Glen Croe

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Glen Croe is the lower level glen directly south of the Cobbler. The main crags can be seen on the skyline heading west up the glen, and the large crag below the summit of the Brack can be seen above the trees to the left.


Directions & Approach

Passing through Arrochar village the A83 goes west then south for a couple of miles around the head of Loch Long. A sharp right-hand bend then takes you into Glen Croe. A short way up the road on the left is the Forestry Commission visitor centre. The bus to Oban from Glasgow stops here (ask for Ardgarten), and there is plenty of parking. This is where you park for the Brack and the Kennedy Boulder etc.

Further up the road on the right at a stand of trees the old road forms a convenient parking spot for the crags and for Precious etc., which can all be seen on the hillside just above. Just past this the road bends right where the river goes through a gorge. 100 metres past the gorge on the right is the parking place for Turbinal Nose etc. where a forestry track goes up into the trees. If you get off the bus at Ardgarten and walk up to Turbinal Nose, leave the main road at the parking place on the old road at the trees before the gorge and walk up the old road to where it rejoins the main road as it comes out at the top of the gorge. This way you will be less likely to get squashed by an HGV.

The next bus stop up the glen is at the top - the Rest and Be Thankful. If you happen to be walking or cycling down the forestry track on the south side of the glen from the Rest and Be Thankful remember that where the track forks the lower one eventually goes down to the river above the gorge, whereas the higher one is the track for the visitor centre at Ardgarten or the path up to the Brack.

To reach the Brack, cross the bridge from the visitor centre and turn right to walk up the forestry track going up the glen to the west. After about 15 minutes turn up the signposted path to the Brack that goes steeply up the hill through the trees by the east side of a burn. After 5-10 minutes (depending on how fast you walk) the first boulders at the top of the trees are reached. Above the stile another 5-10 minutes takes you across the hillside above the trees to the Kennedy Boulder. The big crag on the Brack and many other boulders below it can be seen higher up.

If you get the bus to Glen Croe please note that they do not pick up passengers from the Ardgarten visitor centre when coming back down the glen. The 'Ardgarten' stop going in both directions is offically Ardgarten campsite, but the bus actually stops either at Ardgarten visitor centre further up the glen or pulls onto the verge a short way before it. Going back down the glen the best place to catch the bus is at the layby on the long straight by the side of Loch Long - i.e. you have to walk back round the sharp bend below the visitor centre and along the road towards Arrochar for a couple of hundred metres. If you wait for the bus at this stop you need to attract the driver's attention - vigorously. If it is dark this means standing a little out into the road as the bus approaches and waving a headtorch, otherwise the driver will not necessarily stop. If the driver says that the layby isn't a stop and you shouldn't wait for the bus there, point out that this service is what Citylink call a 'hail and ride' service, which means that anywhere before Balloch the driver is obliged to pull over to pick up passengers provided that, in the driver's judgement, it is safe to do so. Therefore, if you wait at the 'official stop' opposite Ardgarten campsite the bus will very likely go straight past you without stopping, as it is on a blind corner with no verge.

The alternative is to leave the main road just below the visitor centre and follow the cycle path that takes you up onto the forestry track that runs along the hillside above and parallel to the main road. When you pass a mobile phone mast and buildings look out for the path zig-zagging down the hill towards the parking place for the Cobbler at the head of Loch Long, from where you can walk back round to Arrochar village and sit in the pub waiting for the bus - which will pick you up if you are standing at the bus stop near the old Post Office. Allow 10 minutes to walk back to the visitor centre from the parking at the old road, 20 minutes from Turbinal Nose, and an hour to walk back round from Ardgarten to the village (it doesn't actually take an hour if you walk at a normal speed - but you're better safe than sorry).

Routes - South Side

Tick Tock... E6 20m ***
Dave MacLeod (July 2002)
6b. This route takes the stunning overhanging arete right of The Sharp Kiss on Upper Crag. The route features bold climbing with sparse protection. Climb the arete on good holds to a jug (sideways wire). A hard move leads to a finger jug on the arete. Boldly make a long reach from this and continue on improving holds to an easy but serious finish.

Love Buzz E7 20m ***
Dave MacLeod (June 1998)
The excellent but very serious direct start to Marabou Stork Nightmares. With the only protection at ground level to the left, climb the scoop to its top then make desperate moves rightwards on tiny quartz crimps to gain a three finger pocket and then the big jug on Marabou. Finish as for this route. A pad on the rocky slope below gives psychological help, but falling off wouldn't be funny on this route.

Imposition E4 10m *
Dave MacLeod (April 2001)
This good little solo takes the bulging wall and smooth slab at the left end of Independence Crag. Climb the small niche, move right along a break and pull through the bulge on small holds (crux). Climb the easier finishing slab leftwards to a good finishing hold and sapling.

The Fugue E9 20m ***
Dave MacLeod (Ocotber 2002)
A very serious climb, taking the obvious challenge of the central overhanging wall on Upper Crag. Start just left of Short Sharp Shock and climb a straightforward groove to a soft break. Place an assortment of dubious wires and small cams in this. Step left and lauch up the overhanging wall with increasing difficulty to a desperate slap from a small undercut. Continue up and left to a jug on the lip. In a serious position, move up and right through the bulge to twin pockets and fiddle two wires into the left hand pocket. Climb the strenuous and crimpy wall above direct to a good finishing jug. F8a+ to top rope or Font 7b+ for the crux moves.

Boulder Dash VS 15m
Stuart Burns
Start up a wide crack left of The Sharp Kiss. Move right at a patch of quartz to gain a hand-rail. Follow this to the centre and finish direct up the slab. (VS 4c)

Bouldering - South Side

Pitstop Boulder

The Pitstop Boulder, right by the road, behind the sycamore, 200 yards up from the woodwell parking place. Easier lines may have been done before, but reported here for the sake of it.

Pitstop Font 5 10m *
00-07-2005 John Watson (July 2005)
This climbs the handrail from left arete to right past midway crack. Finish by swinging round the arete and up Mutley.

Mutley Font 4 5m *
John Watson (July 2005)
The right arete of the main wall can be climbed from jugs round corner, pulling left from hidden hold onto ledges and thrilling finish up wall to top.

Dastardly Font 6a 10m
John Watson (July 2005)
The central crack from a sit start to jugs and ledges, finishing by walking right and finishing up Mutley.

Rake Humour Font 6b+ 6m **
John Watson (July 2005)
The right arete from a sit start, RH pinch/ slot, LH crimp, up to main jug by crossover, match crimps on steep wall, then gain the big pocket(or heelhook and cross through to pocket LH), steady it then throw for flat ledge, two moves up and right to step off finish. Eliminate but as much fun as watching someone get a rake in the face. Maybe easier in the cool.

Bear Hug Boulder

East of the Beer Can Boulder is a boulder standing alone, 15m below two overhanging aretes.

Care Bear Font 4+ 3m
Dan Gates (August 2003)
Climb the arete at the back of the boulder (the north side).

Bear Hug Font 7a 3m *
Dave MacLeod July 2002)
This problem climbs the prow on the west side of the boulder, just left of a short corner. Sit start off a jug (no ledge on the left). Clamp desperately up the arete (no holds on right allowed) to a good hold. Continue more easily to the top.

The Hotsteppa Font 6c 2m *
Dave MacLeod (July 2002)
This problem climbs the stepped arete on the glen side of the boulder. Sit start and use the steps and heelhooks all the way. No holds further back on the left wall! British 6a.

Submarine Afternoon Font 4+ 5m *
Dan Gates (August 2003)
10m up hill from the Bear Hug Boulder is a small slabby wall facing down the glen (east). Start in middle at the widest part and climb the wall, trending to the right at first on good holds. Move slighty left using underclings to finish.

Hideaway Boulder

The obvious large boulder just up the hillside above the carpark at the old road.

Take 2: Vindaloo Font 6c 6m
Dave MacLeod (May 2003)
At the left end of the highball unclimbed front wall is a crackline, above a boggy patch of ground. Swing into this from to jug on the left and climb it with huge locks between good holds. Flash it or get wet and muddy!

Stonghold Font 8a 6m ***
Dan Varian 2013 The face to the left of Precious on small crimps

Precious Font 7c 6m ***
Michael Tweedley (July 2003)
Climb obvious overhanging arete. Eases on top section.

The Vultures Font 7a+ 2m
Dave MacLeod (April 2003)
To the right of the huge nose problem is a small rippled hanging slab. SS on the left edge of this. Using the highest holds you can reach, pull on and throw for a crimp on the left of the arete. use this to rock round and finish up the slab.

Slab Variation Font 6c+ 2m *
Dave MacLeod (April 2003)
This climbs the right edge of the small hanging slab from a sit start on undercuts, moving leftwards. A variation on an existing problem which uses the crack out right.

Hidden Boulder

A well-hidden boulder in the woods west of the main areas. 50 yards into woods on north side of glen, about 500 yards west of the Beer Can Boulder.

Flash Bastard Font 7b 3m **
Dave MacLeod (April 2003)
This problem climbs the centre of the fingery wall direct on thin crimps (standing start).

Jah Wobble Font 6c 6m **
Michael Tweedley (April 2003)
Start with left hand in quartz hole and jump to hand-rail traverse left and wobble up the arete. Spotter desirable.

The Nose Font 5 5m
Michael Tweedley (April 2003)
On the left of the boulder is a wee nose. ss and climb out on jugs.

Woodwell Boulder

Wireless Font 6a+ 5m
Michael Tweedley (March 2003)
To the left of Crack Head, left of obvious blunt arete. SS on wee crimps then small holds to lip. Mantel and climb vague groove.

Turbinal Nose Font 7c 6m ***
Dave MacLeod (April 2003)
This superb powerful arete is climbed from a sit start. Clamp upwards to slap for the block on the lip, move slightly right then mantel back left to a good finshing pocket.

Crack Head Font 6b 5m ***
00-03-2003 Michael Tweedley (March 2003)
Sit start, climb obvious crack and jump off at jug on top. Rather swing in and jump. OUCH!

Twenty Four Seven Font 7b+ 4m *
Dave MacLeod (May 2003)
Right of Crack Head is a steep wall. SS near the right of this, hands on a flat jug. pull up to a crimp then move left into quartz undercut. Cross through (burly!) to gain crimps and a finish up Crack Head. Biceps required.

The Amazing Mr Crawshaw Font 6b+ 5m *
Nic Crawshaw (March 2003)
To the right of Crack Head is a boulder with a few wee problems. SS at obvious hold and make move to wee hand rail, slap right then make tricky mantel onto slab. Finish direct.

Supercrack Boulder

A small hidden crag right of and level with Independence Crag.

Supercrack Font 7b 6m ***
Dave MacLeod (August 2002)
A stunning crack problem, worth a visit on its own. It climbs the awesome curving crack in the 50 degree overhanging front face. Sit start and follow the crack on slopers (or jams?!) to swim up the easier final section on excellent pinches and footjams to a jammed block. Brilliant although still slightly sandy.

Cutting Room Boulder

Large boulder 100m left of Middle Crag.

The Cutting Room Font 7b+ 2m ***
Dave MacLeod (July 2002)
This problem climbs the overhanging wall left of the nose problem. Start sitting at a good sidepull and low rail. Move up past razor thin crimps and use a press to gain a good sharp pocket and jugs. Classic.

No Sweat Font 7a+ 2m *
Dave MacLeod (August 2002)
Start slightly left of The Nose, Cutting Room Boulder. Pull up using a slopey crimp and deadpoint a pinch on the left wall (thumb in pocket). Slap to the quartz jug on the nose to finish. No holds on the arete allowed.

The Nose Font 6a+ 3m ***
The obvious excellent nose facing up the glen. Sit start on sidepulls, reach to good slopers on the lip and move left to good finishing holds. British 5c.

Swap Meet Font 7b 4m *
Dave MacLeod (July 2002)
Round to the right of the obvious nose problem is a short steep wall. Start below this at a jug (no feet on rock under boulder). move left on small crimps below an overlap to gain a flat edge just round the corner. Use heelhooks to move into the nose problem and finish up this. British 6c.

Scoff Font 6a 2m *
Dave MacLeod (July 2002)
This problem climbs the short steep wall right of the nose directly. Start at the low jug (no feet on rock at base) and climb direct. British 5c.

Break it Down Font 7a 4m
Dave MacLeod (July 2002)
A good - if contrived - problem on the small boulder 20m up the hill from the Cutting Room Boulder. It traverses the obvious break below the top of the overhanging wall. Start sitting on a rock at a pocket (no sidepull above). Reach the first part of the break and make technical moves to gain the next bit. Hang in there for one more cross through to gain better holds and the top.

Fernandez Boulder

Fernandez Font 6b+ 2m **
Michael Tweedley
On boulder in front of Ace of Spades. Climb the snakey arete untill you gain a good hold on right. Then crimp like beast and gain final jug.

Lopez Font 7a+ 8m **
Dave MacLeod (July 2002)
A low level left to right traverse of the crimpy wall. Start at the right arete and climb past the jug at the start of Fernandez. use small crimps to cain the starting pocket of Snapster. A huge cross through gains the starting jug of Beast from which a stretch gains the groove on the extreme right. Finish up this. sustained 6b.

Lopez Variation Font 7b 8m
Dave MacLeod (August 2003)
Follow the traverse of Lopez until just before the good jug at base of groove. Now climb the wall just left of the groove edge on painful micro crimps and sidepulls.

Beast Font 6a 2m *
Michael Tweedley
On right is an obvious jug. Sit start, gain next jug then crimp up wall.

Snapster Font 6b 2m *
Michael Tweedley Sit start from obvious two-finger pocket to gain tiny quartz edge, pull from this and follow small holds to jug at top. Watch rock under mat.

Right Hand Arete Font 5+
The right hand arete from a SS into big undercuts/sidepulls. A nice warm-up.

Beer Can/Roadside Boulder

This is located just a short way off the road where the old road rejoins the new road above the gorge. Identified by its undercut base and a small stream flowing from beneath it.

Axeman Font 7c+ 6m ***
Dave MacLeod (July 2002)
Start at undercuts just under the roof lip, 3m left of Ace of Spades. Make two desperate right hand slaps and gain a small crimp on the left. A desperate off-balance dyno might gain the finishing jugs. Stroll up the wall above. Brutal but also technical, British 7a.

Ace of Spades Font 7a+ 4m **
Dave Redpath (10 September 2001)
The problem takes the crack left of the boulder's right arete. Sit start, ascend the crack to a righthand exit. Very self-defeating, similar to The Yorkshireman at Kyloe In.

Beer Can Font 6c+ 4m *
Dave Redpath (6 July 2001)
Right arete of the road side boulder, from sit down take a low crimp on arete with right and 2 finger pocket with left, a hook should get you upward to better holds. Jamaican Bacon!

Bouldering - North Side

Bivvy Boulder

Broken Home Font 6a*
Michael Tweedley (August 2002)
The obvious sharp arete.

Thermo-static Font 7c*
Dave MacLeod (September 2003)
Block leaning against Bivvy Boulder. Climb the slanting arete facing the Kennedy Boulder from a SS on low holds. Big pinches and slopers.

Face Full of Bush Font 6b***
Anthony Baker (September 2003)
On the small boulder 20m right of the Bivvy Boulder. From SS on a sloping hold at the left end of the steep face make a reachy move to a pocket. Climb straight up and over the highest point on the boulder.

Shallow Pockets Font 5+
Anthony Baker (September 2003)
On the same boulder as Face Full of Bush. From two small pockets on the centre of the face make a lunge for the top!

Tickle Him! Font 4+
Anthony Baker (Sep 2003)
On the same boulder as Face Full of Bush. Traverse the lip from the right end of the boulder to finish up Shallow Pockets.

No Bellyflop Required Font 4c***
Dominic Kehoe, Anthony Baker (September 2003)
On the large boulder 30m down and to the right of the Bivvy Boulder. Climb the obvious smooth left side of the arete to an exposed sloping finish.

Wimp Font 5+*
Dominic Kehoe (September 2003)
On the same boulder as No Bellyflop Required. Just to the right, climb straight up on brittle rock to a sharp finish.

Sharp Font 4+*
Dominic Kehoe (September 2003)
Traverse along the lip from right to left and finsh up Wimp.

Un-named Font 3
Dominic Kehoe (September 2003)
On the west face of the same boulder as Wimp. Climb the obvious central mossy slab to the top.

The Kennedy Boulder

Crossfire Font 6a
Left hand line on jugs

Assassin Font 6b**
Michael Tweedley (July 2002)
On the front face at the left hand side. Obvious good holds to lip then weird rockover.

Assassin Direct Font 6c*
Dave MacLeod (September 2002)
Climb Assassin until below a hole in the wall. Move up and left on smaller holds to gain a left facing groove with a good finishing hold.

Happy Birthday Mr President Font 7c*
Dave MacLeod (September 2002)
This powerful problem takes the obvious challenge right of Assassin. Sit start at the good undercuts. Without using the boss on the problem just to the left, launch upwards to the crozzly two-handed finger jug (aggression useful). Match this and make a further tricky move to gain slopers directly above and the top.

Ebb & Flow Font 7c+*
Dave MacLeod (September 2003)
A more direct entry to The Hotline. SS one metre to the left of the quartz of The Hotline, LH low but good sidepull, RH sharp undercut, RF toe hook. Get established and powerfully span to the diagonal jug on The Hotline. Finish up this.

The Hotline Font 7c+**
Dave MacLeod (August 2002)
Near the left end of the front face is a quartz intrusion low down. Start sitting with hands in the quartz. Gain a slopey crimp directly above then make a desperate slap left to diagonal jugs. If you hold the Kung Fu, match the jug and make a big but easier dyno for the lip jugs and rock over. The dyno from standing is Font 6c+.

The Nuclear Button Font 7c+***
Dave MacLeod (September 2002)
Start in the quartz slopers as for The Hotline. climb directly with difficulty to the obvious hollow block. Get psyched and dyno for the top. Frustrating. The dyno from standing is a good problem in itself at Font 7a+.

Float like a Butterfly, Sting like a Bieber Font 7a+
Fraser Mclwraith 2013
Dyno from small crimps in the centre of the face to the lip.

Cavalcade Font 7a**
Michael Tweedley (August 2002)
As for Trigger Happy but cross into flakey press and follow good holds leftwards to flake. Chuck for lip and lunge for good hold. (Harder now holds have broken, sorry Mike, me too fat JW 2007.)

Trigger Happy Font 7b***
Michael Tweedley (August 2002)
To the left of So Jackie O is a obvious line up flakes and pockets. Use flake to gain press and then make painful pocket moves to get sloper on lip.

So Jackie O Font 7b**
Dave MacLeod (August 2002)
Sit start just left of Conspiracy below some undercuts. Pull up on the undercuts and make a hard stretch to a distant sloper. Match this and move right past a dubious jug and finishing rockover. Powerful.

Conspiracy Font 6c+*
Michael Tweedley (August 2002)
On right front face is a wee hanging bulge. SS From crimps to hand rail then boost to jugs and mantel out.

Brinkmanship Font 7b**
Dave MacLeod (August 2002)
This problem climbs the attractive 50 degree roof right of Conspiracy. Sit start in the centre of the roof. use thin edges to make a hard reach to a slopey edge on the lip. gain another sloper just above and move right to a jug. rock up and make a long reach up and left to an inverted jug. Finish leftwards.

Lookin Down a Barrel Font 6c
Dave MacLeod (September 2002)
Sit start just left(?) of Pretty in Pink at a rib. Heelhook the rib and make a big lock to gain a letterbox on the lip, up and left. Finish leftwards as for Brinkmanship.

Pretty in Pink Font 6a
Michael Tweedley (August 2002)
To the right of Brinkmanship is a obvious small line. Starting at quartz gain lip and exit right to big hold on slab.

Bullit Font 7a**
Stephen Richardson (September 2002)
Start about 5m right of Conspiracy in an obvious groove. Traverse leftwards along the lip on petite crimps until you reach a groove to the left of Conspiracy. Then rock over on to the slab, that is if you have any oomph left! Interesting outing and named after the obscene amounts of falls taken due to exploding crimps! (More holds fell off 2006 JW but still doable.)

Brains, Shoulders, Knees and Toes Font 6a**
Stephen Richardson (September 2002)
Take the blank slab face of the Kennedy Boulder looking out across the glen. Get up on to the middle section of the slab (considerable amount of knee action in first ascent) and then teeter up the middle of the slab. Falling would not be a pleasant experience, however a great bold route.

Lone Gunman Font 6c*
Michael Tweedley (August 2002)
At the back of the Kennedy Boulder is a 60 degree roof. On right side is obvious layback feature. SS Then gain quartz pocket and a couple of slopers lead to good holds. Mantel out.

The Grassy Knoll Font 6a*
Michael Tweedley (August 2002)
On the roof at the back of Kennedy Boulder on the left hand side. SS on jugs, go left and make tricky rockover on lip to finish.

Vietnam Font 6c *
The back wall of the boulder has a low cave roof. This problem takes the central hanging rail left to a rock out to the obvious cleaned flake. Often wet.

Brain Drain Font 7b**
Michael Tweedley (September 2002)
SS from quartz block, straight up to rail of Vietnam and to lip then make desperate mantel out using small side pull.

Bullet in Your Head Font 7b+*
Dave MacLeod (September 2002)
This varied problem takes the obvious curving line in the centre of the back roof on the Kennedy Boulder. Sit start at a dubious two finger pocket. A big lock from this gains the slot in the crack and leads to a tenuous finish on slopers.

Oswald Font 6b**
Michael Tweedley (August 2002)
If looking out to Glen Croe from the Kennedy Boulder go right, heading towards the approach path. There is a shield of rock that leans onto another boulder. SS at good holds then climb the steep wall until able to gain holds on lip. Lunge for a two-handed jug then top out.

Stilton Font 6a**
Dominic Kehoe, Anthony Baker (September 2003)
20m uphill from the right end of the Kennedy Boulder. From SS climb the obvious overhanging lip to the left arete. Pull over on good holds.

Mould Font 6a+**
Dominic Kehoe, Anthony Baker (September 2003)
On the same boulder as Stilton SS from good crimps on the centre of the face and climb straight over the bulge to a tricky finnish.

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