An absolute gem of a climb: Little Chamonix is a four pitch Lakeland and English classic situated on Shepherds Crag, Borrowdale.
The route was first ascended solo in May 1946 by the legendary Bentley Beetham. Despite the queues that are likely this is a climb worth seeking out as it truely lives up to its classic status.
The route (V Diff UIAA III) is well worn with the polished rock adding to the exposure. This is even more apparent on the overhanging final pitch.
The crux requires a delicate move from a polished sloping block, under a overhang,onto a steep slab. It is best described as exposed yet simply delightful, with a wonderful saddle belay waiting above, for you to sit and witness your seconds struggles.
This crux can cause large delays as novice climbers are apt to hesitate or simply freeze on the move.
Shepherds Crag (NY263 185)is approached from the Keswick to Borrowdale Road and is situated between the Swiss Lodore and Borrowdale Hotels. There is limited parking at the High Lodore farm and also in the National Trust car park at Kettlewell. There is a bus service available from Keswick. Alternatively the walk in from Keswick is only 5km.
Take the track behind High Lodore Farm which runs under the crag. Pass over a stile and continue over boulders. Little Chamonix starts at the bottom of the point where the crag protrudes again after passing through a wooded area.
Simnel on the saddle belay
Paul on the fourth pitch
The route is well polished!
Pitch 1 (30m)
Climb the polished crack to a left slanting groove and up eventually to an excellent tree belay.
Pitch 2 (12m)
Go up easily to the right towards two obvious corners. Belay in the left crack of the left corner.
Pitch 3. (14m)
Climb the left corner, with ample protection provided by the crack on the left. This brings you to a polished block. Placing a sling over the left side gives good protection for the crux move which takes you from this exposed block to the slab wall on the right. Traverse right along this wall and ascend the arete to a saddle belay.
Pitch 4 (14m)
Wonderfully exposed climbing leads upwards on good, though highly polished holds, to tree belays at the top.
Follow a scrambling path on the right (facing the crag) which descends to the High Lodore Farm.
A selection of nuts, slings and cams.
External LinksLake district weatherline
Lake District National Park Website
Guide Books and other Routes
There are a number of guide books that describe this route and other routes in the area covering all grades:
Lake District Rock FRCC Guide
FRCC Guide to Borrowdale
Scrambles and Easy Climbs in the Lake District John Sparks & Judith Brown