It was supposed to be a relaxing weekend and it started well with a tasty BBQ on Friday night. Sooner or later Scafell was mentioned and psyche grew psyche grew. We gathered some questionable beta from the wizened BBQ’ing climbers and packed our bags including a tent and sleeping bags and went to bed early.

We woke early and packed some food; BBQ leftovers and a couple of sandwiches. Trusting the recommendations from my dads friends we Started walking up from Seathwaite Borrowdlae (bad idea) and began doubting the amount of food we had brought, it wasnt long before we concluded that we would be hungry. At Styhead Tarn we realised that recomendation of walking in from Borowdale was a complete sandbag. 3 hours after setting off we neared the bottom of the crag. We weren’t even going that slow, overtaking many groups carrying small days sacks!

The crag looked cool and we aimed for Central Butress the historic E1 straight up the main face. The climbing is mainly easy with 1 tricky pitch up a massive flake half way up the wall. I made the mistake of assuming it would be warm and consequently shivverd the whole way up – just because others are in shorts and t-shirts doesn’t me that I’m as hard as them and can do the same!

Rachel on the Great Flake of Central Buttress, Scafel.

Came down, a few hours of the evening left. I wanted to do the classic VS Botteril’s Slab. Brilliant route, I led 2 pitches in one then we abseiled off. Good effort Botteril, very well done old chap.

Botteril's Slab.

Hungry after only one small sandwich for lunch we finished off the BBQ leftovers; a handful of new potatoes and a couple of chicken legs. Sad that we only had a single bread bun and 3 cereal bars left for Sundays breakfast and lunch.

We trotted up to Scafell Pike summit, took some pictures and slid down the scree slope before setting up the tent next to a small stream. We wanted to get to sleep before we felt hungry again.

Scafell East and Central Buttress. Beaut!

Sunday – Scafell East buttress. We spent a while scrambling round to the base of Ichabod, Rachel wanted to get on it before she got scared and before we got really hungry, I had eaten my sandwich for breakfast  – only 1 cereal bar to last a few hours climbing, 2.5 hours walking and the drive back to Keswick.

Rachel set off up Ichabod and made it look really easy, only struggles towards the top of the long pitch. She built the belay and gave me a warning not to fall off. Excellent. I climbed less gracefully and made much more noise. The locals trying a new route came to have a look to see what all the fuss was about. Embarrassing.

The East Buttress is a very impressive crag, overhanging in three directions, with very defined lines, which catch the eye and grow psyche. Leverage looked cool, the description of steep, sustained and well protected sounded perfect and the climb met its reputation. This climb was an excellent end to the weekend, which wasn’t going super smoothly. The long walk back was not a nice thought, Rachel had forgotten to bring any trainers and the walk up in pumps had trashed her feet already.

We eventually made it into Keswick and ate a lot of food in a very nice pub. It’s nice to eat so much food knowing that you’ve earned it. I felt noticeably leaner in the days following our Scafell rationing, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a bonafide weight loss technique.


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