How to get there:
Although Baildon appears to be a lot further away than Almscliff and Ilkley etc it is actually one of the easiest crags to get to by public transport. The train from Leeds to Shipley takes 11 minutes and the walk to the crag is another 20/25. From the station (being sure to stock up on cheap lunch at Aldi across the road turn left down the main road until you reach a large junction, turn down Otley road and follow this over the canal until you reach a corner. Take the road in front of you, Cliffe Lane and continue round the corner as it turns into Cliffe Terrace after about 400 meters a path leads off left round some playing fields. Go along this and through a school and housing estate heading for the cliff up on the hill. Behold - Baildon! Alternatively drive, and park on one of the roads below the crag - do not leave any valuables in the car!
Baildon is often misunderstood and regarded as a loose, sandy and generally horrible venue. Admittedly you will encounter looseness, sandiness and general horribleness, but the quality of the climbing is well worth the often not so good top-outs and the local louts. Baildon's main lines follow cracks and the occasional corner with harder face climbing in between. Jamming ability, crimp strength and the ability to cope with mental locals will aid you here. Baildon is quick drying and south facing making it a perfect winter and early and late season venue. Ignore the numbers at the bottom of routes, they bare little relation to the numbers in the Yorkshire Gritstone guide.
A reasonable selection in the lower grades await the Baildon enthusiast. Prairie Steps, Agnostic Arete and HMS Amethyst are all good routes at Severe 4a**, well protected and slabby. At Hard Severe Conch HS 4b** is a nice wide crack in a slab and the brilliant Epitaph HS 4a** works its way up some impressive ground! VS can be said to be Baildon's 'grade' with the fantastic Bramble Crack VS 4c** and Joanna VS 5a*** as good tests of jamming technique, Hades VS 4c*** providing some barn door lay backing up a glorious flake and its neighbour, Epitaph Direct VS 4b** involving some technical moves up a corner. Finally, the short but not so sweet Whillan's arete VS 4c** gives a ridiculous sense of exposure for 5 meters of climbing! Although the crag is rather lacking at the grades of HVS and E1 there are a couple of routes to get stuck into, including Big Curver HVS 5b* and the tough jamming crack of Ram E1 5b*. At E2 things hot up again with the crack and wall of Scar E2 5c***, the crazily steep Satire E2 5b*** and the steep crack of Moria E2 5c**. Plenty more in the higher grades awaits with Swingover E3 5c***, Anne of Cleaves E3 5c**, Wombling Wall E4 6a***, Scar Wall E5 6b* and a couple of other newer additions at E5+.
Good Boulder Problems:
The bouldering at Baildon is limited but good in the higher grades. See http://www.yorkshiregrit.com/baildon.html for details and make sure you contribute to the costs of that brilliant website! For lower grade bouldering in the area, check out Shipley Glen for a collection of fantastic, if a little highball easier problems!