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Smallacombe Rocks SX 754783

This lovely area been developed over the last 10 years and with most of the problems now climbed. There is a good range of grades with something for everyone in a setting that is both remote a beautiful. The bouldering is quite spread out and not all is obvious so it takes some time to complete a circuit of the area.

Thanks to Jason Maddick for his invaluable help with the topos.

Approach: Park in the Car Park at Haytor Vale (toilets and Dartmoor National Park "shed").

Haytor Area Map

From here walk North ish (i.e.cross the road) along a well-worn (and sometimes boggy) path leading to piles of boulders at an old quarry (this is Haytor Quarry). Continue along the path beyond this and you will come across an old tramway. From here veer over rightwards to a collection of rocks on top of a hill - Smallacombe Rocks.

photo topo - well worth a look to get you familiar with the area!


The plateau area of the summit is the first area you come to and also a good place for a warm up. The first problem is found on a wall with 2 obvious rounded breaks - this should be is right in front of you when walking from Haytor Quarry.

Summit Sector

1  V2 5c Nice wall via the two breaks.

2  V1 5c A low start directly out from the back of the small cave.

3  V0- 4c Start on low break and up to the pointed nose.

The following 3 problems start in the super-low cave:

4  V2 6a Start in the small cave and climb out direct
5  V3 6a Start as for 4 but finish up the right side of the flake above.
6  V5 6b Start in the small cave on the left (as for 4) but keep traversing right, around the corner to finish by tufts of grass.

7  V1 5c A fun and strenuous left to right hand traverse of the obvious rising ledge above the through-cave. Finish over on the right of the cave by pulling up on a good flake.

The next problem is found at the other end of the cave:

8  Cave Wall V3 6a Start on the jug rail in the cave, make a few moves right then up the wall above on breaks.
9  V4 6b Cave Eliminate V4 6b Start on the jug rail of 8 but stretch direct out to slopers on the lip then direct above.
10  V1 5c Starting with hands in the lowest break move up and slightly rightwards.

11  V0- 4a A pleasant slab.
12  Death Jug Mantle V1 5c A thoroughly perverted delight which is not done justice by the grading system!
13  V1 5c The wall in the alcove, starting off the floor.

Back towards Haytor is an isolated block (the walk-in passes close to this)

14  V3 6a Short traverse – start on the flake on the right and use poor holds in the break the gain the flake on the left.
15  V0- 4c The lovely short flake.
16  V2 5c The wall between the flake and arête.
17  V1 5c The short arête on the left side.

The Tower - this is the prominent Tower!!

18  V0- 4c Wall via flake.
19  V0- 4c The arête moving left near the top – topping out direct is 5b.
20  V2 5c Good wall on poor breaks (no left arête).
21  V0 5c The arête and left wall with good holds to finish.

22  V3 6a A short, low traverse. Start on the left, traverse right around corner then up.

23  V2 5c A nice problem up the undercut boulder with your right hand in the crack and left on the arête.
23b  V5 6c Yorkshire Tea A tricky sit start; from the low good hold reach up right to poor sidepull, sort your feet out then slap up to left arete. FA Craig Williams

The following 2 problems are found on a low roof:

24  V2 5c A traverse of the lip of the boulder, finishing around the prow.
25  V1 5c Sit start under roof and move up into the flake.

26  Binocuous Traverse V3 6a A good long traverse starting on the jug on the far right. Follow slopers along the lip then make hard moves to drop down to the flakes (on the next problem). Keep on traversing until halfway along the dirtier side of the block.
27  V1 5b Start on the right flake. Move to left flake then the arête leads to the top.


Amongst the jumble of boulders is a fine problem:

28  V2 5c The hanging arête and crack – excellent.

29  V2 6a The blankish wall on poor breaks. Nice.
30  V0- 4c Cracks in the short buttress.
31  V1 5b The arête, moving leftwards.
32  V2 6a The blank wall above the short groove. Sketchy!

33  V1 5a The arête of the small pillar.

34  V1 5a The wide crack has a tricky start.
35  V0- 4c A pleasant line up the crack.
36  Project A direct up the wall to the left using a vague runnel. High!
37  V3 6b X The wall and left arête to gain the flake in the middle of the nowhere on the face above. Easier for the tall and pretty much a route!

38  No hands up the left side of the slab.

39  V0- 4c The wall via the vague flake.
40  V0- 4c The arête.
41  V1 5c The excellent wall, using the vague crack right of the wide crack.
42  V1 5a The crack – hmmm, nice!

43  V1 5b The leaning wall just right of the arête.

44  V2 5c Scary monster up the and over the half height overhang.
45  V1 5c A more pleasant problem up the wall right of the undercut arête.
46  Undercut Arete V2 6a A superb problem up the arête. The break on the right (near the top) can be missed out to make the best problem (still V2 but a little scarier)
47  V1 5b Direct up the slab to the left side of the top overhang then up the flake to the left.

48  V0- 4c X The short rippled wall is fine but not one to fall off!

49  Smiler V3 6a Start in the low break then move up to the “smiley” hold. Move up left to slopers and struggle round to finish. Using the flake on the right reduces the grade.

PS  V2 6a There's also a steep hidden groove just behind and to the left. Above a "pit": Start at the bottom of the pit and climb the groove. Judicious bridging may reduce the grade.

On the tier above Smiler (49) you'll find the next problem:

50  V2 5c Start on super-low edges with your feet on the boulder on the right. Move up!

51  V0- 4c The short green slab.

52  Hidden Arete V0 5b The arête direct. Excellent. Missing out the cracks/flakes to either side makes for an even better V3 6a 

53  V1 5c The low roof, starting from the back and using the right arête.

54  Fox Hound V6 Vague groove in triangular block. Start L hand on small crimp, R hand on side pull mono thing. Climb to the top using slopers and a side pull (but not the wall on left at this grade apparently).

55  V1 5b Starting from the low nose climb the sharp arête via jug near the top.

56  V0- 5a The stepped buttress.

57  V0- 4b The slab to the left of the big holly tree.


Undercut Block - This is an obvious large, low roof:

58  Slopey Traverse 2 V4 6b A right to left traverse of the slopey lip above the right side of teh roof to finish up the weakness in the middle. Start on the far right.
59  V4 6b From the jug under the roof move left along the line of lower slopers then up to finish as for Slopey Traverse 2.
60  V3 6a Start in the crack on the left and follow the overhanging arête/edge right to the finish of Slopey Traverse 2.
61  Killer Loop V6 6b A mega-long stamina fest. Start up 60 but instead of topping out stay low drop down to the jug under the roof (a bit fiddly to get established on this and alse be careful the whole hold doesn't break off!). Move right again to the start of the Slopey Traverse 2 (on the smaller edges beyond the jug) – finish back left along this!!
62  V3 6a Start in the low crack on the left then make an unpleasant mantle to finish!

63  V2 6a The dirty wall left of the overhang.
64  Quarter Century V4 6b The slanting crack above the widest part of the overhang leads to a long reach to gain the prominent flake – don’t pull too hard as the flake is a little loose! An excellent line. Update: Someone pulled too hard! Probably not climbed since the flake came off?

65  V3 6a The undercut arête – at this grade start with you feet on the boulder to the right. It hasn’t yet been done without the boulder on the right – this will be a hard and may require some flexibility .
66  V4 6b A variation starts with hands on the arête (and feet on boulder) but then moves left to climb the small slopey breaks to the top.

67  V0- 4a The easy slab.
68  V1 5b Mantle using good edge.

69  V3 6b The slab on the big boulder just above the small step is climbed on it’s left side.

70  Korma V3 6a From the flake reach up right to the edge then make a tricky mantle. The boulder to the left can be used to gain the flake.

71  V0- 4c The wall to a huge thread.
72  V3 6a The wall just left of the arête has a hard top-out.
73  V3 6a Protection The excellent leaning wall.

The next problem is found on a large boulder at the bottom of the slope:

74  V3 6a X Climb up and along the L-shaped crack.

75  V2 6a Starting on the low edge/flake head up leftwards.


Contouring rightwards (facing downhill to confuse things) you should see a prominent pyramidal boulder. Walk through the gap to the left of this. Just beyond a dirty-groove-obscured-by-tree and slightly uphill is a fine arete (with very narrow face to the right):

76  V2 5c Sloping arete on right side. Excellent but a little scary.

Back downhill of here is an isolated boulder:

77  V2 5c The arete on it's left side.Dirty but would clean up with more ascents...

To the North is a huge boulder identified by a very impressive overhanging face.

78  Dead Sheep Crack Very Severe 4c The overhanging wide crack right of the steep hanging wall. So named as it holds the remains of a sheep!
79  Gems in a Granite E6 6b The short lower arête (a boulder problem at V2 6a to the break) leads to the runnel above. Above this sketchy moves lead to the top.
80  The Stitch Severe 4b Threads its way through the chimney cave thing.

81  V1 5c Start on the flake on the triangular boulder; move up to the next flake then the top.

82  V0 5a The crack.
83  Project A direct over the roof and up onto the slopey shelf.
84  V2 6a The vague crack leads to a jug on the lip and then tasty rockover.

85  No hands fun up the slab.

86  GW Twat V5 6b The left end of the wall is technical. Not excessively hard for the grade but pretty scary!
87  V2 6a The blankish wall using a slopey break.

… and up to the right in an alcove:

88  V2 5c The short wall starting in the low crack.
89  V2 5c Another short wall which can be made harder by eliminating the left arête.
90  Project The right side of the wall with poor crimp and sidepull.

91  V3 6b The short undercut slab provides an exceedingly awkward problem.

92  Small Acorn V3 6a From the flake under the roof gain the rounded top out (there is a cunning way to do this and a more powerful, less cunning method!) then struggle round.

93  V1 5a The crack over the bulging boulder.
94  V1 5a The short wall to the right.

95  V0- 4c The short slab up to and over the block leaning over the top.


From 93/94 walk up the hill and left and you'll see a 40 ft high crag.

This area is 200 hundred yards from the Summit Sector and is home to the highest buttress at Smallacombe – the problems here tend to be pretty high and there are a few routes that require ropes!!

96  V2 6a From the right traverse to the nose then mantle.
97  V1 5b The cracks in the arête.
98  V1 5b The right wall of the small bay.
99  V1 5b The left wall of the small bay.
100  V1 5a Crack in the side of the tower.
101  V2 6a The right side of the tower face to flakes near top.
102  V2 5c Left side of the face using left arete.

103  Buzzard V1 5b The slanting crack to finish at the ledge (then downclimb/jump!!). HVS if you move left and climb the crack to the top.
104  Buzzard Direct E2 6a A route. From the top of the slanting flake crack of Buzzard continue direct over a small roof to the top of the buttress.
105  Oh Dude V5 6b The slab just left of Buzzard. Excellent climbing on poor breaks and crystals should get you to the first large break where cam can be placed for those who want to continue for the E4 tick.

To the left is a large block with a leaning North face.

106  V1 5a The top arête of the block.

107  Stray Waif V8+ The right arête of the block from sitting. Nasty landing. FA Mike Adams
108  Street Child V9 Sit start then direct through the roof not using the crack of Orphan to the left. FA Mike Adams
109  Orphan V4 6b Start on the flake under the low roof. Move up and use the crack on left to gain better holds above. Finish up the top flake / crack.
110  Project Start just left of the crack of Orphan. Hard pulls on small holds to start lead to a jug. A few more moves up and hopefully over the sloping top-out.
111  Summer Haze V3 6a Start under the left side of the roof. Move up to an unhelpful hold under the roof, then slopers above lead to the upper ledge.
112  Day Tripper V3 6a Start as for Summer Haze to gain the slopers then follow a pumpy traverse rightwards to the finish of Orphan.
113  V1 5c The left wall of the small alcove.
 V2 5c Right wall of alcove. Not laways possible due to pool underneath.

The nearest bouldering crags are: Black Hill | Holwell Tor | Haytor Quarry

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