Saturday, 9 June 2012

Blencathra "Sharp Edge" PT 2 june 3 2012

The  scene was set for our Challenge of Climbing up to and across the infamous "SHARP EDGE" up to the summit of Blencathra  at 2848ft . I believe it is  known as one of the most difficult ascents on any mountain (excluding rock climbs) in the lakes , it follows a razor sharp ridge up the mountain face!
 Since 1947 there have been 73 incidents and 10 fatalities, glad i didn't know that before going!!

  After a short rest near to Scales Tarn the conditions were not great ,misty dampness still in the air and an increasingly strengthening wind!!!!!! , i am not really worried at the thought even though it looks at bit scary, maybe a bit anxious if anything!
anyhow, another group photo in front of the path leading up to the "edge"

Right! now it was the scary part! we start making our way up the path to the base of the traverse, i do wonder what Dave is thinking in this shot, probably" surely we are not going over that! "    haha

This is the first part of the traverse , looking up to the main sharp edge! even this part looks hard!   lol    Andy has gone first as he has done this before, many times i believe, Gina next and i am following her! 

At the top of this section , upon reaching the main traverse the wind has hit us! it is fairly strong , in fact a lot stronger than i thought it was going to be! and the rock is definitely a little slippery in many places , so that is going to make it a bit more of a challenge! i have just shot this image looking down to Scales tarn just before starting to cross the edge! it is a long, long way down!!!!!!!! lol     must not drop camera!!!

By the time i have taken this image and put my camera safely in the bag, Andy is already across the level section and Gina just past halfway "posing" for a picture that Andy is taking:) i make my way across to the halfway point, i am not finding it to difficult , just a bit of clambering using hands and very careful foot holds ! at this point Dave,Alan & Gary are behind me with Ray and his brother who is showing them the best route!
I sit down on a good large rock which has a good handhold on my left , i want to take a photo of Andy and Gina , this is when things get interesting AND a bit scary, well only a tiny bit! lol
Here is the image first.  it does look impressive doesn't it?

What happened next was - Rays dog "the beast" decided it was a good idea to run past me and try knocking me off !!!!!!    she has just got wedged between me and the rock on my left that i am holding on to, which means i am being pushed to the right over the edge while hanging on with my left hand!   i shout at her in Fright/shock!!   but she has reversed out of the way now and as i look up, Gina's water bottle is bouncing down the rock face and over the edge!!!!!!! and Gina is trying to save its life!!   OMG!    i actually think she has slipped on the rock and fallen , but is actually bending down trying to catch it!
 I quickly make my way over to her, she is standing where Andy is in previous image and holding onto the rock, she said " im ok" , but does look a bit shaken actually!   i think she was taking a drink at the time it slipped, but cant be sure as i had a Dog problem!!!!!!!!!
It is so easy for an accident to happen, especially in these slippery conditions , Fortunately it could have been Much Much worse! the chocolate Brownies could have gone over the edge!!!!!!! then what would we do????????????
Seriously though, this shows how easily something can happen , it might be so easy for anyone of us to end up where the water bottle went! we have to be very careful all the time while out in the mountains!!!!!
 The beast is now looking for the water bottle, unfortunately we haven't  heard from the bottle since, so presume it passed away on the way down!    Haha  .   later on Dave tweeted "Gina was unhurt ,in fact i think the bottle had enough and jumped!" 

I am making my way across now ,carefully getting good foot holds on the smooth slippery rocks and holding on to any available rock!  i does not take me long to get to the base of the steep scramble section , and i hear that Gary & Alan have both decided it is a bit to dangerous for them to cross safely , i have "Great Respect" for them for that , its not worth risking personal injury or worse and possible risk to other people if a rescue is required.
Andy has just taken this image of us crossing the "sharp edge" it really does give a good idea of what its like looking down on to it!    OMG!!     Have we really just made our way across there????
More of Andy's pics Here on drop box.

The others have now made their way to the end of this section , Dave has just got a bit stuck for a moment!   Ooops!     he said don't mention that!   

 Ray has advised us the easiest route is to take the gully over to the right of the concave shaped hump that is in front of us! Andy has already climbed straight up this hump and i feel that this is the best/ easiest route too , at least for the first 10 meters , so that is what i am going to do.  I have just made my way quickly over the hump, jumping across the smooth rocks and have made my way into the gully for the second part of the scramble, it is quite narrow and difficult to get good foot holds on the very smooth rock and  have just found a loose rock that almost came away in my hand!! Arghhh  but i am slowly managed to get up the gully and have now joined Andy quite high up for a rest while the others are still clambering up the lower part of the gully. the mist has rolled in again , and can just make out the "sharp edge" way below now in the mist!!!! Yes! we have just clambered over that!
it is amazing how fast the mist rolls in , then disappears so quickly up here!

Looking upwards towards the summit, i cant see much but it is very steep! this is a really great scramble, in fact i am thinking  "i really want to go back to the bottom and do all this again"   " i cant wait to traverse the "sharp edge" again!  "            Exhilarating!!!!!!

The six of us have now made our way to the top of this scramble section and can now follow a fairly good  path up to the summit trig point of Blencathra!!!    Yay.   by now the mist is so thick we cannot not see a thing!!!!!!!
and it is Bloody cold!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this is supposed to be June , not mid winter! Arghhhhh

Gary & Alan have taken another easier path up from below to the summit and have arrived not long after us.
they are both a bit disappointed at not doing the Edge , but will have another go in better safer conditions another day.

              a summit pic of Gina,Andy,Dave and Ray standing on the trig point in the mist!!!!!!!
                                                                 no views today :(

What a fantastic part of the day, not what i had expected!   thought it would have been harder if truth be told!  anyhow the day is not over , we still have a long way to go, including another Wainwright! we will now descend down Atkinson pike and continue to Bowscale fell. where ever that is, as i have NOT a clue where we actually are lol

Really wish the weather was better, the views from up here would be amazing!  good reason to climb again i guess!


  1. That dropbox link only works if you already have dropbox account, or sign up for it. It's free, and is a simple way to transfer big files (i.e. photos) between people.

  2. The Beast loved it, as it always does, irrespective of weather. She's been up there a time or two, even as a pup. It was a little greasy and best saved for a perfectly dry day. Good walk though and the most exhillerating route onto the summit.

  3. What a climb!
    Big respect to you Phil.
    A great tale and I just love that shot with the dog and the rocks.

  4. OMG!!!! That is crazy!!

  5. Can you tell us more about this? I'd love to find out more details.

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  6. Great climbing!
    Very interesting your adventure!