walkhighlands

This board helps you to share your walking route experiences in England and Wales... or overseas.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Threading the Needle on the Gable Girdle via Base Brown.

Threading the Needle on the Gable Girdle via Base Brown.


Postby trailmasher » Fri May 05, 2017 4:35 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Base Brown, Green Gable

Hewitts included on this walk: Base Brown, Green Gable

Date walked: 25/04/2017

Time taken: 4.58

Distance: 14.63 km

Ascent: 1338m

3 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).


Gable Girdle via Base Brown.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


On his next visit home from working on the gas rig Chris wanted to get up on to Base Brown, a hill that he had looked at a few times as we have walked below it on our way to visit some of its larger and more famous neighbours. As it would have made for only a short walk, a walk that didn't seem to warrant his long drive over from the northeast, I suggested that we fit in the Gable Girdle along with Threading the Needle - something I last did some 10½ years ago - by way of diverting and then passing over the small rocky shoulder that separates Napes Needle from Great Napes instead of following the usual and lower south traverse path to which Chris readily agreed. When we arrive back at Windy Gap the plan then was to re-climb Green Gable and continue on over Brandreth, Grey Knotts and then descend by Newhouse Gill and the old pencil lead - plumbago - mines.


As there is to be a fair bit of scrambling we needed - or wanted - a dry day for this walk especially as there are three near vertical scrambles to negotiate as well as plenty of rock on the ground to be clambering over and across. The weather forecast was good, a fine day with sun, and a fair wind that would increase in strength during the afternoon. There was also a chance of some showers of snow or hail later in the afternoon.

Well Tuesday dawned bright and sunny as promised with the blue sky marred only by the odd white cloud being hurried across it by some high flying and unfelt - as yet - wind. The temperature was a cool 4°c but despite the chill there was still a haze over the Pennines that lie not too far away from where I live. But it was a promising start and we set off happy with the feeling of the good days walking that was ahead of us.

As we drove west and got nearer to Keswick we could see that a lot of the mountains were carrying a fair covering of snow with Blencathra and Skiddaw looking exceptionally white. Clough Head, the Dodds, and following the view across to Helvellyn gave a similar image of a snow clad January Lakeland scene, but where we were heading with Grisedale Pike, Causey Pike, etc now in view it could be seen that those hills were bare of snow that boded well for us as we turned off the A66 and headed into Keswick from where we would then drive along the B5289 to Seathwaite where we would hopefully find a place to park even though it was barely 8:30am.

When we arrived at Seathwaite we found that not only were we the second car to have parked up but also that someone - either the farmer, the National Trust, or both in collusion with each other - have parked a lot of very large, rounded boulders on the edges of the grass verges and the first part of the narrow parking area between the last large tree and the farmyard therefore denying a lot of previous parking spaces to prospective walkers. Maybe it's the wrong way to be but I couldn't help but think that it was a cynical ploy to get more people to pay the farmer £3 for a parking space on his field; a move that would help put many tax free pounds in his pocket. Now don't get me wrong here, I don't mind paying and £3 for a car full of people or even a lone driver is still a very reasonable price to pay for a day on the fells, any of the fells, never mind these much sought after giants but roadside parking has been an institution here at Seathwaite since time immemorial. Chris and I were fortunate to get a freebie today.

It was still a cool 4°c as we prepared ourselves for the walk with deep blue skies and the shadows of the few clouds moving across the still brown brackened fell sides, interspersed by the green of new leaves that were just about bursting from the hardy trees clinging to the rocky slopes on both sides of the valley. Directly to the west were Sourmilk Gill and the Seathwaite Slabs our means of escaping the valley to reach our first destination of Base Brown that is further around to the southwest. We could see the water tumbling over the slabs and down the gill but not as much as I have seen in the past. We could also see the tree lined gully of Newhouse Gill alongside the old plumbago mines that would be our intended route back to the car.
2 - Base Brown-Hanging Stone crag and Sourmilk Gill.JPG
Base Brown-Hanging Stone crag and Sourmilk Gill.

Instead of walking through the farmyard and turning right down the lane towards the footbridge spanning the River Derwent we walked through the open gate in the wall to our right of the parked car, initially walked the wrong way and then picked up the lane by walking back and then to our left. Once over the bridge we followed the well paved path of pitched stone which is steady in its gradient to first reach a ladder stile that allows access over the wall to regain the path that is now on the other side. As we climbed the steadily steepening path the contrast between the monopoly of brown on the fell sides and the green of the valley bottom became all too obvious as the sun shine on the green fields made them look like a string of emeralds. We could also see that the numbers of parked cars had increased in number.
10 - The view along the valley with Thornythwaite Fell to the right.JPG
The view along the valley with Thornythwaite Fell to the right.

Thornythwaite Fell leading up to Glaramara was across the valley with Rosthwaite Fell poking up behind it whilst further northeast along the valley Grange Fell with King's How and Jopplety How can be seen. Even at this meagre height the views are fantastic and we couldn't wait to see what lay before as we ascended even higher. Although I have looked across these fells many times before a different day makes for a new experience, light and weather conditions contributing to make these same and familiar scenes different every time they are looked upon.

As we climbed ever higher the path eases off in one or two places giving us some gentle respite from the now steep climb. We were getting nearer to the waterfalls and I couldn't but help but take a couple of photos of the water tumbling over the smooth, black rock.
9 - Sourmilk Gill tumbles down the Slabs.JPG
Sourmilk Gill tumbles down the slabs.

It wasn't long after leaving the waterfalls behind that we could now see the full face of the crags of the Hanging Stone fame and it would be not much further on that we would leave the pitch stoned path to break away from the main path that runs alongside Gillercomb to make our way across the pathless fell to pick up a path that is shown on the OS map and starts to the east of the front, north end of the crag.
12 - Looking towards Hanging Stone crag.JPG
Looking towards Hanging Stone crag.

As we got nearer to the crag we decided to forego looking for the path and climb up the crag instead. It would be a bit harder work than walking around the side of the crag and our first scramble of the day as we made our way towards a rough grass and rocky break in the face of the crag.

The climbing proved to be alright as we moved from one side of the rock face to the other slowly working our way up along the many 'steps' some of which were quite high and a reasonable amount of pulling and stretching to get a decent foothold was required on some of the larger ones. The rocks were wet in a few places and that was just a function of ground water seeping through but that in itself made for careful moves in the odd spot. Nevertheless we were soon at the top passing a massive wedged up boulder sitting near the top of the crag…
15 - A wedged up boulder at the top of the crag.JPG
A wedged up boulder at the top of the crag.

before reaching a well seen path that appeared to start from nowhere. It was not long after walking this path for a short distance that we could see the short grassy north side of Base Brown with the path leading directly to the summit cairn.

The views from this 646 metre viewpoint are exceptional and promise to be even better when we reach the summit of Green Gable some 150 metres higher than we were just now.
19 - Chris at Base Brown summit cairn with both Green and Great Gable in the background.JPG
Chris at Base Brown summit cairn with both Green and Great Gable in the background.

Brandreth is to the west with the rocky east face of Grey Knotts overlooking the large, brown expanse of the wetlands of Gillercomb.
14 - The east face of Grey Knotts.JPG
The east face of Grey Knotts.

East there are the fells already mentioned, Glaramara, Thornythwaite Fell, and the ones looking northeast along the valley.
16 - Another view north and northeast from the top of the Hanging Stone crag.JPG
Another view north and northeast from the top of the Hanging Stone crag.

The snow capped Skiddaw, Blencathra, and a similar white topped chunk of the eastern fells can be seen and although it's a little hazy the views are quite awesome.

We left Base Brown behind to drop into the hollow of Blackmoor Pols to meet up with the Gillercomb path to Base Brown before starting the steep and rugged climb up to the summit of Green Gable, the satellite of Great Gable that is towering behind it and separated by the col of the aptly named Windy Gap. From the cairn on Green Gable the views are amazing as we looked down and along Ennerdale with the classic High Stile Ridge and Haystacks separating it from the Buttermere Valley with Crummock Water and Buttermere both making a shy appearance with Grasmoor, Whiteless Pike, Wandhope, the fells of the Newlands Round all in sight but not in the photo. On the opposite side to the High Stile Range we could see Kirk Fell, Looking Stead, Pillar with its Rock, Steeple and Scoat Fell sat behind it. The other way and south we could see the Scafell Range, Esk Pike and Bow Fell behind it and southeast we could just about see the highest of the Langdale Pikes.
25 - A view northwest over the Ennerdale and Buttermere fells.JPG
A view northwest over the Ennerdale and Buttermere fells.

26 - Kirk Fell and some Wasdale fells from Green Gable.JPG
Kirk Fell and some Wasdale fells from Green Gable.

Well the views are truly wonderful but we must move on and although the sun is shining and its warm work walking, when stopped the cold wind starts to creep in through the layers and in any event we have a way to go yet and a break is due once we find some shelter lower down and get out of the wind.
27 - Skiddaw-Blencathra-the Dodd's and a multitude of other fells from Green Gable.JPG
Skiddaw-Blencathra-the Dodd's and a multitude of other fells from Green Gable.

To do the Gable Girdle properly it is a requirement to either climb up or down Aaron Slack and with both of us wanting to get both of these routes done on the one day we have made a rod for our own backs as we now have to lose height after gaining so much. We have just climbed 676 metres and we now need to descend 270 metres down Aaron Slack before continuing our walk along to the Gable stretcher box at Sty Head.
29 - Descending Aaron Slack towards Styhead Tarn.JPG
Descending Aaron Slack towards Styhead Tarn.

We started off down the initially stony path but after a good few metres we pulled in to sit in the shelter of some rocks whilst we refuelled on a sandwich and a drink. Good progress had been made to this point but it has been straight forward walking, albeit a bit steep in places, but we are about to be slowed down once we leave the stretcher box and start on the Gable Girdle proper. Wainwright says "The route is almost sheep free, and dogs may be taken. So may small children, who are natural scramblers, and well behaved women…" "The journey demands concentration."

He was right on all counts but a lot depends on how young the children are, and this route wouldn't suit all women although a lot would relish the walk and although most wouldn't be threading the needle the journey does still demand concentration. From the stretcher box to the top of Windy Gap there is a height gain of some 460 metres - 1,500 feet of climb over some rough ground.

The break is over and we pack up and set off once again following the stony path until we met up with the paved section that made for easier going although one or two places have been washed away by the past storms. Instead of walking to the bottom of the path just below Styhead Tarn we left it at about the 490 metre contour looking for the path shown on the OS map that stays at a higher level than the Sty Head one. There is no path visible on the ground so we simply took the easiest line across and down to reach a point just above the stretcher box in no time at all.

From the box there is a short climb that evens out as the start of the Kern Knotts crag is reached. This part of the path goes from grass to cross over scree and then boulders, more scree and boulders and this sort of terrain continues for the entire journey around the base of Great Gable. Wainwright describes the route in great detail on pages Great Gable 9 and 10 and he is pretty well correct - as he usually was - in his description of it. For me to describe every up and down, boulder field, scree, scramble and exposed spots would take too long in this report and probably bore you, if you aren't already. Suffice to say that it is fairly rough going all the way around and if anyone is of a nervous disposition of some exposure and steep scree runs then it isn't for you unless you are trying to kill the fears of same.

The views from the south traverse are remarkable with the Scafells, Lingmell, Great End, etc all in view to the south. Piers Gill is there in all its dark formidable glory its wide, black gash cutting along the fellside like an open wound, and looking at it from afar gives no indication of the access alongside it as an alternative way of getting up to the Corridor Route from Wasdale.
31 - Lingmell-Scafell Pike-Piers Gill from below Kern Knotts.JPG
Lingmell-Scafell Pike-Piers Gill from below Kern Knotts.

34 - The path below Kern Knotts with Red Pike Wasdale and Kirk Fell behind.JPG
The path below Kern Knotts with Red Pike Wasdale and Kirk Fell behind.

There is a wonderful view into the head of Wasdale with Lingmell Beck snaking like a silver ribbon as it makes its way down towards the green pastures of more civilised ground. Burnbank Farm, the church, and Wasdale Head Inn can all be seen from this viewpoint with the massive backdrop of Yewbarrow with Red Pike just peeking out behind it putting the scale of things into perspective.

We continued to work our way forward, meandering up and down an around the base of Kern Knotts until we reached the screes of Great Hell Gate and the massive outcrop of rock that goes by the name of Tophet Wall or Bastion, whichever name you prefer.
42 - Great Hell Gate and Tophet Bastion.JPG
Great Hell Gate and Tophet Bastion.

It was at just about this point of the walk where the wind increased in volume and speed with a hint of the forecasted snow in the air. The sky was still mostly blue but that counts for nothing when up in the mountains at this height as the weather is quickly moved on from one season to another in the space of a few minutes.

The MWIS and Weatherline websites had both been checked and we knew what the forecast was, but as many others before us a bright and sunny day tended to push the thoughts of bad weather to one side and now it looks like we are going to suffer the consequences of that. At least we can drop off the screes into Wasdale if it gets too bad but we hoped that it wouldn't get to that as it's a long walk back up the valley back to Sty Head. As it happened the snow didn't arrive until 20 minutes later, just as we arrived at the base of Napes Needle.
44 - Napes Needle below Great Napes.JPG
Napes Needle below Great Napes.

The wind was pretty fierce as it blew the blizzard of hail stones across Wasdale and into us but tucked into the rocks at the bottom of the climb we weren't too badly exposed as we stayed put for the few minutes that the hail was falling.
45 - Here comes the snow as we reach the base of Napes Needle.JPG
Here comes the snow as we reach the base of Napes Needle.

Giving it a minute or two to settle down we then started the climb up the narrow cleft that didn't look much different to what it did on my first visit here 10½ years ago but once we had started with me leading it became very obvious that it wasn't going to be as easy as the last time. On my previous visit I went up it like a rat up a drainpipe and so I did for the first couple of metres or so and then things changed. The rock is now a lot smoother, some of the foot and hand holds have been worn away and I couldn't get a proper grip on the rock with neither boot nor fingers. The toe holds were now too far apart for my legs and on top of that the hail was now melting and running down from the top making the few rounded holds slippery and hard to grip. There was a place to put my right knee if I could reach it, but due to the now greasy rock I couldn't hick off with my left leg to give me that little bit extra so a new plan had to be made.

It had started to hail again with the wind blowing hard. The already wet surfaces were now getting covered in hail stones and I had to tell Chris below me that I was at an impasse, well I couldn't move up and there was no way that we were going to go back after the graft put in to get to this point. Now for Plan B. Chris offered his shoulder and with a quick move of the right leg I stood on it and thus supported put my left foot into his left hand whereupon he pushed me up those few extra inches to allow me to get my right knee onto the small ledge that had so far eluded my advances towards it. From there it was then no problem to get to the small shoulder of hailstone covered rock and from where the wind was trying to have its way with me. Chris was next and he was also struggling to get passed the awkward spot but with a grunt and a leap he managed to grab a handhold and how he managed to hold on to the wet rock is a mystery, but when one needs one has to. Chris has an advantage over me, I'm a runt, Chris is 6ft 2" and built like the proverbial brick bog, so as on Pillar Rock he is handy to have around on a walk such as this and I did require his services again shortly after we had got to the shoulder of the Needle.
46 - The Sphinx on the far edge of Great Napes.JPG
The Sphinx on the far edge of Great Napes.

I moved to give Chris some room as we waited for the hailstorm to stop as it did after just a minute or so. The wind had also ceased to blow as hard and was now just a nuisance as I set off to go down the opposite side to complete the job of 'threading the needle' and this is where I made a mistake. I set off wrong footed, something I can't believe that I did after already having been down here once before. It should be right leg first to get the foot hold that is a bit of a stretch down and then the left one onto a small column of rock from where it is an easy step down onto a wide, rocky ledge. From there it is all over as it is just a couple of more moves to reach the top of the scree slope that leads back to the south traverse.

I put my left foot down onto the small ledge first and thinking that there felt room for my other foot followed with the right one. Sure enough there is room for two feet, but not with boots on. My feet had now become wedged and I couldn't move nor could I pull myself up on the wet rock to take the weight whilst I released my left foot for the next step down. Chris to the rescue again as he reached over and took my weight whilst I wriggled my foot out and then made what should have been an easy and simple move down to the ledge in the first place. Then again Chris near enough made the same mistake until I stopped him and guided him down to the ledge from where we both then made it down the remaining rock face to the top of the scree slope, safe, unscathed, but with a reminder and conscious of the fact how things can go terribly wrong when weather conditions can change so quickly and making so many changes to the aspect of a normal days walking.
47 - Snow still falls as we leave Napes Needle.JPG
Snow still falls as we leave Napes Needle.

The hail wasn't lying deep, but deep enough to fill the crevices of the hand and foot holds that then got slippery on the soles of the boots and melted with the heat from our fingers making the very smooth handholds hard or near impossible to grip onto.

The sun had come out and was shining into the Wasdale valley way below us as we made our way down the scree…
48 - Descending the scree gully from Napes Needle.JPG
Descending the scree gully from Napes Needle.

to pick up the south traverse that would now take us around White Napes and across the scree to Beck Head. We both needed a break so we had our second one sat in an airy position overlooking Wasdale, and what a view it is. The sun was shining and giving no indication of the weather that had just left us, it's crazy, one minute we were in a whiteout and howling gale and the next we were sat here in the sunshine sweating whilst enjoying the view. There is just too much to see. Wast Water was gleaming silver with Illgill Head and Whin Rigg to the left, Yewbarrow again takes up most of the view with the slopes of Lingmell running down to the beck of its name at its feet. On the right the slopes of Kirk Fell are appearing and the now narrow band of the scree run from Dore Head can be seen running down between Yewbarrow and Red Pike Wasdale.
50 - Another fine view of Wasdale from the south traverse.JPG
Another fine view of Wasdale from the south traverse.

Once again it's time to tear ourselves away and get on with the walk so with bags packed once again we set off working our way around and over some rocks before crossing the scree of Little Hell Gate…
51 - Chris crossing the narrow scree below Great Napes.JPG
Chris crossing the narrow scree below Great Napes.

from where it was but just a short distance to pass below White Napes on a narrow path before reaching and walking along the rough path that crosses the scree slopes of the west face of Great Gable as we continued on our way to Beck Head from where we will climb up the north ridge of GG to reach the path that passes below Gable Crag.

The path across the scree as is mentioned, quite rough and hard to define exactly where it is sometimes but there is the odd small cairn that are a bit difficult to see amongst all the rocks of the scree slope but all in all it's not too bad to get across. It was whilst we were about halfway across the slopes when the wind picked up again bringing with it another blizzard of hailstones. The hail was blowing horizontal and we had to turn our backs to the wind as the hail was akin to being hit in the face by bullets but just as suddenly as it started it blew over with the sun once again making an appearance.

We arrived at Beck Head…
58 - Kirk Fell and Beck Head.JPG
Kirk Fell and Beck Head.

with stinging faces but no other damage and began the short, sharp climb up the north ridge to roughly the 700 metre contour from where we then picked up the rough path that would take us under Gable Crag and back to Windy Gap from where we would once again climb Green Gable. As the path turns southeast around the corner - so to speak - of Gable Crag we saw a couple of walkers on the summit of Green Gable and then the wind and hail hit us again with a ferocity that stopped us in our tracks. It was quite unbelievable how quickly this hailstorm hit us as there was no warning and we were struggling to stay where we were. The stones under our feet at this point were quite large so at least they gave us something to brace ourselves off until we got moving slowly on to the top of Windy Gap/Aaron Slack where we found the other two walkers who had managed to make a quick exit off Green Gable and were sheltering behind some rocks just below the top of the col. Like us they were heading for Brandreth and Grey Knotts but the wind and hail beat them into submission and again like us they decided to take the easy option and make it back to Seathwaite via Aaron Slack and Stockley Bridge. The elder of the two looked a bit out of sorts but when we enquired as to how he was he replied that he was alright, but on looking back a few times to check he seemed to be walking very slowly with his friend quite a long way in front of him.
How different the landscape now looks as opposed to this morning when we were looking over grass covered fells and the sun was shining. Now we were looking at a winter's scene with a fair covering of snow/hail over the same grass covered fells of this morning.
66 - From morning sunshine to afternoon snow.JPG
From morning sunshine to afternoon snow.

It was still blowing and snowing but at least we were out of the worst of it and we made good time descending down to Styhead Tarn from where the covering of white was soon left behind as we neared the footbridge. It was good to see the footbridge back on its foundations as the last time I was passing by this way it was hanging by a wish and a prayer. It took but a short time from the bridge to reach Seathwaite and the car with the next destination being a place with a couple of high stools and a good choice of liquid refreshments. As we drove through Keswick we looked longingly at Wetherspoon's with its cheap beer, but we passed it by to choose a likewise establishment nearer home where the price of a pint is exorbitant, we moan, we pay, and still drink it.

Some may say that with a chance of snow and high winds that we maybe shouldn't have done what we did today but sometimes the weather forecast is wrong. There has been many a day of such like promised weather conditions that have come to nothing so a decision has to be made and we chose to do what we did today. Ideally the rock should be dry when attempting to thread the Needle especially now that it has been worn so smooth, today it would have been if…

There are lots of 'ifs' to consider here. What if we hadn't have chosen to scramble up the Hanging Stone crag instead of taking the easier route around it, if we'd had shorter breaks, if we hadn't lingered to take so many photos or gawp at the fantastic scenes around us, if we had wholly trusted in the weather forecast, if we had walked faster, the 'ifs' list can go on and on.

Despite the wet and slippery conditions and questionable length of legs whilst threading the needle and apart from the weather forecast 'if'', we had only to remedy one of the other 'ifs' and we would have been there for when the rock would have remained dry for the whole scramble. Whilst climbing and descending the back of Napes Needle and with the odd small problem it seemed to take an age to get up and over the shoulder and down the other side, but in reality it took only 11 minutes to complete it.

Over a pint of overpriced cider we did the inquest and reflected on the days walking that we both confirmed had been a good day out. We couldn't believe the speed in which the weather conditions changed, there seemed to be no warning, it just arrived as the sky went from blue to white in an instant as the valleys and mountains disappeared behind the three hailstorms that came our way during the afternoon.

When I got home it was bothering me as to how it seemed so much harder to do this scramble behind Napes Needle than it had done 10 years earlier. Okay, I'm older and got a bad knee, but that has never stopped me doing what I want to do yet so I got out the 10 year old photos of the same scramble, and lo and behold the rock is quite a bit different than it was in 2006. On the east side some of the hand and foot holds have been worn away, either altogether or are very smooth. There are also changes on the shoulder where 10 years ago there were rocks; today some of them are gone. Apart from the stub of rock for the first left foothold that has been worn shorter over the years the west side is near enough how it was then.

So a decent days walking in good weather apart from the three short snow/hail showers and gale force winds moments. It was 4°c when we set off and 7°c when we arrived back at the car so not really a tropical day despite the sun. There was a cold wind once we had reached Base Brown summit but one that wasn't felt until we stopped and cooled down despite us both wearing down jackets.
User avatar
trailmasher
Walker
 
Posts: 1125
Munros:11   
Hewitts:180
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Nov 26, 2014
Location: Near Appleby - Cumbria

Re: Threading the Needle on the Gable Girdle via Base Brown.

Postby dav2930 » Fri May 05, 2017 11:05 pm

Great report of a great adventure TM. Some cracking pics and a really good read with some nice descriptions. You certainly had some challenging conditions there - 4 seasons in a day! Me and Karl did the Snowdon Horseshoe on the same day and were also battered by wind-driven hail/snow - very painful! :crazy:

Threading the Needle shouldn't be underestimated - it's quite a tricky little scramble, especially when the rock is at all wet. And as you say, it's very polished nowadays, which doesn't help. It's interesting that when you looked at your photos from 10 years ago you could see how much it had changed. I think the two of you did very well under the circumstances and credit to you for not wimping out with the change in the weather. The whole Gable traverse is an excellent route I think, maintaining interest all the way round with the section on the north side under Gable Crag a fitting finale.

Although I have looked across these fells many times before a different day makes for a new experience, light and weather conditions contributing to make these same and familiar scenes different every time they are looked upon.

That's a great sentence TM, and so true! It's why we never tire of getting out on the fells. :clap:
User avatar
dav2930
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1297
Munros:237   Corbetts:13
Grahams:10   Donalds:37
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:161
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Feb 13, 2015
Location: Cumbria

Re: Threading the Needle on the Gable Girdle via Base Brown.

Postby thefallwalker » Sat May 06, 2017 7:44 am

What a day! :lol: :crazy:
I still have your "scarpa" size 8 imprint in my shoulder!! :lol: :lol:
I think you have under played the ferocity of the weather as we made the approach "back" to Windy Gap, :shock: it must of been blowing 40mph if not more, and this coupled with the bullets of hail made it a "no Brainer" to get off quick :D
Yet again an absolute pleasure to get out on the hills & complete another ambitious plan with you mucka :D cheers :clap: :clap:
User avatar
thefallwalker
Walker
 
Posts: 98
Hewitts:112
Wainwrights:209   
Joined: Jul 21, 2015
Location: Middlesbrough

Re: Threading the Needle on the Gable Girdle via Base Brown.

Postby Mal Grey » Sat May 06, 2017 10:52 am

Excellent stuff, nicely described.

I've done that traverse the other way round (followed by the Corridor Route onto Scafell Pike, then Broad Stand and down Lord's Rake. Oh to be young again!). It was a little tricky then; with 20 years more polish it must be reflective enough to shave in!
User avatar
Mal Grey
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 2871
Munros:110   Corbetts:20
Grahams:8   
Sub 2000:3   Hewitts:113
Wainwrights:71   Islands:5
Joined: Dec 1, 2011
Location: Surrey, probably in a canoe! www.wildernessisastateofmind.co.uk

Re: Threading the Needle on the Gable Girdle via Base Brown.

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Sat May 06, 2017 12:04 pm

A cracking report of a most excellent mountain adventure. It is quite amazing just how more violent a squall can be on the fells rather than the valleys. The way the route has changed in just 10 years does give pause for thought however, just how erosion might affect the fells in coming years, with the continuing upturn in the popularity of outdoorsy activities some scrambling routes may well get very tricky indeed.
User avatar
johnkaysleftleg
Walker
 
Posts: 3028
Munros:25   Corbetts:10
Grahams:10   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:7   Hewitts:166
Wainwrights:214   Islands:8
Joined: Jan 28, 2009
Location: County Durham

Re: Threading the Needle on the Gable Girdle via Base Brown.

Postby trailmasher » Sun May 07, 2017 8:32 pm

dav2930 wrote:Great report of a great adventure TM. Some cracking pics and a really good read with some nice descriptions. You certainly had some challenging conditions there - 4 seasons in a day! Me and Karl did the Snowdon Horseshoe on the same day and were also battered by wind-driven hail/snow - very painful! :crazy:

Threading the Needle shouldn't be underestimated - it's quite a tricky little scramble, especially when the rock is at all wet. And as you say, it's very polished nowadays, which doesn't help. It's interesting that when you looked at your photos from 10 years ago you could see how much it had changed. I think the two of you did very well under the circumstances and credit to you for not wimping out with the change in the weather. The whole Gable traverse is an excellent route I think, maintaining interest all the way round with the section on the north side under Gable Crag a fitting finale.

Although I have looked across these fells many times before a different day makes for a new experience, light and weather conditions contributing to make these same and familiar scenes different every time they are looked upon.

That's a great sentence TM, and so true! It's why we never tire of getting out on the fells. :clap:


Thanks very much for your comments dav :D and its strange why these pockets of bad weather completely missed some of the adjacent fells and didn't affect the whole of the LD :crazy: Maybe it was the same around Snowdon, another wild and unpredictable area :? There was no chance of' us 'wimping' out on this one dav as we had got too far round to turn back 8) Again, thanks for your kind comments, most welcome :D :D
User avatar
trailmasher
Walker
 
Posts: 1125
Munros:11   
Hewitts:180
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Nov 26, 2014
Location: Near Appleby - Cumbria

Re: Threading the Needle on the Gable Girdle via Base Brown.

Postby trailmasher » Sun May 07, 2017 8:39 pm

RTC wrote:Quite an adventure. I walked the traverse under the Napes Needle 30 years ago - Actually 30 years and 3 days ago! Threading the Needle was beyond me then and would certainly be now. Well done! Looking out the window in Stirling this morning it is hard to imagine there was snow around a couple of weeks ago.


Well done for doing the traverse all those years ago RTC :clap: it must have looked quite pristine in those days and I wonder at the changes that you would see if you went round again :shock: most likely. Thanks for your comments :D and pleased to put you down memory lane :wink:
User avatar
trailmasher
Walker
 
Posts: 1125
Munros:11   
Hewitts:180
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Nov 26, 2014
Location: Near Appleby - Cumbria

Re: Threading the Needle on the Gable Girdle via Base Brown.

Postby trailmasher » Sun May 07, 2017 8:48 pm

thefallwalker wrote:What a day! :lol: :crazy:
I still have your "scarpa" size 8 imprint in my shoulder!! :lol: :lol:
I think you have under played the ferocity of the weather as we made the approach "back" to Windy Gap, :shock: it must of been blowing 40mph if not more, and this coupled with the bullets of hail made it a "no Brainer" to get off quick :D
Yet again an absolute pleasure to get out on the hills & complete another ambitious plan with you mucka :D cheers :clap: :clap


Thanks for the push and the pull TFW :clap: :clap: and yes the weather did get a bit airy in a couple of places :crazy: but hey ho a man just has to cart on best he can under those conditions :lol: Thanks for your comments :clap: and will see you for the Wasdale one :D
User avatar
trailmasher
Walker
 
Posts: 1125
Munros:11   
Hewitts:180
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Nov 26, 2014
Location: Near Appleby - Cumbria

Re: Threading the Needle on the Gable Girdle via Base Brown.

Postby trailmasher » Sun May 07, 2017 8:55 pm

Mal Grey wrote:Excellent stuff, nicely described.

I've done that traverse the other way round (followed by the Corridor Route onto Scafell Pike, then Broad Stand and down Lord's Rake. Oh to be young again!). It was a little tricky then; with 20 years more polish it must be reflective enough to shave in!


That was a good old trot Mal :clap: :clap: and congrats on doing the traverse 8) We had thought of doing it that way but couldn't face the climb back up to the top of Aaron Slack :roll: to complete the round :crazy: and it was a surprise to see the rocks so smooth on the upper half :? Thanks for your most welcome comments :D
User avatar
trailmasher
Walker
 
Posts: 1125
Munros:11   
Hewitts:180
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Nov 26, 2014
Location: Near Appleby - Cumbria

Re: Threading the Needle on the Gable Girdle via Base Brown.

Postby trailmasher » Sun May 07, 2017 9:03 pm

johnkaysleftleg wrote:A cracking report of a most excellent mountain adventure. It is quite amazing just how more violent a squall can be on the fells rather than the valleys. The way the route has changed in just 10 years does give pause for thought however, just how erosion might affect the fells in coming years, with the continuing upturn in the popularity of outdoorsy activities some scrambling routes may well get very tricky indeed.


Thanks very much :D :D Anthony and some people just under estimate just how quick the weather conditions can change in the hills and mountains :? Another scramble that's changed a lot is Kilnshaw Chimney on the east face of Red Screes :roll: with erosion it's quite an effort to get oneself onto the first ledge nowadays :? :roll: and I think that we can all see how the paths are being worn away by the multitude of boots that now walk along 'em :( Once again thanks for your comments JKLL :D :clap:
User avatar
trailmasher
Walker
 
Posts: 1125
Munros:11   
Hewitts:180
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Nov 26, 2014
Location: Near Appleby - Cumbria

3 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).



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Outside Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests