Pinnacle Ridge - St Sunday Crag

An unexpectedly dry day presented a welcome opportunity for a day's scrambling on the fells to climb Pinnacle Ridge on St Sunday Crag. Arguably at its best in full winter conditions, it is also a delightful scramble in summer with a crux corner that puts the route just within the boundaries of a 'proper' climb.
Above this corner, a series of exposed pinnacles give the ridge its name - I was a little more careful on our last ascent in the winter of 2010 when the route resembled an alpine ridge in miniature - today, dry rock and minimal gear prompted a hands-free approach. Stepping up...
...and across...
...and across again to reach to largest and final pinnacle.
A real lakeland gem - unfortunately a victim of its superb position which has meant that there a few days when it does not see at least one party on the ridge. On this day we were one of just three - the first of which pitched the entire ridge causing a queue at the crux corner despite the relative lack of numbers. It was hard not to offer 'advice' on dubious belaying technique amongst other things, but having watched as attempts were made to place various wires, I pointed out the obvious chockstone that protects the crux, and left it at that. 
Such encounters always leave me wondering how there are not more accidents than there are in the fells. Is it the surge in popularity of so called 'indoor climbing', resulting in folk with little or no experience in the hills attempting such routes, or just an increasing interest in the sport fuelled by consumer media and trade in the outdoor sector, that has led to the numbers of less-than-competent climbers that crowd the crags today?
Such views may seem elitist to some, but I believe the mountain apprenticeship once served by those who learnt to climb, has long since been forsaken. Instead, the 'extreme sports' hype lures people who would buy a lifestyle along with the shiny new wires and pristine slings that decorate the latest harness; people who have neither the inclination to learn nor patience to acquire the experience that once was assumed a prerequisite for the mountains. I do not believe that is true of all - yet it is unsettling to see such incompetence on the crags.
A view of Helvellyn from St Sunday Crag - gazing across, I picked out the many lines completed in winters past - perhaps this year I will go back. Nothing difficult, but an easy gully or two would be a nice way to start 2013.


Bill Sacks said…
Awesome. Nice to see the difference between fall and winter conditions.