Cheedale – Plumb Buttress and The Lifts

Andy and I only had a short day available, and each came up with fairly local, reasonably accessible and somewhat escoteric crag suggestion. Andy graciously postponed a visit to Crowden Great Quarry and we headed to Cheedale.Plumb Buttress is home to perhaps The Peak’s most iconic mild extreme – Sirplum, but also has a bunch of more recent bolted additions up the more friable wings. As we dropped down into the dale I realised the shortcoming in my plan – the crag faces almost due north and doesn’t see the sun until late afternoon, added to which it had rained heavily over the previous few days. Might be a bit damp and chilly (Andy was polite enough not to remind me that CGQ gets all the sun going).We managed a couple of routes: Giant, 6b+, takes the wall and striking arete left of the corner of the classic The Stalk, with a cruxy move on the edge of all things to finish:… and Massive, 6c, which finds a line up the wall between The Stalk and Sirplumbefore perplexing moves through a break to reach and then force a way through the roof.Both routes around 30m featured a fair amount of greenery at the bottom (especially the latter, where a collapsing earth cornice /flower bed almost deposited Andy on the deck – happily only burying his butties).There’s also a fair share of slightly suspect rock (and dampness on this occasion) but plenty of interesting and technical moves on sometimes extraordinary holds.Seeking a bit of warmth we headed to the adjacent sector: The Lifts (you can just about make out three tiers of crag at the left of the first photo). Although only about 50m away, you actually access it by walking in from above so it’s a bit of a trek up the dale and over the top of Plumb Buttress. After a few hundred metres you’ll hopefully spot this discreet sign… whereupon you can nip down a gully to the foot of The Third Lift. Not huge (maybe 15m) but enjoying tremendous exposure down to the floor of the dale, and catching the early afternoon rays with its more westerly aspect. High Scream Sunday, 6c+, gets a couple of stars and is worth seeking out if only for the position.

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