Causey Quarry, Main Wall area
OS Landranger Sheet: 88
Aspect: North West
Approach: 2 minutes
Mini Guide: Causey Quarry Mini Guide (PDF)
Situation and Character
Causey is an old quarry of reasonably sound sandstone offering several quality routes and good bouldering. It is a sheltered location, which usually allows all year round climbing. Proximity to Tyneside and ease of access makes this; without doubt, the most frequented crag in the North East and the large amount of traffic is taking its toll on the crag environment. Trees and vegetation on top of the crag have suffered particularly badly and this has led to material being washed down during rainy periods making some routes particularly dirty and sandy.
The nearness to Causey Arch and Tanfield Railway has made this a very popular location with tourists as well as climbers making the whole climbing environment very delicate and one that should be looked after carefully.
The quarry was discovered by Nev Hannaby and along with other members of the Crag Lough Group, including Albert Rosher, Eric Rayson and Geoff Oliver, was developed into a popular evening venue. The father and son partnership of Ed Thompson and Ed Thompson have been guardians of the quarry ever since with Ed junior a permanent feature soloing up, down and all around the crag with his tee shirt left on a strategic ledge. Karl Telfer climbed Sandman during the seventies. Paul Linfoot made the first ascent of Perplexity (1st August 1981) and straightened out the middle section the following year (Karl Telfer also made an ascent of Perplexity around the same time, perhaps just before Paul). Gorgeous George Hayden made the first free ascent of Mauler Roof.
Access and Approaches
In County Durham just off the A6076 between Sunniside and Stanley. New tourist signposts for the Causey Arch make this one of the easiest crags to locate in the guide. Opposite the Causey Arch public house is a side road. Take this and immediately after crossing the railway turn left into the car park. Left of the toilet block a track, sign posted to Causey Arch, leads downhill to the crag in 2 minutes.
Take ALL litter home - even if it's not yours!
Use a sling around trees when top roping.
Use only soft soled shoes.
Groups should try to find a more suitable location for abseiling as this is a major cause of erosion on top of the Mauler, Mangler, Dangler area, leaving the whole area dangerously unstable and slippery especially when damp.
The climbs are described from left to right.
The descent is to the East, (left when facing the rock) of the crag.
The routes are described from left to right...
There are an infinite number of minor variations claimed and counter claimed. Only the main lines are described here.
1. Wall Route One 4m S 4b
Takes the middle of the short wall on the left of the crag.
2. Black Crack 5m VD
The aptly named chimney crack.
3. Easy Buttress 6m M
The easy angled buttress starting on the right and moving leftwards the more easily up to the top.
4. Spider Crack 6m S 4b
The short corner crack, exiting left at the overhang.
5. Wall Route Two 6m HS 4c
The cracked wall 1 metre right of the corner of Spider Crack. This problem is usually finished by traversing left to the finish of Spider Crack.
It is possible to continue straight up the wall above the crack, at 4c, but it is rarely in good condition.
6. Dusky Maiden 10m S 4c
The stepped blunt arête.
The crag takes a right-angled turn and gains height.
7. Quarry Wall 12m VS 4c
Start at the crack on the left of the overhanging wall. Follow this through the overhang, stepping left onto a ledge. Up the wall using a rectangular pocket then over the bulge on good holds.
The arête immediately to the right of the "pocket" wall goes at 4c.
8. Overhanging Wall 12m HVS 5b
Good but strong will power is required to resist the temptation to step right on to easier ground from the crux. Climb the short wall 1 metre left of the corner chimney, to a ledge. Up the cracked wall above to a thin crack on the right and a good hold at its top. Then the bulge above.
9. Crack and Chimney 15m S 4b *
The obvious corner crack is climbed until it closes. Moves on the left wall lead into the upper chimney.
10. The Mauler 18m E3 5b *
Climb the short rib right of the corner to a ledge. Hand traverse right for 3 metres. Reach up and left to a series of ledges that lead to the large overhang. Step right and pull over leftwards.
"I just thought you might be interested to know
that a pretty crucial crimp appears to have snapped off the Mauler at Causey
Quarry at some point over the winter. I suspect this may have affected the tech
grade a bit (I consider that move off the traverse to be the crux), and I reckon
it will definitely have an impact on the grade if the scar where it snapped off
11. Mauler Roof 18m E5 6b
A boulder problem in the sky. The large roof is taken direct.
George Hayden 1980s
Try combining the above with boulder problem ii. Start in the corner right of Mauler, step up and with hands on the second overhang step right and up to join the Mauler traverse (6b). Continue up and step left then straight over the roof above (6a).
Start about 1.5m left of The Mangler directly under the overhang, Climb over the overhang using any hold left of the crack, a long stretch to a crimp on the left is needed. Cross straight over Mauler Traverse and continue super direct to only runner in line with Mauler Roof. Finish directly up with a dynamic move for the top. A long reach may benefit.'
Peter Holder 22 August 2009 The Start of my route at Causey, is similar to
Problem 3, However the crack of Mangler is not used.
Peter Holder bouldering out the start to his new route.
12. Mangler 18m HVS 5b ***
The obvious central weakness gives a good, strenuous and popular route.
13. Perplexity 18m E6 6c *
Climb the thin crack 1 metre right of Mangler and up to the overhang. Take the overhang at its widest point and up to a flat hold on the left. Up the centre of the wall to a horizontal break and easier climbing.
Paul Linfoot 1980s Also climbed by Karl Telfer around the same time.
14. Dangler 18m E3 5c **
Follow old peg scars to the roof. Over the roof leftwards then up and back right to better holds leading leftwards to the top.
It is also possible to climb the over the roof as for Dangler then continue directly to the top at a more sustained 5c.
15. Strangler 18m E4 6b *
Climb the wall right of the peg scars to a ledge. Long reaches up the wall and over the overhang leads to better holds on the Dangler. Follow this to the top.
16. Hangover 10m E1 5b
Takes the thin crack and block overhang. Climb the wall to the crack then the overhang to better holds.
Two variations are possible;
5b climb the wall to the right of the crack and the diagonal line rightwards round the overhang.
6b climb the wall and overhang just right of the thin crack and block overhang.
17. Letterbox Wall 10m E1 5b
The wall on the right has a "letter box" at 5m. Climb up to this and use it to surmount the wall above. The exit is the second worst of the crag!
18. Route 2.5 10m HVS 5a
A short corner, an overhang and the short wall above lead to the crux!
19. Route 2.75 10m HVS 5b
Just right of the short corner mantle the ledge and climb the wall to the break in the overhang, over this and up to the top.
20. The Arête 8m HS 4b
Mantle the ledge and climb the arête.
Right Hand Area
21. Wall Route Three 10m S 4b
About 1 metre right of the arête, climb a crack to a large flake. Climb on to the flat top of the flake. Step left and onto the top.
22. Hanging Crack 12m MVS 4b
Climb the corner past a ledge to beneath an overhang. Step right and follow a crack to the top.
VS 5a Start just right of the corner. Mantelshelf and climb the wall until holds lead into the corner.
VS 4c Climb the large overhang instead of stepping right.
23. Causey Crack 12m VS 4c ***
Start 1 metre right of the corner, mantelshelf the ledge then climb up to the niche and follow the crack to the top.
24. A Means to an End 12m VS 4c
Start at the large overhang below the arête. Mantelshelf leftwards then step right and climb the arête.
C King, S Murphy 1980s
25. Diagonal Direct 10m HS 4b
Start just up from the undercut arête and climb the crack and wall to join Diagonal. Move onto a large flat-topped flake and up the short wall.
26. Telstar Crack 12m VS 4c *
Follow the crack line just to the left of the corner.
27. Diagonal 10m D
From the top of the mud bank on the bottom of the crag traverse left up ledges to reach the mud bank on the top of the crag!
28. Telstar Corner 12m S 4a *
Take the corner crack to the roof. Hand traverse left to the crack and up to the top.
29. Telstar Corner Direct 12m VS 4b *
Take the corner crack to the roof. Continue direct to the top.
Simon Gee, L Ogle 1980s
30. Right Hand Wall 13m VS 4c
Follow the corner until standing on a small, flat-topped pillar (old peg on the right). Traverse right to a small ledge. Pull up left to another ledge (old peg). Pull over rightwards to finish.
VS 5a From the top peg step left and climb the large roof on good holds.
31. Right Hand Wall Direct 15m HVS 5b
Start 1 metre right of the corner and climb to a large niche. Climb the overhang to horizontal ledges then up right to join Right Hand Wall.
6b From the top of the niche, reach right 1 metre to holds on the lip of the overhang. Pull directly up the overhang and short wall. Any way top the top. This route has only ever been top roped.
32. Sandman 15m E3 5c
Start in the shallow corner groove at the lowest point of this buttress. Climb the groove to the roof. Make a long reach leftwards round the hanging arête and pull up the short wall to a ledge. Climb the hanging blocks to finish.
Karl Telfer 1970s
33. White Traverse 10m VS 4b
Start 2 metres up from the corner groove. Climb the wall leftwards to a ledge and broken rock to the top.
To the right is a dirty gully. Three routes have been claimed to the right of this up to a crack (5a) and the wall to the right (5b). They are dirty and seldom if ever climbed. Across the first bridge on the path down to the crag is an obvious arête.
34. Xenon 10m E1 5b
Take the arête direct. Hardly worth the effort.
Paul Linfoot 1970s
The crag lends itself to girdle traverses at several levels
35. The Haunt 55m 5a **
A high level girdle.
1. 10m 4c Climb Quarry Wall to the final bulges. Move right to belay in Crack and Chimney.
2. 15m 5a Move right to gain good holds beneath the large overhang. Follow the horizontal until below the final overhang of the Mangler. Continue along the horizontals the rightwards to the top of the crag.
3. 15m 4b Move down to The Arête and onto the flake ledge. Rightwards into Causey Crack, down to the niche and round the arête to Diagonal.
4. 15m 4c Rightwards into Telstar and the small pinnacle ledge. Right to a ledge then over the hanging block to finish.
36. Eliminate Girdle 35m 5c
A mid height girdle.
1. Take Quarry Wall to the ledge above the first overhang. Move right across Overhanging Wall to the thread in Crack and Chimney. Move right and continue the Mauler traverse to the Mangler and up to belay in the sentry box.
2. Step down and stretch across to the Perplexity "resting ledge” and then into the Dangler. Follow the horizontal into Hangover then move right to finish up Letter Box Wall.
Here are a selection of popular problems and traverses.
1. V1 5b
The overhang and wall left of the Quarry Wall start.
2. V4 6b
Start in the corner right of Mauler step up with hands above the second overhang. Step right and up to join Mauler traverse. Reverse the start of Mauler.
3. V3 6a
The crack and wall left of Mangler, to join it left of a pointed block hold.
4. V2 5c
Climb the crack and layaway of Perplexity to the overhang - no hands on the ledge.
5. V4 6b
Just right of Perplexity crack climb wall to the Perplexity layaway and up to the overhang - no hands on ledge or in crack.
6. V4 6b
From Overhanging Crack traverse wall on buckets low down round the arête and cross wall via crack and peg hole.
7. V4 6b
From Overhanging Crack traverse wall on buckets low down round to the arête, move up to hand ledge and traverse right on peg holes.
8. V2 5b
The Classic low level traverse of the whole crag.
9. V4 6b
From Hangover traverse to Mangler - no hands on ledge or in peg holes, vertical cracks.
10. V3 6a
From Mangler to Hangover using peg holes and undercuts and vertical Perplexity crack.
11. V5 6c
As previous problem but no vertical cracks or undercuts.
Confused? There will nearly always be someone at the crag who will be more than happy to show you round the problems!
Perplexity 6c *
Mauler Roof 6b
Strangler 6b *
Dangler 5c **
Letterbox Wall 5b
Route 2.75, 5b
The Mangler 5a ***
Overhanging Wall 5a
Route 2.5, 5a
Quarry Wall 4c
Causey Crack 4c ***
Right Hand Wall 4c
Telstar Crack 4c *
Telstar Corner 4b *
White Traverse 4b
Tony Donnelly leading the classic Causey Crack VS 4c ***
Full details in the
North East England Guide