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Working up a sweat on our way to Scafell and Slight Side.

Working up a sweat on our way to Scafell and Slight Side.


Postby trailmasher » Fri Jun 02, 2017 12:31 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Scafell, Slight Side

Hewitts included on this walk: Scafell

Date walked: 23/05/2017

Time taken: 4.09

Distance: 18.3 km

Ascent: 1095m

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Scafell and Slight Side.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Seeing as how Chris wanted to get to the top of some more Southern and Western Fells we planned to stay in Wasdale for three days with our choice of accommodation being Burnthwaite Farm that sits at the head of the Wasdale Valley. This national Trust owned 17th century sheep farm lies more or less beneath the bulks of Kirk Fell, Great Gable, Lingmell, and Scafell Pike, and as it also sits alongside the old pack horse trail that runs up the centre of the valley with easy access to the Piers Gill route, the path into Mosedale leading to Black Sail Pass and Wind Gap, access to Beck Head via Gable Beck, and the various routes to Great Gable and Sty Head it is ideally situated for starting walks to many of the 'big ones' straight from the front door.

We had arranged to meet at my house at 6:30am which meant that Chris would have to be up at around 4:30am for breakfast and then the longish drive to join us for coffee before embarking on our way to Jubilee Bridge in Eskdale for our first days walking that would involve an easy walk along Eskdale to Lingcove Bridge from where the grunt work would begin. He duly turned up at the allotted time accompanied by Sonny his nearly new puppy.

We left my house at 7am with the sun shining and a temperature of around 12°c and instead of going over Kirkstone Pass took the easier way to Ambleside via the A66 to Threlkeld where we turned off and drove down the minor road that runs between High Rigg and the Dodd's to arrive at Legburthwaite and the A591 that would now escort us over Dunmail Raise, past Grasmere and then on to Ambleside. From Ambleside we then took the A593 and at Colwith Brow took the minor road to Little Langdale continuing on and over the steep and winding sections of Wrynose Pass and Hardknott Pass to finally arrive at the Jubilee Bridge car park at the bottom and western end of the pass.

We grabbed a quick bite to eat before booting up and setting off down the road to the now destroyed red phone box and turned up the lane to walk past Brotherikeld and alongside the River Esk first down a narrow path to a swing gate stile and then on to the open fields where we followed a good path unhindered apart from one ladder stile over the wall at Kail Pot. As we progressed along the valley the hills began to slowly close in and despite the mostly cloudy sky with a few patches of sun it was very warm as we passed below Border End, Hard Knott and the Eskdale Needle on our right and Brock Crag, Heron Stones, Round Scar to our left. As we approached Lingcove Bridge the valley is still narrowing and all is quiet apart from the sound of water from the River Esk as it tumbles over the many small waterfalls with deep pools below them that look so cool and inviting, but we're on a mission so we could only look and continue sweating.

Looking northeast along the valley the hills to the fore are coming into view with Esk Pike being the most prominent one as we passed below Heron Stones but as we neared Lingcove Bridge the minor fells of Throstle Garth, Throstlehow Crag, Green Crag, and many others dominate the view.
4 - Vicar Swa Waterfall just below Lingcove Bridge.JPG
Vicar Swa Waterfall just below Lingcove Bridge.

The only other signs of life in Eskdale just now apart from ourselves are the sheep and lambs which themselves are few and far between giving us even more space as we passed by them.

Arriving at Lingcove Bridge and the sheep folds we decided to linger awhile to take in the views and a small amount of sustenance before starting the first and fairly steady climb along the narrow path that rises above the River Esk as it runs down and over the many waterfalls that are sometimes hidden by the lower reaches of the tree lined gully. As we climbed higher we left the trees behind and passed beneath the rocky outcrops of Throstle Garth, Throstlehow Crag before swinging around to the west to pass below Scar Lathing with its mass of crags most prominent on its south side.
9 - Scafell Pike-Ill Crag behind Scar Lathing.JPG
Scafell Pike-Ill Crag behind Scar Lathing.

Just as we had passed Green Crag to our left on the opposite side of the river we somehow lost the riverside path and turned more to the northeast on a faint but clearly discernible path through the grass that eventually ran into nothing. We changed our course slightly and picked up the 'proper' path within a few minutes to continue on our way and once past Scar Lathing we turned more or less north to make our way across the west edge of Great Moss that today was - thankfully - quite dry.

As we crossed over Great Moss the views opened up quite considerably with Slight Side, Horn Crag, and Long Green towering over us to the west, whilst Cam Spout Crag - although not the waterfall yet - is in plain view as is Scafell Pike, Ill Crag, Dow Crag, and Pen in front of us to the north.
12 - From Great Moss to Esk Hause with Dow Crag to the left.JPG
From Great Moss to Esk Hause with Dow Crag to the left.

Pike de Bield, Esk Pike and Hause are to the northeast with mighty Bow Fell further around to the east. I don't know why I called it 'mighty' Bow Fell as its only 17 metres lower than Esk Pike although admittedly it is bulkier and has more features as in Bowfell Buttress and the Great Slab.
We passed over the remains of an old dry stone wall and a couple of sikes to arrive at the River Esk that was quite wide but running low and it was but an easy matter to put one foot in the water and stride onto a dry gravel bed, across a very narrow channel and onto the opposite bank without getting even the boot laces wet to then make the short walk over grass to the foot of Cam Spout Crag and the rock surrounded pool at the foot of the How Beck Waterfalls as it tumbles its near 150 metres - 500 feet - way down the narrow rocky gully. This is where we had another break before starting the long haul up the rock and grassy face to the top of the falls and an even longer one before we reached Mickledore.
15 - Cam Spout Crag Waterfall.JPG
Cam Spout Crag Waterfall.

Whilst we relax and have a drink Sonny takes full advantage of the pool and seemed reluctant to leave it once we were on our way again and although it is now very warm we have more pressing matters on our minds. Chris has never been this way before so isn't aware of what's in store for him regarding the way forward from this point to which, so far the walking has been easy.

So, off we went up the rocks like a pair of Ibex with Sonny choosing the easier options over grass where he could until in the higher reaches he had to be lifted over some of the more difficult areas of rock. He is still only 22 weeks old so some latitude must be allowed for his lack of hill craft just now.

Stopping near the top of the falls for a breather and a glance back there is a great view across Great Moss with the River Esk and How Beck forming a gigantic Y where they meet at the base of Cam Spout Crag. We could still see Esk Pike and Bow Fell with a hint of the Crinkles and a backdrop of numerous fells falling into the distance.
18 -  Looking northeast across Great Moss from Cam Spout Crag.JPG
Looking northeast across Great Moss from Cam Spout Crag.

Setting off once again we now walked along the narrow path that was easy enough just now but gets progressively harder, rougher, and steeper the higher we climb as we followed the beck up on its left hand side. We passed beneath Greencove Wyke sitting below Long Green to our left with Dow Crag, Pen, Scafell Pike, and Ill Crag all clearly in view. In front of us the short ridge of Mickledore can be seen with a lot of rough ground between us and it to pass over before we get there, whilst just to its left is the massive rock face of the East Butress of Scafell.
19 - East Buttress-Mickledore-Scafell Pike.JPG
East Buttress-Mickledore-Scafell Pike.

Upwards we plod with the heat bearing down on us as we pass between the massive rocks and crags that line each side of the pass to Mickledore. This is one of those days when you wish that you could carry a gallon of fluid with you instead of the usual two or three litres but unless you're built like Garth weight and room in the bag is not conducive to carrying that amount so it has to be case of steady with what we've got and control our desire to drink too much at one go. I'm not too bad as I don't usually eat or drink a lot when out walking and more often than not end up taking most of it home, but there are exceptions to that and today was one of them. It was hot as hell in here.

Nevertheless we soon arrived at the gully that leads to Foxes Tarn…
22 - The gully to Foxes Tarn.JPG
The gully to Foxes Tarn.

where after explaining to Chris the differences between this one and the Lord's Rake route I gave him the choice of which way to go. I was pleased when he choose the latter as it is a far more exciting route - if exciting is the correct word - as it is a classic way to reach the Scafell summit, open views to the north with lots more to see including a glimpse into Wasdale where we shall be tasting the delights of the Wasdale Head Inn later on today.

It's an easy enough scramble up the gully to Foxes Tarn but it's the long slippery scramble up the steep scree slope from the tarn to the saddle between Symonds Knott and Scafell summit that makes my choice of Lord's Rake take precedence over this one. Although Foxes Tarn is nought but a tiny, shallow pool with a large rock sat in it, it seems to have conjured up a special place for itself in the noted places of interest and is deemed worthy of a mention in many a book relating to the Lake District. I know that when I first started walking in the LD this tarn due to its prominence in books and hearing others talk about it was high on my list of places to see and visit. On my first visit to it around 10 years ago the aforementioned path although steep was good and easy to negotiate, on my second visit it was still okay, but today with the passage of many more boots, it's horrendous.

Leaving Foxes Tarn gully behind we were soon at the short and sharp scree slope leading to Mickledor and the stretcher box where Chris had to once again help Sonny along as he was finding it a bit difficult to pass along the scree. We suspected that his feet were maybe a little bit sore with walking over the sharp stones and hot rock.
We had another short breather and a drink whilst sat on the narrow Mickledore ridge overlooked by Scafell Pike to the east and Broad Stand…
25 - Broad Stand from Mickledore Ridge.JPG
Broad Stand from Mickledore Ridge.

28 - Lord's Rake with a hint of Wasdale below Hollow Stones.JPG
Lord's Rake with a hint of Wasdale below Hollow Stones.

to the west and then looking back south along the long path that had brought us to this point. Looking over the ridge to the north we could see into Hollow Stones with its many paths all leading to the high fells.
We could just see the trees at the head of Wasdale with the white of the dwellings standing out amongst them all with a backdrop of Wasdale Fells. Yewbarrow is prominent to the front with Red Pike, Scoat Fell, Pillar, Steeple, Haycock, Seatallan, a hint of the High Stile Range and the lower part of the south ridges of Kirk Fell and Lingmell all to be seen from this fantastic viewpoint.
32 - A handful of Western Fells from the Lord's Rake route.JPG
A handful of Western Fells from the Lord's Rake route.

As we moved on towards Broad Stand and looking back along the ridge we had a fine view of Pulpit Rock across the screes leading up from Hollow Stones, leaning back in silent repose as it made itself known to all those who made their way to and from Wasdale.
31 - Pulpit Rock above Hollow Stones.JPG
Pulpit Rock above Hollow Stones.

I had mentioned earlier that I had walked Chris through the Lord's Rake route and it was now time to do it for real and as we reached the foot of Broad Stand we now began what for me is the hardest part of this section of the remaining climb to the summit of Scafell, the scree run along and down the base of the crag until we reached the low point from where we would start the short section of ups and downs of the easy slope to reach the foot of Lord's Rake proper.

The way down from the ridge is steep and is comprised of very loose and small stones. It was damp and slippery especially on the smoothened stones that have been broken away from larger ones by the passage of many, many boots and a slip would mean either a trip in a helicopter or a long climb back up from the foot of the screes below Pulpit Rock. I wanted neither.
33 - Passing below Scafell Crag on the way to Lord's Rake.JPG
Passing below Scafell Crag on the way to Lord's Rake.

With care we arrived at the foot of the Pinnacle where there is a cross and a set of four initials carved into the face in remembrance of the climbers who fell and died after attempting 'something new' whilst high up the face of it, the date, 21st September 1903. If anyone would like more information please follow the link below.

http://www.yrc.org.uk/yrcweb/index.php/journal/vols1-5/46-vol2-cat/no5/95-v2n5p75

Lord's Rake is a long fairly steep scree filled gully…
37 - Looking down Lord's Rake to the foot of the Pinnacle.JPG
Looking down Lord's Rake to the foot of the Pinnacle.

that is easily negotiated especially if keeping to the right hand side and a few years ago a great slab of fallen rock had settled itself across the top of the gully that was subsequently classed as an unsafe way to go. Nonetheless, many walkers and climbers including myself continued to use this route as a way of passage to Scafell summit and having seen the wedged slab of rock couldn't believe what all the fuss was about as 'it would never fall', how wrong we were.

The slab of rock is no longer there. What there is now is one large piece of it sat on the scree about half way up the gully and is easy to get around and roughly three quarters of the way up - or down - there are around seven huge lumps straddling the gully totally blocking it off. Well they don't actually block off the gully, just a clear access through it, because now one has to climb up the short face of them and I couldn't help but let my imagination run away with me as the blocks are sat on the scree with more scree piled up behind them. What if, I thought, what if the extra weight of me climbing up the front of these rocks and with the added weight of the scree behind them was enough to make them slide on the scree that they are sat on, what if?

It really doesn't bear thinking about because if they did move then there is no escape as they would take all before them. Meeting a couple of other walkers later on they told us that the slab had just collapsed a few years ago and further reports state that the north face is steadily cracking and becoming more unstable, will eventually collapse and totally block Lord's Rake.

Little Sonny was struggling on his way up Lord's Rake so needed a bit of help with Chris passing him to me once I had climbed up onto the top of the rock blockage and this is where we had a break to refuel before continuing on to the summit. As we sat there with not much in view apart from our way up to here, the Mickledore Ridge, the top of the scree and part of Rough Crag the clouds began to drop with the mist swirling in and out like a windblown veil, first covering the ridge and then exposing it again and doesn't bode well for the surrounding views from the summit of Scafell.
39 - The view towards Mickledore from the top of Lord's Rake.JPG
The view towards Mickledore from the top of Lord's Rake.

Well the next part of our journey along this path is very well explained in Wainwright's Book 4, 'The Southern Fells' so there is no point in me describing it here. Suffice to say that there are 3 ups and 2 downs with loose scree covering the path so care must be taken to avoid a slip. I would say that the 3rd up was the worst bit after leaving the 'Rake' but all is negotiated within a few minutes of leaving the enclosed section and the following photos will give some indication of what it is like.
41 - The scree of the 3rd 'up' and a hint of Wast Water.JPG
The scree of the 3rd 'up' and a hint of Wast Water.

43 - The 2nd 'up' from the 2nd 'down'.JPG
The 2nd 'up' from the 2nd 'down'.

45 - The 2nd 'up' and '2nd down' from the 3rd 'up'.JPG
The 2nd 'up' and 2nd 'down' from the 3rd 'up'.

Once that the 3rd up has been seen off the path which is still good swings around to the southeast climbing easily above Scafell Crag and then crossing an area of rough stones, then a better path following a line of cairns before reaching the saddle between Symonds Knott and Scafell summit where the cloud, as presumed earlier was down and dirty.

It was at the saddle where we met another walker who had just come via Broad Stand whilst his friend had elected to go by Foxes Tarn and who hadn't yet appeared. Parting company from him we walked across to Symonds Knott covering the last few metres across rocky ground and from where nothing could be seen, not even the summit of Scafell. A quick photo shoot and we left to make our way to the Scafell summit during which we met the walkers' friend who had just struggled up the scree from Foxes Tarn. We had a chat as we were walking and after asking us which we had arrived by said that he wished that he had come up Lord's Rake as it had taken him something like 7 minutes to get up the gully to the tarn and another 45 minutes to get up the scree from the tarn.

We arrived at the summit under cloud where we stopped for a drink and a chat to the other two lads before they set off to Slight Side and then Eskdale where they were parked up by the side of us at Jubilee Bridge.
The low cloud that was coming and going but mostly coming cleared for a minute which gave me the chance to grab a photo of Symonds Knott and the large cross of stones that lies on the crown of the saddle between the two summits.
49 - Symonds Knott and cross from under Scafell's summit.JPG
Symonds Knott and cross from under Scafell's summit.

I have tried to find the history of it as it's been there for quite some time but I could find nothing about it apart from a mention of its being there.

The hard work was over now apart from the long walk back down to Eskdale, but at least it's mostly downhill and with the low cloud lingering there was no point in wasting time trying to take any photos until we got a lot lower down the fellside. Leaving the summit behind us we set off south along the well blazed path first through a rocky area and then onto a more pleasant to the feet path with the clouds lifting again to momentarily expose the pointed tops of Long Green and way beyond that Slight Side.
54 - Long Green and Slight Side as we leave Scafell.JPG
Long Green and Slight Side as we leave Scafell.

A few minutes later Burnmoor Tarn, Illgill Head and Whin Rigg appeared with Wast Water just showing to the right.

As we passed above Foxes Tarn I managed to get a couple of shots of the tarn and scree run which is not a pretty sight looking like a river of reddish brown stones running into the gully below.
53 - Foxes Tarn and the scree path leading to Scafell summit.JPG
Foxes Tarn and the scree path leading to Scafell summit.

Within 10 minutes we were at Long Green with the fells to the east now showing themselves covered in sunshine and a little hazy, but at least as we got lower it was clearing and as we got above Tom Fox's Crag we got a great view of the Crinkle Crags across the wide expanse of Great Moss.
61 - Great Moss and Crinkle Crags.JPG
Great Moss and Crinkle Crags.

I told Chris about the two crashed aeroplane memorials from the 2nd World War that I visited on my last trip up here and he made a half hearted attempt to find them but with Sonny flagging somewhat and the heat combined with our diminishing supply of water it was deemed more prudent to continue on our way to Slight Side and then make a fast passage back to the car.

The low clouds had by now disappeared, left behind to others who may be on Scafell and the other higher fells and the views from Slight Side were glorious. Harter Fell, Green Crag, Hard Knott, the Coniston Fells, Bow Fell, crinkle Crags, the Langdales and countless more large and lesser fells too numerous to count and name.

Slight Side summit - there are actually two summits - is formed of a large crag of smooth, rounded, and very grey rock topped off with a cairn of small stones looking quite incongruous perched as it is on the mass of rock beneath it.
63 - Harter Fell and Ulpha Fells from Slight Side summit.JPG
Harter Fell and Ulpha Fells from Slight Side summit.

We left the summit to continue moving south first of all wending our way over grass between the lower crags and rocks of Slight Side and then onto a scree covered section before reaching the grass that we would walk on for the rest of our journey back to the car. The path crosses in between Quagrigg Moss and Cowcove, down to Groove Beck, and past Cat Crag where we went altogether wrong due to missing the path that would have taken us down by Scale Gill and the bridge.
69 - Slight Side from Groove Beck.JPG
Slight Side from Groove Beck.

In any event either by talking or just general weariness we missed it so continued down to pass below Dawsonground Crags and along the path that would have put us too far west to bring us out at Wha House Farm. As we didn't fancy the walk along the road we back tracked and easily scaled a wall to walk down the fellside to the path that we should have originally been on and would take us to Taw House.
70 - Hard Knott and Border End from below Bull How.JPG
Hard Knott and Border End from below Bull How.

At Taw House the path takes you through the farm yard and makes one feel as though you are imposing on their privacy but apart from the dog barking we saw no-one and walked quietly on to then walk through the field behind the house to reach the footbridge spanning the River Esk from where it was just a few minutes more before we arrived back at the car.

It's been a good, hot, hard day and the temperature was still sitting at 26°c when we arrived back at Jubilee Bridge. Sonny is worn out and both Chris and I are gagging for a drink. I did have water left but I held back as we shall soon be in Wasdale and its famous hostelry where I just know that there are several glasses of ice cold Thatchers cider awaiting my attention.

Apart from welcoming clientele from all walks of life be they walkers or not the Wasdale Head Inn also give a great welcome to dogs. There are bowls of water scattered about the flag stone floor and a large bucket of doggy treats sat on a shelf by the bar from which you can take some of the many varieties of treats to keep your dog happy. They also do a special for dogs in the way of either cooked chicken or fish at £2 a throw but upon ordering that for myself I got the expected knock back. Once Sonny was in the car after the walk he was asleep within a minute or so - I know it's a dog thing - and looked like he was out for the count and night but once we had got him in the pub he came alive with all the fuss that he got from the patrons and bar staff, he's just a con dog.
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trailmasher
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Re: Working up a sweat on our way to Scafell and Slight Side

Postby thefallwalker » Fri Jun 02, 2017 3:00 pm

a long hard day this 1 mate! but well worth it :D
I see no mention of "our" Sonny being carried up by myself for the best part of 1000 feet from below mickledore and all the way up Lords rake as he is weighing in at over 14kg I reckon a medal will be on its way :lol: but the real kick in the teeth was the way he just legged it off once we were back on grass to Scafell summit where he sat on the cairn waiting for us for about 5 minutes! :shock: :roll:
Also the audacity to steal the show in the pub was completely out of order :lol: :lol: the pounce!
great report & look forward to the next 2 :) :clap: :clap:
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Re: Working up a sweat on our way to Scafell and Slight Side

Postby Alteknacker » Fri Jun 02, 2017 11:05 pm

Great report, great pics, on what was clearly a great day! I've been around Scafell and environs many times, but pics of it are a bit like family photos: you've seen the characters hundreds of times, but it's always interesting to see more pics!

Being very interested in the early days of climbing, I checked out the link you gave on the accident at the beginning of the century. One bit of the report in particular struck me: "If the nature of a climb is such that the members of a roped party, instead of being able to afford that mutual security which is the sole reason for the use of the rope, become a source of danger to each other, then there can be no justification for attempting it."

There's no indication in the report that the accident was a consequence of moving while roped; but there seem to have been many many accidents that have occurred as a result of this practice, and I still see beginner parties moving this way. I've never seen any kind of rational justification for it, and would never engage in it myself. I'm wholly on Simon Yates's side in the "Touching the Void" debate: what's the point in 2 people needlessly dying if only one needs to?

interesting observations on the safety or otherwise of Lord's Rake. I've only ever ascended via the Foxes Tarn route (though oddly I don't recall any battles with screes..???), because of the safety warnings in respect of Lord's Rake; and it indeed gives some serious food for thought when one sees a lump of rock that has stood for aeons and has suddenly collapsed. If I recall rightly, there was a very moving WHR not that many years ago by a guy whose partner had been killed in a rockfall in the Cuillins. Very sobering when I think that 3 of my great mountain heroes: Mummery, Pat Kelly and Ueli Steck - all of whom in their time seemed invincible - have died in the mountains...

On a happier note: I loved many of the pics, especially the view towards Mickeldore from the top of Lord's Rake...

And if only you'd not mentioned cider as the reward at the end of the day, it would have been a perfect report.... :D
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Re: Working up a sweat on our way to Scafell and Slight Side

Postby trailmasher » Sat Jun 03, 2017 4:55 pm

thefallwalker wrote:a long hard day this 1 mate! but well worth it :D
I see no mention of "our" Sonny being carried up by myself for the best part of 1000 feet from below mickledore and all the way up Lords rake as he is weighing in at over 14kg I reckon a medal will be on its way :lol: but the real kick in the teeth was the way he just legged it off once we were back on grass to Scafell summit where he sat on the cairn waiting for us for about 5 minutes! :shock: :roll:
Also the audacity to steal the show in the pub was completely out of order :lol: :lol: the pounce!
great report & look forward to the next 2 :) :clap: :clap:


Aye a good day indeed TFW :D and I didn't want to portray you as a 'pet softy' being the macho hard man that you pretend you are :lol: :lol: and he had more women around him than any other male in the pub 8) 8) Thanks for your comments :clap:
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Re: Working up a sweat on our way to Scafell and Slight Side

Postby trailmasher » Sat Jun 03, 2017 5:25 pm

Alteknacker wrote:Being very interested in the early days of climbing, I checked out the link you gave on the accident at the beginning of the century. One bit of the report in particular struck me: "If the nature of a climb is such that the members of a roped party, instead of being able to afford that mutual security which is the sole reason for the use of the rope, become a source of danger to each other, then there can be no justification for attempting it."

Quite correct especially in those early days when the fixing of secure lines were not he order of the day. If the lead man falls, they all fall, so don't fall. :crazy: :roll: :?


Alteknacker wrote: I'm wholly on Simon Yates's side in the "Touching the Void" debate: what's the point in 2 people needlessly dying if only one needs to?

And I totally agree with that sentiment also Alte :clap: :clap: how many of those who railed him for cutting the rope would have preferred the other option :? :?




Alteknacker wrote:On a happier note: I loved many of the pics, especially the view towards Mickeldore from the top of Lord's Rake...

And if only you'd not mentioned cider as the reward at the end of the day, it would have been a perfect report.... :D

I know what you mean there Alte :roll: I'm usually a bitter man but for some unknown reason went for the cider on this occasion :shock: Must have been the sun getting to me, or the first pump that I clocked :lol:
Thanks very much for your detailed comments re the climbing and also comments on the report :D :D :clap:
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Re: Working up a sweat on our way to Scafell and Slight Side

Postby dav2930 » Sun Jun 04, 2017 10:37 pm

A very interesting report TM and a fine way up Scafell, getting close up and personal with the most awe-inspiring crag in England (Scafell Crag). It's so steeped in the history of the early climbers, including that tragic accident of 1903. And yes, it does seem pointless being roped together if a slip by one means the death of all. Belaying techniques in those days were rudimentary or non-existent. While there's still a place for 'moving together' on Alpine style ridges such as the Cuillin, the climbs of Scafell Crag are far too serious and difficult for such tactics. Everyone these days pitches them properly (and with the benefit of modern equipment of course). But accidents still happen, as in 1994 when the chockstone in the Great Flake of Central Buttress was pulled out with fatal consequences.

I've always considered the Eskdale approach to Scafell and/or the Pike to be the grandest of all, with so many interesting options and so much rock. And those pools in the Esk must have been a real temptation on a hot day like that! Great stuff :clap:
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Re: Working up a sweat on our way to Scafell and Slight Side

Postby trailmasher » Tue Jun 06, 2017 2:25 pm

dav2930 wrote:A very interesting report TM and a fine way up Scafell, getting close up and personal with the most awe-inspiring crag in England (Scafell Crag). It's so steeped in the history of the early climbers, including that tragic accident of 1903. And yes, it does seem pointless being roped together if a slip by one means the death of all. Belaying techniques in those days were rudimentary or non-existent. While there's still a place for 'moving together' on Alpine style ridges such as the Cuillin, the climbs of Scafell Crag are far too serious and difficult for such tactics. Everyone these days pitches them properly (and with the benefit of modern equipment of course). But accidents still happen, as in 1994 when the chockstone in the Great Flake of Central Buttress was pulled out with fatal consequences.

I've always considered the Eskdale approach to Scafell and/or the Pike to be the grandest of all, with so many interesting options and so much rock. And those pools in the Esk must have been a real temptation on a hot day like that! Great stuff :clap:


Thanks very much for your comments and reading dav :D :clap: and it is indeed a very fine way to the Scafells and Slight Side, much better than from the Wasdale side in my opinion :)
Also thanks for the info on CB that I didn't know about or can find any information :? If you have a link regarding same please let me have it 8) and it wouldn't have gone amiss if we had fallen into one of the pools or slipped under the Cam Spout waterfall as we would have soon dried out in the heat that day :lol: Thanks again :D
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Re: Working up a sweat on our way to Scafell and Slight Side

Postby dav2930 » Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:43 pm

trailmasher wrote:Also thanks for the info on CB that I didn't know about or can find any information :? If you have a link regarding same please let me have it 8)

I've had a trawl around and surprisingly can only find a few brief mentions of it e.g. on the UKC forums - nothing really worth linking to. The 1996 F&RCC climbing guide to Scafell, Wasdale & Eskdale briefly mentions the incident in the description for CB -

'Much of the traditional character associated with climbing the Great Flake was lost when the chockstone fell away with tragic consequences in 1994.'

The standard route since then has been by Marr's Variation, which moves on to the face of the flake below where the chockstone used to be and is graded E1.

At the time it was quite a big story in the climbing press and I remember it well - it was 8 years after my own ascent which I did in the traditional way using the chockstone as a runner. Apparently the unfortunate young fellow who was killed also used the chockstone as a runner and fell from the crux layback just above it. It stayed in place long enough for him to be lowered by his second onto the ledge beneath, but then fell on top of him while he was on the ledge (presumably sitting, as it landed on his leg - the poor chap bled to death).

It does surprise me that there isn't more info on this incident out there on t'internet. :?
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Re: Working up a sweat on our way to Scafell and Slight Side

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:17 pm

A truly great walk, approaching the Scafells up Eskdale is certainly the best way. Upper Eskdale is truly magnificent. Very interesting to see that the chockstone in Lords Rake has gone at last, makes it a route I'd consider now as I had avoided it up to now.

P.S. Don't tell Hughie about a dog getting a carry up a hill!
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Re: Working up a sweat on our way to Scafell and Slight Side

Postby trailmasher » Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:31 pm

dav2930 wrote:
trailmasher wrote:Also thanks for the info on CB that I didn't know about or can find any information :? If you have a link regarding same please let me have it 8)

I've had a trawl around and surprisingly can only find a few brief mentions of it e.g. on the UKC forums - nothing really worth linking to. The 1996 F&RCC climbing guide to Scafell, Wasdale & Eskdale briefly mentions the incident in the description for CB -

'Much of the traditional character associated with climbing the Great Flake was lost when the chockstone fell away with tragic consequences in 1994.'

The standard route since then has been by Marr's Variation, which moves on to the face of the flake below where the chockstone used to be and is graded E1.

At the time it was quite a big story in the climbing press and I remember it well - it was 8 years after my own ascent which I did in the traditional way using the chockstone as a runner. Apparently the unfortunate young fellow who was killed also used the chockstone as a runner and fell from the crux layback just above it. It stayed in place long enough for him to be lowered by his second onto the ledge beneath, but then fell on top of him while he was on the ledge (presumably sitting, as it landed on his leg - the poor chap bled to death).

It does surprise me that there isn't more info on this incident out there on t'internet. :?


Thanks for prompt reply and info on what you could find regarding this unfortunate incident :( I've just finished reading 'The Coniston Tigers' in which Harry Griffin relates a story of a similar incident regarding himself - can't remember just where it was - and how he just about managed to hold the rock back with his knees just long enough for the lads below him to move over. Again thanks for the info dav :D
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Re: Working up a sweat on our way to Scafell and Slight Side

Postby dav2930 » Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:16 pm

trailmasher wrote:I've just finished reading 'The Coniston Tigers' in which Harry Griffin relates a story of a similar incident regarding himself - can't remember just where it was - and how he just about managed to hold the rock back with his knees just long enough for the lads below him to move over.

Ah yes, good old Harry Griffin, one of my favourite writers on the Lake District. Apparently people were willing him to write The Coniston Tigers for years. I also have a copy of it sitting on my bookshelf and I know the incident you refer to but can't remember exactly where it was either; pretty sure it was on Dow Crag though. I like his other books too, such as The Roof of England, In Mountain Lakeland and Long Days in the Hills. These books would bring tears to my eyes if I were ever exiled from Cumbria!
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Re: Working up a sweat on our way to Scafell and Slight Side

Postby trailmasher » Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:58 pm

dav2930 wrote:
trailmasher wrote:I've just finished reading 'The Coniston Tigers' in which Harry Griffin relates a story of a similar incident regarding himself - can't remember just where it was - and how he just about managed to hold the rock back with his knees just long enough for the lads below him to move over.

Ah yes, good old Harry Griffin, one of my favourite writers on the Lake District. Apparently people were willing him to write The Coniston Tigers for years. I also have a copy of it sitting on my bookshelf and I know the incident you refer to but can't remember exactly where it was either; pretty sure it was on Dow Crag though. I like his other books too, such as The Roof of England, In Mountain Lakeland and Long Days in the Hills. These books would bring tears to my eyes if I were ever exiled from Cumbria!


Must seek 'em out as love books like that :) Thanks for the nudge 8)
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