Walking in the Footsteps of Giants
If you fancy challenging yourself this weekend then check out Trevor Langhorne’s Napes enchainement. Not only has he put together a beautiful description of the routes and their first ascentionists but also a detailed topo and approach information that you can download and print off.
“A little enchainement on The Napes: Innominate Crack, Tophet Wall and Eagles Nest Ridge Direct
Just over a century ago a generation of incredibly bold climbers pioneered a collection of cutting edge test pieces on The Napes area of Great Gable. These are some of my favourite routes, they have a special atmosphere and climbing them with a modern rack highlights the achievements of their originators.
Getting to The Napes usually involves passing below Kern Knotts – a place to stop and test your-self against a 1920’s thriller, the short but superb Innominate Crack (VS 4b). Heading on, just before you get to the main area you reach an intimidatingly steep wall – time to test yourself against another early benchmark, the sensational Tophet Wall (HS) which winds its way through a collection of much later E grade routes in amazing situations.
A short walk on leads to the main area just beyond Napes Needle. For me the very best of the historic challenges is also the earliest, Eagle’s Nest Ridge Direct (MVS 4a) which was first climbed on 15th April 1892 a ground-breaking ascent of a striking arête unlike anything that had been climbed before, its slopers make hearts flutter to this day. As you tiptoe up the rib with the difficulty steadily increasing and your last protection some way below, you will probably open your chalk bag. STOP, think about Godfrey Solly’s lonely lead into the unknown; on sight, no protection, no chance of a top rope and inferior footwear (nailed walking boots); then RELAX and marvel at his achievement. Respect the man.”
CLICK HERE to download a topo.