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Climbing Course – Heaven Crack

By 2nd August 2022August 7th, 2022Rock Climbing, Summer


Joining one of our climbing courses in the Peak District could give you the opportunity to climb ‘Heaven Crack’.

‘Heaven Crack’ is rock climb graded ‘Very Difficult’ and rated as a ‘3-Star’ route. By modern standards, ‘Very Difficult’ is not actually very difficult to climb. On one of our Peak District climbing courses many relative beginners can climb ‘Heaven Crack’, if they are competent enough. A ‘3-Star’ route means that it is universally considered as an excellent climb, not just in the Peak District but in the country as a whole.

‘Heaven Crack’, Stanage Edge, Peak District

A rock climber starting out leading the classic rock climb 'Heaven Crack' during a climbing course in the Peak District

‘Heaven Crack’ is a distinctive climb, both visually and with regards to the techniques involved. It is described as a ‘layback flake’.

Flake, because the whole of the right-hand side of the climb is an enormous layer of rock seemingly lying on the main surface of the cliff. Layback is the term used to describe the climbing technique involved. The easiest way to understand how a layback works, is to think of the movement used to climb a drainpipe fixed to a wall. The hands go behind the drainpipe while the feet push away from the wall, so that body is laying back at angle. This helps to maintain the pressure on the hands and arms. Gradually, you ‘walk’ your hands and feet up the pipe and the wall. But if you try to stand upright, you will slide right back down the drainpipe!

So it is with ‘Heaven Crack’. If you approach it confidently with a good layback technique, it will seem quite easy. If you don’t, it will spit you out before you have made it a few feet off the ground.

Climbing ‘Heaven Crack’ on a Course

‘Heaven Crack’ is located on Stanage Edge in the Peak District, in what is known as the ‘Popular End’, or Stanage Popular. From the car park, it typically takes 15 minutes or so to reach the climb. It is conveniently located with an easy descent gully on its right, so you can be up down again in no time after climbing the route.

A view of Heaven Crack, a rock climb in the Peak District

On our Peak District climbing courses, we often use ‘Heaven Crack’ either to teach layback technique, or as an early lead for a good climber on a learn-to-lead course.

Many people struggle with the first few moves on ‘Heaven Crack’ if they are not familiar with laybacks. They try to reach up and pull directly down on a ‘jug’ hold. On this route, unfortunately that’s doomed to failure. The hands must be behind the flake, and the feet pushing outwards, and generally with them placed well to the left. It may all feel a bit unnatural to someone used to indoor climbing walls.

A couple of layback moves take you to a bit of a ledge and a resting area. This is a good opportunity to place some protection and then consider what is ahead.

Another similar sequence of layback moves leads to yet another resting area, and then the route changes somewhat.

From here, you need to change tactics and move onto the wall outside the crack, this time relying on sloping holds on the wall above. A couple of delicate, well-placed steps and a reach for the top bring you to glory.

Climbing Courses at Stanage Edge in the Peak District

View of Stanage Edge in the Peak District with lots of rock climbers on climbing courses

Stanage Edge in the Peak District is a great location for so many of our climbing courses. Stanage has a couple of miles of outcropping edges which give climbs of 8-20 metres or so in height. They cover the full range of grades, from the easiest to the some of the very hardest in the country.

Booking and Prices

If you’d like to know more about a rock climbing course in the Peak District, then see the main page for more details and prices or see what our clients say about us. You can also have a look at the Calendar for forthcoming “Open” events.

When you are ready, then get in touch to make an enquiry or a booking.

We also run climbing courses in Yorkshire, the Lake District and in Snowdonia.