Sunday 28 May 2017

Guided Scrambling in The Lake District. 24th & 25th May 2017.

During last weeks exceptionally hot period of weather, Iain's skills as a Mountaineering Instructor were called upon by Robert Wilson from West Sussex who was looking for two days of Guided Scrambling in The Lake District as preparation for a visit to the European Alps to climb the Dufourspitze - the highest point of Mont Rosa - also the second highest summit in The Alps after Mont Blanc.

On day one of Robert's Guided Scrambling Course in The Lake District, we met at The Sticklebarn Car Park near the New Dungeon Ghyll, where we were able to quickly access our first scramble - Pike How (grade 2).

Photo one sees Robert as we approached the top of the first buttress of this route. We would scramble on up a further two rocky buttresses before gaining the summit of Pike How - an ideal place to break for lunch, with some spectacular views all around.

With Robert's objective of achieving the summit of Monte Rosa in mind, Iain's proposal for our next scramble to reach the summit of Harrison Stickle was to attempt a grade 3 scramble - South Central Buttress. A grade 3 scramble is somewhat steeper than a grade 2 route and there is more exposure involved. Robert, however, was quite satisfied that grade 2 was the hardest level at which he wished to be climbing today, so we changed our plan and headed slightly east on to the South East Ridge of Harrison Stickle (photo two) which is given grade 1; however, it is possible to take a line up the steeper rocks to the left of the ridge to bring the grade up to 2.

Unfortunately, the heat of the day was now making itself felt though it wasn't until the end of the following day that Iain discovered that this had resulted in moisture forming on the lens of his digital camera leading to blurred spots in many photos - such as the one in photo two!

We reached to summit of Harrison Stickle via the South East Ridge in a little over an hour after following an interesting line weaving through rock bands where Robert was probably on quite a bit of grade 3 ground without actually realising it. He managed fine regardless; and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

As we had time for a third scrambling route today, Iain roped Robert down Jack's Rake - the classic (and under-graded, we think!) grade 1 line cutting across the face of Pavey Ark above Stickle Tarn. Photo three sees Robert with Stickle Tarn and the Langdale valley beyond as we started our descent. We passed a couple of climbers mid route who were about to start up a new VS rock climbing line on the upper crags of Pavey Ark and we also passed quite a few people soloing up Jack's Rake intrigued at the fact that we were descending it!

We were back at the car park just before 5pm and enjoyed pints of cordial and lemonade to cool down - essential after our long hot afternoon; on dry rock in the baking sun.

For day two of Robert's Guided Scrambling Course in The Lake District, Iain decided to take him to a different area near Coniston, where there are a number of great scrambles allowing one to reach the summit ridge of The Old Man (the highest mountain locally) without going on the tourist track at all!

We started off by scrambling up The Bell (grade 1) a delightful ridge line rising in a series of buttresses to the summit of the hill of the same name. Again, Iain chose a line that would make the most of the more exciting sections of rock and we soon arrived at the summit (photo four). The great thing about the bell is that it is only a ten minute walk from the Walna Scar car park where we had parked - so more time is spent scrambling and not walking.
What we usually do after climbing The Bell is to walk around to the foot of Low Water Beck to where another great scrambling route (of the same name) weaves it's way up the watercourse - starting firstly in the bed of the stream before weaving up slabs to the right and then finishing above the stream on the left bank. Low Water Beck, however, is graded at 3 and Robert was adamant that he wished to remain scrambling at grade 2 again today. So this meant we had to miss out our second scramble and go straight for the third intended line - Brim fell Slabs (grade 2) above the hanging tarn of low Water.

We arrived at Low Water before mid-day when usually, we wouldn't normally arrive here till around 2pm after ascending the afore-mentioned scramble. After some lunch, we started up Brim Fell Slabs (photo five) arriving at the summit at around 2pm.

Robert was very pleased with his two day Guided Scrambling Course in The Lake District with Iain and reckoned it was just what he needed in way of preparation for his ascent of Monte Rosa. We may well see him again if he has time before his departure to The Alps as he'd like to take that step on to some grade 3 scrambling routes.

Scrambling is a great way to get to the top of mountains - much more interesting than walking up footpaths. There's a great deal to be said for taking an airy ridge line on steep rock instead!

Our Guided Scrambling Courses; and indeed - our Scrambling Skills Training Courses in The Lake District cost just £160 per day for one or two persons; and this fee includes the provision of helmets, harnesses; and a mountaineering Instructor with rope and scrambling rack to guide/coach you. You can be assured of a great day out on some great Lake District Rock - so contact us here to book your Scrambling Course. You won't be disappointed!

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