/ First time out - The Roaches
I am new to climbing (5 months)and have been solely visiting my local climbing centre in Nottingham. I have read in a lot of places that it is vital to get out on rock as soon as possible though. I love camping in the Peak anyway so I have decided to get on it and go to the Roaches this weekend. My questions are:
What is the best first trad route at the Roaches?
Also, is there anywhere that people tend to do top roping? I know this is frowned upon on a lot of the better routes so I want to stay out of the way and not annoy anyone if possible. Any other advice or bouldering recommendations would also be most welcome.
It seems to be traditional for beginners to go to the right hand lower Tier area (Prow Cracks, Rocking Stone Gully and the like) but I always think this is a bit uninspiring. It also gets crowded. The main area on the Upper Tier is also going to be busy and I don't think it's ideal for beginners anyway (the routes are long and can be quite complicated for their grades).
Bit difficult to make recommendations without some idea of how you climb but why not go off to the Skyline to Alpha Buttress or Trio Buttress? Lots of easyish routes of different styles there, easy access and unlikely to be too busy.
Inverted Staircase might be a good shout. Right Route (note: NOT Right Hand Route) might also be worth looking at. If you find those easy, Maud's Garden is a brilliant route, but the start is poorly protected so it'd be worth seeing how confident you are on rock first.
Re top roping, I think the best way to not annoy anyone is just to avoid setting up camp on a route for the whole morning and to be aware of whether people are trying to get on your route and if so make reassuring noises that you'll be off it in a minute. The right hand end of the lower tier - Chalkstorm area (but probably not Chalkstorm!) is traditionally full of top-ropers, but there'll probably already be two in-situ outdoor centres by the time you get there. The right hand end of the upper tear - Blushing Buttress and Calcutta Buttress might also give you some good stuff to go at.
I toproped this last week - no way could I lead it - however there wasn't any body wanting to lead it and we top roped it pretty quickly (i.e. no rests just 1 attempt each), then ran off before the UKC lynch mob arrived.
Actually the Roaches is not that good a beginners crag. If you can be flexible with venue I'd go to Windgather.
Birchen and baslow can also be rounded and intimidating. Castle Naze rather less friendly than Windgather for holds and pro. Windgather is ideal but Dave G's suggestions are better than Birchen (and I co-wrote this crag up for the BMC)
If you flashed it on the toprope you could lead it. Not saying you should, personally I think you should climb what and how you like so no need for blushes when you drop a rope down something.
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