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Bamford, The Peak District

They say open with something that will catch the readers attention right? I feel that Mike, the swinging chap above, just caught yours and mine ;)

Before we dive right into what is probably the most photographed climbing route in England (for good reason), we'll take a step back to find out where we are and what we got up to.

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In the heart of The Peak District overseeing the Derwent Valley

If you've never been here before, how can you not just be sitting there in awe right now? These views were to die for.

 In all honesty, i'd never really heard of Bamford until maybe a week or two ago when the club decided that they were going to have a meet there (cheers Geoff!). I reckon at some point I will have had a quick nosey in the guidebook and skimmed past Bamford, not really taking in the details of this crag, as it doesn't seem to have a big reputation surrounding it or the routes - for any history buffs out there, I can add that this may be due to the fact that there has been restricted access here over the years. Whereas nowadays I can firmly say that it's open for business and should receive your attention! Here's why:

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Brown's Crack (Top 50 HS 4b)

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Bilberry Crack (VS 5a)

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Quien Sabe? (VS 4c)

Simply put: it not only has wonderful views, but it turns out that the routes are of great quality too!

We headed straight down to the far end of the crag: Great Tor - Lower Tier. What a spot! Loads of great lines to get stuck into, as you can see from the pictures above. It's not often I get so many photos taken of me, but Andy was on hand snapping away all day - cheers Andy! Nothing beats a good action shot to compliment my rambling ;)

First off was Brown's Crack. I assumed Joe Brown did the FA, but it turns out that Brown had a predecessor: Dick Brown. A great route if you want to hone in on your jamming skills, which is something i'm always keen to do! Some corking hand-jams up this crack with a crux that you might not expect, I certainly didn't. Second up: Bilberry Crack - a really nice exercise in bridging up a slabby and a vertical wall that has all the protection and holds in the right places for a nice VS lead. The last route I lead in this area was Quien Sabe? As you may have seen in the photo above, it has quite the buldge! It enticed me because it scared me. Buldges and cracks don't usually rank high up on my go-to route, but the only way to get better is to face your fears right? There's no doubt about it, it felt committing under that buldge, but once I figured out a sequence that would work for me and I went for it, it didn't actually feel too bad.

For anyone who's feeling really psyched up for something a bit more spicy and like dancing across pebbles, there's always the Johnny Dawes test pieces to try out here: The Salmon and Smoked Salmon, both going at bold E7s...

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Cruising my way up Gargoyle Flake (VS 4c)

Following on with the hunt to climb the classics of the crag, this had to be THEE classic. It could look quite intimidating this route if you was just breaking into VS, but it's most definitely all there: the moves are quality, the gear is spot-on and the exposure is just plain perfection.

Once you head up the last section of rock, you plug in some bomber nuts and head up on jugs to a top out that I was expecting to be quite bad and here's why: a member of the club decided to kindly inform me just before I set off that I should be very careful on the top section as it's very rounded. This naturally would be quite believable in most circumstances as (1) climbers are nice people (2) tend to give each other sound advice (most of the time) and (3) gritstone tends to always have those well known rounded edges that we all love so much. Turns out that he was having me on! There was friggin' jugs big enough to lose your arm in! I did wonder if he was like the master of slopers before I set off as he did manage to swing out and pose for photos on one hand (seen below).

Nought like a good sandbagging eh! :D

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Mike the crag sandbagger!

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Gary embarking on Neb Buttress (HVS 5a)

We headed on over to Neb Buttress to find some more routes to get stuck into as Wrinkled Wall Area was a tad bit crowded - an area well worth checking out if it's quiet I bet. There's a great looking VS called Wrinkled Wall that would make for another airy climb up an arete on rounded edges with potentially spaced gear.

I couldn't help but chuckle when Gary said I can't go doing Neb Buttress too, as i'd almost be ticking off most of the classics in one day. It would of been pretty cool if I did manage to sneak that Neb Buttress and Wrinkled Wall, but I didn't. I'll definitely be back for them though! Neb Buttress looks like an amazing line that weaves it's way into some committing crack territory and would certainly test your rope management skills no doubt! Have a look at the route in the guidebook, it wonders a wee bit.

Unfortunately my hands were having some weird reaction to the chalk I was using though and my finger tips started splitting quite badly, so I decided to have a bit fun and jumped on Bamford Wall with no chalk and no cams - old school! Turns out the chap climbing next to me hadn't used chalk since the 90s, so I had no excuses not get it done now!

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The zig-zagging Bamford Wall (S 4a) that finishes up the crack

So there you have it, if you've ever wanted an awesome looking climbing photo to share with all your friends to show them how rad you are, this is the place to do it.

For you E graded climbers, there's most definitely E graded routes to be done here too, but there seem to be no real classics or anything that really caught my eye around the range of E1-E2, which is something i'm usually trying to hunt down.

Anyhow, it's officially summer now in the UK and it's time to fully seize every possible moment to get outdoors because it'll soon be winter! :o

Oh and one last piece of advice: don't go believing that there's hidden sandwiches deep in caves...

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There never is!

Happy climbing peeps.

Naf

Published by Naf Climbing