Trevor Langhorne has spent many years exploring and climbing in the Lakes. He is also heavily involved with the Lake District Fell & Rock Climbing Club guide books. In his Pick of the Week he recounts climbing on Pillar Rock’s “North-West Climb” as a school boy on the 16th September 1972 with minimal gear and a peg hammer!
You can find “NW Climb” on the Hidden Classic Route Card here. Trevor has also put together a detailed topo that you can print out and take with you, saving carrying a guide book up with you. DOWNLOAD HERE.
Photo: RK Allen
(Pillar Rock, Hidden Classics NW & SW Climbs approx. 300m MVS 4b)
“Given its proximity to the urban areas of West Cumbria Ennerdale feels remarkably isolated, this sense is being amplified by a long term project (see http://www.wildennerdale.co.uk) to mitigate man’s impact on the valley. The Rock forms a true summit and as such has attracted the adventurous since the 1820’s; it is now home to a fabulous collection of unusually long (for the Lakes) climbs of all grades. There is no easy way to get there, expect to get sweaty; the rewards gained from a day’s climbing are proportional to the effort needed for success?
For me the combination of the sense solitude, relative inaccessibility and long routes makes a day on Pillar extra-special. One of the very finest days to be had on The Rock is the combination of two climbs, North West (1906) and South West (1919), these give 210m of climbing and about 100m of scrambling. The former takes an imaginative line up the shady north face; it has some big ledges, a real bonus if you need to rip off your skin tight rock shoes. Between the ledges you can enjoy long and increasingly impressive pitches on good rock. In complete contrast SW Climb faces west enjoying afternoon sun and is a slab climber’s paradise; immaculate rock, small stances, smaller holds, committing moves and spaced gear will ensure memories that last for years. The fun continues as you try to find the way off the top – abseiling just isn’t sporting.”