Bowfell © BALD EAGLE
From Crinkle Crags, the Bowfell Links appear as a series of steep, imposing ribs, scarred with gullies. From closer up, they are more broken and easy-angled, but present plenty of esoteric opportunities for the overly keen scrambler or winter climber.
The well-loved Brian Evans scrambling guide books list one scramble: Pinnacle Ridge, grade 1. But, many other scrambles are also possible, though care must be taken as the rock can be steeper and the situtation more serious than appears from below. Undoubtedly, most of the rock here has been climbed, though little has been documented.
A number of winter routes have also been climbed up the gullies and buttress of the Links, though descriptions of these are similarly incomplete. The adventurous can make their own decisions, here, and the routes can be linked in with a longer winter walk or other more ambitious winter objectives. The descriptions of this page should only be used as a rough guide and grades taken with a pinch of salt.
Below and right of the Links, on the right-hand side of the path between Three Tarns and Bowfell's summit, are a series of inviting slabs composed of solid, white and pink veined volcanic rock. The Evans guide mentions that pleasant scrambling opportunities exist here. One has been recorded on this page: Ripple Slabs Direct, grade 2. Elsewhere, in the FRCC archive, there is a record of this area as 'Pyramid Ridge', which describes these slabs as a 60m VDiff to HS climb, depending on the variation, first ascended in 2007 by the enthusiastic BJ Clarke:
"Although this area is briefly mentioned in Vol 1 of Scrambles in the Lake District, the rocks seem to be crackling pristine. Everywhere the climbing is pleasant on clean, rough, sun-drenched rock. The ridge will "go" throughout the year. Indeed, ice climbers visiting on a cloudless/windless mid-Winter's day will probably regret not bringing their rock shoes and chalk bags instead of axes and crampons."
However, there are reasons to doubt the reliability of this entry: firstly, the rock here is clearly better described as a series of slabs rather than as a "ridge". Second, few experienced ramblers would feel the need for rock shoes and chalk bags, never mind axes and crampons, to aid their ascent of these gently angled slabs - even by the most uncompromising line. Following from this, the climbing grade given may be somewhat exaggerated: somewhere between grade 1 and grade 3 scrambling may be more accurate, with the first slabs being easier, whilst the middle section is notably more tricky. In is unnecessary to say that the 2007 first ascent that is claimed is surely bogus, given the proximity of these slabs to a well-walked path... But, finally, it is the scrambler who arrives expecting "sun-drenched rock" that is likely to be most bitterly disappointed.
Having said all this, Clarke's fond description is very useful - and enthusiasm for the fells should be saluted!
Any further information or route descriptions would be much appreciated.
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