Note that Striding
Edge can be a dangerous place for the unwary, especially in bad
weather. Extreme caution should be exercised at all times when
attempting to cross it.
Striding Edge is the famous and renowned ridge
that flanks the south eastern passage to Helvellyn. The most common
route to Striding Edge is from Patterdale or a longer walk from
Glenridding. The target from either route is to reach the
'Hole-in-the-Wall' to reach the best way of traversing the ridge
from east to west.
Map showing the route from the
Hole-in-the-Wall, across Striding Edge to Helvellyn and returning
via Swirral Edge back to the Hole-in-the-Wall.
From the Hole-in-the-Wall at 700m, there is a stony climb
until you reach the rock tower overlooking the full length of the
finest ridge in the Lake District at an elevation of 850m. Crags and scree fall away from
either side and portray a breathtaking and quite dramatic scene. The
traverse of the edge is relatively easy in normal conditions and can
be made easier by following the path that exists alongside and lower
than the main arÍte. Care should be exercised when there is a high
wind or ice as this is a very exposed ridge - a fall from here
would be fatal. The trickiest part is at the Helvellyn end when a
scramble is required to descend the 7 metres or so of a rock tower
known as The Chimney. An alternative and easier descent of this
section is shown below. In total, from the
Hole-in-the-Wall to the summit of Helvellyn is a distance of 2km
with a total ascent of 260m.
Striding Edge to the left,
Helvellyn in the centre, Swirral Edge and Catstycam. Select on the
image to see a larger version.
Striding Edge and Helvellyn from Low
Spying How, the flat top of Helvellyn ahead.
The side path can clearly be seen
here running to the right and lower down from the arÍte when
traversing east-west and it is a good path if you don't want the
exposure of walking along the edge.
Crossing Striding Edge.
Looking back along Striding Edge.
Looking back along Striding Edge,
the arrow showing the line of the side path.
This photo is from a similar place
in winter conditions, footprints from the side path can be see
towards the left.
The sheep are on the point where the lower path
crosses from the northern side to the southern and leads around the
'difficult for dogs to negotiate' Chimney.
The Chimney, the
awkward bit of Striding Edge which requires a climb to descend.
These people are descending The Chimney.
If you don't fancy the climb, use the alternative...
...the side path swaps sides and
descends before skirting The Chimney to the south.
The rocky ascent to Helvellyn. This
is the steepest section and requires more scrambling over the rocks
ahead before climbing the loose and rough path.
Looking down on Striding Edge from
the climb with the High Street
range and The Pennines beyond.
Looking down on Striding Edge from
Helvellyn during temperature inversion conditions.
Now you have to get down! Of
course, there are many ways but descending Swirral Edge completes a
classic round. Swirral Edge is steep and rough at first before it
levels to another arÍte which is not as exposed as Striding Edge.
The route of descent - looking along
Swirral Edge to
Descending Swirral Edge.
Striding Edge and Helvellyn across Red Tarn from the
steep descent from Catstycam. Select on the image to see a larger
Crossing Striding Edge (HD Full
Version) with annotations on the route.
Striding across Striding Edge.
Striding Edge video.
Walks featuring Striding Edge
- select on an image to see walks featuring Striding Edge.