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Climbers Traverse Great Gable

PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2015 3:46 pm
by Guinessman

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Over the lakes yesterday. MWIS forecast had the weather as 40/50 MPH winds on the tops, rain and thunderstorms which didn't look promising. The day was an arranged meet, meeting two others so backing out wasn't an option. In the event the forecast was well wide of the mark with only one strong gust which lasted for two minutes and only spots of rain. It was a warm day around 25 c. Surprisingly the lakes was very quiet, only saw about 20 people.It was a late start not getting going until 10.45hrs. I hadn't been on this route for some 17/18 years and chose to do it to try and get back into scrambling and feel comfortable with it. I need to do the Inn Pinn in the next few years before I'm past it.

Up the rocky path to the right of Taylorgill force.
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View back down into Borrowdale. Just at this point an RAF jet flew over about 100 feet above us. It was a weird sensation I was actually looking the other way and only heard it at first, on turning I saw the jet almost on its side as it banked right over Taylorgill force. It was too quick to get the camera in action
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Continued up to Styhead and had bait at the rescue box
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From the rescue box there are 3 paths to your right . The first on the right goes up the front of Gable to the top, the left goes back down to wasdale. The required path is the one in the middle. follow that initially on grass until you hit a clear path cutting through the rocks. You then come to the first crag. The path continues along the base of the crag cutting through the large boulders
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Continue around the boulders until you come to a large scree field. There are two paths cutting across the scree, I always take the higher one as it ascends gradually at an angle avoiding a straight uphill walk further on. The path leads onto Napes crag.
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View backover
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As you follow the path at Napes you get your first view of Napes Needle which until now has blended in with the rocks
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Easy scrambling leads to the base of Napes Needle and leads onto the open chimney at the rear of the Needle. Climb up this which is known as "threading the needle". Its about 25 feet on polished rock with plenty of handholds and footholds
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Scrambling buddy coming up the back of the Needle

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and then climbing down the other side a drop of about 35 feet down the cracks
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After climbing down from the back of the Needle you drop into a scree filled gully and then climb back onto the rib opposite the needle. From there you get an excellent view of the Needle

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The path continues along through the rocks with a few moves requiring hands on rock until you come to the Sphinx rock

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You can scramble around the back of the Sphinx, I went around the front on grassy ledges and you then drop into a gully. From there I crossed the scree and onto a rib which leads up to Great Gable. I did see two blokes going up the rib behind the Sphinx

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From the top we went down into windy gap and because one of the lads felt knackered due to the heat we dropped straight down to styhead and back to Borrowdale.

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Re: Climbers Traverse Great Gable

PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2015 6:50 pm
by stevesey
Excellent write up - another one for the todo list. :-)

Re: Climbers Traverse Great Gable

PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2015 11:36 pm
by dav2930
Good scramble that. Makes you want to climb the Needle though doesn't it? I came this way when I did the Coast to Coast, as a variation on AW's original, & wild camped at Angle Tarn. I was lucky with the weather.

If you're looking for practice for the Inn Pin, have you thought about trying Pinnacle Ridge on St. Sunday Crag? Similar standard.

Great report.

Re: Climbers Traverse Great Gable

PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:55 am
by Guinessman
Thanks for the comments,might have a look at pinnacle ridge. Don't know about climbing the needle,don't think my skills are up to that level

Re: Climbers Traverse Great Gable

PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2015 7:20 pm
by ChrisW
A nice hike and tasty little scramble Guinessman looks really enjoyable :thumbup: Good luck with the Inn Pinn when you do get around to it :wink:

Re: Climbers Traverse Great Gable

PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2015 8:35 pm
by Alteknacker
Some great looking rock there! Thanks for this - now in the memory banks for the future... :D

Re: Climbers Traverse Great Gable

PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 10:58 am
by davegreg
It''s great´╝üSpectacular mountains and beautiful sight. :thumbup:

Re: Climbers Traverse Great Gable

PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 7:54 pm
by Guinessman
Thanks for the comments everyone.

Re: Climbers Traverse Great Gable

PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 7:02 pm
by stevesey
Wondering how well this would work as a descent route? Seems to be both up and downclimbs when ascending. What do you think?

Re: Climbers Traverse Great Gable

PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 8:25 pm
by Guinessman
Yes it would work as a descent. You could drop down to the cairn shown in the photograph. From there ,you are at the top of Westmoreland crag you could drop to the right around the crag,from there there is a path trending left that goes to the top of a rib that leads to the sphinx rock area. Personally I would go to the right from the cairn and drop down the rib to the right of the scree . When you can see the side of the sphinx and more or less level with the needle cross the scree and join the traverse.

Re: Climbers Traverse Great Gable

PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 9:31 pm
by simon-b
Good report, Guinessman. A pretty exciting way to climb Great Gable.

Re: Climbers Traverse Great Gable

PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 3:38 pm
by johnkaysleftleg
I was playing with the idea of using this to link Kirk Fell and Lingmell, do you think you'd get a dog along the traverse?

Re: Climbers Traverse Great Gable

PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:11 pm
by Guinessman
johnkaysleftleg wrote:I was playing with the idea of using this to link Kirk Fell and Lingmell, do you think you'd get a dog along the traverse?


I'd say no unless in a rucksack. You could however use the girdle path which contours below the crags and joins the col before Kirkfell.

I've had my westie on striding and Swirral edge with no problem but the gable climbers traverse is more hands on.

Re: Climbers Traverse Great Gable

PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:26 pm
by simon-b
Guinessman wrote:
johnkaysleftleg wrote:I was playing with the idea of using this to link Kirk Fell and Lingmell, do you think you'd get a dog along the traverse?


I'd say no unless in a rucksack. You could however use the girdle path which contours below the crags and joins the col before Kirkfell.

I've had my westie on striding and Swirral edge with no problem but the gable climbers traverse is more hands on.


I agree with Guinessman there, Hughie should be OK on the regular South Traverse path described by Wainwright as part of the Gable Girdle.