Scafell Pike et al.

Stuart Marshall suggests tackling Scafell Pike from Wasdale, but I like the approach from Borrowdale and this also allowed us to include Rossett and Esk Pikes, left over from our Langdale excursions.  It meant a long day, which became even longer when we lost ourselves in the cloud - the top 4-500 feet were in the clouds, which meant all the way from just above Esk Hause to Scafell Pike and down to the Corridor Route level.  And it rained at both ends of the walk, all un-forecast, but all in all an interesting and satisfying day.  Both Sophie and I were glad to get home, after 15 miles and 4000 feet ascent.

Although this was not the day for photography, here are the pictures (click on any picture for a larger version):



Our plan was to ascend via Grains Gill and come back via the Corridor Route and Styhead Tarn.  Here is the rather murky view up Grains Gill from near Seathwaite.
Ahead is Seathwaite Fell, which we were very glad to be by-passing, and over to the right a rather full Taylor Gill Force.  It was even fuller when we returned about 8 hours later...


One of the many impressive waterfalls on Ruddy Gill as we approached Great End looming up in front of us.
More looming...


Looking back down Ruddy Gill, north to Borrowdale.
Great End.  These are the South-east and Central Gullies.  Click here for the way we took to get to the top earlier this year.


At the top of Ruddy Gill you turn left up to Esk Hause, the highest pass in the Lake District.  From there we could see our first objective, Rossett Pike, in the centre of this picture.  I had forgotten about the drop down to Angle Tarn, which we would have to negotiate on the way back...
.Here is the tarn, with Esk Pike in the background.


The summit of Rossett Pike, looking across at the Langdale Pikes.
This is the way back up to Esk Hause, via Angle Tarn.  The clouds were beginning to descend...


Over to the right, Bowfell, with a good view of the Great Slab, down the side of which we had descended a few days ago.  At the bottom of the Great Slab you can (?) discern the Climbers' Traverse, which is used mainly to access Cambridge Crag, next to it, and Bowfell Buttress, further round to the right.  Needless to say, we turned left at that point...
Here is Sophie at the top of Esk Pike.


The higher part of Eskdale, with Ill Crag dominating the heights on the right.
This is quite a long time later, at the top of England, together with much of its population.  The trek from Esk Hause was almost all in the clouds, with visibility about 70 yards, a situation in which cairns assume huge significance.  There were plenty of them - but we must have followed the wrong set, and finished up high on the Ill Crag side of the path.  So did about 20 other people, who turned out to be following us!  Fortunately we espied a group below us, who pointed us in the right direction.  Today there was absolutely no chance of anyone getting lost - someone in the hordes had to be a good navigator...


That down there is Styhead Tarn, and a very welcome sight, since it confirmed that we were at least on the right path back.  Unfortunately that view disappeared in the clouds a few seconds later, and I failed to remember that the right turn at Lingmell Col onto the Corridor Route is quite easy to miss (no cairn), and in the cloud we meandered on down - until we dropped down below the clouds, and I saw Wastwater before us!  That cost us about 45 minutes...
Nobody can say we don't persevere!  Here is Sophie at the top of Lingmell, just after we found the Corridor Route.  It was of course enveloped in cloud, which was a great pity, since we missed some spectacular views.


Not the way to descend Lingmell...
The great cleft of Piers Gill, as seen from the Corridor Route (yes, we got there in the end...)


Below the cloud level: Wastwater to the west.
Up to the east of the Corridor Route is the ridge between Great End and Scafell Pike.  This col is another way up onto the ridge - if you like steep scree, that is...


Greta Gill, the other great gash in the fellside which you need to negotiate on the Corridor Route.
Great Gable wreathed in cloud.

Looking back up at Lingmell.
If you get this view of Great Gable, you are approaching Styhead Tarn.  Wasdale is down to the left. It was about here that it started raining, so I forgot about the camera and concentrated on getting us back the 3 miles to Seathwaite


The last time we did most of this walk, the weather was marvellous, so here is the description of that day.

If you would like to sponsor me and the dogs in our quest to walk all the Wainwrights for the Great North Air Ambulance Service, please click here - and thank you for your generosity!