Climbs 356
Rocktype Sandstone (hard)
Altitude 100m a.s.l
Faces NW

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Committing time © A Crook

Crag features

A fine sandstone cliff overlooking the River Mersey and the motorway. It is often driven past at speed and scorned by uninformed climbers travelling to North Wales. One day they should take the time to have a look at the place since most will be pleasantly surprised by the compact and clean walls offering some superb routes on great rock.

In winter the rock does turn green and slimey but after a spell of dry weather it cleans up nicely.

It should be mentioned that this crag was very 'unfashionable' for many years and the grading system left unchallenged for decades. Many climbs are poorly protected and dubious rock is ubiquitous. Therefore the grades may well be inaccurate. Feedback on grades and qualitative ratings would be welcome.

Approach notes

Lies directly above the town of Helsby: park there and make an "exhausting" scramble up the hillside.

Restricted Access

Avoid the crag after rain - the porous rock absorbs water causing holds to become brittle. The top tier bouldering normally dries fastest and is exposed to any wind going.

Seasonal Restrictions

Dates: 1 March to 30 June

Reason: Nesting Birds

Peregrines nest left of Clashhooks Gully as you look in, please avoid all routes on Upper & Lower Central Buttresses during this period. Raven have also been sighted around the route 'The Notch' - climbers are advised to avoid this area if the birds are in residence. 

Peregrine chicks were confirmed in 2022, 2023 was less clear and we're checking the situation for 2024. The site is actively monitored by local bird groups, please avoid until the agreed date of 30 June and possibly longer to give chicks chance to fledge. Peregrines are a protected species covered by criminal law.

Central buttress middle tier has recently been cleared of gorse that was taking over to reveal the belay stakes and anchors for a number of quality lines.
Dave Rumney - 26/Apr/23
Are you a troll or a moron?
Alex Winter - 12/Jul/13
Get it bolted!!
Removed User - 07/Jul/13
such a waisted crag, so much to be done here and no 1 to climb with... loads fo protection up the top for those workin routes or intending top ropes.. i actually like helsby although its quite green
phil_freeman - 19/Feb/10
flake crack was my second lead getting off the pillar at the bottom is hard but once done the route is fab allan
ashaw - 19/Jun/06
Agree with above comments, but as Alan Rouse said in his 1976 guide, top roping is acceptable here on the longer and harder routes because of 'the general lack of suitable protection and the occasionally unreliable nature of the rock'. However, he also said that when you get to know the place 'you can derive great pleasure from soloing'. So be careful but have fun!
Pekkie - 17/Jul/05
Yes, a really excellent place to climb but be aware that the rock can be quite brittle and at times, holds do break - I know. Good place to learn footwork.
Paul H - 13/Jun/05
The crag boasts some endless classics with all difficulties of climbing. Many people forget that there is a pretty good low level bouldering above the crag. They are no more than 2.5 metres tall but there are some really technical routes, there are enough to make a short film about (which is what we are doing!). Its also a great place to learn the basics of bouldering seeing as you aren't going to get hurt if you fall from any height. check it out.
Michael Gee - 03/Apr/04
Since the last guidebook, with more modern descriptions and E grades, there has been a resurgence of interest in the crag as a whole and in particular in leading. With careful consideration many of the routes can be adequately protected and can be of as good a quality as found on more popular crags
Mark Hounslea - 13/Feb/03
A fine crag to develop finger strength
alan edmonds - 11/Feb/03
What about Colin Kirkus
Andy Clare - 23/Jan/03
An absolutely fantastic place to climb, and really doesn\'t get the attention it deserves. Climbs are of all difficulties Severe-E6/7. I mean, look at the people that climbed there - Alan Rouse, Hugh Banner, Chris Bonington. Timelessly classic. A great place to build up confidence and very easily accessible
Jon Cooke - 17/Jul/02
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Climbs at this crag

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