Blencathra via Sharp Edge is an exposed scramble (Grade 1) to the eastern end of the ‘saddle’ of the mountain. It is a challenge and should be taken seriously as it is a little more exposed than nearby Halls Fell Ridge or Striding Edge on Helvellyn. However with confidence it is one of the finest hikes in the Lake District.
Sharp Edge is clearly seen on the drive from Penrith on the A66, as it falls steeply towards the perfect, but hidden Scales Tarn. Scales Tarn marks the start of the ridge. Sharp Edge forms the serrated edge to the right/east of the corrie.
The ridge can be divided in to two. First climb along the almost horizontal crest. There is a path a few metres under the ridge on the northern slopes which avoids some but not all the difficulties. I enjoy sticking to the crest. A tilted flat slab marks the most tricky part of the ridge and is unavoidable. From here the steep slabs of Foule Crag (pick your route) complete the route. The Foule Crag section is not exposed and an enjoyable, if tricky, scramble.
Away from the ridge the climb from Scales to Scales Tarn is thoroughly enjoyable with the return on the western side of the tarn. Stick to Scales Fell for the most enjoyable descent. The views on this east ridge are absolutely superb. Pick a clear day.
Being on the smoother rocks of the Skiddaw Slates means this is considerably trickier in the wet. This is certainly true if you use the ridge on the way down. Best fun is going up the ridge in dry conditions.
Regardless whether you climb Blencathra via Sharp Edge or not you should head for Scales Tarn. To avoid Sharp Edge head due north to meet a path skirting the north side of the edge. It bends north and meets the main Blencathra summit ridge nearly half a mile to the north. Turn left and follow the ridge south towards the summit.
Summited today around 12:30 via Sharp Edge, testing and dangerous yes but done correctly and was one of the best days of my life. 10/10.
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