Gable and Pillar

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The section of crags on Great Gable known as The Napes is widely regarded as being the home of British climbing, ever since the 1880’s climbers have been drawn to climb on these superb and sunny crags.

Successive generations of pioneers have left their mark in the form of a great collection of classic test-pieces, from Needle Ridge (VD 1886) and Napes Needle (HS 1886) to Eagle’s Nest Ridge Direct (MVS 1892!); from the impressive Tophet Wall (HS 1923) and Incantations (E6 1984) to Breathless (E9 2000). In addition to The Napes the super outcrop of Kern Knotts is a fun venue while the austere north facing Gable Crag has a selection box of classics on the impressive Engineer’s Slabs.

Pillar Rock is one of the few Lakeland summits that needs some skill on rock in order to reach its top, the first confirmed ascent was in 1826, sixty years before Napes Needle was climbed.

In Victorian times reaching its summit was a much coveted prize, over the following decades a large number of outstanding and long routes (up to 150m) across the full spread of grades have been established on the various faces of The Rock. Notable great classics climbed a century or so ago include North Climb (S 1892), Walker’s Gully (VS 1899), New West Climb (VD 1901), North-West Climb (VS 1906), South-West Climb (1911 VS), Rib & Slab Climb (HS 1919) and Grooved Wall (VS 1928). More recent challenges from the 60’s and later include Eros (E2), Electron (HVS), Tapestry (E4) and Goth (E1).

There is something here for everyone whether the aim is to reach for the top by the easiest route or grapple with one of the harder outings.

Regardless of your target remember to pack extra butties and put your best route finding head on. Approaches to the rock are invariably long and its remoteness puts many people off making a visit; all the better for those in “the know” who get the great routes to themselves! In more recent times other remote crags have been developed in the Coves overlooking Ennerdale, there are lots of great routes to go at and they are sure to be even less crowded than Pillar Rock.

Weight 374.00 g


Author of book

Phil Rigby et al


Fell & Rock Climbing Club

Publish Date

01 January 2007



Page size

103mm x 170mm


Encapsulated paperback

Number of pages


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