Lake District


North Yorkshire

North Wales



About Summiteer

~Esk Pike et Pikes~

6th April 2013

After a couple of weeks of easterly winds, sometimes strong and very uncomfortable, this Saturday the wind eased and the sun shone brightly. David Hall joined me for a direct ascent of Esk Pike from Great Langdale.

Angle Tarn

Angle Tarn

Scroll down for photos and a description of the walk....

The Langdale Pikes

The Langdale Pikes

On the drive in, I often stop just after the cattle grid and take a photograph of The Langdale Pikes. Bowfell is not always noticeable, but today she peeps over the horizon and beckons the restless walker with a tempting coat of the white stuff.

Pike O Blisco Mickleden
Pike O' Blisco

We had the first two cars on the NT car park at the Old Dungeon Ghyll and started walking at 07:50hrs. Shortly afterwards I returned to the car to collect my "grips" for the expected slippy conditions. We both packed crampons in case of very icy pathces. We're heading for Rossett Gill. As far as my memory extends, I had never climbed up Rossett Gill, but frequently used such for descent.



Bowfell, despite its enduring appeal to all fellwalkers is not on today's agenda.

Rossett Gill Rossett Gill
Looking Up Rossett Gill
Looking Down Rossett Gill

We chose the direct route up Rossett Gill, the alternative being the zig-zag of the old pony route.

Rossett Pike

Hanging Knotts (Bowfell) in the Bright Sunshine

Angle Tarn

Angle Tarn

Wow! I don't think I've ever seen anything like this in the Lake District before today. A frozen tarn in winter is usually in a shadowy, dark scene with the glazed look of an ultra-cold location. But this is after the Spring Equinox, the sun is high and the day is warm. A serene scene with no noise and nobody esle around.

Hangind Knotts

Hanging Knotts at Angle Tarn

David Hall


Angle Tarn


Ice Sculpture

Ice Sculpture

On the route to Ore Gap we pass a frozen waterfall with some interesting shapes, the one above extending about three foot from the rockface. We put the spikes on before descending to Angle Tarn, a slip on those gentle slopes and one could have ended up...alive, but in the middle of the tarn!


Bowfell from Esk Pike

Esk Pike Summit View

Esk Pike Summit View 2,903ft

Looking north from the top of Esk Pike. Glaramara stands large ahead of the northern landmarks of Skiddaw and Blencathra. We have passed a runner and his dog, otherwise it's been very quiet.

Great End Esk Pike Summit
Great End and The Gables
The Scafell Range
Bowfell from Esk pike Esk Pike
Bowfell from Esk Pike
Looking Back to Esk Pike


Esk Hause

Esk Hause

You may be able to make out some snow shapes pointing north-east at the hause.

Snow Shapes Snow Drama
Snow Shapes
Snow Sculpture
Esk Hause Shelter Route to Angle Tarn
Esk Hause Shelter
Route to Angle Tarn

Esk Hause

The shelter on the north-east side of Esk Hause is out of use at the moment. A walker had left his rucksc next to the snow shapes, his bag and poles add some sense of scale. Throughout the walk I had some problems seeing just what I was taking photos of. My Panasonic TZ30 doesn't have a viewfinder and the bright reflections on the screen made it quite difficult to study the subject.

Angle Tarn

Angle Tarn

A second look at Angle Tarn on the way to Rossett Pike.

To Rossett Pike

To Rossett Pike

Rossett Pike Summit Rescue Helicopter
Rossett Pike Summit 2106ft
RAF Rescue Helicopter

Lunch on RP. The helicopter's prescence raised cause for concern and it did indeed descend into the basin of Angle Tarn. However, no drama, the winch man wanted to take photos of the frozen scene. Perhaps they were waiting for an accident to happen.

Great Slab Bowfell

The Great Slab, Bowfell

We decided to follow the ridge of Rossett Pike and cross Stake Pass for a look at the Langdale Pikes.

Stake Pass Tarn

Stake Pass Tarn

The Rossett Pike ridge is always longer than I expect. Crossing Stake Pass was relatively easy with a mixutre of frozen ground and stepping stones. The walk up to Pike O'Stickle was a bit of a trudge in soft, thawing snow and increasing temperautres.

Pike O'Stickle Loft Crag
Pike O'Stickle
Loft Crag from Pike O'Stickle

The loft perch of Pike O'Stickle is one of the most recognisable peaks in Lakeland and a great viewpoint.

Mart Crag

Cornice on Mart Crag

An indistinct edge on Mart Crag could spell danger for the unwary.

Harrison Stickle

Loft Crag Summit

Harrison Stickle from Loft Crag Summit. HS? No, a fell too far. This has been a testing route with the multiple challenges of soft snow, hard snow, heavy rucksacs (clothing and crampons etc.) and warm temperatures. Not that I'm complaining!

Erratic Langdale Valley
Erratic Boulder?
Langdale Valley
Lingmoor Dungeon Ghyll
Lingmoor Fell
Dungeon Ghyll Footbridge

The boulder looks a little erratic, perhaps carried into position by a glacier. Visit the footbridge very soon, a new one is planned with the two main beams already on site and a pre-pack of slats and handrails not far away. A short walk back to the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, where we were greeted by friends, Anne and Andrew Leaney who had been for a walk up Bowfell.

Walkers: David Hall and Me

Time taken: 8hrs 10mins over a distance of about 11 miles.

Route: Old Hotel, Dungeon Ghyll car park, Mickleden, Rossett Gill, Angle Tarn, Ore Gap, Esk Pike, Esk Hause, Angle Tarn, Rossett Pike, Stake Pass, Pike O'Stickle, Loft Crag, Great Langdale and back to the car park.

Weather and Conditions: Sunny and warm!

Greetings Count: The first other walkers were encountered 3.5 hrs into the walk at Esk Hause. The top of Harrison Stickle had more folk on top than Blackburn Rovers have had managers this season, it was very busy! Whilst we put the first two cars on the car park, it was overfull by the time we returned.

Richard's Refreshment Review: Cold pints of orangeade at the Old Hotel, Walkers Bar. The key thing here is the welcome offered to walkers and dogs which you might naturally expect, but it's not always the case.

All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2013 ©

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Take me back to the start ....

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