Bowles rocks

Bowles Rocks Bouldering Guide

Bowles is one of South East England's major climbing and bouldering venues. Due to its good rock quality, numerous boulder problems and eliminates, Bowles is an extremely popular climbing venue and one often used for one of my climbing courses. All this and it's only a one minute walk from the car park! The crag is owned by Bowles Outdoor Centre and there is a small fee (around £3) for the use of the car park, rocks and toilets

The pictures are from Right to Left as this is how the crag is approached. The bouldering grades are in both Font and English Technical grades. The text discribes some of the harder bouldering problems and gives the Font grade. The colored lines show the English grades. English and Font bouldering grades are similar up to 6a.

There are many good traverse lines at Bowles including Big Al's traverse which is a left to right traverse of the whole crag, never more than a meter off the floor.

Bouldering can be dangerous and ropes may be required for some of the problems! I fully endorse the British Mountaineering Council's participation statement.....

"The BMC recognises that climbing and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions."

Lady in Mink

Rock climbing guide
  1. Simple mantle shelf from a standing start. 4a
  2. A pumpy traverse that finishes in the gully on the right. 5a

Muddy Gully area

  1. Continue to traverse, harder on the right side. 4a
  2. Climb up the slopers to a easy finish. The grade will depend on on which holds you allow your self for the right hand. 6b.
  3. High problems with a hard move at the top. All the holds on the left are out. 6a

Easy Gully area

A couple of easy boulder problems that are worth while.

Salsa Bouldering Area

  1. A good boulder problem up the overhanging arere.5a
  2. A interesting route that can be climbed both ways. 5b
  3. I like this boulder problem but it's a eliminate. You are not allowed anything in the left hand crack nor can you use the holds on the right hand flake. 6a
  4. An OK problem. 6a

Fragile Wall Bouldering Area

  1. A sitting start from a good jug. 6b
  2. A good problem with many varitions. 6b
  3. A left to right traverse. 6a

Funnel area

  1. A hard line that keeps below the main break. Hard to keep your feet of the floor. 7b+.

Bouldering in Kent
  1. A pumpy bouldering traverse from the start of Birch Crack and finishes up Funnel. 6a+
  2. Struggle up the arete. 5c
  3. A good warm up problem on pockets 4b
  4. Another good problem. 4b
  5. The first moves of Scouter provides a short boulder problem. 4c
  6. The beginning of funnel is a hardest part of the route and the least satisfying part. 4a

Devaluation Bouldering Area

  1. A right to left boulder traverse with a poor sandy finish. 7a
  2. The start of Sandman gives a short problem. 6a
  3. This traverse can be climbed in any direction but is better from left to right. Start at the back of the cave. 5a

ES Nose area

  1. A big dyno. 7b.

Target climbing area

  1. Target Direct is a good bouldering problem on jugs and then using a small mono. 6b+.
  2. Traverse under the nose from a sitting/low start. 7a.
  3. A better finish to the previous route. After latching the hold under the nose move up to the slopers and finish on the iron hold. 7a.
  4. This is the normal route for Target. Pop to the jug and then climb the crack on the right side of the nose. Traverse over the top of the nose to finish on the same iron hold as number 4. 5c+.
  5. After completing number 3, bridge across the next wall. 4b.

Range Wall climbing area

  1. This is the same bouldering problem as route 1 from the previous photo. 6b+.
  2. A great line. From a sit start make hard moves right until you are underneath the nose. From here climb up to the slopers and finish on the ironstone jug. 7a.
  3. The finish of a traversing line that starts on the left side of huge overhang 7a.
  4. This line can be climbed from the left as well. 5a

Carbide Bouldering Area

  1. Long moves from jug to jug. 6a+
  2. The first moves of Cardboard Box provide a committing problem. 6c.
  3. A good eliminate. 6c.
  4. The first few moves of Conjuror provide good boulder problem. 6b.
  5. A great line, finish on the cairn. 4a
  6. A jump for a sloping hold. 5c+


  1. The finish of the Orr traverse (best shown on next photos). 5a.
  2. This is the next link in the bouldering traverse. Using the good hand holds under the left side of the overhang, make a long move up a right to move good holds. Boulder the rest of the route at this level until you have turned the right hand arete. 6b+.
  3. Good spotting required. 5c+.
  4. Same start as route 2 but continue upward until your feet are on the break. 6a.
  5. Sapper Direct. 5b.
  6. A committing climb up the right arete. 6a.

Bolt Wall Bouldering Area

  1. An eliminate sit start. Only use the poor handholds and boulder your way to the top. 7b
  2. A low or sit start leads to some powerful moves to finish. 6a+
  3. The Orr traverse. 5a

  1. This is the finishing moves from the medium level traverse. Route starts on the left hand side of Bolt wall and traverses the wall at this level. Hard technical moves lead to a welcome rest. 6b
  2. A sitting start lead up to small handholds and poor feet to finish on the break. 7a
  3. Low down moves off OK hand holds and a dyno to a further OK hold. 6c
  4. Crimp from a standing position up to the break 5c/6a
  5. Traverse at this level for 2m until a rest is reach at the start of Temptation. 5c/6a

  1. Low level traverse under bolt wall has some hard moves. 6b
  2. This is the part of the Orr Traverse that starts left of Micks wall. 5a

Micks Wall Bouldering Area

  1. A very low traverse starting on the right and working left. You are not allowed any holds in the break at the start of the problem but you are forced to use the last couple of holds in the break at the end. 6c
  2. The Orr traverse is a classic line. 5a
  3. This is another good boulder problem that can be a bit scary. Use the good holds on the nose/arete to reach the slopers. A big move out right leads to a welcome jug. 6a
  4. An easy line that is also the way down! 4c
  5. Without using the arete climb the right side of the wall. Easier for the tall. 5c

Fandango Wall Bouldering Area

  1. Nicotine Alley is a classic traverse line that is normally climbed from right to left but can be climbed either way at the same grade. 7a
  2. Sugerplum is a pumpy traverse across the top break of Fandango Wall. 6b+
  3. The centre of the wall is a good crimpy problem. 5c
  4. A great, but high problem. 6b

  1. A good problem up the thin flake to finish on the jugs. 7a+ or 7b sit start
  2. An all to short boulder problem.6a
  3. Powerful moves on good holds to the 1st break. If you are feeling brave you can finish the problem with a dyno to the next break.6c.
  4. Powerful moves on good holds. Anything you can reach is in. 5b
  5. Starting moves of a classic climb. 5c
  6. A hard line. 7c

Banana climbing Area

  1. A interesting traverse that is only 6a if you find the right way. 6a
  2. This short traverse is better from right to left. 6c
  3. Dyno/bounce to the sloping hold. 7a
  4. Banana Hammock is a classic problem up the line of sloping holds and finishing out left. 7a
  5. A simple problem. 5b
  6. Only use the holds on the right side of the banana. 6b

Rec slab climbing area

Rec slab
  1. A boulder problem that is only useful as a warm up. 4c
  2. A easy traverse that's of limited bouldering value. 4c
  3. Another pointless route. 4b


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