The bulk of climbing in Yorkshire remains traditional in style, from Twisleton type favourites to long scary adventures at Gordale and Blue Scar.
Traditional climbing involves placing your own gear to protect yourself as you climb, and so requires the knowledge of how to place gear, in addition to normal climbing skills.
In Yorkshire the traditional climbing takes place on two very different types of rock: gritstone and limestone. Traditional climbs will tend to be protected by a range of nuts and cams, with gritstone climbs often needing larger sizes to protect climbs properly. There is a massive variety of grades available from relatively straightforward gritstone climbs through to some desperate undertakings.
The main gritstone edges mostly have short traditional routes and boulder problems on a variety of buttresses. The grade range is wide with climbs suited to beginner and expert often located side by side.
If you are new to traditional climbing, you should not expect your indoor climbing or sport climbing grade to transfer across, and it is always best to climb initially well within your grade.
Have a go
Many of the crags in the area are relatively sheltered and at low altitudes. This means that you should be able to select one that will dry quickly, and get routes done in good spells of weather early in the year. You will need a full rack of gear with a range of nuts, slings and cams, as well as normal climbing kit.
A few places you might want to think about starting out at are:
Brimham Rocks, nr Summerbridge, Nidderdale: The climbs at the National Trust's Brimham Rocks are up to 20m high, and there is great variety from delicate routes to strenuous climbs and old fashioned thrutches. There is also plenty to keep boulderers happy. Rocks face all directions and can be surprisingly sheltered.
Figures on a Landscape offer a wide range of Rock Climbing courses designed to be suitable for people of different abilities. Travel to some of the prime locations in our Yorkshire's National Parks for an amazing experience on the rock. You may have seen climbing in the movies or been to the climbing wall but would like to climb outdoors for the first time and they have starter courses for you to learn the basics at a suitable location. If you have some experience but would like to progress and learn skills so that you can become more independent, then you can be taken to cliffs with more demanding climbs where new techniques can be practiced. For the more experienced climber who wants to go to adventurous and wild locations, you can be taken on multi pitch climbs on the mountain crags and sea cliffs teaching advanced skills including setting up abseil anchors, placing gear and constructing belays.
Twisleton Scars, between Ingleton and Chapel-le-Dale: This is a series of escarpments which offer a range of good, short climbs in a great location. They receive plenty of sun and dry quickly meaning that they often allow climbing in winter months.
Also, have a go climbing in some of the best crags around Yorkshire, such as Almscliff, Brimham Rocks or Scugdale with Alfresco Adventures. Test yourself on some of the finest routes in the Dales, or come and have a fun day out with your family or friends. Courses can be tailored around you, from beginners to experts. They run various courses from an introduction to climbing to more advanced rope techniques.
And if you're looking for everything in one place, try Almscliff. It has over 180 climbs and world-class bouldering all packed onto one hillside.
Further south, Pule Hill, near Marsden, offers a cliff with two contrasting sets of climbs and more than seventy routes, the ideal location to hone your climbing skills.
The Peak District has plenty of challenges up its sleeve too. Burbage North is home to one of the area's great routes, Long Tall Sally. And one of the Peak's best kept secrets (until now) is Rivelin Edge. A superb sheltered spot with many formidable features while Wharncliffe is a gritstone escarpment about 6 miles north west of Sheffield, with a number of short routes across the full grade spectrum.
Find out more
Grab a copy of the Yorkshire Gritstone and Limestone climbing guides. For an idea of what is there, check the rockfax databases - Yorkshire Gritstone or Yorkshire Limestone.