Last weekend Womenclimb hosted a day out climbing at Stanage, near Hathersage in the Peak District. A group of twelve people turned up at 9am at the Popular End car park – from complete outdoor-climbing beginners to those beginning to learn to lead outdoors to those who’ve done a lot of leading outdoors. We had a brilliant time and it got me thinking about why Stanage is great.
Why is Stanage so popular for Climbing?
Womenclimb Top 12 Reasons:
1. Short Walk-in
The walk up to the crag from the car parks is between 10-30mins depending on which area of the crag you’re visiting and how fast you walk. It’s shorter and generally less strenuous than other crags in the Peak (Kinder, Birchen, Burbage South). Perfect if you don’t have long or want to catch a few hours after work, now that summer (!) is here.
2. Variety of routes – well over 1500
The breadth of routes at Stanage is fantastic, both in terms of difficulty and type of climbing – there are aretes, corners, roofs, cracks, grooves, chimneys and everything in between; graded from Mod all the way up to E4+ and bouldering.
UKC have a good write up and route listings if you want to get up close and personal with route information.
3. Lots of different areas
The separate sections of Stanage mean that if one area gets busy, you can just de-camp to another quieter section. It’s also ideal for groups of mixed abilities, because the routes are intermingled, so you can climb in the same area, but at different grades.
There’s also a sprinkling of bouldering (it’s not the best Peak bouldering venue), so if you’re after variety, that’s what you get!
4. Public Transport Access to the crag
It’s a 2.5 mile walk from the train station in Hathersage to Popular End.
5. Easy Access by car
Manchester, Sheffield and the M1 are all within 50mins drive, which means it’s a really accessible climbing venue, even if you like outside of the North West. Parking is also free, although it does get busy and you must adhere to the parking restrictions to help preserve the surrounding area.
Because it gets busy, I’ve found Stanage to be a really sociable crag. People are friendly and it feels good to be there among likeminded people. It’s a great place to go for just a walk or a picnic and when you’re climbing, you’ll rarely be alone.
7. Longest Gritstone Crag
Stanage is a mile long and split into sections, from High Neb along to the Popular End; makes it worth a visit!
8. Stanage is Beautiful!
The whole area and particularly the edge itself are sight to behold on any day, whatever the weather. In the sunshine it’s glorious and in the rain, an imposing and threatening beast.
9. Camping nearby
The nearest campsite is 1.5 miles from the crag / a 30 minute walk. If you want to camp near Stanage and climb for a
weekend or a few days, this is perfect. There’s a review and info from some previous campers here.
If the weather turns wet or if you need to grab an extra bit of gear, or even if you just want a cuppa, Hathersage is nearby and has a series of outdoors shops and a Cafe above the Outdoors shop, with delicious cake and a good breakfast.
11. Other crags close
Stanage is situated close to many other crags, with the most notable one being Bamford Edge – another classic gritstone venue. So, if you get fed up of Stanage or need respite from the crowds, fear not.
…and the last reason to LOVE Stanage….
Owing to all of the above, Stanage is a climber’s mecca. You could probably climb solely at Stanage and have enough to go at for a lifetime of entertainment – following in the footsteps of many famous first ascentionists (the person who first climbs and names the route).
So, these are my twelve reasons. I’m sure you’ve got more, so share your reasons below in the comments section. Look forward to finding out why you love Stanage too.
Thanks to all of the women who came out to Stanage last weekend and kindly allowed their photos to be included in the site. In particular thanks to Zofia (featuring in the last picture of this article), who also has a climbing blog, which is full of great stuff – take a look.
Sign up for our amazing Newsletter..
Find out all sorts of groovy climbing information, including events, trips, reviews and more by clicking here to sign up for our newsletter.