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Top 3 challenges :

National 3 peaks challenge

National three peaks challenge. Scafell Pike summit


Lake's 3000ers

Lake District 3000ers challenge. Helvellyn Striding Edge


25 peaks challenge

25 peaks challenge. Scafell Pike












Lake District challenges

The Pillar Ride

  • What's involved
  • The Route
  • Prices

This challenge takes you to the summit of the 8th highest mountain in the Lake District, Pillar. But we climb it by the most interesting route - the 'Pillar Ride'.

You'll climb about 1,410 metres (4,630 feet)

You'll walk about 20 km (12.5 miles)

We approach Pillar from the wild and lonely Ennerdale Valley and ascend via a route that has become known as 'the Pillar Ride'. This is a steep ascent but allows us to visit Pillar Rock, an amazing piece of rock architecture and famous throughout the climbing world.

The view of Pillar Rock from the valley was obstructed for many years by the trees planted by the forestry commission and was only visible when approached via a fire break clearing in the trees, thus this became known as the 'Pillar Ride'.

In recent years most of the trees planted by the forestry commission in the 1950's to 1960's have been felled as part of the 'Wild Ennerdale' project and the Rock is clearly on display from the valley.

mob: 07584 177506


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We start this challenge in Buttermere, one of the most beautiful valleys in the Lake District.

Buttermere Fleetwith Pike

Buttermere looking towards Fleetwith Pike

The High Stile ridge rises abruptly from the shores of Buttermere to over 2,000 feet, apparently vertically, and is a geologist's delight with hanging valleys, volcanic rocks and extinct volcanoes.

It's a formidable scene and unfortunately this mountain range is a barrier to our objective of the day, Pillar. We therefore have to climb to Scarth Gap at the East end of the High Stile ridge and descend the other side into Ennerdale, losing all the height we've just gained.

Ennerdale Valley

Ennerdale valley looking to Great Gable

Project 'Wild Ennerdale' is an attempt to return the Ennerdale valley back to nature. The forests of conifers planted by the Forestry Commission years ago are being felled and indigenous species are being allowed to repopulate the valley naturally. Galloway cattle have been introduced to the valley where previously sheep dominated.

Having descended into the Ennerdale valley we cross the Rriver Liza via the memorial footbridge to the other side where we start our ascent of Pillar.

Memorial footbride Ennerdale valley

The Memorila footbridge - partly funded by the Fell and Rock Climbing Club

River Liza Ennerdale valley

The river Liza from the Memorial footbridge

We ascend Pillar by a route called 'the Pillar Ride'. It's steep most of the way but allows us to visit Pillar Rock which, with Great Gable, was the birthplace of the modern sport of rock climbing.

Pillar Rock in the Lake District

Pillar Rock as seen from the Pillar Ride

Once below Pillar Rock we have a choice of routes to the summit of Pillar, the most impressive is via the 'Shamrock traverse' which takes us to the upper part of Pillar Rock. The alternative is to ascend via Great Doup which takes us above the 'Rock'.

Wethen follow a mild scramble behind Pillar Rock to the summit of Pillar where you're rewarded with spectacular views of Great Gable and the Scafell range.

Pillar summit Lake District

Pillar summit with Great Gable and the Scafell range in the distance

The summit of Pillar is a magnificant viewpoint for the Scafells and Great Gable (weather permitting of course!)

We descend Pillar via Looking Stead, heading in the general direction of Great Gable but turn left when we reach Black Sail pass and head back down into the Ennerdale Valley.

Drumlins in the upper  Ennerdale valley

Drumlins in the upper Ennerdale valley illumuated by the early evening sun

We pass the lonely Black Sail youth hostel and climb back up to Scarth Gap and retrace out steps to Buttermere.

mob: 07584 177506


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Please contact us for details and further information