Join us on a 5 day Lake District rock climbing holiday! The English Lake District offers an excellent and varied selection of classic traditional rock climbing across the grade range. Add in beautiful scenery and you have the perfect combination for a great Uk climbing holiday. During the week we’ll enjoy a great selection of the Lake’s classic routes between V Diff and VS standard. If you’ve not done much trad or multi pitch climbing before and want to learn some new skills during the week, then this is a great opportunity to learn from a highly experienced mountain guide.
Please visit our Covid-19 Climb Information page for Covid FAQs, details of our new participation requirements, travel advice and what to expect on your trip.Download factsheet (PDF)
Five days of classic outdoor rock climbing in the English Lake District, based around Ambleside in the central lakes and visiting nearby climbing venues around Langdale, Coniston and Borrowdale. The focus is on climbing classic mid grade rock climbs in the V Diff to VS range on some of the areas best known crags. If you regularly climb indoors, then this is an ideal way to discover ‘real’ outdoor rock climbing and learn new skills from an experienced professional mountain guide. If you are already an outdoor climber, please tell us of any Lakeland routes you have already climbed, so we can plan accordingly.
Trip reports >> Report 1
Any items of specialist climbing equipment that you need are also included (eg helmet, harness, rock climbing shoes etc). Afterwards, we’ll send you plenty of great photos and video of your trip to share with family and friends.
- Fully qualified IFMGA British Mountain Guide
- Equipment hire included
- Photos and videos of your trip
The itinerary described below is a typical plan for the trip, but we regularly vary itineraries and objectives to suit your ambitions and the weather. Grades are in the range V Diff to VS, depending on the venue and fitness.
You can book one of the advertised course dates as an individual, and we will team you up with another climber of similar standard. Or, if you are a ready made team of 2 people and would like to choose your own course dates, please get in touch and we do our best to help.
This is an intermediate level 2 trip. To take part you should be at Fitness Level 2 and Tech Level 2 (see our Fitness/Experience guidelines). Previous single or multi-pitch rock climbing experience required, seconding at V Diff to VS standard and good all round fitness for UK hill walking. If you are able to belay safely, then indoor or sport climbing experience at 5+ and above is also suitable experience for this trip – we’ll teach you the rest!
On classic multipitch rock climbs, we climb at 1:2 max ratio
All our UK guides are fully qualified IFMGA guides and members of British Association of Mountain Guides, the professional association for mountain guides in the UK – meet some of our team here.
In terms of added value, climbing with an IFMGA guide is a great option if you want to learn from someone with the widest possible range of experience, or you aspire to/are already obsessed with winter or Alpine climbing! IFMGA guides work worldwide on rock, ice, glaciers and ski – so we can offer training, advice and recommendations for all your future plans, whatever and wherever they may be.
Included in price
- All guides fees and expenses
- Local travel in guides vehicle to complete the itinerary
- Use of communal technical equipment eg ropes and climbing hardware
- Hire of personal equipment including harness, helmet, belay equipment and rock shoes
Excluded from price
- Your travel to the Lake District
- Your accommodation and food
You are responsible for organising your own accommodation within meeting range of Ambleside – we are happy to make some recommendations to suit your budget. Top recommendations depending on budget:
- Ambleside and Windermere for a huge range of hotels, B&B’s and self catering options.
- Excellent National Trust campsites in Langdale, and Low Wray on the shores of Lake Windermere, plus lots of other great camping options.
We are happy to coordinate accommodation with the team and offer a pickup each morning, or if you prefer to travel in your own vehicle we can meet at the climbing venue.
Meet Up Point and Briefing
Your guide will liaise with you to arrange a meet up point on the first morning of the trip – this will either be in Ambleside, or the venue for the first days’ climbing. Here we will run through safety routines and kit checks, as well as hand out any rental equipment – before going on to discuss plans and the current weather and mountain conditions.
We’ll also have maps and guidebooks to show you, so if you’ve any further questions or last minute requests, then this is the ideal time to bring them up before we head out on the hill.
Five days climbing classic rock routes around the English Lake District. Crags and venues are chosen to make best use of the current weather and enjoyable routes for the team. Possible venues include:
Langdale is one of the most popular valleys in the Lake District and home to a wide selection of excellent crags and climbs – these vary from lower level venues close to the road, to high mountain crags boasting longer climbs:
- Scout Crag – a great low lying south facing crag. with excellent 1-2 pitch climbs.
- Raven Crag – home to the famous Middlefell Buttress, Evening Wall and other classics.
- White Ghyll – a great afternoon and evening venue, with sustained wall climbing.
- Gimmer Crag – superb high mountain crag, immaculate rock and views!
- Bowfell – high mountain venue, home to the ultra classic Bowfell Buttress.
One of the largest crags in the Lake District, set high up in the Coniston Fells – Dow offers a brilliant high mountain ambiance and excellent climbing at a wide range of grades. Mid grade classics include:
- Murray’s Route – a classic Severe, one of the best route of it’s grade in the Uk.
- Murray’s Direct – harder version of the above, a classic VS.
- Eliminate ‘A’ – another classic, 3 star VS
- Arete, Chimney and Crack – long, 6 pitch classic Severe
- ‘C’ Ordinary Route – a brilliant, long, 7 pitch VDiff
The approach to Dow takes about an hour and many descents involve alpine style scrambling and moving together, which makes for a great mountain day out and an excellent venue for learning alpine skills.
There are too many crags to mention in Borrowdale, with venues for all kinds of grades and weather. Some classic outings include:
- Shepherds Crag – home to many classics including Little Chamonix, Adam and Eve.
- Black Crag – the famous 6 pitch Severe Troutdale Pinnacle is a popular favourite.
- Gillercombe Buttress – a superb 6 pitch high mountain Severe above Seathwaite.
- Raven Crag/Glaciated Slab – two great venues that can be combined into a full day out.
- Great Gable – Napes Needle can be climbed from Borrowdale in a long day out.
Day 2 PM – roundup of the trip, feedback, advice for the future and farewells.
Location and Travel
The trip is based around Ambleside in the central Lake District. From here we have easy access to all the main climbing venues around the National Park. You need to arrange accommodation in or near to Ambleside, so that you can make daily meet ups and reach the various climbing venues.
- Road – Ambleside can easily be reached by car via the M6 to Junction 36, then A590/591 past Kendal and Windermere.
- Train – Trains are available to Windermere (change at Oxenhope), then take a bus or taxi to Ambleside.
- Bus – Bus services are available to and throughout the Lake District National Park.
Fitness and Experience
To enjoy this trip you should be comfortable operating at Fitness Level 2, and Tech Level 2 (as appropriate for the style of climbing on this trip ie Alpine, rock climbing or ice climbing).
Fitness Level 2
You do 2-3 hours CV training/sport per week. At this level you should be happy doing either a 3-4 hour hillwalk, cycling 30-40 miles or mountain biking 2-3 hours without being exhausted. Eg: you should be able to walk from Ogwen Cottage in North Wales up Glyder Fach – Glyder Fawr – Y Garn – Ogwen in ~5hrs. Or in the Lake District Langdale – Bowfell – Esk Pike – Angle Tarn – Langdale in ~ 6hrs.
Tech Level 2
Novice climber. Indoor or outdoor sport climbing experience / seconding traditionally protected climbs at V Diff – Severe standard / winter hillwalking or mountaineering using an ice axe and crampons / alpine glacier treks or alpine peaks to F standard.
To view all climbing Technical and Fitness Levels, and for advice on trip preparation and training, please visit our training advice page.
UK Rock Climbing Kit List
Above all, your kit needs to do the job but be as light as possible. Lightweight breathable fabrics are ideal for waterproofs, which are carried as often as worn (hopefully!).
- Waterproof jacket – lightweight breathable model
- Overtrousers – with long side zips
- Socks – warm ‘Smartwool’ type, plus thin liner socks and spares
- Wicking thermal tops/t-shirts
- Softshell jacket – or equivalent light insulating layer
- Mountain trousers – light/mid-weight windproof softshell model
- Thin gloves – windproof ‘hardfleece’ model is good
- Warm hat – must fit under a helmet
- Spare warm layer – fleece or lightweight synthetic belay jacket
- Water Container – at least 1 litre
- Headtorch and batteries
- Map, compass and whistle (optional, but a good idea)
- Personal medications and blister kit – zinc oxide tape, compeed, painkillers etc
- Sun Glasses – CE rated 3 or 4
- Sun and lip cream – factor 30+
- Sun hat
- Shorts and t-shirt
- Rucsac 35/45l is perfect for general use
- Approach shoes or trainers – sticky rubber models are excellent
- Rock climbing shoes – must be comfortable enough to wear for several hours
- Climbing Harness – with locking karabiner and belay device
- 120cm sling and locking karabiner
- Climbing helmet
- *Semi rigid B2 mountaineering boots – Axe, Boot and Crampon advice
Depending on the trip, these may be ‘nice to have’ or ‘required’ items – see individual joining instructions.
- Superlight rucsac – superlight 15/20l model, for taking on long multi-pitch rock routes
- 2 prussik loops and karabiner – if in doubt, bring 3m of 6mm climbing cord!
- Trekking poles
- Camping gear if you choose to camp in the valley
Your guide will have ropes, climbing rack, first aid and survival equipment.
*On trips where boots are required, these should be reasonably stiff 3/4 season mountaineering models. They will be needed if we decide to go ‘big boots’ climbing on easy rock climbs or scrambling terrain. Soft bendy walking boots are not very good for technical scrambling/climbing (you may be better off in a pair of ‘sticky rubber’ approach shoes). See below for advice.
Recommendations and Advice
Visit the Knowledge Base section of our website or our blog for equipment advice. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please get in touch!
Backcountry UK in Otley offer an excellent walking boot fitting service and general equipment advice.
It’s best to have your own rock climbing shoes so you can get a proper fit, but if you need to hire some please get in touch. Other safety equipment can also be hired from us (subject to availability) – please see our Equipment Hire page for details.
For UK residents – we strongly recommend that you purchase cancellation cover, in case you’re unable to attend your trip due to personal circumstances or injury.
For non UK residents – search and rescue is currently free in the UK, but you may be charged by the NHS for certain treatments, and you should also consider the need for emergency repatriation in the event of a serious illness/accident. We also strongly recommend that you purchase cancellation cover, in case you’re unable to attend your trip due to personal circumstances or injury.
Please arrange your insurance as soon as your trip is confirmed to run.
Please find further details on our insurance info page.