Picked Wilton’s obvious plums but still keen for more of Lancashire’s finest quarry climbs? Well you’re in luck. In the mighty quarry’s far-flung reaches are a set of routes to match the best that the crag can offer. However they are all about conditions and clean-ness. But recent efforts by diligent locals means that now is the time to go and explore. Local expert, Dave Mann, give you his pick of the best dozen.
Ask any climber to name the crag in Lancashire and the answer would generally be Wilton 1. Yet despite harbouring over 200 routes, only around 10% of these are frequently climbed. This is unfortunate as many of the best routes are overlooked in favour of the Prow and Chimney Buttress areas. One particular area that deserves more recognition is known by locals as the 'Allotment End'. This area stretches from the far left of the quarry all the way upto Chimney Buttress. Each year only a handfull of climbers will venture here to seek out its delights in the quiet and solitude of a summers evening. This means that the rest of the climbing community are sadly missing out on the 70 plus routes the Allotment End hosts.
Here the routes take on a different character to the rest of the quarry. So much so that it may as well be considered to be a completely different venue. This may be because it is much quieter, no one there below offering unwanted beta, (Thats got to be a good thing straight away!) the holds are pristine and free of chalk and the runner placements are unworn. The result of these factors means that you are left with a true Onsighters paradise, add to this is the feeling of a mini adventure.
This however means that the routes feel a little stiff for the grade, especially on the earlier ascent routes.(Lack of ascents has meant that the grades perhaps haven't settled yet.)
Some of the routes here may require a little brushing prior to climbing . However 30 minutes of cleaning will reward you with good quality climbing that matches that of anything found on Chimney Buttress. There are routes of all grades here, so there is something for everyone.
Here is a short list of routes worth seeking out:-
Regatta de Blanc VS 4c
A must do for any VS climber. Persevering the bold start on ruggosities will reward you with the jug of all jugs and a relaxing finish.
Georgina S 4a
An easy line, yet best climbed as you find it for an entertaining albeit filthy experience. I preferred Georgina to be filthy anyway.(No pun intended)
Deodand E1 5b
A good introductory E1 begins with strenuous moves, followed by pleasant climbing with runners just where you need them. Recently become a popular line since it was cleaned 2 year ago.
Silently Screaming E3 6a
A very technical crimpy route, and well protected if you trust old pegs, and quite high in the grade. There are rest points just where you need them too.
Jean VS 4c
Strenuous and pumpy, this VS will help you decide whether you are ready to step up to the HVS grade. The difficulties ease in the upper half Although care should be taken on the juggy blocks and ledges above.
Proline E1 5b
A bit of a sandbag. Hard moves and limited protection leaves you commiting to boldly race to safety on suspect ruggosities. Definitely worth doing though.
Puma E3 5c
Probably one of the best E3's in the quarry. Lots of protection and not too desperate. Very similar to Max, but better.
Ruggosity Atrocity E2 5b
Ace moves, delicately pulling on small ruggosities for both hand and feet and well above gear. The type of climbing you once only dreamt of. A side runner in Willow Wall makes it bold yet safe.
Asleep For Years VS 4b
From below it appears much harder than VS. Yet once you ascend, good holds will continue to welcome you. Surprisingly the gear can be fiddly to place at the point in which it matters. So be sure its bomber.
Grassy HVS 5a
Short and technical. Once you enter the crux you're commited. So pray the target hold you see from below is a jug, or could it be a sloper?!
Lime Street S 4a
A fun outing. Battling the bulges of heather, negotiating loose rock and searching for bomber runners. Lots of cams will serve you well on this and leave you with a fond memory of a Wilton adventure.
Willow Arete E1 5b
Be sure to be armed with a brush and clean shoes on this one. Small edges and smears dominate the crux. Never desperate and can be cleaned on route.
So next time you're thinking of a change of venue, consider the Allotment end. It may look grotty and uninviting, thus making it feel a little intimidating. If so then drop down a few grades and get a feel for the place. Climbing here will arm you with some valuable climbing experience, and who knows you might just enjoy it!
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