This is the most famous crag with over 800 routes dotted along this 7 km outcrop! It's an ideal introduction to gritstone for newcomers and beginners as the majority of routes are relatively easy and short. Stanage varies in height up to 25m and it can, at times, be extremely windy and cold. Luckily Hathersage, with its warm cafes and welcoming pubs, is nearby. Joe Brown's Right Unconquerable HVS 5a is the classic route of the crag, but Quietus E2 5c and Old Friends E4 5c are equally famous. The stunning barn door arête Archangel E3 5b is psychologically demanding; not surprisingly, safer boulder problems such as The Green Traverse 6a or Not to be Taken Away 6b see far more repeats.
Millstone is positioned near the top of the hill above Hathersage and therefore receives the brunt of any bad weather. Nevertheless, it is well worth a visit as the routes in this old quarry are quite rightly considered to be outstanding, even though the majority tend to be difficult. John Allen's awesome London Wall E5 6a, first climbed in 1975, is still a demanding testpiece. This quintessential crack climb is extremely pumpy but, unlike some of the other routes here, completely protectable. Ron Fawcett's Master's Edge E7 6c, just a few meters away, is everything but safe and Moffat proposed that only a true master would one day be able to solo it onsight. Its boldness and technical difficulties have repelled all but the most gifted and no one, as yet, has risen to this challenge. The unprotectable arête immediately to the left is by no means less dangerous, but the easier crux ensures that Edge Lane E5 6a receives more ascents - hopefully onsight, of course!
A short walk leads to this gritstone outcrop which overlooks the Derwent valley. The technical slabs and scary arêtes require excellent footwork and a good sense of balance. Three Pebble Slab HVS 5a is a good introduction to this crag, but Downhill Racer E4 6a is a different proposition altogether. Moffat's feat of downclimbing it solo or Dawes' one handed ascent are best not emulated! The blank arête of Beau Geste E7 6c is there to be admired; first climbed in 1982 by Johnny Woodward using 3 ropes, it has still seen only a handful of repeats. Sadly many climbers have used this route for toprope practice and the loss of some crucial pebbles was foreseeable. The route remains a formidable challenge though, to be climbed, but only by the best!
"Beau Geste - it seemed to me that its ascent was a moment of inspiration fired by desire.... a classic natural sculpture and challenge.... made to be climbed, but only by the best."
The Peak District
The Yorkshire Dales
Clogwyn Du'r Arddu
|Above: Merk - The Vice HVS5b, Stanage
Below: Dave Douglas holding the Green Traverse 6b, Plantation Boulders - Stanage