The Peak District

Gary Gibson on Bag of Bones

Gary Gibson on Bag of Bones, Harpur Hill. Photo: Carl Ryan

Despite current controversies in the Peak District and numerous distractions caused by various climbers of the anti-sports-climbing fraternity, there has been a healthy growth of cliffs supporting sports climbing in the Peak District over the past few years. Such development has not been aimed at reducing the ethics and traditions of British climbing but rather, to the contrary, in providing an arena where climbers in favour of sports-climbing, as well as traditional climbing, can taste the satisfying style of movement on rock without the inherent worries of whether they will hit the ground or not. Inevitably this also helps them push their grade beyond their limit in a European style which many climbers have enjoyed whilst climbing abroad.

All of these cliffs described here are either newly developed or have become neglected due to lack of interest, therefore the arguments against their ‘redevelopment’ as a sports crag do not hold water. Once a cliff has been so developed it is wrong for anti-sports climbers to reclaim the cliff for their own ends by condemning the activists that have preceded their claims.

Of course the arguments can and will go on but the information listed below provides update information on current (BMC) guidebooks, an outline of the cliffs best routes, when is the choice time to go there and whether, sports climber or traditionalist, there is anything left for future development.

If you wish to pass comments on grades or are interested in buying the topo/guidebooks, then please contact me at where I can provide information on cost etc..


Peak District update (20/07/21). The whole of the Peak District section has been split into 7 different areas. New crags have been added, The Cornice WCJ, Tissington, Dove Holes, Reynards Arch and a little bit of Ravens Tor. Histories of most areas have been added. New topos like Turkey Dip and Lorry Park have been included along with many other minor updates and changes too numerous to mention.

Church Buttress WCJ has 3 sport routes from 6b+ to 7b all on good rock.

Windy Ledge: the lower tier at Stoney Middleton now has a small handful of sport routes from 6b to 6c+.

Deep Rake (11.09.20): topos for the popular hole in the ground near the Stoney valley.

Harpur Hill (02.09.20): updates for the Long Wall, Racetrack Playa, Anarchy Walls, The Retreat and The Sanctuary.

Ravens Foot Buttress (Dovedale) (09.09.20) has a clutch vertical wall climbs with a handful of routes, yet to be re-equipped routes on its left.

Bend Tor (02.09.20): Recent developments have turned this into a fine Peak district sport crag.

Headstone Viaduct Buttress (01.09.20): developed some years ago but unreported anywhere until now—a fine little buttress in a beautiful Peak district setting.

Ravens Tor (Dovedale) (4.5.18) a superb crag in the northern end of Dovedale now has a handful of good sports routes on its right-hand fringes. Perfect for warm weather.Ladyside Crag (AKA The Chimney) (1.9.17) recently renovated with a handful of easier new sports routes and a complete tidying up. Worth visiting.

Garage Buttress (updated 4.5.16) a number of new routes and cleaning up of existing routes amongst the trad routes. Updated with another 35m 6c+ pitch and an easier offering on the right.

Horse Thief Wall (updated 6.5.16) a new quarried wall with ease of access and a good sunny aspect with a handful of reasonable routes

Goddard's Quarry (10.4.15) a completely new wall has been developed as well as a new monster pitch, in the class of Too Monsterosity at Slaley Brook. New crag at Stoney

Golden Wall (20.3.15) new wall in the Stoney valley. Six routes with easy access. New crag at Stoney

The Retreat (20.6.14) A new bay with a number of short intense pitches and a few longer ones. New Crag at Harpur Hill

Majorca Buttress (added on 17.05.2014) 14 bouldery little routes from 6b to 7a+ in Water Cum Jolly.

Harpur Hill: (updated 11.1.2014) completely updated with two relatively new areas and new routes spread all over the crag: The Racetrack: Pool Wall: The Playground. New regearing on The Dark Side Left and The Dark Side Right

Long Tor Quarry Right-Hand: (14.6.13) a newly developed section of crag with a number of worthwhile and very easily accessible rotues in the grade 6 region.

Garage Buttress: (updated 24.3.14) a number of new routes and cleaning up of existing routes amongst the trad routes. Updated with another 35m 6c+ pitch.