Mountain Journeys

Pinnacle Ridge Lake District

Crossing the Pinnacles


Pinnacle Ridge Lake District

Ah but which Pinnacle Ridge you may ask as there is more than one in the Lake District. The St.Sunday Crag Pinnacle Ridge, the best one.

We set out from Patterdale with the sun in the sky and glorious views to lift our spirits. A day out in the mountains and on rock has been needed for a while now, the weather hasn’t quite been up to it recently. We have been indoor climbing at Kendal Climbing Wall, a rare thing for us, but it felt necessary just to keep some climbing fitness.

The initial approach walk is pretty on pretty flat terrain, that is until the Elmhow Plantation is reached. After passing through the gate we head left off the main track and follow the small, zigzag path as it climbs steeply to Blind Cove. As the gradient eases one more we take a traverse line under craggy ground, soon we are back on a decent path that spits us out at the base of a very steep scree slope, the final obstacle of the approach.

Scree slopes are an important habitat for various small creatures and plants, so it’s good to tread carefully and make as little disturbance as possible. We do just that as we slowly pick a route through the rocks. We are soon at the base of our planned route, Pinnacle Ridge.

A quick snack before gearing up ready to set off. By now the sunshine has become hidden behind thick cloud. This means no views for now, but a more atmospheric time on the climb, so all good. As it’s quite chilly, we want to minimise stops and faff, so we rope up from the start. Initially we move together through the easy sections and when the terrain becomes more challenging we make a belay and climb in short pitches, using direct belays where possible as this keeps us moving more fluidly.


Crux corner of Pinnacle Ridge

Arriving below the crux corner it is now really chilly and the rock is damp. I decide to place a piece of protection in the corner as I lead up, this feels like the right thing to do given the slippery nature of the rock on these moves. Kate soon follows, always more elegantly than I. We now have the pinnacles to traverse. This is easy but wonderful fun and quite dramatic. I make a belay on the final pinnacle and bring Kate over to join me, she then climbs down to the gap first.

The cloud is still thick, you might say it’s a ‘pea soup’ day. A quick chat to figure out which way we’ll go for the final section then off we go. Good moves up a corner crack and slab lead us to spacious ledges at the top of the route. The cloud is allowing us just enough visibility to see the pinnacles, but no further.

It’s freezing up here so we don’t hang around. Harnesses off, rope away and off we go. Within about 15 minutes we’re out of the cloud and back to full sunshine with glorious views over Ullswater. Time for some lunch then.

The walk down is straightforward and we cover the ground rather rapidly.

Whilst Pinnacle Ridge isn’t a difficult climb, in fact it’s more of a scramble. Today it was a perfect objective. Too cold and misty for rock climbing, but ideal for a mountaineering day such as this. I’ve climbed this route in hot sunshine, rain, cloud, high winds, and snow. It’s always great fun and a memorable day.

If you’re wanting a guided ascent of Pinnacle Ridge Lake District or any other Lake District climbs / scrambles please check out our Scrambling page and get in touch.

For winter, we are over in Costa Blanca, Spain. There are lots of amazing ridges here too so If looking for a winter-sun climbing or activity holiday, the Costa Blanca ticks all the right boxes. We can help with guiding and/or advice. If simply wanting information about what to do here check out the new Cicerone guidebook

Thanks for reading


Pinnacle Ridge Lake District


Selfie at the top



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