Taffs Well

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Taffs Well
( Red Rocks Quarry )
Big Taff.jpg
Rock Type Quarried Carboniferous Limestone
Climbing Style Sport/Trad
Approach Time
Area Inland Limestone
WGS-84 Location 51.536579, -3.257189
OS Grid Ref. ST 129 827
WGS-84 Parking Location
GR Parking Location
Base Elevation 89 metres (SRTM Estimation)
General Info
Faces Direction
Wind Sheltered
Climbing Type
Crags Within 10.0 km

Brittania Quarry, Castle Quarry, Coedcaerau-bach, Cox's Quarry, Cwm Leyshon Quarry, Golf Club Crag, Llanbradach Lower Tier, Llanbradach Upper Tier, Llantrisant Drugs Cliff, Secret Taffs Well, Senghenydd, Sirhowy - Quarry Mawr, Sugardaddy Gasworks, Taffs Well, Taffs Well Pinnacle, Taffs Well West, Taffs West Railway Cutting, The Darren, Trehafod, Tyn-y-coed, Wenvoe Quarry


Retro-bolting permissible with first ascensionist’s permission. Replacement of worn fixed gear on a point for point basis with bolts is permissible. New sports routes allowed. The majority of bolts are glued in staples, but the more recent ones are 10mm expansion bolts. All sport routes have lower-offs unless mentioned otherwise.


Taffs Well is a large west-facing quarried crag easily accessible from the M4 and gets the sun in the afternoon till late evening.

The rock is very weathered quarried limestone, very different to anywhere else in South Wales (except Taffs Well West Back Wall and Slabs), with some crumbly bits, crystals and flowstone and some very compact bits.

There is some seepage after prolonged rain but in general it is one of the less affected quarries in the area.

The recent cleaning and rebolting activity in 2018 has provided a popular venue, though some of the harder routes deserve and would benefit from more traffic on the lower pitches. The less frequented areas (apart from the crag classic Pine Tree) towards the left-hand side of the crag are becoming increasingly vegetated and dirty.


The crag is approximately 5 miles north of Cardiff city centre overlooking the A470 between Tongwynlais and Taff’s Well. From junction 32 of the M4 follow the A470 towards Merthyr and take the first exit. The roundabout is directly underneath the crag and there is parking in the laybay at the base of the cliff. Immediately behind the crag is the landmark of Castell Coch, clearly visible from the motorway.

For the Shield, Cowpoke Area, Sub Wall and Hocus Pocus areas, go through the gate and head immediately left to a small grassy clearing below the slabby rounded buttress of Pine Tree . For the Red Bay, follow the path left into the trees a few meters past the gate that brings you out at the foot of the Lower walls at the bottom of '‘Gwesty Cymru 7” Mix’' and below the huge red corner of Gladiator. See the individual sections for further access details.


The usual method of descent is to walk up and rightwards from the top of the cliff to meet a path leading back down to the right-hand end of the crag. The sports routes in The Red Bay have lower offs, but be aware that a 60m rope will NOT get you to the base of the crag if lowering off most of the routes above Western Traverse.

The Shield and Cowpoke Area

The most obvious feature of the left-hand area of the crag is rounded, slabby buttress forming the lowest point of the crag and climbed by ‘Pine Tree’. Above and left is a slabby wall, interlaced by vegetated ledges - the Cowpoke area, and further to the left on the far left of the crag is a huge slab - The Shield. This is reached by scrambling along a very poorly defined path from just above the start of Pine Tree.

The Shield

The Shield contains some thin slabs; most are poorly protected and you will need to clean and replace the in-situ gear before embarking upon that big lead. Access via a jungle bash up the right side of the narrow slab beneath The Shield. Two routes lie on this lower slab, they are found by following path past Pine Tree and a narrowing of the path above a vegetated pit.

The Shield Area to Pine Tree
  1. Out of the Pit- Fr. 4+
    The left hand line of bolts rising up the slab to a shared lower off. 10 m

  2. Paul's Perchant for Pretty Pussy Poses Problems for the Prudes of Pontypridd - Fr.4+
    A dying breed surely? The line of exposed eye bolts on the right hand side of the slab. 10 m

    The Routes described now lie at the left end of the narrow vegetated ledge beneath The Shield.

  3. Changes - E3, 5c
    A neglected left to right girdle. Start 3m to the left of Crimes of Fashion. Climb to the prow for 2m then step right onto the face (BR). Traverse rightwards to the hollow flake on Promises (BR) and step down to a small ledge. Continue traversing more easily past a hole until a difficult move is made to reach easier ground, beneath Thin Air. Continue across to the vegetated ledge on Nero. Finish by any route. 30m.

  4. Crimes Of Fashion - Fr. 6c+
    Reinstated but have some holds been lost in the first few metres? Start 2m right of the left edge of the slab. Make desperate moves up vertical rock to a reach the slab. Sustained climbing follows, linking a series of positive crystalline crimps. Above half height, move diagonally rightward and mantle up to a shared L.O. 24m.

  5. Promises - Fr. 7a *
    Start 3m right of Crimes of Fashion. Climb up with difficulty on tiny sharp pockets to a welcome ledge. The climbing now becomes more pleasant, following a hollow flake and big crystalline dishes. Move left at the top to the shared L.O. 24m.

  6. Spuriously Yours 24m E5 6c *
    Start 3m right of Promises behind a small hawthorn. Pull onto the wall on widely spaced pockets, then swing boldly right, BR. Trend desperately up right to better holds and a small ledge, then climb directly up the slab, TR,on good pockets, to join Promises. Move up and traverse right to lower off a tree at the left end of Catwalk ledge.

  7. Diamonds 36m E5 6a *
    Very serious. Start at the base of The Shield at two small trees, right of Spuriously Yours. Follow the groove to a sloping shelf, TR, the only runner. Continue direct to a large crystal lined pocket, move 2m left then straight up the slab on spaced holds to another crystal scoop. Climb up slightly right to ledges near the top. Exit left.

  8. The Hitachi Job 35m E5 6b *
    Start as for Diamonds/Skywalker. Climb with difficulty up the wall just right of the first part of Skywalker, 2BRs. Join Skywalker at the end of its diagonal section. Gain a ledge on the left and climb the middle of the wall between Diamonds and Skywalker, 2BRs. Finish up Diamonds from the tree covered ledge.

  9. Skywalker 36m E5 6a *
    Serious. As for Diamonds to the sloping shelf at 12m, TR. Traverse right and move up to a projecting ledge and continue right to a PR. Climb to a PR, then traverse right and continue diagonally to a smooth white slab which is climbed to a tree. Up for 3m then break right on good pockets to a PR, move up left, PR, to a shattered scoop which is followed to the top.

  10. Sir Clive Dangerous 36m E5 6a
    Start 12m right of Skywalker, below a shallow groove (Nero). Climb a bulging wall on sometimes friable holds, step left onto a slab at 12m and follow Skywalker to the top.

  11. Nero 61m VS 4b,4a
    Start at the highest tree, directly below a groove 12m left of the right edge of The Shield.
    1. 30m Climb the groove to a ledge on the right, then climb a short wall to an earthy ledge. Traverse right to two small trees, then right again to the arête of Pine Tree. Continue up to the tree belay at the top of the first pitch of Pine Tree.
    2. 31m Pine Tree, pitch 2.
  12. When In Rome 39m E2 5b
    Start as for Nero. Climb the wall right of the groove of Nero to the BB. Continue as for Cowpoke or Thin Air.

  1. Out of the Pit - Roy Thomas solo May, 2009
  2. Paul's Perchant for Pretty Pussy Poses Problems for the Prudes of Pontypridd - R.Thomas, M Jordan. May, 2009
  3. Changes - A.Sharp, P.Lewis 10.10.1979
  4. Crimes Of Fashion - A.Sharp, P.Lewis, J.Harwood 00.03.198
  5. Promises - A.Sharp, P.Lewis 14.10.1979
  6. Spuriously Yours - M.Crocker, R.Thomas 28.03.1987
  7. Diamonds - P.Littlejohn, S.Lewis 17.07.1979
  8. The Hitachi Job - M.Crocker, J.Harwood 12.07.1992
  9. Skywalker - P.Littlejohn 21.06.1979
  10. Sir Clive Dangerous - A.Sharp, C.Richards 00.00.1988
  11. Nero - K.Hughes 00.00.1960
  12. When In Rome - A.Sharp, W.Jewell 00.00.1985

Cowpoke Area

The routes frequently cross each other and some future rationalisation of lines may be sensible. They are accessed by scrambling up a groove in the left-hand side of Pine Tree’s slabby buttress to a belay at a tree near a small iron spike.

All routes finish at good trees at the top of the crag.

  1. Cowpoke 30m E1 5a,5a *
    Climb the short shallow corner above, then move up and left to an earthy ledge, possible belay. Climb up to a break just left of a small bush. Traverse left to a ledge, then climb the wall above to the top.

  2. The Hobbit 53m HVS 5a,4c
    1. 24m Climb over a small bulge just right of a short, shallow groove and continue up the slab, passing twin trees on their right to a corner. Climb this to a tree belay on the right.
    2. 30m (Move up and right to the short final wall, traverse right onto the nose and finish straight up.) Reverse Catwalk to join the top of P2 of Pine Tree, finish up this.

  3. Cowchaps 30m E2 5c
    Climb over a small bulge just right of the shallow groove of The Hobbit and continue leftwards to reach the left-hand tree on Nero. Make difficult moves up the slab above the two trees and then climb the wall first up and then leftwards to reach the PR on Flying Fresian. Finish as for that route.

    The next two routes are alternative finishes to Nero, Cowpoke and Cowchaps.

  4. Thin Air 24m HVS 5a *
    Start at the earthy ledge on P2 of Nero. Traverse left until it is possible to climb straight up, 2PRs, to the vegetated ledge on Cowpoke. Finish as for Cowpoke.

  5. Flying Friesian 21m E3 5b
    From Thin Air, climb up to reach the break and small bush as for Cowpoke, move right and climb straight up. Move up and right on loose rock to reach easier ground which is followed to the top.

  6. Catwalk 36m S
    A right to left girdle. Start from the third tree of Pine Tree P2. Step left around the obvious block to foot ledges and follow these down left. Continue the traverse along the moustache of ledges to the vegetated ledge of Cowpokeand finish up the wall above.

  7. Pine Tree 73m HVD **
    A popular climb, making a good long outing. Most people abseil from the large pine tree after Pitch 1. Start at the lowest point of the slabby buttress.

    1. 39m Climb the slabby butress to its top, traverse right then up a rightwards facing groove to a large pine tree belay.
    2. 34m Climb the wall behind the belay. Follow slabs slightly right above Sub Wall, then diagonally right to the base of a leftwards facing corner. Traverse right from the corner onto final short wall - The Nose and climb, in a fine and exposed position, to the top.
2a. From the belay step left onto the exposed rib and climb to the top. The bold top section can be avoided by a long traverse to the end of the normal pitch through a gap in the vegetation (Catwalk in reverse).

  1. Cowpoke - J.Harwood, J.Richards 11th May 1975, FFA A.Sharp, S.Lewis 00.00.1975
  2. The Hobbit - C.Hurley 1980
  3. Cowchaps - J.Harwood 20th December 1986
  4. Thin Air - C.Hurley, P.Hurley 12th November 1977
  5. Flying Friesian - S.Bartlett, H.Nicholls 26th September 1978
  6. Catwalk - College of Advanced Technology 1960
  7. Pine Tree - B.Powell 1961

Sub Wall and Hocus Pocus Area

Above and right of Pine Tree’s lower slabby buttress is Sub Wall, a vague bay accessed by a scramble though the trees up and right of the lowest point of the buttress and bounded above by the steep red wall taken by Hot Moon and Crime Minister. Further right of Sub Wall again is the shorter Hocus Pocus Wall, hidden by the trees and capped by a hanging vegetated bay.

Sub Wall

  1. Sub Wall Gully 57m S
    Start in the trees 18m up right from the slabby buttress below and to the right of Pine Tree, beneath a small tree. Up to a small tree, then follow the rising traverse line for 8m. Climb over the small bulge above and follow a groove and short wall to a broken ledge. Continue up the slabs to join P2 of Pine Tree.

  2. Rainy Day Arête 73m VS 4c,-
    Start as for Sub Wall Gully.
    1. 36m Follow Sub Wall Gully to the rising traverse, move over the bulge, step left and climb up for 8m to a short corner. From a borehole above, move right and up to a large bulge, which is turned on the left. Follow the arête until it is possible to reach a grassy ledge and PB.
    2. 36m Traverse left for 6m then climb straight up to finish as for Pine Tree.

  3. Sub Wall 70m HS,-,-, *
    A good route despite a scrappy first pitch. Start at an obvious corner 15m up to the right of Sub Wall Gully.
    1. 33m Climb the corner until it steepens and step left to ledges. Climb up passing a huge block on its left to reach the grassy ledge of Rainy Day Arête, PB.
    2. 36m Climb straight up to the impending head wall, then traverse left to join Pine Tree.

  4. Noel Way 69m VS,-,- x
    1. 33m As for Sub Wall.
    2. 36m Serious, with poor rock. Reverse the previous pitch for 13m until it is possible to reach the left-hand end of a gangway crossing the wall on the right, follow this to a final wall and pull over to ledges and a scramble to belays.

      The following two routes are on the headwall above Rainy Day Arête.

  5. Hot Moon 24m E3,4c,5c
    A serious climb up the crack in the head wall gained from P1 of Rainy Day Arête, PR. Finish to the right.

  6. Crime Minister 21m E2 4c,5b
    From P1 of Rainy day Arête, move right to the start of a crack and up it to the top of the cliff. Tree belay high up.

  1. FA Unknown 1960
  2. P.Thomas, J.Harwood AL 04.09.1979
  3. B.Powell 1961
  4. J.Noel 1960
  5. T.Penning, P.Cresswell 20.11.1983
  6. T.Penning, C.Court, P.Littlejohn, J.Harwood 10.04.1984

Hocus Pocus Wall

Recently bolted, Sub Wall has a rake of sports routes across it, which avoid the original trad routes as far as possible. The sport climbs have painted names and grades at their base. On the left is:

  1. Neural Drive - Fr. 7a
    The longest route.

  2. Refocus - Fr. 6c
    The bolted weakness.

  3. Stay Local - Fr. 6b+
    One of the better sport routes.

  4. Hand Sanitiser - Fr. 6b

  5. Shot in Arm - Fr. 6a

  6. Social Distance - Fr. 6b
    Steep and blind at the top.

  7. New Normal - Fr. 6a
    The last route on the right.

    The original trad routes can be distinguished by gaps in the bolt lines and the occasional ancient peg and tat.

  8. All Those Years Ago 12m E4 6a
    Climb a blunt rib in a short steep wall right of the start of Sub Wall. Climb a faint crack to a short bulge, TR, PR leading to a small roof. Traverse 4m right to a PB. Abseil.

  9. Hocus Pocus 21m E5 6a
    Serious. Start 3m right of All Those Years Ago, beneath the remains of a PR at 4m. Climb the short wall, PR, to small ledges above a bulge, then up to a second PR. Traverse 3m left (crossing All Those Years Ago) and move up to a sloping ledge. Climb diagonally left to a ledge, then move up right to the top, belay well back in the hanging vegetated bay.
  10. Focus 12m E3 5c *
    Start 3m right of Hocus Pocus. Climb the bulging wall to a PR at 9m, traverse 3m right to a PB. Abseil.

    The following routes follows the obvious rib starting above and left of the layby.

  11. The Rib 30m S x
    Starts just above and left of the layby. A lethal route up the arm of the buttress starting just above and right of the gate to the bottom of the hanging vegetated bay. Abseil off or finish at will, after writing your own.

  1. M.Jordan 00.00.2021
  2. M.Jordan 00.00.2021
  3. M.Jordan 00.00.2021
  4. M.Jordan 00.00.2021
  5. M.Jordan 00.00.2021
  6. M.Jordan 00.00.2021
  7. M.Jordan 00.00.2021
  8. A.Sharp, R.Powles 20.05.1988
  9. J.Harwood 11.08.1974 - FFA P.Littlejohn, A.Davies 1982
  10. P.Lewis, A.Sharp, J.Harwood 17.06.1986
  11. J.Noel 1960

The Red Bay

The Red Bay is the most popular area of the crag, containing the majority of its sports routes, all of which have recently received a facelift.

Red Bay

The Calcite Walls

The Calcite Walls contain a concentration of harder face climbs and are accessed by a path along its base. Make sure your rope is long enough, 60 m essential 70 m preferable.

The first route is the long vegetated rib at the left hand side of the crag.

  1. The Rib - Severe
    Requires cleaning before an ascent. Ab off or scramble out.

    The following three / four routes start from a BB at a ledge at 8 m. This ledge is accessed by a short and tricky Fr. 6b approach pitch located at the left-hand extremity of the path.

  2. Red Square - Fr. 6b+
    The left-most line of bolts. Climb the crack in the wall, trending initially left from the belay with two technical sections. 24 m

  3. Organised Chaos - Fr. 6c+ *
    The central line of bolts from the ledge contains fine technical climbing up the flowstone wall. Climb directly past 4BRs to a small vertical slot. Traverse left to finish at the same LO as Red Square. 21 m

  4. The Melty Man Cometh - Fr. 7a *
    The right line of bolts following the right-trending corner and wall right of Organized Chaos. 20m

  5. Ye Old Campaigner - E5, 6b
    The right trending corner and wall right of Organised Chaos. Start from the BB on the ledge shared with 'Red Square'. 40 m

    The following routes start around a tree filled left trending ramp. Swashbucklin In Brooklyn starts up a short buttress and intersects the ramp at a large beech tree, the others start at a lower level in a recess to the right of the ramp. The first bit of the routes can be a bit dirty and all the first pitches can be done in their own right although a 70 m rope will allow you to do the entire routes in one pitch.

    The short buttress just right of the entry start of "Organised etc" has two recent micro routes"

  6. Trebanog Calling Fr 6a
    Start from the ledge,avoid climbing the grubby crack use it only for the lefthand.

  7. I'm Alright Jack Fr6b
    From the R side of the ledge to a shared string on twig/ bolt belay.

  8. Swashbucklin’ In Brooklyn - Fr. 7a *
    1. Fr. 5 - Starting up the right edge of the short buttress to a tree and up the pockety flowstone above (can be dusty) to a BB. 35 m
    2. The left-hand line of bolts above the BB via a rib and a move leftwards to a steep finale. Some bolts now removed on the second pitch to accommodate 'Ye Old Campaigner'.

  9. LA Confidential - Fr. 7a+ *
    Starting just right of the rightwards facing corner, (2 bolts missing but 1 peg within slabby black flowstone area) directly up the wall to a a block overlap. Climb up then right, to black flowstone, climb this, move 1 m left and over the bulge above then left and up to finish up a rightward trending flake. B.B. 35 m

  10. Crowman - E6, 6a * [1]
    Start from the beech tree on the leftward trending ramp, intersecting with Swashbucklin' In Brooklyn. Move up and right across flowstone (L.A. Confidential) to a peg and better black flowstone. Move up to twin pegs in a smalloverlap, then step left 1 m to a thin thread in a plate concretion. Climb through the weakness in the overhand above. Various BB or Trees. 42 m.

  11. Kings of New York - Fr. 7a+ ***
    The central line of bolts from pit at the base of the recess passing right of the vegetation at 8 m. Continues up black flowstone until intersecting Crowman, where the bolts have been removed (mallion on last bolt, Fr.6b+ to here). Still has a B.B. in place. 33 m

  12. The Connecticut Connection - Fr. 7a+ ***
    Super long pitch to right starting from 'pit'. poor rock leads to two hard sections the first above a large overhang and the second above the narrower overlap. 16 clips, 35 m.

  13. Tainted Turd - Fr. 5+ *
    From the first bolt of Conneticut Connection, shuffle right then climb flakes until the roof and belay on the left at the mid height belay.

  14. Painted Bird E6 6a
    Excellent climbing in the upper section.Take the somtimes damp ivy covered crack to a possible thread belay below the upper flowstone wall.Climb this direct to a tree belay.A significant and now neglected route from the 70's.

  15. Minnesota Nice - Fr. 7a+ **
    Climb the flowstone wall some 10m left of the crest of the buttress taken by Gengis Kahn. Positive holds after a technical start to finish on grey flowstone. 30 m

  16. Minnesota Spice - Fr 7b+ **
    As per previous route ( 7a+) then a new line of bolts heading up right of previous debolted section.

  17. Melting Man - Fr. 7a+ *
    Start just left of Ghengis Kahn. A sustained pitch. The old start to Ghenghis Khan followed this route to BR 2. 30 m

  18. Ghengis Khan - Fr. 6c+ **
    The new direct start takes the centre of the red bulge at the lowest part of the wall and superb sustained wall climbing above. 30 m

  19. Taurus Bulba - Fr. 6b+ *
    Recently lost a hold above the 2nd bolt, start right (arête between bulbus tara) and move left into the vague slabby groove right of Ghengis Khan. Climb this to a hard move left onto the wall above. Step back right and finish direct.30m

  20. Bulbus Tara - Fr. 4+ *
    Climb the centre of the pillar just right of Taurus Bulbous. Keep to the left of the bolts in the upper section to avoid the overgrown easier line of No Name. 20 m

  21. Hirsuit Ulvula - Fr. 6a
    Climb the short wall to the right of BT. 15 m

First Ascents

  1. The Rib - J.Noel 00.00.1960
  2. Red Square - A.Sharp, R.Powles 07.03.1988
  3. Organised Chaos - A.Sharp, P.Lewis, A.Swann 12.03.1988
  4. The Melty Man Cometh -
  5. Ye Old Campaigner - M.Crocker, J.Harwood 12.07.1992
  6. Trebanog Calling -R.Thomas R.Phillips 2018
  7. I'm Alright Jack -R.Thomas R.Phillips 2018
  8. Swashbucklin’ In Brooklyn -G.Gibson
  9. LA Confidential -G.Gibson
  10. Crowman - P.Littlejohn, T.Penning 05.07.1983
  11. Kings of New York -
  12. The Connecticut Connection -G.Gibson
  13. Tainted Turd -
  14. Painted Bird - P.Littlejohn, T.Penning 12.07.1983
  15. Minnesota Nice -G.Gibson
  16. Minnesota Spice -Martyn Richards 2018
  17. Melting Man - M.Crocker, J.Harwood 12.07.1992
  18. Ghengis Khan - A.Sharp, P.Lewis 00.00.1985, Direct-G.Gibson 00.09.2003
  19. Taurus Bulba - G.Gibson 00.09.2003
  20. Bulbous Tara - R.Thomas 00.09.2003
  21. Hirsuit Ulvula - R.Thomas 00.09.2003

Christendom Walls

The Christendom Walls are accessed by a vegetated scramble up and Left from Gwesty Cymru to a BB above an earthy ledge (original start of Western Traverse). It is pleasant to link up the lower pitches with those above to reach to almost the top of the crag.

  1. No Name (VS 4b)
    An old route totally overgrown with brambles,ivy and sturdy trees may have moved left from this pointor started from the crag base.Climb the slab and groove to a large ledge and tree belay.
  2. Golgotha - Fr. 6a+
    Start just left from Jesus Wept stepping up onto a small ledge. A steep wall follows then rejoin Jesus Wept for its last two bolts.

  3. Jesus Wept 30m - Fr. 6c
    Tricky start just right of thin sapling then open slabby face with plenty of interest.Belay out left above easier slabby rib.

  4. Christendom 30m - Fr. 7a **
    Bolt line directly above the belay. Sustained and fingery with a delicate crux and easier climbing above.

  5. The Angel Of Mons 30m - Fr. 6c *
    The steep wall and slab right of Christendom to join Christendom at its final bolt. Difficult crux low down and sustained climbing above.

  6. Decimus Maximus - 30m - Fr. 6b *
    Right hand line of bolts, just to the left of the corner of Gladiator. The bolts were a little spaced for the grade and some vegetation sprouting from Gladiator must be contended with but nothing that you couldn't sort out for others that follow when lowering.

    The following routes start from a BB gained by a short traverse from LO of Jesus Wept

  7. Space Cowboys - Fr. F6c+ *
    Left-hand line of bolts above the BB. Short hard section low down.

  8. Heavenly - Fr. 7a
    Central line above the BB. Sustained.

  9. Celestial Being - Fr. 7b **
    The right-hand line bolt line. Sustained with technical moves low down.

    The following route starts from the BB at the top of Decimus Maximus .

  10. Maximus Extensicus 15m F6c *
    Swing right crossing the corner of Gladiator and climb the wall right of the corner.

  11. Gladiator (E3,- ,5c)
    Climbed the obvious red corner above the left-hand end of the Lower Walls. It has suffered destabilisation high up and has been superseded by the surrounding sport routes.

  12. I'm Spartacus - Fr. 7b+ **
    The black streaked wall to the right continuing from the belay of Gwesty Cymru is sustained and high in the grade.

  13. Western Traverse 45m - HS 4b started up Gladiator, aiming for the prominent ledge under the Upper Walls and abseiling down from above the Righ-Hand Walls, but still provides possible access to the routes on the Upper Walls by continuing from the LO above the routes on the left end of the Lower Walls.

First Ascents

  1. Unnamed #4 - Unknown
  2. Golgotha - R.Thomas R.Phillips 2018
  3. Jesus Wept -G.Gibson R.Thomas 2003
  4. Christendom - M.Crocker, R.Thomas 03.02.1989, G.Ashmore – Direct 26.05.2002
  5. The Angel Of Mons - G.Ashmore R.Thomas 28.05.2002
  6. Decimus Maximus - G.Gibson R.Thomas 00.08.2003
  7. Space Cowboys -G.Gibson R.Thomas 2003
  8. Heavenly -G.Gibson R.Thomas 2003
  9. Celestial Being - G.Gibson R.Thomas 2003
  10. Maximum Extensicus -G.Gibson R.Thomas 2003
  11. Gladiator - T.Penning, P.Cresswell 10.07.1983
  12. I'm Spartacus5 - G.Gibson R.Thomas 00.09.2003

Sugar bullets

  1. Western Traverse -

Upper Walls

These routes start from one of the two bolted belays along the obvious ledge of Western Traverse. The routes are generally quite difficult to on sight when not chalked with small subtle holds providing the keys to success on the more technical sections. Sugar Bullets, Stray Bullets and Scram start from the left-hand BB that is located in orange rock, under a capping overhang right of the corner of Gladiator. This BB is best approached most appropriately from below by Gwesty Cumru on the Lower Walls. Rancho La and New Day Today (and the top half of Ulrika Ka Ka) from the right-hand BB, the LO for Daggers to Wet Afternoon, and is approached most appropriately by these routes. Note that a 60m rope will NOT enable you to lower to the ground, but descent can be split on the ledge.

The Upper Walls, left hand belay niche obvious beneath the overhang
  1. Sugar Bullets 30m F7b+ **
    A brilliant route up the bulging walls right of the Gladiator corner. Step L and climb a blunt rib, avoiding the worst of the crumbly rock, to a fractured ledge. Pull up steeply onto the wall and continue via intricate moves on improving rock to faint ledge beneath a large pocket. A difficult sequence leftwards leads into the superb black wall where continuous difficulties lead to the crux bulge right at the top. Hard for the grade.

  2. Stray Bullet 25m F6c+ **
    The direct version of Sugar Bullets that is sustained at the grade. From the large pocket on SB continue directly up the steep wall past a further short difficult section direct escaping right onto the slab at the last bolt. LO above on the left.

  3. Scram 30m F7a+ **
    Make steep moves up the undercut groove, heading leftwards above via some technical moves to a faint ledge, slightly down and right of the large pocket on SB. Swing steeply up and right, then directly up, with further difficult moves to get established on the slab above (LO).

  4. New Day Today 25m F7a
    A difficult pull directly above the BB gains a vague crack and from this climb the wall slightly right.

  5. Rancho La Cha Cha Cha 25m F6c *
    Traverse rightwards for 2m. Gain a big jug, then follow a line of bolts leftwards to join New Day Today at the slab.

The route just to the right is the top section of Ulrika Ka Ka.

First Ascents

  1. G.Gibson, R.Thomas 05.06.1993
  2. FA G.Gibson 1993
  3. M.Crocker, R.Thomas 29.01.1989
  4. G.Gibson, R.Thomas 11.05.1991
  5. M.Crocker, R.Thomas 11.02.1989

Lower Walls

The following routes start from ground level. The rock is immaculate and compact, above the initial broken section it can take a while to dry out.

Topo TaffsWell LowerRight.jpg
  1. Tirpentwys Style Fr. 4+
    The slab left of Mega Mix, shares that belay.

  2. Mega Mix 21m Fr. 5
    The left hand side of the slabby buttress to a groove that has a awkward move to exit to the left. Very popular at the grade.

  3. Gwesty Cymru 7” Mix - 21m Fr. 6b **
    A delightful pitch up the slabby buttress, Harder than it looks.

  4. The Twelve Inch Version! 21m Fr. 7a
    The first bolted line just right of Gwesty Cymru.

    The following three routes share a LO, the right-hand one on the ledge of Western Traverse.

  5. Daggers 20m - Fr. 6c *
    Fine technical climbing. Approach by a slabby traverse in from The Twelve Inch Version. From the right end of the slab, make a difficult move up and left to get established in the intricate groove.

  6. Gaze Over By There 20m Fr6b+
    Start left of the wet streak on Look Over Yonder,pull onto the ramp(2 grey bolts)Up this to finish as for Daggers.

  7. Look Over Yonder 20m - Fr. 6c+ *
    The technical groove just right of Daggers approached directly up the often-wet slab (or from an extension of the initial Daggers traverse). Follow the groove to a move left at its top under a bulge. Step back right and make steep, technical moves through the bulge with easier climbing above.

  8. Wet Afternoon 20m - Fr. 7a **
    As for Look Over Yonder, but at the base of the groove, pull right and follow the flowstone up the wall to the right via some unusual moves and desperate 4th clip. Seeps and takes a long time to dry.

  9. Southern Entry II 20m - Fr. 6b *
    Fantastic technical grove (after the initial lower vegetated section is negotiated) to the right of Wet Afternoon to a BB below the right-hand end of the Western Traverse ledge. The right-hand BB of Western Traverse can be gained by one more difficult move above the LO to access the routes on the Upper Wall. The top bit immediately below the LO can seep after prolonged rain.

  10. Ulrika Ka Ka Ka 40m - Fr. 6c+ *
    The difficult groove to the right leading onto the Upper Wall right of Rancho La Cha Cha Cha. The descent can be split on the right-hand BB on Western Traverse.

Unknown climber on Mega Mix at Taffs Well Main. Photograph courtesy of Mark Salter.

First Ascents

  1. R.Thomas 2006
  2. G.Gibson 07.2003
  3. G.Griffiths 2001
  4. G.Gibson 08.2003
  5. M.Crocker, R.Thomas 22.01.1989
  6. Roy Thomas 00.05.2018
  7. M.Crocker, R.Thomas 22.01.1989.
  8. G.Gibson, R.Thomas 28.06.1992
  9. FA Unknown 2002 - Incorporates parts of Southern Entry (E1 5c), P.Watkin, C.Jones 00.00.1960, FFA P.Littlejohn, J.Harwood 04.09.1977
  10. G.Gibson 08.2003

Right-Hand Walls

The Right-Hand Walls extend up the scree slope right of the Lower Walls. It forms a prominent steep traingular shaped buttress which is crossed by diagonal strata and overhangs.

Right of the groove of Ulrika Ka Ka Ka is a rib of rock forming the left-hand side of the buttress, climbed by D’ya Hear My Dear and Good Gear, Good Cheer. The obvious central sharp groove of No Beer, No Fear is a good landmark. To the right of this groove, the overlaps at a height of 8m form the meat of the remaining routes.

Robin Tovey high up on good Gear, Good Cheer (F6b *)
  1. The Id 30m VS 4c
    Started 8m right of Southern Entry at a tree stump. Climb to a ledge at 3m, then a crack until it is possible to move right onto a sloping ledge, PR. Climb up and right onto a doubtful looking block under an overhang and then gain the ledge above, PR, possible belay. Climb the groove behind the tree and gain a ledge on the left, continue left more easily and then up to a tree just above the belay on Western Traverse. Abseil off.

  2. D’ya Hear My Dear 20m F6b *
    The front of the barrel shaped rib. L.O. to the right.

  3. Good Gear, Good Cheer 20m F6b *
    Climb the rib to the left of the prominent groove with a thin layback crack at 2/3rds height. Many staples. L.O. shared with No Beer.

  4. No Beer, No Fear 24m F6a+ *
    Start to the right of a small grassy ledge at 5m, gain this and then climb the obvious sharp groove above it.

  5. Not My Fault! 20m Fr6c+
    Follow No Beer to the ledge then crimp up the right hand wall. At half height make a technical sequence up the wall right of the groove, fully utilising the arête. L.O. to the right, shared with Foot and Mouth.

  6. Foot And Mouth - Fr.6b
    The wall right of Not My Fault through the overlap. 18 m.

  7. Id-iot - Fr.6b *
    Tricky pull through the lower bulge and a fine layback groove above. 18 m.

  8. CJD - Fr.6b *
    The wall right of Foot And Mouth through the overlap.

  9. Get Down on This - Fr.6b *
    The corner right of Foot And Mouth to a slabby bulge. Traverse right along the break to a shared L.O. on Get Thee. 10 m.

  10. Get Thee Hence - Fr.6c+
    Climb up onto a broken pillar, then climb directly up a blunt rib on "small" holds. 10 m.

  11. Matt's Ice Bucket Challenge - Fr.6b
    The short slab/crack leading to a shared L.O. with Matt's Toolbox. 9 m..

  12. Tidy as Matt's Toolbox - Fr.6c+
    The short slab right again, Shared L.O. to left. 9 m.

  13. Talk About False Gods - 7b+
    Follow one of the last few routes and climb the wall above. 24 m.

  1. M.Fairlamb, G.Ashmore 1967
  2. Gary Gibson R.Thomas 8.2003
  3. R.Thomas, N.O’Neill 01.06.2002
  4. R.Thomas, M.Learoyd 1990
  5. G.Gibson 08.2003
  6. Andy Sharp 1979
  7. R.Thomas 2003
  8. R.Thomas 00.00.2003
  9. R.Thomas 00.00.2003
  10. M.Crocker, R.Thomas 11.02.1989
  11. M.Hirst 07.2003
  12. M.Hirst 07..2003
  13. M.Crocker, R.Thomas 12.02.1989


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

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  1. The important traditional routes Crowman and Ye Olde Campaigner at Taff's Well have now been debolted. The pegs are back in Crowman, it is clean and is reclimbable as a traditional route. We've tried hard to minimise disruption to the later superimposed bolt routes as best we can. However, three bolts on the route 'right of' Crowman, at about half height, had to be removed (since they too interfered badly with Crowman); but we drilled three new holes (for 10mm anchors) just right again to enable their repositioning out of reach of Crowman. Also that bolt route would now incorporate clipping the twin peg runners on Crowman instead of a bolt. We didn't remove the bolts (belonging to other rather less intrusive bolt routes) on the starts of both YOC and Crowman since these are not crucially significant parts of the traditional routes - thus limiting the number of superimposed bolt routes debolted to two. Some further rationalisation of the legitimate bolt-lines might be desirable however. We disceetly positioned a laminated notice on the back-side of the large tree beneath Crowman confirming same to climbers setting out. This action was a joint action and was executed in line with the area's bolting policy and with the blessing of BMCHQ. Martin Crocker, Pat Littlejohn, John Harwood