© Yorkshire Ramblers' Club. Reproduction of this article is not permitted.
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YRC Committee. (1921) Scawfell, Pisgah Buttress. Yorkshire Ramblers' Club Journal Volume 4 Number 14: pp222-223. Leeds: YRC.

Scawfell, Pisgah Buttress.

It is hard to believe that any possible route on Scawfell Crag remains unrecorded, when so much has been written regarding extremely severe climbs impossible to the ordinary climber who prefers to retain his boots, but that there is still scope on this face for further variety was discovered, to our surprise and satisfaction, by C. D. F. and myself at Easter, 1920, when, the weather making the ordinary ascents too wet for real pleasure, we decided to attempt Pisgah Buttress from Rake's Progress.

"British Mountain Climbs" and "Jones" both start the climb from Tennis Court Ledge, but though this is a delightful spot, and -much. appreciated, we had spent some time there on the previous day, and our intention was to reach, if possible, the Fives Court without making use of either of the bounding ghylls.

A start was made, C. D. F. leading, at a point about midway between Moss Ghyll and Steep Ghyll on Rake's Progress. Grass ledges, similar to those used in avoiding the second pitch in Moss Ghyll, were first surmounted, bearing to the right and then to the left. Rough angular rock was soon reached, and the line of least resistance followed until some large detached flakes were reached. These looked very unsafe, but proved to be firm, and C. D. F. passed beneath the first section, and, bearing to the left, disappeared behind the second lot higher up.

From this point the stances were important, but they were satisfactorily large, and provided with good bollards, and the views from them rank high in quality as from the adjoining buttresses.

By easy, pleasant stages a flat-topped rock, separated from the main wall by a crack, was reached, and a survey of our surroundings and what we could see of Moss Ghyll indicated that we were nearly on the Fives Court level. The stance was good, the view superb, but - further passage seemed to be impossible.

The wall above was quite unclimbable; to the right, down a narrow fissure, was Steep Ghyll, while on the left the wall was vertical, and dropped sheer almost to Rake's Progress. On examination this wall offered a ledge which, starting some six feet away at zero, widened gradually to about nine or ten inches. To attain this ledge was the difficulty, and, after receiving verbal assurance that if circumstances required it he could be held, C. D. F. proceeded to negotiate the mauvais pas leading to it. Working carefully, and making full use of small holds, he attained the ledge, and, moving slowly out, he disappeared round the corner, whence, after about 20 yards of rope had been paid out, his cheerful voice intimated to me that he was on the Fives Court.

Having watched him carefully, I attempted the passage on the same holds, but three vain efforts having proved the impossibility of its accomplishment owing to the handholds being too near the footholds for a man of my height, I was faced with the alternative of a possible swing over an arc of about one-third of a circle or finding other holds.

Investigation showed a nearly horizontal line of moss about three feet above the hold used by F., and calling to him for a slack rope, I gingerly stepped out on the small hold, and found with joy that I could clear away the moss and get most satisfactory holds. Using these I reached the ledge, and soon joined F. on the Fives Court. From this point the ordinary route was followed to the summit.

The "Handrail" proved to be the key to the easy passage of the traverse on the second ascent two days later. The ledge itself forms part of the Girdle Traverse. The rope is of no use to the second unless the leader climbs a short way above the Fives Court.

It is possible, but much more difficult, to make a traverse starting below the flat-topped rock.

W. V. B.