Mountain Journeys

Napes Needle Great Gable: An exciting day making memories


Probably the most iconic piece of rock in England

Napes Needle Great Gable

On Monday of this week a pretty special day was enjoyed in the historical mountaineering theatre that is Great Gable. And the story started four years ago, when I got in touch with friend Jo Bradshaw, mentioning she might like to climb Napes Needle on Great Gable.
Jo is a seriously inspirational person who is continually facing her fears and stretching herself beyond what most folk could even imagine. I'm not going to delve into the details here, instead have a proper look here - Jo Bradshaw

Okay, back to a mountaineering day of dreams.
Jo was bringing a couple of friends along and Seth was also to join us. So with fellow instructor Sam Marsland, we set off as a team of six. Walking in from Seathwaite, as we left the campsite the cloud was low and the skies looked heavy. The weather gods weren't shining on us that's for sure. We had a variety of plans in case the rains arrived.
Thankfully by the time we reached Styhead Tarn the sun was out and things were looking good, we all had happy faces 🙂

Sam, Chris and Lotti took the lead along the 'climbers traverse' of The Napes in order for them to have a head start climbing the needle. Me, Jo and Seth sauntered along at a more leisurely pace, absorbing our surroundings and lapping up this wondrous place.

By the time we arrived at 'The Dress Circle' Sam & co were geared up and ready to start climbing 'Napes Needle'. There was an element of nervousness in the air, in a good way. Sam flew up the needle in one pitch and was soon ready for Chris and Lotti. They too cruised the route, although I do hope they stopped to admire the spectacular views all around them. They were then lowered back to base and it was now time for Jo and Seth to tie in to the ropes and touch this hallowed rock. More good climbing followed and even some standing on top of The Needle before being lowered back to base.

Climbing Napes Needle is a huge achievement in itself and I think everyone was feeling the mental effects of such a route and place. Thankfully, when I proposed we continue the fun and excitement by climbing one of the fabulous ridges up towards the summit of Great Gable, this was met with considerable enthusiasm by all. So we continued along the exposed 'climbers traverse' towards 'The Sphinx', stopping a little short of this equally amazing feature. Wow isn't geology both kind and wonderful.

We stopped below Arrowhead Ridge and our chosen route was 'Arrowhead Ridge Direct' a true classic mountaineering route with all this implies. Every time I looked back down or along the ridge towards Wasdale I had to pinch myself that this day was real and off-the-scale amazing. Surrounded by fabulous people in this very special place, days don't get much better.

The climb was harder than I was expecting it to be, but this just added to the fun. I was climbing with Jo & Seth while Sam was hot on our heels with Lotti & Chris. Towards the top the climbing turned increasingly to scrambling and eventually we arrived at the neck of land below Westmorland Crag. A short rest here before we walked up to the summit of Great Gable. Still the views were 360'
Seth had a train to catch so we hot-footed it back to Seathwaite and an all too soon end to this ace day out 🙂

Jo & Chris are heading to Ama Dablam in November. We wish you both the best of luck and safety in those big mountains.
Big thanks to Sam of Lake District Mountaineering for helping with the guiding, especially so with the Needle.
Also thanks to Jo for agreeing to do this. And to Lotti, Chris, and Seth for joining to make a dream team.

I urge you to have a look at Jo's website, she is a far better writer than I and writes some inspiring stuff.

Thanks for reading folks. If looking for a day on Napes Needle or any adventure day here in the Lakes, please do get in touch and we'll do our very best to make it happen and for it to be a brilliant day.



Jo enjoying the 'full-on' exposure of Arrowhead Ridge Direct


Seth on the upper section of Arrowhead Ridge Direct


Jo, Sam, and Seth on the ridge


A very unique place - top of Napes Needle


Team topping out on the summit of Great Gable with Wast Water behind


Back at Seathwaite farm and ready for a cup of tea



© Copyright 2024. Website by Freshspace.