Mountain Journeys

Scafell Climbing Routes – On ‘The Big Hill’


Anna on the crux pitch of Moss Ghyll Grooves - photo courtesy of Sam Marsland

Scafell Climbing Routes - Moss Ghyll Grooves

There are rare occasions here in the Lake District when the sun shines for long enough to allow the high mountain crags to completely dry out. Right now is one of those occasions and wow is it worth the waiting.

Gable, Pillar, and Scafell crags are all seeing attention this week, with climbers enjoying stella conditions on these magnificent venues.
It was only last year I climbed my first route on Scafell crag. That was Botterills slab and was utterly fantastic, I loved every move, every minute, and the views were amongst the finest i've ever seen.

Yesterday, 4 of us had a late start from Wasdale Head and plodded up the steep path towards Mickledore. The heat was intense, but we knew the prize would be worth it. Scafell crag was still in the shade when we arrived at about 2.30pm, I was tempted to divert onto Pikes crag as that was in full sun. But really wanted Moss Ghyll Grooves today, so aimed for that. Sam & Tom climbed a 4 star VS (yes they do exist) that looked pretty exciting. Me & Anna geared up below the rather green Moss Ghyll (it was mossy!!).

Standing at the base of such a historic route never fails to humble me. This route was first climbed in 1926, so no cams, no quickdraws, no nuts!! It would have felt rather more exciting back then, with some Hemp rope tied around the waist and a body belay!

Every pitch was fun and interesting, each had its own character. The crux was the 2nd pitch, moving off the belay was distinctly more difficult than anything else on the route. Satisfying, delicate, beautiful, and fun. By the time I arrived at 'The Lookout' the sun was well and truly on the crag and we were warm and enjoying uninterrupted views over this beautiful district. Words or photographs just can't do justice to the views we witnessed on that crag. For me, these are the most beautiful views in the UK.

The slab above The Lookout is wonderfully delicate and thankfully easier than it looks (looks very blank). The final pitch has a tough start but soon eases and we top out onto the summit ridge, from where The Lake District can be surveyed from aloft.
An easy walk down to Broad Stand and short abseil to Mickledore and the technical climbing is behind us. Now for a well earned cereal bar and drink of stream water, delicious.

So is it worth 3 stars and its 'classic' status? Absolutely yes. This is a stunning line up an impressive, no, extremely impressive piece of rock. Although the FRCC guide awards the route MVS4c i'd say VS4c. Considering the terrain it covers, this is surprisingly easy.

Big thanks to Anna, Sam, and Tom for joining me up on 'The Big Hill'



1st pitch of Moss Ghyll Grooves


Descending to Mickledore via Broad Stand



© Copyright 2024. Website by Freshspace.