Top Roping Venues

Posted by Matthew Woodfield on Tuesday, August 18, 2020 Under: Top Tips

If you have the skills to rig your own top ropes for climbing outside you just need to know where to head.  Before we get stuck in to the options its worth talking ethics – we all need to share the crags, don’t hog a line all day. Give way to climbers leading a route, they wont be on it for long and only rig the line you’re climbing on if the crag is busy.

Here’s my top spots to head to in South Wales for top rope climbing:


This little bay sits alongside Three Cliffs and has lots of little walls to explore. These slabby climbs are all around 10-15m on good rock in a beautiful beach setting.  There’s dozens of routes to go at in the Diff to S grade range, with trickier routes up to VS.  Finding good anchors on the top can take some searching on the west side, but round to the east you can rig easily from big boulders.  

Three Cliffs:

A classic climbing area set in one of the most beautiful settings in the UK. The slabby climbs on the left are easy to rig by scrambling up the ridge path to ledges, prefect for the Diff – S climber. The routes around the cave are 3 star classic VS routes, but because of the angles involved and the through cave they are not suitable for top roping.

Little Tor:

A vertical sheet of clean limestone rising straight out the sand on the quiet side of the bay. The lines are all obvious, and there are 2 sets of bolts so you can set up safely with having to place your own protection. You can access the top by scrambling round on the left past an exposed step. The routes range from Diff – HS, with some routes up to E1 on the compact Little Star Wall just to the right.

Boiler Slab:

A reliable non-tidal crag with long routes (20m+) on perfect rock, just avoid on windy days. There is a friendly ledge to rig from for the routes on the left (S-VS), you need to dig around a bit more for the central routes (VS-E2). The main downside to this spot is that it can get very busy with groups and climbers so have a plan B in case it’s full when you arrive.

Devil’s Truck:

A lovely spot by the sea that only gets washed when the tide is in and there’s big waves about. The short climbs are not great, but The Nose (HS) is worth seeking out on its own. This is also a great place to come just to practice rigging as there is a prefect wall of anchors to go off.

Box Bay:

Just outside Porthcawl this box shaped bay of 15m high compact limestone is an ideal spot to climb, once the tide goes out. Rigging is easy enough with lots of anchor placements possible at floor level.

Cilfrew Edge:

Overlooking the Neath Valley from a wooded country park, this sandstone edge is topped by trees just waiting to be rigged from. You can pick any route you like from Diff to E6 and easily put a rope in place to climb. Just watch out for the slippery woodland path to approach the base. Its not easy walking from the base to the top, but there is an in-situ rope heading up the gully that can help.

Dinas Rock:

This smooth slab of limestone is almost part of the car park so no long walks here. There are bolts at the top you can rig off at the top, but DON’T put your rope straight through these as that wears them down over time. It can be a circus here with multiple outdoor centres using the 6ish routes, so don’t expect to be alone in the summer term.

So that should get you going on some outdoor climbs, all the information you need can be found on the South Wales Climbing Wiki, or in one of my awesome guidebooks!

If you want to learn the skills required to rig top ropes to allow you to climb outside whenever you want then get in touch today.

In : Top Tips 

Tags: climbing "top rope" 

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Matthew Woodfield An infrequent collection of tips, tricks and ramblings about climbing, walking and the great outdoors...