Great Gable and satellites

View from High Tove. Great Gable is in the background, Base Brown in front, and Green Gable in the middle. Lingmell to left.

Height: 2949 feet above sea level.

Volume: Book 7 (The Western Fells)

Date climbed: First visit: 29th July 2012 (walk 60b). Second visit: 2nd May 2017 (walk 128).

Great Gable from Lingmell col

Great Gable from Lingmell col, on the way up Scafell Pike.

Bagged as numberFirst round: 192 of 330. [ << Kirk Fell (191)  (193) Green Gable >> ]

Second round: 100 of 330. [ << Flat Fell (99)  (101) Blea Rigg >> ]

Route of ascent and descentFirst visit: Came up from Beck Head. Descended to Windy Gap, then went on to Green Gable. This descent needs care, but it is not too bad.

Second visit: Came up from Seathwaite, using the Mitchell Gill route (see the notes on page Great Gable 16 and Green Gable 6). Descended to Sty Head, then back to Seathwaite.

Gable's war memorial

The war memorial on the top of Great Gable.

What Mr Wainwright says(from pages 3 and 4 of his chapter): “The name fits well. This mountain is strong yet not sturdy, masculine yet graceful. It is the undisputed overlord of the group of hills to which it belongs, and its superior height is emphasised tremendously by the deep gulf separating it from the Scafells and allowing an impressive view that reveals the whole of its half-mile altitude as an unremitting and unbroken pyramid: this is the aspect of the fell that earned the name… In some lights, especially in the afterglow of sunset, Great Gable is truly a beautiful mountain, but it is never a pretty one.”

Wasdale from Great Gable

The view of Wasdale from near the summit of Great Gable

What I say: The first time I went up Great Gable I did it in such foul weather that I subsequently had a bit of a downer on it. The rain and cloud meant I saw nothing of the views, or of the mountain itself, which remained clamped under a white blanket for the entire weekend of the two-day walk 60.  The only view I had of it was as a thousand-foot pile of rubble, rising into the cloud straight ahead (this at Beck Head). The haul up the scree slope – and back down, made slippery by rain – is just a grind, without the compensation of views and good weather. At least I had the summit to myself (and it was interesting that the war memorial tablet names a Whitworth among the list of 20 or so WWI dead).

Great Gable above Windy Gap

Great Gable above Windy Gap

Of course, Great Gable is better than I experienced that first time: it would not be such a popular climb if it wasn’t. My return in May 2017 was on a far more pleasant spring day, and allowed Great Gable to do its best to exorcise the demons of my first visit.

Is it a great fell? Yes, of course, though I’m not sure I’ve seen the best of it; the crags of Gable Crag and the Great Napes above Wasdale are very famous, and worth seeing, they’re just not very accessible without a car. Gable seems to show its best sides when you are ascending other fells rather than itself; walks like the ‘Gable Girdle’ that Wainwright describes on pages 8-9 of his chapter would reveal these more dramatic aspects, but not get you to the summit.

[ << Great End      Great Mell Fell >> ]

4 Responses to “Great Gable”

  1. […] toward completing this project on schedule (Jan 2013). The 9 fells comprised the High Stile and Great Gable ranges, and walk 60 was broken by a night at the atmospheric and highly convenient (for walkers) […]

  2. […] of some major fells spoilt by atrocious weather — the drenching received while going up Great Gable on walk 60b being the […]

  3. […] — usually bad weather — I didn’t feel I did justice to the first time round. Great Gable was definitely one of those, having been first bagged in really foul weather in July 2012 (walk […]

  4. […] bagged: there were no really great set-pieces unlike in 2016, though it was nice to get up Great Gable in decent weather (and make it number 100 of the second […]

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