Taffs Well West

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Taffs Well West
North wall.jpg
Rock Type Quarried Carboniferous Limestone
Climbing Style Sport
Approach Time 10 minutes
Area Inland Limestone
WGS-84 Location 51.537797, -3.267939
OS Grid Ref. ST 121 828
WGS-84 Parking Location 51.539204, -3.268632
GR Parking Location ST 121 830
Parking Postcode CF15 9HD
Base Elevation 65 metres (Other)
General Info
Faces Direction South East
Aspect Rarely Sunny
Wind Sheltered Always
Climbing Type Normal
Midge Problem Mild
Seepage Needs a short dry spell
Crags Within 10.0 km

Brittania Quarry, Castle Quarry, Coedcaerau-bach, Cox's Quarry, Cwm Leyshon Quarry, Glynfach, Golf Club Crag, Llanbradach Lower Tier, Llanbradach Upper Tier, Llantrisant Drugs Cliff, Porth, 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, Ynyshir Quarry

RAD Notice/Restriction Taffs Well West@BMC RAD

Taffs Well West
Sport Grades
<= 6a+ 18
6b - 6c+ 11
7a - 7b 17
>= 7b+ 2


"Climbers have been heavily using this crag (especially during lockdown) with no issues. If approached by Cemtex Staff, please comply with their request if asked to leave and get in touch with your local access rep. Thanks."

Ellfyn Jones BMC Access & Conservation Officer (Wales) (see https://www.thebmc.co.uk/modules/rad/view.aspx?id=937 )


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.
Gareth Tucker on Sink or Swim


Taffs Well West is an easily accessible sports climbing area, only 2 minutes drive from the M4. Climbing here has been going on here since at least 1900. [1]

The Outer Pit is the first wall encountered. There are some easier climbs here but due to the enclosed and shady nature of this section of crag it does require a drying out period.

The North Wall is the best limestone wall in the area. It is well equipped and has climbing of a very unusual and strangely satisfying nature. It can seep, but otherwise it stays dry in the rain.

The Pinnacle is the short triangular wall of solid honeycombed limestone lying just outside of the main quarry. Very unusual. [1] If this is your bag then the rest of the pinnacle will offer similar stuff from an easily set up top-rope. See also, Oldest Routes in SE Wales.

Diamond Wall is a good wall of compact rock providing a few climbs at the harder end of the spectrum.

The Back Wall is an impressive sheet of vertical limestone. Most of the routes are now re-bolted and are accessible from the bottom of the crag. The routes have had few ascents so the grades are a little speculative.

The Slabs, in contrast to the main crag are very open, providing some thin (and sometimes scabby) slab climbing.


Map Of Gower and SE Wales

From the J32 of the M4 turn onto the A470 in the direction of Merthyr Tydfil. Take the first turnoff (Radyr/Taff’s Well) to reach the roundabout below the main Taff’s Well crag. Turn left to Radyr, then right at the next roundabout. Just over ½ mile along this road is a blocked off quarry track on the left, just where the road starts to rise. Park sensibly in a small residential road, Heol Bery, on the right.

The map at the bottom of the page illustrates the way to the crag from the parking bay.

Opposite Heol Berry, take the signed footpath to the right of the blocked off quarry track. Follow this rightwards uphill, for 100m, to a T-junction at a much wider track. Turn sharp left here, and continue for a further 100m to the quarry. Turn immediately right to access The Outer Pit and The North Wall. Diamond Wall is best accessed by following the path a little further, to The Pinnacle and dropping down in to the quarry. To access the routes on The Back Wall climb up the low angle slabs on the right side of Diamond Wall or on the Left Side of The North Wall.

To reach The Slabs, from the main quarry, continue up the same track for a further 150m to reach a grassed over spoil heap. The slabs are obvious on the right. Unfortunately there is a swamp occupying the path so a better access route is from the parking area. From the parking area take the blocked off road to the left of the footpath (through the boulders). Follow this until the old railway bridge piers (which once spanned the valley) are directly down to your left, from here strike uphill generally trending rightwards until at The Slabs.


All recently re-bolted routes (those with shiny 10 mm stainless expansions)have new lower offs.


The Outer Pit

Sink or Swim - Fr.7a+

This gloomy area is separated from the North Wall by a slabby and vegetated rib to the far left. Routes are described from right to left, as you enter the right hand side of the quarry.

  1. Industrial Salvage - Fr. 5+
    Short mossy slab.

  2. Sustainable Development - Fr. 5+
    On the right side of the crag are some shiny new bolts leading up to the pocketed headwall. 15m

  3. Landfill Tax - Fr. 6a
    Same Lower-off as Sustainable Development.

  4. Knacker’s Yard - Fr. 6a
    The wall to the right of Rag and Bone with a new lowered lower off. 15m

  5. Wreckers Ball - Fr.6a
    Line of twizzles finishing on top of large block. Lower off a bolt on upper wall of Knackers(5+) or continue to its belay( 6a).

  6. Rag And Bone - Fr. 6b+ *
    The wall to the right of Any Old Iron. 15m

  7. Any Old Iron - Fr. 6c
    Take a direct line up the slabby lower wall to a good break, take the headwall directly. 15m

  8. Full Metal Jacket - Fr.6a
    Slabby route geared with 6mm Twizzle bolts.

  9. Tinkers Dog - Fr. 6a
    New route, still a bit fragile in its centre.

  10. Faster! Pussycat - Fr. 5+
    Start at the tree-stup, climb to ledge then scrammble up to a pocketed leaning wall. Lower-off above dusty ledge near top. Still a little dusty.

  11. Honeybucket Supreme - Fr. 5
    A gentlemans route suitable for unwinding after an afternoon at the sword fencing club. Line of 16mm Uber-Bolts immediately right of the vegetation. Still a little dusty.

  12. Affluenza - Fr. 5+
    The rib located between the outer-pit and north wall. Start on slab, up the rib and traverse right to lower-off above ledge.

  13. Clart's Free Dragon Taxi Ride to Visit Nan Hussein - Fr. 5
    Start at Any Old Iron climb the obvious diagonal up and left clipping everyone elses bolts(yipee)to the ring belay of Adam Hussein's Nan.

The North Wall

North Wall Topo. Photograph: Alan Rosier.

The north wall is the bright clean wall - the best in the quarry - just to the left of 'The Outer Pit'. It contains the highest concentration of good, technical 7a to 7b routes in the area

The climbing is unusual for limestone, being insecure but with powerful cruxes involving undercuts (somewhat like Dinas Rock Roadside Crags).

The routes are described from right to left (as you enter the quarry from 'The Outer Pit').

  1. Adam Hussein's Nan - Fr. 6b
    The white wall right of Bitter End gained easily from the mossy slab. Pull out of this with difficulty to gain the rib and lower off right of the sawn tree.

  2. Bitter End - Fr. 6c
    Starts up the cleaned slab to the right side of the hollow flake. Above the flake, traverse right a little past a shallow groove, then move up the slab on hidden holds. Lower off to the left, shared with All's Well. 15 m

    Rob McAllister Climbing Norman Normal Photograph: Alan Rosier.
  3. All’s Well - Fr. 6b *
    Start just right of the diagonal crack of Taffy Duck. Climb the cleaned slab to an obvious overlap at 9 m, pull out right, and up into a shallow groove to gain a ledge. A high reach rightwards leads to a lower off, to the left. 15m

    An alternative finish to All's Well is Give It Some Wellie - Fr.6c, which takes the hanging groove coming left out of All's Well at half height and finishing up the slab of Norman Normal.

  4. Taffy Duck - Fr. 6c
    Start as for Norman Normal to meet a diagonal rising crack. Climb the crack, to gain the lower off on Scream for Cream. Not bolted specifically for the traverse, however just enough are in arms reach, although it may not feel like it at the end! 18m

  5. Norman Normal - Fr. 7a *
    Probably worth a star for its unparalleled knee bar potential. Start 4m left of where the diagonal crack meets the ground. Pass the crack and up the centre of a barrel shaped rib. Climb directly through two overlaps, the upper and larger of which has a prominent hold on the lip. Once past the overlaps, trend rightwards to the BB. 17m

  6. Give it Some belly - Fr. 7b
    Through the red patch and a very hard boulder problem through the high bulge. Some think this is harder than 7b.

  7. Security Plus - Fr. 7b *
    Powerful, well protected climbing, giving the hardest route on this wall. Start at the lowest point of the wall under a shelf at 2m. Gain the shelf and a quarry spike, then proceed up the wall to good undercuts. A very powerful move to more undercuts leads to a shakeout. A final difficult move leads to the lower off. New bolts july 2022 18m

  8. Sink Or Swim - Fr. 7a+ **
    The wall left of Security Plus. A very good and generally consistent route with a bit of a sting in its tail. Shares a lower off with Trailblazer. 18m

  9. Trailblazer - Fr. 7b **
    From the rattly undercuts move right onto the slab and up to two shot holes. Move back left a little to snatch a layaway and stand up positively to reach the break on Taffy Duck. Passing the last bolt requires some ingenuity. Step right to the BB. 16m

    Stefan Doerr onsighting GLC. Photograph: Alan Rosier.
  10. G.L.C. - Safeasf*ck! - Fr. 7b **
    From the inset corner, trend rightwards through the overlaps. Once on the slab, grapple with shotholes then cut back left via a tricky rockover to gain bolt No 4. Easier but insecure climbing leads to a reassuringly juggy finish past the last bolt. Goldie Looking Chain lower off. 16m

  11. Scream For Cream - Fr. 7a+ *
    Climb to the overlap, either move directly through this on powerful undercuts or traverse delicately rightwards and up. A rest and juggy climbing leads to a tricky exit and a hard to reach lower off to the left. 15m

  12. Ice Cream Sunday - Fr. 7b *
    Blind and hard start leads to a desperate move through an overlapping bulge. Once established on the slab, move up to a big stretch for a prominent flake. Finish slightly left to the BB. 13m

  13. The Creaming Dream - Fr. 6c
    The slabby left-hand end of the wall. 12m

  14. Squeeze for Cream - Fr. 5+
    Follow the pale streak left of Creaming Dream.

The next bolted line, branching leftwards from Squeeze for Cream is the access pitch to Digitorum Brevis.

The Back Wall

The Back Wall

Most of the sport routes have been re-bolted 2010,the remaining few are being resurrected 2022 if sufficient funds can be raised. There is also new access pitch to the base of Digitorum Brevis, starting at the upper (left hand side) of North Wall.

  1. Crooked Little Pinky - Fr. 6b+
    Romp up the pink flakes and crystal buckets traversing right near the top to join the belay of Raindogs. 25 m

  2. Raindogs - Fr. 7a
    Use the fixed rope to gain the belay ledge. Directly up wall on flakes and side pulls. A tough move onto a large flake is followed by easier climbing on quartz pockets to reach the lower off. Be careful of loose rock near the top. 16 m

  3. The Quartz Bicycle - Fr. 7a
    Climb to the prominent undercut flake a few metres left of its right-hand and pull onto the wall above. Technical moves lead straight up to a large quartz hole. Follow the left hand row of twizzles to the two hanger belay shared with Party Animal. Access up the fixed rope at far left of wall and traversing right on ledge. 16m

  4. Party Animal - Fr. 7a+
    A route hijacked by later additions. From the belay shared with You Never Can Tell etc. gain the rib and pockets then follow the more spaced pockets left to gain the crystal ball niche. Follow the right hand line of glued twizzles to gain the shared (Quartz Bicycle) belay (2 hangers). Note, You Never Can Tell climbs straight up to its own belay of twizzles where this route traverses left. 18m

  5. You Never Can Tell - Fr. 7a
    A fine wall pitch. Start just right of The Quartz Bicycle, staple belay on ledge can be shared for both, move up the shattered flake to gain a rib. Press on via a trio of good pockets, to reach good holds above, continue up the wall to a seperate belay. Rebolted but not recleaned. This route has a newly rebolted lower pitch which could be a useful way of gaining the routes on the upper wall at 6a.18m

  6. Palm Springs - Fr. 7b+
    Start below a short ramp. Climb up pockets, TR, until a hard move gains the ramp, BR. Palm up the ramp to good finger jugs in the bulge, etc. Fingery. 18m

  7. A Million Destinies - Fr. 7b
    Rebolted line left of Stay Hungry crack.Belay lowered to old last bolt to avoid hollow rock and fortified with a ring bolt and staple.12/08/2022.Upper part now brushed to an acceptable standard,easier lower section mossy.29.69m

  8. Stay Hungry - Fr. 7a+
    The crack now regeared with twizzles left of Digitorum Brevis. An easy (not yet cleaned) access pitch leads to a double twizzle belay below the crack. Can be done as one pitch.29.69m

  9. Digitorum Brevis - Fr. 7b+/7c
    A great wall climb, high in the grade. An access pitch has now been bolted up the easy-angled slabs. Swing up and left to crystalline pockets, then climb the smooth wall, via a weird pocket, to reach a bucket at an undercut. Pull straight up onto the wall above, then continue directly until moves left past a sapling lead to a new lower off. Cleaned and rebolted 2010 so some re cleaning probably required. 30m.

The Pinnacle

Taffs Well Matterhorn
Moving outside the quarry and back in from the south, at a higher level lies a pocketed pinnacle. On this pinnacle (named originally as the “Taffs Well Matterhorn”), are recorded possibly the oldest three routes in S. Wales. Only for South Arête do we have the best evidence of the route's location; i.e. a photograph of its first ascent in 1900![1] Only one of the 1900 era routes is recorded here. See also: Oldest Routes in SE Wales
  1. Clair de lune - Fr. 6a
    A short route up the pocketed face of the pinnacle

  2. Mare Tranquilis - Fr. 5
    A short route to the right of the pocketed wall. Same lower-off.

  3. South East Wall (of the Pinnacle) - Fr. 3
    Seemingly a new route on the opposite side to the 5a and 6a. A bit loose in places. x2 bolts lead to two-bolt lower off..

  4. South Arête - ?
    Climbed in 1900 before some considerable back-filling when this pinnacle was known as the Taffs Well Matterhorn

Diamond Wall

Diamond Wall
It's a Black World

Down and right of the pinnacle is a diamond-shaped wall with a diamond shaped sentry box feature in it's centre.

  1. Bristol Beat - Fr. 7a *
    Leftmost line, starting halfway up the banking. Step onto the wall and pull easily over the roof, stretch right to a big pocket. Make difficult moves from the pocket up the wall and then traverse rightwards to the LO. 8 m

  2. Streaming Neutrinos - Fr 7b *
    A short, power packed pitch up the diamond shaped bottomless sentry box. 13 m

  3. Singularity - Fr. 7c *
    Follow the prow on poweful undercuts to a finish at the lower off of Streaming Neutrinos. 13 m

  4. Dark Matter - Fr. 7b *
    A direct start to It's a Black World. Follow Singularity to a slim groove and the crux of It's a Black World. 13 m

  5. It’s a Black World - Fr. 7a *
    The right wall, starting up a small mossy slab. Finishes at a lower off above a ledge at the apex of the wall. 13m

  6. Howling Hadrons - Fr.6a
    The pocketed right hand route on The Diamond. A little green and muddy in the pockets but this does not detract from a generally fun outing. The original acsent started leftwards, moving to the obvious pinch/sidepull on It's a Black World, and is harder. 12 m

The Slabs

The slabs are about 5 minutes walk further on up the path from the main quarry or better accessed from the parking area (see access notes).

  1. The Boney King of Nowhere - Fr.5
    Far left of the crag, hidden behind the big tree. The third bolt will soon be moved to the right to sustain interest. 15m.

  2. Once Upon a Time - Fr.6a *
    Slab climbing to the right hand side of the ivy strip on big closely spaced staples. 16m

  3. Can The Can - Fr.6c
    Start right of the bush at 6m. Move leftwards to the top of the bush, then right to join Palm at the lower off. 18m

  4. Palm - Fr.7a *
    As for Can The Can but continue direct to a large crystalline slot, move left and finish directly. 19m

  5. Neil Kinnock’s Last Stand - Fr. 7a+ *
    Takes the centre of the slab, move left to enter and right to leave the crystalline slot. Continue up the headwall to finish more easily. 20m

  6. Chinese Whispers - Fr.6c+
    This route climbs the right-hand edge of the slab. Start as for N.K.L.S and climb rightwards to a small ledge at 6m, move back left and climb the slab with increasing difficulty until easier angled rock is reached and a leftwards traverse to the Lower off of N.K.L.S. 21m

  7. Glenys Encounters Her First Limp Member - Fr.6a
    Takes the right edge of the slab skirting the mined hole.14m

The Slabs


The Outer Pit

  1. R. Thomas, D. Emanuel 06.06.2010
  2. R. Thomas 02.10.2009
  3. R. Thomas 00.00.2010
  4. R.Thomas 00.00.1998
  5. R.Thomas etc. 21.05.2010
  6. R. Thomas 07.10.1998
  7. R. Thomas, J. Bullock, M. Ward, M. Crocker, G. Gibson 13.12.1987
  8. G. Gibson 00.05.2010
  9. R. Thomas 00.00.2009
  10. D. Emanuel, R. Thomas 06.06.2010
  11. D. Emanuel 06.06.2010
  12. D. Emanuel, R. Thomas 11.06.2010
  13. R. Thomas 00.07.2010

The North Wall

  1. R. Thomas 27.06.2010
  2. R. Thomas
  3. G. Gibson, R. Thomas, M. Ward, M. Crocker 06.12.1987 (Alt. Finish G. Gibson)
  4. G. Gibson 28.04.1991
  5. G. Gibson, R. Thomas, M. Crocker, M. Ward 06.12.1987
  6. G. Gibson
  7. G. Gibson, R. Thomas 20.09.1990
  8. G. Gibson 21.03.1998
  9. M. Crocker, M. Ward, R. Thomas 06.12.1987
  10. A. Rosier 15.06.2010
  11. M. Ward, M.Crocker, G.Gibson 13.12.1987
  12. G. Gibson, R.Thomas 14.10.1990
  13. G. Gibson 21.03.1998
  14. R. Thomas etc. 21.05.2010

Back Wall

  1. R Thomas, N O'Neill 00.07.2010
  2. R McAllister 22.07.2010
  3. G.Gibson, R.Thomas 20.04.1991
  4. A Sharp, P Lewis 00.00.1987
  5. G.Gibson, R.Thomas 14.10.1990
  6. M.Crocker, R.Thomas 30.05.1989
  7. M.Crocker, R.Thomas 30.05.1989
  8. A.Sharp, P.Lewis 00.07.1987
  9. G.Gibson, R.Thomas 14.10.1990

The Pinnacle

  1. D. Emanuel, R. Phillips 21.06.2009
  2. D. Emanuel, R. Phillips 21.06.2009
  3. P.S.T, P.A. Thompson (possibly), 00.00.1900

The Diamond Wall

  1. A.Sharp, P.Lewis 03.04.1988
  2. M.Crocker, G.Gibson, M.Ward, R.Thomas, J.Bullock 13.12.1987
  3. S. Rawlinson 14.08.2018
  4. S. Rawlinson 31.07.2018
  5. G.Gibson, M.Ward, M.Crocker, R.Thomas, J.Bullock 13.12.1987
  6. R. Thomas 12.05.2010

The Slabs

  1. D. Emanuel, K. Davies 16.06.2009
  2. A.Sharp, P.Lewis 00.04.1987
  3. A.Sharp, P.Lewis 00.04.1987
  4. G.Ashmore, R.Lawrence 10.07.1992
  5. A.Sharp, P.Lewis 00.06.1987

Loading map...


Aaron on Bristol Beats at Taffs Well West


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The CC Journal, December 1900 gives an account of the ascent of the, "Taffs Well Matterhorn" complete with a photograph of an impressive looking pinnacle.
    See, Thompson, P.A.. "Scrambling in South Wales." Climbers' Club Journal. III. 10. (1900): 77-81