Situated at the very heart of the Lake District and best viewed from the approach up the Great Langdale valley the distinctive features of the Langdale Pikes are one of Lakelands most impressive and recognisable landmarks.
Crowned by Harrison Stickle and flanked by Pavey Ark to the east and Loft Crag/Gimmer Crag and Pike o’Stickle to the west there are number of excellent hiking and scrambling routes to the summit.
Highly recommended is an ascent of Jacks Rake on Pavey Ark from Stickle Tarn. This is a classic exposed Grade 1 scramble in the summer and a Grade I/II winter climb depending on the conditions.
Most of the hiking routes incorporate a circuit generally starting at the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel or the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel.
The crags of the area offer some of the best traditional rock climbing in the UK at all grades from the valley crags of Scout Crag and Raven Crag to high quality mountain routes on Gimmer Crag, Pavey Ark and White Ghyll Crag.
There is National Trust Parking next to the New Dungeon Ghyll and Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotels at the head of the Langdale Valley on the B3543 from Chapel Stile.
There is also a bus service running from Ambleside.
Harrison Stickle 736m
Harrison Stickle stands as the highest point of the Langdale Pikes and is normally approached from the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel via a well worn path along the side of Stickle Ghyll to Stickle Tarn.
The best route from here is to skirt around the right of the tarn and a traverse over Pavey Ark or more directly by the scramble up Jacks Rake, Grade 1***.
There are numerous other hiking approaches and scrambling routes to the summit.
This is justifiably one of the UKs most renowned and popular rock scrambles...simply wonderful!
Pavey Ark and Jacks Rake 700m
Pavey Ark is the main cliff situated to the north of Stickle Tarn and has a number of good rock climbs, at all grades, as well as the famous Jacks Rake scramble.
Owing to the popularity of Jacks Rake it is very advisable for climbers on routes below the rake to wear a helmet.
Jacks Rake is best approached around the right side of the tarn and is found on the east side of the buttress up the obvious rake line running diagonally up the cliff face. With it being such a popular scramble route finding is not a problem...follow the crowd.
Once on the rake the feeling of exposure increases quickly and dramatically but the holds are excellent throughout where needed but care should be taken in the wet.
In winter the benign nature changes dramatically.
Loft Crag/Gimmer Crag
Gimmer Crag (525m) is a prominent barrel of rock situated below the satellite peak Loft Crag . It is one of the best rock climbing venues in England offering quality rock in a fantastic setting which totally justifies its 1 hr walk in.
Renowned for its exposure but impeccable quick drying rock it’s a must visit crag for any rock climber worth their salt visiting the region.
Class routes include Bracket and Slab (severe), Gimmer Chimney (V Diff) Ash Tree Slabs (V Diff) and any of the A-D routes off Ash Tree Ledge or any route of Ash Tree Ledge come to that.
All in all wonderfully exposed climbing at all grades.
Pike o’Stickle 709m
Standing to the west of Gimmer Crag is the prominent peak of Pike o’Stickle or Pike of Stickle.
The normal route takes the hiking path behind the Thorn Crag at the top of Dungeon Ghyll (a wonderful scramble in itself) but an altogether different mountaineering route is to ascend the peak direct from the south side: Pike o’Stickle South Face
(British Rock Grade Moderate or Alpine PD (as described in J Sparks and J Brown: Scrambles and Easy Climbs in the Lake District).
White Ghyll (400m) towers to the east of the New Dungeon Hotel is west facing and gives good climbing generally in the mid to higher grades. Approach time 30 minutes reccomended routes include Slip Knott (VS-), Do Not Direct (E1-) and White Ghyll Wall (VS-).
Raven CragSituated just above the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel this south facing, quick drying, valley crag offers some excellent shorter routes at all grades. The most popular route is Middlefell Buttress (4 pitch Diff) but there are numerous other routes of excellent quality at much higher grades.
Scout CragSituated on the valley floor to the east of the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel this crag is popular with groups on the lower crag and offers highly polished single pitch climbing. There are excellent belays at the top of the crag.
The upper crag offers interesting quick drying multi pitch routes with Route 1 (60m) V Diff giving good value at the grade and probably the best route on the crag.
There is a National Trust camp site opposite and there are bunk house facilities and accommodation in both hotels and the neighbouring villages.
Maps and Guide Books
Scrambles and Easy Climbs in The Lake District J Sparks and J Brown
Scrambles in the Lake District RB Evans
Wainnrights Pictorial Guides to the Lake District Alfred Wainwright
Lake District Rock FRCC Guide to the Lake District 2003
External LinksUKClimbing Link to Raven Crag