Pillar from Gatesgarth Buttermere.

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By Anonymous on 28/03/15 at 8:40pm

Date started:15/02/2015
Distance:17.1 km or 10.6 miles
Ascent:1620m or 5315ft
Time taken:7:20

After checking the MWIS site and Weatherline decided to drive over to Buttermere as the forecasts indicated it would be better over that side. As I drove along the A66 it seemed that the forecast might be wrong as all the northern fells were clear and the central and west hills shrouded in cloud. As I drove down Borrowdale and over Honister the clouds cleared. My original intention had been to do the High level traverse onto Pillar, a route I'd done quite a few times but not for a few years. As I parked the car at Gatesgarth I could see that the Buttermere hills were stripped bare of snow with only patches left on top. Seeing that I made the decision to leave the ice axe and crampons in the car boot.

Setting off over Scarth gap. When I got to the top of Scarth Gap I could see that the north facing slopes of Pillar had a bit of snow on them. Still undecided I thought that I would wait until I got to the path that drops down to the High level traverse.

Buttermere from the path up to Scarth gap.

Ennerdale from the path ascending Looking Stead. Lot of forestry commission work has taken place recently

Shot of the path up the first shoulder on the path to Pillar. The high level traverse exits this path off to the right just as the ascent begins. Seeing snow lying on the traverse I decided to go up the shoulder instead

View back to the pass

Path up onto Pillar itself

View from the top of Pillar, Scafells in the background to the right, the gables to the left. On the top I inspected the path up from the high level traverse and found it to be very icy underfoot with only a thin layer of ice and no good for walking on. I found the descent from the upper reaches of Steeple later on to be the same

Continuation of the path over towards Steeple

View back to Pillar, the descent no problem as the south facing slopes were stripped of ice and snow

View of the descent down Long crag from Steeple

Two shots of the descent down Long crag. It doesn't look it but the path was covered in thin ice in the upper reaches

There is no path from Long Crag over to High beck, you have to make your own. Drop down the ridge and after the last buttress look over to the right and pick out a spur running over towards the beck. The forest used to be a good guide and it was easy to aim for the corner of the forest to join the path alongside High beck, however the forest is now stripped back. Pick your way through the boulders and steepish heather and drop down the spur. You then meet the path alongside High beck and follow that for 1/2 mile down through the forest turning right when you meet the forest track. Follow this for 1 1/2 miles, Pillar rock dominates the skyline as you walk

Cross over the river by a footbridge and then join an angled footpath rising back up to Scarth cap and back to Buttermere.

A good fitness testing route, 10.6 miles( 17.1 Km) 1620 mtrs ascent and on this occasion 7hrs 20 mins. I have done it before with a group of 4 and took 8 1/2 hrs so quite pleased with this effort

By beth on 29/03/15 at 8:43pm

Excellent walk report with lovely photos. Thanks for posting.

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