The Mighty or Terrible Yewbarrow
Wainwrights included on this walk: Yewbarrow
Hewitts included on this walk: Yewbarrow, Yewbarrow North Top
Date walked: 25/10/20093 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
I did this as my second Wainwright – a really silly mistake but I think I wanted to get it out of the way. I followed it the same afternoon by Scafell, including clambering onto Pisgah and peering down into the abyss – ending up having terrible nightmares all night!
My first trip up Yewbarrow, we parked in the carpark at the foot, booted up and I set off quickly – not giving myself time to back out. After the steep grassy nose, you go up a rocky zigzag by the foot of Dropping Crag and then head up gullies or a buttress (I chose the loose gully). At the top of the loose, nearly vertical gully, I knew I couldn’t go back down so had to continue. I then went up the left-hand steep scree path and missed out ‘The Great Door’ (Richard went for a peep). After that there is a steep, narrow, rocky ridge which eventually widens to a walk across a wide grassy summit ridge to the cairn.
I knew at that point my problems were nowhere near over though as then there is the infamous ‘Stirrup Crag’ to get down. To cut a long story short, I ended up refusing to go down a big step out over the 2000 foot drop into Mosedale valley and sat down refusing to move. Richard told me to ‘Wait for the helicopter then’ and continued his descent. Luckily two guys saw this and sent him back up for me telling him he couldn’t leave me there! He then found me a sensible (the proper) route down various small chimneys from one ledge onto another. Being long and with a good reach, I found it fairly plain sailing to sit on a ledge and lower myself to the next one – plus we were over the col which was probably only a 100 foot or so below us.
Fast forward quite a few years – I was having a good year. We’d decided to go up Red Pike and Scoat Fell to do the Mosedale Round and set off up Yewbarrow’s grassy ridge again to take the Overbeck Path below Yewbarrow up to the Dore Head col. I had a sudden urge to go up Yewbarrow again – despite a fairly new broken rib I was feeling very adventurous. I communicated my desire to Richard who stopped and stared at me in shock and disbelief. “But you don’t like Yewbarrow’ he said... “I do today” I said, “we’re going up...” “Fine by me” he said and we diverted off up the rocky zig-zag once more.
There was a couple ahead – he was up the buttress and waiting for her – she seemed to be making quite a meal of the buttress. I ignored the scree gully this time and scrambled enthusiastically after her up the buttress. I was hell-bent on zooming past her, completely forgetting about my rib momentarily... by the top of the buttress I was getting quite a painful reminder from it! But I’d won – I was in front...
This time I took the right-hand steep scree path up to the Great Door and onto the peak to its right – quite an airy vantage point! We then both clambered down to the narrow neck round the Great Door and up the next airy and narrow vantage point. The lady who’d been on the buttress wasn’t looking keen but went up both. She was definitely doing more clinging on than me though as this time I was totally confident and happily clambering about.
From there we went up the narrow rocky ridge into the teeth of a gale, at times having to go on hands and knees until we got onto the wider bit as the wind was trying to pluck us off the ridge and hurl us back down. We battled against the wind to the summit and then headed off for Stirrup Crag once more.
This time it was my turn to be the confident one – Richard was going down in front (as is customary for us) but he kept getting a bit stuck and wondering where to go next. I was leaning right out over the drop and looking for his hand and footholds – by now he really thought I’d flipped. We bounded down the crag which finishes with quite an awkward stride round a huge bulge above the final drop onto the steep scree – I thought it was great fun as I squeezed past it.
Then it was all over and we continued on the rest of the Mosedale Round (which I don’t really intend to talk about here). The only other ‘incident’ of note was on the walk back along the road under Yewbarrow back to the car.
After completing the round, we were strolling along the road by the side of Wastwater when Richard shouted and thumped me really hard in the back. Apparently I’d been completely asleep and was walking in the middle of the road in front of a car! This happened several times as, for some reason, I really couldn’t stay awake all the way back along the road and was staggering mostly down the middle. It’s funny that you can still continue walking, with your eyes open, but be totally unconscious – but you can – just not very accurately! Must have had a bad night’s sleep the night before or maybe it was all the excitement at the start!
- mountain coward
by AndrewP » Sun Oct 25, 2009 7:09 am
Lovely pics, esp. of the Wastwater.
by susanmyatt » Sun Oct 25, 2009 2:06 pm
There is another route from about 2/3 of the way along Overbeck below Yewbarrow. You can rake across rough ground and grassy bits to the summit cairn. I would only do that on a clear day I think as you can't afford to choose the wrong route back down that side again so you would need to find the exact route back.
It's a pretty well-defended peak really...
- mountain coward
by john923 » Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:08 pm
- mountain coward
by sipatterson3899 » Sat Nov 14, 2009 9:56 pm
- mountain coward
by fedupofuserids » Mon Oct 25, 2010 6:46 pm
Must find time to read more of your reports, there is always that bit of drama and comedy in them !
Your Scotland reports will be the most useful to me once I start walking properly in Scotland again .
- Posts: 835
- Joined: Mar 24, 2010
by colgregg » Mon Oct 25, 2010 7:14 pm
As I said MC it looks steep, but I'm sure some of that is just the camera angle.
No fedup It really is bloody steep. I've done a lot of descents (as we all have) and coming off Yewbarrow Via Great Door and the gully mentioned is the worst I've encountered. I swore I'd never do it again. The walk along the summit is great and the views over Wastwater and Wasdale head impressive but I'd rather go up and down Stirrup Crag than face that again. Was even more annoyed when I slipped and put a rip in my brand new Peter Storm trousers. M.C. I'd have slapped Richard about a bit for leaving you like that!!
- Just about to drop off the Southern end of Yewbarrow.
by houdi » Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:17 pm
Not sure I understand the connection between Scafell and Pisgah, MC. Pisgah is part of Pillar Rock. Are you saying you climbed up on top of Pisgah. I've done this several times and, even though it wasn't particularly difficult (for me) I'm pretty impressed if you did.
Sorry about the "quote" thing, I still haven't worked out how to use that facility properly.
by colgregg » Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:29 pm
The actual summit of Scafell is a little disappointing after what you will have seen on the journey to get here. But a couple of hundred metres or so to the North and it's a different story. You're above the gills that cut deeply into the vertical cliffs with jaw dropping views into them. Deep Gill Buttress rises to your left from the depths below. Scafell Pinnacle and Pisgah rise in front of you - Rock archtiecture at it's best!
It's possible to scramble onto Deep Gill Buttress and onto Pisgah for an amazing photo opportunity.
by icemandan » Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:38 am
And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho.". Deuteronomy 34:1
although what Moses was doing in North Wales I'm not entirely sure.
Returning to Yewbarrow, I always include it on the Mosedale horseshoe to avoid the appalling slithery descent from Dore Head.
And yeah, I think I should really have slapped Richard about a bit. He doesn't often leave me and is very good nowadays - I did give him a pretty stiff rollocking though when we got back! It was pretty early on in our walking career and I think he just didn't have the patience or understand what was going through my head as he was so confident from the start about scrambling.
I've never been down the Dore Head Screes and I can't imagine anything which would induce me to do so - it's looks scarily steep - and steep and loose I just hate! I always use the Overbeck route between Yewbarrow and Red Pike - maybe longer but much nicer...
- mountain coward
by houdi » Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:00 am