High Rocks has been climbed on continuously since the 1930s. The rocks at 40 feet high are the tallest and most extensive of the traditional sandstone cliffs in the South East of England. As Cloggy is to North Wales, and Millstone is to the Peak District, so is High Rocks to SE of England. At the beginning of the season climbers practise at Harrisons in order to build up their strength and co-ordination to tackle High Rocks.Whilst 40% of the hardest climbs are to be found at High Rocks, a third of the approximately 220 routes are in the easier grades. The overall steepness and sustained character gives the impression that the area is for the more proficient climber. This is compounded by the dark, dank, slimy lichenous aspect of the rocks due to the extensive tree cover.
A unique feature of High Rocks is the presence of deep chimneys and of jamming cracks. The chimneys in particular are probably the best place in England and certainly in the South of England to practise this type of climbing. The fact that the sandstone is smooth, free of ledges, pebbles or crystals to edge on forces the climber to perfect ‘chimneying’ technique. A few days thus spent at High Rocks will reward the climber if he should attempt a long route in the States where a 5.9 chimney might otherwise provide the crux on a 5.11 multi-pitch climb. Nationally famous climbers have made fools of themselves on television when repulsed by the steep cracks of the Desert. All because they did not take advantage of the High Rocks cracks and chimneys. Whilst the chimneys and cracks are unique in the SE, the majority of the climbing is on steep faces, overhangs and aretes. For the adventurous climber all aspects of the sport are available at High Rocks, as they are not anywhere else south of Birmingham.
Current access position
High Rocks is privately owned and there is an entry fee that needs to be paid at the lower bar before entry. The venue is mainly used for functions and weddings but is also open to climbers and the general public. The current climbing access is in a fragile state, and local activists and the BMC have been working hard to secure future access for climbers. We know that a lot of climbers don’t like to pay to climb outside but the new entrance fees and rules must be obeyed as to not risk anymore price increases or any more restrictions.
Please respect the owners wishes and be polite to staff if asked to show your ticket or if asked to move away from wedding parties. There has already been some tension between staff and unknown individuals not obeying the previous rules and jeopardising future access. As a result extra restrictions have been put in place. We now need to all set a ‘good example’ to the landowner that climbers can cooperate and peacefully climb at High Rocks, as this is vital to ensure access is maintained so we can continue to climb in this beautiful location.
Open Wednesdays to Sundays.
The first change is that as from 6th July 2015 High Rocks will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays for the general public (including climbers), apart from bank holiday Mondays and private functions. The venue opens at 10:15 Wednesdays to Sundays.
Arrival times for climbers
On Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays all climbers (roped climbing only), including members, must arrive before 11:30am or after 5:30pm. This is due to wedding parties on site.
Bouldering is only permitted Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Boulderers are not allowed to climb on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays or bank holiday Mondays. Seeing as the whole venue is closed at the beginning of the week (Mon & Tues), this means bouldering will only be able to take place on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Roped climbing permitted Wednesdays to Sundays & Bank Holiday Mondays.
Roped climbing is permitted throughout the whole week including weekends and bank holidays (except for Mondays and Tuesdays when the venue will be closed to the public).
Yearly Membership: £50
Daily Ticket for members’ guests: £7.50
Non-members: Daily Ticket (before 5:30pm) £10
Non-members: Evening Ticket (after 5:30pm) £6
Membership can be bought at the main reception for an annual fee of £50. All members must show their membership card and sign-in the climbers book located in the lower bar.
Climbing Artea Restrictions
All climbers are obliged to check with High Rocks if functions and wedding parties are using the rocks. In the event there is a function scheduled the following exclusions apply:
The ‘NEMESIS’ area is out of bounds when weddings are taking place. The area between ‘I’ll Be Back’ and ‘Something Crack’ inclusive, including all routes on the ‘Hut Boulder’ are out of bounds.
This includes and is not limited to:
‘Boonoonoonoos’, ‘Celebration’, ‘Nemesis’ and ‘Odin’s Wall’. Please also note the open area is restricted. Ropes should be removed and the area left clear for photographs.
Please also note that only over 18’s can climb at High Rocks.