The Peak District in Derbyshire is a very popular Bouldering destination. The area has excellent quality gritstone which is a popular medium because of the unusual friction properties of the rock.
Placed in the centre of England you can expect to find variable weather here, but a little more reliable than the weather to be found at the coasts. More importantly, the weather is generally climable! Winters can be relatively mild with snow melting quickly. On the more exposed crags the wind dries wet crags very quickly, allowing good climbing in between the showers. Summer frequently provides lovely weather with the opportunity to visit the higher moorland crags to escape the heat.
There are masses of classic boulders to be found at all ends of the Richter scale – easy, intermediate and hard.Take a spotter and as many mats as you can muster! Ned Feehally, current British champion, conquered Careless Torque in September 2009 – a grade 8a. This is bouldering at its best.
Careless Torque is located just to the left of the super classic 6c Not to be Taken Away.
Here’s another clip, this time of Brad Pitt, 7c+.
So, Stanage Plantation is as good a place to start as any.
Business Boulder, at a 4, is a great warm-up rock, with Pebble a good follow on. Pebble is the size of a house and has 18 problems from 4+ to 7’s. An added challenge is that you have to climb down it as there are no sloping walls. Fern Crack is something everyone must do at 4c.
The rocks at the foot of Goliath’s Groove, 5a, and the arete Archangel, 5b, are generally more difficult but they make for some excellent sessions.
The Ace is a wonderful boulder problem.
UK Climbing.com lists 664 problems in the Stanage Plantation arena alone, but the whole Peak District area has more than 1,600 problems to keep you busy.
Here’s a great montage of a few problems at Stanage Plantation with thanks to lagerstarfish:
From Stanage Plantation we move on to BURBAGE VALLEY.
Again you are spoiled for choice. There are many many problems here of all grades and they are spread throughout the valley. The choice is wide and you can take your pick of crags, whether sunny, shady, windy or sheltered. As Peak District Online says: “There are some isolated classics, some compact buttresses of fun, a boulder field and, if you are lucky, an ice cream van.”
Burbage Valley is a great place for a first taste of bouldering as there is so much at all ends of the scale.
You could warm up on The Whale:
or The Kidney. #61 is a 5, a tricky traverse getting even more difficult if you traverse to the right:
The Dog has tricky problems – route 28 is a 7a and 29 – 6a:
Those are just 3 of the boulders available at Burbage South that I have purloined (with thanks) from Peak District Online. I suggest you go directly to their site for far more detailed information.
Higgar Tor overlooks the Burbage valley and has problems for all grades, some of them can be a little intimidating as the ground is quite rocky and slopes steeply away from the edge in places. It is best to tackle these problems with a few mates.
Millstone, Curbar and Baslow Edge are all nearby and all have boulder problems of their own. Harboro Rocks ranks there too, but be aware that this area is popular for group climbing at weekends so can be rather crowded. Evenings are ok though. The boulders here are dolomitic limestone which can be a little friable especially when wet. Harboro Rocks has great diversity though. Good for warming up on, but with enough challenges to keep you challenged throughout the day.
And then there’s Cratcliffe with its classic problems like Jerry’s Traverse, T-Crack, Hermit’s Cave which is a fairly long traverse and Robin Hood’s Stride where the toughest problems are from the cave at the back. Rowtor with its ‘mantles from hell’ will keep you on your toes – or perhaps the mat!
It’s impossible to describe everything that is available here. I haven’t even dipped my toe in. However, I have given you links to two websites with very comprehensive information and there are also guidebooks that you can order, Peak Bouldering by Alan James and Allen Williams is a good one available from Rockfax.