PRs. Better than it looks. 20m

  10. Valleys Initiative - Fr. 7a **
    The best route up this wall. Follow a line of pockets and coal breaks to a hard finishing section. Difficult to on-sight and the 2nd staple is 'way' left. 20m

  11. Ain’t As Effical - E3, 5c
    The crack to the right. Not as stable as it looks. A couple of PRs might be handy! 20m

  12. Grave Concern - Fr. 6a+
    The wall to the right of the crack. 18m

  13. Final Plot - Fr. 6a+
    The wall right again. 18m

    Right of a fault line are two further routes.

  14. Parabola - Fr. 6a+ *
    A clean and well bolted slab with capping roof. Finish left of the twin trees. Abseil from the tree or top out. 18m.

  15. The Entrepreneur - HVS, 5a
    Climb the left trending ramp and wall. PR, tree runner. Abseil from the tree. 18m

Additional Photos


To find your desired crag, type the name in to the Filter Markers box (top right corner of the map).

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Broken Walls

  1. J.Williams 00.00.1992
  2. C.Evans 00.00.1992
  3. C.Evans, P.Green 00.00.1992
  4. A.Jenkins 00.00.1992

The Orange Walls

  1. M.Crocker, R.Thomas 25.09.1988
  2. M. Richards and A Sharp 14.04.2009
  3. M.Crocker, R.Thomas 27.10.1988
  4. M.Crocker, R.Thomas 25.09.1988 (Direct) E.Travers-Jones 23.05.1995
  5. M.Crocker, J.Harwood 17.04.1994
  6. P.Donnithorne, A Price 07.11.1988
  7. M.Crocker, J.Harwood 17.04.1994

The Short Walls

  1. R.Thomas 31.03.1996
  2. R.Thomas 21.03.1995
  3. M.Crocker, R.Thomas 27.10.1988
  4. A.Sharp, P.Lewis 22.04.1989
  5. E.Travers-Jones 21.03.1995
  6. R.Thomas 22.03.1995
  7. R.Thomas 22.03.1995
  8. G.Ashmore 26.03.1995
  9. R.Thomas 22.03.1995
  10. R.Thomas 22.03.1995
  11. R.Thomas 22.03.1995
  12. R.Thomas 22.03.1995
  13. R.Thomas, P.Donnithorne 23.03.1995
  14. R.Thomas, Paul Donnithorne 23.03.1995
  15. Llantrisant Deal Team 00.00.1995
  16. M.Crocker, M.Learoyd, R.Thomas, P.Lewis 09.10.1988
  17. S.Rawlinson 25.09.09
  18. A.Rosier 17.07.2014
  19. M.Crocker 16.10.1988

Central Section

  1. M.Capron, G.Lewis 00.00.1987
  2. G.Lewis, J.Boyle 00.00.1987
  3. R.Thomas 00.00.1995
  4. R.Thomas, N.Goile, G.Tucker, A.Rosier 03.08.2008
  5. A.Rosier, R.McAllister 09.07.2014
  6. A.Sharp, P.Lewis 03.03.1991
  7. G.Ashmore 12.07.1995
  8. G.Lewis 00.00.2016
  9. M.Hirst 13.07.1995
  10. M.Hirst 13.07.1995
  11. G.Lewis, G.Barker 00.00.1989
  12. G.Lewis, L.Elgar 00.00.2016

Sport For All Terrace

  1. G.Lewis, A.Keward 00.00.1989
  2. A.Sharp, P.Lewis 11.04.1991
  3. A.Sharp, P.Lewis 31.03.1991
  4. P.Lewis, A.Sharp 13.04.1991
  5. A.Sharp, P.Lewis16.04.1991
  6. A.Sharp, P.Lewis 13.04.1991

Main Bay

  1. R.Thomas, M.Crocker 27.10.1988
  2. R.Thomas 12.07.1995
  3. A.Rosier 15.07.2014
  4. M.Crocker 22.07.1990
  5. G.Ashmore 12.07.1995 (direct start Paul Hadley R.Thomas 1998)
  6. M.Crocker 22.07.1990
  7. P.Thomas 00.00.1970
  8. M.Crocker, M.Ward 21.05.1988
  9. A.Richardson, A.American 00.00.1984
  10. A.Sharp, J.Harwood 04.10.1991
  11. M.Crocker, M.Ward, G.Jenkin 21.05.1988
  12. R.Thomas, E.Rees 00.00.1998
  13. R.Thomas, E.Rees 00.00.1998
  14. A.Rosier, N.Goile 04.07.2015
  15. M.Ward, M.Crocker, G.Jenkin 21.05.1988