This route takes in some of the most famous scenery in the Lake District. It starts out by traversing screes below Kern Knotts Crag before veering steeply up behind Napes Needle and traversing the base of the crags which hang high over Wasdale Head. Thread the Needle, then follow the polished line along the base of Eagle's Nest Ridge and Arrowhead Ridge.

Approaching from Wasdale traverse left below the high crags of Kern Knotts over rocky terrain. Continue over screes past Tophet Wall until the Needle appears prominently above you. At this point the scramble turns right up to the cleft right of the Needle, from here an easy but strenuous chimney takes you to the gap at back of the Needle.

A long and polished step down takes you to the start of the Climbers' Traverse. The traverse winds an obvious and natural line around the base of the crags, several short gully descents and rocky steps add interest. The route leads naturally into Sphinx Ridge.

Ticklists: The Ridges of England, Wales and Ireland.


ClimberDateStyle
Mark Eddy 13/Apr -
with Fenda
Fenda 13/Apr -
C Witter 03/Mar Solo

First trip to the Napes, and there was plenty of snow around. Took the path across the screes from Sty Head toward the Needle. Scrambled up to this on slippery grass, snow and loose rock, then climbed up the chimney groove behind the Needle, since it looked amenable. In fact, it was very cold and very wet and very slippery; the rucksack only added to the experience. I shouted down to my companion that he'd be better not to bother, and gingerly worked my way down the other side, to 'thread the Needle'. There were a few "oh shit" moments along the way, but I was chuffed when I reached the gully floor and finally got a good gander at Wasdale Crack. I could see why it had appealed to Haskett Smith; the flake crack looked very inviting from below. My companion still hadn't surfaced, so I went down the gully and back along the path to look for him. Eventually we were reconvened, but in the interim it commenced to rain. An enjoyable walk along the path a couple of hundred metres got us to the broad shoulder of "the White Napes", which we scrambled up, picking out a few choice bits of rock along the way, until the finale, up an enjoyable series of grooves in pyramidal rock. Despite the lubricating precipitation, I got quite into it, eventually realising that I'd lost my friend, who was working his way through snow covered grass slopes. I descended to him and we went up an interestingly banked up little snow gully to reach a shoulder below the true summit. The wind was gusting fit to blow you off your feet, but we took a couple of snaps before working our way up deep snow to the summit of Great Gable. The true descent was a little tricky to locate; we descended down scrambly terrain in others' footsteps, through deep drifts of snow, till this gave out onto a fantastic scree slope, which we hopped and skidded our way down as fast as we could. In the col between Great Gable and Kirk Fell the wind was whipping across horizontally, full of sleet. The trudge down became increasingly unpleasant, as the sleet soaked into us. But, five pints, dinner and a fire at Ritson's proved to be the perfect remedy. A night of camping in a seeping tent in a saturated field, less so.

with J. Wright
Pete_Mosely 22/Jan Solo O/S
with Joe, Tom
yossarian714 22/Jan Solo O/S

Including threading the Needle; a dusting of snow made it quite slippery

JFT 05/Nov/16 Solo O/S

Threaded the needle too with Bubb, Dukes & Chop

Alfuller18 17/Sep/16 Solo
Hidden 17/Sep/16 Solo
Hidden 03/Sep/16 Solo O/S
petegunn 27/Jul/16 Solo

Threaded the Needle

with Tony J
Tony Jones 27/Jul/16 Solo
with Pete
Zoomer 21/Jul/16 Lead O/S

Great fun and an excellent way to recce the area. Guiding two students.

with A Student
mikecollins 16/Jul/16 -
Hidden 03/Jul/16 Solo O/S
philgillespie 11/Jun/16 -
George Milligan 29/May/16 Solo O/S
with Jamie Lawson, Michael Haywood
Allanfairfechan ??/2016 Solo
Wesley Orvis 19/Sep/15 -
Wesley Orvis 13/Sep/15 -
Hidden 08/Sep/15 -
Hidden 07/Sep/15 Solo
Hidden 03/Sep/15 -
Wesley Orvis 08/Aug/15 Solo
Hidden 29/Jul/15 Solo
Hidden 05/Jul/15 Solo
atthedropofahat 05/Jul/15 Lead O/S
carlh 05/Jul/15 Solo
with scott44
philgillespie 19/Jun/15 Solo
Fentonio 30/May/15 Solo O/S
with Ben Brady
church465 27/May/15 Solo O/S
with Dave Kettle
RuthW 24/May/15 Solo

But skipped threading the needle to make it a grade 1!

alexporter 23/May/15 Solo O/S
Hidden 23/May/15 -
BMaybee 19/Apr/15 Solo
with roym
roym 19/Apr/15 Solo
Steve Woollard 28/Nov/14 Solo
Hidden 16/Nov/14 Solo
Tobias Barthelmes 16/Nov/14 Solo
petegunn 16/Nov/14 Solo
jonathandavey 20/Aug/14 -
2RoyalAnglian 19/Aug/14 Solo

A fantastic little route with great views in all directions! Who says that you always have to summit a mountain to have a great mountain day!

Roger Cruse 04/Aug/14 Solo rpt
with Kris
Wesley Orvis 18/May/14 -
Hidden 19/Apr/14 Solo
jhobbs 29/Mar/14 Solo
with Ben Watson, Tim Melrose
ed edwards 11/Jan/14 -
ClareSenny 11/Jan/14 -
Hidden ??/2014 Solo O/S
Hidden 10/Nov/13 Solo
Wesley Orvis 18/Aug/13 Solo
jesss 24/Jul/13 Solo
Gav Parker 09/Jun/13 Solo
hils theaker ?/Jun/13 Solo
tomdadom 11/May/13 Solo

Raining hard, low cloud so threaded the needle only. Very slippery coming down!

with Rhys
Matt Smith 04/May/13 Solo O/S
Hidden 07/Apr/13 Solo
Mark Eddy ??/2013 Lead

Work

Hidden 30/Dec/12 AltLd O/S
Wesley Orvis 18/Nov/12 Solo
Crowley6969 13/Oct/12 AltLd
with Chris easthall
Wesley Orvis 12/Aug/12 Solo
Hidden 25/Jun/12 Solo O/S
Wesley Orvis 05/Jun/12 Lead

was wet and slippery so roped up for threading the needle and missed Sphinx Ridge due to having no friction between me and the rock went up the scree and summited

Hidden 28/Apr/12 Solo O/S
MaccMark 08/Apr/12 -

Very wet day, so just threaded the Needle & abbed off. The rock was so slick/slipper we decided Sphinx Ridge was worth it. The moss had the best grip. Atmospheric place!

with Mat Ouillion
Simonpeel ?/Mar/12 -
sjbrook 19/Nov/11 Solo O/S

Threaded the Needle and Climbers Traverse, left sphinx ridge for another day.

with Ryan Lymer
Tarquin 13/Nov/11 -
with Louise
Louvet 13/Nov/11 -
with Tarquin
Hidden 05/Nov/11 -
Hidden 25/Oct/11 Solo
manmike 22/Oct/11 Solo
Ste Ridd 22/Oct/11 Solo
Frostie 19/Aug/11 Solo
with Tammy
Hidden 05/Aug/11 -
mheyes101 05/Aug/11 -
Only a hill 13/Jul/11 Solo
petegunn 03/Jul/11 Solo
Hidden 03/Jul/11 Solo
Donald Kelly 10/Jun/11 Solo
with Daria, John F PMC, Andy PMC
ralphio ?/Jun/11 Solo
sjbrook 14/May/11 Solo O/S
with PMC
Dave Richards 14/May/11 Solo O/S

Did not thread the needle this time, just the traverse to Sphinx Ridge.

with PMC
annastudholme ?/May/11 -
annastudholme ?/May/11 -
annastudholme ?/May/11 -
Hidden 19/Mar/11 Solo
Mayaculpa 12/Dec/10 -
with Eamon Hanlon, Gabi Smallbone
tonymw 16/Nov/10 Solo O/S
with Mick Chapman
Shaw Brown 11/Sep/10 Solo

A very wet day with the KMC. Good fun.

petegunn 22/Aug/10 Solo
with Steve, Davina
Hidden 22/Aug/10 Solo
Hidden 19/Aug/10 Solo
Hidden 15/Aug/10 -
jmarshall 07/Aug/10 -

a very wet day

with ben knowles
Mario Sciacca ?/Jul/10 Solo
trish1968 12/Jun/10 Solo
mountainpunk 05/Jun/10 Solo
with Rich
Hidden 05/Jun/10 Solo O/S
Tim Rodgers ?/Apr/10 Solo
markhammonds 28/Nov/09 -
richardt 08/Nov/09 Solo
Hidden 08/Nov/09 -
Hidden 28/Oct/09 Solo O/S
Coops_13 20/Oct/09 Lead O/S
with Andy Cooper
hoyle118 11/Jul/09 Solo O/S
with Dad
stix ?/Jul/09 Solo
Hidden 15/Apr/09 Solo β
petegunn 19/Mar/09 Solo
Hidden 19/Mar/09 Solo
Rob Hirst ?/Dec/08 Solo O/S
with Mark Ross
tony wood ?/Dec/08 Solo

perfect winters day

gazb 08/Nov/08 Solo
Liam Martin 08/Nov/08 Solo O/S
with Gary Brumwell, Felix
jaswa 16/Oct/08 -

in the pouring rain!

with Mark Ruocco, Mike Haydock
manmike 24/May/08 AltLd
with karly54
Hidden 22/Mar/08 Solo
Hidden 27/Jan/08 Solo
petegunn ??/2008 Solo
with Spurling, Davina
Hidden ??/2008 Solo
Hidden 17/Dec/07 Solo
Hidden ?/Nov/07 Solo O/S
Hidden 13/Sep/07 Solo
mark20 23/Aug/07 Solo O/S

Traverse from below White Napes Ridge, threading the needle and round to Sty Head Tarn.

Mark Walter 20/Jun/07 AltLd O/S
Hidden ??/2007 -
JamieForman ?/Sep/06 -
with Helen
Nigel Bond 18/May/06 Solo
masa-alpin 25/Feb/06 Lead O/S

Moved together. Followed by Sphinx Ridge. Patches of snow were on the ground but they weren't a problem. We enjoyed the great scramble under the blue sky. Finally we topped out to Great Gabel in blizzard on hard-snow on the ground. Cracking day out!!

with Adam Taffy, Jonathan M, Graeme B
petegunn 07/May/05 Solo
with Davina
karly54 ?/May/04 Solo
broc 07/Jun/03 Solo
manmike ?/Mar/02 Solo
with jon
Hidden ?/Jun/01 -
Neil Conway ??/1996 Solo O/S
butteredfrog ??/1996 -
Hidden 25/Nov/95 AltLd
Iain Thow 31/Oct/80 Solo
with Rory Dutton, Jack Ewing
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Voting
High 3
Mid 3
Low 3
High 2
Mid 2
Low 2
High 1
Mid 1
Low 1
Votes cast 8
Votes cast 8
Style of ascent
Soloed
Lead
Alt Leads
Not Set
Onsighted
Flashed (β)
Repeated
Not Set