Destination Guide – Hodge Close

Destination: Hodge Close, Lake District, UK
What activity can you do here?: Dry Tooling

Overview of the place: I visited Hodge Close last October and found the place very special. Dry Tooling in an old quarry was something I had never done before. There are two sectors, called The Works and the Bakestone Quarry, with grades that range from M4 to M13. All routes are equipped very well with bolts and top anchors. The walk from Hodge Close car park takes about 10 minutes. It is possible to climb all year round, though in my opinion the best time for Dry Tooling is October to March.
Angelika Rainer on first blood M9+
Photo: Mark Savage

Best route and suggestions: The route I liked most was ‘First Blood’, M9+. This route traverses a series of roofs and so involves quite overhanging climbing on good holds.
Made famous by: ‘Powerdab’ together with ‘Frankenstein’ in Newtyle were the first two routes graded M13 in the UK. Powerdab was first climbed by Greg Boswell.
What gear do I need?: You will need the ‘normal’ climbing gear as harness, rope, about 10 quickdraws, a belay device and a helmet. For Dry Tooling you need a pair of ice axes, there are a lot of different ice axes on the market, from the classic steep ice axe to specific Dry Tooling tools. Some models have adjustable handles and exchangeable picks and so can be use for ice, mixed and dry tooling. Mixed climbing boots, the so called ‘fruit boots’ have crampons fixed on the sole and so are much more precise than mountain boots with crampons. If you want to try out Dy Tooling for the first time or just train a bit for ice climbing, also normal rock climbing shoes or mountain boots with crampons will work.
Angelika Rainer on first blood M9+
Photo: Mark Savage
Nearest train station: The closest railway station is in Windermere (4 miles by road to Ambleside)
Nearest airport: Manchester
Nearest town/village: Coniston
Link to location or google earth map: Hodge Close
How to get there:
When reaching the Hodge close car park you will find a track behind a locked gate on the left. For the sector the Works, a track leads from the gate down to a large working quarry. The track bends rightwards and descends. On the left there is a quarried hole, the quarry is accessed using a cable attached to a tree. To reach the Bakestone Quarry, approach as for the previous quarry but leave the path for a small track to the right of the active quarry to a flat mossy area. Pass this to a higher terrace and the pass an old tunnel entrance, then travers scree to 2 old quarry buildings. Go up the steps and the quarry is on the left.
All approach information is taken from the webpage:
Here also the grades of the routes can be found.
Is there parking nearby?: Yes, there is the Hodge close car park
Nearest shop: (outdoor, climbing, biking etc.) In Coniston and Ambleside there are various mountain shops.
As both Coniston and Ambleside are very touristic places, there are lots of B&B or hotels you can choose.


Angelika Rainer on first blood M9+
Photo: Mark Savage