Altitude 650m a.s.l
great night on napes needle © tjmillen
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).
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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