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All Weather Climbing in the Peak

Blog Posted on 11 Mar 2011

It was a beautiful day from the office that overlooks the Peak this morning. Time to leave the computer alone and get out climbing for the afternoon. At PureOutdoor we are lucky enough to get out climbing in the Peak District for work and play, but when the phone rings and it is time to go climbing, where do you go?

This article is aimed at those who possibly come up to the Peak District to go climbing but aren’t entirely sure what to do when the weather isn’t exactly what you were hoping for.
This particular section is focused on the Eastern Grit area with a few outlying Limestone crags considered.


Strong Winds
Many of the Gritstone outcrops are exposed to wind and rain as they protrude from the horizon. This is great when it is ‘midgey’ season but not great when the winds really are so strong they leave you squeeling when sitting on top of the crag waiting for your second. If it really is too windy to even consider strapping the rope on and getting on the sharp end then why not try these more sheltered crags : Lawrencefield, Yarncliffe, Rivelin, Gardoms, Chatsworth, Cratcliffe and Black Rocks.

Cold Temperatures
Also known as ‘the grit season’ the cold temperatures give Gritstone a feel of superior grip and hoards of climbers go and get stuck into their annual boulder problem binge. Actually, bouldering is a very good way of spending time climbing when it really is so cold that you will have ‘hot aches’ by the time you finish a climb. Many people choose to hit up Stanage Plantation which can be very busy during an autumn weekend, the main benefit being the Coffee van that parks up in the Car Park and great social scene (or people pollution). I prefer Stanage Apparent North, Burbage South and also Curbar though there are loads of places to go at.

Drizzle/After Rain
If it is the sort of day where rain, mist and drizzle are coming and going it may be best to hit some of the higher crags and drop the grade. Sometimes climbing on the exposed grit of Burbage, Stanage, Bamford & Froggatt etc get a smattering of rain but also dry quickly. In-between the odd shower why not nip into Robin Hoods Cave to dry off.  Lawrencefield can sometimes be a haven from the drizzle, but if you leave it too late it can also be a place of the ‘permadamp’. If you fancy some easy limestone and also a drive away from the clag try going for a chilled day out at Harborough Rocks (tick the crag in an afternoon challenge?)

In ‘midgey’ season
My least favourite time of year. I think I counted over 100 bites on a friend last year. So with the still days and the mild temperatures of summer, the last place you want to go is near any water. That rules out places like Lawrencefield. Often the Roaches also has a high midge count. Stanage is often a good bet, but stay away from those bays where the air is still. Go high (Kinder) and go somewhere different. Somewhere exposed. Wharncliffe may work well. If it really is so bad, belay from the exposed tops of crags so only one person gets eaten alive at once.

When it is actually raining
What can I say, go practice some aid climbing somewhere responsibly, go eat cake in Outside Café in Hathersage or go for a second breakfast at the Poolside Café in Hathersage. Drive to Sheffield and try any number of the climbing walls available there. Plenty of sport to be had!
This report is one of a series coming in the next few months from Guy Wilson, Mountaineering Instructor and Company Director of Pure Outdoor.   Pure Outdoor offer guidance in Rock Climbing, Hill walking, Mountaineering and Scrambling. Based in the UK but operate country wide could have something that can get your climbing on track. To speak to Guy or the team call 0800 612 7069 or visit Pure Outdoor.


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