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Ravenswick Quarry

OS Landranger Sheet: 94 

Map Reference: SE712873

Aspect: West

Altitude: 80m

Approach: 1 minute

Mini Guide: Ravenswick Quarry (PDF) 

 

Situation and Character 

Ravenswick is a unique venue in the NYM with walls of uniformly steep or overhanging magnesium limestone. As such the holds become dusty if not used for a while, but it stays dry in almost all weathers; even when raining heavily and is probably the best wet weather option on the moors. The rock is generally far superior to the magnesium limestone crags in the Durham area; the bottom sections of the walls are all very solid. This combined with the excellent landing mean that the bouldering is excellent. In particular the quarry has some fantastic hard traverses. However, the top outs on a couple of climbs are loose and it’s a very good idea to pre place a long sling over the top of such routes and lower off. These routes are clearly stated. There are loads of trees and some solid iron stakes to use as anchor points. Abseiling the harder routes and giving the holds a brush is recommended. The Quarry is part of the Ravenswick Estate. Access to the whole quarry is protected by the CROW Act, any difficulties gaining access should be reported to the BMC.

 

History

The walls have been climbed on since the early 1960s by John Adams and in the mid 1960s by Tony Marr. The Cleveland MC visited the crag about thirty years ago but has no records, however, most of the easier climbs have been led or soloed over the years. Adam van Lopik, D Lavallee and P Long discovered the venue and cleaned and claimed many of the harder lines during 1993/94. Bob Wightman lived in Rosedale 1999-2001 and climbed many lines during this time but didn't record anything due to the fragile natutre or the venue.  Then 2008 saw renewed action when more routes were climbed by Jason Wood and Roger Hargreaves. Franco Cookson and Dave Warburton soloed all of the routes around the alcove in an evening and then added a few more difficult lines around the White Wall the following week.

 

Access and Approaches

Turn off the A170 at Keldholme in the direction of Hutton le Hole. The crag is hidden below the level of the road to the west. Cars are often parked on the grass verge on the other side of the road. Walk in from here takes about a minute.

 

 

 

The Climbs

The climbs are described from left to right.

 

The Alcove

The following routes were all soloed ‘on sight’ in an evening by Franco Cookson and Dave Warburton. Many of the easier routes recorded have definitely been climbed before on top rope and possibly also on lead, although only four have been claimed. There are a couple of lines with loose rock, but it is in the main part solid and will not break.

 

 

1. Rambler’s Rib   12m   VD

Climb the rib 15m left of Stepped Arête, just to the left of a crack with a jammed tree at the top.

 

2. Stepped Arête   13m   VD

The obvious alcove at the left end of the crag has a stepped arête on its left. Climb this on its left side. Nice climbing.

 

3. Humble Beginnings   12m   VS 4c

Climb the wall between Stepped Arête and Badger Crack with awkward starting moves and then some thin moves to finish on the arête.

 

4. Badger Crack   14m   Severe

Climb the obvious curving crack in the left wall of the Alcove. Good climbing, but certainly climbed before. Watch out for the nesting Pigeon!

 

5. Ravenswick Eliminate   12m   Severe

Climb the large crack in the back left corner of the Alcove. Far better than it appears, although the direct finish is ‘sketchy’.

 

6. Crazy Child   13m   E1 4c

Climb the wall right of Ravenswick Eliminate with increasing difficulties as the wall steepens. A pre-placed sling may be of some use for a direct finish on loose rock.

 

7. Alcove Crack   14m   Severe

Climb the wide crack using various techniques, on better rock than it looks. The climbing is good, as is the finish now.

 

8. Dooge's Variant   15m   HS

Climb Alcove crack until it is possible to foot traverse a break right (loose rock) to a slanting crack.

 

9. Alex’s Scoop   13m   HVS 4c

Climb the obvious scooped wall, just left of centre of the west facing wall in the alcove. Just to the left of Left Unconquerable. Climb the scoops on good holds, finishing rightwards- a definite lack of gear.

 

10. Left Unconquerable   13m   HVS 5a

Climb the left crack, by jamming and laybacking and finish direct.

Karin Magog soloing Left Unconquerable                                Photo (C) Steve Crowe

 

11. Right Unconquerable   13m   VS 4c

Climb the right crack to a large flake/block. Using both sides, gain the top of the block and finish direct.

 

12. Crystal Rib  12m   E1 5c

The rib left of Crystal Wall is climbed first on its left side and then on its right. Eventually it is too much of an eliminate not to stray into Crystal Wall.  

 

13. Crystal Wall   13m   Severe   

Climb the wall to the right of Right Unconquerable starting at a short finger crack. Climb up the wall trending left at a tree stump, to finish near 'Right Unconquerable'.

 

Karin Magog climbing Crystal Wall                                          Photo (C) Steve Crowe

 

Beginners Area

This is the series of easy angled, long slabs in the centre of the quarry. Some of the rock appears suspect, but is in fact perfectly sound. Most of the lines are great routes. They start around the corner from the ‘Unconquerables’.

 

14. Crystal Arête   10m   VD

Climb the arête, just to the right of Crystal Wall, Good holds all the way. A nice climb.

 

15. Monograptus   10m   Mod   

The polished wall right of Crystal Arête is easy, but fine climbing.

 

16. Burgess Route   11m   Diff   

The brilliant wall right of Monograptus, steepening at half height.

 

17. Burgess Arête   11m   Diff

The Arête at the right hand end of Burgess Wall.

 

18. Crumble Wall   12m   Diff  

The Chossy looking wall is in fact sound rock and good climbing.

 

The Terrace

To the right of Crumble Wall is a raised level with a band of rock up to about 8 metres in height. The climbing is good, not too difficult and the top outs are clean, but the routes are relatively short compared with the other buttresses. There are only two recorded routes.

 

19. Tilted Crack   7m   HS  

The obvious crack just left of ‘Lazing On A Sunny Afternoon’.

 

20. Lazing On A Sunny Afternoon  8m  VD

Climb the obvious series of shelves leading leftwards.

 

The White and Black Walls

These are the walls right of the Terrace. They are home to some stunning lines, which can be either led or soloed. It may also be possible to do some of the routes as highball boulder problems, if sufficient padding and boldness is utilised. There is a good descent on the left-hand side of the buttresses that leads to a path hacked through the thorns. Most routes now have clean top outs, in particular the classic cracks are in excellent condition. Other routes require a little more care, with either a pre-placed sling or (as in some of the first ascents) down-climbing the entire route after completion. The first route starts 4 metres into the buttress at an obvious crack.

 

The White Wall

The first route starts 4 metres into the buttress at an obvious crack.

 

21. White Crack   9m   HS  

The Crack, which turns into a flake.

 

22. White Wall   9m   E2 5c

Climb the Wall 2m left of Central Wall. No side runners in Central Wall at this grade. Sneaking left also reduces the grade. Topping out is difficult.

 

23. Central Wall   9m     VS 4c  

Climb the crack in the centre of the wall. Excellent Lay-backing.

 

24. Franco’s Wall  9m  E2 5b  

The unprotected wall 4m right of the crack, starting up the line of a faint crack on small edges. A scary reach finishes the brilliantly sustained and strenuous route. It is now possible to top out.

 

Franco Cookson on Franco's Wall

 

25.  Arête Climb  9m  VS 4b  

Start at an obvious column on the arête. Climb with increasing difficulty up the left hand side on excellent holds.

 

The Black Wall

This is the next buttress around the corner, home to some of the harder climbs.

 

 

26. Phils’ Wall   8m   XS 5a    

Climb the wall (quickly before it falls down)

 

27. The Gutter   8m   VD

The Chimney is horrible if ‘thrutched’, but tolerable if lay-backed. More fun in the rain with crampons!

 

28. Gutter Crack   8m   VS 5a   

In the wall right of The Gutter is a slanting crack.

 

29. Bummelzug  9m E3 5c   

Start at a pocket a couple of metres right of Gutter Crack. Climb to a juggy shelf and then move leftwards to an in cut hold and a pinch. Balancy moves should lead to some good crimps and a dusty top-out. Excellent climbing.

 

Steve Crowe soloing Solstice                                  Photo (C) Steve Crowe collection

 

30. Solstice 9m E1 5b

Climb to the juggy shelf as for Bummelzug and then skirt right-wards to a leftwards-facing layaway. Reach to the break and then finish direct.

 

31. The Flake   9m   VD  

Layback the flake Crack.

 

Right of The Flake is a tree very close in to the rock into which it should be possible to jump from the next climb.  (I couldn’t find this, although I could find a stump- Franco Cookson, June 2008)

 

32. Fred   10m   E4 6b 

Start at jugs 1m left of the tree (stump). Go up and left to a thread (in situ) and small wires. A difficult move gains bet­ter holds which lead to the top. A very poor finish- a sling may be used to tug on/ lower off.

 

Tax Disc   E3 6a   10m
Climb the bold wall between Fred and Black Magic, starting up an obvious hand crack. The crux is at about 7m and there is no gear, though the landing is reasonable. Ultra-Highball V4 with a mat.
Franco Cookson, Dave Warburton- 'Onsight' Solo 20/06/2009

"It felt quite scary onsight with a dusty 'pop' as the crux, so with abseil pre-inspection and cleaning it may be easier."
 

33. Black Magic   10m   E3 5c   

Start 3m right of the tree (stump) at an obvious left facing layaway hold. Climb the wall direct. (Suspect Peg and bolt in-situ in horizontal slot at 2/3 height)

 

34. Phils’ Crack   10m   VS 4c      

Climb the crack right of Black Magic bearing right when it ends to a new lower-off.

 

35. Jug Climb   5m   VS 5a 

Right of Phil’s Crack is a curious line of cemented on jugs leading diagonally right. Follow these to the break and go up and right via a long reach.

 

36. Jug Direct   6m   VS 6a      

Use the right facing blind flake to jump for the break. Jump off or finish up Jug Climb.

 

37. Cross with the Choss about the Corner! 6m VD
Climb the suspect looking arete on its left side to the right of
Jug Climb. The rock is in fact sounder than its first appearance although the top is suspect!
Sam Marks solo 05/Jun/2011
 

38. Friends   7m   E1 5c   

Go round the corner and walk right for 15m until beneath a blankish wall with a prominent hanging blind flake just below half height. Use this to gain a hidden hold and follow pockets and breaks to the top.


39. Crack On 7m VS 4c
Go round the corner from the black wall and find a finger crack in the centre of the wall, with an obvious ledge at half height, climb direct.
Sam Marks solo 05/Jun/2011

 

Steve checking an "Up Problem" on Black Wall     Photo (C) Steve Crowe collection

 

 

Far Right Wall

Take care on this recently developed wall for loose blocks. It may settle down with more traffic.

 

40. Gutter Guts XS 4c
7m. On the 'Far Right Wall' Climb the shallow scoop, a metre right of a large corner, trending rightwards.
Sam Marks, Joe Paxton - both solo o/s 01/Oct/2011

41. Rough and Tumble XS 4a
7m. The central groove a few metres right of  Gutter Guts.
Sam Marks, Joe Paxton - both solo o/s 01/Oct/2011

42. Rock Spit XS 4b
6m. The furthest right and most obvious groove. Climb the rightward trending groove, being careful of loose blocks at the start and end.
Sam Marks, Joe Paxton - both solo o/s 01/Oct/2011

 

 

Bouldering

Only the harder ones are described. If you find them too easy (you won’t) you’re using too many holds.

Steve working out on a low level traverse of Black Wall  Photo (C) Steve Crowe collection

 

Traverses:

 

Only a selection of traverses are described. More details regarding the bouldering at this venue at www.betaguides.com

1. The Alcove Traverse Font 5
The traverse of the main alcove wall. This is not as technically hard as the White Wall Traverse but still quite pumpy!

2. White Wall Traverse Font 5+.
Good for endurance sessions and circuits.
 
3. Back Wall Traverse Font 6C+
Traverse from Gutter Crack to The Flake using handholds between the break at groin height and the crease/break at about 2.5m. A tricky final move using an undercut is the final test on this sustained and popular traverse.
 
4. Destroyer Font 7A+ (or perhaps better described as a sports route F7b+)   
A mega long traverse from the blind flake of Jug Direct to The Flake. Hand holds in the break only except for the halfway layaway on Black Magic. More like a route and much harder ( Font 7a+/French 7b) in reverse!
 
5. Winter (Sloper) Traverse Font 7A
Traverse right from Jug Direct to the arête. Cold weather helps for the sloper.

 

The link up reversing of the Destroyer Traverse into Winter (Sloper) Traverse would be Fr 7b+
 

6. The True Black Wall/Ultimate Traverse   25m   French 7c+  *

Start with the 'Black Wall Traverse', before reversing the 'Destroyer Traverse' and finishing on the 'Sloper/Winter Traverse'. All on crimps and with poor footholds. Pumpy! 

I did the project link-up traverse this evening. I`d go with French 7c for the grade (and maybe give it a star). Its a good training crag despite its chossy nature, I was quite surprised by how many people were there this evening! 27 August 2015 Matt Levick

 

 

‘Up’ problems:

 

7. ‘Pinch’ Start 1m left of The Flake on obvious undercut and hammered side pull. Go up to jug via poor pinch and ‘pebble’ only. Font 7a+ (V7 6b/c)

 

8. Eliminate from scooped hold down and R. of layaway on Black Magic to gain layaway via sloper/crimp and undercut. (Sitting start) Font 7a (V6 6b)

 

9. Both hands on Layaway. Straight up to big break. Font 6a+ (V3 6a)

 

10. Start to Jug Direct but hang mono with LH and reach break with RH. Font 6b (V4 6a/b)

 

11. Cornflake Font 6c (V5 6a)  Start 2m right of Jug Direct minute holds lead to break.

 

Karin checking an "Up Problem" on Black Wall      Photo (C) Steve Crowe collection

 

 

Bouldering Update:
More details regarding the bouldering at this venue at betaguides.com

 

 

 

 

The Ravenswick Experience from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

 

Ravenswick Quarry (PDF) 

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