Mountain Journeys

Pillar Rock and other fine scrambling days in the Lakes

On Thursday the sun made an appearance in the Lakes, a rare sight so far this summer.
Thankfully I was able to make the most of it during a really nice day out rock scrambling with Mark & Lynda from London.

We'd already completed a shorter scrambling together earlier in the week, and today was about pushing the limits a little further and exploring steeper terrain. Tarn crag in Langdale was the venue and we climbed 'The groove' at grade 3. The first section was still damp after overnight rain, but everything above was lovely and dry, beautiful Lakeland rock.

We enjoyed lunch at the top before a visit to Stickle tarn where we saw plenty of folk enjoying a swim!!
Our return route took in another scramble, this time on Pike Howe. Then a short descent brought us back into the valley.
A grand day out, thanks both.

Friday was a big day out, Pillar Rock no less. Walking to Pillar is a big day in itself, add a stack of rock climbing equipment and the muscles definitely know they've been out.
I was guiding father and son team Andy & Harry who are working their way through the 'Birketts' and this was on behalf of Highpoint Mountain Guides.
We had perfect conditions for an ascent of 'Slab and Notch' route to High Man. No wind, clear skies, dry rock, happy days.

Choosing to walk in from Gatesgarth and over Scarth Gap, the approach took us around 2 hours 45 minutes. The final section of the approach requires care as there's lots of loose and slippery rock, often above huge drops.

The climb can be split into sections, we split it into 4, thus keeping us all close together for most of the time, allowing for easy communication. Although a description for this route appears in the local 'scrambling' guidebook, it really should be treated as a rock climb as the exposure is seriously dramatic, and should any of the rock be wet it becomes very slippery!

During our ascent I was almost struck  by a Peregrine Falcon before it came to rest on a nearby perch, observing our antics no doubt. This was a precious moment, to be so close to such a magnificent creature.
As the name suggests, we first climbed the 'slab', then the 'notch', before finishing up the 'great chimney' to the summit of High Man.

After a summit pose, we abseiled into Jordan gap. Then, rather than continuing downwards, we opted for a continuation scramble (grade 3) to the summit of Pisgah. This provides brilliant exposure (see photo above).

All that's left now is the walk out back to Gatesgarth.

Top day out, well actually two top days out with some fabulous company.

PS: thanks Andy & Laura for the delicious homemade cake & biscuits.


Thanks to Andy, Laura, Harry, Emily, and James for these kind words:

'As you say Mark both a Big and a Top Day Out on Pillar Rock and one that will live long in our memories. Thanks for your expert guiding and for making the day great fun.

We both enjoyed the climb to High Man (our first experience of "proper" climbing - definitely not scrambling!!) and we are very jealous of the Peregrine view.

Great summit photos and not what we expected the summit to be like.

The abseil into Jordan Gap was a highlight for one of us and the scariest bit for the other (no names.....) One of us wants to do it again soon.

The walk out was also memorable with special views of Gable and Kirk Fell backed by clear blue skies

More champagne when we got home but who wouldn't celebrate such a fantastic adventure?

We left our return trip to Ennerdale until today and needless to say the weather wasn't quite as good, although the baking was.

Hope to see you and Joe soon.

Best wishes

Andy, Harry + Laura, Emily and James'



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