/ Lakes advice

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Tom Last - on 06 Jan 2013
Hello.

Hoping to head to the Lakes this year in late May for four or five days - will be looking to do mountain routes, so I'm after any recommendations you can give me.

We'd like a couple of super classic easy routes for my mate and maybe some harder stuff for me to have a go at HVS-E2. Would also like to combine this with a night out or two where possible.
The only routes we had in mind initially were The Appian Way (definitely want to do this) and maybe Napes Needle if it's worth it? Scafell would be good to visit too if possible.

So any recommendations and also ideas as to the practicality of staying out and not having too great an approach to these cliffs (Black Sail?) would be really appreciated.

Cheers all.
Tom

PS, all sounds idyllic doesn't it? i'm aware it will probably just rain.
Tom Last - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to Southern Man:

Also, how feasible to do something on The Napes and also The Appian Way in a day for a fastish team or are the approaches and distance between the crags to great/too much of a nightmare?
Any recommendations for 3 star routes are great as I know nothing of climbing in the Lakes.
Cheers.

sheep - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to Southern Man:

Hm, never tried a link-up on pillar and the napes, they're quite far apart.

I'd suggest camping at Beck Head, which is about equidistant from the two.
(There's a good camp-spot there, with a ground-spring on the Gable side).

And, of course, Gable Crag is just around the corner, for the likes of Engineer's Slab, and Boat Howe is worth a look.
sheep - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to sheep:

Actually, scratch the 'equidistant' bit, it's still a long way from Pillar. Maybe Beck Head for the Gable routes, then relocate to Black Sail Pass.
Tom Last - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to sheep:


Thanks a lot Sheep, good info.

Yeah it doesn't look too far on the map, but on the ground I figured it might take a while between the two!

How does it work on The Napes? Is the Needle at the top of the crag and you link into it via another routes, as per say you would when climbing The Cioch on Skye, or is it climbed independently of other routes on the cliff? If the former, what's the best link-up.

Also, can you still just turn up to Black Sail Pass YHA, or do you have to book (presumably months) in advance?

Thanks again.
wilkie14c - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to Southern Man:
The needle is independant of other routes and best climbed as 2 pitches, both of you end up at the shoulder and one nips up and ticks the top and best downclimbs back to the shoulder then swap over. Descent from the shoulder is best by one downclimbing the route and placing lots of gear as he goes and then belaying from the bottom while the other downclimbs protected by the gear the first down has placed. its the easiest, quickest and safest way to tick the needle IMO. Needle ridge starts just behind the needle and worth a tick and after bit of a walk from the top of needle ridge you can easily get to the start of Tophet wall, a long classic HS.
A trip to the lakes isn't complete without a day at Gimmer. classics must dos are Bracket and Slab VD, NW Arete at VS and Kippling Groove at HVS. Brilliant crag and one day will only scratch the surface of it.
Tom Last - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to blanchie14c:

Thanks Blanchie, sounds great and involved!

I guess The Napes is worth a long day for the easier stuff then.

I'll check out the routes you mentioned at Gimmer too, forgot about that place.

Cheers.
wilkie14c - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to Southern Man:
If starting from Langdale the popular choice for climbers going to Gimmer is to take in an easy route on Raven Crag - midlefell Buttress <diff> on the way. If you need a guidebook the FRCC Lake district rock is the selected guide and prob the best. Have fun!
sheep - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to Southern Man:

I've never stayed at black sail yha, best to book in advance i would say, especially for a thursday (curry night).

There are some excellent camping sites just a bit further up the valley.
(Can you tell i like camping?)

Btw, i'd be happy to lend you my Gable & Pillar guide, i don't use it much these days (sad face). It's the most recent one. Pm me with your address if you fancy it.
Tom Last - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to blanchie14c:

Thankyou, yes will definitely be buying that guide then.

I did my first ever climbing at Shepherd's but have never climbed in the Lakes since, so am really looking forward to it.

Cheers!
Tom Last - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to sheep:

Thanks for that Sheep, yeah so much scope for camping, so we'll likely do that anyway and maybe pop in to Black Sail on the off chance.

Thanks again and I've email you by the way.

Cheers,
Tom
Tom V - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to Southern Man:

I'm willing to bet that no-one had Appian Way on their tick list till Gordon took that photograph.
It does sound idyllic and I envy you the discovery of it all.
Could I suggest High Crag ,Buttermere for a good half day? I think it's the best rock in the Lake District and although connoisseurs will probably dismiss it as an "outcrop", it is very nicely situated.
Tom Last - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to Tom V:

Thanks you Tom.

You're bang on the money, that's exactly why I want to do The Appian Way! 2 stars though, so presumably worthwhile?
Thanks, I like Buttermere, so I'll check that out.

Tom
Stuart Wood - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to Southern Man:

If you go to the Napes, do The Caymen, it's one of the best E2's in the lakes!

Woody
Andy2 - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to Southern Man: Tom,
You can have a great day on the south side of Gable, by doing The Needle, Crocodile Crack (VS), and Cayman (E2). The last two are both single pitch then abseil off. On the way there (or back) you can visit Kern Knotts and do some of Kern Knotts Crack, Innominate Crack and Buttonhook Route (all VS or HVS).
All these are relatively quick drying and easy access from Wasdale or Borrowdale.
Tom Last - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to Andy2 & Stuart Wood

Thanks fellas that's great, Andy hat sounds great, particularly as we'd like to be in Borrowdale for a bight or two.

Also Andy, I'll email you in a day or two about climbing in March. Hope Spain was good :)

Cheer.
Skyfall - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to Southern Man:

It's hard to recommend specific routes as there are so many classic crags.

In Borrowdale, the classic easy long route with a bit of a walk in is Corvus at Diff. It goes in all weather so is worth bearing in mind..

One of the best crags in Borrowdale is Black Crag - it's a 20 min walk in so has more of a 'remote' feel than Shepherds. The classic easy route is Troutdale Pinnacle at Severe but there are harder variations; the best probably being the superdirect and one of the best HVS's in the area imho.

The best slab pitch in Borrowdale and possibly the Lakes is Aphasia E2 - a long 45m sustained single pitch. At Sergeants Crag Slabs. There are a clutch of superb HVS's there as well.

Agree if in Langdale you ought to try Gimmer, tons of super routes. Also I'd suggest Pavey Ark. Easy link up is Crescent Slab and Gwynne's Chimney. Some fantastic harder routes. Golden Slipper at HVS is one of the most sought after slab HVS's in the Lakes. Lots in the low E's.

Anyway, hope that gives you some more ideas.
Tom Last - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to Skyfall:

Thanks Skyfall, it does give me plenty of ideas.

I hear what you're saying about there being so many classics, but with the E2 slab you mentioned you might just have read my mind, plus Lanstrath fits nicely into my plans for a night out, thanks :)
Jon Stewart - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to Southern Man:

I'm a big fan of HVS-E2 in the Lakes, but conditions will of course dictate what you can climb.

In the freak event of a heatwave, head straight up to Scafell. Nothing in England compares to Scafell, it is absolutely majestic.

Central Buttress is one of the best mountain routes I have ever done. So is Saxon, but it is one of the hardest (and the crux is almost permanently wet - it felt like 6a to me). The East Buttress is covered in amazing routes, I've only done a couple including the classic Ichabod, which is superb.

For reliability, Gimmer is where it's at. Not so high as other mountain crags and in the sun. Kipling Groove is worth the hype (best though for someone whose top grade is HVS), Whits End Direct is one of the best E1 pitches anywhere, Springbank is good, Equus superb.

Pavey is a wonderful crag, although it looks a little bit like a heap of vegetated choss until you're on the routes. All the classics are brilliant, particularly Arcturus, Golden Slipper, Aardvark (very tough at the grade, but what a pitch), Astra (an amazing middle pitch).

The south side of Gable is good (check out the tough E2/3s on Kern Knotts), but not up to the above IMO, and Napes Needle looks to me like a massive waste of time. Oh yeah, history. If that's your bag, OK...

Dow Crag also excellent (Eliminate A is worth the hype). Esk Buttres is stunning - Central Pillar is a beautiful soft E2 with great climbing in a magical position and location.

Personally, with the exception of Reecastle Crag and Black Crag (Wrynose) I haven't much enjoyed Lakes roadside/single pitch cragging. But others like it. If you're looking for a poor man's Tremadog, you'll find a few contenders in the Lakes.
Tom Last - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to Southern Man:

Jon, thanks a lot.

Central Pillar on Esk Buttress was the route that jumped out at me from the pages of Hard Rock funnily enough and I've never been to Eskdale, despite the praise.

Cheers for all those.

Tom Last - on 06 Jan 2013
In reply to Southern Man:


Thanks everyone for taking the time, there's certainly enough there for half a lifetime of visits there I don't doubt, let alone our measly few days.

I love The Lakes very much and despite living there for a short while in the 90s haven't been back much since, so understandably can't wait.

I'll put the easier stuff on the backburner if we get a proper good dry spell as we're sure to be back.

Thanks again,
Tom

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