/ Heading to Stanage soon, any tips?

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springfall2008 21 Aug 2019

I'm planning a weekend in Stanage the weekend after the bank holiday, most likely will stay at the North Lees camp site.

Should we drive from the camp site to the crag or do you have to pay for parking?

We normally climb VS/HVS on Limestone and sports ~F6a.

Any tips, good introduction routes etc?
 

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Jon Read 21 Aug 2019
In reply to springfall2008:

You can walk up to the crag from the camp site, especially if you are heading for the plantation are (which is the only car parking which asks for payment). If you are more interested in the right-hand section (Popular area) you may find it's easier to drive up there, and you'll be quicker to the pub afterwards too. Eco-conscious permitting, of course!

Take a good range of cams, including larger ones (up to BD size 4 if you can). 

Pick the routes by the strength of the line, these tend to be the better ones at Stanage, imho.

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teh_mark 21 Aug 2019
In reply to springfall2008:

> Should we drive from the camp site to the crag or do you have to pay for parking?

Walk up the hill - it's ten minutes and it'll do your legs and heart (and the planet) the world of good

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GrahamD 21 Aug 2019
In reply to springfall2008:

Any starred route will be good.

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GridNorth 21 Aug 2019
In reply to springfall2008:

Be prepared to drop a grade or two especially for your first routes and until you get the hang of grit.

Al

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wilkie14c 21 Aug 2019
In reply to springfall2008:

a 240 cm sling is very useful for slinging a boulder to belay from, many routes have a boulder or 2 at the top. 

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teh_mark 21 Aug 2019
In reply to wilkie14c:

Or untie and use the rope. I personally hate carrying slings longer than 120cm, and my go-to grit belay when the rock allows is to untie and tie the rope around the aforementioned massive boulder (/thread). Clove hitch back in, et voila. If youre slinging something with the rope, it's much less faff than staying tied in and trying to guesstimate how much slack you'll need to get back to the edge of the crag.

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Offwidth 21 Aug 2019
In reply to teh_mark:

By Naismith its about 30 minutes from North Lees to the base of the Plantation crags (about twice the 15 minutes walk from the car park) pretty standard pace for average climbers. 10mins from North Lees to the crag is running pace.

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Offwidth 21 Aug 2019
In reply to springfall2008:

There is hardly a bad route up there so climb what looks good and sounds good in the guidebooks rather than queue for 3 star classics. Cams are much more useful than on limestone. If its humid, cloudy and windless go elsewhere or you will be eaten alive by midges.

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teh_mark 21 Aug 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Ten minutes from the campsite to the road* - and another five from the road to the base of the crag just to the right of the Plantation...err...plantation. Plus a few minutes pie/leisure factor.

It's not thirty minutes from the campsite to the bottom of the nearest route unless you have the lungs of an eighty year old chain smoker.

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springfall2008 21 Aug 2019
In reply to wilkie14c:

> a 240 cm sling is very useful for slinging a boulder to belay from, many routes have a boulder or 2 at the top. 


Good tip, I always carry 2x240cm slings on screwgates for my belay rack

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springfall2008 21 Aug 2019
In reply to Jon Read:

> Take a good range of cams, including larger ones (up to BD size 4 if you can). 

Gladly I have "too much" gear, full set of Demon cams 0-4 and a dragonfly 1

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ChrisBrooke 21 Aug 2019
In reply to springfall2008:

> Good tip, I always carry 2x240cm slings on screwgates for my belay rack

I'd agree they're not really needed, but we all find what works for us. One 120cm sling for a thread if you can find one (pretty likely), otherwise mostly just walk around a boulder, or find a nut or two. It's pretty easy at Stanage. 

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Gordon Stainforth 21 Aug 2019
In reply to springfall2008:

One of the most user-friendly crags in the UK. From the North Lees campsite to the crag is a shortish, very pleasant walk with an almost mountain/Lake District atmosphere. And when you get there, almost everything is between good and extremely good. Nothing more to be said.

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cragtyke 22 Aug 2019
In reply to springfall2008:

All the routes can be done with a 30m single or a 50/60 doubled up, no need to spend all day coiling ropes. Have a morning download before going to the crag, there's very little cover anywhere!

Post edited at 01:21
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Offwidth 22 Aug 2019
In reply to teh_mark:

I've never smoked and long ago rejected my lungs were 80 when checking guidebook times for UK crag approaches and so I always calculated them consistently and recommended changes when the author was clearly a good bit fitter than average. The walk is just over a kilometer and with 160m of ascent: thats 29 minutes at Naismith, which is about right as an average pace in my experience with dealing with gritstone climbers (given they don't all overtake me on my way to the crag). From the carpark its just under half a k and 90m so about 14 minutes. 15 minutes from campsite to crag would be double Naismith on the flat... 10k (or 6 miles) an hour which is jogging for most.

Post edited at 10:08
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alan moore 22 Aug 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

That Naismith guy could really shift!

I've never kept up with him....

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teh_mark 22 Aug 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

I will bow to your superior knowledge of both the area and the fitness of the average climber. I'm certain I've done it in about fifteen minutes from the top of the campsite to the bottom of the crag at a brisk walk - about 0.75km, straight up to the crag around Dover's Wall area(ish) from the road up an obvious track (in early spring with no overgrowth to contend with).

Admittedly I'm probably fitter than the average climber, and you are right that ten is misleading.

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Owen W-G 22 Aug 2019
In reply to springfall2008:

Most climbers eat at the Outside Cafe but I rate Hathersage bakery.

Scotsmans Pack does a better dinner than Little John.

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Blue Straggler 22 Aug 2019
In reply to Owen W-G:

Hathersage Bakery does not open on Sundays iirc

The Little John food is nearly inedible. Scotsman's Pack can get quite full for weekend evening meals. I recommend the Millstone Pub (a farther trek beyond the eastern outskirt of Hathersage) for breakfast and dinner but it sounds like the OP will look after themselves for breakfast if planning to walk to crag from tent

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brianjcooper 23 Aug 2019
In reply to springfall2008:

I hope my email was useful.

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Offwidth 23 Aug 2019
In reply to teh_mark:

I think walking up to Stanage at twice Naismith with a loaded climbing rucksack is a bit more than 'fitter than the average climber'. It's a km on the map to Dover's in an exact straight line (that you can't quite walk on).

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Blue Straggler 23 Aug 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

I think it's time to give it a bloody rest!

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Alkis 23 Aug 2019
In reply to springfall2008:

Buy Smidge. Use it.

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teh_mark 23 Aug 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Great, fantastic, brilliant, we get it: I'm prodigious at hills and can't accurately use the OS Maps online plotter. It's irrelevant; it's a nice walk and an unnecessary car journey whether it takes fifteen minutes or half an hour. Especially with the disaster that is usually parking around Stanage.

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Offwidth 23 Aug 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Why so aggressive?  Someone asked advice and I think from experience and double checking on the map what was said was very wrong and needed challenging. 10 minutes was just macho b*llocks and 15 with a list of provisos (and a stretching of metric standards) that don't apply to a first time visitor in August is barely better. As a guidebook worker I'm pretty depressed we still have to deal with such silly suggested approach times.

Post edited at 13:45
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Offwidth 23 Aug 2019
In reply to teh_mark:

I completely agree its mad to drive up from North Lees, camping... saves next to no time and adds unnecessary congestion and its a nice short walk. However, I've never once had to park on verges at Stanage in well over a hundred visits. If climbers are doing this it's normally out of laziness or avoiding pretty low parking charges (verge parking often occurs when there is plenty of space in Plantation parking) or lacking in planning on the excellent conditions weekends when the Plantation Parking is full. I suspect verge parking is mostly occasional walkers, who use the parking as well.

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teh_mark 23 Aug 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> 10 minutes was just macho b*llocks and 15 with a list of provisos (and a stretching of metric standards)

It wasn't macho bollocks, I didn't expect anyone to take it literally in the same way I wouldn't expect anyone to take 'I'll be there in two minutes' to mean I'll arrive in exactly 120 seconds time. I meant 'it's a nice short stroll, and it'll do you good'. Which it is, and which it would.

I've walked it in fifteen. It didn't leave me gasping for air at the bottom of the crag, and I don't consider myself unusually fit in a cohort of people participating in an active hobby. I'm only posting based on my experience of walking it. I can't account for others because I'm not others and don't make a detailed study of the map before replying to every single topic on UKC.

For full effect, feel free to add in a dig about' Stanage gurus' or 'armchair experts' too.

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krikoman 23 Aug 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I like The Fox house for food, it's 5 miles from Stanage, but I've always found it nice and reasonable prices, but sometimes very busy.

Google suggests 26 minutes and 36 mins to each end of the crag, depending on which one you go to, but I think there is a shorter route if you go directly, elevation change is 617ft or 188.062m

Post edited at 14:25
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Blue Straggler 23 Aug 2019
In reply to krikoman:

> I like The Fox house for food, it's 5 miles from Stanage, but I've always found it nice and reasonable prices, but sometimes very busy.

The only review I've posted on Tripadvisor, is for The Fox House last year. You might guess that it is very negative. Utterly appalling service, and charged £2.80 for half a pint of nearly flat, tepid soda water. We got no food because they insisted on a table number yet had put out loads of extra tables that didn't have numbers on them, and during my mad rush to try to find an unoccupied table with an actual number on it, they threw my mate out of the queue. We used to go there many years ago but the food went downhill so we stopped patronising the place. Last year's trial visit was a "give it a chance, it might be better now" kind of thing. 
I'll probably give it another 11 years or so before trying again

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deacondeacon 23 Aug 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Ive only had one shit Meal in The Peak District ever. It was at The Fox House. 

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springfall2008 23 Aug 2019
DenzelLN 24 Aug 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Wtf is a "naismith" I've googled it, no luck?

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Gordon Stainforth 24 Aug 2019
In reply to DenzelLN:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naismith%27s_rule

Willie Naismith was a great character from all accounts, and an amazing climber for his time. He made the first ascent of the very bold and exposed eponymous route up the Basteir Tooth in about 1898, iirc.

Post edited at 12:40
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krikoman 24 Aug 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Ha ha , never had a bad meal there, and we go there most times we're in the area.

I've always found the staff, pleasant and helpful. Apart from the last time, when some "barman" decided topping a pint of beer up with lager was an acceptable thing to do. But we go it sorted pretty easily.

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Mick Ward 24 Aug 2019
In reply to DenzelLN:

> Wtf is a "naismith" I've googled it, no luck?

Ignorance is bliss, innit?  Google Naismith's Rule and see where that gets you.

Mick

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machine 25 Aug 2019
In reply to springfall2008:

Goto Bowden or Kyloe instead. Much better no polish.

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springfall2008 25 Aug 2019
In reply to machine:

> Goto Bowden or Kyloe instead. Much better no polish.

Also look good, but sandstone not gritstone!

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PaulJepson 26 Aug 2019
In reply to springfall2008:

You look like you climb same grade & area as me, give or take. I found the earlier suggestion of dropping at least a grade practical on grit, as I generally found HS to be about right and some VS to be a bit 'ard. 

Cams are fantastic. 

If you're running around a boulder at the top, make sure you sit down to belay. May seem obvious to most but we get used to big ol' trees and filthy topouts here on the south west limestone. 

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Offwidth 27 Aug 2019
In reply to machine:

Lovely venues but I'd say the damage is worse on the softer Northumberland sandstone. Most Stanage polish dates from the age of nailed boots... the biggest recent change on routes is cam wear enlarging the breaks or snapping flakes. 

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springfall2008 27 Aug 2019
In reply to PaulJepson:

> You look like you climb same grade & area as me, give or take. I found the earlier suggestion of dropping at least a grade practical on grit, as I generally found HS to be about right and some VS to be a bit 'ard. 

Thanks for the tip, most likely we will start at VD or S and work up from there

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JLS 27 Aug 2019
In reply to springfall2008:

>"most likely we will start at VD or S"

At all cost don't start on Crack and Corner (S 4b).

It might put you off for life!

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TobyA 27 Aug 2019
In reply to springfall2008:

> Also look good, but sandstone not gritstone!


Gritstone is sandstone, although helpfully God/the flying spaghetti monster/random chance made Kyloe and Stanage quite different colours, so you're unlikely to get confused and mix them up.

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Gordon Stainforth 27 Aug 2019
In reply to TobyA:

But gritstone is one of the strongest sandstones there is, as the 'cement' goes right through it, whereas in the Northumbrian and S/E sandstone, the strength is all in the surface - the Northumbrian being stronger in this respect than the S/E - which is just a thin layer (about 5mm thick) of very weathered 'ironstone' on top of virtually unconsolidated sand.

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TobyA 27 Aug 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I never claimed it wasn't strong, but anyway, there seems to be similar problems on some gritstone routes, particularly from cam wear.

But anyway, I'm not sure that there aren't other tough sandstones, the Torridonian stuff for example.

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Offwidth 27 Aug 2019
In reply to JLS:

Crack and Corner is still a 4b start if you smear away from the polished footholds. It's typical of difficulties on a HS corner but is only S being a few moves off the ground. Most people I've seen struggling make it harder by avoiding jams. There are hundreds of sandbags still on grit and that route isn't one of them. The Roaches route of the same name and grade is much harder. 

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JLS 27 Aug 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

I’m a bit bias. Slipped of the polish a number of years go and twisted my ankle. Was there a couple of months ago soloing and thought about a rematch but thankfully I walked on by.  

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Gordon Stainforth 27 Aug 2019
In reply to TobyA:

I wasn't arguing with you, just making another point that I thought was worth making. Yes, and thanks, for mentioning the Torridonian, because that's obviously very hard. I've walked up there a lot but done no climbs as such ... one of those sad omissions.

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Gordon Stainforth 27 Aug 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

I don't know how one grades Crack and Corner overall really, because of that hard, trashed start. It's a classic old nasty V.diff that's at least Sev to start! I do remember the top overhang being very good/fun. I also see from my logbook that it was the very first thing we did on gritstone, back in 1968 ... because it was just about the first thing we came to walking up from the popular end parking spot.

Post edited at 21:54
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Offwidth 28 Aug 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Severe start and a severe finish equals severe??

The 1951 guide says the first 15 feet on the left wall is really hard for VDiff.

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Bobling 28 Aug 2019
In reply to springfall2008:

Just back from my second visit in ten years, and like you normally climb on limestone.  Top tip is...rack your cams at the front!  I remembered this pretty quickly this visit though.  Enjoy, there's so much to go at. 

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planetmarshall 28 Aug 2019
In reply to teh_mark:

Obviously the only way to settle this is with a race. teh_mark has to walk from the campsite to the crag with a full pack of gear in 15 mins or less or he buys Offwidth a pint. I'm free Saturday if anyone else is.

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teh_mark 28 Aug 2019
In reply to planetmarshall:

I love the idea, I honestly do - but unfortunately I'll be working in Norwich. Which is a bit flat, and nowhere near Stanage.

It has to be with my rack too mind. I'm not carrying a full set of bloody cowbells and a 60m rope to a 15m crag ;)

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Offwidth 29 Aug 2019
In reply to planetmarshall:

I'm up for that, even though it's not the point of Mark's that I really objected to (that you must have the lungs of an 80 year old chain smoker to take about 30 minutes). It must be with a roughly standard rack (no need for cow bells) and rope (nothing shorter than 50m). We do need an independant judge that say that he isn't 'blowing' by the time he gets there. To add an incentive I'll give him odds of 2 to 1 and hold the bet open for a year.

I sometimes climb with race winning fell runners so I do know what mountain fitness is (and how far away the average Stanage climber is from that).

Post edited at 12:29
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SteveSBlake 30 Aug 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Conversely, there are significant lumps of the crags that are much harder than a lot of 'gritstone'. They do get overshadowed by the soft stuff though.....  

Steve

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springfall2008 02 Sep 2019

Thanks for all the tips

We "only" managed to climb 9 routes at the weekend, partly as the weather was a little bit variable and partly because we were knackered!

Still managed 21 stars over those 9 routes - it's an amazing place.

Oh and grit feels hard when you aren't used to it so we didn't get above HS!

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Gordon Stainforth 02 Sep 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> Severe start and a severe finish equals severe??

> The 1951 guide says the first 15 feet on the left wall is really hard for VDiff.

I think you can imagine how appalled I was when I first did it, just how fierce the gritstone grades were.

I haven't time to look in my logbook, but the next trip John & I made I think started with Goliath's Groove "VS" ... late on the first evening we arrived to camp. We were so chastened that we went back more or less 'before breakfast' to settle the score.

As for Black Slab "Hard Severe" (with zero protection, then) ...

Post edited at 12:45
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Trangia 02 Sep 2019
In reply to springfall2008:

If you've only climbed on limestone before, be prepared for a bit of a shock, particularly learning to trust friction where there seem to be no positive holds.

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Offwidth 02 Sep 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Black Slab is still proof most VS leaders need cams when leading VS on grit..... even with cams its best not to use all the hand/fist sized ones too low down.

Post edited at 14:43
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Gordon Stainforth 02 Sep 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

I remember that, actually, the crucial first nut is not a cam but a small wire, slightly iffy, but there's nothing else that works. You then place just 2 or 3 cams, sparingly, to render the rest of the route completely safe, while doffing your cap to the pioneers who basically climbed the whole thing with no gear, and thus at a much higher standard.

Post edited at 14:45
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Michael Hood 02 Sep 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I seem to remember being able to get some reasonable large hexes in on a couple of the breaks. Maybe I need to go back and do it again trying not to use any cams - unless I get really scared

Edit: Late 70's, one of the guys who used to work in Alpine Sports in Brighton was soloing Black Slab and must have been over half way up when he slipped, but somehow stopped himself at the next break down. He then carefully climbed all the way down - to the Scotsmans Pack - for some alcohol to stop the shaking.

Post edited at 15:11
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brianjcooper 02 Sep 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> Black Slab is still proof most VS leaders need cams when leading VS on grit..... 

I know Big Ron and others have Soloed it, but the first few times I led it I only had hexes for protection and I seem to remember they were all good.

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Gordon Stainforth 02 Sep 2019
In reply to brianjcooper:

It's strange you say that, because now that i think about it, I think the first time I did it was with hexes, and they were OK.

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galpinos 02 Sep 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

I first lead it when it was my limit and my abiding memory is that every time I got to a break, the cam I wanted, from my minimal rack was in the break below, in a "not ideal" placement.

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brianjcooper 02 Sep 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> It's strange you say that, because now that i think about it, I think the first time I did it was with hexes, and they were OK.

No cams when I started climbing.

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Gordon Stainforth 02 Sep 2019
In reply to brianjcooper:

Same here. We had just seven nuts (4 smallish, solid hexes, a mini-Moac, and 2 Moacs). And some slings. Hemp waist bands.

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Offwidth 03 Sep 2019
In reply to brianjcooper:

The art of placing many a cammed hex is maybe a bit advanced for modern VS!?. I also wonder if all the hexes one needs, when nearing the top, might already have been placed down below.

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Duncan Bourne 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Owen W-G:

I have to agree.

Once upon a time the Little John was the best but then they did terrible things to it a few years back. Last time I was in there it was stripped of soul and taste. The food had gone down hill too

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brianjcooper 03 Sep 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> The art of placing many a cammed hex is maybe a bit advanced for modern VS!?.

Tongue in cheek?   

After the first time, I remembered to save my No9 Hex for the last wide, and awkward to protect, break. I climbed it again a couple of years ago, and to prove you can, I just used Hexes for protection. 

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blurty 03 Sep 2019
In reply to springfall2008:

Midge repellent

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In reply to brianjcooper:

> I know Big Ron and others have Soloed it

BR and many thousands of others! Including presumably the FA, in effect.

jcm

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brianjcooper 03 Sep 2019
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

They certainly had plenty of 'bottle' in those days.

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