Articles & Features
North East Action
Lost and Found
New Routes
Training Tips
Climbing Walls
About Us

Smuggler's Terrace


OS Sheet: 94

Map Reference: NZ 985015

Aspect: North North East

Altitude: 163m                    

Approach: ?? minutes

Mini Guide: Smugglers Terrace


NOTE: Ticks are common!


Situation and Character

A series of buttresses crowning a large plateau below the Ravenscar Hotel. There are seven buttresses, with only three currently offering any routes. The quality of lines vary massively, from poor chossy lines to bullet-hard classics. There's generally a couple of good routes at every grade, with about 3 times as many still to be done.

The crags take little drainage and are solid in the main, however the top outs of some of the climbs on the right buttresses are vegetated. It is prudent to inspect new lines prior to climbing, although conditions do not appear to be affected by the sea.

The approaches on the terrace can be brackenous in high summer, however the main buttresses (Aurora and Contraband) are reasonably accessible. Once an affinity with the crag has been established, it is possible to access crag tops via trees, which makes them easily accessible.

If you park at the end of the Ravenscar road and walk towards the cliff you are above the left hand side of the crag. A path descends here to the terrace. Walk a couple of hundred metres north from the path down, towards a large isolated house, and a small track off the cliff can be found- this is the way down to the top of contraband, aurora and Easter Island Buttress. Approaching the last three buttresses from above is more tricky, but could probably be sorted out.

An old piece of sheeted metal is found at the top of Contraband Buttress; further 'way markers' which should perhaps be made in the future, would aid buttress finding from the top.

There are two buttresses further right, between Contraband buttress and Wang Point, which currently have no routes on. They are impressive and generally sound buttresses, albeit more overgrown aloft. The 15 or so routes that exist at the moment could easily be quadrupled.


Access notes
Either abseil in off shrubbery above the buttresses or wind a way down on easy fisherman's ropes (which can be accessed directly behind the Cleveland Way sign). The latter approach is not dangerous and fine even in wet weather.


"The Smuggler's Terrace. This was the discovery of the year for us I suppose. There's loads of info that I can send you if you want it in your guide. It's a high quality crag on the coast, made of decent sandstone and offering some wicked lines. There's one of the best aretes in the moors!" Franco Cookson



From the parking at Station Square, Ravenscar, follow the Cleveland Way north-west towards the hotel. When passing a second lone bush on the left of the path at a short downhill section, a yellow-topped marker post should be present on the right. A vague track leads to the crag through the trees (orange). Alternatively, a ‘fishermans line’ leads down from the Cleveland Way sign (blue) or cut straight down the hillside to the top of your buttress of choice. Abseil In. To access Fox Holes from above, walk to 60m before the lone house; inline with a rowan tree on the cliff edge. Below the rowan is a steep, tree-less ridge with a large belay stake. To access Contraband from above, walk towards the Ravenscar Hotel from the village parking before cutting down to the right through bushes at red and white marker tape, around 40m before the lone house on the left. An old piece of sheet metal is found at the top of Contraband Buttress. Abseil in. For Illusion Buttress and Evasion Buttress head 10m beyond the house then drop down the hillside when a blue marker is seen in the trees. Evasion drops straight down from this point, while Illusion is found walking left to a piece of plastic 'pointing the way'. Abseil in.

Conditions & Aspect
The crag faces east and receives the morning sun only, making it an ideal escape from the heat. It is also protected from westerly winds and can often enjoy a sheltered ‘micro-climate’ when biting westerly’s howl. The crag however dries quickly and the rock is clean despite its ‘lichenous’ appearance. Cracklines and grooves are most susceptible to ‘fern-ing up’. The best time of year to climb appears to be October to May when the bracken is low; however the crag is a true year-round venue.



Foxholes Buttress

A large buttress split by several grooves, adorned by a huge hollow orange tower and a collapsed pinnacle. 6 – 14m in height. Large insitu stake above the main buttress.


1. Herring Aid HVS 5b *

The pleasant second groove from the left is barred by a tricky starting groove.

Tom Evans, Ben Pearce 26/Oct/2014


2. The Hakey Cokey VS 4c *

The left hand crack and ramp of the orange pillar is not without interest. Step right to finish up a thin crack. An excellent addition to the crag.

Tom Evans, Ben Pearce 26/Oct/2014


3. Hard of Herring HVS 4c *

An exciting route tackling the right hand crack of the dubious orange pillar. Exit via the thin crack. The pillar provides interesting rock architecture, but is it sound?

Ben Pearce, Tom Evans 26/Oct/2014


4. Mackerel Crack MVS 4a *

Tackle the obvious off-width crack to a ledge. A tricky top out awaits.

Graham Sykes 13/Nov/2013


5. Dolphin in the Blowhole E1 5b

The curving arête of the fallen pinnacle. A low crux to a spicy top out.

Mark Rankine, Neil Furniss, Franco Cookson 23/Mar/2014


6. Corsair E3 5c

The arete just right of the collapsed pillar with gear at half-height.

Dave Warburton, Nick Warburton, Matthew Ferrier 26/Dec/2013



Easter Island Buttress

The impressive stacked arête is the centrepiece of the crag and hosts one of the best single pitch routes hereabouts. Also known as the "Long Faced Man". 12m in height.

1. Hake Expectations HVS 5a

The crack system bounding the left side of the Long Faced Man isn’t quite long enough.

Ben Pearce, Tom Evans 26/Oct/2014


2. Billet the Kid E5 6a **

Climb the corner (or arête at tech. 6c) to the ledge. Move up to the overlap and tricky-to-place wires. From here bold, powerful moves lead to the relative sanctuary (no gear) of the easy upper wall.

Dave Warburton, Franco Cookson 01/Sep/2012


3. The Tormented Sole E6/7 6b***

Follow Billet The Kid to the cluster of gear, then break rightwards to ascend the wild fin on its right hand side. Superb!

Franco Cookson, Dave Warburton 05/Sep/2012


4. The Colossus Font 7a+ ***

The steep arête is a classic. The sit start is Life is Life Font 7b/7b+ ***

Franco Cookson (TC), Mike Adams (LiL)




Aurora Buttress

A fractured face provides some worthwhile cracklines, face climbs and a bold arête. Many lines remain, though prior gardening is a must! 7 – 12m in height.

1. Privateel E5 6a

The big, bold arête has a hard move just above the ledge. Adquate gear protects.

Dave Warburton, Matthew Ferrier 01/Sep/2014


2. Sea King E1 5b *

The crack system right of the arête is followed throughout to the ledge below the top. Move left to pull onto the protruding roof.

Sam Marks, Matthew Ferrier, Dave Warburton, Franco Cookson 22/Jul/2012


3. Consolation Crack VS 4b

The left slanting crack to a junction with Sea King just right of the hanging groove.

Ben Pearce, Dave Everett 09/Nov/2013


4. Anniversary Climb HVS 5b *

The left slanting crack breaking through the left side of the large overlap. Finish as for Sea King.

Ben Pearce, Nick Warburton 09/Nov/2013 The 9th of November marked the 60th anniversary of the Cleveland Mountaineering Club.

The 60th anniversary meet for the Cleveland Mountaineering Club saw Ben Pearce snatch the first ascent of Anniversary Climb HVS 5b *


The central section could provide some easier cracklines, though pre-cleaning is essential!


5. Aurora Crack Variation Start VS 4c

Starting at a slight groove, climb up at right to join the obvious Aurora Crack at a hand ledge.

Mark Wilson 05/Aug/2012


6. Olympia HVS 5b

Direct from the previous climb following a thin crackline with use of the left arête as and when required.

Steven Phelps 05/Aug/2012


7. Aurora Crack HS 4b *

The obvious vertical crack cutting the bulging wall.

Steven Phelps 01/Feb/2012


8. Borealis E4 6a

Follow Aurora Crack Variation Start to a junction with Aurora Crack (gear). Move up and left via a letter box with an extended move to the ledge and a bold rockover to finish. Top out direct.

Dave Warburton, Nick Warburton 19/Oct/2014


9. East Parade HVD 4a

The right to left crack has a tricky move at half height.

Steven Phelps 03/Aug/2012




Contraband Buttress

This compact buttress is split by three crack lines and provides some excellent mid grade routes. 6 – 12m in height.

1. Black Beard HVS 5b

Climb direct up the slab just right of the corner to finish at (and with use of) the tree. A bold solo.

Matthew Ferrier, Sam Marks 22/Jul/2012


2. Long John Silver E2 5b *

An exciting and bold climb which tackles the scoop left of the arete to awkwardly gain a hanging flake. Move left onto the unprotected slab.

Sam Marks 22/Jul/2012


3. Pie Arete E3 5c *

The arête has a stopper move at 2/3 height where neat footwork pays bountifully. The climb is at the upper end of its grade.

Dave Warburton, Sam Marks, Franco Cookson, Matthew Ferrier 22/Jul/2012


4. Contraband Crack HVS 5a **

A proud sustained crackline alternating between awkward and elegant moves, where mid to large gear is essential. 4a E1 5c - A tricky variation finish is made by stepping right to the obvious foothold, before tackling the hanging groove.

Dave Warburton, Franco Cookson 29/Dec/2011


5. Psychosis E4 6a ***

A captivating classic tackling the thin crackline right of Contraband Crack. Pump inducing.

Franco Cookson, Dave Warburton, Sam Marks, Mathew Ferrier 22/Jul/2012


To the right is a broken face featuring a crack system; the right hand of which looks excellent and is unclimbed.



Counterfeit Buttress

This small buttress hosts an attractive climb worth seeking out. 10m in height.

1. Chiasso E1 5c *

The aesthetic groove and slab is delicately powerful.

Matthew Ferrier, Dave Warburton, Nick Warburton 26/Dec/2013



Evasion Buttress

An impressive series of buttresses home to some of the best routes at the crag, however the standout line is the intriguing groove and impressive arête of Leviathan E5 6c***. 10 – 14m in height.

1. Babel Fish HVS 5b *

The well protected flake is barred by a powerful move off the deck. Finish up the groove/crack from the ledge.

Nick Warburton, Dave Warburton 22/Oct/2014


2. Marbled In Stone E2 5b *

Starting as for Babel Fish, or at the left arête (Font 6c) traverse the slab (gear) to finish up the arête with an exciting move to the thin break and welcome small cams. Finish up the groove/crack.

Dave Warburton (solo) 20/Oct/2014


3. Ai No Barramundi E4 6a **

A direct start to the arête starting at a pocket before swapping onto the slabby side to make an excellent move above an awful landing to the thin break (gear). Finish up the pillar above the ledge. The original line on the slab.

Matthew Ferrier, Dave Warburton 31/Aug/2014


4. No Ifs No Halibuts E3 6a

The right side of Ai No Barramundi arête above a more pleasant landing.

Dave Warburton (solo) 20/Oct/2014


5. Overhanging Crack HVS 5b **

The steep crack on excellent jams.

Nick Warburton, Dave Warburton, Matt Ferrier 22/Oct/2014


6. Clew Garnet MVS 4b *

Climb the thin left hand crack to the niche. Continue up the bold feeling groove above. An interesting and varied climb.

Tom Appleby, Matt Ferrier 22/Aug/2014


7. License to Krill E5 6b

Climb Clew Garnet for a few metres until level with a line of crimps leads left to the arete. Follow the finger traverse around the arete to make a bold stopper move to access the ledge above. Finish up Clew Garnet.

Matthew Ferrier, Dave Warburton 31/Aug/2014


8. Twiggy’s Jukebox VS 4c *

Climb the wider crack right of Clew Garnet. The initial crack was first climbed to the ledge and tree belay originally graded Severe!

Initial Crack: Chris Woodall, Peter Holden, Dave Richards 09/Nov/2013; First Full Ascent: Alex McCann, Matt Ferrier 09/Sep/14


9. Leviathan E5 6c ***

Pull into the groove with difficulty and climb it in its entirety on some small holds to the large break system. Finish as for Emersion. A brilliant technical pitch.

Matthew Ferrier, Tom Appleby 22/Aug/2014


10. Emersion E4 5c **

The large arete of Evasion Buttress, starting from the corner/groove on the right. Large cams in breaks and small cams in pockets protect. Photographer at the ready!

Matthew Ferrier, Mark Rankine 31/May/2014


The large groove to the right splits the buttress. The groove requires a clean and is currently unclimbed. The left arête is also awaiting a first ascent.

11. Mullet of Cocktail E2 5c

The central weakness of Black Wall is low in the grade. A crimpy boulder problem up the rib left of centre leads to the ledge (large cam). Ascend the central rib towards the upper depression (gear) and finish just right of the tree. Belay from good trees hanging down from the next terrace up.

Dave Warburton, Matthew Ferrier, Franco Cookson 17/Aug/2014


12. Evasion Crack VS 4b *

The crack right of Mullet of Cocktail has a steep finale.

Nick Warburton, Dave Warburton 22/Oct/2014

The narrow wall to the right is unclimbed. The right arête is the obvious line.

Dave Warburton with all the wrong gear run out on the crux of A Plaice Lost in Time E3 5c ***


Illusion Buttress

The right hand buttress of the crag is almost fully worked out, but is perhaps home to the hardest unclimbed line at the crag. 7 – 12m in height.

1. The Salmon of Doubt VS 4c

Starting from a thin crack in the lower wall, follow pockets leftwards to a niche before ascending the awkward crack to the top.

Nick Warburton, Dave Warburton 10/Dec/2013


2. The Basstard E6 6c **

The sea facing wall of Illusion Buttress. Pumpy climbing, with a reachy finale. Micro-cams and optional tri-cam at the letterbox protect.

Franco Cookson, Dave Warburton 13/Mar/2014


3. Turbot Charger E5 6b

A (good) cop out! Traverse the seam/break to the arete of Halcyon Dace in order to avoid the crux of The Basstard. Traverse back left to the roof crack and finish as for The Basstard.

Dave Warburton, Franco Cookson 13/Mar/2014


4. Halcyon Dace E2 5c

The pocketed arete leads boldly past a ledge to an overlap. Follow the arete, moving left at the top.

Dave Warburton, Nick Warburton 10/Dec/2013


5. Six of the Best   Severe *

The pleasant central corner crack

Chris Woodall, Peter Holden, Dave Richards 09/Nov/2013


6. A Plaice Lost in Time E3 5c ***

Ascend the arete right of Six of the Best boldly to a break (gear) and possibly unrequired in-situ thread. A tricky final move and mantleshelf finish awaits.

Dave Warburton, Nick Warburton, Ben Pearce 09/Nov/2013


7. Porpoise Economy E6 6b **

A brilliant wall climb with each move on the face harder than the last. Climb the yellow groove to the break and awkward to place gear (wires and possible red Alien in pocket). Climb direct on edges and finish with a bold mantleshelf.

Dave Warburton, Matthew Ferrier 31/Aug/2014


8. The Swordfish of a Thousand Truths E2 6a

Start right of the central pillar and gain the pockets and gear above the ledge. Make a long move left to the base of a flake before climbing direct on good crimps. A good route though all over too quickly.

Dave Warburton, Matthew Ferrier 31/Aug/2014


9. The Hake Shake E2 5b

The right arete and wall is approached from the arete with gear in a low thin crack. Long stretches between good holds lead boldly to the tree passing a poor gear slot.

Dave Warburton, Matthew Ferrier, Sam Marks, Rory Stead 31/Aug/2014


10. Ravenscare E5 5c *

An exciting high level right to left traverse following excellent holds across Illusion Buttress' north face. Start up The Swordfish of a Thousand Truths (gear), but continue left along the flake to the good finger ledge on Porpoise Economy. Further strenuous moves allow the top of A Plaice Lost in Time to be gained. A size 8 walnut can be placed blind and checked during the penultimate move, but is it worth it? Or are you better off just cracking on fully aware of the consequences?

Dave Warburton, Nick Warburton 22/Oct/2014


Franco Cookson fully enjoying the final moves on The Tormented Sole E6/7 6b ***


(More info at http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=17376)