Sun 6th Sep, 2015

Wharncliffe Crags

Daniel O'Brien

Members: Tim Howarth, Dave Wylie,  Roger Dyke, Matt Harrigan, Phil Hartwell.

Guests: Laura Bond, Maria Darlington, Jo Cowley and (pub only) Carrie Marr and Sam Arnold.


So I discovered this meet report when clearing out the drafts folder on my computer and realised that I never submitted it…  For posterity, here is is in all its glory…

A long time ago, on a crag far far away…

Despite the late notice of a scribble meet there was a cracking turn-out for Wharncliffe.  The crag of compact coal-measures sandstone (which feels a lot like gritstone, indeed it managed to sneak into the Eastern Grit Rockfax!) is located near Stocksbridge, poking out of woodland underneath the electricity pylons.  It is famous for its history as one of the main areas developed by Jimmy Puttrell in the early 1900’s and although polished, many of the routes are still classics.

One such route is Puttrell’s Progress (S), which was climbed by Phil and Matt, enjoying the squirm into the initial chimney and then the improbable looking traverse which must have been a gripper in hob-nail boots!  Dan also led it followed by Maria and Tim.  Everyone, at one point or another climbed Alpha Crack (D) and Beta Crack (S) and also the Black Slabs Left (HVD), Centre (VD) and Right (VD).  Dan and Marie climbed Great Buttress Arête (E1) with an interesting rocking block at the top which, when weighted (for example by the belayer sitting on it), shifted just enough to make the last cam get stuck.  Dan also led Himmelswillen (VS) followed by Tim and Maria both of whom had to employ the short-persons method and then joined Laura and Maria following Tim up Hell’s Gate Crack (VD) as the sun heated us up to the level of a basted turkey…  Dan and Maria then top-roped Gavel Neese (E2) which was also very hard for the short (try 6a!) which had no gear until after the crux regardless.

Phil and Matt climbed Hell’s Flake (HS) which for my money is as close to VS as it is possible to be – a classic sandbag!  Followed by Great Buttress (VS).  Dave led Remus (S) successfully followed by Matt and Jo and eventually seconded by Roger after a impromptu and dynamic test of Dave’s belay!

Alas, the heat was too much for your Celtic meet leader and the KMC voted with their feet in the direction of the pub and a well earned cool drink.  An excellent day!

Daniel O'Brien

Meet Promo:

Guidebooks - Eastern Grit (Rockfax), Burbage, Millstone and Beyond (BMC) 

This week's impromptu Scribble Meet will be Wharncliffe Crags near Stocksbridge.  This crag was one of the earliest developed in the Peak District by J. W. Puttrell starting in 1890 and adding classic lines of character that still stand the test of time.

The walk in is relatively short (10 minutes) and most of the quality is found in the lower grades, making it an ideal beginners venue.  The rock can be polished in places but considering the longevity of some of the routes I think the rock is in surprisingly good nick.  There are also some classics in the HS/VS range and a number of classic harder test pieces for those of you so inclined.

I'll be there from 10.30 and will gravitate to the Great Buttress/Puttrells Progress area.  If you have never visited before, my one piece of advice is to walk along the top of the crag as passage along the base is arduous.

There is also an excellent Pub called the Dog and Partridge on the way back to Manchester...

See y'all there.



Daniel O'Brien

Jo leading Alpha (Roger Dyke)
Look no hands! (Roger Dyke)
Tim finishing the (very) trad Hell Gate (Roger Dyke)
It was easy guys! (Roger Dyke)
Dave Leading Beta (Philip Hartwell)
Roger on Beta (Philip Hartwell)

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