/ Best trad crags for newbies

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Pete_Mosely - on 14 Oct 2016
Which crags are decent for newbies (lots of routes up to HS)? So far on the list:
- Windgather
- Castle Naze
- Birchen
- Burbage North
- Stanage Pop

Any others to check out?

Cheers.
RyanOsborne - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Pete_Mosely:

All good choices, but the belays at Windy can be a bit tricky in places - good for beginners with a competent leader / friend, but maybe not if everyone is new to building belays.

Are you aiming mainly for the peak?
two_tapirs - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Pete_Mosely:
Our first trad climb without any experienced climbers was at Stanage Plantation, at Away from it all crag. there's a couple of Mod routes, 8m high and perfect for beginners. We spent a day going up and down these, practising placing gear, practiced our anchors until we were ready to scare ourselves stupid elsewhere. Access to the top is an easy scramble, plenty of anchor points on top, we also set up a top rope here first to practice the route. After this our confidence in placing gear and climbing outdoors improved massively.

it's also a 15 minute walk in from Stanage Plantation car park, so nice and easy. Good luck!
olddirtydoggy - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Pete_Mosely:

Lawrencefield is sheltered and non threatening. The smaller wall to the right of the pond is a good start.
2
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Pete_Mosely:
low man at Almscliff.

brimham- cubic block (though descent is a bit thought provoking)

rylstone- possibly the best diff and severe on grit... combine with walk along moor to rolling gate for more excellent low grade in brilliant setting...
Post edited at 14:19
1
pebbles - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

not Fluted Columns though, there isnt much gear till high up enough to hurt yourself.
brimham - cyclops area has some good really easy routes without walkoff issues, cracked corner at cracked buttress is also good. cubuc block - ok if you are setting up a toprope for them and lowering them off, but the walk off scares more people than just beginners, I would stick to lowering them off or alternatively place a bit of gear thec can aattach themselves to while stepping off the main block

+1 for rylstone presidents slab and dental slab.
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to pebbles:
cubuc block - ok if you are setting up a toprope for them and lowering them off, but the walk off scares more people than just beginners

glad it's not just me!

also- rocky valley at ilkley has some good routes in the diff- severe range too. and if the OP is stretching to HS, then Josephine in the quarry is a very good route- and once you've done it, then going back around to do napoleon isn't that much harder...
Post edited at 16:46
Pete_Mosely - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to RyanOsborne:

> All good choices, but the belays at Windy can be a bit tricky in places - good for beginners with a competent leader / friend, but maybe not if everyone is new to building belays.

> Are you aiming mainly for the peak?

Peaks and Lancashire mainly, but good to know about Yorkshire and beyond. I enjoy the drives in and exploring new places.

I see what you mean about Windgather, had to look a bit closer for anchors on some routes. Hexes came in handy though.
stevieb - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Pete_Mosely:

harborough is the other classic peak location for your list, lots of short low grade limestone
Pete_Mosely - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to stevieb:

> harborough is the other classic peak location for your list, lots of short low grade limestone

Looks good. What guidebook has Harborough in? Can't see it in any of the BMC guidebooks.
D Berry on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to Pete_Mosely:
I'd suggest the Roaches be added to the mix, especially if you have a pad or 2 between you and are willing to walk a little further than the honey pot around the upper tier, though that's as good a place as any to include in a day's intro. Plenty of shorter routes in your grade range in the Skyline, rather than the Very Far Skyline to start with and the bolder lines are now pretty obvious from the guide book descriptions.

From suggestions already made, whilst Birchen was where I started my grit career it can be very disheartening if you pick routes that don't suit to start with. The often held wisdom that the crux is in the start of routes there is not a bad one to consider. Finally Harborough is a good call. Again made more friendly with a pad to protect the start of your route, if your ethic's allow, or to just get more volume out of the day.
Post edited at 05:07
D Berry on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to Pete_Mosely:
Harborough's in Rockfax twice; the Peak Limestone routes guide and also the newer bouldering guide, and also the Vertebrate Publishing bouldering guide. For your purposes I'd suspect Rockfax route guide could be the way to go, though if you've seen the BMC's Peak Limestone North guide you could well be wanting to replace it when the South comes out if that makes sense.
Post edited at 05:08
stevieb - on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to Pete_Mosely:

Just to let you know, If you click on the crag in Ukc, it shows you which guidebooks cover it.

It's in the rockfax peak limestone guide, but if you're really keen on the bmc guides I can sell you my 1987 peak limestone guide 🙂
Gerry_Doncaster - on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

> brimham- cubic block

You must be joking. That Cubic Block has got more sandbags than Somerset at the height of the floods.

no_more_scotch_eggs - on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to Gerry_Doncaster:

Only done a couple of routes on it, a hvd and severe, they seemed fairly graded

Which are the sandbags? (before I find out when I'm actually on them! !)
BnB - on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to Gerry_Doncaster:

> You must be joking. That Cubic Block has got more sandbags than Somerset at the height of the floods.

Can't say I agree. It's hard to get off the ground on the Severe (Heather Wall?) and the HS (Square Root, great name) is flipping bold if barely 4b, but that's about it for trick grades.
Bulls Crack - on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to Gerry_Doncaster:

It's about now, in UKC's own particular take on Godwin's Law, that someone makes a suggestion which is the complete antithesis of the original request.

So, lets see.....Ladybower Quarrry?
Rog Wilko on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to Pete_Mosely:

Froggatt.
cragtyke on 15 Oct 2016
In reply to Pete_Mosely:

Wharncliffe, holds more positive and not as rounded as most grit, plenty of easy routes to go at with some classics among them and easy to rig belays.
GargoyleFeet - on 16 Oct 2016
In reply to Bulls Crack:

Ramshaw? Title the OP - this is a terrible idea ;)
Offwidth - on 16 Oct 2016
In reply to Pete_Mosely:
Wharncliffe. Dovestones (Chew).

In Yorkshire try Woodhouse Scar and Heptonstall right-hand outcrop (significantly updated in the new YMC guide)... both good venues as it gets colder, as long as the sun is out.
Post edited at 10:35
Pete_Mosely - on 16 Oct 2016
In reply to GargoyleFeet:
Thanks! Lots to explore. I've heard Shining Clough and Wimberry* are worth checking out.



> Ramshaw? Title the OP - this is a terrible idea ;)

What makes Ramshaw so hard. Someone said its a good place to climb if you want your arse handed to you.
Post edited at 16:12
SChriscoli on 16 Oct 2016
In reply to Pete_Mosely:

Cadshaw castle rocks. Got a raft of diff grades, good belay points, simple descent.
Bulls Crack - on 16 Oct 2016
In reply to Offwidth:
Woodhouse?

I think going somewhere nice would be better to instill a liking of the sport!
Post edited at 19:52
Offwidth - on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to Bulls Crack:

Its a fine trad beginners crag when clean (more than half the time) and gives year round fun being at a low elevation and a sunny aspect but shaded by the trees in summer. Also up with the best low grade bouldering venues in the YMC guide.

As a regular Ive got used to the kids (were you not a bit naughty at their age?) And I adore the Big 6 for apres climb.
Bulls Crack - on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to Offwidth:

The Big 6 is certainly great - but can't stand the litter and general scumminess of the place I'm afraid.
Offwidth - on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to Bulls Crack:

Maybe you just chose bad times... certainly during the production and aftermath of the YMC guide I and others kept the place pretty clean most of the time. I've been at my nearby in-laws less often this year and when I have been up there I have not been able to get out so I havent really had a chance to tidy stuff up.
Dave Garnett - on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to Pete_Mosely:

> What makes Ramshaw so hard. Someone said its a good place to climb if you want your arse handed to you.

Steepish, requiring good jamming, a positive attitude and an alpine start if you want sunshine.

That said there's some quite good easier stuff if you look for it.
JJL - on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to Pete_Mosely:

Um, the best crags for newbies are not in the peak.

Go to north wales or the Lakes

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Gerry_Doncaster - on 18 Oct 2016
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:


> Which are the sandbags? (before I find out when I'm actually on them! !)

Since it's a discussion about crags for novices I presume the guy who suggested Cubic Block was on about the East face of the block where there are a load of graded V Diffs. These V Diffs are all sandbags and notoriously so too. For a start just getting off the ground on any of them is at least 4b and they're all steep and in some cases even bulging and sustained too.
Offwidth - on 19 Oct 2016
In reply to Gerry_Doncaster:

Our "Offwidth" Cubic Block notes (the first main grades are the new YMC grades):

Immediately south is the impressive Cubic Block, climbs are listed anticlockwise from the ease side of the south face. The easier climbs on the east face of the block are now highly polished and quite tricky to start as a result. The easiest decent is on the left (south) side, with a worrying sloping shuffle down a groove, then stretching across a narrow gap to an exposed block, with a long drop below. Many lower-grade climbers may wish to stay roped-up for this.

Cubic Slab Traverse (4c) possible V0 4c*
The long low L-R traverse of slab on low break is quite sustained at the start and finish sections.
Old Corner S 4a* [HVD* P1; HVD P1; HVD] (HVD*) probable P1
The left-hand line on the wall is better and harder than it looks, reachy and requires care with some rounded holds at the midway bulge. Tough for short climbers.
Shorties Dilemma S 4c* [S P1] (S 4a) probable P1
Climb the wall right of the arete at a polished pocket. Good if reachy moves above retain the fun. A good climb.
Heather Wall S 4b* [S* P1; MS* P1; MS] (S 4a) probable P1
Leaving the ground involves hard moves on polished slopers; if all else fails move in from the left. The climbing is more straightforward above and eases gently with height.
Heather Wall Variant HS 4c [HS 4b P2; MS* P1] (HS 4b) possible P1
A bouldering start to the main line. Good moves.
Great Slab HVD 4a* [HVD* P1; S* P2; S] (HVD) probable P1
Another hard start but very good climbing above with optional finishes left, right or slightly harder, straight up at the top
Square Root HS 4b* [HS 4b* P2; VS 4c* P2] (HS 4b*) possible P2
Hardest but well protected in the lower sections; easier but bold above.
Cubic Corner MVS 4b** [= P2; HS 4b** P2; HS] (HS 4b*) possible HS 4b** P2
A lovely little arete which is increasingly bold with height. Normally started from the block but there is a worthwhile optional start traversing in from Square Root. The route may once have deserved P1 but the spaced cam placements are worryingly worn these days.
Rough Wall VS 5a*** [= P1; =; VS 5a] (VS 5a***) probable VS 5a** P1
An excellent climb but perhaps too unbalanced to deserve three stars. The crux sequence is superbly positioned at the very top, and is hard and perplexing.
[Rough Neck HVS 5a* [= P1; VS 5a P1] (VS 5a*) possible P1
A direct finish to rough wall with reaches to hidden holds and some hard moves in an impressive position to reach the top.]
Moss Side VS 4c** [= P1; =; VS 4c] (VS 4c**) possible P1
Any independent start right of Rough Wall is very lichenous so most start on the clean rock. Trend right to a ledge on the arete and move back left to a superb finishing sequence ending in a precarious top-out. Brilliant but high in both grades.
Cave Chimney S 4a* [HVD* P1; MS* P1; MS] (HVD*) possible S 4a* P1
The leaning chimney looks a bit grotty but gives continuously interesting climbing in an impressive position; big cams useful.

Just right of the overhanging rear of the Cubic Block are the Cubic Slabs. These were criminally understated in past guidebooks, relegated to a mere beginners top-rope venue. They give several very exciting padding variations for lower grade trad climbers, only the main lines are described below.

Cubic Slablet D 4b possible D 4b P1
The slab on the gully sidewall gives pleasant well protected climbing from a hard start that can be done with varying degrees of elegance.
Left Cubic Slab D 2c [M] possible D 2c P2
The easiest line starts up chips in the middle and trends to the left arete. Easy but bold as it involves some unprotected friction moves just above the start.
Slab Central HD 2c** possible HD 2c** P3
Start up the chips in the middle, trend left than back right to a blind flake finish. A brilliant sustained and unprotected solo which will feel slightly harder for shorties. Perfect practice for those Tuolumne approaches.
F4 possible U8 4c
The easing padding line to the right from a hard start.
Slab Right HS 4a*/F3 possible HS/U8 4a* P2
The right arete gives a lovely padding route with good gear only arriving after the hardest moves.
Gerry_Doncaster - on 19 Oct 2016
In reply to Offwidth:


> Just right of the overhanging rear of the Cubic Block are the Cubic Slabs. These were criminally understated in past guidebooks, relegated to a mere beginners top-rope venue. They give several very exciting padding variations for lower grade trad climbers,

Very interesting to read that. I've have had a lot of fun soloing on that slab over the years and agree entirely that it has been criminally overlooked by guide books. I have done every line imaginable of the slab and wouldn't have said there is anything harder than V Diff on it. I was therefore surprised to see the HS grade for the line you call Slab Right. I know this one and it's probably the best line on the slab but I would still only give it a V Diff grade. Then again if your grade takes account of gear placements then a higher grade is probably merited. Of course when you're soloing, protection doesn't come into it and you're grading on difficulty alone so you tend to under grade.
leewil86 - on 19 Oct 2016
In reply to Pete_Mosely:

Holyhead mountain Anglesey , top notch

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