/ Peak District - Is december a bad time to go?
Thinking about heading to the peak district without a car and was just wondering if mid to late December would be an ok time to go? Mostly weather wise.
The weather could be absolutely anything in December and the forecast will only really be reliable the day before. But December can offer magical conditions.
Also climbing in the peak is feasible without a car but through the winter it can be a life saver, being able to nip to a village for a hot meal or even just to get the heater on for twenty minutes.
Basically you can't plan a December trip to the peak in August :)
You will be very unlucky not to get some good days but a flexible agenda including bouldering and south facing sun traps and escape routes indoors would be wise. Sometimes it can be perfect: I've walked in through frost keeping warm in a down jacket to boulder on higgar south, in a tee shirt, on sunny rock that stays cool with perfect friction.
Obviously the weather in Britain could do absolutely anything anytime, but I have to say that December is one of the months when it is probably more likely to be bad than good on any given day. If you are flexible, have plenty of time and can enjoy non-climbing days then you should be ok. If you only have a limited window and are driven by a particular route you may find it frustrating.
I've just looked at your logbook... Do you enjoy bouldering? December in the peak is definitely more likely to be good for bouldering than routes. Even in good conditions route climbing can be a very cold experience unless the sun is out and there's no wind.
yes- i remember going to stanage in january some years back, to find everything plastered in snow
relocated to birchen that afternoon, no snow, but perfect blue skies and grippy grit...
Thank you all so much for your input! It was more of a spur of the moment idea as flights from dublin to Manchester are dirt cheap (they're like that most of the time) and I know I'll have time off in December. I'll rethink later in the year. What would be an ideal time to go? Preferably striking a balance between dry weather and less crowds (Don't mind cold so long as it is dry!)
I'm dying to experience the wonders of grit!!!
December can be magical for climbing in the Peak. Crispy blue skies and white capped views.
It can also be a soggy and drizzly mess. I'd risk it!!
Despite the positive replies - and of course you might get lucky - I would say November/December were the worst months of the year to climb in the Peak - much like where you live I'm guessing. Very short days and a high chance of miserable weather don't make for a great combination. If you can travel at short notice check the forecast a few days in advance then make a decision,
Peak obsessive that I am, thanks to the wonders of UKC I can tell you that 3.2% of my climbing has been done in December. If you get anything done it will be magical, if you get nothing done it will be not unusual.
I've done a lot more, especially early december as its quiet at work and through neccesity on the guidebooks (I'd have done even more but I tend to go to the US every other year in the back end of december). I think the SE peak where I've climbed most lends itself to sheltered winter stuff. Froggatt, Lawrencefield Birchen etc are good, Cratcliffe, Shining Cliff can be mint and the various bouldering venues all seem OK. Of course it can rain the whole month but with modern weather forecasts you can see that coming (it rained every day of a 3 week scottish climbing holiday we once took). Rivellin and Wharncliffe are good bets further north. On the west New Mills and various low level quarries can be good (esp Hobson Moor ) I've also climbed and bouldered quite a bit in late December at Woodhouse Scar as on alternate years we are with family in Brighouse.
A mate of mine, when he was still a teenager, who was brought up on videos like Hard Grit and magazine pictures of Peak bouldering in cold crisp winter weather, hitched to Stanage - from his home in Switzerland - and spent Christmas > New Year camped somewhere under the crag. The most miserable week of his life, he told me.
Yet stay in a room (paid or crash with mates) and you can lie-in a little guilt free and get out as the morning dew evaporates and on the days it turns bad, sample some of the worlds best indoor climbing. Stanage is of course one of the worst december climbing venues maybe except (on a good day) the bit north of the causeway which faces more south and is a little below the brow of the hill or of course the ever popular and even more sheltered plantation boulders.
Anyway I've had some of my best days in early december (which is technically late autumn) and the records show the weather isn't always as bad as the pessimists say:
Don't rule it out what ever you do. I have enjoyed many fine December days on the Eastern gritstone edges.
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