Rocktype Grit (quarried)
Altitude 370m a.s.l
Etherow Groove, Crowden Great Quarry © Oceanwall
Many of the routes here have a scale and grandeur rarely found on grit, and there is some genuine adventure to be found here. Amongst a certain group of climbers (the more adventurous), the quarry is liked and appreciated. Amongst other climbers (the more unimaginative), the quarry is the most terrifying place in the world.
The quarry consists of a number of bays linked by a series of long walls, reaching a respectable 35m at its highest point. Its secluded, yet lofty, position makes climbing here a remote and isolated experience and all the more rewarding for it.
With the exception of one or two north-facing bays, the majority of the quarry faces southwest and so receives its fair share of sunshine, and can be a sun-trap in the right conditions. The rock does remain green long after winter but dries quickly after rain.
While the BMC guide says there are more than 15 stakes in strategic places, a visit in August 2020 only revealed a total of 4.5! Three of which are on Overhang Buttress, one above Zeus (Mythology Wall), and a wobbly fence post shoe above Tuff Buttress.
There is extensive parking by Crowden Youth Hostel in Longdendale. Walk back up the access road to cross a wall at a gate. Follow a path through woodland and across an open field to join a path striking up the hillside. Follow this to reach the foot of the spoil heaps surrounding the quarry. These present a formidable obstacle and are best tackled at their far left or right-hand ends.
An alternative approach is possible from St. James' chapel overlooking the A628 some 800m beyond Crowden. However, there is only space for a few cars here.
Approach time: 20 mins
|Zeus. Extreme caution. Very loose block. Shock horror a loose block at Crowden Great I hear you say... This is not your average loose block that looks like it might fall at any moment, this is a block the size of a door that blends in with the rest of the wall and looks like it is the least likely part of the whole quarry to move. I was just eyeing up my next placement (last two being down the side of the block) when the whole thing started moving out. I guess it traveled a couple of inches before I got off it and clung on to the adjacent ledge for dear life screaming at my belayer to get clear. This block will fall off. Its above the second grass ledge, just next to the final slab section next to the twin cracks (which look very dubious by are quite sound). Not sure if it should have a shove to clear it, will leave that up to the ethics people to discuss!!|
cmgcmg - 22/Oct/12
|Blow the place up!
ArnaudG - 04/Jul/08