The Darren

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The Darren
( Llan Quarry )
Terminal Overhang Wall - Now with a large lump missing!
Terminal Overhang Wall - Now with a large lump missing!
Rock Type Quarried Sandstone
Climbing Style Sport
Approach Time 15 minutes
Area Sandstone
Sub Area Sandstone Central Valleys
WGS-84 Location 51.6115613, -3.344559
OS Grid Ref. ST 069 911
WGS-84 Parking Location 51.609724, -3.3471966
GR Parking Location 306808, 190959
Parking Postcode CF37 2EP
Base Elevation 192 metres (SRTM Estimation)
General Info
Faces Direction South East
Aspect Partially Sunny
Wind Sheltered Mostly
Climbing Type Normal
Midge Problem Serious
Seepage Quick drying
Crags Within 5.0 km

Abercynon High Buttress, Brittania Quarry, Glynfach, Golf Club Crag, Navigation Quarry - Cilfynydd, Porth, Senghenydd, Sugardaddy Gasworks, The Darren, Trehafod, Ynyshir Quarry, Ynyshir West, Ynysybwl Lady Windsor Quarry, Ynysybwl Upper Quarry

Ralph Giles leading up Striking Twelve. Photo: Dave Shearer


New sports routes allowed.


The Darren has become a very popular quarry due to the wide spread of grades and the particularly steep routes of the Terminal Overhanging Wall, which proves a useful evening training venue for locals.

Set high on the wooded hilside above Pontypridd, the crag is split into two main bays with a narrow recess between them. The crag generally faces east; the left-hand bay is a gloomy and mossy hole but the central recess and right-hand bay are more open and bright. The left-hand bay contains a handfull of routes and with the exception of one, these do not merit much attention. The central recess contains some short problems which are technically entertaining. The main attraction however is the right-hand bay. Although there is a limted number of routes here the quality of the climbing is excellent and the routes are pretty long for sandstone. The climbing style on the Terminal Overhanging Wall is thuggy and brilliant; the five main sports routes here recieve plenty of ascents and this traffic has cleaned the originally friable rock right up, to leave it very clean and solid. During the spring evenings there are usually climbers in-situ on these routes, so be prepared to share. The tall and slabby B.A.T. wall is also popular, facing south it recieves sunshine until the late evening and seepage here is virtually unknown.

Now the bad news, there are midges who are resistant to all known forms of insect repellent. Cover up in the evenings, or suffer!


The quarry lies in elevated woodland just beyond the Penygraigwen residential estate; to the west of Pontypridd town centre.

On first aquaintance use a map or sat. nav. If you have neither of these, then head to the very large roundabout in Pontypridd Town (you can't miss this it has two railway lines cross over it on masonry viaducts and a river flows beneath). Take the Catherine St. exit signposted Ynys-y-bwl/Cylffynydd/Town Centre Parking, and follow this for 200m until the small left hand turn signposted Graigwen (St. Catherine's Church on the corner). Follow this extremely winding road until you hit a T-junction at Graigwen Rd. Turn right, steeply uphill, for just under half a mile. When the steepness of the road starts to recede, take a right turn into Whiterock Avenue, take the second left into Whiterock Close, then the next left into Lanwood Road, park immediately off the junction.

A wide grassy footpath on the left leads uphill, through an iron kissing gate, into Lan Wood. Turn right along a level track and continue, without dropping down on subsidiary paths, for 300 m where the path narrows and the quarry soon appears.


Most routes have their own lower offs, one or two don't but these are obvious from the ground.


Left Hand Bay

The Left Hand Bay
  1. Al Did This-Vs 5a
    The short wall on entering.

  2. Striking Twelve - Fr. 6c *
    The steep wall on the left immediately upon entering the quarry, via a huge pocket. (Now) single BB.

  3. Midnight Express - E2, 5b
    Unjustifiable. The gnarly offwidth to the right, gained by an initial move up the corner.

  4. New Sensations - HVS, 4c
    The large corner is not only rancid, but as filthy as P**rh*wceib*r.

  5. Return Of The Dodo - E1, 5b
    The crack between New Sensations and New House.

  6. My New House - Fr. 6b+
    The slab to the right is better with pre-placed Q-draws, BB.

  7. Uphill Walker - VS, 4b
    The first crack on the right-hand wall of the bay.

  8. Sheik Yerbouti - E1, 5b
    The crack and overhang immediately to the right.

  9. Trillian Crack - HVS, 5a
    The next crack.

  10. Behind The Bikesheds - Fr 6b
    The wall to the right. Could do with cleaning.

Middle Alcove

Middle Alcove
  1. The Short Sharp Manic Depressive - Fr. 6c
    The cleaned arête on the left side of the alcove. BB.

  2. Lotta Bottle - Fr. 7a(+)
    The thin crack to the right. A start via Smack is available at Fr. 6c+.

  3. Smack - Fr. 6c *
    The prominent overhanging arête to the right. Excellent moves, BB.

  4. Hear No Evil, See No Evil - VS, 4c
    The big crack in the back of the alcove.

  5. Reach For The Sky - E2, 5b
    Follow the flake to the right, until it is possible to swing right onto the bulging slab (small Friend useful). From the top of the slab, PR, follow the short finishing flake on the right.

  6. Morganstown Sam - Fr. 6a+ *
    The bolted slab.

There is a boulder problem traverse round the bay at 5b.

Terminal Overhang Wall

This is the left-hand wall of the bay. Previously akin to overhanging Weetabix, the wall has been well trundled and bolted to give a good quality venue.

Terminal Overhang Wall
  1. Arizona Stan - Fr. 7a+ *
    Climb the wall right of the arête via a huge reach off an undercut pocket. Swing onto the arête and rock left to a single old BB. A little redundant since the advent of Capstan.

  2. Capstan - Fr. 7b **
    The continuation of Arizona Stan. The loss of a hold may now require you to move onto the slab before moving back right to the the bulging right-hand side of the arête. BB.

  3. Basildon Slapper - Fr. 7b+ *
    Now re climbed following rockfall that removed the first half of the route. Line of bolts right of Capstan climbing through the obvious scoop to join original finish. Directly above the last bolt is a sneaky knee bar and stretch to reach the lower off.

  4. Alive And Kicking - E5, 6a
    Follow the right hand side of the semi-detached shield (now on the floor). Move diagonally up and right (BR), to gain a jam crack. Climb this to enter a niche. Gain a jam crack, pull over the roof and step left to the BB of Basildon Slapper.

  5. Round Are Way - Fr. 7a+ *
    Start just left of a prominent crack in the middle of the lower wall, below a square-cut groove. Make a very tricky entry into the groove and follow steep ground directly to a BB.

  6. Rise - Fr. 7b **
    Start up the conglomerate looking lay-away edge and cracks in the centre of the wall. Climb awkwardly past a niche to a wobbly undercuts and a large side pull up and right at two-thirds height. Make a monster lurch up the wall to sustained fingery climbing up the headwall. BB shared with The Unplugged.

  7. Sharpy Unplugged - Fr. 7b+ ***
    Brilliant climbing up the wall to the right of Rise. BB.

  8. Enter The Darren - Fr. 6c+
    Right again is a short but difficult slab and arête. Climb this to the overhanging crack. Passing through the crack, there are two difficult but similar roofs, separated by a good rest. The top is a little run out but a friend 1 / med to large nuts (or a long sling from the L.O. on the red-point attempt) may ease any apprehensions.

    Dave Shearer on Enter The Darren Fr. 6c+. Photo: Alan Rosier

Now there are some training routes.

  1. Night Train - Fr. 7b/+
    Re-climbed and now starts as for BasildonSlapper, at 4th bolt hand traverse the break into round are way, pull onto it's hanging flake and move right into niche of rise, clip bolt above and move right into Sharpy unplugged below the overhang, pull over and finish as for Sharpy unplugged.

  2. Niart Thgin - Fr. 7a+ *
    A counter-traverse. natS anozirA pu hsinif dna deggulpnU yprahS pu tratS. This is not the proper name by the way.

  3. Kosovo - Fr.7a
    Start up Rise to Finish up Arisona Stan

  4. Round the Other Way - Fr. 7a **
    Start up rise and finish up Round Are Way.

B.A.T. Wall

The right-hand wall of the main bay. The trad routes finish by abseiling from trees near the top.

B.A.T. Wall
  1. Autumn Leaves - E3, 6a
    Just right of the corner is a small roof. Surmount this and follow a crack PRs. From this either step left to finish up a blunt rib, or gain a tree on the left and abseil. Ivy covered.

  2. Gutted - Fr. 6b *
    The slab right of Autumn Leaves has a hard start. BB shared with Sorry Morry Lorry.

  3. Sorry Lorry Morry - Fr. 6a+ **
    The prominent groove to the right of Gutted, pulling straight through the overlap to gain a thin crack to finish. BB.

  4. La Grande Crise - E2, 5b
    As for Sorry Lorry Morry, but pull out right at the strip roof, surmount it, then step back left. No longer worthwhile, but was the original (and unbolted) route up the wall, with PRs.

  5. Juvenile Justice - Fr. 7a+ *
    The narrow slab to the right of Sorry Lorry Morry is accessed directly. . Pull onto the slab with some difficulty and climb its centre via tiny pockets. BB.

  6. Alfred’s Variation - VS, 4c *
    As for Boulevard De Alfred Turner (1926) to the tree. Step left to finish up the left-hand narrow crack, which is slightly loose.

  7. Boulevard De Alfred Turner (1926) - VS, 4b **
    The central groove of the wall with the carved inscription at its base. From the tree at the top of the groove, move right to gain the right-hand thin crack. Finish up this. Possibly the best route on Sandstone at this grade.

  8. Andrew The Zebra - Fr. 6a+
    Just right again is a thin crack splitting the leaning wall. Gain this via a bold heelhook and follow it direct to the ledge, finishing direct up the wall to a shared L.O.

    Llio Elgar on the awkward starting groove of Sorry Morry Lorry
  9. Calling Card - Fr. 6c+ *
    The groove to the right is deceptively hard,from the ledge continue up the wall as for Andrrew The Zebra.

  10. Stow Crack - HVS, 5b
    The large layback flake. BB.

  11. Shaken Not Stirred - Fr. 6c *
    The steep wall to the right. BB.

  12. Madame X - Fr. 7a *
    The short hanging arête to the right. Easy when you know how. BB.

  13. Antelope Migration - HVS, 4c
    The (rather pointless) girdle of B.A.T wall. Start up the groove right of Madame X and wander along the big terrace, until a flake crack is reached. Climb this to some ledges and traverse left across to a tree. From here step left and climb a crack to a hole. Gain another tree over to the left and finish up the groove above.


Al Rosier on Striking Twelve within the Left Hand Bay. Photo: Dave Shearer


  1. A.Rosier, V.Cummings 00.00.2004
  2. A.Sharp, P.Harding, T.Foster 23.04.1989
  3. G.Lewis, T.Penning 00.00.1980
  4. T.Penning, J.Harwood 04.05.1982
  5. M.Richards, J.Harwood 00.05.1997
  6. G.Ashmore, R.Lawrence 02.05.1992
  7. T.Penning, G.Lewis 00.00.1980
  8. A.Sharp, P.Harding, T.Foster 23.04.1989
  9. H.Griffiths, G.Lewis, C.Heard 00.00.1980
  10. T.Foster 23.04.1989


  1. A.Sharp Pre-1994
  2. A.Sharp 00.00.1983, P.Lewis – Direct 09.06.1990
  3. A.Sharp, P.Lewis 24.06.1989
  4. G.Lewis, S.Mundy, J.Card 00.00.1980
  5. C.Heard, G.Lewis 00.00.1980
  6. R.Thomas, S.Caan 13.04.2019


  1. A.Sharp, P.Lewis 09.06.1990
  2. A.Sharp 00.00.1997
  3. A.Sharp, etc. 00.05.1997 Re climbed by M.Richards and A.Sharp 16/08/14
  4. T.Penning, J.Harwood 21.06.1989
  5. T.Penning, J.Harwood & J.Harwood 21.06.1989
  6. A.Sharp, P.Lewis, J.Harwood 08.05.1997
  7. A.Sharp, P.Lewis 00.00.1990
  8. A.Sharp 10.05.1997 Re climbed by M.Richards and A.Sharp 21/08/14
  9. P.Lewis, A.Sharp 24.06.1989
  10. M.Richards 00.00.1997
  11. M.Richards 00.00.1999


  1. T.Penning, J.Harwood 12.06.1990
  2. A.Sharp 00.00.1999
  3. A.Sharp, P.Lewis 08.01.1989
  4. G.Lewis, M.Harber, L.Foulkes, S.Blackman 00.00.1982
  5. A.Sharp, P.Lewis 07.01.1989
  6. T.Penning, P.Cresswell 00.00.1981
  7. G.Lewis, H.Griffiths 00.00.1981
  8. G.Lewis, C.Heard, S.Robinson 00.00.1981
  9. T.Penning, J.Harwood, P.Lewis, A.Sharp 12.06.1990
  10. G.Lewis, C.Heard 00.00.1980
  11. A.Sharp, J.Harwood, P.Lewis 15.01.1989
  12. A.Sharp, J.Harwood, P.Lewis 15.01.1989
  13. T.Penning, G.Lewis 00.00.1981


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