Mountain Journeys

Climbing Scafell Pike – The Big Hill

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The view over Wast Water - Climbing Scafell Pike

 

Climbing Scafell Pike

Having been away in Spain for the winter, I've been missing trips to Scafell Pike, well, missing the beautiful Lake District all over really. For March, guiding work has been steady with a few day walks onto the lower fells and some onto the higher tops. There has already been some Gorge Scrambling and Abseiling. Thankfully we invested in great quality wetsuits that are good for year round use here in the Lakes, so we all stayed comfortably warm.

This week I've been guiding on Helvellyn and Scafell Pike. Both days were chilly but mostly dry, with wind being the dominant weather feature. Some snow was still lying on the upper slopes of Helvellyn, but not enough to restrict walking in any way. And whilst Climbing Scafell Pike yesterday we encountered no snow, but did see some tiny patches around the Mickledore area.

Back to yesterday and our ascent of Scafell Pike from Wasdale. I met with Jenny and Jacob, her 8 year old  Spaniel. Having spent time as a sailor, Jenny can use map and compass, but wanted the reassurance of keeping on track in unfamiliar terrain and in any weather. So she contacted us to book a guide.

This is a smart move, as even an experienced navigator will find Scafell Pike a challenging place to navigate - see the summit photo for an idea on what to expect! Having a guide takes away any stress and allows for more enjoyment of the day. We will keep you updated on progress and can explain what is still to come and what the terrain will be like. We can make a pretty good guess about the weather conditions too.

Setting out from the National Trust car park at Wasdale, I checked the river level as we later need to cross Lingmell Gill. Water level was high after lots of overnight rain. The river crossing is about 30 minutes into the walk and I knew was going to leave us with very wet feet, so made a plan to take an alternative route via Lingmell. This completely avoids the river crossing and was getting a thumbs up from Jenny.

A bonus of taking the smaller path to Lingmell is, it is much quieter and less rocky. We didn't pass another walker until we were on the summit slopes of Scafell Pike. We'd also enjoyed some glorious views - see photo above - and remained comfortably dry.

The wind had been with us the whole time and this was becoming quite fatiguing. The buffeting had on occasion blown us off our feet. With 4 paw drive, little Jacob couldn't see what all the fuss was about, he was totally fine. As predicted, once on the summit plateau, the wind dropped and we could walk normally again, for a while. It returned quite ferociously once on the very top, so we took a few quick photos, gave Jacob the few seconds he needed to eat his lunch, and we made a hasty retreat.

As is normal, the weather on. the summit was very different to the weather down in the valley. We had left Wasdale Head under sunny skies and had been smothered in thick cloud on the summit.

We descended via Hollow Stones and made the crossing of Lingmell Gill. Water levels had dropped a little and it no longer mattered if we got our feet wet, we were nearly back at base.

 

A grand day out Climbing Scafell Pike. Always a pleasure to be showing people around this wonderful mountain.

For more about Climbing Scafell Pike please check out our dedicated website Climb Scafell

For more about what we do in Spain during the chilly UK winters, check out the Cicerone guidebook I recent wrote Costa Blanca Mountain Adventures  

And for more about all the great fun activities we offer here in the Lake District please check out our Activities page here 

Thanks for reading

Mark

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Conditions on the summit can be quite different to the valley - Climbing Scafell Pike

 

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Crossing Lingmell Gill - Climbing Scafell Pike

 

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Our commute over Wrynose and Hardknott Passes to Wasdale

 

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