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North York Moors and East Coast Bouldering

Karin Magog on Philleas Fogg Font 7a Camp Hill     Photo: Steve Crowe


North York Moors and East Coast Bouldering
13: 9780993104206
Written by: Lee Robinson
Published 2014 by: betaguides


"This is the first fully dedicated bouldering guide to the whole of the North York Moors and its east coast. With over 2000 problems to suit all abilities, we have packed this guide full of colour photos and topos to showcase this secret and stunning landscape." Lee Robinson. Read more information about on www.betaguides.co.uk

History of Bouldering on the North York Moors by Steven Phelps

Although climbing on The North York Moors may have been going on for centuries, it wasn't until organised climbing began at the end of the nineteenth century that climbs were recorded, though information for this period is lacking. What we do have seems to start with early pioneers such as E.E. Roberts, E.Creighton and Arthur Barker in the early part of the 20th century on the popular outcrops of The Wainstones and Scugdale. Both are areas that are still the most popular on the moors today, indicating the quality of these early problems and venues, still being enjoyed by generations of climbers. The Wainstones was probably the first venue to be explored for bouldering by those early climbers, with the features on the boulders offering obvious challenges in addition to the routes up on the main edge. Development continued throughout the middle part of the 20th century involving people such as Eric Marr and Geoff Fixter adding new routes to already popular crags and first ascents at new venues such as Cook's Crag. Moors regular Tony Marr was also starting his developments about this time and observed some of the bouldering up on the Wainstones one day in 1959, "We were treated to some impressive climbing that day by two local climbers, Eric (Spider) Penman and John Cheesmond. The pair moved from boulder to boulder, choosing only the hardest problems, encouraging each other to "go for it". ln fact, I can clearly remember two of the many problems they climbed that day .... located on what is now called the A Boulder: Pebble Climb and The Crack". Bouldering was already an activity in its own right on the moors. This was also around the time that the Cleveland Mountaineering Club started recording their exploits, opening up further venues, doing maintenance for access and providing a focal point for local enthusiasts: a valuable commodity. ln the 1970s and 80s standards started to reach a new level of difficulty and problems perceived as unclimbable or too dangerous were finally breached by the likes of Dave Paul, Nick Dixon, Alan Taylor and Paul lngham. Many of the well-regarded highball problems of today were ascended in a much bolder fashion back then as it was before the advent of the bouldering mat. Boundaries were being pushed and at Scugdale tales of Taylorís false claims were quashed in front of doubting and dazzled audiences as he flawlessly demonstrated where the future realms of difficulty lay. Things continued apace throughout this period with stories being told of climbers even using car seats for softer landings beneath the extremely bold unprotected slabs of Highcliff Nab to breach the tantalising highball variations of Moonflower, definitely a sign of things to come.The 1980s saw the publication of the first dedicated climbing guide for the moors, along with the discovery of fresh venues well-suited to bouldering such as The Bridestones, with its grassy landings and enigmatic blocks with relatively short elevation. The 1990s experienced a flurry of new additions at already developed venues by the likes of Martin Parker, Francis Montague, Karin Magog and Steve Crowe, including another venue ideally suited to bouldering at Earthworks Rocks. All of this culminated in what would become 'Climbing in North East EngIandí published by Steve Crowe in 2003. At this point bouldering mats began to be seen across the country, undoubtedly a welcome addition to any climberís kit, replacing their beer towel or piece of carpet. The North York Moors themselves seem to have been historically late to adjust to bouldering and have only recently adopted a foreign grading system, much better suited to bouldering than traditional British grading. After the impetus created by the last guidebook to the moors the amount of activity gradually decreased, though recently there has been a renewed interest in development, especially on the bouldering scene. New venues have been identified which were previously unknown even to local climbers and further problems have been added to the boulders at already popular crags. As a result this first dedicated bouldering guide to the North York Moors has been created to highlight the wealth of bouldering across the moors and surrounding area.


Update by Steve Crowe

Lee Robinson, Mike Adams, Mike Gray, Franco Cookson, Dave Warburton, Sam Marks, Matthew Ferrier, Steve Ramsden, Steven Phelps, Jason and Scott Wood continue to scour the moors for the next area for development. My mentor Chris Woodall has been exploring the North York Moors for well over 50 years and still manages to find something new but not everyone feels the urge to record their activities. "For the last 50 years, itís actually more, Iíve enjoyed swanning around the Moors, climbing here and there, a lot of old classics, a bit of exploration and new routing but Iíve never taken it seriously, hardly ever taken a guide book to the crags and until recently never reported, in writing, any new climbs. I realize now what a mammoth task it must be to publish any guidebook." Chris Woodall


NYM Bouldering Guide: watch the short preview on vimeo http://vimeo.com/111147021



More information can be found here The UK Climbing link


Steve climbing Passepartout 5+ at  Camp Hill                          Photo: Karin Magog