The rock (sandstone) may be soft, gritty and dirty (especially in the lower half), the fixed gear may be particularly suspect, but the situation is impressive and some brilliant lines can be found in this enormous quarry.
From the road, you get nothing but glimpses of the towering sandstone walls of Nesscliffe, shrouded by woodland on a low hillside. As you approach, they gradually appear through the trees and you can appreciate the full scale of the place. Square-cut dihedrals and aretes, reaching almost 50m at their highest point, tower vertically from the ground, giving little away in terms of holds or gear.
Despite it's relatively unknown status, Nesscliffe is a crag of national importance, with many cutting-edge ascents through the years. It recently attracted the attentions of some top-level climbers with the Odyssey tour in 2012, featuring an onsight ascent of 'My Piano' (E8 6c) by James Pearson.
Historically, Nesscliffe has had a strange ethic. The bold nature of the climbs, poor gear, as well as the difficulty of the climbing (most of the good routes are very hard!), top-roping followed by head-pointing (leading after top-rope practice) has been the norm. More recently, a lot of the routes have had onsight ascents (or at least attempts), but top-roping is still relatively common and acceptable. A lot of the routes have a variety of fixed gear from bolts (some good, some bad), pitons (mostly bad), and even the odd in-situ ice screw! (Presumably of the drive-in, warthog variety.) Due to the generally sketchy nature of this gear, it's certainly not a sport climbing area!
As mentioned previously, most of the routes are hard, and there are many excellent lines in the E5+ grade range. In the more moderate grades, there is "Batman" (HVS 5a), and the upper half of "The Pit and the Pendulum" accessed by abseil (E1/2 5b). The real classic of the area though, is Red Square (E2 5b), a 20m corner crack with good gear and generally solid rock all the way up.
From the A5, turn off towards the village of Nesscliffe. Leave the main road onto a small side-road opposite "The Three Pigeons Inn", and park almost immediately in a small layby. Walk through a gate opposite the layby and a few minutes up the track. You will soon see the cliffs!
1 Total Routes
['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',0],['2 Stars',0],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
Featured Route For Nesscliffe
Red Square 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b Europe
: United Kingdom
: ... : Main Wall Area
The classic of the area, and for good reason. Not only is it good climbing on a stunning line, it benefits from protection. As with most of the crag, the rock quality improves as you gain height. Your belayer should stand to one side to avoid being showered by a constant stream of sand!The climbing is pretty sustained, with one good rest at half way. A variety of jamming, stemming and laybacking should get you up without too much problem, but stopping to place too much gear may leave you pretty ...[more] Browse More Classics in International
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