Taf Fechan

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Taf Fechan
( Taff Fechan )
Taf fechan-2560x.jpg
Rock Type Quarried Carboniferous Limestone
Climbing Style Trad
Approach Time
Area Inland Limestone
WGS-84 Location 51.784887, -3.360876
OS Grid Ref. SO 062 104
WGS-84 Parking Location
GR Parking Location
Base Elevation 373 metres (SRTM Estimation)
General Info
Faces Direction
Wind Sheltered
Climbing Type
Crags Within 10.0 km

Abertysswg, Baltic Quarry, Bargoed, Bridge Cliff, Cefn Coed - East, Cefn Coed - West, Cefnpennar, Dan-y-Darren Quarry, Darren Fach, Darren Fawr, Deri, Dyffryn Crawnon, Gimp Cliff, Llangynidr Quarry, Morlais Quarries, New Tredegar, Taf Fechan, Trefil, Troedyrhiw, Twynau Gwynion Quarries, Vaynor


No bolting.


Taf Fechan is one of several quarries situated to the South and East of Taff Fechan reservoir, 2½ miles north of Merthyr Tydfil. The rock is carboniferous limestone that has been quarried, the upper part is weathered and there is a lot of loose rock on the ledges.


From A4060/A465 roundabout at Dowlais Top take the minor exit (A4102) to Dowlais. Follow the road through Dowlais village, to a roundabout (about 1/2 mile) turning right and then take the right fork where the road splits, to pass under the A465 flyover. Follow this for 1 mile, turning right past Pant Cemetery, and passing the Pant railway station (Brecon Mountain Railway). About ½ mile on is a pull in on the left. Follow the path on the right, uphill, to pass beneath the railway line and enter the quarry.

Horses roam around the quarry base.


By abseil.


  1. Metalworks - 18m HVS,5a
    The second thin crack of the wall. Climb over overhangs and follow a thin crack above to a ledge and a tree.

  2. Take Off - 18m D
    Start 6m right of a water spout. Climb to a ledge, traverse left on loose rock past a tree to belay.

  3. Monument To Insanitary - 21m VD
    Climb a short wall to a chimney, follow this to a ledge, then climb up right and scramble to a tree belay.

  4. Anthrax - 30m VD
    Start 2m right of the chimney. Climb the wall left of a small overhang, then step right to a groove. Climb this and the steep groove above on the right, finish up loose rock to a tree belay.

  5. Thunder Crack - 30m VS,4b
    Start in the corner right of the chimney. Climb right to the foot of two cracks which join at the bottom. Follow the left-hand crack to a grass ledge, then scramble to a tree belay.

  6. Lightning Crack - 30m VS,4b
    Start right of Thunder Crack and climb the right-hand crack. Move left and scramble to a tree belay.

  7. The Godforsaken Gash - 15m E2,5c
    Start right of Lightning Crack. Climb a ramp to a ledge, follow a thin crack and pull up left to a rightward slanting crack, PR. Climb to a ledge and abseil off a tree.

    Next are four corners.

  8. Thorny Problem - 19m S
    he left-hand corner. Exit leftward.

  9. Renaissance - 18m E2,5b
    his takes the left arête of Trilogy. Climb the awkward arête to a ledge, then move up the right side of the arête to a horizontal crack. Continue up the left side of the arête. Belay at a tree on the left.

  10. Trilogy - 20m HVS,4c
    The second of the four corners. Climb to an overhang and traverse left to a tree belay.

  11. Get A Load Of This - 21m Fr 6c
    The right arête of Trilogy. Start below Trilogy, scramble up to a ledge and climb the smooth arête,drilled PR, to a small ledge, then another ledge to exit left above the final step of the arête.

  12. Eulogy - 36m VS,4b
    The third corner.

  13. Biology - 36m S
    The fourth corner.

  14. Diogenes - 23m VS,4b
    Start left of an arête with a small overhang near its base. Climb to a tree, follow the crack to a downward growing tree. Continue to a grass ledge and a short wall to a tree belay.

  15. Point Five Arête - 23m VS,4b
    Start at a short corner under a small overhang on the arête. Climb the corner, go left round the overhang then back right onto the arête. Move to one ledge then another and climb the wall on the left to a ledge. Finish up the arête.

  16. Father To Be - 23m E1,5b
    Climb a crack 3m right of the arête to a grassy ledge, traverse right and climb a short corner to a ledge and tree belay.

  17. The Rambler - 35m S
    Start at a large rectangular block (The Coffin). Climb to an overhang, step right and climb a corner to a ledge. Climb up right to a corner, follow this to grass ledges. Finish up the right wall of the corner and scramble off to a belay. A variation start, The Coffin (VS 4b), climbs to the overhang, moves left and climbs a smooth corner to a ledge. Traverse right to join the main route.

  18. Hiatus - 36m HS,4a
    Start 4m right of a large rectangular block. Climb a groove to a small triangular slab and follow it to a grassy ledge. Move left and climb a corner to exit rightward on poor rock.

  19. Detergent - 36m HS,4a
    Start 6m right of the large block. Climb a vegetated corner to ledges then left to a crack. Finish up poor rock.

  20. Prince Of Wales - 36m VS,4c
    This takes the left-hand crack in the wall right of Detergent.

  21. Nose Picker - 36m S
    The right-hand crack.

  22. Grooved Arête - 12m S
    Start right of the arête. Climb a groove to a tree.

  23. What's The Mara Boo Boo - 12m E1,5b
    Start just right of Grooved Arête. Ascend a groove, move through a small overhang to a ledge and step right to climb a crack. Move left to finish. There is a direct start at 6a taking a small groove to the main line, PR.

  24. That Was Then, This Is Now - 15m Fr 6c+
    Start 3m right of Grooved Arête. From a ledge climb a thin crack to a narrow ledge system, TR. Move up right and climb the steep wall, drilled PR. Finish rightward, BB.

  25. Spitting Distance - 15m Fr 6b
    Climb a thin crack system 3m right of That Was Then etc. to a ledge, step right and climb a thin crack to finish rightward, BB.

  26. A.N.D. - 15m VS,4c
    Climb the prominent clean corner in the centre of the cliff, right of a steep wall.

  27. Sneak Preview - 14m S
    Start 3m right of A.N.D. at a borehole. Climb a shallow corner to an overhang, step left and up the short ramp to a ledge on the right. Step left and climb a groove then left again and up to a tree.

    The next four routes are mentioned in the 1973 guide and omitted in the 1991 guide. They may or may not have fallen down (the guidebook writer could not tell).[1]

  28. Picardy - 36m HS
    The short corner 11m of A.N.D. below an overhanging block. ‘A horrifying route on massive detached blocks.’ Up the corner then left onto the overhanging block. Move up and right to belay left of a rose bush at 11m. The wide crack to the right leads to grass ledges after 17m. The final steep wall leads to a tree at the top.

  29. Legerdemain - 19m VD
    5m right of Picardy at a broken groove. Take this, then slightly right to a chimney. Walk up and across grass past a tree and a large pedestal. Belay. Take the easiest groove, which is a little to the right above a small prow of rock.

  30. Climate - 36m S
    A poor climb 7m right of Picardy. Climb the shallow groove to a grass ledge at 7m. Belay. Continue up the groove and niche, then scramble past massive blocks on the right. Follow a line just left of the poised blocks in the grooved wall.

  31. Shambles - 36m VD
    The first ascent line is a little unclear. Follow Climate for 3m, step right and move into a corner which is climbed past an overhanging block on at the top. Tree belay over on the right. Follow the short wall behind the tree, then onto the large blocks with care, scrambling up to finish.

  32. Thales - 21m HS,4a
    Supersedes Racal. The obvious corner in the right centre of the cliff, 30m right of A.N.D.

  33. Andromeda - 21m VS,4b
    The wide crack to the right of Thales.

  34. Decades Roll On - 15m E3,5c
    Start 4m right of Andromeda. Climb up and move left round a bulge. Climb the arête directly, PR, to a horizontal break and twin cracks. Move right onto the tip of the upper arête and then to a big ledge and trees.

    The cliff now becomes very broken and the routes are not recommended.

  35. Curates Egg - 21m D
    Twin cracks right of Andromeda.

  36. Rockfall - 21m S
    The steep, crack-seamed wall left of the scree.

  37. Post Script - 21m VS
    Climb the steep stepped groove in the corner of the scree.

  38. Severn Bridge - 21m HS
    Climb a cracked slab at the left end of the debris covered platform.

  39. Gardener - 18m VD
    Start at a borehole on the right of a pinnacle. Climb the groove to a grassy terrace, climb the niche and step right to a ledge and belay.

  40. Cringe - 12m VD
    Start 6m right of Gardener. Climb to a ledge, step right and climb to a tree.

  41. Nameless Crack - 15m S
    The crack in the centre of the long wall, starting at a tree.

  42. Nitwit - 15m M
    The break right of Nameless Crack.

  43. Thomas The Tank - 9m HVS,5b
    Thewall right of Nitwit. Gain the PR on the left, move right, then up to the belay ledge. Scramble off up and right.

  44. Abandonment - 12m D
    The grooved arête at the right-hand end of the long wall.

    The following climbs are found at the southern end of the quarry opposite a small railway bridge. The small cliff is obvious, a square-cut buttress starting at half-height above a corner/pillar.

  45. Locomotion - 11m E2,5b
    Ascend the pillar to a ledge. Step left and a series of committing moves will gain the top.

  46. Unknown - 10m HVS,5b
    Around left from Man Monkey is a smooth upper wall with a PR on its left side above the obvious traverse lines.

  47. Man Monkey - 11m E1,5a
    Gain the ledge as for Locomotion and climb directly to the top via the tree.

    There are two girdles of the cliff, The Big Dipper and Playtex.

  48. The Big Dipper - 116m VS
    A meandering left to right girdle of the left-hand section of the crag. Start in a bay at the far left of the quarry, at blocks left of a big roof.
    1. 14m Climb loose blocks left of the roof and walk along a ledge to a tree.
    2. 21m Go diagonally right and cross right above an isolated wall and down to a tree on the right.
    3. 21m Move right, down then right and climb a chimney. Move up and right to a wooded ledge.
    4. 15m Drop down and traverse right to a second groove, climb it then move down under a roof. Exit on the right wall to a ledge.
    5. 24m Traverse right above a wall and up to a big ledge on the right. Continue right and climb down the upper part of a corner. Step right around an edge and traverse rightward then step down to a ledge.
    6. Finish as for Eulogy.

  49. Playtex - 111m HVS,5a 1pt
    A left to right girdle. Start up Lightning Crack to an arête, step right onto a wall, traverse to a breakline at 15m. Belay as convenient. Finish as for Sneak Preview.


  1. Metalworks - A.Williams, P.Leyshon 2pt 1968[2]
    FFA Unknown Pre-1991
  2. Take Off - D.Ellis, C.Taylor 1967
  3. Monument To Insanitary - D.Ellis, J.Parry 14th May 1967
  4. Anthrax - D.Ellis, P.Leyshon 15th April 1967
  5. Thunder Crack - D.Ellis, P.Leyshon, P.Minett 13th May 1967[3]
  6. Lightning Crack - P.Watkin, D.Parsons (Alternate leads) 6th May 1967 [4]
  7. The Godforsaken Gash - M.Crocker, R.Thomas, M.Ward 31 December 1986
  8. Thorny Problem - P.Leyshon, D.Ellis (Alternate leads), M.Berry 8th April 1967
  9. Renaissance - M.Crocker, M.Ward 27 December 1986
  10. Trilogy - C.Jones, D.Parsons 1pt., 14th May 1967[5]
    FFA Unknown Pre-1991
  11. Get A Load Of This - M.Crocker, M.Ward 27 December 1986
  12. Eulogy - C.Jones, D.Parsons (Alternate leads) 23rd April 1967 [6]
  13. Biology - C.Jones, D.Parsons (alternate leads) 23rd April 1967
  14. Diogenes - D.Ellis, C.Taylor (Alternate leads) 23rd April 1967.[7]
  15. Point Five Arête - D.Parsons, C.Jones (alternate leads), P.Leyshon 2pt 1968[8]
    FFA Unknown Pre-1979
  16. Father To Be - C.Jones, D.Parsons 4pt 3rd June 1968.[9]
    FFA T.Penning, A.Sharp 15.07.1982
  17. Rambler - P.Leyshon, W.Evans, M.Shaw, A.Foss 31st March 1967. [10]
    C.Jones, D.Parsons - Variation Start (The Coffin) 1967
  18. Hiatus - C.Taylor, D.Ellis (alternate leads) 9th April 1967. [11]
  19. Detergent - D.Ellis, P.Leyshon 17th June 1967
  20. Prince Of Wales - P.Leyshon, S.Lawton 1968[12]
  21. Nose Picker - P.Leyshon, D.Ellis (alternate leads) C. Roberts 9th April 1967
  22. Grooved Arête - C.Jones, C.Taylor 12th March 1967
  23. What's The Mara Boo Boo - P.Bruten, L.Davies 1988
  24. That Was Then, This Is Now - M.Ward, M.Crocker 27 December 1986
  25. Spitting Distance - M.Ward, M.Crocker 31 December 1986
  26. A.N.D. - D.Parsons, C.Jones (alternate leads. 23rd April 1967
  27. Sneak Preview - D.Ellis, I.Lazlo 11th March 1967. Peg for aid.
  28. Picardy - P. Leyshon, W. L. Evans 19th March 1967[13]
  29. Legerdemain - D.Ellis, W.Evans 13th May 1967 [14]
  30. Climate - C. Taylor, H. Thompson (alternate leads), 19th March, 1967. Peg.
  31. Shambles - Unknown Pre-1973
  32. Thales - P.J. Mulington, D.Ellis (alternate leads),P.Leyshon 3rd June 1967
  33. Andromeda - P.Leyshon, D.Ellis 15th April 1967
  34. Decades Roll On - M.Crocker, R.Thomas 31 December 1986
  35. Curates Egg - P.Leyshon, W.Evans 12th March 1967[15]
  36. Rockfall - P.Leyshon, D.Ellis, P.Minett, W.Evans 13th May 1967
  37. Post Script - D.Ellis, M.O’Byrne 1pt 1967
    "FFA P.Leyshon, W.Evans 16th April 1967.[16]
  38. Severn Bridge - P.Leyshon, D.Ellis 17th June 1967
  39. Gardener - H.Ball, P.Leyshon 14th May 1967
  40. Cringe - P.Leyshon, P.Minett 14th May 1967
  41. Nameless Crack - Unknown Pre-1978
  42. Nitwit - P.Leyshon June, 1967
  43. Thomas The Tank - L.Davies, P.Bruten 1990
  44. Abandonment - D.Ellis 28th May, 1967
  45. Locomotion - P.Thomas, L.Davies 1989
  46. Unknown - Unknown Pre-1991
  47. Man Monkey - L.Davies, P.Thomas 1989
  48. The Big Dipper - D.Ellis, L.Ainsworth (alternate leads) 7th October 1967
  49. Playtex - C.Jones, D.Parsons, P.Leyshon 1pt 1968[17]

Additional Photos


  1. Originally climbed with a "peg for aid". Taff Fechan (1969) p.20
  2. "2 pegs for aid, 4 for protection." Taff Fechan (1969), P.22.
  3. "Two pegs for protection." Taff Fechan (1969), P.22.
  4. "One peg for protection." Taff Fechan (1969), P.22.
  5. "2 pegs. One for protection, one for aid." Taff Fechan (1969), P.22.
  6. "1 Peg aid, 1 Peg protection, Pitch 1>" Taff Fechan (1969), P.21.
  7. "A loose peg was used for aid, but the second removed it by hand, and also the block in which it was lodged, exposing a good hold." Taff Fechan (1969), P.21.
  8. "Three pegs for protection, 2 pegs for aid, on pitch 1." Taff Fechan (1969) p. 23.
  9. Four pegs for aid on Pitch 1. Almost C.Jones' last climb before birth of a daughter; and D. Parspns was about to be married. Taff Fechan (1969), P.23.
  10. "two pegs on Pitch 1 below the roof, and 1 peg on Pitch 3." Taff Fechan (1969) p. 20.
  11. "2 pegs for protection on Pitch 1, 2 pegs for aid, 1 peg for protection Pitch 2, 1 peg for aid." Taff Fechan (1969), p. 21
  12. "P. Leyshon, S.W.M.C., S.Lawton, Valkyrie Climbing Group. Pitch 1—28th April, 1968 with P. Minett, S.W.M.C. Pitch 1 and 2—12th May, 1968; completed 18th May. 1 peg protection Pitch 1; 1 peg aid, 2 protection Pitch 2. (Pitch 1, 28th April, 1 peg aid, one protection)." Taff Fechan (1969) p. 23.
  13. "Two pegs were used on Pitch one, but there us adequate protection without pegs." Taff Fechan (1969), p. 20.
  14. Taff Fechan (1969), p. 22.
  15. "3 pegs were used on Pitch 1 and 2 on pitch 2. C.Jones soloed Pitch 1 on same day." Taff Fechan (1969), p.20.
  16. Peg on Pitch 3 only, protection. Pitch 1 and Pitch 2 had been climbed by D.Ellis and M'Byrne 19th March, 1967, with a peg for direct aid on Pitch 1." Taff Fechan (1969), p.21.
  17. "C.Jones, P.Leyshon, S.W.M.C. 31st March, 7th and 21st April, 1968. 20 pegs. 1 for aid." Taff Fechan (1969), p.22.