It's climbing Jim, but not as we know it

June 10th, 2015 by mudball

With no other takers for climbing yesterday evening, David and I had a plan for Highcliff Nab near Guisborough.  After a pleasant walk up through the woods, the crag soon came into sight and we headed for the central ‘picnic block’ to survey the scene.  Our current climbing standard dictated that we ignore the shaded but apparently very good north face (if you are climbing E grades), so we turned our attention to the easier west face that was bathed in evening sunlight.  The guide warns of vegetation due to lack of traffic and loose finishes, but we found a few routes that appeared to be clean.  The guide also warns about lack of belays at the top, but I spotted a stake well back.  I only had my 30m ropes for climbing and it was debateable whether these would be sufficient to reach the stake, so I ‘pre-installed’ the top belay using a spare 10m rope offcut.

Our first route was ‘Ladies First’ (HVD according to UKC).  This was surprisingly good and with sufficient gear, although careful placements were required to avoid some of the softer rock.  On approaching the top though, I realised with horror that I still had another 5m of near vertical grass, mud and loose rock to overcome before reaching the dangling karabiner on the belay rope.  I threw in additional gear behind loose blocks for luck and gingerly made my way up, topping out with the aid of a side pull on a rabbit hole.  In hindsight, I should have made the belay rope longer, but that wouldn’t have been sporting, would it?

Next, David led another HVD, North West Route, awarded two stars by the guide.  This was a very good route with an interesting move around an inconvenient jutting block before some satisfying moves up right of an overhang, finishing this time on relatively clean and solid rock.

By now, the light was beginning to fade and the creatures of the night were  emerging (little bitey ones), so we decided to leave the three star Highcliff Crack (S) for another occasion.

In summary, an under-rated crag in a lovely setting and with routes of a good length for moorland sandstone.  Well worth a visit if you don’t mind a bit of adventure on the easier routes.

One Response to “It's climbing Jim, but not as we know it”

  1. pebbles says:

    "5m of near vertical grass, mud and loose rock" "lack of belays at the top" "we found a few routes that appeared to be clean" "the creatures of the night were emerging (little bitey ones)"………."In summary, an under-rated crag in a lovely setting"

    interesting conclusion……

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