Classic Peak Limestone Trad - VDIff to E2

by Alan James and Jack Geldard Aug/2012
This article has been read 19,659 times
Peak District limestone, it's not all chossy quarries, honestly! And, it's not all overhanging crimp-fests either.

So for those climbers for whom a rest involves a sandwich and cup of tea, not just a slightly bigger hold, we have put together a selection of high quality trad routes, spanning the grades VDiff to E2, and all within a stone's throw of a cake shop.

Are you more in to breadsticks than clipsticks? Us too! Have you ticked all these routes? No? Us neither! But you can log your progress at getting these routes done using this UKC Logbook Ticklist: Classic Peak Limestone Trad.

Low Grade Gems

1: Trident Arete, VDiff, Harborough Rocks

A fine little route with a couple of easy variations to the side of it.

Dave Gregory on Trident Arete at Harborough., 148 kbDave Gregory on Trident Arete at Harborough.
© Chris Craggs

2: Lynx, HS, Wildcat Crags (aka Wild Cat)

A great rising diagonal line across a steep buttress - a great way to get to territory normally reserved for harder routes.

High Crag at Wildcat showing the lines of Lynx and Golden Yardstick, 180 kbHigh Crag at Wildcat showing the lines of Lynx and Golden Yardstick
© Rockfax

3: Golden Yardstick, VS 5a, Wildcat Crags (aka Wild Cat)

The left-hand side of High Crag at Wildcat gives slightly harder climbing than Lynx, with a superb stance at half-height.

Luke Holmes climbing The Golden Yardstick at Wildcat, 213 kbLuke Holmes climbing The Golden Yardstick at Wildcat
© Dan Lane

Multi-pitch Delights

Conclusor at Ravensdale, 193 kbConclusor at Ravensdale
© Chris Craggs
Ravensdale is an unlikley crag. Situated near Miller's Dale in an area better known for its intense fingery sport climbing, lies this surprising west-facing delight of mid-grade multi-pitch trad limestone.

4: Medusa, VS 4b

A little polished these days but the central line of the buttress is still a popular tick with fine climbing and one slippery crack.

5: Conclusor, HVS, 5a

Steady climbing up clean rock between the ivy. Possibly the best route at the crag!


High Tor below E1

John Cooper climbing Skylight at High Tor
© Christian Fox
6: Skylight VS 4c, High Tor

This magnificent corner bounds the left-hand side of the main face at High Tor. It offers brilliant sustained climbing (with a fair amount of polish).

7: Highlight, HVS 5a, High Tor

The companion corner left of Skylight gives a great route which is similar to its neighbour but a touch harder.

8: Original Route, HVS 5a, High Tor

The third classic route below E1 at High Tor is the fine corner on the Main Face. One of the best routes of its kind in the country.

Steve Ramsden on Original Route at High Tor

Timeless Classics

The following two routes are well known to many.

The classic shot of The Thorn (HVS), Beeston Tor
© TonyM, Sep 2005
9: The Thorn, HVS 5a, Beeston Tor (Manifold Valley)

Worth seeking out. A fine line up this impressive face with a commiting and exposed moves on the second pitch providing the (photogenic) crux.

Rick Graham on the spectacular finish of Sirplum, gained via the Super Indirect
© Neil Foster, Apr 2011
10: Sirplum, E1 5b, Chee Dale Upper

One of the steepest and most exposed routes of its grade in the Peak District. Breath-taking positions and fine climbing leading outwards above the void on huge holds for the most part. In combination with Aplomb it gives an E1 day out that will leave you dizzy from the exposure.

Stoney Selection

Stephen Horne on Dead Banana Crack at Stoney Middleton
© Stephen Horne Collection
11: Dead Banana Crack, E1 5c, Stoney Middleton

Not so much fun climbing as a must-do experience. The slippery start repels most attempts, get past this and you will probably make the top.

Luke Holmes climbing Scoop Wall at Stoney Middleton
© Dan Lane
12: Scoop Wall, E2 5c, Stoney Middleton

The finest route at Stoney Middleton tackling the central feature of its best buttress. Lots of fixed gear on this one, but take your wires to back it up and fill the gaps.

13/14/15: The High Tor D Routes

Delicatessen, Darius, Debauchery

Was there ever a better trio than this? Three fine routes crossing the best face of limestone in England.

The Main Face of High Tor with the 'D' routes
© Rockfax
© Dave Foster, Jul 2011

Jack Geldard, Editor of UKC and Alan James, Director of UKC, sometimes they climb, but they prefer an escalator!, 53 kbJack Geldard, Editor of UKC and Alan James, Director of UKC, sometimes they climb, but they prefer an escalator!
© Mick Ryan -
Thanks to Chris Craggs, Adrian Berry, Dan Lane (, Christian Fox, Neil Foster, Dave Foster for their photographs.

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