Langdale round, 17th March 2015

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Redacre Gill looking to Harrison Stickle just after leaving the road to start the ascent of Pike o’Blisco.
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The start of the day looking towards Crinkle Crags. Still snow patches to make the tops look nice.

I’ve never been on Pike o’Blisco before. I was surprised the route up was so little trodden. Great views almost from leaving the road. Near the top it gets very pleasantly scrambly and only then did I see other people (though the whole route was quiet all day). It had been hot sunshine until then but now the clouds formed and a lot of the tops disappeared. Very hazy all day so photography was difficult (though lightroom and raw format come to the rescue). Still plenty of snow patches around to make the tops look pretty though.

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Pike o’Blisco summit looking to Crinkle Crags (left) and Bowfell (middle).
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Clouds and thick haze formed early on and stayed until late afternoon.
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Descent to Red Tarn

Dropping down to red tarn and it became more familiar. I’d done the crinkle crags section the other way round fairly recently and knew it was special. This time I didn’t miss out on the “bad step”, which I’d accidentally avoided last time.

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The “bad step” on one of the crinkles. Go up the scree fan to the small cave and take the right-hand wall to escape. Or, take the easy way on a path leftwards that skirts round this top.

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Despite the hot sunny start it was still winter on the tops with plenty of ice patches and frozen ponds but nowhere near enough to be a problem. Next stop Bowfell but I took the rocky scramble right of the path, which I’d been thinking about for several years. It wasn’t hard and was soon over but I think good route selection could make it both longer and more difficult. Certainly more fun than the path. I’d like to take a look at the Bowfell Links scrambles next time, they looked really good from three tarns (though the guidebook gives them pretty faint praise).

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Bowfell and Three Tarns with a good view through the haze to Bowfell Links and some scrambling possibilities. The main path is on the right and I took the easy rocks just right again.
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Looking over the path from the rocks.
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From the Rossett Pike path towards the head of Mickleden and Pike o’Stickle beyond. I took a line from left to right via the small top in the middle of the picture.

Down Ore Gap to Angle Tarn then up to Rossett Pike, which is a really nice little summit. From there along the edge to Langdale Combe was very little used with not much trace of a path and it was really nice to make my own way along this section, which has lots of interest.

I was aiming for Pike o’Stickle and didn’t want to lose too much height dropping into the top of the Mickleden path so I made sure to keep contouring towards the head of the path. Then I took a direct line back up again and saw three deer fairly close up. They ran away with no effort while I slogged up breathing heavily. I was going quickly. I’d worked out I could do the remaining route in time but without much margin. Looking back I could just see the unmistakable top of Great Gable in the haze.

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Pike o’Stickle
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Pike o’Stickle summit, which is a fairly small lump from the north side but a very impressive sweep of rock from the south.

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I didn’t bother with the final few metres up to Pike o’Stickle summit and jogged quickly past and over the boggy section towards Harrison Stickle and the descent route. I knew where to find it, but every time I’ve done this I’ve aimed for the Mark Gate path but ended up on the Dungeon Ghyll path instead. Not a problem but one day I’ll have to go up the Mark Gate path and see where it tops out.

The sky above had been clearing steadily for the last hour and now it was clear blue above, though still very hazy all round. The photographs were getting better again with some lovely pinks and mauves.

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The head of Dungeon Ghyll looking to (I think) Little Langdale tarn.

Down to the car park by 6:30 with plenty of light left but not much energy and very creaky muscles.

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