How would you like to climb a pile of rocks named after one of the most reviled insects of all time? Actually, The Roaches in England’s Peak District are officially called Roches, which is French for “rocks,” but it’s hard to deny that the name makes it a bit scarier than it might be otherwise.
The Roaches is a collection of towering rock walls that have been climbed for the last century. The biggest benefit to this type of climb is the diversity of routes, which range from “moderate” to various levels of “extremely severe.” Indeed, there are a few routes at The Roaches that frighten even the most experienced climbers.
According to The Roaches web site, air ambulances make a trip to this legendary site just about every weekend to assist the fallen and presumably broken. Many of these accidents happen because climbers underestimate the difficulty of the climb and try it anyway.
In fact, The Roaches even uses mountaineering teams to rescue fallen climbers who are inaccessible to emergency medical personnel. If someone falls and lands on one of the ledges, he or she is brought down to safety by these groups. Of course, it is much easier to avoid such a scenario in the first place.
As most seasons at The Roaches are chilly, you’ll want to wear a jacket that is breathable but warm. The North Face Razor , for example, is designed to block the frigid force of the wind but employs HyVent technology that won’t leave you smothering in the jacket. You’ll also need a pair of sturdy gloves and a set of rock-climbing tools.
When you first attempt The Roaches, it is best to try an easier route, and then work up as you get more comfortable. Starting on moderate routes, for example, will warm you up for more difficult climbs and will acclimate you to the face of the rock. You will also have to get used to setting your own anchors, because it is tradition at The Roaches to remove pegs before completing a climb.
Oh, and although you won’t find many roaches at this site, be on the lookout for other unique forms of wildlife that make their home in the area.