Glen Clova Bouldering

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The boulders at Glen Clova have been climbed on sporadically over the years, but no guides have been produced. Due to constant demand, the following is an outline of known development that has taken place over the last few years, which will hopefully encourage further development, as well as to get previous activists (particularly the Dundonians) to record their handiwork.

All the known problems described have been climbed by Chris Fryer with additions from Rowena Beaton, Stuart Stronach, Andy Inglis, Matthew Berstein & Amanda Lyons, as well as some harder additions by John Watson and Co, Dominic Kehoe (?) and Tim Rankin. Miles Perkin, Mike Lauder, Robert Hepburn and their associates have also made some excellent additions, as well as other aliased parties.

The descriptions are all from memory and grades approximated, so don't shoot the messenger if any changes need to be made.

The usual disclaimers apply: climbing is silly, bouldering is even sillier, etc.

The Nose 6A - Hidden Gem Boulder



Follow the road west from the hotel. 3 parking places are;

  • The Hollow

Just after the chicanes by the white house is a small parking area with a concrete bin, and the obvious hollow full of boulders above. There is sufficient space here for 2 cars. If this is full, there is another similar parking spot further east.

  • Peel Boulder Area

Just past the John Peel Boulder and the crags is verge parking on the south side of the road for 3 or so cars.

  • The Quarry

At the end of the straight on the right is an obvious large quarry. There is ample parking here for a dozen or more cars, and an easy walk for even the most emaciated or lazy-ass climber.

It is reasonably easy to walk between these areas either directly or via the road, so please do not park on the verge or in overtaking spots, as this will not endear you to other road users.

The Red Craigs Area Boulders

The majority of the boulders are on a south facing hillside, getting the most of the sun and, once clear of lichen, dry fairly quickly after rain, although some north faces can stay damp in the winter, and some of the lower boulders do not see much sun in midwinter, so retain a damp top. Problems face all directions so the maximum shade / sun can be exploited as preferred. In spite of mutterings to the contrary, the rock is generally solid, apart from the occasional obviously loose flake on some problems, and some fragile brittle holds. These should, however, clean up with traffic. The friction is excellent but the rock can be sharp in places. On newer problems there is some stubborn lichen and vegetation; this does, however, clean up well with a stiff brush. Vast potential exists throughout the grades, so please make the effort to get some new stuff done, rather than just ticking existing problems.

The Hollow

From the parking, the boulders are described heading up the hillside, following vague sheep tracks until you reach the Sentinel, the best boulder in this section. It is hidden from view on a plateau near the top, but can be seen from Red Craigs Area. There is a lot of potential for further problems in this area, all that’s needed is a few brushes and some imagination.

From L to R: Unclimbed Wall, Robin Cooked Boulder and High Slab

The Steep Slab
A large south facing slabby boulder in the hollow has 2 or 3 obvious fingery lines on it that show some evidence of cleaning and may have been climbed in the past, but all look pretty hard.

The Fingercrack V1 5a
This boulder is on the right of the valley, a distinctive south facing fingercrack. The crack only is used for hands at this grade, can be made easier if other holds are used, or harder if you only use crack for feet. Quality spragging.

The Arete
The obvious west facing arete with a large block behind it. Can be climbed either using holds on the arete (V1?) or eliminating them and climbing crimps to the right (V2?), but beware fragile holds and the block behind.

The Baby Prow
This the obvious small prow of rock ovelooking the glen. The slabby south side is a pleasant V1 from a SS from the break using a deep pocket. The arete is about V1 from a SS on good holds. To the left is an obvious low two hand jug. From this two problems of a similar grade (V3) go either straight up on slopers, or up to the sloper and a long pull rightwards (reach dependant) for the good edge.

The Warmup Boulder
Up on the right of the valley again, is a pleasant low boulder with several easier lines described going rightwards from the middle of the east facing slab; The Warmup Slab V1 4c not using the arete, go up on slopers avoiding the obvious big footledge on the left. The Warmup Arete VB on the slabby left side. The Warmup Arete Right Hand V2 5a - The arete on it's right side, from a SS, finishing by rocking left onto it. The Warmup Rib V2 5b - The broad rib and groove to the right, SS from a good hold on the rib and moving up and left to finish as for the previous problem. The Warmup Scoop V1 5a - Pleasant stem up the scoop from standing just left of the arete. This has the potential for a SS, but footholds are lacking and fingerholds are poor. Another project has been cleaned on the undercut SW arete. SS on a good spike pinch for the right and gastonny edge for left, rockup and then????? (feel free to fill in the missing words, name, and grade).

Robin Cooked V3 6a
A distinctive low sloping boulder on a rock base. Sit start with hands on low holds on left side of downhill face and move up right to a crimp and reach the top either directly (very powerful) or laybacking off footholds (nicer, but technical and still powerful), then a strenuous mantelshelf / bellyflop to top out. There is potential for some other fun (?) Mantelling problems on this boulder and possibly a lip traverse.

The Sheep Pen

Up and right is an impressive west facing roofed boulder.

Sheep Pen Wall V1 5b
This problem climbs the right edge of the right wall, finishing at the apex of the slab.

Sheep Pen Groove 6b+ **
Weird and wonderful. Start at the flat jug and contort bizarrely out rightwards to join Sheep Pen Wall.

NB Sheep Pen Traverse from a sitter doesn't exist, there are no starting holds.

Sheep Pen Mantle Font 6c **
Begin at the starting jug of Sheep Pen Groove but go up and left to a jug just beneath the apex of the roof, then mantle directly over nose. Spotters useful!

Le Toit du Cul de Mouton Font 7a ***
The roof direct is less chalky, polished and chipped than it's Font namesake, and the view is better. From an obvious undercling finger slot, span back to a good hold on the lip and swing out. Either rock over directly on crimps, or for more fun (and fear), traverse the lip and mantle the apex. Quite brilliant.

Sheep Pen Lip Traverse Font 6b+ **
Sit start at the leftmost point of the block and traverse along the lip to join Sheep Pen Mantle at the apex of the block and mantle over here.

Parallel Lines

Parallell Lines Standing Start V2 5c in The Hollow

Parallell Lines SS V3 5c *
The convex west facing wall with obvious diagonal features, 50m up and right from the Sheep Pen. SS on the wee ramp and aim rightwards via crimps to a good edge, reach the lip slopers and pull over on better holds.

Parallell Arete SS V4 6a *
The left arete, without the prop boulder of course. SS on the wee ramp and low arete, slap up both of these to the lip then aim rightwards onto the slopers and eventual jug of PL and a more gruesome finish.

It would be possible the climb the wall direct between the two problems at a dynamic V6 or so.

High Slab V1 5a
Up and left of the Sheep Pen is a distinctive high south facing slab set into the hillside. To date one problem exists climbing the left hand side of the slab, rocking leftwards at a small nose. Potential for some excellent higher problems exists to the right, but some pruning of the heather "fringe" would be required.

"Unclimbed Wall"

Left of the slab is a south facing vertical wall with one good problem, and possibly potential for more.

Lady Sam, Font 7a+ ***
The very subtle rib up the centre of the face is another classic, despite a bit of lichen. Very technical and precarious, with a cluster of good holds in the middle and not much else...

The arete to the right of this shows signs of brushing, but details are still awaited.

The Sentinel

This is the best boulder in this area, with good lines on all sides. It cannot be seen on the approach, but you will definitely know when you arrive! To get to it walk around the top of the High Slab and onto a flat area just over the top of the hill. Problems are described heading rightwards from the obvious groove in the SW corner. Descent is via the west face, awkward on first acquaintance.

The Groove V1 5a
Climbs the Groove with a tricky mantel start.

Look South V1 5b
Climbs the south face to the right of the groove, using both arêtes. An eliminate has been climbed up here avoiding both arêtes at a grade harder.

Skin Dog V2 5c

From standing start on an OK hold and a crystal crimp head up the face and either step left onto a ledge or step onto a good hold on the lip and exit up the slab using the arete.

Sit start V3 with left hand on the good flange and right on a small sidepull crimp. The partially grassed over rock platform is out of bounds for feet.

Traverse Project
The East wall could probably be traversed.

Here's Jonny! 7a+
Sentinel Arete without the arete and possibly no harder than SA for normal sized people. From the undercut and good foothold bounce up to a small right hand crimp and then move with difficuilty to a poor pocket. No use of arete.

Sentinel Arete V4 6b
Climb the arête starting off poor holds and heading for a good hold up and left and finishing via the large jug. Entirely reach dependant start; a mat stack may be needed for the vertically challenged, or a considerably harder start is possible.

North Wall Groovin' V3 6a
An eliminate climbing the North wall with right hand on right arête and left and feet on assorted poor holds to a good quartz hold on the right arete. Swing left and finish via the jug on the arête. A direct line using the arete would be more sensible.

East Arete VB 4b
The east arête can be climbed easily on its right.

Fore V1 5a
Sit Start on a jug on the left arête of the groove and move rightwards up the arête to finish (holds in the groove are out). An alternative eliminate start using a good crimp for the right and a the left in a small incut (eliminating the jug for hands and feet) is a grade harder. Some curious polish on the footholds here that looks like it is caused by climbers, but is more likely sheep rubbing.

From here if you look towards Red Craigs you can see a boulder with a compelling offwidth on its right side. This has been climbed at about V1. Potential exists here for other problems, including a steep slab on the left hand side, for which a route grade is probably more appropriate. Landing slopes away alarmingly, so beware sliding mats.

Red Craigs

Red Craigs is the most popular area and bouldering here can easily be combined with the excellent rock routes. All problems are described in a circuit with reference to the John Peel Boulder, the biggest lump in the middle.

Peel Session V4 6b

The Peel boulder has a fine face of great rock, although the lines are not quite as classic as the man himself.

Peel Session Right Hand V4 6b **
A good, substantial problem. SS on slanting holds, up via sloper to crimp rail, move right to black flake and span back left to good finishing holds.

Peel Session Left Hand V4 6b **
Equally good and substantial. SS on slanting holds, up via sloper to crimp rail, match this, span left to black crimp and move back right to good finishing holds.

A good eliminate is to sit start as above and just climb left of the faint seam via sloper/sidepull to gain the black crimp and finish, V4 6b **.

Left Crack V3 6a **
The obvious thin crack is good. SS on pinch and undercling and crank upwards to the crack and layback finish.

Left Arete Font V2 5c
The short left arete. SS on sidepull and lunge right to a good flake, pull up via slot to finishing jug.

Peeling Right V2 5b
Starts from PS holds, but from the good finger hold pull out right and rock onto the arête. Can also be combined with the SS. A traverse of this face would probably also be possible, finishing in the same place.

Botty to Slotty - Font 6c?
From the big jug on the left of the S face, go up to obvious slots / pockets and out right to edges. One hard move, and OK if you figure out beta and are good at locking off.

Botty No Slotty V2 5b
A much friendlier option going out right from the slot and using a big sidepull for the right.

Keeping it Peel V5 6b
Traverse from jug on left arete following lip to finish up at finger jug on far right before broken groove

Peel Slab V1 5a
On the subsidiary boulder is south facing slab that can be climbed on cleaned bits.

Fatty McGinty V2 5b
SS from a gaston and a crimp and throw to lip. Named in honour of an ascentionist who managed to break the starting hold twice after it had been used by several others.

Flat Face V2 5b
The flat face of the boulder is a pleasant problem if you are about 5' 6" or under. Any taller makes the standing start pointless, so to get the tick a SS can be done at a similar grade.

Fatty to Flatty V2 5c From the start of FMG an odd gaston move rightwards allows a move to the top of FF. Improbable until you do it.

A problem has been climbed on the inside of the gap on the subsidiary boulder, traversing leftwards, but details are not really known.

Groover V2 5c
Back on the main boulder tucked behind the Flat Face boulder is an obvious shallow grove that is climbed from a SS. Probably reach dependant, and often damp.

Some problems could be/have been climbed to the right on sharp holds.

Behind Flat Face is a boulder with a low overhang.

Cave Problem V1 5b
From SS with heels on slab, pull up and climb over overhang.

To the left of this and set back is a slabby boulder on a flat rock. There are about 3 / 4 obvious lines on this all of a similar grade VB-VO and good for warming up / beginners.

Left again is another Slabby boulder with a small overhang at the base. Again several similar lines, a couple with logical SS at about V1 grade. A groove to the left can be climbed at about V1 from SS.

Behind these are two large boulders with a cave in between. The boulders would give good easier highballs in the V1-V2 region. The following 2 problems have been climbed by John Watson & Co coming out of the cave:

Hole of Weems arete V3 Font 6b
Sit start the arete to the cave and heel-hook upwards.

Hole of Weems Font 7a
From pockets inside the cave, gain obvious sloper then bulge slopers to round arete.

Further up the hill (from the Peel Boulder) next to the path is a nose of rock that points south with a left slanting groove in it, the Red Roof Boulder. The lines described by John Watson are incomprehensible and don't relate to reality. There are a few good, obvious lines on this nose, as follows, L-R:

Ramp V5 6b ***
The obvious ramp on the left, action packed on rough hard rock. SS on blunt spike, lunge left into the ramp, pull up this and back right to finish on a good apex hold.

Red Nose V4 6b **
The main nose. SS on good left sidepull, lunge right hand sidepull pinch, struggle up to a nice sloper to finish on.

Red Roof V3 6a *
SS on the quarty chalky sidepull thing to the right, pull up and slightly leftwards over the lip.

Heading back down the hill is a west facing slab with a nice problem on the west facing side at about V1, and an odd arete at about V2 grade, unless you cross onto the its right, when it becomes V0 ish.

Far Left Boulders

Sloping Traverse Project
Directly behind Peel Session is a boulder with a slopey rising lip. Start from lowest point and traverse left with assorted heelhooks to easy ground and top out. Would be very hard without heelhooks on lip.

Walking directly west from from the obvious prow of the Red Roof Boulder, there is a small cave formed by a boulder balanced in the corner formed by two others, with a small protruding rock underneath. A problem has been climbed from sitting on the small boulder, pulling up to a good flake and some sharp edges above. at about Font 6c if you have tough tips.

Heading west again is a nice clean sheet of west facing rock, considerably blanker than most of the other rock hereabouts.

Fun Slab Font 5

Climb the middle of the slab using the obvious cleaned slopy hold.

Fun Arete Font 5

Climb the sharp right arete with ands on arete and feet on slab.

Pit Boy Font 7a+ *
Tim Rankin 2005
Well hidden in a north-facing cave in a boulder cluster about 100m left of the Peel boulder, just above a larger boulder cluster. 45 degree roof through slopey incuts. Very cramped, more like bad beta for a caving route. Spotter useful, if you can squeeze one in.

Hanging Crack V4 6b *
Looking back right from the pit boulder, a clean west face is visible 20m away. SS on flatty/sidepull and up to crack gaston, quite good for a one move wonder.

Far Right Boulders

Far right boulders

Just near the parking, across the small marsh, are 2 reasonable size boulders amongst lots of smaller ones. The picture is taken from the road and shows the two climbs with red arrows.

Red Devils V0 5a
This is the right most of the two, and has a red/pink colour downs the middle. Do a sit start using nice angular holds to a slightly akward lip. May be easier if more is cleaned. Robert Hepburn 2008

Reach for the sky V2 5c

Reach for the sky V2 5c

The left most block sits on a smaller block to form a slight overhang. Sit start on the small block that faces the road and then reach up for crimps on the arete to the left and then mantle the top. Robert Hepburn 2008

The Quarry Boulders

From the Quarry Car Park, three boulders can be seen heading up the hill. The first is small but could be climbed from SSs. The next boulder has some good potential for up to half a dozen problems but a bad landing and some gardening would be required.

The Big Cheese

This is the large wedge of rock further up the hillside. A bit of a hike, but some excellent slab problems, described left to right. The ground drops away on the right, so beware of slippery landings and sliding mats.

The Vein V1 5a
Climb the left hand crack exiting leftwards, or finishing direct.

Strong Cheddar V2 5b
Climb the middle of the slab via two vague fangs. Excellent.

Cheesy Wotsit V2? X Rated
Climb the right arête via a start to the left and using a small pocket. A classic gritstone type micro route/highball to finish the day on, as if you succeed you may be too traumatised to try anything else, and if you fail you may be lucky and mat slide or roll as far as the road. HVS 4c may be more appropriate.

The arête could be climbed on its right side, and there is some nice pockety rock to the right of this.

Below the Winter Corrie

From L to R: boulders location taken from red craigs

Beneath the winter corrie three worthwhile boulders have been found. To get there park as for the Red Craigs, and either cross some fields to the river which can be crossed by a small bridge, or follow the track from the quarry. Turn west and follow the tree line until you come to a deer fence. Head up the hill and traverse the deer fence further west. See the photo.

High and Dry Boulder

Andy Marshal. Taken by Carlos
Carlos on Sex Toys

Probably the best boulder of the three. The front face has three good lines on it in the grade range of font 6a to 6b. See the photos, one showing the lines and the other with Andy Marshal near the top of the slightly highball right hand line.

High and dry boulder

The side face of the boulder is much shorter but harder. Two sit start problems exist, the left Sex Panther and is around font 6c and the right is called Sex Toys and is around font 7b+. Again see the photo.

The other two boulders are the Hidden Gem Boulder and The Matheson Stone, both sit below the High and Dry boulder and can be found when following the deer fence, the first one you come to is the Hidden Gem and then around 250yds further westwards is the Matheson stone.

The Hidden Gem

The hidden gem boulder lives up to its name

The Hidden Gem has two good problems (both 6a) on the nose and another three shorter problems to the left of these(see pic below).

The Matheson Stone

The Matheson Stone

The Matheson Stone, has two climbs on its Southern side, The climber in the pic is on a 5c problem and to his left is a climb called 'Simpsons', 7a.

Also, a traverse has been climbed from left to right on this same face. Starting on a perched sit start to the left of the 7a and traversing the pin scar crack and up the finish of the 5c problem using the large undercut, 'No Mat or What', 7b.

Further Bouldering in the Glen

Problems have been climbed below Juanjorge, on boulders with intriguing names like the Hoobestank and Darth Vaders Helmet, but no details have been supplied yet.

The Gate Boulder

The Gate boulder lies to the east of the track just beyond the deer fence/gate that you need to go through on the way to Moulzie. It is smaller than the Juanjorge boulders but on really nice rock. Cleaned up by George Ridge and Neil Shepherd in the main. All problems except one were climbed including a few nice sit starts. The best line resisted efforts and was christened "Malcs wall" right up the front face of the boulder. Crimps to heinous sloping top. Font 7b+ or 7c perhaps.

There also appears to be potential for some excellent bouldering in Corrie Fee, on south facing boulders and in a gorgeous location. They can be access quickly by mountain bike.

The Corrie just west of Loch Brandy looks to have potential for some problems on boulders that can be seen from the ridge above the loch, but have not been explored further. Access is from the Hotel Car Park up a well made path.

Corrie Bonhard (aka Tinker's Lair?)

Some extensive bouldering potential has been discovered in Corrie Bonhard on the Northern side of the glen west of the hotel. A boulder field consisting on some very large boulders can be found below the crags of the corrie. Lines have been climbed by Kenneth and Ronal Henderson in the region of V0 – V2

A Section of the Boulder Field
Ronald on his climb, The Pyramid
Unclimbed Face

There are also rumours of boulders further East along the Glen, the exact whereabouts of which are still not revealed.

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