Esk Buttress

The view from Mosedale across to Scafell and Eskdale. Esk Buttress is the clean pillar of rock, a pale "thumb", above the dark shadow on the middle foreground about a third in from the right of the image.
The view from Mosedale across to Scafell and Eskdale. Esk Buttress is the clean pillar of rock, a pale "thumb", above the dark shadow on the middle foreground about a third in from the right of the image.
The view from Mosedale across to Scafell and Eskdale. Esk Buttress is the clean pillar of rock, a pale “thumb”, above the dark shadow on the middle foreground about a third in from the right of the image.

I reckon one of the more remote and wonderful Lakeland valleys is Eskdale. It’s a longish walk to get there, one is out of sight of all sign’s of modern life such as roads, and there’s hardly even any paths (certainly no eroded tracks like in Langdale). Of course a more remote day out climbing needs a favourable weather forecast and an early start if there’s gonna be much time left to climb before having to hike back out. One option is to take a little camping gear and spend the night out. There can hardly be a better spot than the Great Moss, at the head of Eskdale, to enjoy wild camping. Laetitia and I have done this a few times, but today was not one of those times as Laetitia’s parents were visiting on Sunday.

We kicked off the action with an ascent of Red Edge. An utterly fantastic route! If a little tough for the grade? What is the grade anyway? Some guidebooks indicate HVS, and some E1. Interestingly another team at Esk Buttress on Saturday backed off it after having already done Central Pillar, a classic E2. Having also done Central Pillar I would suggest it is easier (although it requires a very steady approach!) than Red Edge. Weird grading?

The middle crux of Red Edge
The middle crux of Red Edge
The upper crux of Red Edge
The upper crux of Red Edge
Pete on the start of the not too often climbed easy second pitch of Red Edge
Pete on the start of the not too often climbed easy second pitch of Red Edge

After all that we enjoyed a fun romp up the crag’s classic easy line, Bridge’s Route, before heading back home…

Laetitia on the start of the classic Bridge's Route
Laetitia on the start of the classic Bridge’s Route

2 thoughts on “Esk Buttress”

  1. I’m quite envious of your photos. I did Red Edge and Central Pillar on the same day in 1996 with my son, but we didn’t have a camera. On the subject of grades, I remember having a long argument with the author of the 1974 Scafell guidebook, who had downgraded Red Edge to HVS. It is definitely E1, and Central Pillar is definitely E2, not least because it is technically much harder than Red Edge. I’ve recently written an account of the day referred to above, which you may find interesting, although it was written for a non-climbing audience.

    1. Gotta disagree, Central Pillar and Red Edge are the exact same technical difficulty, 5b.
      However, Central Pillar is more runout and serious, hence my suggestion that it’s a “steady” lead. Whereas I think Red Edge has a longer section of more sustained 5b climbing – and quite a serious start which is what caused the other team to back off when we were there most recently.

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