Climbs 195
Rocktype Gritstone
Altitude 250m a.s.l
Faces NW

15-year-old Toru Nakajima climbing Gaia © alex ekins

Crag features

Black Rocks is a fine but often neglected cliff. It sits proudly on a hill above Cromford and not far from the limestone crags of High Tor, Willersley and Wild Cat. The cliff has a reasonable selection of lower grade climbs, some good mid-grade routes and a whole bunch of the really hard stuff up the bald and blank aretes, slabs and walls. It is somewhat lacking in the lower extreme grades but there is the ultra-classic sideways shuffler of Promontory Traverse as some compensation.

The rock is very even-textured gritstone, almost devoid of big pebbles and often smoother than elsewhere. This gives climbing that is often strenuous, precarious and rounded in the extreme, with many flaring breaks and sloping holds. Getting your hands on a full set of cams, including some big ones, is a good idea before a visit.

The crag overlooks the Derwent Valley and the Matlock area. Much of the cliff faces north and tends to be green and unpleasant after poor weather and all winter. In contrast, the west-facing Birch Tree Wall dries quickly and is in condition for much of the year. The position on top of a hill means that it is exposed to the wind. Some of the harder routes are not climbed that often and may need a gentle brushing before an ascent.

Approach notes

The crag is 1km south fo Cromford, which is 3km south of Matlock. From lights on the A6 turn south into Cromford and follow the B5036 uphill, forking left onto a minor road after 1.3km. Two left turns lead into the Black Rocks parking (Pay and Display), the upper is (a bit) nearer the rocks and sometimes has an ice cream van in-situ.

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Eastern Grit

Updated and expanded edition of the award-winning Peak Grit East. Covers all the best routes on the eastern Gritstone edges of the Peak District - Wharncliffe, Rivelin, Dovestone Tor, Bamford, Stanage, Burbage North, Higgar Tor, Burbage South, Millstone, Lawrencefield, Yarncliffe, Froggatt, Curbar, Baslow, Gardoms, Birchen, Chatsworth, Cratcliffe, Black Rocks
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Peak Bouldering

The Peak Bouldering Rockfax is a massive book covering a huge area including all the main bouldering venues of the Peak District. It includes many more low-grade problems than have ever been documented before including 17 circuits with problems at V0+ 5a and under, and a further 21 circuits with problems at V2 5c and below.
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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
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Climbs at this crag

Climb name Grade
 Angel Boulder 
2Easy ArÍteV0+ 4
3Megalythic Man
V6 1
4NeanderthalV4 3
5Angel DelightV7 1
6Easier ArÍtef2 2
 Incline Cuttings 
8My Pet DaddyE5 6a *1
 Far East Buttress 
10Hot Dog SnifferE6 6a **4
11RafflesE3 5b 2
 Midway Buttress/Near Near East Buttress 
13EasternerE1 5b  
14Original RouteVS 4b  
 Near East Buttress 
16Slab and TableHVD 3
17Are We Nearly There Yet?E1 5b  
18East ArÍteS *9
 Upper Rocks 
20Crack and FaceV0+ 23
21Valerie Ann, I'm Desperate DanV0- 21
22RubyV0+ 21
23Easy SlabV0- 19
24Amethyst Deceiverf6C 1
25DollyV3 *9
26Ledge ClimbV2 12
27MaybelleV2 **4
28APV1 18
29The ClamV1 20
30Flaked SlabV0- 16
31King EdwardV9 ***10
 New Year Buttress 
33MarmotteE5 6b  
34HushVS 4c *10
35V.J. CrackVS 4c 1
36Benjamin BicklesthwaiteE4 6a  
37East CrackS 3c 19
38Mental PygmyE3 6a *2
39New Year ButtressHVD *60
 Queen's Parlour 
41RastafarianismE3 5c  
42Queen's Parlour SlabVS 4b **121
43Queen's Parlour GullyVD **223
44Original RouteHVD 3c **72
45Queen's Parlour ChimneyHS 4b *34
46DynoMightE7 6b * 
47The RaungeHS 4b 1
48MoonchildE7 6c * 
49Pine Tree GullyD 36
50Birch Tree ClimbHVD 9
51Pirate's StaircaseM 18
52Green CrackHVS 5a *4
53Black CrackVS 4c **29
54Stonnis PinnacleHD *4
 Central Buttress 
56Central ButtressHVD 3c ***210
57Central Buttress DirectE1 5a *49
58Central Buttress ChimneyVS 4c *4
59Soft RushE6 6a *1
60Blind Man's CrackHVD 4a *97
61Blind Man's ButtressHVD 4a *24
62Left Promontory GullyD 3a 62
 The Promontory 
64Rope TrickE2 5c **1
65Vikings in a Sea of SweatE2 5c  
66LongshipsE2 5c *2
67FirebirdE2 5c **21
68The BounderE1 7a  
69Prominent Tory ReverseE2 5c **1
70MeshugaE9 6c ***5
71The Easy Exit (Promontory Nose)E1 5b * 
72Pog's WallE4 6b  
73A Day at the PromE4 6b * 
74Kit KatE3 6a *1
75Promontory TraverseE1 5b ***84
76Twisted SmileE1 5b *3
77Lucky JimHVS 5a  
78Right Promontory GullyM 91
79Right Promontory RibS 4a 3
80Green WallHS 4c 1
 Stonnis Buttress to Lean Man's Climb 
82SilicosisE2 5c  
83Garden Wall TraverseVS 4c 1
84Stonnis ArÍte VariationsVD 4a *28
85Stonnis ArÍteHVD 4a **178
86The Eighth FoldE6 6c *1
87Ladykiller PeakE3 6b  
88Fireworks for the BlindE4 6a 1
89Stonnis CrackHS 4b **391
90DiscombobulatorE5 6c **3
91Caught SmilingE6 7a * 
92Sand ButtressVS 4c ***307
93UntowardE5 6b *2
94Sand GullyD *90
95Right Hand ExitHVD *11
96Camel HotE6 6b ***4
97The Indirect StartE2 6a *9
98Lean Man's ClimbVS 5a ***236
99Feeding the PonyE8 6c *1
 Fat Man's Area 
101Unlucky for SomeE3 6a  
102The Superstitious StartHVS 5b *6
103Lean Man's SuperdirectVS 5a ***72
104Fat Man's ChimneyD ***98
105Branch ChimneyM 63
106Cider FrenzyE3 6a  
107Lean Man's EliminateVS 4c *15
108The Nuage TravellerE3 5c  
109GomorrahE1 6a 4
110The SprainE2 5b *48
111Liquid AbsE5 6b *1
112Smears for Earsf7A+ **1
113GoodmotorfingerE5 6c * 
114BadmotorfingerE5 6c *4
 Finale Wall 
116Twin CracksVD 40
117Finale WallHVS 4b 8
118Curtain CallE1 5b *40
119Finale Wall DirectE2 5b *17
120Cybertron MissionE6 6b 3
121Chancery SlabVS 4c 16
122Lawyer's Left-Hand FinishHS 4b  
123Lawyer's ChimneyHVD 25
124Chancery GrooveM 5
125Our KidE4 5c 3
126Slanted and EnchantedE6 6b * 
127Jammed Stone ChimneyVS 5a 3
 Birch Tree Wall 
129Gayerf6C 1
131Curved CrackHS 4b *72
132Curve BallV3 **1
133Noah's ArkVS 4b 14
134Taxi to the Cragf7B *7
135Kra S'HaonVS 4b 28
136GaiaE8 6c ***23
137Harder FasterE9 7a ** 
138Through the K-holeE7 6b *1
139Curving ArÍteE5 6b ***17
140Bring Back the BirchE5 6a  
141Birch Tree Wall VariationsHVS 5a **230
142Birch Tree Wall - Variation StartVS 4c **6
143Birch Tree Wall - Variation FinishHVS 5b ***11
144Birch Tree WallVS 4c ***482
145Desert Island Disco
f6C 3
146Birch Tree Wall DirectVS 5a ***25
147Birch Tree Wall EliminateE4 6a *6
148The CriticE3 5c * 
149Demon RibE3 5c **45
150Lone Tree GrooveVS 5a **486
151Lone Tree GullyS 4a **462
152Occam's RaisinE5 6b *2
153Route 66f7C ***2
154PseudonymE5 6b **11
155The Devil is in the DetailsE7 7a **2
156Hat TrickV6 ***24
157Non Stick Vicarf7B+ 3
158Black Book JonE7 6c ** 
159Fun TraverseE4 6b **10
160South Gully RibHS 4b 34
161South GullyHVD 4a 165
162South CornerHVS 4c *41
163Runnel RibV4 3
164Bad Hair DayE4 6b *16
165Fat Girl Rodeof7B * 
166The RunnelE3 6b **22
167Slab EndD 182
 The Block 
169DiagonalS 5a 19
170Shredded Feetf7A *4
171Small ThingsE6 6c *3
172Golden DaysE3 6a **79
173Jumpin' on a Beetlef7B **34
174The Angel's Sharef7C **45
175Velvet Silencef7A+ ***41
176Make it Slappyf7B+ *1
177Tree CrackHVS 5b 13
178Excellent SocksHVS 5b 1
179DampS 4b 4
180DryS 4a 8
 Railway Boulder 
182PercyV3 38
183HenryV3 *56
184The Fat ControllerV4 *14
185TrevorV2 *125
186ThomasV4 *38
187Thomas Eliminatef6C+ 6
188TobyV0- *110
189GordonV0- *135
190EdwardV0+ 48
 Railway Slab 
192Route 2 Left-Hand
V1 *18
193Route 2V0+ *203
194Island of SodorV3+ *106
195Route 1V0 *249
196Right SideV1 2
197DuckM 72
VB 33
199Railway Rib
V0+ 21
200HaroldV4 *10
201The Buffer
V2 18
 Quarry Buttress 
203CrackedD 25
204ObverseVD 13
205CrackersE1 5b 2
206Palookaf6A+ 1
207Physical GraffitiE3 6b 1
208Southpawf6A 2
 Swamp Area 
210Local Nightlifef6B 3
211Waiting for Emlynf6A 2
212Swamp Feverf5 2
213Muskegf5 2
214Swamp Thingf5 2

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