Leicestershire Climbs

climbing in Leicestershire

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Home Forest Rock
 

Situation and Character;

Forest Rock is in the middle of Woodhouse Eaves. The climbing here is on the steep walls of an old disused slate quarry with the routes requiring technique as well as strength to stand any chance of success. There are 7 traditional routes from E1 to E5 which are usually fairly safe outings; providing you’ve got the beans to put the gear in! Along with the trad is the sport, there are 3 bolted lines using carrot bolts instead of the usual expansion bolt and hanger normally seen on crags around the country. The reason for this is that after having equipped the routes leaving lines of bolts and hangers in situ they seem to have drawn the attention of persons unknown who have a problem with them being there for some reason and subsequently have them removed. This has happened twice already, the bolts have been chopped and the hangers taken. Hopefully the carrots will last a while longer as they don’t seem to draw as much attention with there only being the head of a bolt without a hanger left on show. Climbers will need to use either carrot plates which can be purchased from ‘Arapiles Mountain Shop’ Natimuk or hang wires over the heads and push the nut up against the bolt too hold it on.

As well as the routes there are also 27 quality boulder problems from V0 through to V12 to test yourself on.

Most of the crag overhangs considerably and can provide good sport in wet weather during the summer months. However after prolonged rainfall the crag suffers from seepage. During the winter the crag rarely sees the sun and does not tend to come back into condition until well into the summer.

History

Climbing at Forest Rock has been going on since 1959 when Ken Vickers and Dave Draper aided the now classic free lines of Sorcerer and Sorceress. Forest Rock then became a popular aid climbing venue with the likes of Trevor Peck et al forcing lines through the steep walls of the cave.

In 1962 Dick Wrottesley free climbed the very bold Definitely Not; the ascent was way ahead of its time. However, this cutting edge ascent was not the catalyst for a free climbing revolution. That had to wait until the late Seventies when the likes of Simon Pollard, Steve Gutteridge, Steve Allan and John Codling set about freeing the old aid lines in the quarry. The first route to be freed was Sorcerer in 1978 by Simon Pollard and Steve Gutteridge. In 1982 Steve Allen and John Codling freed Sorcerers Apprentice which at the time was given E4 but has now been correctly upgraded to a solid E5 6b with safer but harder climbing than on Sorceress. Sorceress however did not receive a free ascent until 1988 when John Codling finally freed the line after three years of effort!

Not much happened for the best part of the nineties and it wasn’t until the summer of 2005 when a fresh wave of activity commenced on the walls of Forest Rock with local climbers developing quality boulder problems as well as routes on the crag. Robin Richmond added Neurosis to the right side of the cave and along with Rich Lucas, Ned Feehally and Dr Matt went to work adding a cluster of new problems to the crag.

In 2005 Sorceress finally received an on sight ascent at the hands of local strongman Rich Lucas who casually flashed the route with little effort. The old aid line of Top Slice was the next route to receive some attention. Dave Hughes aided through the line whilst re-equipping it and cleaning out the old in-situ kit that had seen much better days; his intention being to project the line and free it. Whilst working the route he was joined by two youths Ned Feehally and Rich Lucas and the three of them set about getting to grips with the route. Unfortunately for Dave these two had come armed with some big guns easily powerful enough to deal with what the route could throw at them. On Ned’s 2nd go he cruised through to the last bolt before opting out to save robbing Dave of his prize. Next up Rich, who also breezed the route but again opted out to leave the route for Dave. The line was never finished off, the bolts were chopped (twice) by persons unknown and the route was left.

Seven years passed by before the next wave of development commenced on the walls of the cave at the hands of Sheffield based climbers Mike Adams and Dawid Skoczylas (Polish Dave) who added a cluster of hard quality problems to the crag. In 2012 Mike climbed The Enchantress, The Magician, Heathen Chemistry and Definitely Maybe. Apart from Heathen Chemistry it is not 100% certain if these were actually first ascents or not as they had all seen a lot of attention in the past by local climbers. Nevertheless they were never documented properly if they had been climbed. Had it not been for Mike’s developments the crag may have never seen such a rise in popularity with more and more climbers regularly visiting the crag, repeating and adding new problems to the walls of the cave.

One climber in particular who this applies to is Dawid Skoczylas. Dawid delved deeper into the depths of the cave where he unearthed and added a number of classic problems; Own Narrative, Anti Hero, In Search of Blame, Lucid Interval, Note to Self as well a handful of quality eliminates that had not previously seen any attention.

The cave has remained popular since the developments of 2012 with new problems added each year since then. The problems that have been added are tests of both burl and technique; steep walls and poor/technical feet are a common theme here, a prime example being Clint Maskel’s addition from 2014 Apartheid; font 8a. This line is the first to take on the apex of the cave and will hopefully open the door to many hard lines in the roof above leading out to the lip.

Attention turned back to the old aid route Top Slice during June 2015. Robin Richmond nearly freed the line in a session on the 9th June but failed to do so as poor light and tired arms thwarted his efforts. Before he got chance to return and finish the line off Ollie Torr came down on his day off work and freed the route second go with little effort. Robin came down later the same day after work and got the second ascent confirming the grade F7c+.

The future; there is plenty to go! The wall to the left of Sorceress, the hanging groove to the left of Top Slice and an extension to the low traverse from the back of the cave are the obvious gaps waiting to be filled.

 

Approach

Forest Rock is situated in the village of Woodhouse Eaves. It can easily be approached from either J21a, J22 or J23 of the M1.

From J21a; Follow the A46 and exit for Anstey. In Anstey turn right for Cropston. Go through Cropston and past the reservoir. Turn right at the cross roads down the hill past Swithland Woods. Turn left at the bottom of the hill and left again into Woodhouse Eaves. Park sensibly by the nursery.

From J22; Follow the A511 towards Coalville. At the first roundabout take the B591 signposted for Copt Oak. At Copt Oak continue along the B591 and take the second right for Woodhouse Eaves. Turn right at the Bulls Head and follow the road through the village for apx. 1/2 mile. Park sensibly by the nursery.

From J23; Follow the A512 into Loughborough. At the first set of traffic lights turn right on to Breakback Road which is followed to Woodhouse Eaves. At the T junction turn left onto Beacon Road. Turn right at the Bulls Head and follow the road through the village for apx. 1/2 mile. Park sensibly by the nursery.

Forest Rock is at the back of the grassy area next to the nursery beneath the war memorial.

Access

There are no known access issues at present. Climbers should try and maintain the good relationship with the locals by making an effort to keep the noise down, avoid using bad language, do not to leave litter behind and do not shit at the crag. There is a pub next to the crag go in there if you need to go.

 

Abseil groups are not welcome here.

 

 

The climbs;

Routes/ boulder problems are described from left to right (boulder problems in red).

 

1. Forest Wall 6m V0

The wall 1m left of Definitely Not, climbed direct.

 

2. Definitely Not 15m E2 5b**

Start in the middle of the left hand slab. Move rightwards onto the scoop at the edge of the wall. Follow the lip of the cave until the final crack of Sorcerer is reached, move right and finish as for Sorceress.

Dick Wrottesley, Ken Vickers 1962.

 

3. Small Wall Eliminate 7a

Climb the thin wall immediately left of the arête on crimps and slopers.

 

4. 7a

This problem climbs the short arête ½m right of the start of Definitely Not. From a sitting start make hard moves on non-helpful holds to reach and rock onto the slabby wall above.

 

5. Definitely Maybe 7b

Climb the right side of the arête from sitting. Finish as for Heathen Chemistry.

Mike Adams 2012

 

6. Heathen Chemistry 7c+

Climbs the hanging shallow groove in its entirety from sitting. The climbing is good if slightly contrived; no bridging across the corner!

Mike Adams 2012

 

7. Done Before? 6b **

From the Start of Sorcerer take a rising line leftwards across the steep wall. Finish by rocking onto the slab of Definitely Not.

Robin Richmond 2005

 

8. Ned’s Traverse 7b

A low level traverse from the start of Sorcerer that finishes by rocking onto the slab at the start of Definitely Not. Move across keeping level with the sloper half way across the wall. From the sloper move left then rock up onto slab to finish.

Edward Feehalley

 

9. Senseless 10m E5 6c

Climb the initial wall of Sorcerer but instead of moving right take a direct line through the roof  above. Small wires can be placed to protect the crux moves round the lip. Once established on the wall above climb direct to finish. With enough mats could be boulderable at around V7.

FA unknown

 

10. Sorcerer 9m E1 5b ***

A superb route, the best of its grade in the county. Technical moves up the short vertical wall lead to a rest above the hanging fin of Saucy. From here move rightwards and make a committing move to gain the finger crack on the headwall above. Climb this and finish direct.

Ken Vickers and Dave Draper, 1959 (aid). FFA Simon Pollard May 1978.

 

11. Saucy 11m  E3 5c **

Another stonking route making the most of the hanging fin to the right of Sorcerer. Climb the fin to the rest, get some gear in and make moves through the lip to gain good incut holds above. Finish direct.

J. Codling, T. Johnson and S. Allen, 1982.

 

12. Saucy 6c+ **

The sit down start to Saucy: from the horizontal runnel power up onto the hanging fin of Saucy. Finish at the rest at the top of the fin. The fin from standing is a good V2.

 

 

13 The Magician 7c

A good problem that takes a powerful line up the wall right of Saucy on undercuts before reaching round the back of the hanging fin and finishing up Sorcerer Direct. Sit start.

Mike Adams 2012

 

14. Sorcerer Direct 6c+

Climb the hanging square arête directly beneath the finishing crack of Sorcerer. An eliminate without the arête goes at around 7b+.

 

15. Sorcerer Direct  E4 6b ***

The obvious direct start to Sorcerer. Climb the hanging square arête directly beneath the finishing crack of Sorcerer. Finish up this.

FA Dr Matt

 

16. The Enchantress 7c+

Climbs the rising left to right diagonal line to finish at the top of the initial groove of Sorceress. Undercuts and kneebars all the way!

Mike Adams 2012

 

17. Sorcerer’s Apprentice 6c+

Follow the route to a small hanging slab below the final finger crack of Sorcerer.

 

18. Sorcerer’s Apprentice 11 m E5 6b**

Desperate, originally graded E4! An awkward start is made to gain the hanging flake and peg scarred crack. Climb this via a superb technical and sustained set of moves that takes you to the lip. Get some gear in and keep pulling to gain the final crack of Sorcerer which is followed to the top. Technically and physically desperate but safe, good gear all the way. Enjoy!

FA S. Allen and J. Codling, 1982.

 

19. Sorcerers Apprentice Variant Finish 12m E6 6b

As for Sorcerers Apprentice to the top of the hanging flake. Instead of moving left to gain the finishing crack of Sorcerer pull straight up and exit the wall via a short rightwards facing groove above.

FA Dr Matt solo

 

20. Sorceress 7a

From sitting climb the initial groove.

 

21. The Exorciser 7b

From the start of Sorceress step down and traverse left on undercuts. From the top of the undercut rail use finger pockets to pull round onto the slab which is then reversed until more undercuts lead out to the start of Sorcerer. From here take a rising line across the corner and round the arête to finish on the slabby outer walls of the cave (as for problem 7).

FA Robin Richmond 2005

 

22. Sorceress 12m E6 6b (F7b+) ***

2m right of Sorcerers Apprentice an obvious groove leads out from inside the cave to the lip. The crux is gaining the top of the initial groove where it is possible to rest before continuing up past four bolts to the lip. Pull the lip and follow the thin crack above to the top.

Ken Vickers and Dave Draper, 1959 (Aid). John Codling 1987/8; Greg Lucas 1988; John Codling and Steve Allen 24 Aug. 1990.

 

23. The Medium 12m F7c *

From a sit start follow Sorceress to the lip of the cave. Move right across the lip before rocking up onto the headwall and climb the slab above direct. The route can obviously be climbed from standing which although slightly easier doesn’t change the grade.

FA Robin Richmond 18.6.15

 

24. Lucid Interval 8a

From standing climb the right arête and wall to the right of Sorceress. Finish at the vague hanging groove above.

1st ascent; Dawid Skoczylas

 

25. Note to self 8a+

Sit start 1m left of Own Narrative at undercut and side pull. Pull up to a crimp and borehole before making desperate moves up the wall into the roof passing a flake to a vague finish apx. 5m up the wall.

1st ascent;  Dawid Skoczylas, 2013.

 

26. In Search of Blame 8a

Sit start as for Own Narrative. From the pocket on Own Narrative move left following the line of least resistance to finish as for Sorcerer at the top of its initial groove.

1st ascent;  Dawid Skoczylas, 2012

 

27. Own Narrative 7c

Start 4m right of Sorceress at a good sidepull. From a sit start climb the wall above passing a pocket and flakes to finish on hanging flakes in the roof with feet on opposite side of the cave.

1st ascent;  Dawid Skoczylas, 2012

 

28. Witch Craft 7c+

Start as for Own Narrative and traverse right to finish as for Anti Hero.

1st ascent; Orin Coley, 2014

 

29. In Search of Tyler 8a+

Sit start as for Anti Hero and traverse left to join and finish as for In Search of Blame.

1st ascent; Johnny Argue, 2013

 

30. Squishy Squashy 7c+

Start as for Anti Hero and finish as for Own Narrative.

1st ascent; Polish Dave, 2012

 

31. Anti Hero long 7c

Sit start. Start just right of Own Narrative. From the large undercut edge make hard moves right into Anti Hero short. Finish as for this.

1st ascent;  Dawid Skoczylas, 2012

 

32. Anti Hero short 7b

From an obvious horizontal rail boom out right to catch the undercut flake. Reach up into the roof to finish matching flakes in the roof.

1st ascent;  Dawid Skoczylas, 2012

 

33. Missing Ink 7c+?

Climb Cracked Up to the top of the crack. Make hard moves left via an obvious pocket and rail to finish as for Anti Hero.

1st ascent;  Dawid Skoczylas, 2012/13

 

34. Cracked Up 7b

From a sit start climb the right to left rising diagonal crack at the back of the cave. Finish matching the hanging boss in the roof.

1st ascent;  Dawid Skoczylas, 2012.

 

35. Top Slice 14m F8a***

The original line of Top Slice came from the back of the cave via a series of ancient bolts and pegs leading out leftwards to join the groove of Sorceress. The new line starts at the back of the cave opposite Sorceress. Hard initial moves out across the roof lead into a hanging groove which leads out to the top of Sorceress which the route finishes up.

FA; D. Jump (aid solo), May 1976. FFA Ollie Torr June 2015

 

36. Augurer 6a+

From starting ledge on Top Slice traverse right on undercuts to the end of the wall. Step off the arete onto the slope to finish.

 

37. Conjurer 7a+

A low traverse from the start on Top Slice. Make thin moves rightwards to gain the shothole on Neurosis. Continue to the arête to finish.

 

38. Neurosis E4 6a (F6c+) *

A good route covering totally new ground on a once thought to be ‘worked out’ crag. Climb up to undercuts in the roof via a shot hole at 2m. Move up through the roof (bolt) and continue heading rightwards to gain a good ledge. From the ledge move up to a bolt and make good moves up the headwall to the top. The grade is presuming the bolts are in situ if not then E6.

 

Do not cut the ivy back that is in front of the bolt. The bolt has been put there so that it is less noticeable and is therefore less likely to be chopped by non-climber friendly locals.
R. Richmond 2005

 

 

39. Neurosis 6a+

Follow the route to the lip, mats and spotter advisable.