This fine mountain excursion takes in one of Lakeland’s most popular scrambles as well as giving a wonderful mountaineering day out if linked with an ascent of Fairfield and then a descent back via Dovedale.
The ascent of Pinnacle Ridge has an alpine feel with a dramatic and exposed crest. Most of the ridge is Grade II scrambling (winter Grade ii?III climb)but the crux groove is rated as a Moderate climb in good conditions though this can feel much harder when the pitch is greasy.
It is highly recommended to rope up for this and crest which immediately follows.
From the summit of St Sunday Crag an ascent of Fairfield via an easy scramble up Cofa Pike follows and then a descent from here via the scenic valley of Dovedale.
Looking across Grisedale from Elmhow zig zags
The route starts from Patterdale which can be approached by car from Pooley Bridge via Glenridding or alternatively from Ambleside, via Kirkstone Pass. There is limited parking in Patterdale or alternatively there is ample parking in Glenridding.
From Patterdale take the road that heads up towards Grisedale at Grisedale Bridge and then follow the path up the valley past the farm at Elmhow.
Branch left after the plantation alongside a stream and a dry stone wall and then pick up the Elmhow zig zags.
Acend the step hill and then head to a platform on the right and traverse along this over some moraine mounds and a steep scree. Ascend the second scree run and head steeply up to the bottom of Pinnacle Ridge which is marked by a cairn (NY36801388).
Initially start up spiky blocks on the right edge of the buttress.
The scrambling improves as one progresses up the ridge. The ridge continues to a large pinnacle which is avoided at the back and left up a groove (Moderate pitch) next to a sharp steep wall. This is often greasy and it is highly recommended to rope this and the next section.
Climb this groove, past the Rowan tree and then back right onto the Pinnacle crest via another short steep wall.
Traverse the wonderful, albeit short, ridge and then descend a steep exposed slab at the far end. This looks daunting at first but there are good holds and plenty of opportunity to place gear to protect the last person down.
Easy scrambling continues up a blocked staircase and then onto a short path leading to the summit of St Sunday Crag.
From here head along the ridge to ascend Fairfield via Cofa Pike and then descend back via the picturesque valley of Dovedale.
Single rope, slings and a selection of nuts.