Great Gable Via Sphinx Ridge

Great Gable via Sphinx Ridge.

Another of my favorite lakeland scrambles is Great Gable. Not only is this mountain famous for being one of the birth paces of British climbing, its also holds a majestic and imposing position when viewed from Wasdale head.

Slightly different to a normal walking route, this is an exposed walk and scramble along the famous climbers traverse, below the Westmorland Crags and the famous Napes Needle. Once you’ve passed Napes, its a scramble up and over the Sphinx and then following the ridgeline to the summit as best as you can.

An awesome place to be, but very exposed at times so care is required along with a helmet and safety rope for some sections.

Park at Seathwaite farm and follow the track through the farm and continue along it to the old stone arch Stockley bridge that crosses the beck.

Once at Sty Head and the rescue box, identify and follow the Climber’s Traverse – its choice of five paths so a map and compass will aid in choosing the correct one. The path passes Kern Knotts crag and then meanders over the screes, with little difficulty until a short scramble up the scree to the west of Napes Needle. In places chinks of rock have degraded and fallen by the way, so be careful picking your path through this.

Nearing Sphinx Rock there was an interesting moment where we had to traverse out over a gully on a polished slab. Once spreadeagled across the rock, our foot found purchase on a small ledge and we stepped across and onwards.

On Sphinx ridge itself we followed the main ridge avoiding the rock climbing sections by moving to the left of the ridge, but for the most part we stuck to the main ridge line scrambling up through rocks and grassy slopes on all fours to reach the grassy col below westmoorland crag.

Leaving the col, we scrambled Westmoorland crag via the left side gully and wall to reach the summit.

Once completed, we headed down via Green Gable and over Base Brown, scrambling down to the hanging stone and then descending back into Seathwaite. A great day out in the mountains.

If you wish to join me on a mountain adventure, please get in touch on 07534 387152 or using the links below to find out more.

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