A Taste of the
Peak District, Derbyshire traditional gritstone climbing at Froggatt Edge …
Froggatt Edge - climbing on a traditional gritstone crag in the Peak District National Park.
Froggatt is situated in the heart of the Peak District and is a popular crag. The track along the top is frequented by hikers and people out for a gentle stroll so you can be guaranteed an audience at weekends.
It is generally approached by a pleasant and flat walk in lasting about 20 minutes from the car parking on the bend downhill from the Grouse Inn. If you use the public car park rather than the parking alongside of the road, be warned, I have heard that car crime is rife as it is a fairly secluded spot. I do not know if there is any truth in that. An alternative is to park at the Chequers Inn, about half a mile uphill from Froggatt, if that, in the small walled section at the downhill end of the pub car park, not the pub car park itself please. There is room for maybe 3 cars. Walk back downhill a hundred yards or so to where a really pleasant path up through the woods that brings you out at the Slab Recess/Chequers Buttress area. There is also some parking on the bend downhill from where the path up to the crag starts.
But I will assume that you are making the normal approach.
When approaching from the Grouse end, there is a bit of bouldering to be had on the big block on the right, just after you go through the gate. The first proper buttress you reach offers the classic Strapiombante, an E1 with a traumatic finish - the last move is the usual place where you will fall off, the rest has pretty good holds. The problem with the finish is the shelf, which is not the greatest of hand holds plus a lack of footholds. Tall buggers can just reach up and get a good flatty, but that is rather ducking the issue!
The next 100m or so are broken and there are some climbs in amongst the jumble, none of which are anything to get excited about in our opinion. The next quality spot is Sunset Slab. The eponymous route is virtually a solo, if you miss the last move there will be sirens and if you are lucky (or maybe unlucky), a helicopter to take you to hospital. Having said that, it is a worthwhile route (especially if it is your mate's lead!!). Sunset Crack on the other side of the slab is well protected and after surmounting the initial bulging crack is a bit of a romp. There are a couple of fairly pointless unprotected routes between the two if you like that sort of thing. You could always top-rope them for a bit of slap-padding practice.
There is a descent route just to right of Sunset Crack but be warned, there is a bit of a controlled drop through a hole under a rock to get to the easy ground.
A bit further along is the cave, to the left of the cave are a couple of VS's of which we have only done Hawk Crack. A tough start but some fine jamming above the ledge (take some Fairy Liquid with you just in case you get your hand stuck!) and an airy finish make it worthwhile. Brightside to the right of the cave is a fabulous route, E2 with some interesting and absorbing climbing on small holds. There are some routes from and in the cave which are reputed to be 'interesting'.
Moving further along, Terrace crack is a VS that is worth looking at, a little sandy but pleasant. For a soft touch Severe, Heather Wall is the place to be! Just to the left is the HVS of CMC Slab, a tricky start and effectively a solo unless you arrange some gear in the crack of Heather Wall. Todys Wall to the right is a great climb at HVS, try getting on to the block without grovelling! The move over the lip is well protected and the final crack is just brilliant.
Next on the agenda is Three Pebble Slab (pictured left), E1, with the famous dodgy (and probably pointless yet strangely reassuring) gear in the half height hole. Attaining the upper slab is the crux, then it just feels a bit fluttery. You need to trust your feet and look for the slight indentations. The pinnacle is just round the corner from 3 pebble and contains the Joe Brown HVS Valkyrie, so you can probably guess what that is like! The crack is a Joe Brown classic i.e. a strenuous exercise in jamming but the second pitch is altogether different. It's quite nice sitting at the half height belay on the ledge. Also on the pinnacle are some tough solos. Diamond Crack is a good but rather short climb just to the right of the pinnacle in the back of the recess.
Moving further round you come to probably the most popular part of Froggatt, the slab recess area. The easy centre section is bounded on either side by hard slabs, on the left, Long John's Slab (aptly named as the starting moves are much more taxing for the short) and Johnny Dawes Downhill Racer. The eponymous route Slab Recess is HS and the start can be a little traumatic if that is your leading grade, the starting holds are not exactly helpful but protection is perfect (bomber nut - or nuts for the very nervous), the rest is fairly straightforward. The easiest VDiff in the world is found on the right of the recess (Gamma) where bizarrely a group of passing Japanese tourists clapped my better half as she topped out (plus they took the obligatory photos!). Sharing the same start is Allen's Slab, S, I love it for the airy traverse. Do try to keep left of the crack when finishing as that belongs to the one move wonder Trapeze Direct. The move on the latter climb flummoxes a lot of VS leaders (and seconds). If you can do Todys Wall and Topsail at Birchen, you can do this. Trapeze is a decent V Diff. which needs big chunky gear for protection. On the right is the Great Slab with a variety of hard and unprotected slab climbs. We have never done these as they are effictively solos although it is possible to rig up a top rope for practice first.
The final main section is the Chequers Buttress area where you will find Brown's Eliminate and Green Gut, the latter is an HS which is worth doing, although I always manage to make it awkward somehow. The front of Chequers Buttress is split at the bottom by Chequers Crack, great if you like slippery and awkward finger cracks whilst round the corner is the classic line of Chequers Buttress, HVS, which must rate as one of the most photogenic climbs in the Peak District. The difficulties come when moving from the ramp to the 'thank god' jug out on the arete via a couple of finger cracks. The cracks to the right of Chequers Buttress are nothing much to write home about, they are the sort of climbs that Puttrell loved. 'Nuff said!
So there you have it, Froggatt Edge in a nutshell ...