The Napes crags can be best approached from Seathwaite (car park) in about 1h 15m or Wasdale Head (car park, camp site) in about 1h. It is also possible to start from Honister Pass (car park) or the Old Dungeon Ghyll, Langdale (car park) though these will add another 30mins or so to the walk.
The Fell and Rock Climbing Club’s guidebook for ‘Gable and Pillar’ describes no less than eight routes on Napes Needle including two girdle traverses. The guidebook was published in 1991 so will not include the latest route, much harder than the rest, first climbed in 2000.
The route described here, and shown in the photographs, is probably the most frequently climbed. Most of the routes arrive at the shoulder and it is the last pitch, from there to the top of the block, which sets the grade. It has become highly polished and requires care.
The descent also needs care. No bolts or rings will be found on the top block or anywhere else on the routes. Climbers having doubts about their ability to climb down can arrange a safety rope over the top block back to the shoulder from where an abseil is possible to the bottom.
The climb has two pitches :
1. 17m to the shoulder
2. 4m from the shoulder to the top (exposed)
The top pitch is reversed for the descent to the shoulder- the last climber down can arrange a safety rope. It is then possible to either down climb the crack or abseil from the shoulder.
Large chocks, slings, a single 45 m, 9mm rope doubled would probably do.
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