COVID-19

As the Covid-19 lockdown eases, access for climbing is opening back up, subject to some measures and restrictions depending on where you are going. Please make sure you have read and understood our current advice before heading out and apply it alongside RAD advice to ensure access issues don’t develop.

High Rocks

Southern Sandstone

The region's hardest (and best?) crag. Strong lines and tough, fingery challenges as well as a wealth of delightful struggles in sandstone chimneys. There has been a history of access issues and bans at the crag due to climbers not following the agreements made with the landowner - please make sure you follow the conditions below and do your bit to keep access to this fantastic crag open. 

Crag information
Climbing Area: London & South East Rock Type: Sandstone
Importance: National CRoW Land: No
Ownership: Private No. of Routes: 312
Within National Park: No Year Developed: 1926
Grid Reference: TQ559383

Following agreement with the Owner, we are pleased to announce that limited climbing is now permitted at High Rocks. In order to ensure access is maintained, it is essential that the following restrictions and procedures are followed carefully. If conditions are abused, climbing will, once again, be suspended.

  • Climbing access is available on weekdays when High Rocks is open. Some weekends are possible, especially Sundays. Availability will be made clear at pre-booking.
  • Climbers must pre-book at least one day before you wish to climb. There will be no access for climbers turning up on the day without pre-booking. Book by telephone 01892 515532 or email info@highrocks.co.uk.
  • High Rocks charge an entry fee to anyone wanting to visit the rocks. For climbers, this is £12 per day. Payment will be taken when booking along with name and contact details.
  • Opening time is 10:15 and closing will be about an hour before last light.
  • Season tickets are not available.
  • Access is for roped climbing only – bouldering, bouldering mats and abseiling are banned by the owner.
  • No group climbing.
  •  No children - all climbers must be age 18 or over.
  • Climbers are to make themselves known to staff on arrival by using the intercom system at the gate and enter the rocks as directed. Access is only to be made through this gate (to the right of the original turn-style entrance).
  • Respect High Rocks’ staff at all times. Good behaviour is essential for continued climbing access at High Rocks. Be polite to any staff you meet, follow their instructions and respect requests to have your name checked against the day’s list or move to a different climb.
  • Read, understand and follow the Sandstone Code of Practice - all climbers on southern sandstone should be aware of this code, which gives advice on how to reduce your impact on to the rock. 

High Rocks functions, including weddings: climbing will not be allowed during weddings and other High Rocks functions that use the rock outcrop. Where climbing is allowed, every effort must be made to avoid causing an impact on High Rocks events. If you are asked to move by a member of staff, please do so immediately.

Chalk: is an unwelcome intrusion for non-climbing visitors to the rocks. Keep any use of chalk at High Rocks to the absolute minimum and ensure you brush off any excess chalk once you are finished or avoid using chalk altogether.

Rock erosion: as with all crags on Southern Sandstone, the very soft rock can be easily eroded. Ensure no moving ropes are able to contact the rock by extending top ropes over the edge of the crag with static rope or slings. Clean the soles of your shoes before stepping onto the rock – any sand or dirt on them accelerate erosion of footholds and make the climbing harder.

Shouting and bad language: don’t use it at High Rocks. Children and other members of the public all visit the rocks as a place of peace and solitude. Please be sensitive to these other visitors.

Litter: as with any other crag, please take all litter home with you.

 

Practical information:

High Rocks is a different climbing environment to Harrison’s, Stone Farm and Bowles Rocks. It is a natural crag with only limited man-made additions. The only belay bolts are on the Hut Boulder.

For all other climbs, natural belays must be used. There are numerous trees ideal for the purpose, but many are set back from the crag edge. You will need a length of static rope to build a belay. This should be a minimum of 10m in length but it is worth taking a longer or a second length where a ‘Y’ hang is required. Slings are of limited use. Chose another climb if you cannot ensure that your karabiner hangs over the edge of the crag and that no moving ropes come into contact with the rock. An additional rope/handline is advised for retreat from the Isolated Boulder.

As the name suggests, some of the climbs are high, maybe 12m or more at the north end of the crag – make sure your rope is long enough.

Apart from the main crag, there are various isolated buttresses at High Rocks – each has its own character and access method. The three main isolated buttresses are:

  • Matterhorn Boulder – access by an easy climb on the ramp at the rear to fix a belay, mainly from the overhanging tree branch. Downclimb the ramp when you finish your climb. Do not lower off from the route you just climbed.
  • Isolated Boulder – Initial access by soloing a route. Ordinary Route (4a) or Simian Progress (5a) are probably the easiest. Once on top, set up the rope and belay for your selected climb. Ensure your karabiner hangs over the edge of the crag. There are a few smaller trees and a large one in the middle. In order to get back down, arrange a rope to hang down Ordinary Route and back climb using the rope as a handline for assistance. Do not lower off from the route you just climbed.
  • Hut Boulder – There are five pairs of bolts above the popular climbs on the Hut Boulder and these should be used in pairs (there are no interconnecting wires) to build a belay. There is also a legacy iron loop. Whilst this had proven well-fixed at bolt tests, its provenance and overall condition is not known. Hang your karabiner over the edge and ensure moving ropes do not come into contact with the rock. Initial access may be made by soloing a route (Crack Route 4c is an obvious contender). Alternatively, throw a static rope over the Hut Boulder from the mainland. There are a pair of bolts on the mainland near the top of Easy Crack for tying off to. Either use a Shunt or similar protection device to climb Crack Route (4c) or attach a karabiner and climbing rope to the other end of the static line and tie off in a position where Crack Route (4c) may be climbed on top-rope to gain access to the top of the boulder. Ideally, Crack Route should be down climbed when finishing a climb. Do not simply lower off from the route you just climbed.

 As with all southern Sandstone crags, please follow the BMC Sandstone Code of Practice. If you are unsure about setting up belays, read the guidebooks or ask other climbers.

High Rocks, (like other Southern Sandstone crags) is a finite resource, not a climbing wall – please do not treat it like one. Respect the rock, minimise the amount of chalk you use. When you finish your climb, untie and walk back to the ground. Do not lower off.

Parking and Approach

High Rocks charge an entry fee to anyone wanting to visit the rocks. For climbers, this is £12 per day.

Group Advice

The landowner does not allow access for groups of climbers.
Area information

Follow this link for the definitive Code of Practice for climbing on southern sandstone; https://www.thebmc.co.uk/bmcNews/media/u_content/File/access_conservation/southern_sandstone/ssc05_print.pdf

Weather Information

Guidebook info currently being updated

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14/06/2018
I emailed the manager on 2018-06-14 to ask about access and was told:

Regrettably all climbing has been suspended by our insurers until further notice. We will keep the BMC informed when and if this changes.