helvellyn & Striding Edge
Guided hike and scrambles up Helvellyn led by professional mountain guides
Standing at 950m, Helvellyn is the 3rd tallest mountain in England. As a result of this, Helvellyn is without a doubt one of the most popular mountains in the Lake District, and rightly so! Just like the best mountains around, it has many great routes to its summit, but one stands head a shoulders above the rest, and that is via Striding Edge. Striding Edge is a spectacular knife edge arete that offers a breathtaking scrambling experience. From climbing across blocks, walking across a narrow crest, and down climbing 'The Chimney', Striding Edge has it all. We have tonnes of experience with both these edges, and have helped people of all abilities across them - many of them commenting it was the best thing they have ever done!
Helvellyn via Striding Edge & Swirral Edge
The approach to Striding Edge can be done from either the village of Glenirdding or Patterdale. Both villages have plenty of parking options as well as places to stay and post walk pub options. We tend to start our circuit from Glenridding.
Grade:Moderate with exposed scrambling on Striding Edge
Terrain: Rough Ground Duration: 6 Hours
Route Stats: Miles: 7 Ascent: 930m
From Glenridding there are also multiple routes up to the start of Striding Edge, but we will either use the well pathed Mires Beck route or make our way via the more secluded Lanty's Tarn. This route is definitely front loaded in terms of difficulty, as the bulk of the days ascent is taken on in the first hour and a half. It doesn't take long though for you to be rewarded with excellent views behind over Ullswater, which is often busy with sailing boats, the cruise boat and people kayaking.
The path eventually starts to flatten, and at this point a small but worthy detour can be made to the summit of Bikrhouse Moor (718m). A much welcomed easier section is now enjoyed for about 30 minutes as the trail heads for High Spying How, the start of Striding Edge. This is an excellent place to enjoy views down in to the Grisedale Valley and to have a well deserved snack before heading on to the edge. Striding Edge is an entry level scramble and holds some moderate exposure. Scrambling for the uncertain is a type of mountaineering which blurs the lines between walking and rock climbing. You will find yourself using your hands on balance and move yourself around the rocks, but on this grade of scramble you will not be hanging on by your finger nails! The scrambling is extremely enjoyable, and thankfully even when wet the rock isn't even that slippy.
The Striding Edge experience lasts about 30-40 minutes, and there is even the bonus of a narrow trail just below the crest for anyone who isn't totally sure about walking along the top. A final steep slope brings you on to the summit plateau, and a final couple of minutes of walking will have you atop the summit of Helvellyn.
The fun isn't over yet, as Swirral Edge, a shorter knife edge arete, is used in descent. Now well practiced at scrambling we pick our way down the blocky edge. Depending on energy levels and conditions at this stage, the summit of Catstycam (890m) can be ticked. The main descent is again back on good quality trails and after an hour the path meets Greenside Mine. A final mile of walking finishes the route back in Glenridding.
This route is suitable for people with basic hill walking fitness and experience. It is not ideal for anyone who has vertigo, however we have escorted many people across who have not been a huge fan of heights / large drops and they have had a great time.
As mentioned above, there are multiple routes to the summit of Helvellyn, so if you want to bag the summit but avoid any possibility of scrambling we can suggest a route. Classic options include ascending from Patterdale via Grisedale Tarn, via Keppel Cove from Glenridding or from Thirlmere or Wythburn on the west side of the mountain.
STRIDING EDGE BY TORCHLIGHT
For three years we have hosted a special fundraising event for Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association and have to date raised over £4,700. The aim of the evening is to traverse Striding Edge under the cover of darkness with just head torches to lead the way. If you have previous experience on Striding Edge or similar scrambles you can join us in October 2023
Helvellyn via Striding Edge can be a bit daunting for some, and unfortunately each year a few people do get in to trouble on the edges. All of our leaders know Helvellyn extremely well and have led groups up it day and night in a whole range of conditions - one of our leaders has even climbed the mountain over 200 times! Hiring a guide means that you can be relieved of the stress of having to navigate, route find on the edge and manage your group. We strive to ensure all our days are not only fun, but educational, so expect to learn something about this amazing mountain and the area around it as you climb. We are available in both Summer and Winter for hire (alternative route used in Winter).We have an excellent safety record, and many glowing testimonials which can be viewed here.