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High Crag, Tripsdale

Franco is standing below the line of superb classic The Warrior E2, High Crag

Photo Dave Warburton

 

OS Sheet: 100

Map Reference: SE587977

Aspect: SSE

Altitude: 290m

Approach Time: 30 minutes

 

Situation and Character     

Situated on the edge of Hagg House Moor in High Wood, these SSE facing buttresses of weathered sandstone enjoy a sunny aspect sheltered from cold northerly winds making them a useful winter venue. During the summer the approach is arduous and the best time to visit is from autumn to spring when the bracken is low and the path visible. The crag has received little attention since the routes were first developed. This and the fact that it is situated in mature woodland, means that the routes, especially the finishing holds and slabs, may benefit from a light brushing before attempting them.  A visit to this crag can easily be combined with an afternoon/evening on Tarn Hole Crag, which is clearly visible to the east across Tarn Hole Beck.

 

History

The first recorded activity was by Tony Marr who explored the crag and climbed five routes in November 1985.  He returned the following year with Alan Taylor and Frank Fitzgerald to climb several worthwhile routes including Kestrel Crack, Oak Crack and Facade.  Tony returned again in 1987 accompanied by his wife Linda, to do battle with the awesome Warrior to produce one of the steepest E2s on the moors. During the same visit they started developing the right-hand buttresses with the technical and serious wall climb, Cool as Ice. Frank Fitzgerald paid a flying visit in 1996 to add Trip Trap.  Steve Crowe and Karin Magog also visited the crag in 1996, producing a couple of interesting climbs, Hiding and Sliding, and returned again in 1997 adding the bold Hanging at High Noon and the strenuous Charlatan.

 

Access and Approaches

Park in the lay-by on the B1257 near The Grange.  Walk about 200m south, down the main road and take the track leading towards Hagg House. Just before Hagg House, take the right fork (The left fork leads into the grounds of Hagg house. N.B. Parking is no longer permitted here.)  Follow the east bank of Tarn Hole beck, initially through fields then into mixed woodland and continue until Tarn Hole Crag appears on the right skyline.  Cross the beck and trend up the hill westwards, until High Crag appears amongst the trees.

 

There have been complaints about climbers approaching these crags over private land near Hagg House. Would you climbers approach as follows:

High Crag – Approach on the public footpath that goes towards Kay Nest but before you get there turn South East & walk above the wall.
 

 

The Climbs

The crag consists of a number of buttresses, the most prominent being Hawk Buttress with its overhang split by a thin crack, which is the line of Kestrel Crack.  High Crag Buttress is much further right, across the gully, and the Right-hand Buttress is 200m further right still, beyond the trees and about 30m beyond a stonewall.   The first routes described are on Hidden Buttress, which is about 12m left of Kestrel Crack and is recognised by the mature tree growing on its top.

 

There are several short problems on the steep triangular block about 15m left of Hidden Buttress but they will need brushing before an ascent is possible. 

 

Hidden Buttress

 

1. The Prow   4m   HS 4b

Start left of the leaning corner crack, just before the nose of the buttress.  Step up and slightly left, before finishing just right of the prow.

Tony Marr    November 1985.

 

2. Hiding   4m   MVS 4c                   

Climb the faint groove line directly beneath the mature tree, and 1m left of the leaning corner /crack.

Steve Crowe, Karin Magog 1996.

 

3. Butt Head   5m   HS 4b

Ascend the leaning corner crack, finishing on the left.

Tony Marr November 1985.

 

4. Sliding   5m   MVS 4c                  

Follow the slabby side of the arête, right of Butt Head.

Steve Crowe, Karin Magog 1996.

 

About 8m to the right is a slender buttress with a hanging groove to the left of a fine arête. Just beyond the arête is a fallen tree.

 

5. Whipsaw   5m   VS 5a

Start up the arête, step left and follow a groove in the slab to exit on the arête. Ensure the finishing holds are clean!

Tony Marr November 1985.

 

About 4m right, beyond the fallen tree is...

 

Hawk Buttress

 

6. Fair Play   8m   VS 4c

Start left of the thin crack through the prominent roof.  Scramble up dirty rock until a foot traverse right across the lip of the overhang, enables the thin crack of Kestrel Crack to be reached.  Finish up this.

Tony Marr, Alan Taylor   May 1986.

 

7. Kestrel Crack   8m   HVS 5b  **

Start beneath the thin crack in the roof.  Climb the corner crack to a cave, pull over the roof via the crack and follow it to the top.

Tony Marr, Alan Taylor   May 1986.

 

8. Oak Crack   8m   VS 5a

Climb the crack up the right side of the overhang; Start just right of Kestrel Crack.

Alan Taylor, Tony Marr, Frank Fitzgerald May 1986.

 

9. Façade   8m   HVS 5a  *

Climb the wall just right of the arête to join Oak Crack for the finish.

Alan Taylor, Tony Marr, Frank Fitzgerald May 1986.

 

10. Roughness   7m   HVS 5b

Start just right of the arête, as for Facade, then ascend diagonally right to finish at a notch just left of a tree.

Tony Marr November 1985.

 

11. Short Cut   4m   VS 5a

Climb the clean shallow groove in the slab right of Roughness.

Tony Marr November 1985.

 

The next climbs are about 30m further right, across the gully.

 

High Crag Buttress

This very steep area of rock boasts one of Cleveland's steepest crack climbs, up the undercut groove in the nose of the buttress.  Left of this distinctive feature is a 4m wide slab, which is also undercut.

 

12. Hanging at High Noon     8m   E4 6a   **     

The weakness in the hanging slab left of Warrior can be traversed from left to right if you have the necessary Cowboy Skills!  Start at the left edge of the slab and move up to a jammed block.  By an awkward move rightwards gain the foot ledge.  Lasso the dying tree with a long sling then teeter rightwards on rounded holds to a resting place and good layaway hold.  Throw the belayer’s end of a second rope over the tree to the right and with this added protection move safely up and right past a small pocket to finish. 

Steve Crowe, Karin Magog     8th June 1997.

 

13. Warrior   8m   E2 5c   ***

Start below the impressive overhanging groove in the front of the buttress.  Climb the crack / groove using a variety of techniques and a fair amount of energy.  Large hexes and medium-large friends could prove useful. A small climb with a big feel about it.

Tony Marr, Linda Marr   May 1987.

 

14. Realm of Darkness   8m   VS 4c                               

Climb the challenging smooth chimney just right of Warrior. Pull on your old fleece and start writhing!

Tony Marr   May 1987.  Second refused to follow!

 

Just to the right is an impressive, unclimbed hanging groove.  The Australia Crack of the North Yorkshire Moors?

 

15. Charlatan   6m   E2 6a 

Climbs the right wall of the buttress. Start beneath the large Oak Tree that is sitting on the top of the crag.  Traverse the horizontal break leftwards past a good runner (Friend 2) until below a birch sapling.  A hard pull leads to a standing position in the break, and then continue more easily to the top. Strenuous.

Steve Crowe, Karin Magog     8th June 1997.

 

The next climbs are to be found about 200m further right, beyond the trees.  The easiest approach is along the moor edge.   Drop down approximately 30m beyond a stonewall.

 

Right-hand Buttress

 

16. Trip Trap   8m   VS 4c                 

Climbs two large boulders separated by a small block.  Follow the right edge of the lower boulder, step down onto the small block then ascend the upper boulder initially rightwards then back to the centre to finish.

Variation:  The steep face of the lower boulder can be started direct via a hard move onto a curved ledge.

Frank Fitzgerald (solo) 5th October 1996.

 

17. Cool as Ice   8m   E1 5b   *

The tall arête is tackled on its left side. Starting up the undercut wall proves tricky but the crux is a precarious mantelshelf finish.  Serious.

Tony Marr, Linda Marr   May 1987.

 

A faint path runs directly across the valley to Tarn Hole Crag, which is now clearly visible to the east.

 

 

 

 

Full details in the

North East England Guide

 

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