Altitude 200m a.s.l
The classic Baildon experience. Matt on Whillan’s Arete (VS 4c), kids from local estate © Jamie Moss
Baildon Bank, loved and hated by generations of climbers in equal measure, is a 'hard' sandstone quarried crag with occasional capping blocks of non-quarried gritstone. A wry sense of humour is a must for climbers partaking of its many delights, and with good reason: sensational routes with divine and majestic sequences do have a notoriety for turning into worrying Elvis-leg bonazas and games of that favourite local pastime 'throw hand-holds from the crag' are all too often unwittingly commenced. Saharan top-outs which shower would-be eagles with sand and dust also tend to add food for thought. However, let us not be mistaken, Baildon Bank provides some of the finest climbs in the local area. There is an even spread of grades, with lower to middle grade routes like Hades (VS) and Epitaph (HS) - both 20m - smashing many of the '100 Classic Climbs in Yorkshire and the Peak District' routes out of the water. As for the Extremes, many are as good as you are likely to find anywhere in Yorkshire. Okay, Almscliffe might not give you the spray paint vandalism, broken bottles, little urchins from the local estate hanging around and so forth, but hey, the pubs are a lot closer to the crag! While the Roaches have that air of Whillans and Brown, so too does Baildon Bank have the imprint of legend Ian Clough, follow in his footsteps... if his holds are still attached that is.
South facing, Baildon Bank is one of the warmest of West Yorkshire crags, and tends to remain fairly sheltered from strong winds. Back in the day someone thought it was a good idea to paint the numbers of the routes on the crag, then many were subsequently repainted with different numbers, these can prove extremely confusing to Baildon Bank rookies - try to ignore them, they tend to bear no relation to anything useful regardless of which Yorkshire Gritstone guide you are using.
2 minutes from the road. Park on Green Lane 200m after Cliffe Ave branches off. Easy to trundle along the crag picking lines. Except the bottom Quarry, which is overgrown and mostly hidden in the trees above the Cricketer's Arms (BD17 7NE) and the infamous Box Quarry which was last visited by Percy Harrison Fawcett during his search for Eldorado in the 1920s, needless to say, he did not return.
The site is owned by Bradford City Council and is Registered Common Land over which the public have a right of access. However, the cliff top is privately owned and there has been occasional incident of disturbance to local residents and damage to garden fences through belaying. When ascending routes right of the Box quarry, take note of the advice on the BMC signs and make sure you belay on the large cliff top trees.
|Despite the tongue-in-cheek UKC crag description, Baildon Bank's got loads to offer: loads of trad across the grade range, some fantastic bouldering in a range of styles, and (its secret weapon) southeast-facing rock which is sheltered from the prevailing westerlies and therefore often dry and pleasant on freezing but sunny winter days. Yes, there's some poor rock around and some overgrown bases and top-outs, but these are usually pretty obvious on a cursory inspection. There are also some immaculate quarried cracks and flake-lines with solid gear and convenient lower-offs from trees.
PeteH - 02/Feb/21
|The quarry is pretty overgrown right now (apart from the approach to Triang/etc) but we've today beaten a path to and cleaned Viper and Scoop, both great routes. Go try them whilst they're clean-ish!
ebf - 23/Sep/17
|One of Yorkshire Grit's best kept secrets.
Ewan Russell - 29/Jan/10
|The bank is situated half way up a hill on the way to Baildon moor. You get there by taking a left at the pub (sorry can't remember the name) before you get into Baildon proper on the main road, then parking on the road below the crag. There's then a five minute walk up to the rock. The paths not too clear but it's pretty much opposite a playground.
The banks not made of the best grit and in places it's just dangerous; on the right hand end (as you look at the crag) there are some really nice routes though. Well worth a stop on the way to Shipley glen.
djberry - 17/Mar/08
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