Not So ‘Peaky’ Peak District!

It’s fair to say that everytime we meet UK climbers, one of the first questions is have we climbed in the peaks? After seven years of owning the guidebook and ten years of climbing we have finally climbed in the Peak District!

The first stop was the Roaches, simply because I read the name in the guidebook and recognised it, we also visited Windgather, Stanage Popular and High Neb. I think a day in each gave us a good idea of the climbing on offer in the area.

The first problem for both me and Jess was the length of the routes, this felt uninspiring on day one at the Roaches, until we realised later that these would most likely be the longest climbs we did all week.

Stanage was described in the guidebook as ‘God’s own rock’, and I was impressed with the quality of the rock here, the grip is immense and the confidence this gives you as is climber can’t be underestimated. Even when a route was described as polished, it was grippy, these writers have clearly not climbed on the polished mess of some of the limestone crags we’ve climbed at.

The best route for me was Christmas Crack, I nearly didn’t climb it, but in the end thought I had to climb it and I was glad I did. The first route I climbed was Jeffcoat’s Crack, only a VDiff so a good tester for this new rock type. The crack was fine, but the boulder problem after was something else! More like a HS or higher, in fact some of the moves were harder than anything else that week! I was glad to get over it on my second try, buy this did make me think we were in for a hard week.

We spent the whole trip living in our van, something that we seem to be able to seamlessly slip back into. We were so comfortable on our first night that we slept for twelve hours, if not a little more. There were plenty of lay-bys to sleep in, tucked away in the rolling hills. It was lovely to look outside on nothing but countryside. I love living in our little van!

In general the location and views of the peak were fantastic, the rock features and shapes allowed for a variety of fun routes all squeezed into relatively small crags. We don’t climb the hardest routes, and I think this is where grit comes into its own. Some of the direct overhangs looked like great adventures for those with the ability, as did some of the tough blank faces. For us, climbing at our grade we can still complete huge multi pitchers, climbing all day into the sky, finishing the day atop if a great mountain somewhere and this is, for me, where Grit falls short (pun intended).

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