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Mountaineering Feature - LANGDALE LINK UPS

Updated: Sep 30, 2021

We have been mountaineering this week; the unpredictable weather has cancelled some of our ghyll sessions and made us think a little harder about where and what to climb.

Langdale seemed like a good choice; offering easy climbs and scrambles that can be done in link ups or enchainments from valley floor to mountain top.

Parking at the Stickle Barn car park we walked down the road and to Raven Crag, which sits above the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel. Here we started our way up on Middle Fell Buttress.

This is a classic climb and probably the most climbed route in the valley. It is a first lead for many and is a good venue for practising those all important skills when progressing as a beginner climber.

Two seconds on Middle Fell Buttress, Raven Crag Langdale
Middle Fell Buttress

We climbed as a three. We kept the pitches short to aid communication and because I headed up the route with a minimal scrambling rack; a selection of wires, 2 cams, four slingdraws and some slings and screwgate carabiners for the belays.

All was well and we headed onto the Curtain Wall. This is a Difficult graded rock climb and feels steep for the grade - everything is good and the climbing is on big holds. We soon climbed this and were heading up the continuation scramble towards the path above.

We kept the rope on for this scramble, there is a lots of variation and we tried to stick consistently on the rock and use the most continuous bands of rocky steps.

We emerged onto the path, had lunch, coiled the rope and set off again. This path is often used as the approach to Gimmer Crag, and the routes and variants we climbed are often used as an extension to the approach to Gimmer, allowing a mountaineering aproach as opposed to a walk all the way. However, we veered right and not left and walked in the direction of Pavey Ark.

Climbers on Crescent Climb Pavey Ark Langdale
Crescent Climb

Our next route was Crescent Climb on Pavey Ark. The crag looked dark and forbidding on the way in due to its blackness from the wet rock. This crag takes a long time to dry and there are many drainage lines coming down the lower section which means it can be wet and greasy for long periods.

Our routes sits above a gully line and climbs a rib of rock overlooking the gully. It then traverses rightwards underneath a big roof and along the 'crescent' before topping out onto Jacks Rake.

This is a fantastic and unlikely position on the crag but the route is easy; providing good holds and ledges all the way.... care was needed however due to some slippy rock and some loose rock.

We topped out onto the rake after some careful and methodical climbing and feeling slightly damp from the dripping roof above we set off on Jack's Rake. This is a grade 1 scramble and a classic of the area.

Topping out on Jacks Rake - Pavey Ark Langdale
Jacks Rake

The rake has lots of good scrambling and provides good entertainment to the summit of Pavey Ark. There is around three steeper sections as you climb over rocky steps and move round onto the final slabs before heading onto the top.

We tagged the summit and headed down, past Harrison Stickle (the biggest of the Langdale Pkes) and walked out via the path that runs down parallel with Stickle Ghyll.

A fantastic full day of scrambling

We offer scrambling and climbing experience; either as a guided day or on a skills course those looking to progress and become more well rounded mountaineers.

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