Here is a guide to the climbing at Kemple End.

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Kemple End              O.S. Ref. SD 688 405

Situation and Character.

Kemple End is a small gritstone quarry at the eastern end of Longridge Fell, ten kilometres from Longridge and six kilometres from Clitheroe. It lies just below the Old Clitheroe Road, but though it is only a few metres from the road, it is virtually hidden in a pleasant heather/bilberry bowl, with good views of the Ribble Valley from the top. The main buttress faces east while other buttresses and boulders face south. The crag is very sheltered and is often dry and out of the wind when other crags are not. It is ideal for a morning visit in the sun, or for grabbing a couple of pitches on a winter’s day.

The rock is up to nine metres high and horizontal faulting lending itself to camming devices. There are belay stakes in the heather bank at the top of the Main Wall, and it is worthwhile extending these with rope or tapes [sometimes old ones in situ – I renew these regularly but within days they disappear!] a few feet to the top of the rock to act as a final runner or lower off.

Approach and Access

From Longridge follow Higher Road up the fell past the caravan site and Craig Y Longridge. Continue south of the golf course, straight ahead at the ‘Newdrop Inn’ crossroads ignoring turn-offs to the right to a rough parking area on the right at the far end of the fell as the road starts to descend more steeply.

From Clitheroe follow the Edisford Bridge road (B6243), then turn right after the bridge and pub. Continue to Higher Hodder Bridge and turn left up the steep Birdy Brow to a rough parking spot at the top, on the left by a wall.

The quarry is directly under the parking area. Go left to the quarry rim, above Hodder Buttress, and then go right to a stone wall which is followed until a steep stepped descent by an oak tree.

The area is registered common land, but please respect the privacy of the properties to the south.

The Climbs

The routes are described from LEFT to RIGHT.

Main Face.

Most of the climbing is on the Main Face, which lies directly below the stone wall.

 The first seven boulder problems are close to the descent and lead to a walk-off ledges at three or five metres.

1      Fall Back VD 4 m The short wall and mantel shelves on the left side of the wall.

2      Spring Forward 4c 6 m From a lower level, climb flakes in a groove.

3       Evening   5c *  6 m Just right is a flaky hold at head-height at the base of a crack. Use this to gain the break.

4      Morning 5c * 6 m Make a long reach from a poor hold on the right to a break in the reddish buttress and the wall above.

5      Mourning 4c 6m Climb the groove with a flake into a recess.

6      Creaking 4b 6m The twin edged flake and the wall above.

7      Alone with Tone 4c 6 m Just before a step-down, climb the wall direct. Not for the nervous.

As of now 5th May2022 the hanging flake is no more. Worried about the safety of fellow climbers I decided to take action and remove it. It was not easy until I employed my carjack. There is a lot of rock down below. Routes in the vicinity will have changed, Birdy Brow is no more.

8     Bird on the Wing VS 4c 7 m From a slightly lower level, climb direct through the gap, using the flake carefully if needed.

10    Brow Beater HVS 5b  8 m From the left side of a lower level climb direct to an undercut wall with awkward moves to gain the left end of the ramp, finish up the centre of the wall now that the flake has gone.

11    Ribless VS 4c 8 m One metre right climb the short wall and pull through the overlap direct keeping left of the rib.

12    Ribbled HVD * 8 m Short wall to a recess, step left to rib as soon as possible, climb to the top.

13    What the Dickens S 9 m  Climb into the recess and up to the roof, traverse right below the overhang to pull round the nose on good holds. Move left to finish.

14    Hard Times HVS 5a * 8 m Start just right and climb past a right-pointing flake onto a steep wall left of cracks. Then finish direct without using the nose of the previous route.

15    Oliver Twist E1 5b ** 8 m  Climb past a left pointing flake to the base of twin cracks and follow these awkwardly to the top.

16    Great Expectations HS 4b * 8 m Start two metres right and climb into a V-shaped notch then up to the obvious shallow ledge in the middle of the wall, short top wall.

17    Bleak Friday VS 4c 8 m Start just before the ground level rises and climb past pockets to the break, then finish left of the crack.

18    Bleak House VS 4c 7 m From a higher level, climb a right-facing groove to the base of a crack which is followed to the top.

19    Boz was Here VS 4c 7 m Start a metre farther right and climb to the overhang, then follow the steep crack to better holds.

20    Face Route VD 5 m  Climb the groove in the right arête to a blocky finish.

Past the dirty corner, there are more easy boulder problems on a higher level.


The horizontal breaks on the Main Face provide several traverses. These are described from left to right, but they can be climbed in either direction The first four are bouldering traverses. The lowest of these is:

21    Lowest Earth 5b+ * 10 m From Browbeater, an ultra low traverse rightwards using holds below the obvious break.

22    Lower Earth 4c 10 m From Browbeater traverse the lowest obvious break to the banking.

23    Learning to Wave  5a 10 m Just below the two mid-level breaks of Middle Earth is a wavy hand-traverse ledge. This is awkward to start and difficult to finish at the pockets on Bleak Friday.

24    Middle Earth  4a  20 m A circuit of the two mid-level breaks. Becomes a little highball. Starting at Spring Forward traverse right in the obvious break, at the end drop to a lower break and traverse back left eventually below the overhangs.


25    The Ribble Link HS 4b * 30 m A three quarters height roped girdle. Starting from the level of the first route traverse rightwards past Ribbled into the overhung niche ( possible belay ). Continue at the same height along the exposed horizontal break to finish at higher blocks on Face Route, by a small fir tree.

Hodder Buttress.

This is the steep, clean, isolated buttress that lies about 40 metres right of the Main Face.

26    Birdy Prow E2 5c ** 7 m From the front base of the overhanging arête at the left of the buttress climb up to a break (sling over the ledge above), then make a difficult move to stand on this ledge and finish up the left side of arête.

27   Wacker Watkins – High ball 6B –  Climb the arête on its right throughout. [Matt Troillett 2016]

28    Ribblesdale High E3 6a ** 7 m Starting right of the arête climb pockets to a break, moves off a sloping crease lead to the top.

29   Gin Rib  E3 6b ** 7 m  1 m right at a blunt arête up to the break, small ledges lead to a sloping rib, flat hold and the top.  Also done as a highball  The Big Fish 6B+   [Matt Troillett 2016]

30    Slickenside Crack HVS 5a * 7 m The corner crack gives steep climbing after a damp start.

31    Recessed Slab HS 4b * 7 m  Climb onto a large ledge at two metres continue up groove and slab to trees.

Two traverses –

32    Pointless  4b  6 m Climb onto the ledge of Recessed Slab and traverse the break leftwards across the buttress to finish on a ledge around the corner.

33   Tipping Point  4b  6 m  Start on a low ledge just left of the start of Birdy Prow arête, traverse right with hands head height into the corner, bridge across to a larger foot ledge and keep hand traversing to the end.

Further right are more boulders hidden in the undergrowth.


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