Information and photos of my mountaineering trips in Scotland,England and Wales:
Including hillwalking,scrambling and easy rock climbing.Also via ferrata, skiing and alpine trips in Europe.

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Sunday, 20 June 2010

Threading the Needle, Sphinx Ridge and Pinnacle Ridge - 20th June 2010

Another promising weather forecast lead us to choose Wasdale as our base for some walking /scrambling, so we headed south for the National Trust campsite near Wasdale Head. The campsite involves a longer drive to get to, via Whitehaven, but the location is stunning and as it's a car free site much more peaceful.

The campsite has views of Great Gable, Scafell Pike and Hollow Stones (shown above).

From the campsite we headed past The Wasdale Inn and up the path to Styhead with views of the Napes Ridges on our left all the way up to the stretcher box  near Styhead Tarn.

A closer view of the Napes Ridges and the White Napes to the left, with Westmorland Crags higher up.

From the stretcher box, we turned sharp left on the rising path that leads up and below Kern Knotts and Tophet Wall where the more serious climbers where heading. Scafell Pike is across the valley behind Lorna with Lingmell to the right.

This Gold Ringed Dragonfly kindly lead the way for a few hundred metres!

The grade I/II Climbers Traverse as it is known eventually leads to Napes Needle and the strenuous chimney that you shuffle up to reach the narrow gap between the needle and the main crag - difficult to make out the awkwardness from the photo. 

The view of Napes Needle from the natural viewpoint of the " Dress Circle", showing the grade II downclimb into the gully and climbers on the V-Diff  "Needle Ridge", which starts directly from the gap.

A better view of Needle Ridge and Needle Gully on it's left.

Sphinx Rock comes into view as you traverse around the gullies and ridges of the Napes. Our next route, the grade II Sphinx Ridge, rises up directly behind the Sphinx itself.


Before reaching the Sphinx you pass behind this large flake, the start of another climb I assume as we saw a team set off from there (?), and on past Arrowhead Ridge.

Climbers on the V-Diff Arrowhead Ridge. A grade II option exists to bypass the lower section and join above the climbing difficulties via the gully on it's left.


The Sphinx gazes down into Wasdale whilst I find a way up to the strart of the Sphinx Ridge.

From the top of Sphinx Ridge, a short path leads over to the right of Westmorland Crags and Pinnacle Ridge. Another nice grade II with a continuing alpine (ish) feel to it. The route rises from right to left up a central arete which is difficult to spot until close up. 

From the top of the ridge it's a short walk to the summit of Great Gable with views down over Hell Gate and the tops of the Napes Ridges
On Great Gable's summit is a poignant reminder of the sacrifice made by members of the Fell and Rock Climbing Club during the First World War. Every year on Remembrance Sunday, hundreds gather here in all weathers to pay their respects.


Simon Cox said...

I have never seen the high fells so green before - incredible photos. Is this to do with the intensity of the winter that just passed?

Great to see the Arrowhead as well, as I have always wondered which rock formation it was that gave the ridge its name.

All in all, a great photo chronicle of a consistently interesting and varied part of the Lakes.

Great effort!


Tim said...

Not sure about the green-ness, it was dry all the time we were there although Piers Gill was wet and gloomy.
This was my second visit to the Napes, with a guide book so i could actually find what I was looking for!



Elias said...

I'm working on a free on line map of the travels of an old famous mountaineer and I would like to ask for your permission to use the picture titled:
"A better view of Needle Ridge and Needle Gully on it's left."

I don't see any copyright mark but I thought to ask anyway.

Alex said...

Some really useful slides here. I've been looking for something like this to help with a research piece I've been working on.
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