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Pillar from Gatesgarth Buttermere
by Guinessman » Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:56 am
Wainwrights included on this walk: Pillar
Hewitts included on this walk: Pillar
Date walked: 15/02/2015
Time taken: 7
Distance: 17.1 km
Ascent: 1632m1 person thinks this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
After checking the MWIS site and Weatherline decided to drive over to Buttermere as the forecasts indicated it would be better over that side. As I drove along the A66 it seemed that the forecast might be wrong as all the northern fells were clear and the central and west hills shrouded in cloud. As I drove down Borrowdale and over Honister the clouds cleared. My original intention had been to do the High level traverse onto Pillar, a route I'd done quite a few times but not for a few years. As I parked the car at Gatesgarth I could see that the Buttermere hills were stripped bare of snow with only patches left on top. Seeing that I made the decision to leave the ice axe and crampons in the car boot.
Setting off over Scarth gap. When I got to the top of Scarth Gap I could see that the north facing slopes of Pillar had a bit of snow on them. Still undecided I thought that I would wait until I got to the path that drops down to the High level traverse
Ennerdale from the path ascending Looking Stead. Lot of forestry commission work has taken place recently
Shot of the path up the first shoulder on the path to Pillar. The high level traverse exits this path off to the right just as the ascent begins. Seeing snow lying on the traverse I decided to go up the shoulder instead
View back to the pass
Path up onto Pillar itself
View from the top of Pillar, Scafells in the background to the right, the gables to the left. On the top I inspected the path up from the high level traverse and found it to be very icy underfoot with only a thin layer of ice and no good for walking on. I found the descent from the upper reaches of Steeple later on to be the same
View down Ennerdale from Pillar
Continuation of the path over towards Steeple
View back to Pillar, the descent no problem as the south facing slopes were stripped of ice and snow
Path to Steeple
View back to Pillar
View of the descent down Long crag from Steeple
Two shots of the descent down Long crag. It doesn't look it but the path was covered in thin ice in the upper reaches
There is no path from Long Crag over to High beck, you have to make your own. Drop down the ridge and after the last buttress look over to the right and pick out a spur running over towards the beck. The forest used to be a good guide and it was easy to aim for the corner of the forest to join the path alongside High beck, however the forest is now stripped back. Pick your way through the boulders and steepish heather and drop down the spur. You then meet the path alongside High beck and follow that for 1/2 mile down through the forest turning right when you meet the forest track. Follow this for 1 1/2 miles, Pillar rock dominates the skyline as you walk
Cross over the river by a footbridge and then join an angled footpath rising back up to Scarth cap and back to Buttermere.
A good fitness testing route, 10.6 miles( 17.1 Km) 1620 mtrs ascent and on this occasion 7hrs 20 mins. I have done it before with a group of 4 and took 8 1/2 hrs so quite pleased with this efffort
by mike202 » Mon Feb 16, 2015 8:20 pm
I did these two a few years ago although not that descent route. They are re-wilding Ennerdale, removing the conifers and planting native trees I think. Not a bad thing.
by Guinessman » Fri Feb 20, 2015 7:21 pm
The re afforestation in some areas is coming along nicely, the top of the valley is a bit bare though.
by mamoset » Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:17 pm
by Guinessman » Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:49 pm
mamoset wrote:Nice pics them of a different route to take for that walk.
Thanks for that, to be honest its the route I always take for these hills as its the shortest driving route for a day trip for me
by simon-b » Sat Feb 21, 2015 10:14 pm
by Guinessman » Sun Feb 22, 2015 10:46 am
simon-b wrote:A fine route, Guinessman, in one of the best parts of Lakeland. Did you regret leaving the axe and crampons behind when you encountered the icy bits, or were these sections safe enough with care? I'll be in the Western and North Western bit of the Lakes next weekend, and the Met Office is currently saying axe and crampons essential above 700 m (although their assessment takes place on Helvellyn) and it sounds like there'll be freeze-thaw cycles into next week.
No I didn't regret leaving the ice axe and crampons, the ice and snow as they were, were only patchy and only on north facing slopes. The ice was that thin Kahtoolas would have been more appropriate. As you know its probably entirely different now and in fact I think it snowed down to about 1500 feet the that night
by simon-b » Sun Feb 22, 2015 1:29 pm
Guinessman wrote:No I didn't regret leaving the ice axe and crampons, the ice and snow as they were, were only patchy and only on north facing slopes. The ice was that thin Kahtoolas would have been more appropriate. As you know its probably entirely different now and in fact I think it snowed down to about 1500 feet the that night
Thanks for that, GM.