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Steel Edge, Wetherlam

PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:43 am
by mountain coward
There is one route onto Wetherlam which Wainwright, to much comment in the various walking forums and magazines, doesn’t appear to have done! This is Steel Edge...

Steel Edge can be found if you go up Tilberthwaite Gill and Wetherlam comes into view – Wetherlam Edge is the right-hand edge and Steel Edge is the ridge going up to the left of the coombe. A great round is to go up Steel Edge and descend Wetherlam Edge – a short and fairly scrambly route. Richard and I decided to do this route one visit to South Lakeland.

We parked at Tilberthwaite (plenty of free parking and a lovely quiet and scenic spot, especially for picnicking) and set off up the left hand side of the gill – you can go up either side – either has pretty spectacular views into the gill.
In no time we were at the head of the gill where we crossed the beck and headed towards our objective. Steel Edge looks pretty steep from there but I’d read it was pretty much okay but a bit loose – I headed up to see. From the foot of the ridge I could see it was steep but was really just scree and didn’t seem to have any obstacles or difficulties on it but was quite narrow. The craglets to the right falling into the coombe were pretty small but it was quite a steep drop on the left.

The ascent itself had no real difficulties but I did have a bit of a strange ‘do’ near the top. Maybe it was because I’d been a bit nervous at the start of the ridge, or maybe it was because I’d been taking photos down the ridge – looking down steep things through the SLR sometimes makes me a bit woozy. I realised my heart rate was all over the place – too fast and really, really uneven. Richard had gone up ahead while I’d been photographing a guy coming up behind us. I sat down and shouted up for him to come back. He stopped and waited but, not realising anything was up, refused to come back down. Of course that stressed me even more and made my heart-rate even more wonky.

I felt quite sick and was getting seriously worried I was having some kind of heart-attack. But I also realised that the only thing to do, in the absence of any help from Richard for the time being, was to stay as calm as humanly possible in the circumstances so I sat and gazed at the view. It took a full 10 minutes but eventually my heart started to beat normally and I slowly ascended up to where Richard was waiting... and played hell! I don’t suppose there was much he could have done though...

The ridge was now done and we continued up to Wetherlam summit where we had a short break before descending Wetherlam Edge.

Wetherlam Edge is a treat – you can make it as hard or easy as you want. You can either have a scree path which makes its way safely down or you can scramble on rocks. Going up I opt for the scramble which can be very exciting when damp as the rocks are then very greasy so you have to ensure very good handholds. It’s very firm though on the scrambles and there are small chimneys and all sorts of things to practice your technique on. Going down I always use the path as it’s difficult to see from above what you’re approaching amongst the rocky scrambles.

We then descended the other side of Tilberthwaite Gill back to the car...
Steel Edge,Wetherlam.jpg
Steel Edge,Rich.jpg
Steel Edge.jpg
Steel Edge ridge.jpg

Re: Steel Edge, Wetherlam

PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:49 pm
by susanmyatt
Great post, MC, this is the only peak I haven't done in the Southern Fells and we have parked where you did for Holme Fell, a lovely area, thanks Sue :D

Re: Steel Edge, Wetherlam

PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 12:18 am
by mountain coward
It's such a short round you could have done both the same day! 2 for the price of 1! :D