Bowles Rocks.

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This outcrop was virtually unknown until the mid 1950's and even then sported only a few climbs. It was really 'discovered' in the '60's' and rescued from the undergrowth. It has to be one of the best outcrops although its popularity leaves you with no feeling of isolation or wilderness. The 'centre' is run by a trust and has a dry ski slope and residential accommodation for the courses they run. Bowles Rocks are on the east side of the A26 about 2 miles north of Crowborough, East Sussex, NGR: TQ542330 on OS Explorer (1:25000) sheet No. 135 or OS Landranger Series (1:50000) Sheet No.188. The climbing is excellent with good routes in all grades. In common with the other sandstone outcrops, soloing or top-roping are practiced, the rock being far too friable to accept traditional protection used in leading. There are large ring bolts along the top of the crag - extend your krab over the edge using a sling or static belay to avoid damaging the rock any further. The outcrop is about 35 feet high at its highest point (Inspiration / Serenade arete) but generally 30 feet or less.


TQ542330 Sheet135 (1:25000), Sheet 188 (1:50000)

Number of climbs 150+
Grade range 1a to 6c - Face and crack climbs up to 30' (10m)
Aspect SSE. A real sun trap.
Equipment Almost fully bolted. Use a long sling or tat to extend krab over edge.
Condition Excellent. Usually the first to dry. Can be climbable in light rain.
Bouldering Some excellent problems and low level traverses
Ownership Private - Owned by Bowles Trust. 'Open Climbing' scheme - £1.40/day (80p after 2pm)
Other Facilities Toilets and car park on site, dry ski slope, Residential instruction/courses available.
Pubs The Huntsman by Eridge Station, The Boars Head off the A26 toward Crowborough.
Hate 6a  - The overhang
Sandman - 6b.Sandman - 6b
Above.  The overhang on Hate 6a - see photo gallery. A definite test piece! Much tried and fallen off but an excellent technical climb. This picture was taken in December 1982 - my second pair of Asolo Chouinard 'Canyons' - a revolutionary rock boot of its day. These featured leather uppers and were closely followed by the 'Fire' from Boreal - the first boots with sticky rubber, renowned for being uncomfortable.

Above This gem is Sandman - 6b. A delicate and technical move to this position allows you to grab the 'stal' on the arete. This theoretically gains you the ledge.....The problems are not over then! The crack to the right is Charlie's Chimney 3a.


Funnel Wall

Left   This is Funnel Wall at Bowles, unfortunately becoming very undercut, making the otherwise excellent easier climbs here very difficult to start and unbalancing them grade wise....particularly for the short.

Funnel 4a is the groove in the centre of the headwall

Bowles Photo Galleries - Gallery 1   Gallery 2   Gallery 3

Recommended routes at Bowles Rocks include:

1,2: Harden Gulley, Reclamation Slab, Red Peg, Birch Crack, Renison Gully.
3a: Well's Reach, Skiffle, Claire, Sing Sing.
3b: Fragile Wall, Skiffle.
4a: Funnel, Kemp's Delight, Yo Yo, Netwall.
4b: Dival's Diversion
4c: E.S. Cadet Nose, October, Sapper!!
5a: Pig's Nose, Larchant,
5b: Burlap, Henessey Heights, Drosophila, Devaluation, Jackie, Swastika, Seltzer
5c: Fandango, Inspiration, Pig's Ear, U.N., Target, Perspiration, Manita, Juanita.
6a: Banana, Serenade Arete, Digitalis, Hate, Fandango Right Hand, Koffler.

For the hard men.....(and women).....Cardboard Box, Sandman, Temptation, Carbide Finger, The Thing, The Wrecker.....

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The following photos were taken in 1980.....the outcrop has changed a bit since then - perhaps most notably, the ground erosion beneath the crag...

Click on the thumbnails to expand them.

Banana Area - 1980

Fandango Wall - 1980

Banana Area Fandango Wall

Inspiration Area - 1980

Target Wall and Pig's Nose - 1980

Inspiration Area Range Wall
Wells Reach and Henessey Heights - 1980 Ballerina Area - 1980
Henessey Heights Ballerina Area

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