We are fortunate enough to live a 20 minute drive away from some of the best grit climbing in Britain, The Roaches. We looked through climbing guides reading about all the routes the roaches had to offer and there was one in particular that we couldn’t miss, “Valkyrie”. This is one of the highest rated climbs in the UKC logbook, for it’s grade it’s possibly the best grit climb in the country but what really attracted me to Valkyrie was the rock itself. Just look at that thing, it’s meant to be climbed.
Valkyrie Pitch 1
Valkyrie at The Roaches is rated as a high VS but many rate it as HVS. The first pitch is 15m up the crack on the far right hand side. There is one move I found a little tricky but once I got used to the immense grip of the grit and trusted my feet I got through it. After ascending the crag, there is an easy traverse to the belay point as you can see in the picture above. I set up my belay up using the crack directly behind the ledge and put a few slings around the flake and a jammed rock for good measure.
Valkyrie pitch 2
The next pitch is the crazy bit. You begin with a traverse, across at first and then down the crack towards the overhang. I’ve never seen a climb with a section like this before. It wasn’t pretty but we made our way down and found the “hidden foot hold” located where the overhang meets the face. After one balancy weight transfer the rest of the traverse across the lip of the overhang was quite straight forward. From here make sure you go around the corner before climbing to the top. Several topos show the route going directly up the crack which meets the lip just before the corner, but these are wrong. Once you’ve found the route you shouldn’t have any problems if you made it this far.
Two ropes required Valkyrie?
Many people doing the route on the same day as us used two ropes since the second pitch goes so far left then back right again. We are broke so we only have one rope but good news, you can pull through and lower the rope from the top directly back down to the second climber. That’s what we did and it worked pretty well. We took a few attempts at flicking the rope along to stop it from getting stuck in vertical cracks and at one point a fall would have involved a bit of a swing but if you don’t have two ropes, this approach worked for us.
After we finished up with Valkyrie we grabbed some lunch, met up with Sam and came back for some more relaxing climbing. I’m not sure which other routes we did that day, just a bit of exploring really. Sam made some friends with a group of climbers from Sheffield who told us about the magic mushrooms growing in the fields all around the area. After 2 or 3 more climbs and abseils it was time to start packing up. Vivian snapped a few photos of the sunset at The Roaches and we headed home.