Wrynose Pass

Length

Fom the East – 1.66 miles.

From the West – 1.04 miles.

Max Gradient

25% both sides

Where to find it?

From the East the normal approach is to go through Little Langdale before following the signs for the pass, or you could take the Blea Tarn ascent first from Great Langdale as a warm up, descend and take the sharp right at the bottom. Whichever option you take stunning scenery is guaranteed. From the West you can either do it straight after Hardknott or take the easier approach from the Duddon Valley.

Description

The second hardest Lake District climb, somewhat overshadowed by Hardknott but offers something a bit different, longer and more sustained and although not quite as steep it is still a punishing experience.

Overview

Eastern side – Rather than assault you straight away like Hardknott, Wrynose lulls you in to a false sense of security in some respects. You pass Fell Foot Farm and may even marvel at the fantastic sight of the Langdale Pikes before the road swings left and takes you up an 8% slope, then it goes up to about 10% and slowly draws the sting out of you as you inch your way slowly upwards with a gaping chasm to your left. After a slight levelling the work really starts and unfortunately you can see most of this climb ahead of you as it goes quite straight, before curving left and then steepening even further. This is now a really serious effort and you start praying for the summit, which never seems to come, then you get to the 25% section. Then finally after a really steep little ramp which winds it way up through the rocks it’s done, it’s over and you can make your way towards the famous Three Shires stone and easier ground. A final steep little rise takes you to the summit. You’ve done it!

Western side – This eases you in for the first 0.45 miles with around 6-8%, then it started to steepen with little ramps of 15% before it rears up sharply at ‘Peacock Corner’ named in honour of club member, Dave Peacock, who took a creative line in descent. A brutal 25% series of corners then take you to the summit.

Rating

  • 10 (Eastern side) – I was worried about this climb as some people claim it is the hardest. I’m almost inclined to agree with them it’s certainly more sustained. It is like a harder version of Honister from Buttermere in that it gradually gets steeper taking you to the limit, a true ramp test! One thing I did notice on the day that I did it is the wind coming down off the top (even though it was quite a still day). This added to the challenge and on a windier day might have made it very marginal indeed.
  • 7 (Western Side) – This is also a tough ascent up its ‘easier’ side. It is shorter but is steep at 25%. Descending either side of Wrynose, although tricky, is much more enjoyable than descending Hardknott which is simply awful.

Photos

  1. This series of descriptions of Lakes climbs is excellent. Informative, accurate and hype-free. Exemplary. Thanks for doing them.

  2. Glad you’ve found them useful John, there are more to go on, just getting round to putting them on.

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