RETRO: Climbers caught between a rock and a hard place

Rock climbing, Goliath's Grove, Stanage Edge'31st July 1964
Rock climbing, Goliath's Grove, Stanage Edge'31st July 1964
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It’s a hobby which allows one to reach great heights. Literally.

Today Tuesday Retro continues our A-Z of pastimes enjoyed in this region with R is for rock climbing. Grab the ropes and the chalk bag, and get ready to hang tough – our librarian has climbed to the back of the archives to find these images. They date back to the Fifties and Sixties when men were men and health and safety meant getting up to the top before your arms got tired.

The Central Council of Physical Recreation held a rock climbing course under the auspices of the Peak Climbing Club at Stanage Edge.  Graham Panton of Darnall ties a bowline on his wife, Doreen, with the Chairman of the Club (right) Peter Best, looking on before starting to climb the Verandah Butress - 13th June1954

The Central Council of Physical Recreation held a rock climbing course under the auspices of the Peak Climbing Club at Stanage Edge. Graham Panton of Darnall ties a bowline on his wife, Doreen, with the Chairman of the Club (right) Peter Best, looking on before starting to climb the Verandah Butress - 13th June1954

Scaling slopes, steep sides and anything else which simply happens “to be there” is something of a Sheffield speciality, as it goes.

The proximity of the Peak District give the city an almost unique place in the world. Few urban areas anywhere on the planet have such easy access to so many different climbing challenges – as well as several other outdoor pursuits.

“Sheffield is a climber’s paradise in many ways,” says Matt Heason, who has tackled faces across the world. “There’s really nowhere else anywhere you can finish a day at work, go and do some proper outdoor climbing, and then get back into the city in time for last orders.”

That explains why so many climbers from across the UK gravitate to live in Sheffield.

Rock climbing Stanage Edge - 1962

Rock climbing Stanage Edge - 1962

“The Peak District has great climbs that are compact, varied in form and difficulty and easy to access – it’s ideal,” says 41-year-old Matt who is co-director of the annual Cliffhanger outdoors festival, being held this year in Millhouses Park, June 21-22. “As for why people love climbing in the first place? It’s that incredible sense of freedom, of pushing your self, of being active, of getting out in the great outdoors. It’s just a brilliant thing to do.”