Mountain Journeys

Bowfell Buttress – Classic Rock: What a beauty


Bowfell Buttress as seen from the Grunting Gill approach

Bowfell Buttress - Classic Rock

With yet more rather splendid weather here in the Lakes, another day up in the mountains was on the cards. This time with friend and fellow Ambleside resident Jim.

We made a loose plan, simply to meet up in the Langdale valley, leaving the finer details until last minute. We both had plenty of ideas and there is certainly a lot of choice. We settled for Bowfell Buttress. A classic mountain day with all the joy and adventure that brings.

Having both climbed the route numerous times previously, we naturally left the guidebook behind to save weight. We also packed light, with a minimal trad rack and a 30m rope. This allowed us to make quick progress up to the route.

To avoid walking through farmyards, we followed the track along Mickledon before crossing the beck and striking a direct line near to the aptly named 'Grunting Gill'! This was quite a lung busting ascent, but the scenery more than made up for any of that. The crag comes into view very early on, I always find this an inspiration and am able to walk much faster than normal.

We stopped off at The Great Spout to top up with fresh spring water, this was delicious and icy cold. A snack break later and we were ready for some climbing. I set off first, which as it happens, meant Jim took the crux pitches and I had a nice easy ride.

The climbing flowed well, we didn't time ourselves on the route, but it's likely we were no more than an hour and it felt like a nice relaxed pace. Enjoying the magnificent views into the Langdale valley, taking time to listen to birdsong - we think we could hear a Ring Ouzel and a Chough.

Even at the top of the buttress there was only a light breeze and this wasn't at all chilly, so we could sit and enjoy the panoramas once more. We also noticed a pair of climbers on neighbouring Cambridge Crag, although don't know what route they were on.

With no rush back, we walked over Bowfell North Top and down to Ore Gap before dropping down to Angle tarn and back into the Langdale valley.

A fine mountain day and a route worthy of any climbers attention.

We are lucky enough to get to climb many of the classic rock routes and many more besides on a regular basis. So if you're a visiting climbing wanting to have a go at any of these and don't want the hassle of route finding and logistics involved in a mountain day, why not give us a call and we can help plan the perfect day out for you.

Bowfell Buttress is a 'Classic Rock' route and included in the well known coffee table tome by Ken Wilson 'Classic Rock'

Thanks for reading



After a refreshing drink from The Great Spout we make our way to the base of the climb


Saxifrage growing on Bowfell


The view into Langdale from the top of Bowfell Buttress


On our way to Ore Gap with the Scafell massif as backdrop



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