Pinnacle Ridge St Sunday crag
There are many excellent climbs and scrambles here in the Lake District. Some routes stand out more than others and as a scramble / mountaineering route Pinnacle Ridge on St.Sunday crag is about as iconic and classic as they come.
Over the years we've taken many people over this fine ridge and whatever the weather it's a great day out. Here's a little more information about what a day on Pinnacle Ridge is like.
As with any mountain route, the approach walk is a significant part of the day. Setting off from Patterdale the walk will usually take around 1.5 hours and covers some pretty steep terrain. Thankfully the initial walk makes for a nice warm-up, but once beyond the Elmhow plantation the ground steepens....a lot.
The now vague path zig-zags up the hillside and into Blind Cove, from here a rising traverse leads below the steep crags of St. Sunday crag. A small cairn at the base of a scree fan marks the final ascent up to the start of the ridge.
Now at the 'gearing up point' it's time to get a helmet and harness on. We would often rope up here too.
The ridge starts easy and soon becomes blocky with lots of small pinnacles of rock. A well worn route can easily be seen as can the many crampon scratches from countless winter ascents. The first proper tricky section is up a huge flake of rock that juts out over the abyss. The climbing is still mostly straightforward but the holds have now become smaller.
A large ledge lies at the top of this and it's a fine place to take a rest and enjoy the views if weather allows. An easy section follows and this leads left of a huge pinnacle, soon arriving below steep terrain with an obvious corner. Things get a bit more serious now, this is steep and has a few tricky moves. If the rock is damp this can feel much harder than a scramble. Thankfully the difficulties are short-lived and another commodious ledge is gained and this affords a wonderful view over the huge pinnacle.
The next section includes a short traverse that leads to the next pinnacle, this is the photogenic spot. A down-climb is required from this. More easy scrambling up and left lead to the final challenge. A variety of finishes can be savoured. My preferred option is to trend leftwards onto a rocky ramp that leads to good belays just below the top of the climb.
A large platform yes just above and this is a good spot to take off the harness and put the rope away. To descend a small path veers up and left to gain the main path leading to/from the summit of St. Sunday crag. For those wanting to tick the summit turn right and for those wanting to head straight back to the valley turn left. It's about an hour or so to reach Patterdale.
All in all this is a fabulous day out that can be enjoyed at many times of the year and in many weather conditions. We would recommend avoiding on very windy days though.
Thanks for reading.
If wanting to have a go at this ridge or any other mountain activities here in the Lake District please don't hesitate to get in touch. We can offer guiding or happy to offer advice to those wanting to go under their own steam.
Mark & Kate