My Top 10 Favourite Lakeland Crags #6: Bowfell, Langdale

Ideas by Chris, words by Anne

The high mountain crags on Bowfell are a beautiful place to spend some time, with excellent climbing in a great setting. They are usually fairly quiet, although you may have to join the queue for the classic Bowfell Buttress on a sunny summer's day. It has many memories for me, some good, some not so good. Two that stand out are both from blistering hot late June days, 23 years apart.  

Elis topping out on Bowfell Buttress

Elis topping out on Bowfell Buttress

11th June 1988 was the last day of our honeymoon. We were back at home in the Lakes after two weeks in France, the weather was fantastic, so we climbed Bowfell Buttress and finished off a great day with a meal at the Britannia Inn at Elterwater. Later that evening, sunstroke set in, and my lovely dinner came back up. 3rd June 2011 had a much better ending. I climbed Bowfell Buttress with clients - family team Tim, Elis & Arran Rees. We met up with Anne, Sam and the other half of the Rees family on the summit, and on the way back down we had a refreshing dip in Oxendale beck.

Oxendale Beck

Oxendale Beck

Here's my pick of routes on the Bowfell crags.

Neckband Crag

All single pitch routes

Razor Crack

First climbed: 1966 / Current grade: E1 5a*** / Length of route: 35m

Gillette Direct

First climbed: 1968 / Current grade: E2 5c*** / Length of route: 35m

Gandalf's Groove

First climbed: 1947 / Current grade: E2 5b*** / Length of route: 36m

Arran and Elis at the top of Bowfell Buttress

Arran and Elis at the top of Bowfell Buttress

Bowfell Buttress

Bowfell Buttress

A fantastic route in a brilliant location! A few awkward moves give a great outing and a great way to get to the top of the mountain. In winter it is given grade V.

First climbed: 1902 / Current grade: HS*** / Length of route: 106m / Number of pitches: 5

Bowfell Buttress Eliminate

First climbed: 1964 / Current grade: E2 5b** / Length of route: 67m / Number of pitches: 5

Flat Crags


First climbed: 1979 / Current grade: E2 5b*** / Length of route: 36m / Number of pitches: 1