Slightly similar to: the Eiger 3970m
Because: the Bernese authorities tried to ban the Eiger. The National Trust put up notices telling us to stay out of Lord’s Rake.
Huge, unsettling empty spaces below and behind; huge, dark, rock faces above and all around. Across into the heart of the crags leads a little ledge. And people pass this way; the stones fallen from above are kicked apart to form a promising little path. I’m never going to cross the Eiger’s Traverse of the Gods but I don’t mind. Because I’ve got the West Wall Traverse on Scafell.
The T of the G leads to the White Spider icefield and the Exit Cracks. The West Wall leads to somewhere nearly as nasty. Deep Ghyll is not just deep but loose, damp and dirty as well.
On the Eiger, stones fall down the three great icefields like shrapnel. Stonefall has not been a serious problem on Lakeland’s older and more stable slopes. Except on Scafell... In 2002, frost prised off a 10-foot chunk of the Shamrock Buttress. This now sits poised on a pile of stones, at the top of the Lords Rake gully. One day, it’s going to come crashing down.
So Scafell’s fabulous traverse comes between two gruesome gullies. The Eiger, too, has its unpleasant aspects.
First published in The Great Outdoors April 2015
Words and pictures Ronald Turnbull