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Lake District Scrambles

What is Scrambling?

Scrambling is not an easy concept to define: It is best described as a component element of mountaineering along with hill walking, snow and ice climbing and rock climbing.

At one end of the scale there is walking, pure and simple, at the other end , the extreme end if you like, there is technical climbing on rock and ice.

In the middle of this imaginary progression is scrambling, where you need to use both hands and feet to gain passage; it begins where walking ends and ends where rock climbing begins.

For those who have a head for heights and a sense of adventure we can offer a wide range of scrambling in the Lake District with around 50 different scrambles some of which can be incorporated into full day excursions and others can be locally grouped together for a full-on scrambling day in the fells.

  St Sunday Crag and Pinnacle Ridge

Scrambling Habitat

Unlike the rock climber who prefers pristine crags, sea cliffs, outcrops and, increasingly, indoor climbing walls, the scrambler has no such restrictions on his habitat.

One of the joys of scrambling is that it uses precisely the kinds of terrrain usually avoided by rock climbers; the gullies, shattered buttressses, rocky ridges and gills, unique habitats that cannot be explored from the tourist track.

Many of the scrambles that we offer were first discovered by the pioneers of Cumbrian climbing, although today,with soaring standards, they barely find a mention in the climbing guides of the Fell and Rock Climbing Club. The best known examples - Sharp Edge and Striding Edge - demand little more than walking. All the same, they are exposed and potentially dangerous, especially under wet, windy or winter conditions.

  Scrambling on Striding Edge

On the other hand, buttresses abound in the Lakes. Not all are as continuous or long as those around Scafell or Coniston's fells, but invariably outcrops and rocky steps can be combined to provide a challenging and interesting route to the summit.

There are also an abundance of gills. These steep watercourses that cut and cascade down the fellside, harbour the hidden treasure of Lakeland scrambling.

They are unique places, providing an unusual perspective of the fells that remains well hidden from the casual passer-by.

Scrambling Grades

Just as rock climbs are graded for difficulty, so are scrambles. Most guidebooks have adopted three grades of difficulty for scrambles and occasionally a fourth for serious routes.

  Striding Edge and Red Tarn

Grade 1

Grade 1 scrambles are fairly straightforward, rough or exposed walks, with some difficult manouvers where you need to use hands and feet. Route finding is usually obvious, with considerable choice. Ropes are not usually required and escape or retreat is invariably easy.

Grade 2

Things are getting harder and the scrambling is more difficult and continuous, A rope may be required and route finding becomes more important to find the best line. Escape is also more difficult.

Grade 3

A combination of exposure, increased difficulty and route finding make this the hardest scrambling grade. These are usually more sustained than grade 2 routes. A rope is also advisable even for rock climbers and escape or retreat becomes even more difficult.

Routes graded 3s have all the difficulty associated with a grade 3 route but are also serious undertakings usually because they are exposed or more sustained and escape is unusually difficult.

  Pinnacle Ridge
For our full list of Lake District scramble routes and grades please click here
Latest News: Why not start your day on the fells by following in the footsteps of the Victorian Miners up the Honister Via Ferrata route to the summit of Fleetwith Pike?
This route can be included as part of a full day ridge walk to either Great Gable or The High Stile Range above Buttermere - Contact us for further information and prices.

Tel: (44) 17687 75337 Skype: Activus Outdoors: Skype Status

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