THE ROACHES


Peak guru Paul Nunn once suggested that the best climbing in Derbyshire was actually in Staffordshire. Although you could question his geography, his sentiment wasn't too far wide of the mark. The Roaches remains the most popular of all of the Western Edges and with good reason; there are hundreds of routes on offer of every imaginable style, from the most amiable of ambles through to some of the hardest routes around.
The cliff splits easily into two sections. The Lower Tier is partly sheltered by a stand of ancient pine trees and is home to some great crack climbs and a superb set of pebble-dashed walls and slabs. Up the ancient steps lurks the Upper Tier; tall and imposing, throwing down a challenge that is hard to resist, with a host of fine climbs, many of a very reasonable grade - plus plenty of harder ones too.
Individual recommendations at the Roaches are largely a matter of choice; at a mild grade try linking Raven Rock Gully (Diff) on the Lower Tier with Pedestal Route (HVD) and Inverted Staircase (Diff) on the Upper or if you are after the classic Orange Spot introduction simply do Valkyrie (VS) on the Lower Tier, followed by Saul's Crack (HVS) and The Sloth (HVS) on the Upper one. You should go away well satisfied and with just a little idea of the quality of the climbing available on this superb cliff.
There is parking for about 80 cars on the roadside lay-by under the cliff. If this is full (it happens very early on fine summer weekends) there are two alternatives. The first option is to leave the car at the Park and Ride scheme based on the extensive parking at Tittesworth Reservoir (drive towards Leek and keep an eye out for the signs). The other option is some limited parking below the towers of Hen Cloud where there is usually space (about 25 cars in two spots) and take the 15 minute walk to the cliff, either via the road or following the track across the fields.
WARNING - If you can't park in the designated spots below the Roaches, and you attempt to squeeze the car onto a grass verge, then you will be ticketed.

Routes

99 trad routes (M...E8)
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
Slippery Jim
To the left of the steps is a series of short undercut walls with good (and popular) bouldering and...
6
Trad
Sun from mid-morning
Uphill

10 mins

Teck Crack
The tallest buttress left of the steps has a couple of reasonably graded routes (as long as you...
6
Trad
Sun from mid-morning
Uphill

10 mins

Crystal Grazer
An impressive hanging slab which has one of the hardest and blankest routes in the area. With the...
6
Trad
Sun from mid-morning
Uphill

10 mins

Dorothy's Dilemma
To the right of the stone steps the Lower Tier thrusts forward with one of the finest buttresses on...
12
Trad
Sun from mid-morning
Uphill

10 mins

Raven Rock Gully
The deep dark rift that splits the buttress has some worthwhile if gloomy climbs from the...
6
Trad
Sun from mid-morning
Uphill

10 mins

Valkyrie
A huge Easter Island statue of a buttress, perhaps the single most imposing bit of grit in the...
6
Trad
Sun from mid-morning
Uphill

10 mins

The Mincer and Smear Test
To the right of the huge prow of Valkyrie is this area named after the classic (and awkward)...
15
Trad
Sun from mid-morning
Uphill

10 mins

Elegy
A magnificent slab route or two to get the heart pounding and a selection of awkward and arduous...
7
Trad
Sun from mid-morning
Uphill

10 mins

Hawkwing
Another fine jutting buttress, with a couple of classics and some rather tricky crack climbs....
6
Trad
Sun from mid-morning
Uphill

10 mins

Death Knell
One of the less popular sectors of the Lower Tier, though the superb and harrowing Death Knell is...
9
Trad
Sun from mid-morning
Uphill

10 mins

Chalkstorm
Chalkstorm, the route after which the area is named, has generated more hot air on the issue of...
8
Trad
Sun from mid-morning
Uphill

10 mins

Thin Air
The final section of the Lower Tier doesn't see too much traffic, mainly because the tough trio of...
11
Trad
No sun
Uphill

10 mins

Simpkins' Overhang and Wombat
The far left-hand side of the Upper Tier has some contrasting venues; the popular and battered slab...
19
Trad
Sun from mid-morning
Uphill

15 mins

Damascus Crack
Between the jutting roof of Wombat, and the descent at the left-hand side of the Upper Tier, is a...
14
Trad
Sun from mid-morning
Uphill

15 mins

Black and Tans
Home to Black and Tansregarded as one of the very best Severes anywhere on grit though Black Velvet...
6
Trad
No sun
Uphill

12 mins

Restricted Access
Saul's Crack
Beyond the easy descent the cliff becomes ever more impressive and is home to a great series of...
8
Trad
Sun from mid-morning
Uphill

12 mins

Restricted Access
The Sloth
The overhang is the single most recognisable feature of the whole cliff. It looks huge from the...
13
Trad
Sun from mid-morning
Uphill

12 mins

Restricted Access
Crack and Corner
The best offering here is the desperate roof climb of Paralogism. At a lower grade Crack and Corner...
10
Trad
Sun from mid-morning
Uphill

12 mins

Blushing and Calcutta Buttresses
Rather diminutive when compared to the rest of the Roaches, these smaller buttresses do offer some...
15
Trad
Sun from mid-morning
Uphill

12 mins

What do these symbols mean?
  • Access Issues for Western Grit


  • Latest Comments

    For THE ROACHES

    Valkyrie
    "What hidden foothold? Damn spoilers in these comments had me gripped, but thinki..." 05/Aug top50

    Jeffcoat's Buttress
    "Any Hard Severe leader who isn't tall and can do the start of this straight off ..." 08/Apr

    Rotunda Buttress
    "It's a lovely line and most of the route is very steady, but the top moves are h..." 06/Apr

    Chalkstorm
    "Many many years ago (20) I led this, it was E3 at the time if I remember correct..." 31/Dec top50

    Pedestal Route
    "Left of shield. Best route ever? Could be." 20/Feb top50

    Sifta's Quid
    "Why oh why would you want to squirm under the boulder. enjoyed the crux though,..." 19/Aug

    Elegy
    "I'd suggest getting someone to brush the top break before going for an onsight. ..." 23/Sep top50

    Valkyrie
    "After years of climbing I finally got to do Valkyrie as there was no queue, thou..." 06/Sep top50

    Raven Rock Gully
    "Climbed right hand wall, possibly off-route, in pouring rain. Amusing in retrosp..." 13/Jun

    Valkyrie
    "hardest way is to lead 1st pitch and 2nd the crux pitch , but alot more enjoyabl..." 24/May top50

    Rhodren
    "Too short by far. Interesting moves all the way. Good runnners." 21/May

    Rooster
    "Polished rock and lack of protection make this one a fun climb." 04/May

    Sign of the Times
    "shouldn't get E2 cause it's only 6m (although I was relieved to top out!), I'd g..." 05/Oct

    Walleroo
    "Not bad but a bit of a one move wonder. Two stars? Nah." 05/Sep

    Kelly's Shelf
    "I found this very hard, not well protected to gain the ramp. This move Felt more..." 15/Aug

    The Roaches Ridge
    "A fun solo, when not too busy." 31/Jul

    The Sloth
    "HVS 5a *** Mega tick. Brilliant." 27/Jul top50

    Valkyrie
    "No way the first pitch is worth HS 4b anymore. Second pitch is more scary but no..." 02/Jul top50

    Ruby Tuesday
    "I haven't done many E2's so I can't comment if this was a hard one or not (see v..." 25/Jun

    Fern Crack
    "I found this route really good fun, and found it easy to place gear i think in t..." 18/Jun top50

    Kestrel Crack
    "Nice moves on the left hand start, the middle is a bit nasty and the top thrutch..." 12/Jun

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