Scafell Pike, 27-29 May 2016

This is probably our most technically difficult trip so far. Unfortunately, there are no pictures from the hard bits as the photographer was either climbing, or belaying, or trembling with fear. During the first day we threaded the Napes Needle (grade 2 scramble) and traversed to Sphinx, and during the second day we scrambled up Broad Crag and conquered Broad Stand - a short grade 3 scramble on the route connecting Scafell Pike and Scafell.

The red and blue lines show our first and second day's tracks, respectively. After Broad Stand the GPS lost power so the latter part of the track is approximate. The "P" icon shows the Seathwaite campsite where we parked our car and stayed overnight on Friday. The tent icon shows the spot where we stayed overnight on Saturday.

On top of Green Gable (801 m). The technical bits started after we descended and went round Great Gable.

Sonya is practicing the figure-of-eight knot and getting ready to climb.

Victor is climbing through the Napes Needle to set up belay.

The Napes Needle was quite busy. Some people were proper climbers, and some just threaded the Needle like us. This does not really need a belay, but we were unsure about the descent, and our big packs made climbing awkward. Besides, we passed by the Needle a year ago and our impression back then was that threading requires a rope.

Sonya is climbing down.

Climbers on the Needle. From this side, it is quite an impressive rock.

We then did Climber's Traverse and reached the Sphinx rock. The scrambling here is simple but very exposed in places.

After climbing above the Sphinx, the scrambling became easy and we got to Great Gable without any problems.

We went down to Sty Head and followed Corridor Route. We camped in a little valley by a spring. We camped here before, this place is fantastic. Lonely sheep were our only neighbours. The weather in the evening was great: warm, calm, sunny.

Next day, we continued our adventures. We scrambled up Broad Crag and then followed a path to Scafell Pike (978 m).

Walking up a huge slab.

Looking back at Great Gable (the leftmost fell in the picture). Derwent Water is seen in the distance.

Great Gable: we climbed here yesterday. Zoom in to see the rocks on the left of a large red scree. This is where the Napes Needle and Sphinx rock are.

Our next challenge: Broad Stand which obstructs the path to Scafell (964 m). Hover the mouse over the image to see the scramble up Broad Stand (red line). One of the walls in the beginning of the ascent is an exposed grade 3 scramble and a scene of many accidents. We set up belays - there were some cracks that took a couple of rocks-on-wire.

The scrambling to Scafell after Broad Stand is easy.

Looking westward from Scafell, towards the sea.

Looking back at Scafell Pike. There were huge crowds of walkers there.

We descended from Scafell via Foxes Tarn. Last glimpse of Scafell. The Broad Stand is on the right, the main path on Scafell comes from the west.

We went down to the Esk valley, then through the Esk Hause and down towards Seathwaite.

This was a great trip. We were very lucky with the weather which does not often happen in the Lakes. Overall, in two days we covered over 20 km, gained/lost ca. 2 vertical kilometers and did a few scrambles with full backpacks. The Lakes resemble the Khibiny mountains but here there are too many people and virtually no forests. We usually try to avoid the most touristy places but it is not always possible.

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