Great Gable

  • ‘Must do’ Lake District mountain
  • Good scramble alongside Napes Needle
  • Views down 4 Lakeland valleys

Great Gable is a ‘climbers’ mountain, possibly the best and probably the most famous in the Lake District. For walkers attempting Great Gable this means one thing – the route up is going to be steep and in the case of Great Gable unremittingly so. It is possible to avoid the worst by starting at Honister Pass but this is a bit of a cheat and still involves a rocky pull from Windy Gap. The other 2 main routes of ascent are hard work, whether the start point is Wasdale or Borrowdale.

However there is one route which simply must be taken by anyone who wants to really experience this magnificent mountain. …that of the Climbers Traverse and the Needles Ridge. The traverse crosses the southern slopes of Gable on a visible but ‘loose’ path with stupendous views down Wasdale and up over the Napes and the Sphinx’s Head. I prefer then ‘threading the needle’ ie: taking the direct route on an initial thin but then non-existent track below Napes Needle. This is Grade 3 scrambling but can be avoided by following the traverse over loose scree and some grade 2 scrambling all the way round to the col under Kirkfell. Whichever route you decide on you will be in the most spectacular rock scenery within the Lake District.

Recommend: Follow the the route north over Green Gable and Base Brown before dropping steeply to Seathwaite Farm and a well earned pint.

Download GPX file

Great Gable map


All maps are copyright of Where2Walk © 2020

OS Map: O/S 1.25,000. OL4 The English Lakes North West. Buy Map
Start Point: NY 235122. The road to Seathwaite farm has plenty of roadside parking even on the busiest of days.
Height to Climb: 864ms (2,834 feet)
Terrain: Rough tracks on all but the Base Brown Ridge. Hard on the feet but exhilarating even if you take on the Napes scramble.
Eating & Drinking: There is a small tea shop at Seathwaite farm, otherwise the Yew Tree is a mile down the road at Seatoller.
Similar Walks Nearby: Scafell Pike Classic
Glaramara in deepest Borrowdale
Great Crag from Watendlath
Places to Stay: Royal Oak, Borrowdale