South Facing, NH 117 987
|Ian Taylor on Ian's Problem|
Although not the best bouldering in the area, Ardmair Crag’s big plus point is in the sheltered ‘almost ever-dry’ Arapiles Wall, which allows bouldering in showery weather. Most of the action is at the base of the main crag, but there’s a few undocumented things in the jumble of boulders passed on the approach. The rock quality is variable. Most of the problems are solid, but ‘off piste’ can be a bit gritty.
Take the A835 north out of Ullapool for just over 3 miles and park on the west side of the road, at the entrance to the fish farm (NH 115 987). Cross the road and walk 50m east, then hop over the fence and take the path up the north side of the stream. After about 100m, the path takes a leftwards detour around three big boulders which have a few problems. The best is the rounded arête nearest the stream; Big Black Snake 6A** Sitter. The third boulder used to have a great problem up a hanging arête, but one sad day the boulder keeled over. Luckily no one was squashed by the twenty tonne topple.
|Big Black Snake|
Following the path steeply uphill for 10 minutes to the crag, one eventually comes to a flat area below a big foot-shaped block. Here there is a reasonable warm-up traverse and a few up problems. A little further along, just past an open gully is a steep attractive rib between two groove lines. There are two variations on the rib. The Faith 7A+** Sitter climbs the rib to big slopers then escapes into and down climbs the left-hand groove, while Interpretive Dance 7B** Sitter continues up and right from the slopers to a finish on big holds, then down climbs the right-hand groove. Be careful with the blocky landing on the latter.
|Ian Taylor on The Faith|
Continuing rightwards, the path drops down to a sheltered multi-coloured wall. This is Arapiles Wall. Who would have thought that the internationally famous cliff in Southeast Australia would have been named after a small wall of gritty sandstone, hidden in the depths of the Scottish Highlands
1 Arapiles Traverse 6A**
Traverse the wall from a big layaway on the right to a ledge on the left, with a drop down mid way. The footholds on the left end are open to interpretation. Same grade in the opposite direction.
|Tess Fryer on Arapiles Traverse|
2 Old Man’s Variation 6A+*
Take a higher line of holds in the middle section, reversing some of Aussie Rules to join the original line.
3 Aussie Rules 5* Sitter
From a sitting start at a fat layaway go up the left hand crack to finish at a large jutting hold.
4 Billabong 7A** Sitter
Starting with the right hand at the bottom of a sloping pod and the left on a tiny layaway, make hard moves to gain the central zigzag crack then up this to finish on a jug at 4m. 6B from standing.
5 Low Traverse Project
Stay low all the way, using footholds just above the ground. Was originally 6C, but needs re-climbed due to hold loss.
6 Lawrence’s Crack 7A***
The thin diagonal crack on the right is a great problem, with shallow finger locks, slopers, poor feet and a satisfying lurch to a high jug. Shuffling along Arapiles Traverse then finishing up the crack is about French 7c.
|Eadan Cunningham on Lawrence's Crack|
7 Ian’s Problem 7A**
Start right of the crack. A long move from crimps to a hard-to-hit hold, then easier moves to the ledge.
8 The Link 7B*
Link the start of Ian’s Problem into the high jug on Lawrence’s Crack via a sloper.
9 The Fountain 6C*
Go straight up from a big left hand layaway.
10 The Rightmost 6B+*
The wall left of the descent gives surprisingly tricky moves via breaks, finishing with a long last move. You have to be tall or dynamic to reach the starting holds. The Sitter comes in from the right and is 7A+.
The next buttress further along has a steep, lower wall with an obvious crack on its left.
11 Stork’s Crack 6B+*
The crack. Finish with hands on the ledge, and then jump off.
12 Bettsbop Project
A long dyno from snappy crimps to the ledge.
|Richie Betts trying the project|
This is the next buttress along to the right.
13 Andy’s Traverse 6B+**
Traverse the pumpy wall in either direction. The right-hand section might take a bit of working out .
14 Low Version 6C*
Stay below the break on the left end of the wall.
15 Steep For Ten Seconds 7A*
This highball problem finishes on the ledge. Down climb carefully leftwards.
16 Wall 5+*
The wall left of the niche, finishing at the break.