WHARNCLIFFE


Wharncliffe has long had a bit of a rogue reputation as a grim place to climb owing to its slightly urban location overlooking the upper Don Valley and the steel rolling mills of Stocksbridge. As you can see from the photo-topos, this is just rumour mongering by the locals who want to keep the place to themselves; well their cover has been blown! The main section of cliff has routes across the full grade spectrum and, although many only rise to 12m in height, they are usually action-packed and quite intense. The climbing tends to be steep and fingery, with many small sharp holds rather than the roundedness of true gritstone. The grades here have long been regarded as being on the tough side and we have made some effort to redress this. One rumour that is true is that the landings are awful; make a point of getting an early runner in, small Friends are especially useful in this respect! Wharncliffe was very significant at the birth of British outcrop climbing with J.W.Puttrell first scratching the rock here with his nailed boots back in 1885. By 1900, and due in large part to the nearby railway line, Wharncliffe was the most popular cliff in the country. An article published in 1910 described 110 separate routes here. The heady days have never returned and a century on Wharncliffe is a place to escape the crowds that have become so much of climbing elsewhere in the Peak; strange to think that the place is probably less popular now than it was 100 years ago, surely the only venue in Britain where this can be said.

Routes

142 trad routes (M...E7)
Graded List of Routes
List of First Ascents
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Buttress (click for routes) No. of Routes Route Type Sunshine
or shade
Approach walk Other
Prow Rock
Wharncliffe starts with the pointed block of Prow Rock. This worthy mini-summit can be escaped by a...
9
Trad
Afternoon sun
Uphill

15 mins

Pylon Buttress and Scarlett's
A well-cracked buttress that was capped with a pylon for many years - only a short stump now...
14
Trad
Afternoon sun
Uphill

15 mins

Tensile Test
A smooth face of good quality rock with some enjoyable if short climbs. There are some...
10
Trad
Afternoon sun
Uphill

15 mins

Photo Finish
A series of buttresses with an interesting collection of climbs. On the left is the narrow tower of...
13
Trad
Afternoon sun
Uphill

15 mins

Cheese Block
An isolated blocky buttress split by a series of cracks and grooves. It is a great area for...
14
Trad
Afternoon sun
Uphill

15 mins

Pete's Sake
A fine narrow tower whose main challenge was unlocked by local legend Pete Crew before he moved on...
12
Trad
Afternoon sun
Uphill

15 mins

Great Buttress
One of the best buttresses on the cliff with a good set of worthwhile routes on the main piece of...
14
Trad
Afternoon sun
Uphill

18 mins

Puttrells Progress
A proud buttress that has lost bits over the years. Get the classic Puttrell’s Progress done before...
12
Trad
Afternoon sun
Uphill

18 mins

Himmelswillen and Banana Wall
An impressive tower and wall with a fine set of routes across the grades. Tower Face and...
9
Trad
Afternoon sun
Uphill

20 mins

Hell Gate
The finest set of hard climbs on the cliff are based around three jutting aretes. Half a dozen...
13
Trad
Afternoon sun
Uphill

20 mins

Long John's Stride
An isolated set of quiet buttresses with a good selection of climbs. It can be green here in...
23
Trad
Sun and shade
Up and down

30 mins

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  • Latest Comments

    For WHARNCLIFFE

    Just a Minute
    "Have to disagree with just about all of the above. It's certainly not 'hopeless'..." 10/May

    The Crack of Doom
    "I'm a little bulky through the shoulder and chest, I can get one shoulder in and..." 30/Mar

    Sidewinder
    "Not that reachy - my partner is fairly short but had no problem reaching the top..." 06/Aug

    Cannae
    "The other good, non-eliminate, non-wandering line on here, when finished up the ..." 05/May

    Great Buttress
    "The line as described in PGE (I was using the first edition) is clearly wrong. ..." 06/Apr

    The Flue
    "Only hard bit is getting into sentry box. Then a fun squirm. Hard Diff?" 02/Apr

    Desolation Angel
    "agree with all above. looks harder than it is. i would probably say E5, compared..." 13/Mar

    Scarlett's Wall Arete
    "Nice face climbing." 27/Oct

    Rook Chimney
    "A bit polished lower down and not a smooth climb i.e. bitty!" 26/Oct

    Banana Wall
    "agree with brown. E2 5c/6a depending on reach." 19/Oct

    Great Buttress Arete
    "It is possible with some care and attention to place adequate wire protection. ..." 14/Oct

    Easy Groove
    "More a chimney than a groove, though climbed by bridging rather than chimneying...." 07/Sep

    Renrock
    "Very straightforward 5a moves for a consolidated onsight E1 leader. Bouldering h..." 29/May

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