Harrison’s Rocks are owned and managed by the BMC for the benefit of climbers and the general public for recreation on foot. The rocks are well-equipped with bolts for top-roping and as with all southern sandstone crags the rock is very soft meaning leader placed gear cannot be used here as it will damage the rock. The only acceptable styles of climbing are top roping using a well rigged system that will not damage the rock with moving ropes, or if you are confident of your abilities - soloing. A group of volunteers periodically load-test the bolts, but there is no way to guarantee their strength and as with any crag all climbers should make their own assessment of fixed equipment before use.
Birchden Wood (the woodland surrounding Harrisons) is owned by Forestry England and has been dedicated as open access land. The fields to the west of the Rocks are private property. Any trespassing strains the good relations between climbers and our neighbours - if you are in charge of a group please make sure that your party is aware of this. For more information on Birchden Wood and the car park area please visit the Forestry England website.
Isolated Buttress access advice
The large block on the mainland opposite Isolated Buttress which was used to step across the gap has been removed due to it becoming unstable and dangerous. At the Sandstone Open Meeting in May 2015, considerable local opposition was voiced to the idea of construction of a bridge across to the pinnacle (to allow access from above). The Harrison's Rocks Management Group are monitoring the situation to help inform a decision on a long term solution.
In the meantime, please avoid abseiling or lowering off from routes on the Isolated buttress as this will increase wear to the fragile rock.
Various methods can be used to access the pinnacle and setup your ropes including soloing and being belayed across from above but these will be too risky for many climbers. The method which offers the most protection requires a very long length of rigging rope and is described in this short film on BMCTV or below:
- Attach a locking carabiner to the end of your rigging rope
- Clip your climbing rope through the locking carabiner at it's mid point
- Throw your climbing rope over the pinnacle to another climber on the ground
- The climber on the ground gently pulls both ends of the climbing rope until the rigging rope screwgate is hanging over the lip of the crag and flicks the rope into the right position to protect a route
- The climber on top of the crag ties off the rigging rope to the set of bolts on the main crag (or a suitable tree), leaving the locking carabiner hanging over the lip of the crag and the climbing rope not contacting the rock when it moves
- The first climber up then re-rigs the rope for subsequent ascents using the bolts on top of the Isolated Buttress, ensuring the moving rope does not come into contact with the rock
- All climbers then climb the route(s) and downclimb either the route they climbed or an easier alternative, rather than lowering off or abseiling
To retreat from the pinnacle at the end of the session:
- The last climber to top out re-clips the climbing rope through the long rigging rope attached to the bolts on the main crag
- All other rigging equipment is removed from the bolts on top of the Isolated Buttress
- The climber then down climbs a route with a belay rather than abseiling or lowering off
- Once back on the ground the climbing rope can be pulled through and the rigging rope retrieved from above
The very south end of the Rocks is on private land and is fenced off – this covers five climbs, from Holly Tree Chimney to South Boulder - fortunately they are not worthwhile.