Huncote Quarry Routes


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Whitwick Rocks


Climbing Walls







Introduction & Location




The cliffs form two sides of the square quarry. Landmarks to look for, starting from the left are : The Shield - the obvious imposing sheet of rock on the wall beneath the road, The Stretcher - a route to the right of the corner of the quarry, and Alleluia Road - the obvious lower crack and upper ridge of poised blocks that is passed on the descent route which follows the old timber tramway.


The climbs are listed from left to right.


At the left‑hand end of the longest rock wall is a short, steep, scooped wall which can be approached from the upper tier. The next four routes start here.


1 Surveyor's Waltz 21m E2 5b, 5c.

1. 10m. Up the improbable short blank groove below the obvious rocky arÍte.

2. 11m. The steep juggy wall just left of a ragged crack proves perplexing near a small niche. (2 PRs).

T. Johnson.


2 Sundive 21m E2 5a, 6a. *

1. 11m. Climb the overhanging wall right of the blank groove and thence an awkward square‑cut arÍte to blocks.

2. 10m. Precariously lay‑back the leaning, rejecting overhanging fault above (2 PRs).

C. Dring and S. Yates, Aug. 1982.


3 Hanney's Hanging 30m HS

1. 23m. Right is a large grass ramp. From beneath its left edge climb the bulging wall and crack onto grass. Climb left over easy slabs and tot, then up into a recess. Peg belays.

2. 7m. Climb the left, overhanging corner to the top.


4 Up The Junction 36m HVS 5a, 4a.

1. 18m. Start below the right of three prominent overhangs. Climb up and turn the far one on the right by layback moves. From the ledge climb the rightward slanting groove to a good ledge (PB). One could abseil from here to avoid the next pitch.

2. 18m. From the left‑hand end of the ledge is a leftward‑slanting, blocky, groove. Follow this and exit left through vegetation.


5 Little Nightmare 42m E1 5a, 5b.**

Start at a stepped groove with three small overhangs leaning to the left directly below a big square cut arÍte at the left end of the lower quarry.

1. 24m. Follow the groove until it is possible to avoid the overhangs by stepping left. Step back right to a ledge below an overhang. Surmount this with considerable effort then trend leftwards to belays on a ledge under the impending red wall.

2. 18m. Mantleshelf the ledge above at its right‑hand end. Step left and go up a rickety groove for a couple of metres until an awkward move rightwards gains holds on the arÍte proper. Continue on the right‑hand side and finish leftwards. It is possible to avoid the awkward moves right and to finish direct. (J. Thomas and D. Slater, Mar. 1985).

D. Cooper, R. Andrews, I. Harley and J. Cooper, Aug. 1969


6 Hadji 45m VS(+) 4c, 4c.

1. 21m. Start underneath and left of Little Nightmare's arÍte. Climb a finger‑crack in the right‑angled corner, move right and climb onto a ledge above the roof. Move up and right to beneath a short leaning wall.

2. 24m. Move right again and make an awkward swing up onto the top of the leaning wall. Climb the grassy ramp and the wall above to a brambly finish.


7 Fusilade 51m VS 4c, 4b, 4c.

Start some 15m left of the Shield Wall below an overhanging groove which leads to a roof.

1. 9m. Climb the groove to the roof and bridge to a ledge on the left. Go up the crack to a belay.

2. 21m. Move right for a couple of metres past a large and obviously detached block to a sentry box niche. Pull over the overhang and traverse right to a corner. Up this, then move right to a peg belay above.

3. 12m Traverse left on some doubtful rock. Move up and cross the wall on the left to a break in the overhang. Climb this weakness awkwardly, to belays. Either abseil to safety or take The Eiger North Wall to finish.

4. 9m. E6, 2c. Move up the steep wall above to a niche. Escape right and then left above taking care with the movable earth slope. (A gross calumny on the Eiger).


8 The Stroller 45m HVS 5a/b, - *

Climb a series of short overhanging grooves on the left of The Shield.

1. 30m. Climb the first two grooves to reach a larger third. Climb up this to a peg runner. In the wall to the left is another peg runner. Pull up on good ledges and mantleshelf. Continue up the wall past a good edge (peg runner) to a large stance and thread belays.

2. 15m. Escape the loose blocks on the right and move back left above the stance. Ascend the nose on the left side to a tree. Reasonable exit up the short earth slope.



To the right is THE SHIELD, an imposing wall rising from a grassy terrace about 10m up. It can be approached along leftward‑leaning ramps starting directly below, or to the right of, the terrace.


9 Mexican Standoff 30m E2 6a*

Below the centre of The Shield is leftward‑leaning series of ledges leading up from the ground. These bring you out directly below a shothole stance, at the left end of the grassy terrace. Go straight up the groove with the shothole scar. Continue up its right‑hand side (bolt) until long reaches give access to the wall on the right. Step back left into the groove. The square cut overhang is easy as is the wall above. The groove has also been climbed direct.

S. Allen and J. Codling.


10 Eton Rifles 30m E4 6b***

Sequence climbing at its best.

This brilliant route takes the walls below and above the slanting overlap just right. If you know the numbers, it's easy; finding out is fun. The gentle art of piton lassoing is also practiced here. Start as for Mexican Standoff. Step up and right until directly below a rightwards slanting overlap. Go up spaced ledges to this and make awkward moves right to clip protection pegs. Make an extensive reach from a jug just under the overlap to a poorer one. Continue in the same vein to belay at the top of the wall.

S. Allen and J. Codling.


11 Firing Squad 28m E4 5c***

Climb the right‑hand ex‑aid route free. The hard moves are near the top and the protection isn't.

The only feature in the wall's right‑hand half is a slight groove at half‑height and a bolt. Start as for Mexican Standoff. Go easily up ledges to the large ledge and move slightly right and up the wall to a very slim groove (PR). Move up and attain a precarious standing position. (BR on the right). Move up and right to a thin ledge. Awkward moves up the right‑trending crack on spaced holds (PR) lead to a ledge and bolt belay. Excellent. Abseil down Eton Rifles to finish. (The protection bolt was placed as a humanitarian gesture after the first ascent.)

S. Allen and J. Codling.


12 Malaise 45m VS 4c, 4c.

A direct route to the top of the crag. Start 10m to the right of the wall of The Shield. There is a break in the steep walls where the long ledge cutting the cliff about 3m up comes to an end.

1, 21m. Pull over the overhang onto a ledge, then go up to a large sloping shelf on the left. Climb the groove (PR) to a stance by a thorn bush.

2. 24m. Climb the continuation of the groove. Swing left onto the arÍte and up to an amazing thread runner in a shot hole. Step right into the corner and go up this awkwardly to a large shelf. Go right 3m and climb the steep unstable break in the wall. Exit desperately through vegetation.


13 Noon Groove 42m E1 5a, 5b.

Start at a short groove with a wedged block just left of a steep red wall.

1. 12m. Climb that groove and the twin grooves above. Step right to a ledge.

2. 30m. Follow the groove above until precarious moves up and right are made to gain a steep slab below another groove. Up this and easier ground, trending right to finish.


14 Sixteen Tons 42m HVS 5a, 5b.

1. 12m. Climb the groove left of the red wall as for Noon Groove. Step right across ledges to a shothole belay.

2. 33m. A short awkward groove leads to a gap between two overhanging blocks. The awesome prow above has to be struggled over. Continue up the groove and mixed ground above.


15. Midnight Crack 51m HVS 4c, 4c, 4a.

A good climb at the lower limit of the HVS grade. Opposite the old wooden ramp are a series of overhanging cracks in the centre of the impressive leaning wall. Midnight Crack takes the right‑hand one. Start about 10m left of this at a break in the initial overhanging wall, some 12/15m right of the obvious large smooth block. (Same as Noon Groove?).

1. 21m. Climb up the steep wall, by some awkward, out of balance moves, to the large horizontal ledge. Traverse right along to it to its end and pull over a steep wall to a sloping ledge (peg belay) beneath the main crack.

2. 12m. Climb the rib to the right of the crack for 3m. Step back left into the crack. Climb the crack via a small ledge to another ledge and belay.

3. 15m. Climb the groove to the top of the quarry.

J. Wallis and K.S. Vickers, Aug. 1968.


16 Daylight Groove 39m VS ?, ?, ?.

The groove line right of Midnight Crack.

1. 15m. Climb directly up the shallow groove in the overhanging wall to the left to the left of a pile of large unstable‑looking blocks (start of The Ramp) to the large ledge on the right. From the left end of the ledge pull up onto a second grass ledge. From the right‑hand end of this climb to the belay on Midnight Crack below the right‑hand overhanging crack.

2. 12m. Go up the groove immediately right of Midnight Crack to a ledge on the right.

3. 12m. Step left and climb up the clean groove and then easier ground to the top over the usual brambles.


17 Xanthate 42m HVS -, 4c ?.

1. 9m. Delicately ascend the balanced blocks of The Ramp to a ledge.

2. 24m. Fight the overhanging wall above until an awkward step left gains another ledge below a groove. Step further left, mounting a large undercut block with tttrepidation. Move up easier ground and climb the right arÍte of the wide right‑hand groove to a ledge.

3. 9m. Step left to the thin final groove/rib of Daylight Groove.


18 The Ramp 45m HVS -, 5b. *

A fine route taking the obvious steep groove sloping rightwards in the steep walls opposite the old wooden ramp.

1. 9m. Tiptoe over the obvious unstable blocks as for Xanthate

2. 36m. Step right and execute difficult and poorly protected moves to gain the groove proper. Follow this with increasing ease until a traverse right and a final steep move to gain a ledge provoke some thought. Adequate protection is there for those who seek it.

J. Wallis and K.S. Vickers, May 1969.


19 The Crimp 45m E3 6a, 6a.

To the right of The Ramp there is the largest and most overhanging wall. On the right of this there is an obvious groove line which leans against the wall with an overhang below it. Start some 15m right of the unstable blocks of Xanthate.

1. 30m. Follow slabby rocks until directly below the overhang. Tackle this and the groove with persistent intrigue. Move left to belay.

2. 15m. The groove above. Technical. Step up over noisy blocks to finish.

D. Cooper and R. Chuck (aid), May 1970. FFA J. Moulding, F Stevenson and R Conley, 1979.


20 Locomotor Ataxia 42m VS 4c*

Follow the slabby rock (The Crimp) until below a groove. Climb this for a move or two then step boldly right across a steep wall until an arÍte provides an exit to the grass ledge of Zapata. Finish up that route.

D. Cooper and G. Duddin, June 1970.


In January 1993, just as this guide was going to press, it was discovered that all of the following routes had been quarried away. They are listed here as a testament to their discoverers.


Nearby in Croft Village are a series of ancient small quarries (512959), CROFT CRAGS, beside the Soar. They face north. They are a very recent discovery but look promising.

The crags are in the centre of the village over the river opposite the Heathcote Arms. The rock is good pink granife (quartz-diorite). The area is in two parts. The first part is wet underfoot in winter, although this does not effect the climbing. The top of this section of crags is close to a graden boundary so make no nuisance; don't make noise, belay, or traverse off along the top. There are many trees and easy descents. The second area is beyond the stone wall in the field. No routes recorded yet.