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Gritstone routes for all, in the Burbage Valley

Photo by Jacquie Budd.

The Burbage Valley is only around 30 minutes by car or bus from Sheffield city centre, and it offers a diverse range of gritstone climbing – from friendly routes to boulder problems, powerful challenging climbs to classic routes in the VD (very difficult) and E1 (extreme one) grades.

The two main areas for routes are Burbage South and Burbage North, with boulder problems at Burbage South, North and West, and further climbing to be found at Higgar Tor.

Burbage South is home to some well-known gritstone test-pieces – such as Equilibrium (E10 7a) and Parthian Shot (re-graded from E9 6c to E10 6c in the new Eastern Grit guidebook) – and climbing here has featured on film, in Hard Grit and Hard XS, as well as a short from BMC TV. There's a spread of routes at Burbage South in the lower grades too, though, meaning that there should be something for everybody here. I have to admit that it can be a dark foreboding place – but with a north-west aspect, it’s a good place to be when the weather heats up.

Burbage North, on the other hand, is somewhat friendlier. It faces south west and has a reputation for lower-grade routes with good descents. Add in the far-reaching views across the valley towards Chatsworth House, and you’ll start to understand why it’s a justifiably popular venue.

The proximity to parking makes Burbage North a good evening destination, and although it can become too warm in summer, it has quick drying rock and is great on a sunny winter’s day. Many of the climbs near the car park are micro routes. Walk a little further along the crag, though, and you’ll come to some good-quality longer routes – check out Ash Tree Wall, The Sentinel, The Grazer and Knight’s Move for some starred climbing.

For boulderers: Burbage South offers friendly landings on problems covering the lower grades, while Burbage North has some superb micro routes and problems across a spread of grades. Burbage West, on the other hand, is touted as the hard climber’s crag of choice – with one of the best concentrations of higher-grade boulder problems in the Peak (home to the classic West Side Story, 7b+).

If you have any non-climbers in your party, a walk along the well-established path underneath the crags is enjoyable, with a defined path back along the top making for an alternative return route.

Close to the city and with stunning views, the Burbage Valley really is a great spot – whether you're looking for hard climbing, easy and friendly routes, bouldering or soloing.

Written by Jacquie Budd



Parking: Burbage North: Upper Burbage Bridge.
Burbage South: The Fox House, Hathersage Road.
Public Transport: 272 bus to The Fox House (Hathersage Road, Longshaw), and walk 25 mins to Burbage North/10-15 mins to Burbage South.
Recommended guidebooks: Burbage, Millstone and Beyond, by BMC.
Eastern Grit, by Rockfax.
Peak Bouldering, by Rockfax.
Useful links: Check the BMC site for information and seasonal restrictions.
Map: Ordnance Survey OL1: Dark Peak Area.
Where to eat & drink: The Fox House for a warming supper or pint, before catching the bus or driving back to Sheffield.
In nearby Hathersage village, go for a hot breakfast at the Outside shop's cafe, or coffee and cake at Coleman's Deli.

(Location pin-pointed below is Burbage North.)

from city centre

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