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Roseberry Topping

Roseberry Topping in 2011                                                                                        Photo: Tony Marr



OS Sheet: 94

Map Reference: NZ 579126

Aspect: South West Facing

Altitude: 320m                                       

Approach: 20 minutes

Mini Guide: Roseberry Topping Mini Guide (PDF)



Situation and Character

This mini peak is widely known as the ‘Matterhorn of Cleveland’ and requires little description. Its lofty summit is a popular tourist attraction, providing unsurpassed views of the region. The main face attracts climbers like a magnet, unfortunately on closer inspection the soft rock and unstable nature of the face tends to deter many. However, enjoyable climbing can be found on “The Slab” at the foot of the main face, and on a small outcrop of good rock at the south east corner.



In earlier times the Vikings named this ancient landmark Odinsberg – the hill of Odin – after their sacred god. Earlier still, Iron Age people lived on the flanks of the hill in several small settlements the outlines of which are still visible today. Two millennia later in 1881 the second Iron Age began with ore being mined by the Roseberry Ironstone Company to feed the foundries of nearby Middlesbrough. The main landslip that shaped Roseberry as we see it today occurred "during the second week in May 1912", reported in the North Eastern Daily Gazette 14th.May 1912.Mining activities were still going on under Roseberry at that time.The mines finally ceased operations in 1924. The mines assets [plant and machinery] were auctioned off in February 1931.  The first recorded climbs were the work of Arthur Barker and his brother during the early 1930s. The Barker’s concentrated their efforts at the outcrop on the South-East corner climbing three routes, The Groove, Aireyholme Chimney and the enjoyable Summer House Crack. No further activity was reported until 1958 when Geoff Fixter and Eric Marr explored the rocks, producing a number of worthwhile climbs including Walla, The Mantleshelf and Dangle. The pair then turned their attention to the Main Face, first climbing The Slab routes, and later the impressive cleft of The Chimney. The center of the Main Face was climbed by artificial means in the early 1960s and rusting hardwear from that ascent is still visible today. Tony Marr and Mike Stellings extended an early problem to create The Boulder during 1962. Colin Read was also active at this time, adding the popular Captain’s Controversy in 1965. Early in 1967, Tony Marr with Johnny Adams climbed the impressive off-width crack naming it Eliminator. A few weeks later accompanied by his brother Eric, he added the companion route Stimulator. In 1971, Stewart Patterson and Derrick Van Meerbeeck climbed the edge of a huge pillar that leant against the face, naming it The Joker. Unfortunately the pillar collapsed in 1979 destroying several climbs including The Joker and The Chimney. Chris Woodall added two interesting routes to the face, first the crack line of Accelerator in 1983 with G. Wheeler, then a companion route Transcendor with Dave McKinney during 1986. Finally, during 2002 will checking this text, Tony Marr found two never before reported climbs on the SE corner, the bold Thunder Clap and the interesting Havago. No further climbs have been reported to date.


Access and Approaches

The crag can be reached from several directions. However, the shortest and most direct approach is from the car park at the south side of the village of Newton under Roseberry on the A173, midway between the rural towns of Great Ayton and Guisborough.



The Climbs:


Main Face      

Even today this face is prone to subsidence and rock fall that continues to reshape the face and obliterate the routes. Because of this continued instability, none of the climbs are recommended, they are included for historical completeness only.

The climbs in Red Italics have collapsed and gone, the remaining climbs have all suffered some change from rock fall, but still exist [for the moment]!


The first three described routes began 5m to the left of the obvious square alcove in the face, at a large free standing block [now gone]


The Boulder   S    15m

Climb the block and corner on the left.   

Tony Marr, Mike Stellings 1962.


Direct Start   VS    4m

The groove on the left.                            

Tony Marr, Eric Marr 1964.


Captain’s Controversy   HS   15m

Climb the wide crack to finish.                

Colin Read, Steve Wilson 1965.


1. The Flank   VD
Climb the crack and continue up the wall above. The finish may not have been climbed since the rockfall in February 2010.


2. Stimulator   VS   18m

 Over the roof following twin cracks rightwards.

Tony & Eric Marr 1967. The crack’s are now gained from the start of Eliminator, then moving left to join the exit crack’s, at HVS 5a.


3. Eliminator   E2 5b   20m 

Climb the left side of the alcove then finish up the off-width crack above.               

Tony Marr, Johnny Adams. May 1967. For its time this route was probably the boldest climb on the NY Moors. The strenuous crack was led on-sight, protected by one poor runner low down. The ascent was made wearing a mountain boot on one foot, “because it helped fill the crack”!  After the ascent, Adams stated the climb was comparable with another Yorkshire test piece, Fork Lightning Crack, which he had climbed a few weeks earlier. 

"John Redhead and myself made an early repeat of Eliminator but Pete Whillance, when he lived in the Hull area (running a fish & chip  shop I believe!), had already done it several years before us. We knew Dave Biggs, who was the second, but Whillance had left the Hull area by the time we were active" Chris Shorter


The next route starts from the top of the large blocks at the summit of The Slab.


4. The Pasketti Alpinist 22m E5 6a **

Climb the line of rusted bolts untill an Iron break can be reach. A poor friend protects the harrowing set of moves, past a good 'mono', to gain a large sloping ledge out left. From here make easier moves to good gear and a direct finish.

FA Early 1960s

FFA Franco Cookson, Dave Warburton, Lewis Dale 27/07/2009


Immediately to the right of the last route and The Slab used to stand a large pillar [gone]. The pillar formed a chimney with the face….


The Chimney   VD   22m

Follow the cleft throughout.

Geoff Fixter, Eric Marr. 1959. A popular and enjoyable climb until its collapse.


The Joker   E1 5b   25m

Climb the wall and right of the chimney then follow a groove onto the right arete to finish. Bold, exposed  and poorly protected.

Stewart Patterson, Derrick Van Meerbeeck. 3rd. June 1972. The massive pillar collapsed in May 1979.


The next climbs started to the right of The Slab below the pillar……..


Chaos Crack   MVS         20m

The left hand crack to finish up the corner on the right.

Geoff Fixter, Eric Marr 1962. 


Lynn      HS   17m

The crack on the right, then finish rightwards.

Tony Marr, Eric Marr 1964.


When the pillar collapsed a prominent forked crack line was exposed on the main face. The left hand crack is the line of ……


5. Transcendor   HVS  5b   20m

Gain and climb a line of shallow grooves and finger cracks slanting leftwards, finish over the final roof.

Chris Woodall, Dave McKinney  1986.


6. Accelerator   HVS  5b   20m 

The right hand crack line to a finish over the difficult overhang.

Chris Woodall, G. Wheeler  1983.


The Slab

This is the name given to the large angled pillar lying against the Main Face. The two routes described are worthwhile.


7. Slab Route (Ordinary)    11m  VD

Start at the base of the slab under an overhang. Cross a small slab rightwards to the corner. Step over a small overhang then move diagonally left to a wide ledge. Finish up the middle of the slab.

Geoff Fixter, Eric Marr 1958.


8. Slab Route (Direct)   11m  VS 4c

Start at the base of the slab below a groove in the overhang. Climb the groove direct with difficulty to a ledge. Finish up the middle of the slab.

Geoff Fixter, Eric Marr 1958.


Shelf Buttress

Between (routes 8 and 9) is a buttress which contains an prominent Shelf on it's right hand side.

8a. Rivers Of Sand   12m   E4 6a
Start 2 metres left of 'The Shelf' at a shallow ramp feature. A serious start culminates in a long reach (crux) for the sandy break and gear. Gain the niche above (good rest!) and then traverse right via pockets to a solid nut slot. Move up and leftwards, via an excellent rock over at a hairline crack to reach welcome jugs. A good, serious pitch on sandy rock.
Dave Warburton, Sam Marks & Franco Cookson 7/7/2012
("I really enjoyed this climb, the rock quality creates a 'pseudo-adventure' feel to the route. As a result I would highly recommend prior-inspection of the line. On the FA I used bouldering mats to 'protect' the extremely highball start!)

8b. The Shelf   6m   E1 6b
Delicate moves on pockets and edges, starting at a hairline crack. Finish direct to the ledge from the shelf. An excellent highball problem.
Franco Cookson, Dave Warburton 27/7/2009


The South-East Corner

This small outcrop lies to the right of the Main Face on the corner facing Easby Moor [Captain Cook’s Monument]. The rock here is good quality sandstone. The climbs are described from left to right.


9. The Groove   10m   D

Start at the south corner. Gain the ledge on the left by the crack, ascend the narrow slab above, the angle of which eases towards the top.

Arthur Barker and his brother. Early 1930’s.


10. Walla   7m   HS 4b

Start 2m right of The Groove. Climb the shallow depression in the wall using a series of holes. Enjoyable.

Geoff Fixter, Eric Marr 1958.


11. Thunder Clap   7m   HVS  5b

Climb the pockets and slots on the wall just right of Walla. A long reach helps!

Tony Marr 7th.August 2002. The climb was finished seconds before a mighty crack of thunder and  torrential rain stopped play.


12. Summer House Crack    7m   HVD

Start in the corner right of Walla. A short cleft leads to the awkward final crack.

Arthur Barker and his brother. Early 1930’s.


13. Run For Home   5m   VS 4b   *
Climb the arête between Summer House Crack and The Mantleshelf on its left side. Nice moves but above a poor landing.
Tony Marr [solo] 10/11/2011. "I named the climb after the Lindisfarne pop song I’d listened to on the car radio that morning, the words played in my head all day. The name also fits nicely as it was my last climb of the day. "

14. The Mantleshelf   4m   VS 4c

Around the corner 3m right of the last climb is an obvious curving ledge on the wall. Gain the ledge and climb to the top. Problematic.

Geoff Fixter, Eric Marr 1958.


15. The Cleft   4m    HS 4b

Climb the left-hand of two cracks, 2m right of The Mantleshelf.

Eric Marr, Geoff Fixter 1958.


16. Aireyholme Chimney    5m   D

The obvious chimney just right of The Cleft.

Arthur Barker and his brother. Early 1930’s.


17. Havago   5m    VS  5a

Climb the peg scarred crack just right of the chimney. [Any use of the chimney is cheating].

Chris Shorter, John Redhead 1975 both solo


18. Neb   5m   S

Start 1m to the right of the last climb. Layback the flake to gain the ledge or, start up the nose on the right, escape up the slab above.

Eric Marr, Geoff Fixter 1958.


Around the corner from The Neb is….


19. The Alcove Left-Hand    4m   HD

Climb the left-hand corner of the alcove.

Geoff Fixter, Eric Marr 1958.


20. The Alcove Right-Hand   4m   VD

The crack in the right corner.

Eric Marr, Geoff Fixter 1958.


21. Dangle   5m   HS 4b

Start about 3m right of the last climb. Gain a horizontal crack and hand traverse left along the lip of the overhang until it is possible to reach holds leading to the top.

Variation: Climb straight up the shallow groove at the start.  VS 4c.

Direct Start: Climb straight up to join the normal finish.  VS 4c.

Geoff Fixter, Eric Marr 1958.


A few metres below the SE Corner lies a short wall bearing a sculptured face. An obvious crack provides an interesting climb but it does have an unpleasant exit onto shale. HVD. 1960s.


The boulders below the Main Face have been climbed upon for decades and provide numerous problems. None of the problems however, justify detailed description, it is left instead for climbers to explore and discover for themselves.      


New Route:


Jesus Loves Luke HVS 5b *

Follow the left crack next to the large off with of Eliminator left to the large blank face. Get your belayer too wear a helmet and knock all the lose rocks out before committing to a lead. this route will change! reaching for the arete is cheating!

Luke Hunt 3rd June 2006



Aspect: East Facing
Altitude: 300m

Situation and Character
This very small outcrop [max 5m high x 8m wide] is situated on the rear [eastern] flank of Roseberry.
The first Ordnance Survey Map of the North Riding published in 1856 clearly identifies this outcrop as a stone quarry. These early surveyors produced a very accurate representation of what existed on the ground, in some ways superior to today’s maps which generally omit this feature. The rocks do not warrant a special visit but if combined with some exploration and bouldering under the Main Face followed by some routes on the SE Corner outcrop then there is probably enough for a full day. The rock is good quality sandstone, weathered, clean and appears to dry quickly. The outcrop offers some shelter when the wind is from the west or south west.

From the SE Corner Outcrop, contour the hillside eastwards for approximately 100m descending slightly, the rocks soon come into view.
Alternatively, if approaching the summit of Roseberry from the rear via the zig-zag path [Cleveland Way], the outcrop is easy to see being just a few metres to the left of the path.

The climbs are described Left – Right.
The first climb lies just right of a short easy chimney at the extreme left end of the wall.

1. Little Gem   4m   HVD
Climb the centre of the undercut wall by way of a high step into a pocket hold.
FA. Tony Marr [solo] 10/11/2011

2. Cleveland Way   5m   M   *
Ascend the enjoyable arête and crack just right of the last climb. Note: the lower footholds show signs of earlier traffic.
FRA. Tony Marr [solo] 10/11/2011

** The wall immediately right looks interesting and is currently unclimbed!

3. Pick a Pocket   5m   VS 5a *
Start just right of a cross carved in the wall. Climb the steep wall direct, choosing and using the best pockets adds interest.
FA. Tony Marr [solo] 10/11/2011

4. Stepped Corner   4m   M
Follow the obvious steps leading leftwards.
FA. Tony Marr [solo] 10/11201




More details regarding the bouldering at this venue at betaguides.com


Roseberry - Get Psyched... from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.




Roseberry Topping Mini Guide (PDF)

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