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.

Access 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.

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 **7
5The ClawHVS 5a **26
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 1
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 *19
56Easter IslandE1 5b **195
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 *4
68Pickering's OverhangE1 5b *14
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
80Wall of StrawsE5 6b ***12
81Three Piece ComboE4 6a *1
82Adjudicator WallE3 5c ***128
83Nancy WhiskyE1 5b *58
84Watchblock DirectHVS 5b 9
86The Lime Arch6b+ **73
87Jonah's Boner7c **3
88Arch Rival7a *42
89Arch Nemesis7b+ **1
90Arch Enemies7c+ ***32
91Sworn Enemy8a ***5
92Things Ain't Like They Used to Be7a+ *19
93A N Other Gary Gibson line6b 5
94Bo Bridgesf7B **1
97Veteran's ChimneyS 4a * 
98Thunder RibHS 4b 3
99Pensioner's GrooveVS 4b 1
100Roaring FortiesHVS 5a 1
101Bird Box RouteHVS 5b  
102Slime TraverseVS 4c  
104CampanileS 4a *77
105London BridgeE2 5b  
106WhackoE3 5c *6
107The Man with X-Ray EyesE2 5b *15
108FetishS 2
109FetlockVS 5b 1
110So This is SummerE4 6c  
112Topsy TurvyHVD 2
113Sentinel CrackS 2
115Finders KeepersE3 6b  
116Keeper's CrackS 4b  
117BoomerangHS 4c 1
119Desolation RowHVS 5a  
120Victoria FallsHVS 5a 1
121HortusHS 4b 8
122Model WorkerHVS 5a 1
123Rattus NorvegicusHVS 4c  
124MeanderVD 1
125Rose BowlHVS 5b 8
126Don van VlietE1 5c 1
127Ten Craters of WisdomVS 5a ***232
128SimeonVS 4c *70
129Simeon DirectHVS 5a **40
130Archibald the GrimE2 5c *6
131MassambulaE2 5c  
132Sunburst and SnowblindVS 4c  
133Woodlouse WallVS 4c  
134Flopsy Bunny goes to the ZooE1 5b 3
135Dovedale Chainsaw MassacreE2 5c  
136Bird StreetE2 5c  
138SiliconHS 4b **157
139Manna MachineVS 4c *45
140Under PressureHVS 5b 1
141A Secret StateE3 5c *14
142TormentorHVS 5b  
143DeflectorE1 4c  
144Rumble RidgeS  
146MandarinHVS 4c  
147BrutusE1 5b **79
148There Will Be Blood8a *1
149CaesarE4 6a **27
150GeorgeE1 5b ***166
151Destot's GapE5 6c  
152Bye, GeorgeE3 5c * 
153John PeelHVS 5a ***148
154Black FlipE4 6a 4
155Wild BillE2 5c *8
156Yew Tree WallE1 5c **156
157Calamity JaneE1 5b 5
158Uncle SamHVS 5a  
159Geronimo.E3 6a  
160Orange PeelE3 6a *3
161Faulty TowersVS 4c  
163Zulu DawnE5 6b *1
164And the WeatherE1 5b 1
165Dr LivingstoneVS 4b 16
166The Mystery TourHS 4b 2
167Stanley WallVS 4c 1
168AmoebaHVS 5a  
169Crazy HorseE3 5c *2
171Wild CountryE5 6c * 
172HornerHS 4c 2
173Bob Can't CopeE3 5b 2
174Bob HopeE2 5b 1
175Cryptic CrackVD 1
176Crypt RouteS 4a *13
177No Turning BackE5 6b *1
178Sold Down the RiverE5 6b 2
180French Technique7a *1
181American StyleE4 6b *4
182Bolt it and Believe it7c * 
183Tales of the RiverbankE5 6a ***13
184Pogles' WoodE4 6a 1
185The RattlerHVS 5b *2
186AnacondaE1 5b **37
187Phil's RouteE2 5c ***22
188JunglelandE5 6b *** 
189AmazonaE6 6c *** 
190Snakes AliveVS 4c ***74
191Judge JeffriesHVS 5c *1
192Quiet LifeE3 6a **11
193Blue SisterE4 6a *2
195Cat's Eye CornerHVS 5b *1
196Castle CrackVS 5a 1
198The Jaguar SmileE4 6a  
199The Gargoyle Sisters *E5 6b *1
* 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