Climbs 90
Rocktype Dolerite
Altitude 100m a.s.l
Faces all

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Shear Fear © andymoin

Crag features

A very fine dolerite quarry that surrounds the EICA Ratho climbing wall - almost as good as the indoor wall and often considerably warmer!! With recent plant clearance and revitalised traditional routes from HVS upwards, it can be in condition throughout the year and deserves to regain it's popularity. Sport climbing routes have also been developed in recent years and are proving to be a welcome intermediate step for those moving from the indoor arena.

Central Belt classics like Wally 1 E2 5c ***, Gruel Brittania E3 6a *** and Shear Fear E2 5c ** are complimented by both other fine trad routes such as Welcome To The Cruise E1 5b **, Pete's Wall E1 5b **, Rebel Without Claws E2 5c **, Strongarm E4 6a **, Wally 2 E4 5c **, and Pettifar's Wall E4 6a **, This Sceptic Heil E5 6b *** and the What Lies Beneath**  E7 6c duo.

Sport climbers are well catered for as with routes like The Corrieman F6b+ ** and Kamikaze F6c+ **, King Silly F7a+ ** and Buzooka 7b+** spread out on various faces around the quarry.

***Take note that there has been some rock fall in recent years (with only a few obscure routes affected) and there are areas of unconsolidated rock around the quarry. Even on established routes caution is advised as there may be friable sections of rock. Wearing a helmet is recommend, even for sport climbers and their belayers.***

Approach notes

***Access to the quarry is not affected by opening times of EICA***

Access by car:
Leave the M8 at Junction 2 and follow the signs.

Access by bus/train:
The Lothain Buses 20 service goes to Ratho village from either the Gyle centre (12, 22 from city centre) or edinburgh park station (12, tram, train) where a pleasant 10/15 minute walk along the canal gets you to the centre.

Alternatively the First Group 27/x27 service stops at Wilkieston from where the centre is a brisk 15 minutes along a fairly busy road.

Approach via building:
Either head through the building and out into the quarry through the external doors just before the wall turnstile, or head around the outside as detailed below. Note that if you wish to use the wall facilities you must return to reception, pay and collect an access card and wristband. If using the EICA car park, make sure your car is out before the car park is locked.

Approach via outside:
1. Head northwards (towards the M8) from the carpark, traverse the quarry edge clockwise to reach the fire escape. Open the gate then use to access the quarry floor. (UPDATE - gate and fence covered in anti-climb paint, but latch can be easily opened with a nut-key)

2. Head towards the centre main entrance from the carpark, but take a right-turn via an access track. Follow this down, then back up until you reach the east (right) side of the centre, where a set of external stairs allows you to access the quarry floor - the area below has a wooden fence across it but a hidden gate on the left side gives access - this is difficult to see from the quarry side (useful to know if you're in the quarry after the centre has shut!)

First time at Ratho - it's a weird experience to be alone in a quiet quarry right next to the giant indoor climbing arena! We just managed to get one Sport climb in (Peashooter?) plus some practice gear placements before the rain came on and we retired indoors to the plastic stuff. Definitely recommended for intermediate sport climbers, especially if there's a questionmark around the weather!
drconline - 15/Oct/19
Cut back top out of sedge warbler today, still bits loose but no thorns/nettles/gorse at edge to distract now. . .
seanhendo123 - 10/Oct/14
Access line cleared and in situ rope placed to make accessing the ledge that Grapes/plums of ratho and diverticulitis straightforward
JamieSparkes - 10/Jul/14
Top out of quick pull is terrible, definately worth cleaning before attempting . . . found this out to mates cost
seanhendo123 - 13/Jan/14
Now updated in accordance with recent development and recent tree/rock clearance.
Fiend - 16/Dec/13
Ratho bus number has changed from the Lothain Buses X48 to the Lothain Buses x12 and 12.
Denpov - 16/Mar/13
I did a toprope to try the climb at the line of bolt studs between Strongarm and Wally 3. The large flake that is used for the high runner does not look like the most secure peice of rock I have seen. Be careful using this large flake folks.
Denpov - 16/Mar/13
Still great climbing, but the topouts need debushed to allow traversing to the descent route/s (we abseiled from the post above shear fear (look through the post first!) If not, your only option is to jump the fence and walk round, though this is damaging the fence behind the popular climbs! You would have thought a climbing centre would have better access...
jonnie3430 - 08/Jun/12
Just a general note that the spike jug on Shear Fear just after you pull onto the first difficult section (used to take a good wire) is now dangerously loose, making the first section slightly harder to climb and protect. Probably needs glueing or removing really.
hexcentric - 06/May/12
Can be easily accessed through the centre, via a pretty reasonable coffee. WARNING: The "small ledge" on Ane Ledge E3 5c * is dangerously detached and starting coming away from the wall when I was pulling on it. It seems solid to stand on ONLY. Needs bolting on or pulling off. Good route otherwise.
Fiend - 10/Mar/11
BEWARE - the Ratho car park shuts just after ten pm. They lock a gate over the exit!!! Once they do that there is no escape. We found the best thing to do was to phone the police who found called a local keyholder to let us out ...
mhowie - 02/Jun/10
Third sunday in a row up here, great quality climbing that needs more traffic. Chopped down the brambles and gorse around Beanpud, Rock-a-Boogie and Rebel Without Claws and cleaned pete's wall. Will try and sort more in future visits.
andymoin - 24/Feb/08
May'04 - Ratho quarry is open for climbing! Access is free via the Adventure Centre but you need to sign-in. Extra care should be taken since many of the routes are dirty with loose rock. Guide book descriptions & grades may also be unreliable. The top of the crag is very unstable in places.
Mark Lydon - 27/May/04
Access to this quarry will be exceedingly difficult until September 2003 due to the completed roof of the NRCC of Scotland. Of course from September it isn't going to be easy either if you don't want to part with some money. I would suggest to anyone who has not heard about the NRCC to visit <a href=""></a>. It does look rather impressive.
Tony - 21/Aug/03
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