Yewbarrow North Top / Yewbarrow

Distance (Miles): Ascent (Metres): Time (Hours):
3.98 574 4
Strenuosity: Technicality (x/10): Enjoyability (x/10):
Moderate 7 7


This was effectively a revisit after I bottled it going up Stirrup Crag on the Mosedale Horseshoe. I should say on that occasion my legs were tired and I was in rather a rush to get back, so didn’t spend too much time looking for the correct route!

Anyway, this time I had just the one hill to climb and when I got to the crag I was still fresh and more than a little determined. Also, any excuse to return to Wasdale 🙂

There were some National Trust Rangers fixing the bottom part of the path; having an audience just made it a bit more tense. I quickly got half way up the crag, which requires some scrambling, but with no exposure. Then I reached the point where I got stuck the last time and immediately got stuck again.

There are what appears to be two routes; one up a chimney and one with a single step traverse from right to left across the crag. I could not see a way up the chimney and the rocks were wet and slippery, so I soon discounted that route and concentrated on the traverse.

I spent about 10-minutes working out how to get across. There is a rock which juts out and is very awkward to get past without a sort of leap of faith. That’s just not me, and the risk of falling backwards 6 metres onto rock seemed too great. So, I climbed down a short way and stood back looking at the face of the crag. This seemed to take an age, but on the plus side the cloud came down and the rangers could no longer see this doddery git staring at the rocks.

After a while it occurred to me that the traverse could be tackled from underneath, bypassing the leap of faith, and simply hauling oneself up on to the next ledge, why this didn’t seem obvious before I have no idea! So, that’s what I did. There was still the possibility of falling backwards, but that didn’t happen and I’m here to tell the tail.

Once passed the bad step it is simple scrambling all the way to the top of the crag. There is one more tricky section as the route goes to the left over the crag face. This is massively exposed with a very long drop to the screes below. That is not an exaggeration, if you fell off you would die, simple as. However, the section concerned it not technically difficult and I just made sure I was always leaning into the crag. Stirrup Crag – Done!

As for the rest of the walk, the path to the crag is boring and boggy, but once at the crag the rest of the walk is fantastic, the views from the top of Yewbarrow are awesome and the route down is great fun, with the added attraction of Great Door just a short detour from the main route.

Overall, a technically challenging walk (for amateurs like me), but well worth the effort.

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