A lot of people take the path to England’s highest mountain from Wasdale Head, and this day was no exception as hundreds of people gathered to start the monotonous snake up the standard path. Thankfully, we were going only a third of the way up the standard route before we turned off it and headed up into the heart of the Scafell Massif.
This was a much more interesting route that climbs it via a steep and rough gully to the col of Mickledore between the Pike and Scafell. The approach to Mickledore across Hollow Stones looks intimidating, rock walls close in, and the way ahead impenetrable. Just as it looks like a desperate scramble up the headwall will be required a simple gully appears. Atmospheric, loose, and narrow. What better way to a summit than to put hands on the rock, to feel its character.
Scafell Pike is mainly comprised of Borrowdale Volcanic rock, the summit a shattered and jumbled boulder field. Mickledore is an intrusion, that is magma pushed through a weakened seam in the underlying rock, stained red from iron oxides. It has weathered less well than the older rock either side and so has become a pass between the valleys of Eskdale to its south east and Wasdale to the west.
Follow the sign posts out of the carpark, follow the stream upwards until you have to cross it via stepping stones. Then head steeply up the ridge to the hollowstones area. Turn right here and leave the crowds behind, although for some who are oblivious to the use of a map and compass, they’ll have blindly taken the same route.
Continue up the valley into the said gully and scramble up scree and rock to reach the col. Be aware of rocks being kicked down and inexperienced walkers bailing out at this point.
Once on the col, turn left and head to join the well worn path that ascends to Scafell Pike. Follow the many cairns that will guide you to the summit. Once on the summit, you can descend the tourist route that initially follows the same route for about 150mtrs, then branches off to the right. Follow this down the zigzags and back to Wasdale.
A great strenuous day on the hills, but worth the effort to stand atop of England!
If you wish to join me in the mountains or do some training with me, please get in touch on 07534 387152 or use the links below;