Alderman Rocks, Chew Valley
Having scrambled around Alderman Rocks a couple of times before, I was confident heading there for my first climb of the season outdoors. I’m still fairly new to trad climbing, don’t lead and am still cautious about who I climb with and where. So it was good to go somewhere I felt I knew.
Despite its position high above the Chew Valley in Oldham, Alderman Rocks is a friendly crag with a good variety of easy and harder routes.
Alderman Rocks is a large buttress which stands aloft of Dovestones Reservoir, on the A635 between Greenfield and Holmfirth.
Alderman Rocks has 63 routes with a good mix of bouldering and trad climbs. There is also a good range of grades to challenge the experienced and for newbies like me. Some routes are multi-pitch but not long, so achievable by all.
What I like the most…..
It’s a slog up to the crag from the road which leaves even the fittest breathless. Alderman’s does have a fantastic view across Dovestones and to nearby Whimberry Rocks, and while it can be frequently windy or cold it does mean it’s usually midgy free. This is a massive plus for anyone who suffers from midge bites.
I visited one May evening after work with a club, and managed to do 4 routes. I started by seconding Pygmy wall (HS 4b) which was a nice short single pitch route on a slab.
I then followed it with Great Slab Arete (S4a), which I found a bit unnerving as I couldn’t see the foothold on the other side of the arête. Although once I’d tiptoed round it was a good solid step. After that the route was more straightforward with good handholds.
Access and approach….
If you use the postcode OL3 7NL it will get you 0.5 miles away from the Binn Green car park. You’ll need to travel 0.5 miles east from that postcode location. There is a car park at Binn Green on the A635 – it’s about 1 mile from Greenfield. There’s also a large layby on the road. The local 184 bus stops 1 mile down the road at the small roundabout.
The crag is obvious from the road. From the car park cross over the A635 and go through the gate, following the track for 5 mins before heading uphill following wall. While it’s quite close, it’s pretty steep so expect it to take 15 mins to get there.
A mile back down the road in Greenfield there is the Clarence Hotel just opposite the little roundabout. You can’t miss it. They serve food and have a good selection of real ales and soft drinks.
Which guide book….
Over the Moors by BMC
Western Grit by Rockfax