Climbs 124
Rocktype Dolerite
Altitude 125m a.s.l
Faces SW

the crag in the city © jamestheyip

Crag features

This striking geological feature overlooking central Edinburgh has been popular with local climbers for generations. The quantity of good climbing is not proportional to the quantity of rock, but its convenience makes it a great resource for Edinburgh climbers, with superb views.

The South Quarry offers some good bouldering and short routes, and is often busy on summer evenings. The steep and polished testpieces of the Black Wall are the highlight, but there is plenty more to play on. From an old guide ( 'the moves themselves are the aesthetic objective rather than the lines'.

The routes are usually soloed, as protection and belays are generally lacking. The best lines of descent in the quarry are the Moderates, otherwise walk around the long way. Many unlisted routes and variations have also been climbed.

Expect curiosity from tourists.

Approach notes

Permission to climb is in theory granted by getting a free pass from the Historic Scotland Park Ranger Service, who hide in a wee glass fronted building behind Holyrood Palace. The requirement of the pass isn't heavily enforced, and because most climbers stick to bouldering in the South Quarry, reports of problems are rare.


I was bouldering here about 30 years ago (A hand traverse on the front face by the quarry). Some small pebbles came past me and I thought it was kids kicking them over from above. I shouted up, but they didn't stop. I went round the corner to work on a different problem. About three minutes later - HUMUNGOUS sound of thunder. When I went to look there was about 50 tons of rock where I had just been. It has all grown over now, but what used to be a hollow is now level. The rocks at Salisbury crags can be a little loose sometimes.....
Tam O'Bam - 28/Mar/15
Easy traverse bouldering around the majority of the quarry and original trad routes are soloable for those with the balls. The highlight is the black wall which provides several excellent polished testpieces.
doug5_10 - 25/Apr/07
Lots of polished traverse bouldering at all grades. Can get a little busy during the summer but there is a good vibe between all climbers. Expect an audience of gawping tourists and neds.
camw - 23/Jun/06
75m of easy bouldering on three elevations 25m of hard bouldering on one elevation Beware Neds from above
220bpm - 04/Jul/03
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Climbs at this crag

Climb name Grade
1Pic RobbiesonD 6
2The Great Electrocardiogram TraverseVS 5a 1
 the cat nick 
4Cat Nick Arete
D 2
5Cat Nick Arete (winter)
V 4 *2
6The Cat Nick
M 9
7The Cat Nick (winter)III **15
8Cat Nick Buttress
VD 1
 great quarry 
10Transatlantic Trip
E3 5c 1
11The Ragged Rascals
E3 5c  
12Straight Satan
E2 5c 2
13Walking On SunshineE3 6a ***2
14Steeplejack's StaircaseE2 5b *3
15Election Special
E2 5c  
16Ginger Nymphos Lust
E2 6a *2
17After the Axe
E2 5b/c 2
18The Blackdance
E2 5c **1
19Second Offence
E3 5c  
20Ped Xing
E1 5b * 
21Walk On By
E2 5a  
 great buttress 
23Great Buttress
VD **6
 western buttress 
25Hewit's Groove
VS 4c  
26Horne's Slab
VS 5a 1
27Black Corner
HVS 5a * 
28Groove Route
VS 4c  
29Wall Route
30Slab and Wedge Route
 south quarry 
S 1
33Doubledecker Variation
34Harrison's Climb
S **2
35Archie's Slab
HVS 5a *1
36Wicked Lady
VS 4c **15
37Original Route
M 15
38Original Route DirectVS 4c 4
39Athlete's AreteHVS 5a 19
40The Long Stride
M *9

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