Mountain Journeys

Guided Ascent of Pillar Rock – Challenging weather and Successful mountain days


Climbing onto Pisgah from Jordan Gap - Guided Ascent of Pillar Rock


Guided Ascent of Pillar Rock

Over this last week we’ve had the pleasure of helping a couple more people reach the summit of Pillar High Man. Both at different stages of their Nuttall journeys, with Pillar High Man being the only summit requiring rock climbing skills.

First up was Mick. In times gone by Mick was a climber, and earlier in the week we spent a great day climbing at Shepherds Crag in Borrowdale. He had asked to climb Little Chamonix, so that’s what we did. We also climbed a couple of routes on Brown Slabs and the longer route of Donkeys Ears. This all made for a nice and full day on the rock.

Not only was this a really nice day out, it gave Mick a re-introduction to rock, as a prelude to a big day on Pillar. With a poor forecast for the scheduled day up on Pillar, this was re-arranged to a later day in the week. Turned out that was a really wet one too!

Mick and our guide Sam set off in ‘adventurous’ conditions as Mick was determined to get this, his final Nuttall, in the bag. They climbed to the summit via Slab & Notch route. This is a very amenable route, but given the very poor weather, the upmost of care was required for a safe ascent. Needless to say Sam made everything run smoothly.

I’ve included a photo taken by Sam of the abseil. It summarises the conditions rather well. Atmospheric, wild, wet! As the team made their way back to base the sun made an appearance, so at least started to dry them out a little.

The glowing feedback we received from Mick suggests the weather didn’t take any of the enjoyment out of it. Maybe just made it all even more memorable.

And at the weekend I met up with Richard and Gary, also ticking their way through the Nuttall’s. We met up at Wasdale Head, the guys had spent the previous night at the Wasdale Head Inn. The forecast was looking pretty decent, although a weather front was due to move in during early afternoon, so we knew a speedy approach walk would be useful.

After about half an hour Gary developed some leg pain, likely caused by some big days out over recent weeks. He quickly decided to take a rest day and returned to Wasdale, leaving me and Richard to speed up to Pillar ahead of the rain.

Once on the High Level Traverse we didn’t see another person, the whole place deserted. Wonderful views into Ennerdale, Great Gable, Haystacks, and plenty more.

Gearing up by Pisgah we put our waterproof jackets on just in case, but all was dry. We split the climb into 4 pitches. Firstly over the slab, then up to the notch, then across to the edge of the gully and finally straight up the gully to reach the summit.

360’ views made our efforts all worthwhile, this is a stunning place. 

Next up is a 15m abseil into Jordan Gap and from here were climbed up onto Pisgah via a superbly exposed traverse. A short down-scramble brought us back to our bags and just as we arrived so did the rain. A proper deluge of it too!

Still, by now we didn’t care. We’d enjoyed dry rock and wonderful views throughout the climb. Richard was keen to visit the main summit of Pillar and nearby Looking Stead, so we did that as part of our return journey. So that’s 3 Nuttall’s for this trip.

As we descended, the clouds parted and sunny spells returned, sufficient enough to dry us off. Lucky for me as I was heading back out for the evening with a 3 Peaks Challenge group.

Gary was waiting for us back at base, gutted he hadn’t made it to Pillar on this occasion, but content he’d made the best decision.

Big thanks to Mick for donating a big chunk of climbing hardware to us, much appreciated and to you all for joining on these days out. Much appreciated.

If you’re also working your way through the Nuttall’s and would like help with Pillar Rock, please do get in touch, we’d love to help.

Thanks for reading





Pisgah - Guided Ascent of Pillar Rock (photo courtesy of Richard)



Summit of Pillar High Man - Guided Ascent of Pillar Rock (photo courtesy of Richard)



Mick abseiling into Jordan Gap - Guided Ascent of Pillar Rock (photo courtesy of LDM)



Pillar from Robinson's Cairn - Guided Ascent of Pillar Rock



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