Britain's Mountain Challenges: Threading the Needle

Trail magazine and the British Mountaineering Council present Britain's Mountain Challenges.

In this video we take on the challenge of 'Threading the Needle', a short but serious scramble behind one of the Lake District's most iconic mountain features: Napes Needle on Great Gable. ‘Threading the Needle’ involves climbing up and over the rock that links the Needle to the rest of the mountain. There are two potential ways up: from the west, a series of blocky steps with plenty of cracks and ledges, or from the east, a narrow, V-shaped gully with minimal holds and plenty of opportunity for slipping. The east-side climb is usually the preferred ascent route as the west-side is preferable in descent, but we like to do things differently. We went up the west-side and descended the smooth and featureless east-side groove on a dank and grey day that made the rock as slippery as it was cold.

Of course, whether you choose to take this route on your attempt is entirely up to you. To be honest, we'd recommend the more traditional approach. But if you'd like some idea of what the scramble involves, check out the video above, even if it's just so you can be grateful that it's not you in it...