Black Rocks

Climbs 185 – Rocktype Gritstone – Altitude 250m a.s.l – Faces NW

Crag features
A dark imposing bastion with huge prows and impressive side walls, split by fine cracks and home to some of the slopiest slopers on grit. Can make a big first impression (see comments!) but time spent adjusting to the place will be well rewarded.

A historically important venue- follow in the footsteps of gritstone greats such as Puttrell (Stonnis Crack, HS 4b), Piggott (Sand Buttress, VS 4c), Harding (Demon Rib, E3 5c, Promontory Traverse, E1/2 5b), Dawes (Gaia, E8 6c) and Grieve (Meshuga, E9 6c).

Generally exposed and quick-drying although much (but not all) of the longest north side of the crag sees little light in the winter months and some routes become very green- this side gives excellent midge-free shade in summer however. The more popular west wall is a spotless year-round venue.

Strictly trad ethics. Bring lots of mats and spotters for the bouldering as the quality tends to increase the higher the problems get!

Sadly many non-climbing visitors leave their rubbish here- doing your bit to remove some of this is proven to earn karmic protection on the bolder routes.

The climbs on outlying buttresses are also described and are listed roughly east to west. Directions to the more esoteric sections:

The Angel boulder- This is below a small broken edge on the moor above the level of the other buttresses. Follow the High Peak Trail east from the parking and take the right fork when it splits. This loops round a hairpin before heading uphill out of the trees. Follow a second path left along a broken dry stone wall and across the top of the edge- after a green wooden trail marker post and a new section of wall head downhill a little further and the boulder is on the left. Your medal is in the post.

For My Pet Daddy follow the High Peak Trail eastwards until you reach the winding house. Keep going down the trail as it becomes steep with rock cuttings on each side. MPD is an arete on the right- clearly the only thing worth climbing.

The Far East , Midway and Near East buttresses are small outcrops at the same level as the main crag- in the trees on the right as you follow the High Peak Trail east. Assume that the routes will need cleaning before an ascent as they all face north and will have not been climbing in years, if not decades!

The Upper Rocks is a small collection of boulders above the Near East buttress, best accessed by walking east from the main crag top.

The Railway Slab and Boulder and Quarry Buttress are on either side of the High Peak Trail below the crag.

Access notes
From Cromford follow road to Wirksworth (B5036) for 3/4 mile. Rocks (and picnic site!) are signed to the left.

Pay & display parking but there are a few roadside bays opposite the higher car park entrance.

A short but uphill walk from Cromford rail station.
Read more... Regional Access notes are available from the BMC.

Peak Bouldering (2014), Peak District: Bouldering (2011), Froggatt to Black Rocks (2010), Peak SE Pokketz (2007), Eastern Grit (2006), On Peak Rock (2003), Peak Climbs - Chatsworth (1996), Derwent Gritstone (1985),
Out of print: Rock Climbing in thge Peak District (1987), Rock climbs in the Peak - Derwent valley (1981)

Climbs at this crag

Sort climbs
 Climb nameGrade
2Easy Aretef4+ 3
3Megalythic Manf7A 1
4Neanderthalf6B 1
5Angel Delightf7A+  
6Easier Aretef2 2
8My Pet DaddyE5 6a *1
10Hot Dog SnifferE6 6a **4
11RafflesE3 5b 2
14Slab and TableHVD 2
15Are We Nearly There Yet?E1 5b  
16East ArêteS *4
18Crack and Facef5 20
19Valerie Ann, I'm Desperate Danf4+ 18
20Rubyf5 18
21Easy Slabf3+ 17
22Amethyst Deceiverf6C 1
23Dollyf6B *6
24Ledge Climbf5+ 11
25Maybellef6B+ **4
26APf5 16
27The Clamf5+ 17
28Flaked Slabf3 14
29King Edwardf7B+ ***8
31EasternerE1 5b  
32MarmotteE5 6b  
33HushVS 4c *6
35VJ CrackVS 4c 1
36Benjamin BicklesthwaiteE4 6a  
37East CrackS 3c 18
38Mental PygmyE3 6a *2
39New Year ButtressHVD 54
41RastafarianismE3 5c  
42Queen's Parlour SlabVS 4b **91
43Queen's Parlour GullyD **181
44Queen's Parlour ChimneyHS 4b *29
45Original RouteHVD 3c *61
46DynoMightE7 6b * 
47The RaungeHS 4b 1
48MoonchildE7 6c  
49Pine Tree GullyD 33
50Birch Tree ClimbS 4a 9
52Pirate's StaircaseM 16
53Green CrackHVS 5a 4
54Black CrackVS 4c *25
55Stonnis PinnacleHD *2
56Central ButtressHVD 3c ***152
57Central Buttress DirectE1 5a *44
58Central Buttress ChimneyVS 4c 4
59Soft RushE6 6a **1
60Blind Man's CrackVD 4a *80
61Blind Man's ButtressHVD 4a *23
63Left Promontory GullyD 3a 51
64Rope TrickE2 5c **1
65Vikings in a Sea of SweatE2 5c  
66LongshipsE2 5b *2
67FirebirdE2 5c **21
68The BounderXS 6?  
69MeshugaE9 6c ***5
70Pog's WallE4 6b  
71A Day at the PromE4 6b  
72Kit KatE3 6a *1
73Promontory TraverseE1 5b ***47
74The Easy Exit (Promontory Nose)E1 5b  
75Prominent Tory ReverseE2 5c *1
76Twisted SmileHVS 5b *3
77Lucky JimHVS 5a  
78Right Promontory GullyM *79
79Right Promontory RibS 4a 3
80Green WallHS 4c  
82SilicosisE1 5c  
83Garden Wall TraverseVS 4c  
84Stonnis Arete VariationsVD 4a *22
85Stonnis AreteHVD 4a **146
86The Eighth FoldE6 6c **1
87Ladykiller PeakE3 6b * 
88Fireworks for the BlindE4 6a 1
89Stonnis CrackHS 4b **302
90DiscombobulatorE5 6c **2
91Caught SmilingE6 7a * 
92Sand ButtressVS 4c ***236
93UntowardE5 6b *2
94Sand GullyD 78
96Right Hand ExitHVD *11
97Camel HotE6 6b ***4
98The Indirect StartE2 5c 9
99Lean Man's ClimbVS 5a ***187
100Feeding the PonyE8 6c **1
101The Superstitious StartHVS 5b *3
102Lean Man's SuperdirectVS 5a ***36
103Cider FrenzyE3 6a  
104Fat Man's ChimneyD *72
105Lean Man's EliminateVS 4c *12
107Branch ChimneyM 47
108The Nuage TravellerE3 5c  
109GomorrahE1 6a 3
110The SprainE2 5b *41
111Liquid AbsE5 6b * 
112Smears for Earsf7A+ **1
113GoodmotorfingerE5 6c * 
114BadmotorfingerE5 6c *3
115Twin CracksVD 33
116Finale WallHVS 4b 8
117Curtain Call (Finale Slab Left-hand)E1 5b *32
118Finale Wall Direct (Finale Slab Right-hand)E2 5b *13
119Cybertron MissionE6 6b 3
120Lawyer's Left FinishS 4b  
121Lawyer's ChimneyHVD 22
122Chancery SlabVS 4c 16
123Chancery GrooveM 4
124Our KidE4 5c 3
125Slanted and EnchantedE6 6b * 
126Jammed Stone ChimneyVS 5a 3
130Curved CrackHS 4b 61
131Curve Ballf6B **1
132Kra S'HaonVS 4b 23
133Noah's ArkVS 4b 11
134GaiaE8 6c ***24
135Harder FasterE9 7a * 
136Taxi to the Cragf7B *4
137Through the K-holeE7 6b *1
138Curving AreteE5 6b ***16
140Bring Back the BirchE5 6a  
141Birch Tree Wall VariationsHVS 5a **179
142Birch Tree Wall- variation startVS 4c **4
143Desert Island Discof6C 2
144Birch Tree Wall- variation finish (The Leaching Birch Tree)HVS 5b ***5
145Birch Tree WallVS 5a ***387
146Birch Tree Wall EliminateE4 6a 5
147The CriticE3 5c * 
148Demon RibE3 5c **40
149Lone Tree GrooveVS 5a **396
150Lone Tree GullyS 4a **382
151Occam's RaisinE5 6b *1
152Route 66f7C ***2
153PseudonymE5 6b **8
154The Devil Is In The DetailsE7 7a **2
155Hat Trickf7A ***13
156Non Stick Vicarf7B+ 1
157Black Book JohnE7 6c  
158Fun TraverseE4 6b *7
159South Gully RibHS 4b 29
160South GullyVD 4a 141
161South CornerHVS 4c *36
162Bad Hair DayE4 6b 17
163Runnel Rib Direct FinishE4 6b  
164Runnel RibE2 6b 1
165Fat Girl Rodeof7B * 
166The RunnelE2 6b *20
167Slab EndM 162
169DiagonalHS 5a 19
170Shredded FeetE3 6b *2
171Small ThingsE6 6c *3
172Golden DaysE3 6a *51
173Jumpin' on a BeetleE7 6c *10
174The Angel's ShareE8 7a **6
175Velvet SilenceE6 6c **15
176Make it SlappyE6 6c  
177Tree CrackHVS 5b 12
178Excellent SocksHVS 5b 1
179DampS 4b 3
180DryS 4a 3
182Percy (Boulder problem #1)V3 6a 35
183Henry (Boulder problem #2)V0+ 5b *48
184TrevorV0+ 5a *110
185Thomas (Boulder problem #3)V4 6b *31
186Thomas Eliminatef6C+ 5
187Toby (Boulder problem #4)VB 4b *94
188Gordon (Boulder problem #5)VB 4b *121
189Edward (Boulder problem #6)V0 5a 39
190The Fat Controller (Boulder prob #7)V4 6b 11
192Route 2 Left Handf5 *14
193Route 2 (Slab problem #1)VS 5a *184
194Island of Sodor (Slab problem #2)HVS 5c *95
195Route 1 (Slab problem #3)VS 4c *223
196Duck (Slab problem #4)M 63
197Mallardf3+ 23
198Railway Ribf4 15
199Harold (Slab problem #5)V6 6b *9
200The Bufferf5+ 15
202CrackedM 25
203ObverseVD 13
204CrackersE1 5b  
205Physical GraffitiE3 6b  
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Cool, challenging crag with some great and testing routes. Absolutely heartbreaking to see so much litter though.
Go_Climb_A_Rock - 24/Aug/14
"Rough, round, big, ugly, hard and unforgiving." A perfect description of the climbing and the people you are likely to encounter on a weekend trip to Black Rocks. Shame really as it has some of the best lines on grit. If you fancy it go during the week or evening, outside holidays.
nathanlee - 29/Jul/11
It was ever thus... Lots of names carved into the rock on the top - some of it quite artistic, some of it "AB luvs CD" etc. Some of it very new and some has been there for generations. Yobs? Not really, but plenty of weekend gawpers..."Oh look there's one! There's one!" Was the cry when the little group appeared on the skyline and pointed at us. Shame about the litter - lots of this. If you can put up with being gawped at then you will find some tough testpieces in a reather testing environment. The grades are a little less than generous for grit but there are some fantastic routes. A friend of mine once remarked that no birds sing at Black Rocks...nothing sinister about that - it's just that the sound of dogs, prams, bikes, shrieking people and cars drowns them out. Enjoy!
Rampikino - 18/Oct/10
Rough, round, big, ugly, hard and unforgiving, everything gritstone should be! One of the best gritstone crags in the Peak for hard climbing. If you want your grit technique to improve its a toss up between here, or the cowperstone. Shame about the yobs, i reckon you get an extra 'E' point for each empty can of stella you get thrown at you whilst ur on the lead.
tom allsop - 13/Oct/09
Taught climbing to an old friend there today. I was embarrassed with the rubbish, fosters cans and broken glass everywhere. Apart from that, there are some great routes, probably not the best crag for teaching a beginner on though...
Mattu - 22/Jun/09
Yes its a bit green on the off side but never mind, great climbs, sunset view point after the rounded gritstone struggles. To the people who post 'wont be returning to this one' good riddance dont come back!! xxx
ktmdave - 08/May/08
Went on sunday, beautiful day for climbing unfortunately most of the climbing here was poor. Obviously underclimbed as everything apart from the birch tree wall area was very green and slippery and most of the routes up to VS on birch tree wall were very polished. Shame as what we did do had a lot of potential and some of the routes are pretty high for gritstone. Still probably won't come back here again - at least the reports of Chav's and beer cans proved unfounded.
timbo - 31/Aug/05
went on saturday,took children to it,had an excellent day,no yobs of people,would go again
rachel - 06/Jun/05
Not impressed at all. Most of it very very green despite being June, sadly defaced by names cared into the rock, and frequented by grubby chavs swigging from cans of lager in the middle of the day who appear to think nothing of littering the place with their empties. Safe to say that we won't be coming back.
Dave - 05/Jun/05
An excellent crag - can be abit wet on the north facing area but loads of excellent routes and bouldering (with a mat) - it is sometimes abit litter strewn but i've never had problems with yobs throwing cans either (i feel i'm missing out!)
mark pollak - 31/Jul/04
Some excellent routes, but the crag suffers more than most from local yobs leaving litter, and from large groups of top-roping kids with dirty trainers damaging the routes :(
Nick Smith - 12/Jul/04
My local crag for the last 30 years and despite climbing there literally hundreds of times I always find it to be one of my favourite gritstone crags and not once in all those years have I ever seen anyone carving their name in the rock or throwing cans off the top. It has to be said though that some of the carvings are quite ingenious, the weeing donkey being a favourite with my children.
jonathan shepherd - 11/Jul/04
This crag is ideal for novices to experts, best avoided on weekends when total idiots decide to take hours chiselling their names into the face whilst drinking Stella and hurling their cans upon anyone attempting some of the excellent climbs! Watch out for broken glass on the ledges and make sure the cracks are clear before you hand-jam.
Stephen Farrer - 11/Jun/04
The first derbyshire gritstone crag I laid eyes on and it was enough to get me addicted! Found alot of the VS level routes absolutely nails and Stonis crackspat me off atleast four times. Ten years later I got back on it and it is still hard. My mate got his foot stuck in it for five minutes!! Prom traverse is one of my favourite routes..... Indeed an excellent crag.
Dave Evans - 08/Jun/04
BU - 26/Aug/03
A beast of a place. Some execellent routes, albeit a bit green in places. Easy access with nearby car parking below the crag. Shame about all the carvings in the rocks by mindless morons.
DS - 26/Jun/03
On reading my old diary from 1947 I see where Birch Tree Wall was a real bugger. As I remember it it was a lay-back up the crack but the slopping ledge to the left was a worse bugger,no hand holds 54 years ago I still remember sticking my hand in a crack then twisting it for a hold. Feeling sharp one early morning I detirmine to do her without a rope I nearly became religist that morn. Other climbs in my diary is Palm tree gally and groove, Lean\'s Ordinary,Q.P.slap,I dare say on the end of a rope.
Ralph H. Brailsford - 31/Aug/02