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Sharp Edge downhill: Blencathra from Mungrisdale

Sharp Edge downhill: Blencathra from Mungrisdale


Postby simon-b » Sun Jul 12, 2015 1:42 am

Wainwrights included on this walk: Bannerdale Crags, Blencathra, Bowscale Fell, Souther Fell

Hewitts included on this walk: Bannerdale Crags, Blencathra, Bowscale Fell

Date walked: 08/06/2015

Time taken: 5.3

Distance: 14.8 km

Ascent: 918m

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2015-06-08_0721 148km.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



With a day off work on Monday 8 June, I booked a room at Netherdene B and B in (the northern) Troutbeck for the Sunday night. I wanted some ridge scrambling practice as I was going to Glen Coe later in the month to do, among other things, the Aonach Eagach. So Sunday was spent doing a Helvellyn round with the other two famous Lakeland Edges. So to Monday, and I drove to Mungrisdale. This round of four Wainwrights would often be taken clockwise, generally the better way to do it. I had reasons for going in the other direction:

1. Tackling Sharp Edge downhill would be good practice for Aonach Eagach.

2. Bowscale Fell was on my 'direct ascents to do' list.

3. I'd done the circuit twice before clockwise, the second time adding Mungrisdale Common. Each time I'd used a different descent from Bowscale Fell. An anti-clockwise circuit gave the opportunity for a 3rd variation, The Tongue, which was better done uphill.

So I set off from Mungrisdale, the weather ideal.

P6080070.JPG
Leaving Mungrisdale en route to The Tongue


P6080071.JPG
Heading for The Tongue


It was quite a steep ascent onto The Tongue, and a climb I enjoyed.

P6080072.JPG
Climbing The Tongue


P6080073.JPG
Looking back to the River Glenderamackin


Then followed a trudge across sometimes marshy grass to Bowscale Fell.

P6080085.JPG
Western and NW Fells and Skiddaw from Bowscale Fell


Next it was on to Bannerdale Crags.

P6080090.JPG
Moving towards Bannerdale Crags


I'd also climbed this hill the previous year by direct ascent via the east ridge; a good way up.

P6080095.JPG
Looking east form Bannerdale Crags


P6080096.JPG
Blencathra from Bannerdale Crags


Then it was time to go for Blencathra.

P6080103.JPG
Ascending Blencathra


I reached the summit (Hallsfell Top) to be greeted by superb views in the fine weather.

P6080108.JPG
Derwent Water and Gategill Fell from Blencathra


P6080110.JPG
The view south across Lakeland from Blencathra


Next it was time to move off along the eastern edge of the summit plateau...

P6080114.JPG
Doddick Fell and Scales Fell from Blencathra


...heading north above Tarn Crags.

P6080116.JPG
Scales Tarn from above Tarn Crags


Sharp Edge came into view and looked just a bit intimidating when approached from above. I began the steep descent east towards the edge. I've climbed this way twice and this section then presented no difficulties. Coming down it was a bit more awkward and just a little hairy.

P6080119.JPG
Climbing down towards Sharp Edge


The views of Scales Tarn all the way down via the ridge were beautiful.

P6080120.JPG
Scales Tarn from above Sharp Edge


Moving down a bit further, I encountered a Cumbrian scrambler coming up. He said he'd climbed up Sharp Edge hundreds of times, but could count on the fingers of one hand the times he'd descended this way.

P6080122.JPG
Moving further down towards Sharp Edge


The bad step was reached. This bit also seemed to cause more adrenalin taken in this direction than on the two previous occasions when I had ascended this way.

P6080124.JPG
Sharp Edge and the bad step


Once past the bad step, moving down the arete became enjoyable, with spectacular scenery all around. Plenty of care was still required, though! One or two more people were coming up the ridge.

P6080126.JPG
Scales Tarn from Sharp Edge


Before long the descent of the edge was over.

P6080127-001.JPG
Looking back at Sharp Edge


P6080128.JPG
Passing Scales Tarn


I took the path leading to Mousthwaite Comb. On the way I met two women on their way to Sharp Edge. One of them had done it before, and was looking forward to going up again. But she said she wouldn't fancy it downhill!

Mousthwaite Comb was reached before long, and I moved onto Souther Fell.

P6080129.JPG
Blencathra and Bannerdale Crags from Souther Fell


P6080130.JPG
Bowfell and Scafell ranges and Great Gable from Souther Fell


Then I began the descent NE.

P6080132.JPG
Moving down Souther Fell's NE ridge


Although not too far south of the Scottish border, I'm always struck by how typically English the scene is when looking down at the Mungrisdale area from these hills.

P6080137.JPG
Descending towards Mungrisdale


Back at the village, it was back into the car and home. 15 days later in Glen Coe, I met up with Cat, a WH member from Fife, and we conquered the Aoncah Eagach.
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simon-b
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Re: Sharp Edge downhill: Blencathra from Mungrisdale

Postby ancancha » Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:06 am

Nice looking practice :clap:
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ancancha
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Re: Sharp Edge downhill: Blencathra from Mungrisdale

Postby trailmasher » Sun Jul 12, 2015 12:09 pm

Good report and wonderful images simon b. :clap: The area around Blencathra is one of my favourite stamping grounds and re coming down onto Sharp Edge is as you say more of challenge than going up it. :roll: Well done on a great walk :clap:
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trailmasher
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Re: Sharp Edge downhill: Blencathra from Mungrisdale

Postby dav2930 » Sun Jul 12, 2015 7:49 pm

Nice one Simon, great report. Sharp Edge is definitely a lot trickier coming down. The trickiest bit, I think, is the slab just above the nick where the edge adjoins Foule Crag, though there is an easier gully just to the right (left going down). I have a lot of respect for Sharp Edge, as someone I knew many years ago was killed on it when he slipped in wet conditions. It's not to be underestimated!
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dav2930
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Re: Sharp Edge downhill: Blencathra from Mungrisdale

Postby simon-b » Sun Jul 12, 2015 9:25 pm

Thanks, RTC and dav. The accident dav mentions fully justifies RTC's decision to turn back. Halls Fell is a great way up. And Sharp Edge should certainly not be underestimated.

Ancancha, it was good practice, which would also have worked vice versa. I learned a lot on Aonach Eagach which would have facilitated a more efficient and less fearsome descent of Sharp Edge.

Cheers, trailmasher. Blencathra is a fine hill. Coming down Sharp Edge, you really notice how polished the rocks are, even when they're dry.
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simon-b
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Re: Sharp Edge downhill: Blencathra from Mungrisdale

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Mon Jul 13, 2015 3:36 pm

I can certainly see the value in practice terms for bigger things but having looked down upon Sharp Edge I'm not sure I'll be trying it any time soon. It's a very nice corner of the Lakes round that way.
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johnkaysleftleg
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Re: Sharp Edge downhill: Blencathra from Mungrisdale

Postby ChrisW » Mon Jul 13, 2015 6:07 pm

Nice shots of a lovely 'practice' route Simon and those typically english views do my heart good just to see :clap:
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Re: Sharp Edge downhill: Blencathra from Mungrisdale

Postby simon-b » Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:33 pm

johnkaysleftleg wrote:I can certainly see the value in practice terms for bigger things but having looked down upon Sharp Edge I'm not sure I'll be trying it any time soon. It's a very nice corner of the Lakes round that way.


It is a great place, Anthony. Remember, Wainwright appears to have done Sharp Edge both ways. He may have used the bypass path, but this doesn't dodge perhaps the trickiest bits. He didn't get up the Howitzer, which you did! You should be OK taking on Sharp Edge uphill, at least.


Thank you, Chris. I'm sure there are plenty of Canadian views which do your heart good too.
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simon-b
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Re: Sharp Edge downhill: Blencathra from Mungrisdale

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Mon Jul 13, 2015 8:56 pm

simon-b wrote:It is a great place, Anthony. Remember, Wainwright appears to have done Sharp Edge both ways. He may have used the bypass path, but this doesn't dodge perhaps the trickiest bits. He didn't get up the Howitzer, which you did! You should be OK taking on Sharp Edge uphill, at least.



Perhaps one day when I'm feeling reckless :lol: The difference between Sharp Edge and the Howitzer is what happens if you slip.
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