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The neat thing about Scafell Pike is it can be climbed from all the major valleys in the Lake District. Its proximity to Esk Hause, the hub of the central fells, makes this possible. The normal routes are from Borrowdale or Wasdale; they are both good and handy for a quick ascent. The approach from Eskdale is a little more adventurous as it involves the added crossing of The Great Moss. For a full on mountain day however nothing can compare with an ascent from Langdale.
This approach is a long day and takes in some the truly impressive sights. You need to pick a good clear day with stable weather and steal yourself for some hard work particularly if you choose to add on the ascent of Scafell. The rewards are glorious. Not only do you take in the remote part of Langdale but you also get lofty views down into Langstrath, Borrowdale, Eskdale and Wasdale. The crowning glory is the traverse of the main Scafell's ridge, the highest in England, which is stunning. It's that perfect combination of rock architecture, lofty positions and dramatic distant views and best of all because it's an out and back route you get to walk it twice.
6 - 8 hours
1. From the car park pick up the bridleway at the back of the hotel and follow it West then North West the length of Mickleden to a fork after a footbridge.
2. Take the left branch as it climbs the zig-zags on the South West side of Rossett Gill (don't attempt to climb the bed of Rossett Gill it's very rough). At the top, head North West along the bridleway to the cross-shelter near Esk Hause.
3. Turn left and take the path South West over Esk Hause then West up through Calf Cove.
4. At the top of the cove head South West and follow the path past Ill Crag and Broad Crag to Scafell Pike.
5. You return to Langdale by the same route. Most of the way back is pretty clear but many people make the mistake of coming off the summit of Scafell Pike in the wrong direction. The clutter of rocks and cairns can be very misleading even in clear conditions so to make sure you take the right route take a compass bearing off the summit.
6. If you have enough time and enough energy you can also add on an ascent of Scafell. Be aware that although it looks quite close the out and back walk adds an extra 4km distance and 615m of ascent. To do it descend South West to the exposed col at Mickledore then drop down the South East side to pick up the Foxes Tarn Path to the summit of Scafell.
7. Competent scramblers and rock climbers could consider Broad Stand. It's a short grade 3 scramble with a very big drop below it. Once you have done Scafell return to Scafell Pike via the Foxes Tarn Path then retrace your steps back to Langdale.