Bowfell North Face
Slightly similar to: Cima Grande 2999m
Because: one huge rocky slab. Well, moderately huge in the case of Bowfell.
The Cima Grande is the one among the Big Six that’s not actually very big. Its north face appears as a 500m vertical slab of dolomite limestone. This is an illusion. The lower 200m of it are overhanging.
Bowfell’s north face route is also a climbers’ one; the Climbers’ Traverse path to the Bowfell Buttress. They’re pretty blasé about the narrowness of their path, but mere walkers will find it exciting enough. It leads into a “sanctuary of soaring summits and dead, fallen stone” – Rébuffat’s description of the Dolomites does nicely for Bowfell as well.
Above now, 250 metres of smooth stone, the Great Slab. Instead of 90° plus, it’s a mere 30°, which the brave with good boots can walk straight up. For the rest of us there’s a bouldery path alongside.
First published in The Great Outdoors April 2015
Words and pictures Ronald Turnbull