Sirhowy - Quarry Mawr
|Sirhowy - Quarry Mawr|
Mawr Mawr Mawr - Fr.7a.
|Rock Type||Quarried Sandstone|
|Approach Time||5 minutes|
|Sub Area||Sandstone Eastern Valleys|
|WGS-84 Location||51.612307, -3.1502545|
|OS Grid Ref.||ST 204 910|
|WGS-84 Parking Location||51.613573, -3.1519282|
|GR Parking Location||ST 203911|
|Parking Postcode||NP11 7PU|
|Base Elevation||115 metres (SRTM Estimation)|
|Faces Direction||South West|
|Seepage||Needs a short dry spell|
|Crags Within 5.0 km.|
|6b - 6c+||31|
|7a - 7b||10|
The Rust Curtain is one of the best sandstone walls in the area. It comprises a flat, slightly overhanging face, which contains mainly crimpy and technical routes with much individual character. Several walls have also been developed recently with some slightly easier grades.
The crag faces west so gets the shade in the morning and the very last rays of sun in the evening, which lights the crag up with a warm amber glow.
Seepage is present during the winter, but from Easter to October it is generally one of the drier crags, a few of the routes can even be climbed in the rain.
Midges are annoying in the still summer evenings (not as bad as Llanbradach tho) so bring suitable clothing or mosquito repellent for comfort.
Climbing here is tolerated by the rangers of the picturesque Sirhowy Valley Country Park but the following should be noted to keep it this way:
- The gates at the main entrance close at 4:30 to 5:30pm. Please don't antagonise the rangers by leaving here at the last minute as they try to clear the car park 15 mins before closing.
- Try to be quiet during park open hours - no swearing, shouting etc.. as families use the footpaths that pass very close to the quarry.
From the south, take J28 of the M4 and follow signs for Ebbw Vale on the A467. When the roundabout is reached where the A4048 to Blackwood (Wattsville) branches, take the first exit which leads to the country park. If coming from the north, A4042 from Blackwood, either park as for Wattsville or continue to the roundabout junction with the A467.
There are 4 possible parking spots:
- At the 'pay or be fined' car park at the base of the quarry. This must be vacated in the late afternoon.
- At the Sirhowy Valley Country Park entrance, just off the Full Moon Roundabout. Walk down the asphalt road to the quarry.
- At the public car park in Wattsville. Walk northwards and down towards the base of the valley, cross a stream which leads onto the rugby pitch. Cross the rugby pitch to a large gravel car parking area. (follow directions below).
- The best spot. Take a right (coming from south) in Wattsville just before you pass over a not-so-obvious bridge that crosses a steep and narrow wooded valley. Take an immediate and sharp turn left, to pass under the bridge. Follow a single lane road to reach a large gravel covered parking spot overlooking the rugby pitch. Follow the road on foot, until you see a large farm house and take a footpath to the left. This footpath passes over a magnificent sandstone masonry river bridge and leads you directly to the quarry.
The Rust Curtain is found by walking up a few steps in the corner of the car park and following the well worn path off to the right.
Access the Western Walls by walking up the cycleway past the picnic benches and taking a well used path into the quarry just before a series of grey steel boxes in the verge. Take a right out of the log circle clearing and then a left before the Danger Quarry sign, follow this straight to the walls.
All routes have bolted lower offs.
|The Rust Curtain|
|6b - 6c+||11|
|7a - 7b||7|
Described Left to Right
THE RUST CURTAIN
The first rock encountered from the car park is a clean leaning wall, The Rust Curtain .
- King Krab - Fr. 7a
The pumpy crag traverse requires some reasonably long Q-draws and is better attempted with two ropes. Climb Gott in Himmel to stretch up and across rightwards into the break of Butcher Heinrich. Follow the break rightwards to the end of the wall. Finish up Aedan's Arête. 35 m
- The Waco Kid - Fr. 6b
The ramp at the far left of the crag. 10 m.
- Gott in Himmel - Fr. 7a
A tough start snakes anti-clockwise around the blank initial bulge to an obvious projecting hold, from here, crank up to an easier finish. 12m
- Butcher Heinrich - Fr. 7b *
The original start is becoming popular. Crank straight up into the broad orange scoop, to a good rest at the break. A big move finds a creaky flake (now inches lower than the original) and an easy finish. Lower off of Gott In Himmel. A Fr. 7a+ alternative starts up Gott in Himmel and breaks right at a flat undercut. 13 m
- Strange Little Boy - Fr. 6c+ *
An alternative finish to the routes hereabouts. The head wall, breaking out left from the crack of Strange Little Girl. Thieves have stolen the in-situ mallions and lower off krabs.
- Strange Little Girl - Fr. 6b+ **
The classic warm-up of the quarry, follow the crack. 14 m
- King Ada - Fr. 7b **
Swing rightwards on a line of finger jugs or bust a gut in the jam crack down to the right, either way hit the obvious flake. A series of good but spaced holds lead to a blank section and a triangular pocket to the right of a peg. Use the pocket creatively to hit a rounded break, or a jug above. Finish at the lower off of Strange Little Girl. 15 m
- King Ada / Strange little Girl combination - Fr. 6c **
A popular and worthwhile combination which avoids the top crux moves on King Ada. Start up King Ada and shuffle leftwards at the break to finish up Strange Little Girl. 16 m
- Skanderbeg - Fr. 7b+ **
Now direct and the hardest route at the crag. Bridge up to the double roofs (!!!), breach them and reach left to a spike. A further gruelling sequence on sidepulls thankfully leads to the break. From a pocket, squeeze the biscuit out left and reach up to a second break. Lower off to the right, shared with King Zog. An equally good Fr. 7b version shares a start with King Ada. 16 m
- King Zog - Fr. 7a+ *
Sometimes wet but usually climbable. Make a hard move to pass the roof and gain a rest. The face above isn't as blank as it appears from below so crimp up to reach a poor pocket and easier breaks. 16 m
- Face - Fr. 7b+ *
A route which has lost and regained holds over time. A very testing start leads to a ledge over the roof. From the ledge, face climbing leads to the lower off, left of the sapling. 16 m
- Mawr, Mawr, Mawr - Fr. 7a **
Classic and very pumpy climbing that saves the crux until last. Best to clip stick the first staple and traverse in from the right. 17 m
- The Crimson King - Fr. 6c+ *
A stiff and technical start leads to a rest at half height. The upper wall is currently missing the crux hold. Lower off to the left on Mawr Mawr Mawr. 16m
- Sunstone (A.K.A The Mark of Zorro) - Fr. 7a *
Make an implausible crux move to get off the deck and tricky moves thereafter. Reach the diagonal crack for a rest and finish on increasingly good holds. The chain is just to the right, which attempts to force you to finish on the final cleaned ledge above it. 14 m
- VIP Lunge - Fr. 6c *
Make a long reach from the hole, then move leftwards to a minature tower. Move back rightwards and make another long reach to the lower off. 13 m
- Hostility Suite - Fr. 6c *
Nice and not so steep. Pass the strip overhang to a delicate slab. The final break contains a not-so delicate fist jam which helps with the big stretch to the lower off. 13 m
- Aedan's Arête - Fr. 6a+
The other warm up route. Not as easy as first appearances suggest and definitely different to the rest of the wall. Arm bars and leg hooks can be employed to ease the strain. Lower off shared with Hostility Suite. Rebolted 2020.13 m
RIGHT HAND WALL
Just up and right of The Rust Curtain is a shorter wall with a large roof in its centre.
- Brucifer - Fr. 6b *
Swing up to reach a blank looking face. A perfect undercut to the right should not be missed and neither should the sandy pocket above. Remember that there are really good holds in the break above the chain. 12 m
- Take Your Pants to Heaven - Fr. 6c
Tricky crack and burly overhang. 11 m
- Open project
Steep wall to wide break.Proper cleaning of the break and contribution for the bolts fully expected.May be still an ancient mamba in situ.
- Gouge the Unknown - Fr. 6c+**
The wall beneath the right hand end of the roof harder since flake crimps broken 10 m
- Knickerless in Hell - Fr. 6b
Not the prettiest lower-off but a classic Chorro railway import that should stand the test of time. 10 m
- Holey Moses - Fr. 6a
Overcome the overhang. 9 m
- Where the Arc is It? - Fr. 6a
A good start but crumbly finish. Shares a lower off with previous the route. 9 m
- The Big Squeeze - Fr. 5+
The wall 1m R of previous to a seperate belay. 8 m.
- Temples of Cwmaman - Fr. 5
Short, gain the large block and move R to shared L.O. below tree. 5 m
- Arch of the Last Craven Ant - Fr. 5+
The last bolt line using the large horizontal flake to reach the arête of an overhanging block. (Big glue in bolts). 5 m
THE DUST CURTAIN
Through the woods, approximately 25 m right of the last route is The Dust Curtain. The first rock encountered is a short wall topped by brambles. There are two headpoint solos here which could be converted to highballs with mats. To avoid dismemberment by brambles it’s best to tow a rope and so abseil from the tree.
- Three-ball Plant - E2 5a/b
Jam the right-slanting crack whereupon a run of good holds and pockets lead to a mantel onto a ledge aided by a pull on the thoughtfully-positioned ash tree. 6 m
- Shit a Brick (layer) - E3 6b
The face right of the crack, unfortunately escapable. Starting 1.5 m right of the crack make a powerful long move and then crank high left for the left-facing side-hold. Finish with left hand in the finger-slot on Three-ball Plant. 6m
Further right, the wall increases in height and is split by a shale band, the routes here can only improve with use. A useful training venue for those preparing to visit Llyn Brianne.
- O.C. / D.C. - Fr. 6a
Good pocket pulling through the overhang. 10 m
- Shale I Compare Thee? - Fr. 5
A pocketed sandstone jug fest, which is briefly interrupted by a thought provoking shale band. Finishes at the tree. L.O. 18 m
- Play Dusty For Me - Fr. 5+
Start just left of the alarming looking rectangular block at head height, up to the mid height steps then pull over the capping roofs to a shared belay near the tree. 20 m
- Dustin Cough Man - Fr. 5+
The obvious line of the crag to the right of the block, follow the crack to the top. 20 m
- Dustin Crime - Fr. 6a+ ●●
Best not attempt this one unless you are cast from the brave and foolhardy mould. A few metres of good steep climbing above the rubble band, did have an in-situ rope to by-pass the shale but now stolen. A classic of the "anti classic" genre, character building (potentially life threatening). Due to unfavourable customer reviews the lower bolts leading to the shale band have been removed and it is decomissioned.20m
|6b - 6c+||5|
|7a - 7b||3|
- Queen Bee - Fr. 5+
The retaining groove left of the ramp, better than it used to look.
- A Poxy Queen - Fr. 6a+ *
Classic, hard move to the rail (no sneaking in from the right) then a mantle leads to glory.
- Slip Into The Queen - Fr 6b+ *
A harder start to the previous, use of the rail instead of the crimp and pocket forbidden.
- Little Queen – Fr. 5+ *
A short disjointed crack at the top of the stepped ramp. L.O. shared with the next route. 8 m
- Sheer Heart Attack – Fr. 7a+ *
A bouldery rising traverse culminating in a rockup to good crimps. Finish left. 9 m
- Deaf as a Post – Fr. 7a+ *
Start at the ramps second step. Pass the overlap via a huge reach (morpho) to gain a spike at the base of a short finger crack. From the top of the crack swing left to good holds and a L.O. shared with the previous route. Alternatively, follow a new direct finish to a L.O. shared with the next route. 10 m
- Killer Queen – Fr. 7a **
Behind the obvious monolith are good ledges and a fine layaway crack, power past this to the top. L.O. on the left. Stays dry in the rain. 10 m
- Queens of the Stone Age – Fr. 6b+ **
Halfway up the rightwards trending sloping ramp are a series of good edges, these lead to a narrow overlap. Style through the overlap and escape leftwards up a short crack. Chain L.O. 10 m
- Drag Queen – Fr. 6a+ *
Follow the rightwards trending, sloping ramp to its end. A micro groove leads to a short crack on the left. L.O. 10 m
- Raving Queen – Fr. 6b+ *
Boulder up a sharp layaway crack to meet the top of the sloping ramp. Finish as for Drag Queen. 10 m
- The Queen is Dead – Fr. 6c *
Make a blind move to a shot hole in the sloping ledge. Neat edging and undercutting soon leads to a shared L.O. on the left. The climb can be made Fr.6b by moving left and using holds on Drag Queen.10 m
- Drama Queen – Fr. 5+
The awesome crack and corner, just left of the right hand end of the wall. Chain L.O. 9 m
- Olivine - V1
The obvious sit start boulder problem on the flat green wall beneath the stepped ramp.
|6b - 6c+||7|
|7a - 7b||0|
To the right of Queen Wall and up a steep bank lies the most accessible part of Sirhowys upper tier. This area comprises a barrel shaped wall with a square cut arête on its right, this arête bounds the left side of a bay at a higher level. The bay contains several amenable slabs routes on its left and some short punchy routes on its right.
The start of the routes on the barrel shape wall are at a slightly lower level.
- Open Project
Flat wall to the left.
- Buddha's Watching - Fr. 5
The steep and 'ledgy' wall between two cracks. 15m
- Providence - Fr. 6b+
The arête (on it's right). Merges slightly with the adjacent route after the last bolt. 15m
- Psilocybic - Fr. 6c+ *
The bolted jamming crack and pocketed headwall. 15m
- Zeitgeist - E2, 5c **
By far and away the best trad route in the quarry. At the very bottom of both the technical and adjective grade. It will eat as many cams as you can throw at it, so take a full set. 15m
- Forgotten Ground - Fr. 6a
The right side of the arête, joining the next route at the high arête. L.O. 11m
- Approaching the Nadir - Fr. 6a *
A diagonal jamming crack to the right of the arête. Finishes at the high arête. L.O. 10m
- Hooker With A Penis – Fr. 6a+ *
Start up a comforting finger crack and continue up on face holds where this peters out (sling on bolt). L.O. shared with the previous route. 10m
- Lateralus – Fr. 6b *
The centre of the slab with a committing finishing move (to the right of the L.O.) to gain the clean top. 12m
- Rosetta Stoned – Fr. 6a *
The right hand side of the slab, skirting the overlap on its right. L.O. 12 m
- Stinkfist – Fr. 6a
The wide corner crack converges with the previous route at the top to share its L.O. 12 m
The right side of the bay
- Intension – Fr. 6b+
Tackles the shallow corner in the centre of the buttress direct. Reach the L.O. by pulling on the ergonomic tree. 11m
- Third Eye – Fr. 6b *
The arête formed by the left side of the deep chimney (no bridging!). A very gritstone exit. shared L.O. 11m
- The Grudge – Fr. 6c *
The cracks right of the chimney. L.O. shared with the next route. 10m
- Jambi – Fr. 6b+ *
A snaking crack, in the right side of the buttress. L.O. 10m
- Prison Sex - Fr. 5
A bolted squeeze chimney. Nice! L.O. shared with The Grudge. 10m
- The Outsider - Fr. 5
Climb the hand-crack in the slim tower, teetering over the abyss. finish as for Prison Sex. 10m
UPPER UPPER TIER
|Upper Upper Tier|
|6b - 6c+|| 8
The highest part of the quarry can be seen directly above Queen Wall. This terrace catches evening summer sun and stays pretty dry. To access, ascend the wooded bank right of Queen Wall. A series of vegetated steps lead to a clean left facing corner (probably terrifying for indoor wall climbers). Follow the in-situ ropes to reach the right side of a broken terrace. Climbs are described right to left.
- Testostorange - Fr. 6b *
The far right of the wall. Start up the corner flake and quickly break out left onto the overhanging orange face. 6 Bolts with green hangers. Twin ring L.O. 12 m.
- Pooty Tang - Fr. 6b+ *
Starts up the curving flake. The pump increases as the orange face steepens. 7 Bolts with green hangers. G.L.C. L.O. 12 m.
- Tasters Choice - Fr. 6c *
Bridge up the arch, pull through the centre of the overhang and through the shield of rock above. 8 Bolts. Chain and ring L.O. 13 m.
- Emotion Bucket - Fr. 6b
Blocky flake and crack, the difficulty increases with height, awkward. Twin ring L.O on ledge. 7 Bolts. 13 m.
- Stroh - Fr. 6b+ *
A rum starting sequence leads to sustained sandstone crimping up the steep wall. Finishes via the well cleaned groove to the left. Shared twin ring L.O on ledge. 7 Bolts. 13 m.
- Roktoberfest - Fr. 6b+
More crimping up the steep face between cracks. Joins the previous route at the last bolt. Shared twin ring L.O. 6 Bolts. 13 m.
- Sun and Air - Fr. 6b *
Diagonal crack and headwall. 6 Bolts. Chain and screwgate (don't screw) L.O. 11 m.
- The Lash - Fr. 6a *
The long diagonal crack. Good layaway start. 6 Bolts. Snapgate L.O. 11 m.
- Sodomy - Fr.6b
Shared belay with Rum.
- Rum - Fr. 6a+ *
Big flake and wide crack in the headwall. 5 Staples. L.O. 10 m.
- Senior Service Fr 5+
Boltline behind the large oak tree. L.O. 9 m.
The Rust Curtain
- King Krab - A.Rosier, W.Gregory 28.06.2008
- The Waco Kid - A.Rosier, R.McAllister 29.08.2016
- Gott in Himmel - R.Thomas, S.Coles 09.05.1996
- Butcher Heinrich - M.Crocker, R.Thomas 00.00.1989
- Strange Little Boy - A.Rosier 29.08.2016
- Strange Little Girl - R.Thomas, M.Crocker 00.00.1989
- King Ada - G.Gibson 07.04.1996
- King Ada/Strange Little Girl Combination - A.Rosier, R.Giles 04.04.2007
- Skanderbeg - M.Crocker, R.Thomas 11.06.1989, Direct - O.Burrows 15.10.2016
- King Zog - M.Crocker, R.Thomas 11.06.1989
- Face - G.Gibson 06.04.1996
- Mawr Mawr Mawr - G.Gibson 06.04.1996
- The Crimson King - G.Gibson 06.04.1996
- Sunstone - A.Rosier, R.Giles 27.07.2007
- VIP Lunge - R.Thomas, G.Gibson 06.04.1996
- Hostility Suite - R.Thomas, G.Gibson 06.04.1996
- Aedan's Arête - A.Rosier, R.Giles 24.07.2007
Right Hand Wall
- Brucifer - A.Rosier, B. Danby 14.05.2005
- Take Your Pants to Heaven - A.Rosier, D. Wiltshire 21.05.2005
- Gouge the Unknown - R.Thomas 2007
- Knickerless in Hell - R.Thomas 2007
- Holey Moses - P.Wardman, A.Rosier, R.Giles 15.05.2005
- Where the Arc Is It? - P.Wardman, A.Rosier, R.Giles 15.05.2005
- Temples of Cwmamman - A.Rosier, B. Danby 15.05.2005
- Arch of the Last Craven Ant - R.Thomas 2007
The Dust Curtain
- Three-ball Plant - Martin Crocker 27.4.2016
- Shit a Brick - Martin Crocker 27.4.2016
- OC/DC - A.Rosier, R.McAllister (Alt Ld) 17.06.2014
- Shale I Compare Thee? - A.Rosier, R.McAllister (Alt Ld) 05.09.2013
- Play Dusty for Me - R.Thomas, G. Ashmore 2013
- Dustin Coughhman - R.Thomas, G.Ashmore 2013
- Dustin Crime - R.Thomas 2014
- Queen Bee - R.Thomas, G.Ashmore - 27.09.2013
- A Poxy Queen - R.Thomas, G.Ashmore - 27.09.2013
- Slip Into the Queen - R.Thomas, Eugene Jones - 29.09.2013
- Little Queen - A.Rosier. R.McAllister - 30.06.2013
- Sheer Heart Attack - A.Rosier, R.McAllister - 10.07.2013
- Deaf as a Post - M.Crocker, R.Thomas - 00.00.1989
- Killer Queen - A.Rosier, R. Thomas - 02.07.2013
- Queens of the Stone Age - A.Rosier. R.McAllister - 25.06.2013
- Drag Queen - A.Rosier. R.McAllister - 30.06.2013
- Raving Queen - A.Rosier. R.McAllister - 30.06.2013
- The Queen is Dead - A.Rosier. R.McAllister - 30.06.2013
- Drama Queen - R. Thomas, A.Rosier. R.McAllister - 10.07.2013
- Olivine - A.Rosier 04.07.2013
- Buddha's Watching - A.Rosier. R.Heirene (Alt. Leads) 16.03.2016
- Providence - A.Rosier, O.Burrows, J.Williams (Alt. Leads) 26.05.2016
- Psilocybic - A.Rosier, O.Burrows (Alt. Leads) 10.09.2015
- Zeitgeist - A.Rosier, R.McAllister 03.09.2015
- Forgotten Ground - A.Rosier, R.McAllister (Alt. Leads) 09.07.2015
- Approaching the Nadir - A.Rosier, R.McAllister (Alt. Leads) 25.06.2015
- Hooker With a Penis - A.Rosier, R.McAllister (Alt. Leads) 25.06.2015
- Lateralus - A.Rosier, R.McAllister (Alt. Leads) 11.06.2015
- Rosetta Stoned - A.Rosier, R.McAllister (Alt. Leads) 17.06.2015
- Stinkfist - A.Rosier, R.McAllister (Alt. Leads) 30.06.2015
- Intension - A.Rosier, R.McAllister (Alt. Leads) 25.06.2015
- Third Eye - A.Rosier, R.McAllister, N. Goile (Alt. Leads) 28.06.2015
- The Grudge - A.Rosier 17.06.2015
- Jambi - A.Rosier, R.McAllister (Alt. Leads) 17.06.2015
- Prison Sex - A.Rosier, R.McAllister (Alt. Leads) 30.06.2015
- The Outsider - A.Rosier, R.McAllister (Alt. Leads) 30.06.2015
Upper Upper Tier
- Testostorange - A.Rosier, R.Thomas - 06/10/2017
- Pooty Tang - A.Rosier, R.Thomas - 06/10/2017
- Tasters Choice - A.Rosier, R.Thomas - 12/10/2017
- Emotion Bucket - A.Rosier, R.Thomas - 12/10/2017
- Stroh - A.Rosier, N.Goile - 15/10/2017
- Roktoberfest - A.Rosier, N.Goile - 15/10/2017
- Sun and Air - A.Rosier, A.J.Rosier - 01/11/2017
- The Lash - R.Thomas, A.Rosier - 20/10/2017
- Sodomy - R.Thomas, N.O'Neil - 17/11/2017
- Rum - R.Thomas, A.Rosier - 20/10/2017
- Senior Service - R.Thomas, N.O'Neil - 17/11/2017
To find your desired crag, type the name in to the Filter Markers box (top right corner of the map).