Dinas Rock

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Contents
Skin Ed Fr.7c. Climber: Dean Howard. Photograph: Simon Rawlinson

Inland Limestone

GR 912080 916082

BOLTING POLICY

For The Main Slab and Cats Wall, no bolting. All other parts of the crag - Retro-bolting permissible with first ascensionist’s permission. Replacement of worn fixed gear on a point for point basis with bolts is permissible. New sports routes allowed.

PREAMBLE

One of the best crags in the country. The selection of long and technical Fr.7a - Fr.7c+ sports routes on Dinas Main Crag are superb, whilst the Dinas - Cave Area and roadside areas give more of the same but at a slabby angle in the Fr.6b+ - Fr.7a range. There are also some monster trad routes and the finger-wrecking Kennelgarth Wall. Finally there is the Dinas - Main Slab, which despite being of much lesser stature, still seems to attract more visitors than the rest of the crag.

Newly developed is the Lower Cave Area which contains some seriously overhanging routes which, unfortunately can suffer from seepage after heavy rain, but is great for a summer visit because it is shady.

Access to the crag is sensitive and the place is becoming a bit trashed due to far too many visiting groups and far too much rubbish being left. Please take a bag with you when you visit and do not leave until its full (sadly even the biggest bags seem to fill up all too quickly). The area is a major natural treasure, with slow worms and ivy curtains. Hopefully the wardens will realise that it is groups that are trashing the place and not small parties of visiting climbers.

Despite heavy curtains of vegetation above and around the crag, it dries out very quickly and few routes seep. Subversive Body Pumping and Spore Wars are useful ever-dry routes. There is quite a lot of lichen and dust on certain routes on the Main Crag and so it may not always be possible to on-sight them, as they require a good wire-brushing after the winter. This is best done by bolt-to-bolting the routes rather than abbing in so as to protect the upper vegetation sanctuary (although its essential to ab in for routes around Sai Finish). Some of the upper sections on routes can have the odd loose hold, so be careful on the main crag and get your second to stand under the overlap at the base of the crag if necessary.

On fine days, the crag is in the sun through to about 4pm in spring and autumn (6pm in summer) but despite its sheltered position, the valley is a wind-funnel and so it can be cold once in the shade. Summer visits are not usually a good idea unless the weather is cool enough to climb during the day, as the evening midges are shocking.

ACCESS

From the A465 ‘Heads of The Valleys Road’ turn off at the eastern Glyneath exit (the first if coming from Merthyr, the second if coming from Neath and follow the slip road to a set of traffic lights at a crossroads. Turn right at the lights, then about ¼ mile down the road turn left (signposted to Pont Nedd Fechan). This is the B4242 road. Follow this road for about 2 miles to the Dinas Rock Inn and carry straight on here (right turn) where the main road bends leftwards up a steep hill.

Drive to the end of the estate and over a bridge to the main car park. The gates of the park are usually locked at 6pm so if you plan a later stay, then park in the parking area at the end of the estate before the bridge turning.

The Main Slab is soon visible on the left. For routes as far as Kennelgarth Wall follow the footpath running out of the car park alongside the easy-angled slab on the right. Routes further on can be accessed by scrambling up the waterfall, as long as the flow is not too high. The approach to the main section of the cliff is by taking the path running up to the left of the car park to a plateau. Walk right along the plateau for 5 minutes until a valley runs down and right to the stream. Turn back right to arrive at the far end of the Main Crag.

DESCENTS

Lowering off or abseil is the most practical for almost all the routes at the crag. For the Main Slab, it is also possible to walk off and right at the top to get back to the path leading to the car park.


THE AREAS

The Deflated Dickhead Fr.6b. Climber: Robin McAllister.

The areas and routes are described from left to right as approached, with the exception of the Lower Cave Area, which is opposite Kennelgarth Wall.


Dinas - Main Slab

The main slab and the easy slabs to its right are subject to heavy use by outdoor groups for abseiling and top-roping respectively. The first route starts from the track above the car park on a short wall on the left side of the face. The wall has a good abseil tree which is handy for cleaning the mud and vegetation from the routes prior to an ascent.

Cheesy Rider Area

The first area encountered alongside the path following the river from the car park to Kennelgarth Wall.


Inflated Roundhead Area

A short break in the walls leads to the initial vertical faces which include the Inflated Roundhead.


Love Of Ivy Area

This is the extensive area of undercut slabs and walls 50m on from The Inflated Roundhead Area.

There are also many boulder problems to be found at the base of the walls hereabouts.


Black Slab

To the right of the Adam’s Family routes, the rock gives way to a series of grassy bankings. Upon turning the corner, the Cave Area is visible ahead and to the right and Kennelgarth Wall to the left. Before reaching this section, there is a small black slab set high up on the left.


Kennelgarth Wall

100m up the path on the left bank is the obvious Kennelgarth Wall, leaning quite steeply at its right-hand end. By and large the routes are short and very sharp, with fingery climbing dominating. The undercut base of the wall is good for bouldering on steep rounded jugs, but please try to avoid bouldering up the start of the routes as they have become very polished in a short space of time. Twin bolt belays are now in place on the ledge above the climbs.

Follow the link to more information on bouldering at Kennelgarth wall - Dinas


Lower Cave Area, now cleared of vegetation.

Lower Cave Area

This is the big cave on the opposite bank to Kennelgarth Wall, best reached by hopping across the stream. Climbing here should be low-profile, especially to the right of the cave.


The sections beyond Kennelgarth and the Lower Cave Area can be approached by scrambling up the waterfall in normal conditions. Otherwise use the alternative approach in the access section. The Main Crag is reached at the top of the waterfalls, and the Bridge Cliff is reached by following a path back left.


Bridge Cliff

This is the overgrown cliff above the waterfall.


Dinas Main Crag

The main crag is round the corner from the Bridge Cliff. It is impossible to miss this crag and indeed it should not be missed. It is one of the most impressive in South East Wales. The left-hand section of the crag is dominated by the enormous roof, but there is some climbing in the recess up and left of where the roof starts. Only a few routes tackle the challenge of the main roof and the majority of the climbing is on the impressive section right of where the roof peters out, taking the steep, overlapping grooves.

For people who like long sports routes, with short technical sections between good rests, this is probably the best crag in Britain. Further on, the lower overhangs merge into a brambly bank, but there is an extremely good section starting from the top of the bank, offering some brilliant E3’s and a couple of mean thuggy leaning walls.


Dinas - Cave Area

This is a good, steep section of the crag, set up above the river just right of the main crag. It is accessed by scrambling up the path to a tree below the obvious cave. BBs are in place. Only a few of the routes seep and it stays mostly dry in light rain. One word of caution, there is some blocky material on the top roofs.

THE MAP

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