Climbs 179 – Rocktype Limestone – Altitude 180m a.s.l – Faces W

Crag features

The north-south gash of Dovedale has a fine set of climbs on the various bits of rock scattered along its length, and has long been a firm favourite with limestone climbers. Many of the climbs finish on proper summits which is an added attraction. The Dale is the most popular tourist destination in this guidebook; in summer hoards travel up and down the valley gazing in awe at the spires, fins and arches that make up the superb rock architecture scattered along the Dale. Ascents of the free-standing tower of Ilam Rock, and the climbs around the Doveholes in particular will always draw a crowd of onlookers and the Pickering Pinnacle and Tissington Spires are also quite public, though fortunately there are plenty of more discreet bits of rock for those who don't perform well in front of a crowd. Whatever your chosen destination, many pieces of rock described here are only home to a small set of quality routes, to get the most out of a good day's climbing out of a visit you will need to go to more than one buttress.

Approach notes

Dovedale is the valley between Thorpe Village at its southern end and Milldale at its northern end. It runs parallel to the main A515 Buxton to Ashbourne road which is the best road to gain access to the villages at either end. There is a large free car park in Milldale, and a large expensive car park just past the Izaak Walton Hotel at the Thorpe end. A substantial path follows the east bank of the river for the entire length of the dale and this gives access to Bailey Buttress, Dove Holes, Pickering Tor and Tissington Spires. The one bridge gives access to Ilam Rock but Dovedale Church and Ravens Tor usually require a spot of wading. More detailed approaches are given with each buttress.

Access notes

Significant rockfall from the Pickering Pinnacle (on the route Pickering Ridge) was reported in June 2015. Caution is advised if climbing at the crag as this route and others nearby may have been affected by the rockfall.

Read more... Regional Access notes are available from the BMC.

Peak Limestone (2012), Northern England (2008),
Out of print: Northern Limestone (2004), Peak Limestone - South (1987)

Climbs at this crag

Sort climbs
 Climb nameGrade
2Flying BlackberryE3 6a 2
3RibitE4 6b * 
4Claw Left-HandHVS 5b **8
5The ClawHVS 5a **27
6Swallow TalesE3 6a  
7Bill BaleyVS 4b *5
8Cenotaph CornerS  
9The BeakHS 4b  
10An Air of DetachmentVS 4b  
11The FilterVS 4c  
12FiltrationHVS 5b  
13Baley ChimneyVD  
15Tennessee WaltzHVS 5b *3
16Southern RibE1 5b **69
17The TemptressE5 6a **7
18Deltoid ShuffleE4 5c *21
19Left-hand RouteE1 5b **74
20Sentinel CrackS 2
21RavenE2 5c *25
22Brown's BlunderVS 4c *22
23AquariusE2 5c **29
24Central WallE3 5c *27
25Central Wall DirectE4 6b * 
26JudasE5 6b * 
27The DoldrumsE3 5c 3
28VeneryHVS 4c **43
29Parrot FaceHVS 5a *11
30SkewballVS 4c 3
31JugbitE2 5c 1
32Tendonitis SucksE5 6b 1
33Girdle TraverseHVS ***4
34Southern GullyHVD 1
36The ArchersE5 6b  
37The BallA2 *11
38Pumping IronE5 6b * 
39The UmpireE3 5c *10
40Restricted PracticesE5 6b 2
41The WickedA2 *8
42The BatA2 ***58
43Middle StumpA2 ***18
44Follow the BearE5 6b  
45Police and ThievesE4 6a **10
46Dynamic AidersA2 *3
47Girdle Lip traverseA2 **1
49Original RouteHS 4a 28
50The Wong EdgeE3 6a **12
51The GrooveE2 5c *16
52The GladiatorE4 6a ***19
53Steve's RouteE6 6c ** 
54Eye of the TigerE7 6c ***5
55The White EdgeE3 6a *20
56Easter IslandE1 5b **204
57Easter Island-White Edge ConnectionE2 5c 5
58Ducie island HVS 4c 1
60Pickering RidgeVS 4b 5
61What Crisis?HVS 5a 3
62CrisisE5 6c 1
63Uncontrollable UrgeHVS 5a 1
64Daylight RobberyE1 5b  
65Monsieur Mange ToutE5 6b *2
66The RiverE4 6a  
67The FlakeE1 5c *5
68Pickering's OverhangE1 5b *15
69Chunky PunkyHVS 5a 6
70Original RouteS 3c 3
72Final WitnessE2 5b *10
73ThunderballE1 5b **32
74Red EyeHVS 5b 3
75Suspended SentenceE5 6b * 
76Harold WilsonE2 5b  
77Palsy WallHVS 5a  
78Beginner's LuckHS 4a *6
79The Gargoyle Sisters *E5 6b *1
81Wall of StrawsE5 6b ***12
82Three Piece ComboE4 6a *1
83Adjudicator WallE3 5c ***128
84Nancy WhiskyE1 5b *59
85Watchblock DirectHVS 5b 9
87The Lime Arch6b+ **77
88Jonah's Boner7c **3
89Arch Rival7a *47
90Arch Nemesis7b+ **1
91Arch Enemies7c+ ***34
92Sworn Enemy8a ***5
93Things Ain't Like They Used to Be7a+ *21
94Can you believe it6b 6
95Bo Bridgesf7B **1
98Veteran's ChimneyS 4a * 
99Thunder RibHS 4b 3
100Pensioner's GrooveVS 4b 1
101Roaring FortiesHVS 5a 1
102Bird Box RouteHVS 5b  
103Slime TraverseVS 4c  
105CampanileS 4a *79
106London BridgeE2 5b  
107WhackoE3 5c *6
108The Man with X-Ray EyesE2 5b *16
109FetishS 2
110FetlockVS 5b 1
111So This is SummerE4 6c  
113Topsy TurvyHVD 2
114Sentinel CrackS 2
116Finders KeepersE3 6b  
117Keeper's CrackS 4b  
118BoomerangHS 4c 1
120Desolation RowHVS 5a  
121Victoria FallsHVS 5a 1
122HortusHS 4b 8
123Model WorkerHVS 5a 1
124Rattus NorvegicusHVS 4c  
125MeanderVD 1
126Rose BowlHVS 5b 8
127Don van VlietE1 5c 1
128Ten Craters of WisdomVS 5a ***241
129SimeonVS 4c *70
130Simeon DirectHVS 5a **42
131Archibald the GrimE2 5c *6
132MassambulaE2 5c  
133Sunburst and SnowblindVS 4c  
134Woodlouse WallVS 4c  
135Flopsy Bunny goes to the ZooE1 5b 3
136Dovedale Chainsaw MassacreE2 5c  
137Bird StreetE2 5c  
139SiliconHS 4b **161
140Manna MachineVS 4c *50
141Under PressureHVS 5b 1
142A Secret StateE3 5c *15
143TormentorHVS 5b  
144DeflectorE1 4c  
145Rumble RidgeS  
147MandarinHVS 4c  
148BrutusE1 5b **85
149There Will Be Blood8a *1
150CaesarE4 6a **27
151GeorgeE1 5b ***172
152Destot's GapE5 6c  
153Bye, GeorgeE3 5c * 
154John PeelHVS 5a ***152
155Black FlipE4 6a 4
156Wild BillE2 5c *8
157Yew Tree WallE1 5c **162
158Calamity JaneE1 5b 5
159Uncle SamHVS 5a  
160Geronimo.E3 6a  
161Orange PeelE3 6a *3
162Faulty TowersVS 4c  
164Zulu DawnE5 6b *1
165And the WeatherE1 5b 1
166Dr LivingstoneVS 4b 16
167The Mystery TourHS 4b 2
168Stanley WallVS 4c 1
169AmoebaHVS 5a  
170Crazy HorseE3 5c *2
172Wild CountryE5 6c * 
173HornerHS 4c 2
174Bob Can't CopeE3 5b 2
175Bob HopeE2 5b 1
176Cryptic CrackVD 1
177Crypt RouteS 4a *13
178No Turning BackE5 6b *1
179Sold Down the RiverE5 6b 2
181French Technique7a *1
182American StyleE4 6b *4
183Bolt it and Believe it7c * 
184Tales of the RiverbankE5 6a ***13
185Pogles' WoodE4 6a 1
186The RattlerHVS 5b *2
187AnacondaE1 5b **38
188Phil's RouteE2 5c ***23
189JunglelandE5 6b *** 
190AmazonaE6 6c *** 
191Snakes AliveVS 4c ***77
192Judge JeffriesHVS 5c *1
193Quiet LifeE3 6a **11
194Blue SisterE4 6a *2
196Cat's Eye CornerHVS 5b *1
197Castle CrackVS 5a 1
199The Jaguar SmileE4 6a  
* Climbs listed in red are waiting to be checked by a crag moderator, and may not be accurate.
Moderator Updates to this page are checked by UKC volunteer Graeme Hammond

USER FEEDBACKLogin as Existing User to add your comments
The 'very expensive' carpark near Thorpe is only 2.50, so don't be too dispirited if you can't park at the free one to the North of the area!
Just Tintin - 29/Jun/15
I climbed there this weekend and getting to the routes was fine. There are quite a lot of nettles in the gullies, especially below John Peel area, but the paths are obvious. Quality trad limestone.
ctodd - 04/Sep/11
Hi Steph, I know that underused climbs can return to nature very quickly. I have climbed in the John Peel area recently and that seems fine - as does the Ten Craters area. The paths aren't the best I'd agree, but it's all part of the fun of limestone. Dovedale is managed by the National Trust - I'm not sure what their policy is on crag clean-ups. I'll raise it at the next BMC area meeting. Cheers, Alan
EarlyBird - 02/Aug/11
The climbs at Tissington Spires are very inacessible. I went 30th July 2011, and couldn't get anywhere near the rock, as so many plants/trees has spiralled out of control. It is a shame as it is a large area and looks like some great climbs. There are some sort of pathways up but they are very stoney and dangerous to climb with all your gear on your back. Would be good if it all got cut back to a decent level so it can be acessed. Don't believe the rockfax picture, nothing like it now!
climbingsteph - 01/Aug/11