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Scramble up Helvellyn via Striding Edge

By Dave Chick   

on June 3, 2018    5/5 (6)

Scramble up Helvellyn via Striding Edge

Further Details

Route Summary:

This could be one of the most popular ridge walks in the country – an exciting scramble along Striding Edge to reach Helvellyn

This walk includes the 2 Wainwrights of Helvellyn, Birkhouse Moor

This walk includes the Hewitt of Helvellyn

This walk includes the 3 Nuttalls of Helvellyn, Striding Edge (High Spying How), Birkhouse Moor

Route Start Location: Glenridding - Helvellyn

5.77 km 788 m 2.5 hours

Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.

Activivity Type: Hard Walk, Scrambling, Scrambling Grade 1

Summits and Places on this Route


Glenridding has plenty of pubs, cafes and hotels. The Pay and Display car park has its own toilet block with baby changing facilities.


Striding Edge is an exposed scramble that should only be attempted if you’re confident in your abilities and have a head for heights. The scramble down the Chimney can provide a little challenging to some also.

In the winter, even if the ridges are clear of snow, Helvellyn can hold onto a dangerous cornice on its north eastern face – this should always be avoided.

Due to its flatness, the summit plateau of Helvellyn can be confusing in the mist and care should be taken why finding the correct route off.

Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Mountain Safety , Navigation and what equipment you’ll need.

Parking : CA11 0PD

Due to the popularity of Helvellyn there is a large Pay and Display car park in Glenridding. Free parking can also be found along the Greenside Road.

Public Transport:

The 508 bus serves Glenridding from Penrith all year round. During the summer, the 508 can get to Glenridding from Windermere via the Kirkstone Pass.

Traveline for UK Public Transport

Recommended Maps


Scramble up Helvellyn via Striding Edge Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

Download file for GPS

Scramble up Helvellyn via Striding Edge

Helvellyn and Striding Edge need little introduction – they are perhaps the most famed duo of the Lake District and one of the most spectacular routes in England. Helvellyn alone is a superb mountain but the approach along Striding Edge makes for a classic day out.

Striding Edge is an exposed Grade 1 scramble and the perfect place if you’re new to the art of scrambling as there is little in the way of technical difficulty – it is likely that the greatest challenge will be the exposure.

It is doable in wet or dry conditions though not recommended on windy days. In the winter, however, you will require crampons, an ice axe and plenty of winter hill-walking experience.

Helvellyn via Striding Edge Route Description

1 – From the pay and display car park in Glenridding, head west along the Greenside Road as it climbs, passing the Traveller’s Rest Inn on the right. A short distance after the pub, the road forks – head left between the drystone walls which lead down to Glenridding Beck which is crossed via Rattlebeck Bridge.

Scramble up Helvellyn via Striding Edge

2 – Once across the bridge, keep following the large track as it passes Gillside Farm. It begins to climb again, following Mires Beck. The track bears left, takes a sharp right and then bears left to reach a drystone wall. Bear left at the wall to continue following Mires Beck. Here the path is well laid but is increasingly steep as it climbs towards a notch in the skyline.

Scramble up Helvellyn via Striding Edge

3 – The path climbs to a wall and follows it steeply uphill a short distance before swinging right, away from the wall, to zigzag up the final few metres of Birkhouse Moor. The summit of this Wainwright is visited enroute and is marked by a short cairn.

Scramble up Helvellyn via Striding Edge

4 – Head south west along the spine of Birkhouse Moor where, after around 500m, you will reach the Hole-in-the-Wall – a step stile where paths from Grisedale meet the our path from Patterdale. It also marks the beginning of the climb up to Striding Edge.

Scramble up Helvellyn via Striding Edge

5 – The path will reach a rock outcrop at the eastern end of Striding Edge – High Spying How. The exposure appears quite suddenly as you pass by the rocky tower and step out onto the ridge. From this vantage point, the view of Striding Edge and Helvellyn is immense. Below to the right is the bowl of Red Tarn while down to the left is the wild Nethermost Cove.

Scramble up Helvellyn via Striding Edge

6 – Striding Edge is best tackled by keeping to the crest. There are no specific directions here other than to follow the undulating ridge as it rises and falls on its way towards Helvellyn. Some sections may require the use of hands. There is an eroded path on the north side of the ridge if the exposure is too much to bear.

Scramble up Helvellyn via Striding Edge

7 – The most challenging section of Striding Edge is a descent known as ‘The Chimney’, a rock tower that requires a tricky down climb. While it may seem difficult at first, most walkers should be able to tackle it with no assistance. There are plenty of hand and footholds though keep an eye out for loose rocks.

Scramble up Helvellyn via Striding Edge

8 – Once over The Chimney you will be in a depression between Striding Edge and Helvellyn itself. Take a break here before making the final scramble up onto Helvellyn’s summit plateau. The slopes here are heavily eroded so take care with loose rocks. After some steep climbing you’ll emerge onto Helvellyn, passing the memorial to Charles Gough who, in 1805, slipped from a rock and died.

Scramble up Helvellyn via Striding Edge

9 – You’re now on the home straight. Pass the cross-shelter and follow the broad path uphill to Helvellyn’s summit plateau – so flat that, in 1938, Bert Hinkler landed a small plane on it. The summit is marked by the cairn whereas the focal point of the plateau is the familiar OS trig pillar.

Scramble up Helvellyn via Striding Edge

10 – The very best way to continue this walk is by descending Swirral Edge, another steep, exposed scramble in a similar vein to Striding Edge but shorter and more hands on. Easier but longer routes off the summit include the Glenridding Common path to the north or a southerly route across the peaks of Nethermost Pike and Dollywaggon Pike to the head of Grisedale.

Scramble up Helvellyn via Striding Edge


Dave is our Lake District local expert, often found in the depths of Cumbria he's the author of his own part on the web, All the Gear but no Idea.
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