Pillar Rock, qualifying as a separate summit to Pillar
itself in the Nuttalls and other lists, is the bane of summit baggers
everywhere. Wainwright says that, to walkers "Pillar Rock is
positively out of bounds. Don't even try to get a foothold on it".
It's graded as a "moderate" rock climb, so equipped with a borrowed
hat (green and hard), harness, and Dave (not so green, and well-hard), I set off
to tackle it in August 2000.
I'd never done any rock climbing before, but would say
that most mountain walkers, accustomed to the odd scramble now and then, could
handle it, with an experienced climber to do the lead climb and to show you the
I wore trainers, which was OK, but a little slippery in places still wet from
the previous day's rain. You definitely need good weather for Pillar Rock
(dry, calm and clear). It felt quite exposed in parts, for someone like me
not comfortable with heights.
We followed the "slab and notch
" route described in Nuttalls The Mountains of England and Wales volume 2 - (walk 3.3).
The summit is a wide and grassy area, with rocky outcrops, and no real sense of
Though you can climb back down the same way, we did some short stretches of
abseiling, which was good fun once I got the hang of it.
We had set off from Wasdale Head at about 10 a.m.
The ascent and descent of the Rock itself took around an hour and a half.
We then went on over Pillar and on round the Mosedale horseshoe, eventually
coming down the scree at Dore Head - the urge for a pint at the Wasdale Inn
being stronger than the desire to scale Yewbarrow. The whole excursion
took 8 ish hours.