My Top 10 Favourite Lakeland Crags #8: Esk Buttress

Ideas by Chris, words by Anne

The FRCC guide book says this of Esk Buttress:

“Without doubt one of the finest and most impressive crags in the district. The situation is idyllic; with large open walls looking out over the wild expanses of Upper Eskdale”

Chris Moore and Pippa walking in to Esk Buttress

Chris Moore and Pippa walking in to Esk Buttress

Esk Buttress is at 490m in a beautiful remote valley, and it can be reached in about two hours. You’re not likely to be fighting the crowds here. It is in the sun until mid-afternoon, and the rock dries quickly. There are many excellent climbs at a wide range of grades. Here’s my selection, listed from easiest to hardest, but there are many more!

Bridge’s Route

Quite a bit of traversing, so needs a steady second

First climbed: 1932 / Current grade: HS*** / Length of route: 71m / Number of pitches: 5

Square Chimney Route/Medusa Wall

Five pitches through some great positions

First climbed: 1947 / Current grade: VS 4c*** / Length of route: 79m / Number of pitches: 5

The Red Edge

Never mega hard but just keeps coming

First climbed: 1962 / Current grade: E1 5a*** / Length of route: 60m / Number of pitches: 2

The Central Pillar

Great route with a bold fourth pitch

First climbed: 1962 / Current grade: E2 5b*** / Length of route: 98m / Number of pitches: 6


Technical and committing

First climbed: 1967 / Current grade: E2 5c** / Length of route: 54m / Number of pitches: 2

Chris Moore on Hydra

Chris Moore on Hydra


A great pitch, sustained absorbing climbing

First climbed: 1977 / Current grade: E3 5c*** / Length of route: 38m / Number of pitches: 1

The Cumbrian

When I first arrived at the crag I looked up and said, "What goes up there?!" It takes the headwall that the other routes avoid – a superb line. Hard to get into the groove then does not give up.

First climbed: 1974 / Current grade: E5 6a*** / Length of route: 89m / Number of pitches: 3

Do you have a favourite climb on Esk Buttress? Leave a comment and let us know.