The Route Up Scafell Pike from Wasdale Head
Frequently Asked Questions about Climbing Scafell Pike
It is important to note that there are always risks associated with hill walking, climbing and mountaineering. Being able to evaluate the conditions and judge them for yourself is one of the key skills in mountaineering, which includes walking the hills in the Lake District. If you are unsure as to whether it is safe to set out this may well be an indication that it would be good to gain more experience first or join an organised or guided group.
How long will it take?
It is impossible to say with any accuracy how long it will take any particular group to climb Scafell Pike. Times vary widely depending on the group’s fitness and the weather.
From Wasdale Head.
You should allow at least 5 to 6 hours even in very good weather. Allow extra time in bad weather as you will walk more slowly and the route will be harder to find. Experienced walkers might well do it in less time than this but if you haven’t got much experience on Lakeland fells then you are in for a hard day.
From Borrowdale, Langdale or Eskdale.
You should allow most of a day i.e. 7+ hours. These routes are quite long and involve difficult ground. They require the ability to navigate over rough mountain terrain in any weather.
NB If you have already climbed Ben Nevis then it will take you even longer than if you were fresh.Please remember that it goes dark at night and it will go dark very quickly if it is cloudy. There is no street lighting on the Pike!
Which route should I take?
There are excellent routes to the summit of Scafell Pike from Wasdale, Borrowdale, Eskdale and Langdale. The route from the National Trust car park at Wasdale Head is the shortest – see further down this page for a map of the route. The Corridor Route from Borrowdale via Styhead Tarn is not too much longer but has a few rock steps and requires much better route finding skills. The Corridor Route isn’t really a ‘corridor’ at all. It is a traverse path with steep rocky sections and some interesting gully crossings! The Eskdale and Langdale routes are significantly longer.
Please note that paths in the Lake District are not waymarked or signposted. The only aids to route finding that you will have are those you take with you. The National Trust operate a small shop in their car park but it is only open when volunteers are available to run it and it carries only a limited range of maps; it is probably best to bring your own map with you. A detailed map is essential for navigation up and down the Pike. The map needs to be detailed showing contours, paths, streams and cliffs. Scafell Pike is covered by Ordnance Survey map OL6 – Lake District South West. This is available in a waterproof form or you could fold the paper version and cover it with a transparent freezer bag.
In poor visibility or darkness all of these routes need well-practiced navigation skills.
NB – There are three routes off the summit of Scafell Pike. Each of these routes reaches a path junction were the route splits. In bad weather you will need a map and compass and the ability to use them in order to find your way back down the mountain.
If, during your descent, you find yourself at a metal stretcher box on a steep sided ridge/col with a very imposing mass of rock in front of you then you are at Mickledore. If you face towards the cliff, away from the summit of the Pike, then Wasdale is down and to your right and Eskdale is down and to your left. A cairn marks the start of a steep gully which leads down to Hollowstones and the path back to Wasdale Head. The descent via Eskdale takes several hours and we rescue several parties per year who have got lost or benighted whilst trying to follow this route.
NB Piers Ghyll. Piers Gill is the deep cut gill which the Corridor Route crosses 200m after leaving Lingmell Col on the descent from the Pike. Piers Gill, itself, is a ‘canyon’ descent with several short pitches and one longer one; do not attempt to walk down the bed of the stream!!There is a path on the NE( river right) bank. This path has very steep sections next to large drops into the gill – there have been several serious accidents in this area in recent years. Also, after a bad rock step the path crosses Greta Gill which can be hazardous or impossible if the weather is wet. There is no path on the W ( river left ) bank and indeed there have been fatalities in this area in recent years. If you intend to descend by the Corridor Route then make sure that you go all they way round the corner of the Piers Gill crossing and actually slightly uphill to follow the path, well away from Piers Gill, which leads down to Styhead. For further details concerning the hazards of Piers Gill go to the section in accident black spots.
There is a general route map at the bottom of this page.
This link takes you to a more detailed route card for the easiest route up and down the Pike. It has an insert map with details of the compass bearings and distances needed to find your way from the summit, across the plateau, to the start of the path back down to the Wasdale Valley.
What about dogs?
Many dogs thouroughly enjoy the walk up Scafell Pike. However it can be a struggle for dogs not used to fell-walking. Most significant to dogs is the bouldery terrain on the summit plateau (from Lingmell Col upwards). If they are not used to travelling a significant distance over rough rocks it can cause problems with their pads. Scafell Pike is a poor choice for a dog’s first fell walk. Another problem area for dogs is the Wasdale Screes due to the large boulders and we have had to rescue a number of dogs in recent years from this area.
What will the weather be like?
It is impossible to predict the weather accurately for more than a couple of days ahead. There are some excellent mountain weather forecasts available here. Obviously the weather is likely to best in the summer, however strong winds, severe windchill and even snow are possible all year round. To give yourself the best chance of an enjoyable day climbing Scafell Pike have a few days available and choose the one with the best weather forecast.
Will there be snow and ice?
It is not unusual to find reasonable quantities of snow high up on the mountain any time from October through to May. During the winter months the Fell Top Assessors report for Helvellyn will give a good idea of conditions in the Lakes in general. The BMC Great End thermometers provide readings for current air and ground temperatures. Whenever temperatures are sub zero water ice can form and winter equipment should be carried. If you are out without crampons and axes avoid circular walks and be prepared to turn back if faced with winter conditions. The summit temperature is likely to be between 5 and 10 degrees lower than the valley temperature. The summit plateau, especially, is high enough up to catch strong winds which are not apparent from the valley bottom this can lead to severe windchill at all times of year.
What should I take with me?
Plenty of warm clothing, waterproofs, good quality mountain boots, food and drink, map, compass, torch, whistle and either a survival bag or bivi tent.
Walking in a group.
We answer several 999 calls per year from groups which have split up deliberately and then failed to re-unite or become separated in mist. If you are walking in a group then please consider the following:
- Make sure you know who is at the front, the ‘frontman’ and who is at the back, the ‘rearman’. Don’t get ahead of the frontman and don’t fall behind the rearman .
- Whoever is the frontman should be able to see and hear whoever is the rearman. If this isn’t happening then slow down and regroup.
- Exchange mobile numbers throughout the group before you set off; once you are in ‘mid-epic’ it will be too late!
- If you do decide to split your group up make sure that everybody understands the plan, has suitable equipment (map, compass etc. in each and every group) and that each group has enough competent leaders for any eventuality.
- It is very easy to get lost or disoriented on the Pike so don’t allow people to go wandering off, on their own, if the visibility is poor!
- Make sure that someone in the group is actually navigating. Entire mountain rescue teams have got lost because everyone thought that someone else was doing the route finding!
What about technology – mobile phones and GPS?
Technology can be very useful, however over reliance has caused problems for some of the people we have rescued. The mobile phone signal is patchy, in a real emergency, if you are high on the fells it could perhaps be better to head somewhere with a view of Sellafield or Keswick, two nearby transmitter sites. Navigation using GPS can make life significantly easier, however, batteries fail particularly in cold conditions on smartphones. Also you need an appropriate map (satnavs are not suitable!). If you are using a GPS to navigate make sure you have a paper map and compass as a backup and know where you are so that if the batteries die you don’t have to try to work out where you are.
Who should I tell where I am going?
Write down in detail where you intend to go, where your car will be parked, your vehicle registration number, and what time you expect to return, also include the mobile phone numbers of all members of the party. Give this to someone responsible with a cut off time at which to call the police, remember to include some time for navigational mistakes and enjoying yourself!
We are a team of volunteers who are available to help those in need 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Please consider helping us by clicking here and making a donation so that we can continue to provide our service.
We hope you have a safe and enjoyable day on Scafell Pike, remember to make sure you have enough energy for your descent. There is nothing wrong with turning back before the summit and returning in the future for another attempt.
What is the easiest way to climb Scafell Pike? ›
The easiest route to Scafell Pike is the direct line via Brown Tongue from Wasdale. This route whilst popular with people who just want to bag the summit only really scratches the surface of what's on offer. A better choice is to indulge in a longer approach that explores all the nuances of this great mountain range.What is the quickest route up and down Scafell Pike? ›
The route from Wastwater is the quickest, Going up go to the right from Hollow Stones and up to the Ridge between the 2 mountains. The scree is steep, but exciting, then come down the other side down into Hollow Stones. there will be lots of people at the top, everyone seems to want to climb to the top of England.How long does it take to climb Scafell Pike from Wasdale car park? ›
Yes it is possible to climb Scafell Pike in a day. The length of time it takes will depend on which route you take, how fast you walk, how many times you stop for a break and the weather conditions. It usually takes around 3-4 hours to summit and return along the Wasdale route.Can a beginner climb Scafell Pike? ›
Summary. Anyone with a moderate level of fitness can climb Scafell. This writer had never been fell walking before, but with the right equipment and preparation, the summit was reached. The key is to take your time, not be afraid to have breaks, and just make sure you've prepared properly.Can you climb Scafell Pike with no training? ›
Anyone with a reasonable level of fitness should be able to climb up Scafell Pike, though that doesn't mean it'll be easy! Consult your doctor if in any doubt.Is walking up Scafell Pike hard? ›
Although Scafell Pike is the smallest of the three peaks, it is often considered to be the most difficult walk. Snowdon is considered to be the easiest, and Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike are more challenging.What is the most difficult route up Scafell Pike? ›
The corridor route is a classic Lakeland fell walk, this trail is much more challenging than the easier route, with the bonus of being able to bag a few more big peaks on the way.How many miles is it to walk up and down Scafell Pike? ›
The Seathwaite route is 9.5 miles long, up and down, and includes 996 metres of ascent. Both routes can be seen below, with Seathwaite in the North, and Wasdale Head in the West.What is the most scenic route up Scafell Pike? ›
There are quite a few walking routes up to Scafell Pike - but the Corridor Route from Seathwaite is the best way in my humble opinion and is often referred to as the Connoisseurs route (as those experienced in walking the various Scafell Pike routes will recommend this particular route).Are there toilets on Scafell Pike? ›
There are toilets and bins at the bottom, next to the village green in Wasdale, which Mr Naylor said were "overrun" during peak season and closed at night when many "three peakers" arrive.
What time of year is best to walk Scafell Pike? ›
Obviously the weather is likely to best in the summer, however strong winds, severe windchill and even snow are possible all year round. To give yourself the best chance of an enjoyable day climbing Scafell Pike have a few days available and choose the one with the best weather forecast.How many steps up Scafell Pike? ›
All you need to carry is 1 litre of water max, some snacks such as nuts and chocolate, spare warm layer, waterproofs, good quality head torch, hat and gloves. Put everything inside your rucksack in a plastic bag such as a thick heavy duty bin liner and this will keep things dry.Can kids go up Scafell Pike? ›
Many families have climbed Scafell Pike, but it does depend on your children's age and fitness. It's also best to do this when the weather is forecast to be great (but still be prepared for bad weather in the mountains). Note that it's not a great climb for dogs – so bear that in mind when considering taking your kids.Does Scafell Pike involve scrambling? ›
Going from the Eskdale valley up Cockley Pike Ridge then onto Scafell Pike is a very enjoyable scrambling day out.Does Scafell Pike need walking poles? ›
Using walking poles can relieve the strain on your knees and legs as the poles transfer some of the weight to your arms. By improving stability you are less likely to stumble and can be more confident about your walking pace. Going across the boulder field at Scafell Pike is an awful lot easier using walking poles.Do you need a guide to climb Scafell Pike? ›
There are no significant signposts or coloured waymarkers on Scafell Pike, nor phone signal. At least one person in your group should be competent in using a map and a compass (or consider a led walk from a walking guide), but navigation skills are well worth everyone learning.Which of the 3 peaks is hardest? ›
Ben Nevis is purportedly the hardest mountain (and highest peak) of the Three Peaks Challenge. That's why people tend to do it first if they're taking the 24 hour challenge.Where do I start climbing Scafell Pike? ›
The remote and scenic valley of Wasdale lies immediately to the west of Scafell Pike, and many people start the climb from here. At the heart of the Wasdale Valley lies Wast Water, England's deepest lake at 258 feet deep.How long does it take to do scafell? ›
The most popular and shortest route from Wasdale Head should have reasonably fit hikers finishing in an average time of 3-4 hours in decent weather conditions, while some of the alternate trails could take upwards of 6 hours.
What is the fastest time to climb Scafell Pike? ›
Local legend Joss Naylor holds the record for completing the National Three Peaks Challenge in the fastest time: 11 hours and 56 minutes. Mr. Naylor also still holds the record for the fastest ascent and descent of Scafell Pike: 47 minutes.Is it cold at the top of Scafell Pike? ›
Maximum daytime temperature: -3 degrees Celsius; Minimum nighttime temperature: -4 degrees Celsius.How difficult is Scafell? ›
However, Scafell Pike Walk is the better trail to follow. All in all, this trail runs for 15.2km back and forth and will take hikers around six to eight hours to complete. The total elevation is also around 896m and hence, it has a four upon five difficulty rating.Is there a pub at the top of Scafell Pike? ›
The Wasdale Head Inn is in a spectacular setting at the head of remote Wastwater, the deepest lake in the Lake District. The peaks behind the inn are the Pillar and Kirk Fell (photos 1 & 2) and nearby is Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England.Can dogs do Scafell Pike? ›
Leave Your Dog at Home. Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England. Although at 978 metres high it is smaller than either Snowdon or Ben Nevis it is a climb.Can you walk up Scafell Pike in trainers? ›
I have Trainers – will they be ok? Trainers unfortunately do not offer the ankle support you require in the mountain. On Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike especially you will be walking over rocky broken ground.Is it safe to climb Scafell Pike? ›
Unless you plan to ascend via Lord's Rake there is nothing technical about any of the ascents of Scafell Pike. Paths are very well trodden and you would be a very lucky person not to meet other walkers on route. If you are at all unsure about this walk, postpone it until such time as day length is good.What is the easiest route up Scafell Pike with kids? ›
Out of the various Scafell Pike routes – the main tourist path from Wasdale is the easiest and most popular one.Can a 7 year old climb Scafell? ›
This walk is of a gentler incline and is therefore more suitable for children. Although it is a good couple of hours more walking than from Wasdale Head. It took us 9 hours in total as we needed to make extra stops. We stopped half hour at Styhead Tarn and as the weather was so nice we all had a plodge.Which is harder Scafell Pike or Ben Nevis? ›
Overall the feedback I hear from clients completing the 3 peaks is that Scafell Pike 'feels' harder than Ben Nevis. However, doing this as you are, as stand alone mountains, you will likely find Scafell Pike easier than the Ben. Hope this is helpful and that you enjoy your time on Scafell Pike.
How fit do you need to be to climb Scafell Pike? ›
Am I fit enough? A good level of fitness is required. A day on Scafell Pike will consist of approximately 4 - 8 hours of mountain walking. You need to feel comfortable carrying a small day-sack and walking for extended periods and during adverse weather conditions.Can you climb Scafell Pike in trainers? ›
Trainers unfortunately do not offer the ankle support you require in the mountain. On Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike especially you will be walking over rocky broken ground.Which is harder Snowdon or Scafell? ›
Scafell Pike is considered to be harder because it has a pretty steep incline. Part of the summit journey also involves a scree slope and this requires hikers to sort of scramble up. Therefore, it is tougher than Mount Snowdon and Ben Nevis.What equipment do I need to climb Scafell Pike? ›
All you need to carry is 1 litre of water max, some snacks such as nuts and chocolate, spare warm layer, waterproofs, good quality head torch, hat and gloves. Put everything inside your rucksack in a plastic bag such as a thick heavy duty bin liner and this will keep things dry.Does Scafell Pike require scrambling? ›
Scafell Pike Walk Difficulty: Hard
You don't need to do any scrambling (using your hands) or climbing (using ropes etc) So if you have good fitness, mobility and time - then I would thoroughly recommend this route as the best way to climb to Englands highest mountain summit.
Using walking poles can relieve the strain on your knees and legs as the poles transfer some of the weight to your arms. By improving stability you are less likely to stumble and can be more confident about your walking pace. Going across the boulder field at Scafell Pike is an awful lot easier using walking poles.Can a child climb Scafell Pike? ›
Many families have climbed Scafell Pike, but it does depend on your children's age and fitness. It's also best to do this when the weather is forecast to be great (but still be prepared for bad weather in the mountains). Note that it's not a great climb for dogs – so bear that in mind when considering taking your kids.Can you take a dog up Scafell Pike? ›
If you are an experienced walker and your dog is fit and capable, then a hike up Scafell Pike can be a truly rewarding experience.
Undoubtedly the most scenic and interesting route to the top, the trail to the summit of Scafell Pike is a considerable walk from Eskdale.Which of the 3 peaks is easiest? ›
Snowdon is often found to be the easiest of the 3 peaks. People can be feeling slightly revived after a little sleep on the way from Scafell and the new day seems to bring renewed energy.
What grade scramble is Scafell Pike? ›
Scafell Pike via the Corridor Route
The route difficulty is fairly easy, probably touching a grade 1 but more on the side of a rocky walk.
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