On our Lake District scrambling course, we enjoy two days of brilliant technical grade 2 and 3 scrambling on terrain that requires ropework for protection. If you’ve enjoyed doing some easier scrambles unroped, then this is a logical next step and a great opportunity to learn new skills from an experienced mountain guide. The English Lake District offers a fantastic variety of scrambling, with dozens of low level gills and buttresses and high level ridges and crags to explore and if you dream of climbing in the Alps one day, the course is also a great starting point, as many of the skills and techniques are similar.
Dates and Availability
Dates are by arrangement, from April to October – please contact us with your preferred dates and we will confirm availability. You can join this trip as a ready made team of 2 along with a friend or partner, or you can also join as a single person, in which case we will team you up with someone on the same dates to form a team of 2. The price of this trip is £295 per person.
NB If you are interested in a trip with a different duration, or a private bespoke itinerary, then please visit our lake district rock climbing guide page.
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.
Scrambling covers the middle ground between hill walking and rock climbing, moving quickly and efficiently up broken rocky terrain. On the course we enjoy two days of classic scrambling and skills training in the English Lake District, based around Ambleside in the central lakes and visiting nearby venues in Langdale, Coniston and Borrowdale. The aim of the course is to give you experience on technical grade 2-3 scrambling terrain, whilst teaching ropework and movement skills for protecting them. The course is also a good foundation for future visits to the Alps either with a guide or on your own, as many of the techniques and skills are similar.
Each course is tailored and personalised to your own requirements; so if you want to learn as much as possible over the two days, or enjoy a more relaxed guided climbing experience, then just let us know and we’ll plan accordingly!
Any items of specialist safety equipment that you need are also included in the cost (eg helmet, harness etc) and 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
- Everyone welcome!
- Equipment hire included
- Photos and videos of your trip
The itinerary described below is a typical plan for the course, but we regularly vary itineraries and objectives to suit your ambitions and the weather.
This is an introductory level 1 course. To take part you should be at Fitness Level 2 and Tech Level 1 (see our Fitness/Experience guidelines). Previous grade 1 scrambling experience is useful, though not essential and good all round fitness for UK hill walking. If you have some basic climbing experience, then we may also be able to cover some more advanced techniques as appropriate.
On classic grade 2-3 scrambles, we work at 1:2 max ratio
All our UK guides are fully qualified IFMGA guides and members of British Mountain Guides, the professional association for mountain guides in the UK – meet some of our team here. Only a small number of guides working in the UK are holders of the IFMGA guides carnet, which is the highest professional qualification in mountaineering.
In terms of added value, climbing with an IFMGA guide is a great option if you want learn from someone with the widest possible range of experience, or you aspire to/are already obsessed with winter or Alpine climbing! We 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 and belay equipment
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’ scrambling. 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.
Each course is carefully planned to maximise hill time and we always incorporate skills training into real days out on the fells – as moving over a wide variety of different terrain is the best (and most enjoyable!) way to build your skills, confidence and experience.
Topics covered include:
- Risks and hazards of scrambling
- Safety equipment
- Planning and route choice
- Navigation and route finding
- Spotting and protecting short steps
- Basic ropework
- Selecting anchors and protecting difficulties
- Moving together and short pitching
Two days enjoying classic grade 2 and 3 scrambles around the English Lake District. Venues are chosen to make best use of the current weather and enjoyable outings 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 scrambling – venues vary from lower level gills, to high mountain crags and a number of scrambles can often be linked together into one day. Various possible outings include:
- Scout Crag – a great low lying warm up venue, good for practicing ropework.
- Tarn Crag – the Groove 3 and the Spur 2 are both great scrambles on excellent rock.
- Jacks Rake + Rake End Chimney – a good combo with some Diff rock climbing.
- Harrison Stickle – the SW face is an excellent grade 2 scramble.
- Pike o’ Stickle – SW Face 2/3, a long and intricate scramble in a high location.
The Coniston Fells and the surrounding area offer many excellent scrambles at a wide range of grades. In good weather, Dow Crag offers a brilliant high mountain ambiance and long scrambles in the upper grades. Possible outings include:
- Raven Crag, Yewdale – an excellent grade 2 scramble, ideal for practicing ropework.
- The Bell – a short warm up en route to:
- Low Water Beck – an excellent grade 3 outing in dry conditions leading to:
- Brim Fell Slabs – another good grade 2 outing that links with the previous.
- Dow Crag – B Buttress 3S and F Buttress 3S are both excellent long mountain routes.
The approach to Dow takes about an hour and the ascents involve alpine style ropework and moving together, which makes for a great mountain day out and an excellent venue for learning alpine skills.
There are numerous great rock climbing crags in Borrowdale, so it’s no surprise that there are also some excellent scrambles. Classic outings include:
- Cam Crag – 2/3 lovely slabby scrambling on great rock, can be combined with:
- Dovenest Crag – Attic Cave 2/3 a memorable expedition into the bowels of the earth!
- Intake Ridge – links up with the above. Grade 3 – a series of linked short climbs.
Day 2 PM – roundup of the trip, feedback, advice for the future and farewells.
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.
To enjoy this trip you should be comfortable operating at Fitness Level 2, and Tech Level 1 (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 1
Hillwalker/scrambler. You have UK hillwalking and perhaps summer UK scrambling, or European via ferrata experience – but no rock or ice climbing, or previous alpine mountaineering experience.
To view all climbing Technical and Fitness Levels, and for advice on trip preparation and training, please visit our training advice page.
UK Scrambling 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 side zips
- Socks – warm pair, plus lighter pair and spares
- Thermal tops/t-shirts – made of synthetic materiel (ie not cotton!)
- Softshell jacket – or equivalent light insulating layer
- Mountain trousers – light/mid-weight trekking or climbing trousers (leggings are Ok in good weather)
- Thin gloves – windproof ‘hardfleece’ model is good
- Hat or Buff – must fit under a helmet
- Spare warm layer – fleece or lightweight synthetic jacket
- Water Container – at least 1 litre
- Map, compass, whistle (optional, but a good idea)
- Personal medications and blister kit – zinc oxide tape, compeed, ibuprofen etc
- Sun Glasses
- Sun cream
- Sun hat
- Shorts and t-shirt
- Rucsac 30/40l is perfect for general use
- *Approach shoes or mountain boots – see notes below
- Climbing Harness – with locking karabiner and belay device
- 120cm sling and locking karabiner
- Climbing helmet
Depending on the trip, these may be ‘nice to have’ or ‘required’ items – see individual joining instructions.
- Trekking poles
- Camping gear if you choose to camp in the valley
Your guide will have ropes, climbing safety equipment, first aid and survival equipment.
*Footwear for scrambling is an important consideration – trekking shoes or walking boots are fine for easier scrambles and whilst you are getting into the sport, but a pair of climbing approach shoes (especially ones with ‘sticky rubber’) or reasonably stiff 3/4 season B2 mountaineering boots will perform much better on rockier sections and trickier terrain. Footwear specifically designed for scrambling, or for via ferratas are also a good option. If you are thinking of investing in a pair of boots with a view to getting into mountaineering, then read our axe, boot and crampon advice article and get some expert advice (we can highly recommend Backcountry Uk, who are one of the country’s leading boots fitters and always offer friendly advice and a high level of service).
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 mountain 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.