Fell Guide: Harrison Stickle


Harrison Stickle from Loft CragHarrison Stickle is the highest of the Langdale Pikes, perhaps the most famous group of fells in the Lake District. It is thus something of a surprise to discover that all of the dramatic Pikes are actually crags on the edge of the rather unimpressive Thunacar Knott, itself only a gentle rise on the southern expanses of High Raise. There is just enough of a drop between Harrison Stickle and Thunacar Knott to give a final climb, but thankfully not too much after the steep climb up from the valley below.

Harrison Stickle from Pavey ArkHarrison Stickle is thus one of the most dramatic examples of a fell with two very different sides. From the north and west it appears as a minor outcropping above a grassy plateau. From the east and south we see the most dramatic side of the fell - huge cliffs that loom above Great Langdale, forming the highest and central part of the familiar outline of the Langdale Pikes. Below this top line of crags another Pike Howelower set sit just above the valley, with Pike Howe belonging to Harrison Stickle. This is one of the most familiar and most impressive mountain faces in the district, and the climb via Mark Gate and Loft Crag one of most direct routes from a valley bottom to a summit (if you ignore the brief drop to cross Dungeon Ghyll.


Grid Reference of Summit: NY 281 074
Height: 736m/ 2,403ft


Routes of Ascent

View west from Harrison StickleHarrison Stickle can be approached with great ease from the west, north west and north, along any number of clear paths.

The most interesting routes up come from Great Langdale. There are paths on either side of Dungeon Ghyll, with one passing Mark Gate and Loft Crag and the other coming up under Thorn Crag (I've used the first of these - the second looks rather alarming towards the top). These paths merge above Loft Crag and approach the summit from the west. There is also a gap in the crags between Harrison Stickle and Pavey Ark with a mix of scree and grass - this is a Wainwright route, but I haven't used it myself.


Two of our walks visit Harrison Stickle - Langdale Pikes from the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel and Langdale Pikes via Silver How.

The Summit

The summit of Harrison Stickle is a narrow rocky ridge running roughly north-south above the eastern crags of Harrison Stickle. The northern end is slightly higher, but the entire ridge is an excellent viewpoint.

Streams and Tarns

Langdale PikesHarrison Stickle sits between two main becks. Dungeon Ghyll rises to the west/ north-west of the summit, flows south-west for a short distance before turning south-east to flow between Harrison Stickle and Loft Crag. The beck then runs south-east past Pike Howe and over Dungeon Ghyll Force before flowing into Great Langdale Beck.

The second beck is Stickle Ghyll, which flows out of Stickle Tarn and rushes down its steep sided valley to join Great Langdale Beck just to the east of the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel. Harrison Stickle can thus claim a footing on Great Langdale Beck.

Harrison Stickle claims a share in Stickle Tarn, which sits below its eastern crags

Other Features

A neolithic stone axe factory has been found in the screen below Thorn Crag, one of two in the Langdale Pikes (the other on Pike o'Stickle is in an unsafe, dangerous area).

Dungeon Ghyll Force can be found in the lower reaches of Dungeon Ghyll, where flows between Pike Howe and Mark Gate. The waterfall can be seen from the Mark Gate pass, although perhaps not to its best.

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