Altitude 42m a.s.l
A quiet day at The Crack Den... © a_hein
An esoteric crack climbing venue in the centre of Edinburgh that was discovered and developed during “lockdown” of the COVID-19 pandemic. On top it is a very unassuming foot bridge crossing the water of leith, but underneath it's a haven for crack climbers and crack addicts alike!
The bridge has two 20m spans; one that crosses the dry floodplain of the Water of Leith (Span 1) and one that crosses the river itself (Span 2). The bridge is low to the ground making Span 1 an excellent crack bouldering venue! If you need more excitement, try some of the shallow water solo’s over the skanky Water of Leith! It’s not deep, and once you accept you might get wet, the routes are actually a lot of fun.
There are eleven cracks on each span that range in size from 2 cm to 6.5 cm. There is a surprising amount of variability in crack size along each crack – normally varying by 1cm to 2.5cm. This doesn’t sound a lot but it can change a perfect hand crack into a fist crack or super tight hands. Many of the cracks have yet to be climbed in their entirety due to some off width sections – and so many routes take a combination of cracks with some fun bouldery cruxes in between. The relative difficulty will depend on your hand size, so take grades with a pinch of salt! The cracks are numbered 1-11 beginning from the left when looking toward Murrayfield Stadium. Note: A distance scale (every 1 metre) has been marked along each crack (Crack 6 only on Span 2); this is used to describe the link ups (and to assess progress!).
Most of the current development has been on Span 1 which is only ~1.4 m high off the ground and therefore allows for easily climbing them without the need for a boulder pad (although for the tougher cracks its definitely advised unless you want a sore arse!). More development has now begun on Span 2, however it requires a good amount of confidence and acceptance that you will get a bit wet if you fall off.
All the original lines start sitting on the sloping ramp at the end closest the walkers path, with feet touching the retaining wall, finishing when your feet touch the retaining wall at the other end - new lines and link ups may have different rules as the climbing is developed (read the descriptions for rules and directions).
The bridge is a 30-60 second walk from where you park. Park up somehwere along the road by the houses - use common sense and don't park in front of someones drive, in their garden or on top of their house.
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