How hard is Strid­ing Edge?

Trail (UK) - - CONTENTS -

QI’d like to tackle Strid­ing Edge on my next visit to the Lakes, but I don’t know if I’m up to it. Just how tough is it? John Banks, Cirences­ter

Jeremy says

Strid­ing Edge has a very nar­row rock crest that re­quires the use of hands as well as feet to ne­go­ti­ate. But there’s also a lower level path, just off the crest, that of­fers an eas­ier, less ex­posed op­tion. If you fol­low the crest of Strid­ing Edge (to­wards Helvel­lyn) you will first en­counter a nar­row­ing arête. This in­volves a bit of rock hop­ping and side­ways moves to get around blocks. As you progress, drops open up on both sides. Fur­ther along, gaps and steps in­ter­sect the ridge and you’ll need to use your hands to get past th­ese ob­sta­cles. There are lots of op­por­tu­ni­ties at this mid sec­tion to join the eas­ier lower side path. If you stick to the crest you’ll come to a ter­mi­nal tower where the ridge con­nects to Helvel­lyn at a col. You need to gain this col, which in­volves a tricky down climb via a short groove on the side of the tower. There are big holds for both hands and feet, but some of them are un­sighted to start with: once you com­mit to the des­cent, the hold se­quence be­comes clear. From the col an ex­posed but straight­for­ward path leads up the sum­mit slopes of Helvel­lyn. One other thing to note with all grades of scram­ble is that they are graded for dry and calm con­di­tions. Wet or snow-cov­ered rock, winds and rain will add to the grade, mak­ing them haz­ardous.

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