Sharp Edge

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 54.64000°N / 3.051°W
Additional Information Route Type: Scrambling
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Grade 2 Scramble
Sign the Climber's Log


This is a great ridge in a beautiful location, ideal for inroducing yourself or a friend to ridges, and scrambling. It has the added insentive of being very accessible while still being semi hidden from the rest of the worlds gaze.
Blencathra is a beautiful mountain, it is seen loomng over the A66 with its south pinting ridges and really quite steep frontage. From so close you dont get a glimpse of the ridge hiding behind, or indeed the pretty tarn below Foule crag. The ridge can however bee seen from further away as you drive down the A66 towards Keswick, from Penrith.

Saying all that, sharp edge as a first ridge of great Alpine feel yet low scramble grade, isnt so easy on a windy wet day, or indeed during winter weather. During winter conditions, the ridge is spectacular, and is very popular with those inclined to use their exes and crampons.
On the approach to Sharp edge

The mountain is on the very North edge of the Lakes higher hills, next to Skiddaw. It therefore gets less snow than for instance Helvellyn, but its well worth a visit under these conditions. A short walk in, many ridges as well as Sharp edge, but Sharp Edge is the focal point of this page and many a climber/Mountaineer.

Getting There

The A66 runs from The top of the M6 at Penrith, to (and passes) Keswick.
Just before Keswick is a small Villiage called Threlkeld. It sits below the south of Blencathra. We need to park somewhere here depending on your route to the ridge. People park all over the place in Threlkeld but there is an official car park (free) to be found by following the road indicated by a large, low-level sign to Blencathra, in the middle of the village.

Route Description

From Scales Tarn you will see the path rising gently to the lower end of the ridge . Follow this for the short time it lasts. You will soon see the ridge begin to rise up, the grassy slopes falling away both sides. Now the ground is more broken and the path enters a more rocky stage. You soon realise the ridge has begun. The ridge is best taken direct, keeping to the crest all the way. Alternatives exist on the North side, they add nothing to the experience whilst losing little of the exposure factor and in wet weather or ice can even be worse. Start up an obvious groove and continue onto the crest itself which gets continuously narrower but never uncomfortably so, a metre wide in places but confined to narrow spikes and pinnacles in others. At times move either left or right (normally right )around the pinnacles but remain as close to the crest throughout as possible.
Roy on The ridge

A final pinnacle leads to the most difficult, but still easy, move to cross the gap where the ridge joins the main hillside. Most people move 30 feet to the right here to take an obvious groove, but it's equally possible to take the more difficult and interesting route up the slabs on its left. The rock is generaly good and solid and the handholds well defined and reliable. Follow the route to the top, to gain axcess to the plateaux.

After the ridge

Essential Gear

Its as any other Lakeland walk, you just need to be aware of the weather. How cold it is at altitude. And be prepared for it. Crampons and an axe are needed for the ridge in winter conditions. Much of the ridge and scramble is on solid rock, so suitable boots or firm soled shoes/trainers.

External Links

A good private page on Sharp edge for picturesclick

Outdoors magic page click me

Mountain rescue figures (for info)click

Lakes webcams


Helvellyn Website. Containing area info, shopping,walks, pictures,places to stay and more......


Leanys lakes Some great info and pictures


Striding Edge website Area info, Helvellyn page


YHA yha lakes


Lakes weather Forecast


Mountain Conditions + daily picture (winter)Helvellyn weather>