Why this excellent little cliff received such poor press in the last guidebook remains something of a mystery to me. Reading between the lines it was obvious that it was probably due to the plethora of bolts and Pat Littlejohn having not visited the place to add his own brand of route but in reality, after its discovery by Andy Sharp and Pete Lewis, this was one of the better sports crags in the guide.
Subsequently, more climbs have been added and the old gear is slowly being replaced by Thomas and Gibson to rejuvenate its worth in the sports-climbing field. Go there, its easy to find and really is worth a visit on your way to any other of the crags in the area.
When approaching north along the A470 from the M4 take the first exit off to a large roundabout: Taffs Well Main is on the right. Turn left and then right at the next mini roundabout. In 800m park on the right in Garth Newydd Road. Take a track on the opposite side of the road, skirting back left to the first quarry basin.
What’s the climbing like?
The rock is perfect quarried limestone generally slightly off vertical with a few overlaps and steepenings thrown in for good measure. The climbing lends itself to the technical variety on small edges and sidepulls. It is generally sustained but but very pleasant.
When should I climb there?
The two side walls take very little seepage and generally dry quite quickly. They are best avoided in the depths of winter as the crag gets hardly any sunshine but during the rest of the year it gives a very pleasant climbing: avoid humid days. The back wall takes loads of seepage but when dry, around June, some say it provides the best climbing in the quarry.
Somebody has stolen the bolt hangers on two routes on the back wall namely A Million Destinies and You Never Can Tell and they appear to now be residing at the Darren - interesting! They will be replaced:Quartz Bicycle has lost its huge flake and needs recleaning: Trailblazer has been rebolted at 7b **: Security Plus has been rebolted at 7a+ **: Any Old Iron has been retrobolted at 6c.
These are generally middle ground starting at 6c (2), 6c+ (1), 7a (4), 7a+ (7), 7b (2) through to 7b+ (1). An excellent 21 routes.
What are the choice routes?
The best routes from the guide are: It’s a Black World (7a *), Palm Springs and A Million Destinies (both 7a+ **), Digitorum Brevis (7b **), Trailblazer (7b **) and Security Plus (7a+ **). A few good new routes have also been added and are useful to top up on your existing notes: The Creaming Dream (6c+ *) left of Ice Cream Sundae and Sink or Swim (7a+ **) between Trailblazer and Security Plus. More should follow along with the rebolting.