(SX 76 81)
This excellent area contains several of Dartmoor's hardest routes, as well as a handful of easier ones and some very good bouldering. To top it all of it has superb views down the Bovey Valley and is very quiet. Sightings of deer are common here and if you're extra lucky you may see an owl!
Approach: There are several different approaches - my favoured one is this (it is also possible to approach through the village of Lustleigh then take signs for Pethybridge or Rudge, then turn right).
From Bovey Tracey take the Manaton road. Carry on along here until a right turn at the bottom of a hill signed for Lustleigh. Follow this road for approx. 1 mile, over a bridge and then take a left turn immediately after. Carry straight on along here for about 1 mile until a layby on the right (just before a footpath on the left, opposite some houses and identified by a boulder on the right)
Follow the path, taking the right hand option after the gate, up the hill to the very top a short ditance after the path veers right. From here a vague path leads down to the left into the woods - this leads beneath the The Nutcrackers. Carrying on along the ridge path will lead, after about 5 minutes to an obvious Tor on the left - this is Harton Chest. Continuing along beyond Harton Chest the path opens up into heathland. After a further 5 minutes walking down left through dense gorse leads to the fine bouldering venue of Raven's Tor.
SX 773 815
The Nutcrackers is a pinnacle with a 40 foot face on one side, split by an obvious crack:
Bamboozled E4 6a**
45ft The obvious crack starts wide and petres out near the top. Well 'ard and has had very few repeats. The lower crack looks OK but the finish doesn't...also, a fall will probably leave you jammed inside the crack! FA Simon Cook
Lev E6 6b***
The arete to the right of Bamboozled. A superb route that awaits an onsight ascent. 50ft From the base of the gully on the right make a technical and committing traverse leftwards to gain the rounded arete. The right side of this leads to a deep break at mid height. Place your first gear! The easier but still dangerous arete above leads, on it’s left side, to a rounded finish. FA Dave Henderson, Steve Seale (Headpoint) 1.9.99
? E4 5c The right side of the upper Lev arete. FA Rob Lisney
To the right is a wide crack that goes at V.Diff (this is the top of a route called Split Pinnacle FA 1950's). To the right again is another short arete:
Walnut Arete HVS 5a The unprotected arete up and right of Lev is on the left hand side. FA DAve Henderson, Dave Ferguson (solo) Mid 1990's
? E5 6b An unprotected route up the the steep right hand side of the same arete. FA Rob Lisney
About 20 yards East (i.e right if facing the Bamboozled from below) is a small buttress with a central corner crack and flake crack on the left:
Polly Wants a... S 4a
25ft The short but sweet crack left of the corner. FA 1950's
A direct start will go up the slabby wall to the bottom of the crack.
Short But Sweet VS 4c
25ft The layback corner crack thing. FA 1950's
To the right of this is a very attractive scoopy thing leading up leftwards - this provides a fine boulder problem.
Flying Alligators E4/5 6a
20 ft The exact location of this route is still to be confirmed. It climbs an unprotected wall. FA Simon Young '99
From the bottom of Lev/Bamboozled walk down the valley and to the left for about 50 yards and another buttress is found. On the other side of this (i.e. the side facing the bottom of the valley) is a wall with a groove left of centre. The groove provides the line of the following route:
Kev ? 6c #
The route has been left without an adjectival grade as the hard bit is of boulder problem length. However, a fall would would without doubt have "route" consequences as the landing is a bit poor! 30 ft Step off the boulder at the base of the groove and follow it to some quite tricky moves on slopers to gain the sloping ramp above. Finish easily above. FA Dave Henderson (solo with helmet and first aid kit to hand (!) after top rope) 18 June 2002
On the right hand side of the buttress is slab, steepening up into a crack. This goes at about E1 (Dave Ferguson onsight solo 2002).
The whole area is littered with boulders and lots of potential for new bouldering. Most of these will require cleaning so before hastily ripping down ivy and moss have a little think: Is it worth it for a mediocre problem? (obviously it is for a classic!!)
(Referred to as Raven’s Tor in the SD+D Guide).
The routes are described Right to Left:
Sow's That E3 5c
A right to left traverse of the break above the slab. 50ft Beneath the right hand side of the buttress is a large boulder. Step of this and move up and then leftwards to gain the break. Follow this leftwards until beneath a flake just left of the rounded left arete. FA 1989
Silk Purse E4 6a * #
50ft Step off the boulder below the right hand side of the buttress (as for Sow's That) and climb to the base of a thin crack above the break. Climb this to gain the upper break which is traversed leftwards to finish. FA 1989
The Pork Chop Route E7 6c ** #
This is the obvious challenge of the blank central slab. The climbing is very thin, precarious and unprotected (apart from the bouldering mats opiled up beneath!) 45ft Start to the left of the buttress. Step onto a boulder then move up the wall to a break (as for The Hog’s Back). Traverse this rightwards until beneath the centre of the slab, as far right as you can go on the break (this point is directly above the start of Hung for the Slaughter). Make a committing step up onto a smear then climb crystals to gain the deep break. Traverse left along this then up the flake above. Awaits a direct finish…which will be hard! FA Simon Young '98 (solo after top roping)
Hung For the Slaughter V5 6b
A boulder problem through the overhang beneath the the main slab (Pork Chop Route) followed by a slopey traverse left along the break to gain the arete of The Hog's Back. FA Traditional!
Direct start to The Hog’s Back V5 6b/c
Straight up the arete beneath the Original. So far done with a mat/cheating block to start. The tall won't need this and a super hard problem will eventually go from holds in the roof....
The Hog’s Back E5 6a ***
One of the classic routes of the Moor. Relatively "easy" climbing but scary and dangerous. The route can be led (small Friends in the break, then large Friends and wire protects the finish) although a few of it's ascents have been soloed. Probably worth leading if going for the onsight as the top is well protected. 45ft The rounded left arete of the buttress. Start on a block at the base of the gully to the left. Step up right to the break then traverse right to gain the arete. FA Chris Nicholson, Iain Peters 30/4/86 (with abseil rope close to hand)
Pig Headed E6 6a/b * #
A dangerous route! Large Friends (#4 or prefably bigger) are useful for the deep break. 45ft Climb the slab to the left of The Hog’s Back to gain a deep break. Climb directly up the wall above on phenocrysts with bad (or should that read good!) fall potential. FA Simon Young ‘98
Blodwyn Oldspot E5 6a *
A lovely but short line. 30ft 20 feet left of The Hog’s Back is a buttress with a narrow, clean front face. This route climbs the front face (using the left arete) and is pretty gnarly, especially if for the short (in which case it’s probably 6b). FA Ben Rowe (top roped first) Winter 1998. Repeated by M Crocker who upgraded it.
About 20 yards to the left of the main crag is a small bay (this is just left of the previous route). The right hand wall is home to an E1 5c up the obvious crack in the slab/wall:
Feldspar Sky E1 5c 30ft A boulder problem route that you wouldn’t want to fall from. It takes the short central arete at the back of the bay (i.e R of the JaVu boulder) initially on the right then on the left to gain a large tree route. Finish up the easy corner to the right. FA Martin Crocker 11.10.98 solo
...javu E7 6c **
A thin and precarious solo with some good injury potential and a fall bigger than the route. 15ft In the centre of the bay is a large boulder with an obvious steep blank face. This route climbs the hanging slab above and left of this. From the base of the gully step right on to the slab then climb direct to the top. FA Dave Henderson 11.10.98 (solo after Top Roping) Note: the route has also been repeated with a side belayer and mat, probably reducing the grade..
About 50 yards down the valley-side from JaVu is a short buttress with a narrow slabby front face, an arete and steeper left wall:
Big Bad Wolf E5 6a **
25ft The unprotected left arete is climbed on it’s left side. A mat takes the sting out of it; a few mats and spotters make it a highball boulder problem. Graded for a mat free ascent. FA Simon Young solo after inspection ‘99
Rumbles in the Jungle E4/5 5c/6a * #
30ft The right hand side of the Big Bad Wolf arete. Unprotected and dangerous. FA James Tippins and Jason Maddick (both solo).
The following route is located on a small buttress further up the valley from javu. Basically head down hill just as you get onto the open heath.
Boyz in the wood E2 5b #
20` The obvious arete stepping in from the left. A good cam can be placed from the ground although falling from the last couple moves may result in a boulder scraping. 1st ascent Tog and Jase. 1st June 2002.
Further along the ridge one may be lucky enough to find the elusive Raven's Tor which is home to some excellent bouldering with fantastic views.
Thanks to Boreal for supporting the site!
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