Rocktype Grit (quarried)
Altitude 331m a.s.l
In condition? Leaving the axes at home for a winter ascent of Embankment 2...the way it should be done. © Alex Messenger
Quarries are usually depressing holes in the ground, but Millstone is the exception. With smooth walls, soaring grooves and inspiring crack-lines, it is the greatest of all the gritstone quarries. The cracks here span most widths from tips to fist, though luckily there are no dreaded off-widths. Many of the routes were originally done as aid climbs up spidery cracks, the repeated placing of pegs widened them enough to allow access to thin fingers and pointed toes and also to provide protection from wires. Fortunately the climbing here is not just about cracks, there are also many fine corners and aretes formed by the careful quarrying of the various bays. The section from Green Death to the Keyhole Caves could hardly have been better designed even if a climber had been in charge of the quarrying.
It is worth pointing out that some of the exits can be dangerous where weathering had started to erode the rock before it was exposed by the quarry-men. These 'chest-of-drawers' finishes require care; it is a good idea to place an extra runner or two below the top-out and ensure the second is on-the-ball. Wearing helmets here is a good idea too.
There is an extensive Pay and Display car park (often with in-situ ice-cream van at weekends) just to the east of the Surprise View (a bend on the A625 with a sudden vista of the Hope Valley). Tracks lead out of the northwest corner of this over a ridge into the right-hand end of the quarry.
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