Climbs 67
Rocktype Rhyolite
Altitude 650m a.s.l
Faces SW

great night on napes needle © tjmillen

Crag features

The Birthplace of British Rock Climbing. This excellent crag, although rather broken, provides climbing of all grades in superb surroundings with its spendid ridges and steep walls over looking the upper Wasdale Valley and the Scafell Range.

The Napes is quite unique with its classic ridge climbs and the famous pinnacle of Napes Needle. Its relatively easy access and fine climbs has resulted in this being a popular stomping ground for the lower grade climber and beginner, but also provides some high quality testpieces. The majority of the crag is fast drying and holds the sun late into the day.

Although most of the climbs are on sound rock, care should be taken when on the ridges as any stonefall will rake the gullies and their walls, eventually crossing the busy path at the bottom.

Up to about 100m high on quick drying sunny rock. Many easier classics but the best routes are Eagles Nest (D), Arrowhead Ridge (VD), Needle Ridge (VD), Abbey Buttress (VD), Tophet Wall (HS), Eagles Nest Direct (MVS), Viking (E3), Tormentor (E4), Supernatural (E5), Incantations (E6).

Approach notes

Starting from either Wasdale Head, Seathwaite or Borrowdale take the path to Sty Head Pass, and from its highest point follow the Climbers Traverse, a gently rising track that crosses the south-west flank of Great Gable. This path is rather vague at first, but soon becomes better defined and passes under Kern Knotts before continuing to the Napes.
The first large wall to be reached, across a wide scree chute called Great Hell Gate, is Tophet Wall, an impressively steep rockface. The next prominent feature is the characteristic shape of Napes Needle, which stands directly below the classic ridge climb of Needle Ridge. Beyond Needle Gully stands the imposing Eagles Nest Ridge and Abbey Buttress, which is immediately followed by Eagle Nests Gully and the final major ridge, Arrowhead Ridge. The track below the crag then continues to Sphinx Rock, a shapely detached block at the extreme left-hand end of the crag.

About one hour from Wasdale or under one and a half hours from Borrowdale.


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Climbs at this crag

Climb name Grade
 Tophet Wall 
2Tophet RidgeVS 4c *3
3The Tartarus Trip
E1 5b  
4Demon WallVS 5a *7
5Sacrificial CrackE4 6a ***3
6Tophet WallHS 4a ***765
7BreathlessE9 7a *** 
8XanderE7 6b  
9SupernaturalE5 6a ***11
10IncantationsE6 6b ***1
11Tophet GroovesHVS 5b *2
12The VikingsE3 5c ***20
13Tophet Grooves DirectE1 5b *6
14The Satanic Traverses
E5 6a *1
15Golden Calf
E4 6b * 
16Tophet BastionVD *27
17Tophet Girdle
VS 4c *1
 The Napes Ridges - East 
19Hell Raiser
E2 5c * 
20Lucifer CrackS 4a *8
21Lucifer RidgeVD *4
VD 1
VS 4c 2
24Buzzard Wall
D 2
25Zeta Climb
VD 3
26Belfry Buttress
HS 4b 2
27Belfry Crack
VS 4b *2
28Chantry ButtressS 3c 7
29Chantry Buttress Direct
30Crumbs From A Rich Man's TableMVS 4b **1
31Needle RidgeVD **856
 The Needle 
33The Wasdale CrackHS ***731
34The AreteHS ***138
35Slingsby's VariationHS 4
36The Crowley RouteHS 4b *13
37The Lingmell Crack
HS 4b *12
38The Obverse RouteMVS 4b ***12
39Sick Heart River
E2 ** 
40The Wasdale Roof
E3 5c *1
41Thirty-nine Steps
E3 ** 
42Sick'ard ShiverE6 6b ** 
43Direct Obverse from the Gap
HVS 5a 2
 The Napes Rideges - West 
45Amos MosesE1 5b **26
46Crinkler's CrackHVS  
47Alligator CrawlHS *3
48Crocodile CrackHVS 5a ***37

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