/ first trip to Peak grit - ideas please?

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Landy_Dom on 20 Dec 2012
So I'd like to get some Peak gritstone under my belt having only so far done limestone (mostly), slate and a couple of sandstone and other rock types.

I'm travelling from Chester area and would like to try a crag that offers well protected leading in the V-Diff to VS range. What would be a good introduction to grit that's easy to get to and has a good selection of enjoyable routes at that grade? I guess most would be single pitch but I'm not averse to multi-pitch either.

Any thoughts from locals / grit fans?
Gerry_Doncaster - on 20 Dec 2012
In reply to Landy_Dom: Birchen Edge is very nice. Lots of pleasant and well protected routes in the grade range you specified. It's right on a main road with a 10-15 minute walk in. It's also one of the quickest drying gritstone crags in the Peak District so it's rarely not in condition.
Jimbo C - on 20 Dec 2012
In reply to Landy_Dom:

Closest to Chester, the biggest selection of routes in your range is at The Roaches. I'd go there, it's a top quality crag with a wide variety of styles and loads of routes. It is mostly single pitch. If you fancy a bit of multi pitch - Hen Cloud is next door but expect grades to feel stiff there.
In reply to Landy_Dom:

Windgather is on your side of the Peak. It is really only baby grit but would do as a 1st contact. PM sun and fast drying.

Chris
Jon Stewart - on 20 Dec 2012
In reply to Landy_Dom:

I'd wait 'til Spring and go to the Roaches. I think doing trad in winter is an enormous waste of time anyway, but additionally the Roaches gets green. It's a wonderful crag with lots to explore, and not far from you. However, it's perhaps a little harder to seek out the routes at those grades - but given the size of the crag, there must be plenty.

Basically all the major grit crags have plenty to do. Stanage has the biggest and best selection of excellent routes all next to each other, but it's better to go on a quiet day. It's freezing cold in winter. Froggatt is a bit more hospitable in the cold, and has lots of good, clean routes in those grades - in fact, it's particularly good for HS cracks. Birchen does have lots of easy routes, but it's a bit of a funny crag I think, with a particular style of very gentle, rounded slabs guarded by a fierce steep at the start. The routes are shorter than the other crags I mentioned and it has more of a 'beginners/groups' atmosphere.

In winter, Rivelin can be a good bet as it's much lower-lying than other crags and faces the sun. Some stuff will be green and damp though.

But bearing all that in mind, I'd still invest in a bouldering mat instead for this time of year. By the time you've found a route that's dry and racked up, you're already freezing cold and it's gone dark.
Pinged - on 20 Dec 2012
In reply to Landy_Dom:


You see I disagree about the leaving it till spring thing. Grit in the freezing cold is the stuff of dreams. You might have to hunt a dry(ish) route but thats half the fun eh? Get there early and you'll have plenty of time to get up a few routes.

Burbage may also be worth a visit. Ash Tree Slab i think its called and has a handful of fun routes.

Ditto peoples thoughts on Roaches...a brilliant crag with loads to go at. Plenty in grade you want and despite the 'green' warnings I have never been unable to climb something there.

Try Right Hand Route on upper tier....a lovely, low grade, grit climb.

Enjoy and get ready to smear!!
John W - on 20 Dec 2012
In reply to Landy_Dom:

Wharncliffe - easy to get to, nice walk in, sharp holds, gets the sun, distinct lack of green, good friction, and probably the Peak's easiest spot for fixing belays at the top of the crag.
Jon Stewart - on 20 Dec 2012
In reply to John W:
> (In reply to Landy_Dom)
>
> Wharncliffe - also bear in mind that it's a remarkably unattractive crag to drive all the way across the Peak to.
Blue Straggler - on 20 Dec 2012
In reply to John W:
I'd disagree about easy to fix belays! Not desperate, but there are much easier locations. Also it is a bit of a pig to actually find your routes there as the bottom if the crag is not very navigable so it's a case of "walk along the top and take a lucky dip". Other than that, I would in fact agree - did a lovely HVD 4a (!) there a few weeks back, and there is Himmelswillen and Tower Face and Puttrell's Progress and Beta Crack and the Scarlett routes etc...but the logistics might be offputting (I think the walk in is a pig too - not long, just potentially confusing IMHO) and it's not a very nice PLACE. Friction is great, yes, and we have climbed pure green routes that were not actually problematic in terms of friction.

All that said...I think Stanage Crow Chin might work though I am not sure what there is at V Diff to Severe...

Or Froggatt
jkarran - on 20 Dec 2012
In reply to Landy_Dom:

Go bouldering, it'll be murderously cold sat atop most of the edges this time of year. If you must do routes then go for somewhere with a bit of shelter and a range of aspects so you can get into the sun and or out of the wind.

jk
EeeByGum - on 20 Dec 2012
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I'd wait 'til Spring and go to the Roaches. I think doing trad in winter is an enormous waste of time anyway, but additionally the Roaches gets green. It's a wonderful crag with lots to explore, and not far from you. However, it's perhaps a little harder to seek out the routes at those grades - but given the size of the crag, there must be plenty.

I agree with your sentiments about winter climbing but I was at the Roaches in November and it was fine despite the torrential rain we had all summer. I don't really understand your sentiments about routes being difficult to find though. How can you miss the excellent Right Hand Route, Maud's Garden, Black and Tans, Via Dolorosa and the ever famous Valkrie to name but a few sub VS ideas? At the end of the day, given the amount of rain we have had recently, all venues are going to be damp and the higher you go (Stanage for example) the more fridgid it will be.
Jon Stewart - on 20 Dec 2012
In reply to Pinged:
> (In reply to Landy_Dom)
>
>
> Grit in the freezing cold is the stuff of dreams.

Maybe if I'm climbing well on grit, and it's bright blue skies and no wind at all and the rock is completely dry, then it can be amazing. It never happens.

> You might have to hunt a dry(ish) route but thats half the fun eh?

No.
Jon Stewart - on 20 Dec 2012
In reply to EeeByGum:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
>
> [...]
>
> I don't really understand your sentiments about routes being difficult to find though.

Fair point. I just think of the Roaches as less user-friendly than the Eastern crags. The first time I went I recall struggling to find appealing-looking routes around VS, in contrast to Stanage where they're all obvious 'climb me' lines, right next to each other on a continuous clean edge.
EeeByGum - on 20 Dec 2012
In reply to Jon Stewart: The best comes to those who seek! :-)
Pinged - on 20 Dec 2012
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Do you even like climbing Jon? Or do you just like summer?
deepsoup - on 20 Dec 2012
In reply to John W:
> Wharncliffe

Is a good suggestion in many ways, but its not grit and it isn't in the Peak.
John W - on 20 Dec 2012
In reply to deepsoup:

Yeah, well, apart from that of course...

Bloody pedant :-)
John W - on 20 Dec 2012
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Ok, I see what you're saying - maybe I'm just used to it, and know where to look for belays (i.e. a multitude of long slings).

I think it's a lovely place by the way!
Jon Stewart - on 20 Dec 2012
In reply to Pinged:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
>
> Do you even like climbing Jon? Or do you just like summer?

I like spring too. When it's sunny, so when it's like summer.
Gerry_Doncaster - on 20 Dec 2012
In reply to Jon Stewart: I find there's no reason not to climb on grit in winter. The best thing about grit is that it only ever needs a few hours of dry weather to come into condition so it's ideal for keeping going through the winter. I climb on grit all year round and have had three good days on it this month alone at Birchen, Rivelin and Wharncliffe. I'm not keen on multi pitching in the cold but climbing on single pitch grit is fine at this time of year and you can still get a lot done despite the short days.
johncoxmysteriously - on 20 Dec 2012
In reply to Landy_Dom:

I would say Windgather.

Not understanding this nonsense about not climbing grit in the winter at all. If God hadn't meant us to do that He wouldn't have allowed us to invent duvet jackets.

jcm
Landy_Dom on 20 Dec 2012
In reply to Landy_Dom:

Thanks for all the replies folks. Some more info:

I'm not after specifically winter trad, more a general question to bear in mind as the weather slowly improves.

Most of my experience is on either slate (mostly sport around F5 to F6a) or limestone (trad, HS to HVS) and I'm most comfortable on finger cracks and crimps, on walls or slabs. I have very little overhanging rock experience and my power to weight ratio is not great. I'd like to work on this though. I also have very little experience on slopers.

I'd like to become a more well rounded climber, and also need to show this for my SPA log. I'm guessing I'll have to start low (maybe V Diff to S) until I get a feel for the rock type?

So I'm initially after a gentle introduction to grit, to get a feel for it, then maybe some stuff in the range HS to HVS to aspire to.

Thanks again!
TheDrunkenBakers - on 20 Dec 2012
In reply to Gerry_Doncaster:
> (In reply to Landy_Dom) Birchen Edge is very nice. Lots of pleasant and well protected routes in the grade range you specified. It's right on a main road with a 10-15 minute walk in. It's also one of the quickest drying gritstone crags in the Peak District so it's rarely not in condition.

Its quite far and there are closer crags but if the weather and routes dont appeal when you get there, at least you have a pub next to the car park.

EeeByGum - on 21 Dec 2012
In reply to Pinged:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
>
> Do you even like climbing Jon? Or do you just like summer?

Oh, I love climbing. I am just not a big fan of the cold and particularly standing around in the cold.
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seankenny - on 21 Dec 2012
In reply to Landy_Dom:

>
> I'd like to become a more well rounded climber

Pies are your friend. As is Xmas. Go forth and conquer.


> So I'm initially after a gentle introduction to grit, to get a feel for it, then maybe some stuff in the range HS to HVS to aspire to.

There is a horribly old skool way of doing this, which is what people did before there was the internet. It is this: buy a guidebook and possibly some magazines. Read them. Look at the pictures. Find a crag or a route that grabs your fancy. Then go and do it.

Seriously - there are tons of easy routes at virtually every gritsone crag. The guides these days give a good idea about conditions. If in doubt, go to Stanage!

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