This route is not a conventional climbing experience, it does however provide an unforgettable experience of the history and danger faced by past generations of quarrymen. Along the route you will encounter rusty wobbly ladders with missing rungs, dark tunnels one of which has a very tight squeeze, multiple extreme abseils, exposed scrambling amongst boulders and loose scree, some rarely visited blast shelters and huts where the eagle eyed will spot quarrymen’s names etched into the slate dating back nearly 150 years!
THIS ROUTE HAS BEEN GRADED XS (EXTREMELY SEVERE) AND IS NOT WITHOUT SIGNIFICANT RISK, PROCEDE AT YOUR OWN RISK. THIS IS NOT A SUITABLE ROUTE FOR THOSE WITHOUT A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF COMPETENCE AND EXPERIENCE. BEST DONE IN DRY WEATHER AS IT WOULD BE SIGNIFICANTLY RISKIER IN THE WET. THIS ROUTE IS ONLY SUITABLE FOR HOBBITS, LARGE HUMANS WILL NOT FIT THROUGH THE TWLL MAWR TIGHT SQUEEZE!!
Start by walking to the Air Vent at Never Never Land, cross the fence on the opposite side and abseil (25metres) into the ‘Monkey Bar Area’ using the belay bolts above ‘Patellectomy E1 5c’
Walk out along the terrace to a lone circular blast shelter near a rusty pipe, descend down the scree by following the pipe.
Walk along the level below the ‘Peregrine Walls’ with some scree scrambling until large boulders and a leaning hut are reached. Search for the Abb point by 2 smaller boulders.
Abseil (30metres) to the level below to access the hidden Twll Mawr Tunnel, rope protectors advised, take care this is quite a serious abseil, an old rusty railway track clamp has been bolted in place to protect the rope on the sharp edge.
Enter the Hidden Tunnel which leads to the ‘Arse of Twll Mawr’ a very tight squeeze, ONLY HOBBIT SIZED EXPLORERS WILL MANAGE THIS TIGHT SQUEEZE – if you need to retreat the only relatively safe option would be to abseil from the mature silver birch trees to the levels below…
Once in Twll Mawr climb the ‘Wobbly Ladder Pitch’ of ‘Black Holes and Revelations’ this is graded 6b, but can be aided with slings on the numerous bolts at a more amenable grade. Alternatively scramble up the scree to the exit tunnel level above.
Exit the tunnel and bear left to the base of a blocky scree filled gully, carefully ascend until it is possible to airily traverse left to gain the ‘Suncharm Ledge’ scramble upwards to gain the main track. At the ‘Watford Gap’ head right and up the scree to gain the top of the ‘Quarryman Wall’. BOTH THESE SCRAMBLING SECTIONS REQUIRE GREAT CARE!
Head up from the top of ‘Twll Mawr’ to gain the summit of the ‘Mordor’ / ‘Lost World’ Col. Abseil (38 metres) down to the Col, follow an EXTREMELY EXPOSED walkway to gain the tunnel entrance: worth roping up between the two posts as the path is constructed from a grassed over, but creaking, slate 'coffin lid'.
Walk along the tunnel to a junction, head left to a square cut opening. Abseil (41 metres) down into ‘The Lost World’ close to the ‘Wall Within 7c+’. Exit the ‘Lost World’ into ‘Mordor’ via a Tunnel, exit Mordor via Ladders.
Head up the scree slope past the chain strewn tower, walk down scree and follow the incline down on the right hand side of the fence. Head right for more views of ‘Twll Mawr’ and at its lip continue down the scree slopes to re gain the track below.
Check out the route on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_ktKn6BvBM
Ian Lloyd-Jones & Michael Buddle 05/May/2017
Ticklists: Slate Quarry Adventures..