Sunday, 27 September 2015

Pillar from Gatesgarth

It's a long way to Pillar from Gatesgarth Farm so Pete, Lyn and Bella, Alan and Julie made an early start. There's a climb of about 400m over the pass of Scarth Gap; we made good time but it took us about 2 hours nevertheless to reach the Memorial Bridge over the River Liza in Ennerdale. From the bridge we climbed through the woods into Pillar Cove, under Pillar Rock and up to Robinson's Cairn which stands at the head of the cove at the western end of the High Level Route from Looking Stead. Here we debated whether to venture the Shamrock Traverse or to scramble the NE Ridge above us. The traverse looked wet and uninviting so we opted for the ridge though we took the easier left hand side of it which, though steep and rocky, was interspersed with enough grass to enable us to make our way upwards to the crest avoiding most of the rock. The ridge led onto the broad East shoulder of Pillar at about 850m from where we made our way easily in the afternoon sunshine to the top, about 300m away, having taken 3 hours from the Memorial Bridge; not the easiest way but... as AW himself suggests, undeniably the finest way up the mountain!

After crossing Scarth Gap Alan and Lyn take a breather on the track in Ennerdale above the Memorial Bridge

The Memorial Bridge below with Pillar Rock high above still shrouded in the morning mist.

The Memorial Bridge over the River Liza is the key to the ascent of Pillar from the North.

Pillar Cove with the Rock to the right and Robinson's Cairn in the dip on the horizon.

Robinson's Cairn with Pillar Rock as a dramatic backdrop

Pillar Rock dominates Pillar Cove as Lyn and Julie climb the last few yards to Robinson's Cairn.

While surveying the route from Robinson's Cairn with Alan and Julie, Pete decides to add a layer of clothing as it's getting chilly above 2,000feet

From Robinson's Cairn the views into the head of Ennerdale are spectacular.

Ascending the NE ridge above Robinson's Cairn with Pillar Rock and Ennerdale now far below.

Emerging from the scrambly NE Ridge onto the East shoulder of Pillar high above Pillar Rock.

Spectacular views from the broad East shoulder of Pillar as we head for the summit.

A late lunch at the summit of Pillar 892m  

Pete's trying to get Bella to smile though she's not keen to have her photo taken; Julie and Lyn look pleased though! 

Pete and Bella, Julie and Alan at the summit shelter. It's Alan's 189th Wainwright, only 25 to go now!

The spectacular view from the East Ridge on the way back towards Black Sail Pass. We descended the easy way to cross the River Liza near Black Sail Youth Hostel. The return over Scarth Gap took only an hour and a half so we were back at the car at Gatesgarth Farm eight and a half hours from the start, a hard day but a great day all agreed.  

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