A Taste of the
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This is just a brief overview of some of the bouldering that is available in the Peak District of Derbyshire. OK, we confess, basically our favourite areas! There are several good guide books available from local outlets such as Outside at Calver and at Hathersage or Scarthin Books at Cromford or on the internet such as the Davies and Barton book, Peak District Bouldering - the latest of the guides or the older, but nonetheless very good RockFax title - Peak Bouldering.
There are masses of boulders out there in the Peak District just waiting to be climbed, Burbage Valley is a great place for a first taste since there is so much at both ends (and the middle!). Stanage plantation and the rocks at the foot of the Archangel/Goliath's Groove area are generally harder grades but they make for some excellent sessions - take a spotter and as many mats as you can muster! Have a go at Brad Pitt or the classy ramp line of Not to be Taken Away. Also in the same area is Crescent arete. There are a few esoteric problems on the causeway and in the fields below, the Buckstone with the renowned Buckstone Dyno. Higgar Tor overlooks the Burbage valley and has problems for all grades, some of them can be a little intimidating as the ground is quite rocky and slopes steeply away from the edge in places. For that reason, we feel it is less suited to solitary bouldering. Froggatt has a few gems notably in the slab recess area and there is a pleasant spot below Tody's Wall. Gardom’s Edge has a small number of tough but quality problems at the Baslow Edge end just above the Sheffield to Baslow road.
has a few problems but on the moors above the quarry there are Owler Tor
(Pictured left), Mothers
Rock, Mother Cap (highball
problems such as Conan the Librarian) and the aptly named Secret Garden
which can be tricky to locate! The latter is a paradise
for lovers of steep stuff climbed on slopers.
Curbar has the Trackside boulder and the ferocious Gorilla Warfare as its main foci but the other problems are well worth seeking out. The trackside boulder has grades for everyone and can easily occupy an evening session.
Nearby Baslow edge is not high and has some good soloing potential, if you are so inclined. Try to find the Walnut Whip (usually just referred to as the Walnut) near the area of Gun Chimney. There is an hour or two’s worth of fun working the traverse with it's multiple cruxes in a truly peaceful setting.
Harboro Rocks in the south of the Peak District is a place where groups are often taken at weekends but evenings are generally quiet and there is plenty to occupy boulderers of all standards on the dolomitic limestone (both upwards and horizontal problems are available - for a great traverse, start at the right hand end of the lower tier and you can traverse left for about 50 metres, with several crux areas). Pumpy in places. The lower tier can easily occupy you for a complete session. The upper tier has generally longer routes (vertically)and if you are that way inclined, there are some sections which would be classed more as soloing. The things we like about Harboro are the endless variations and mini-challenges in most of the sectors coupled with plenty easier routes for warming up or recovering. The rock here can be a little friable though, especially after a wet spell.
About 10 mins away, back on grit, is Cratcliffe, Robin Hood’s Stride and Rowtor with its ‘mantles from hell’! Also in the Cratcliffe area is the esoteric Eagle Tor, for me personally it was a relief when the new owners banned climbing (too much noise, litter, bad language and crapping in the woods - surely not? We climbers are all better behaved than that?) as I could only get off the ground on about 5 of the problems!
The classics at Cratcliffe are Jerry's Traverse and T-Crack, however there are plenty of other problems and eliminates on the main boulders. The traverse from the Hermit's cave can prove taxing, but is slightly easier for those with an ape like reach and long legs. Robin Hood's Stride is a few mins walk from the Cratcliffe boulders and has a good spread of problems. Some of the toughest come out from the cave at the back and there are a couple of good aretes. Between the two is a limited area with a few interesting problems, focused on another small cave - powerful and fingery.
The Burbage Valley has shedloads of bouldering, at the north
end, Burbage west has some fingery tough problems. Between the car park and
the start of Burbage North are several small craglets with several micro-routes,
one or two feel a bit exposed and are best tackled with a couple of mates.
The start of the edge is a popular bouldering spot, with traverses and vertical
problems ranging from fairly straightforward to tough and reachy. Probably
two most well known parts of the Burbage North edge for bouldering are Monkey
Wall (with Banana Finger) and the remergence block. There is a tough girdle
traverse of Dead Tree wall and round the corner, follow the head high break.
Just to the right is a slabby boulder with several problems that increase
in difficulty from left to right. There is plenty to go at just before you
get to the Ash Tree Wall area with a couple of good ones on the big rounded
boulder near the track.
Disclaimer (probably not necessary but just in case ...): This is not a guide, it is for general information only, we can accept no responsibility for your actions should you visit any of the sites mentioned. You decide for yourself whether to climb there or not and must assume responsibility for your own safety.