Sandstone quarry with a number of clean faces up to around 20 metres high. About a dozen obvious lines and various eliminates exist with the best lines around English 5a to 5b. As with Southern Sandstone the prevailing ethic has been top-roping or soloing due to the nature of the rock (the rock is quite soft for usual climbing standards) and some of the top-outs. Therefore no leading must take place on the rock, your gear probably won't hold in any case. Ham Hill Quarry is a bolt free zone.
Belays can generally be arranged on substantial trees set back at the top of the faces for which a spare rope for use as an anchor line is essential. There is an almost certain risk of rockfall from above Ivy Buttress while setting a top belay and extreme care should be exercised by all users of the quarry at such a time. Even during climbing, belayers should stand well back; this situation alone recommends the use of helmets. It is recommended that belayers should tie onto some form of anchor, otherwise being dragged into the stinging nettles is a distinct possibility. A strategically placed boulder on the quarry floor is useful for this purpose and can be used for all routes on Main Wall, Ivy Wall and most of Impending Wall. For other areas twigs and small trees have to suffice.
There are also a few easy obvious boulder problems around the base of the quarry.
The rock around the quarry is called Ham Stone, a shelly limestone.
Situated in Ham Hill Country Park with nearby parking and good access.
Access is via a sunken track from the northwest. Being surrounded by trees and below the level of the road its existence is not immediately apparent to the casual visitor. However, since being made a feature on one of the official trails around Ham Hill the entrance is nowadays much more obvious and displays a sign warning of steep quarry faces. Once upon a time it was possible to confuse it with a smaller adjacent
quarry on the north side. This has now been wired off for safety reasons and confusion should no longer be possible.
On entering the quarry the first clean buttress visible high on the left is ‘Cave Buttress’, then ‘Overhang Buttress’. To the right and above the lowest point in the quarry is the smooth face of ‘Main Wall’, divided from Overhang Buttress by a deep chimney and bounded at its right hand end by ‘Ivy Buttress’ (no longer worthy of its name!). To the right of the arête of Ivy Buttress is ‘Impending Wall’. At the far right end of the quarry is the rather mossy, secluded ‘Back Wall’ useful for traversing.
Both Overhang Buttress and Main Wall have a narrow top ridge which drops down on the other side to the adjacent northern quarry, The top of Overhang Buttress is reached by a rock step and short scramble up its left hand flank onto the ridge. Negotiating this ridge requires considerable care. A leap across a 3ft gap the top of the chimney gains the top of Main Wall. From here a path leads he top of Ivy Buttress and Impending Wall.
|5||Headcase||none 5c *|
|6||Original Route||none 5b||1|
|7||Rusty Nail||none 5b *|
|9||The Grunt||none 5b *||1|
|10||The Nose Traverse||none 4c *||1|
|11||Right Edge||none 4c|
|12||The Dream Machine||none 6a|
|13||The Nose Direct||none 5c *||1|
|16||Left Edge||none 5a||11|
|17||Digit Dexterity||none 5b *||16|
|18||Left Wall||none 5a *||28|
|19||Wobbly Block Lost||none 5c||21|
|20||Traditional Climb||none 4c *||24|
|21||The Reach||none 5a *||15|
|23||Not the Corner||none 4c||9|
|24||The Corner||none 4b||4|
|26||Innominate Crack||none 5a||14|
|27||Via Media||none 5b *||12|
|28||The Arete||none 5a *||17|
|29||Chipped Wall||none 6a||2|
|31||Right Arete||none 5a|
|32||Gaza Strip||none 5b *||10|
|33||Early Riser||none 5b *||10|
|34||Stairway Superdirect||none 5c||7|
|35||Leap of Faith 1||none 6a||1|
|36||The Stairway||none 5a **||10|
|37||Leap of Faith 2||none 6b *|
|38||Too Hard for Matt||none 6a||1|
|39||Too hard for M and G||none 6c *||3|
|THE BACK WALL|
|41||Green Wall||none 5a|
|42||The Groove||none 4b|
|43||Right Wall||none 4b|
|44||The Traverse||none 4c/6b|
|45||Far Right Chimney||HVD|
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