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Catstyecam - North West Ridge +

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 1:34 pm
by Broggy1

our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

A day off work and nice weather saw me make just my second trip to the Lakes of 2014 on Friday. While the past few months have concentrated almost exclusively on the Dales and the Pennines this was a nice chance to hit some more familiar territory on what would be a quieter day across the District.

The North West Ridge of Catstyecam had been one I'd always been keen to do to give me a fuller appreciation of this mountain - which is often a mere afterthought (or warm up for) Helvellyn itself. It also looked steep, rocky and direct and I was sure it would be a terrific route up the hill.

Finding a free parking spot just up the road in Higher Glenridding (the advantages of weekday hiking!) I set off along the Greenside Road up to the Youth Hostel before taking the higher path towards Sticks Pass and then the lower path towards the White Side Zig Zags. Catstyecam dominates the view from here and the NW Ridge is in great profile.

First look at NW Ridge.JPG
First look at Catstyecam and the NW Ridge

Progress is fast and easy and in very little time at all I found myself leaving the path to follow the track towards the Keppelcove Dam at the foot of the North West Ridge ridge. There are signs saying not to walk across the Dam and while I obeyed them and dropped in and out of the stream valley below, I think it's fair to say that the easiest route is just to walk straight across it.

From here you follow a grassy track to the base of the ridge where it is steep and rocky all the way to the summit cairn. In the lower parts there are a few minor scrambles but once you reach the higher slopes it is mostly scree, odd rocks and grass. This is a very satisfactory route up this mountain - quiet and direct - and really gains you a better appreciation for this mountain. It would be spectacular in winter under stable snow I would imagine.

At foot of Dam NW Ridge.JPG
At the foot of the North West Ridge near Keppelcove Dam

Looking back down the NW Ridge to Dam.JPG
Looking back down the ridge to the Dam from near the top

Top of Castye Cam.JPG
Summit of Catstyecam

Swirral Edge.JPG
Swirral Edge to Helvellyn

From this point I had no set in stone plans but as I could only see a few people on Striding Edge and the fact it had been 4 years since my last visit to the Edge, I decided to drop down to Red Tarn and head back up the other side rather than take the Swirral Edge route to Helvellyn.

From here, I was delighted to find I had the Edge to myself - meeting the first two people of the walk after dropping down from the Chimney at the end of the Edge.

No need for a massive description here as most people on here will be familiar with the Edge already, but on a day like this (clear, dry with no wind) the Edge is a doddle and sticking to the crest is easy. It's worth mentioning though that there are clear bypass routes for anyone who doesn't like the exposure of the crest and obviously the edge is not a place for a windy day.

Striding Edge

Striding Edge

Striding Edge

High Spying How.JPG
Looking back at High Spying How

Kilnshaw Chimney.JPG
Looking down the Chimney at the end of the Edge

Looking back up KE.JPG
Looking back up the Chimney

Looking back at SE.JPG
Looking back at Striding Edge (bypass path visible)

Final climb to Helvellyn.JPG
Final Climb to Helvellyn (much easier than it looks)

SE from above.JPG
Striding Edge from above

Summit of Helvellyn

Trig on Helvellyn (defo one of those times were the Trig is lower than the actual summit)

Down on Swirral Edge.JPG
Looking down on Swirral Edge and Catstyecam from Helvellyn

I'd been keen to add in White Side to the route to see the North West Ridge of Catstyecam from that angle so it was now a case of an easy up and down route along the broad ridge over Helvellyn Lower Man and White Side.

Once at the top of White Side I decided to carry on to Raise and Stybarrow Dodd hopefully heading back along Sheffield Pike to Glenridding. However at the top of Stybarrow Dodd I could see the weather was changing with Skiddaw and Blencathra now engulfed in dark clouds.

A quick change of plan was in order and I retreated over pathless ground off the Dodd and joined the good path coming down from Sticks Pass all the way back to the car. This proved a good decision as the rain caught up with me just before I reached the car but left me dry enough for a comfortable drive home.

NW Ridge.JPG
NW Ridge from Lower Man

NW Ridge from Whiteside.JPG
Best view of the NW Ridge from just below White Side

Rain coming in.JPG
Rain coming in above Catstyecam

Re: Catstyecam - North West Ridge +

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 2:24 pm
by nigheandonn
You're braver than me :) Looks like a good way up, though.

It's nice to see some pictures along Striding Edge, too, to get a better idea of what it's like - it almost looks easier than Swirral Edge, but maybe that's deceptive :)

Re: Catstyecam - North West Ridge +

PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 1:01 pm
by john923
It's always good to see what the non-obvious route looks like and your pictures make it look very do-able. A nice combination of the less-travelled and much-trodden.

Re: Catstyecam - North West Ridge +

PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:36 pm
by colgregg
That's a great day out. I needed to bag Catstycam and was looking at the N.W Ridge. I had a senior moment and picked the wrong path from Greenside and headed towards Red Tarn instead. When I got onto Whiteside I said a quiet thank F for that!! the N.W. ridge looked a grueller of a way up. Went up Swirrel Edge across to raise White Stones and Sheffield Pike.