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Great Gable eventually

Great Gable eventually


Postby Benaden887 » Sat Sep 28, 2019 6:54 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Great Gable

Hewitts included on this walk: Great Gable

Date walked: 16/04/2010

Time taken: 8

Distance: 7 km

Ascent: 850m

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Lake District climbing. 16/04/2010

The KMC were booked into the Coniston Copper mines hut, for our monthly w/e jaunt. Bert had a full car as we traded the M6 @ Carlisle, for the A595 to reach the hamlet of Wasdale head. From the cp, Bertie`s group, take the Lingmell Gill route,to Scafell, while Kenny and I head for Great Gable, the Sphinx and Napes Needle to clear some more items from my todo list. The weather fine and dry gives great views over the valley. Cross a burn to meet an uphill path then later break off R for the climbers traverse. Kirkfell rises to our L as we gain height and climb up the S side of Gable. Swarms of insects rise in the heat, a feast for Swallows, swooping around us; while below the lingmell Beck glistens in the sunshine. S lies Lingmell crag leading to Ill Crag, Scafell Pike with Scafell itself, just beyond. This group climbed with Bowfell from the Langdale valley, in the early 90s. Bracken gives way to grass then scree before reaching crags and the traverse path. It hugs the base of the climbs on this steep side of Gable, then ahead is the Sphinx, An odd looking standing rock, sometimes called Cat Rock, warrants some inspection. A line is found to climb it and we do so, before moving on.


Then on down, rounding a corner, Yes. Napes needle, a singular free standing pillar of rock, the birthplace of Lake district rock climbing. Found in Ken Wilson`s “Classic Rock”, this icon was for me, now a goer. Having read how to reverse the route, see, Needle Sports of Keswick (How get down from the top) it now became no1 on my list.

Two guys on ropes, down climbing from the top, as we drop off our gear, climb a short wall leading to the gap atween the Needle and the crag face. Known as “threading the needle”- this is a grade 2 scramble. A small group wait at its start, as we down climb the thread and still watch as we scramble back to our side for a flat area known as the dress circle. Here we have a break and gear up for the climb. One guy, now absailing the Wasdale crack, says he`s left a piece of gear up top, should help us get down. I opt for the Arete route overlooking the valley. Both are graded the same HS. But this one is nicer. Climb the ridge to a stance and by the time Kenny is brought up we have the top area to ourselves. A reccy here, finds the left gear, so clip it, then step onto an exposed wall. A horizontal break runs around the summit block. R/h on the break, L/h grasp the corner, pull and push, bring left foot onto the break and I can stand. Then reach up with both hands for a mantle shelf move and I`m there. Yes. Bring up Kenny, sit down and take in the views. A totally awesome place.
Another climber pulls up over the lip and rests. The top is somewhat crowded with three, but we get to talking. He has soloed the Needle “a good few times” and is heading for Knotts Kern to meet up with friends. An offer to belay us off the top is gleefully accepted, then a down climb of the Wasdale Crack and it`s over. Having retrieved the piece of gear left uptop, I hand it back to the surprised belayer of the first pair who are now having trouble on Eagles Nest. We take a break on returning to the dress circle, before climbing the 100m VD Needles Ridge.
So up to the gap again and now with the Needle at our backs, climb on smooth slabs to a short chimney, then a crack up a steep wall. Section of easy rock, crest a ridge to reach a stand, and belay. A 15m chimney come corner, step L climb the corner to a ledge. 34m climb a groove for ridge crest then step round to a steep wall overlooking the gully, Crack leads to crest again now, 35m easy scrambling along the gendarmed crest to the Napes main ridge. Change back to boots, tramp over short grass and red scree to the base of the Westmoreland crags for Pinnacle Ridge a VD. We could bypass this, but the spiky ridges and blocky walls give an easy crossing right to the summit of Great Gable`s cairn. Here a plaque denotes F&Rcc members lost in the great war. A wander around shows plenty folk up here. Returning down hill we met a threesome coming off the Sphinx ridge, after an assessment of what`s involved, we down climbed this, taking care over some tricky sections until a greasy chimney/gully, dropped us at the Sphinx and traverse path again. The walk back to the car was quiet but pleasing.
But what a day, a great day, one where every thing just clicked.
Next day was spent at Dow crag. With Kenny unwilling to try anything, I soloed Giants Crawl and Murray`s Route, before calling it a day.

Good w/e. So here`s tae the nex yin on ma list..
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Last edited by Benaden887 on Tue Oct 15, 2019 10:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
Benaden887
Stravaiging
 
Posts: 151
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:153   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:7   Hewitts:46
Wainwrights:39   
Joined: Apr 8, 2012

Re: Great Gable eventually

Postby dav2930 » Sat Oct 12, 2019 7:34 pm

Sounds like you had a good couple of days climbing, though I hope Kenny wasn't put off for life? Gable certainly sports some fine climbs. I think my favourite on the sunny southern side is Tophet Wall - surely one of the best climbs of its standard in the Lakes. Needle Ridge is good if a bit broken. I still haven't got round to doing the Needle itself, not quite sure why, or indeed Eagle's Nest Direct, which looks brilliant. Maybe a weekend at Wasdale Head is in order for next spring/summer.

Dow is such a great crag - the most accessible of the really big crags. I've enjoyed many of the climbs there over the years - Eliminate 'A', Giant's Crawl, Leopard's Crawl, Murray's Route (you were bold to solo that!), Murray's Direct, Eliminate 'B', Great Central Route, 'C' Ordinary. Happy memories!

It's a shame you didn't get some photos to illustrate your report.
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dav2930
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Posts: 1431
Munros:237   Corbetts:13
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Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:164
Wainwrights:214   Islands:2
Joined: Feb 13, 2015
Location: Cumbria

Re: Great Gable eventually

Postby Benaden887 » Sun Oct 13, 2019 4:54 pm

Lean an mean in those days. Just content to do it in a decent weather window.
Benaden887
Stravaiging
 
Posts: 151
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:153   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:7   Hewitts:46
Wainwrights:39   
Joined: Apr 8, 2012

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