Almscliff - or 'The Cliff' as it's affectionally known - is the quintessential Yorkshire Gritstone crag. It's absolutely crammed with classics, which are densely packed together, making for a high-quality, compact circuit. It packs a punch though, with the crag's other nickname - Arms Cliff - being appropriate, as a session here is likely to take its toll. It's rough rock, and quite edgy (as far as Gritstone goes), so expect to leave with sore skin too!
Its position perched upon the top of a hill means that it gets all the wind and weather going. As a result of this, it's probably the most frequently in condition crag in Yorkshire, because if anywhere is going to be dry - it'll probably be Almscliff. The fact it has many aspects helps too, but don't expect to find much shelter from the wind, as it tends to get everywhere! It's hard to name a single time of year when it's at its best as a result of this because each season has its merits. A cool, crisp, sunny day in winter is hard to beat, but so too is a breezy summer evening - both are brilliant. There's something for everyone too, with both easy and hard, low and high, usually with excellent landings. What's not to like?
Its elevated position also offers fantastic views, with a pastoral panorama across the best county in Britain (if you're from Yorkshire). As a result of this, it's popular with a wide range of people and this is something that's worth bearing in mind because it's very much a shared space - be that with other climbers, walkers, families or farmers. The latter is perhaps the most important given the fact that there's a farm adjacent to the crag. Out of respect to the farmer, there is a request that nobody climbs on the crag after dark, so no lamping, sheep rustling, or cow tipping. It's similarly important that when parking you ensure you park in the correct space, and make sure you leave adequate space for farm vehicles and machinery. If there's no space, it's best to move on than cause an access issue or worse still - incur the wrath of the farming community.
One final - and slightly surreal - thing to mention is not to walk in across the top of the wall. This is (quite unsurprisingly) unacceptable behaviour, but it is behaviour that's been spotted, and by people with bouldering mats on their back. Whilst I'd love to think that this didn't need saying to the climbing community: don't do it, no matter how muddy the path is (and believe me, it gets pretty muddy).
Almscliff is split into two tiers - Low Man and High Man - and we'll cover each separately, creating a series of circuits on each.
Low Man is arguably the most logical place to start, simply because it's the first place you reach; however, it's probably best to be guided by the weather, as shelter can often be found elsewhere depending on the way in which the wind is going. Alternatively, if you're after early morning sunshine then the other side might be a bit brighter - and drier.
North Top Corner (f4)
Matterhorn Ridge (f4+)
Three Swings Traverse (f5+)
Pork Chop Slab (f5+)
Hanging Rib (f6A)
The Flying Arete (f6B)
The Gypsy Start (f6A)
The Virgin Traverse (f6B+)
Teflon Traverse (f6C)
Sloper Patrol (f6C)
The quality up high is just as good, if not better than down below, with some seriously classic classics.
The Crucifix Arete (f6A+)
Wall of Horrors Start (f6A+)
Bancroft's Roof (E2 6b)
Pebble Wall (f6C+)
Syrett's Roof (f7A)
'Arries 'ook direct start (f7A+)
Demon Wall Roof (f7A+)
Si's Arete (f7A+)
Jess's Roof (f7C)
Yorkshire Gritstone by the Yorkshire Mountaineering Club is your best option currently. This contains routes and boulder problems, which - if you are exclusively into bouldering - makes much of the information within it irrelevant; however, given that Yorkshire Gritstone Bouldering Vol. 1 & 2 are currently out of stock, and that there are no plans to reprint either, there's no other option.
In the unlikely event of you having ticked the crag, or the more likely event of the parking being full, there are plenty of other options locally. Caley Crags is probably the closest, with a lifetime of high-quality bouldering, which spans across the grades.