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Crinkle Gill

Page: 330   Alt: 400m   GR: NY 257 049   Direction: North and South

The following notes are from Langdale (1999), route descriptions and star rating have not been checked since its publication. These routes are very vegetated and probably unclimbable.

Crinkle Gill is the deep ravine splitting the fellside below Crinkle Crags, visible prominently when driving up the latter part of the Langdale valley. The Gill is an excellent scramble for a wet day, which is when many people obtain their first impressions of the climbing. In such conditions, the crags are not an attractive sight but, once they have dried out for the summer, the climbing is generally much better than one would imagine (really, it is!) and the setting is splendid. The southern walls of the Gill can contain some very impressive ice pitches in winter and the Gill itself is an excellent winter outing, with several finishes.

The crag is reached in about one hour from the Old Dungeon Ghyll car park. Take the road to Stool End Farm, keeping left when the track up the Band goes right, and you come into Oxendale. From here a track leads west to Crinkle Gill, the fine waterfall to the right being Whorneyside Force, the lower part of Hell Gill. Ascend the Gill until the first crag appears on the left above the open middle reaches. It is possible to avoid the first half of the Gill by traversing the fellside on either side and entering it just below the crag.

The routes are described as one proceeds up the Gill.

Descents: For the South Gully Wall, descend the steep grassy fellside downstream of the crag. For the North Gully Wall, descend the slopes 100 metres higher up the Gill.

The South Gully Wall

This north facing crag is very steep and takes the longest to dry out after the winter and any subsequent heavy rain, particularly on the extreme left-hand side. The rock is generally sound with good friction, though rather dirty. The climbing is much better than appearance would suggest, with strong lines and high technical difficulty. The main feature is in the centre of the crag where the large, open corner of Crimes of Quality extends two-thirds the height of the face, its base guarded by a short undercut wall. It has a slabby left wall and two prominent overhangs, one half way up the right wall, the other at the top of the groove below the final headwall.
Immediately right is a hanging line of striking thin grooves, Private Eye, whilst ten metres left is an overhanging arete split by a slim groove, A Naked Edge. This marks the point where the crag folds back left towards the fellside, forming more grooves as it does.

The crag is defined on its left by a dirty alcove containing a shallow, stepped, square-cut chimney-groove system. Immediately right is a slim clean-cut groove above the left end of a left-trending ramp. Right again is a square-cut hanging groove, capped by an overhang and having a sharp, fin-like left rib. This groove provides the first climb and it starts from the foot of the left-trending ramp, some 8 metres left of A Naked Edge.

The North Gully Wall

Some 60 metres further up the Gill on the opposite side is a rounded buttress of good quality rock forming the left wall of a large right-facing "S"-shaped corner. This is the Bitter Days area.

A further 40 metres further up the North side of the Gill from the Bitter Days buttress is another continuous area of good rock, though it is mossy in places. The main feature is a diagonal crack running up rightwards across the lower half of the buttress. Directly above this at the very top of the buttress is a prominent streak of reddish moss. Both the climbs are much better than they look.

Brown Buttress

100 metres up and right of Private Dancer etc, and out of the confines of the Gill, is an attractive, brown-coloured buttress. It consists of a steep wall on the right and a crinkly slab on the left. The routes are good, sustained on compact rock which only permits small, marginal protection!

Note:- Although the buttress is fairly sound, anything large dislodged could reach the bed of the Gill, thus irritating any in-situ scramblers!