Rock climbing: Tophet Wall & North West Route, Pillar Rock

 

We’ve been pretty busy recently, both running Lakeland Ascents courses and helping others out by providing freelance support, so it was great to have a couple of days off this weekend and get out for some long overdue personal climbing.

Dan and I headed over to Wasdale on Friday in a bid to beat the crowds of the more easily accessible climbing honeypots and also to give us more options of cool shady faces to escape the midday heat. We took our time driving over from Kendal and by the time we started to walk into the Napes area on Great Gable it was getting on for 3pm. No problem though at this time of year, given that it wasn’t going to get dark until 11pm.

Tophet Wall was the target – a Classic Rock HS 4a that I’ve wanted to do since I started climbing practically 10 years ago but had never managed to get round to climbing. The route didn’t disappoint at all with varied climbing in amazing positions up a wall that looks seriously improbable as you approach. The first pitch has some cheeky moves for 4a and the second has a bold short wall off the belay which focuses the mind. After this it’s the classic 10m hand traverse in an amazing exposed position, to a steep groove (might have been off route here!) and a spicy pull over a pinnacle to round the route off. It certainly felt a challenge for the grade, given a couple of the moves and the exposure, but there are no complaints here – a great route.

Saturday saw another Alpine start for us (11am!) and a wander in to Pillar Rock. It’s a slog up Black Sail and along the High Level Route, but with the weather we’re having the views are worth the journey alone. A link up of Thanatos and Electron (both around HVS 5b/E1 ish) was plan A, but by the time we arrived at the crag, combined with the slog in under some seriously strong sun, we decided on an easier alternative than this 7 pitch outing.

North West Climb (MVS 4b) looked like a good option – and it was. 5 pitches, including an ‘traditional’ chimney and a steep crack in an exposed position for the final pitch. The third pitch was touted at 4b, but I’d give it 4a, where as the fourth should have been 4a but was definitely harder. The final crack pitch (crux?) was fair game at a strenuous but well protected top-end 4b.

Topping out on Low Man the game wasn’t over yet – a ‘scramble’ to the top (which deserved a rope for a pitch) led to an abseil down into the Jordan Gap before a long walk around the crag on loose scree.

We walked out in fading light (time flies!) with an amazing inversion over Wasdale and just made it back to the pub for last orders. Perfect.

A great 2 days and 2 classic routes on some fantastic mountain crags. Climbing as it should be.

Cheers Dan.

Si

20130712 DSC00834 608x405 Rock climbing: Tophet Wall & North West Route, Pillar Rock

The approach to Tophet Wall, Great Gable

20130712 DSC00838 608x405 Rock climbing: Tophet Wall & North West Route, Pillar Rock

Pitch 1 of Tophet Wall

20130712 DSC00845 608x405 Rock climbing: Tophet Wall & North West Route, Pillar Rock

The hand traverse on Tophet Wall, Napes area, Great Gable

20130713 DSC00850 608x405 Rock climbing: Tophet Wall & North West Route, Pillar Rock

Dan and Pillar Rock, from the High Level Route

20130713 DSC00851 608x405 Rock climbing: Tophet Wall & North West Route, Pillar Rock

Robinson’s Cairn & Pillar Rock – The High Level Route – Pillar

20130713 DSC00853 608x405 Rock climbing: Tophet Wall & North West Route, Pillar Rock

Dan seconding the offwidth chimney of pitch 1 on North West Route, Pillar Rock

20130713 DSC00855 405x608 Rock climbing: Tophet Wall & North West Route, Pillar Rock

Dan seconding pitch 1 of North West Route, Pillar Rock

20130713 DSC00857 608x405 Rock climbing: Tophet Wall & North West Route, Pillar Rock

Looking down Ennerdale from Pillar Rock

20130713 DSC00862 608x405 Rock climbing: Tophet Wall & North West Route, Pillar Rock

The summit of Low Man, Pillar Rock

20130713 DSC00863 608x405 Rock climbing: Tophet Wall & North West Route, Pillar Rock

From the summit of Low Man, Pillar Rock

20130713 DSC00864 608x405 Rock climbing: Tophet Wall & North West Route, Pillar Rock

The summit of Low Man, Pillar Rock

This entry was posted in guided days, multi-pitch rock climbing, rock climbing. Bookmark the permalink.