Rams Tor Bouldering

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Most of the bouldering in this area takes place 2 hours either side of low tide. There is however the china wall area which is non tidal except on springs with a heavy sea.


Rams Tor bouldering

Tom Palfreyman in zawn 3
Tide raised breaker,

you ride into the zawn

tips curled higher than its gates then break.

The thunder echoed in the cave

proclaims your fall.

Your after-mist submerges me in rainbows

and I defy gravity.

A finger slots a pocket.

One foot smears friction in the faintest of scoops

the other strokes an inset crystal looking for grip.

My body tenses,

mind controls.

Your undertow grinds

pebble points to dust

We are noise!

Chris Wyatt 2010

This can almost be described as 'adventure' bouldering. There are loads of highball, juggy, steep problems - but a word of warning - rock quality varies. If you like slabs, one of the best slab problems on gower is found here, just west of Crab island crag. The area is also very good for tombstoning/coasteering at high tide


Drive up through Mumbles High Street and turn left at the Baptist Church. As the road nears the top of the hill take the second of three adjacent left turns and park in the road.

Walk down to Rotherslade and take the coastal path East. After 500 yards yards a path right leads to the top of Crab Island Crag. The initial bouldering is either in the bay to the west of Crab Island Crag or on its lower tier , the zawn to its east has an amazing rock bridge leading to China Wall. behind this you will find the cracking cave. The second zawn (or is it a cove) contains an excellent white wall reminiscent of the trench at Ogmore. The third zawn has a good traverse on its east side and a series of impending towers up to 8m high on its west.

Rams Tor itself is 200m to the east of this and there are a number of problems in the caves and mini zawns between the two.

Exits: If you are climbing in the second or 3rd zawn beware of the incoming tide blocking your exit. Climbing out of the 3rd zawn is effectively a severe solo. There are exits to the cliff path above china wall (but you will be scratched to pieces), at rams tor and and crab island crag.


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

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Crab Island gully

Crab island gully, rhs

This is the bouldering in the gully below crab island crag. Traverse off rightwards unless you want to solo the easy routes above...

1. 'Oyster catcher' (V3) A tricky offwidth crack

2. 'Dunlin' (V6). In the middle of the wall is an obvious fin of rock. Gain this with difficulty and continue upwards to the top

3. 'CornCrake' (V2). Goes left of the obvious bulge

4. 'Curlew' (V1). Goes right of the bulge

5. 'Avocet' (V1). The juggy pillar

6. 'Turnstone' (V0). A nice warm up on the right hand pillar

The next three climbs are located further into the gully. We will attempt to make their positions absolutely clear in the near future!

7. 'Stan Lee' (V9) Start under low roof opposite 'the crab'bloc. Come around to match sloppy crimp and fire to jug (not too sure where this is Ed).

8. 'Moby' (V10) The prow towards the back of Crab Island. Start on good undercuts in the break, then get established on the prow and hug your way to the top. Finish standing on a large ledge above the prow.

9. 'Hulk' (V6) Start sitting on bloc under Stan Lee roof. Start on sloppy crimp and pocket in roof and fire along the obvious prow to jug on lip , top out however brave you feel

China wall LHS

China Wall Left hand side

1. 'Left wall traverse' (v2) An excellent problem; From the gravel floor reach up to a hand rail and then to a satisfying finger lock in a downward facing hole. A powerful move on a low side-pull gets you to a low jug. Continue moving left to another LH side pull and then up to two positive crimps and the finish - or continue leftwards as far as you can go

2. The Rattlesnake finish

3. Climb from the back of the cave out on massive - usually damp - holds

4. A counter diagonal to problem 1. shares some of the same holds. Sit start. The rock to the left of the start is out of bounds!

China wall between the caves

China Wall between the caves

1. The right arrete of the cave

2. Via an amazing pocket hold under the roof and a crimp just under the lip, make your way to the top.

3. The knob route. We are not sure when the knob is going to fall off but it has grappled with care numerous times

Cave to Cave traverses :

4a. The traverse from the right cave to the left cave (v3), powerful moves under the roof lead to the knob. More powerful moves on the lip eventually lead to the left cave.

4b. Variation (v4) : start Right of the central cave and traverse through it. Drop down under the knob and continue left finishing on handholds under the roof to reach the left hand cave.

China wall RH Cave, pillar and slab

China Wall RH Cave, pillar and slab

1. From a sit start climb diagonally leftwards across the back of the cave to a thought provoking finish at the left of the overhang

2. The top half of this poses a psychological challenge. Climb the pillar in its entirety.

3. This is for those who are not interested in psychological challenges ( or perhaps just sensible)

4. Climb the slab

5. A traverse in start to problem 2.

The super traverse :Start of problem 5 in RH wall, , Problem 4b - cave to cave travers, Problem 1 of left hand wall. This is quite an undertaking!

China wall RH Slab

China Wall RH slab

1. From a sit start in the cave get established on the slab and trust your feet to the top

East of china wall there is an interesting slab and a cave containing Quantum Physics.

Under quantum physics area

The slab

This is a neat area with a number of worthwhile problems at low tide. There is plenty of scope for some harder problems here

1. The left arrete of the slab from a sit start under the overhang. Excellent V1+

2. Levitate up the slab.

The Overhang

3. Take the centre of the overhang. another excellent V1+ problem

Second Zawn

At the seaward sized of the second zawn there is a reverse facing scalloped wall with some excellent balancy/friction problems.

Tom Palfreyman on problem 5

Scalloped wall LHS

Scalloped Wall Left hand side

1. On the left hand side of the wall a difficult leftward traverse leads to the finish

2. The Direct Version

3. Work up carefully to the left of the obvious groove line

4. The groove itself bearing slightly rightwards at the top. Deceptively hard.

5. Make for a mono pocket high on the wall. Excellent

The wall gets a bit easier to the right of this but still holds a number of good problems


Thumb thing area

The right hand wall of the zawn (facing landwards) offers long traverses. Just as it turns into a cave you will find a steepening and a couple of nice problems

1. "FeC V4+" Start standing on a protrusion 8m right of thumb thing. From down to a hand traverse and then down again to an obvious ramp (hands). From the hole traverse horizontally to a spike left of scrap thing. More like a short sport climb than a boulder problem

2. Finger Fing V3 Sit start on slopers to reasonable holds under the overhang. From there use a sharp looking vertical finger pocket to traverse rightwards hitting the jugs of thumb thing, Go up to the large flake and touch the ceiling. Escape rightwards.

3. Thumb thing V4. sit start to left hand on awkward sloper. A long reach up and rightward leads to an interesting thumb hold. From here make your way up to jugs and a break. Traverse right and climb down to finish/

4. Scragg thing V3. Start as for finger fing. Go straight up to the flakes in the roof above via a slopey crimp

The bay of plenty

Bay of plenty

Left of thumb thing area is a nice block with a couple of good warm-ups. Further left you will find the by of plenty currently with only 2 problems

1. Diddlepop V2/3 From a sit start and a crack launch up on tiny intermediate holds. from the nose carry on up to a flake and get established on the slab.

2. Make your way up the crack

Chris Hague enjoying Rambo's revenge

Rambos area

Rambos revenge

Further left you will find the leaning block of rambos revenge. Further work is to be done on its left

1. Rambos revenge V3 From a sit start use an undercut on the right of the block to gain the obvious hole . From here, either slightly deviously and a modicum of power or with much power, make your way to the jug on the top of the block

Third Zawn

60m East of the second zawn, the third zawn cuts in like a mini stennis ford. On its west flank are three blocks approximately 8m high. It's all very highball the rock quality seems to be good.

1st block

The first block

1. Easy enough if you have courage. A positive line of handholds leads up and right towards the arête. Take these then amble to the top

2. Much harder, A long reach or a hard pull on an intermediate pocket gains a large pocket in the wall, high on the left. From there it is plain sailing

2nd block

Joe Squire on the FA of Back Bone, 2nd Block around 1993/4
Joe Squire on the FA of Back Bone, 2nd Block around 1993/4
The second block

1. "Backbone" Steep but fairly juggy. Its all over except the nerves once you get to the standing potition half way up the face. A good problem