Events > 2007
by Andrew Leaney
‘Everest the Easy Way’ – that sounds good I thought. The challenge put to members by the Wainwright Society was actually to do one ascent of Skiddaw, each ten ascents equalling one ascent of Everest. However, never one to take the easy option, I thought that I could do ten ascents of Skiddaw on my own. So I sent my fifty pounds off to the Wainwright Society, five pounds for each ascent, and set myself the challenge of completing ten ascents over nine days from 12 to 20 May while the Keswick Mountain Festival was happening. The Society suggested that as well as making a donation members could try and raise additional funds via sponsorship so I published my challenge on my website to try and gain more money for the Keswick Mountain Rescue Team.
Andrew on Skiddaw summit after his 10th ascent
Luckily, Skiddaw is conveniently placed between work and home so I could fit in evening walks during the week and would only need to do one double ascent on the first Saturday. In May the weather should be good, lots of sunshine I thought!
Up and down the ‘Tourist Track’ each time wasn’t an option I even considered. I got out my copy of Wainwright’s Northern Fells and planned a different route for each ascent allowing me to explore the whole massif. Wainwright provided numerous possibilities over Skiddaw and its subsidiary tops and the only constraint that I placed on myself was that I needed to ascend a total of 29,035 feet, the height of Mount Everest, which meant not starting at the Latrigg car park at the top of Gale Road.
I walked 85 miles and ascended 30,085 feet during the week and discovered ways up and down Skiddaw that I had not done before. All the routes offered something different, the low point was ascending the ‘Tourist Path’ from Keswick on Thursday with the cloud base at 1,600 feet ensuring I did not get any views. The most enjoyable was the Ullock Pike / Long Side ridge and I was surprised by the ascent up Skiddaw’s northwest ridge (Skiddaw 15 in Wainwright’s guide) which was a lot easier than I expected and gave great views over the Solway Firth into Scotland.
The weather ranged from clear blue skies to gale force winds and driving hail in the week showing that even in May you have to be prepared for the worst on a mountain like Skiddaw, the top just seems to attract the wind!
I enjoyed my challenge and through very generous donations from visitors to my website, friends, family and work colleagues I raised over £800 for the Keswick Mountain Rescue Team. Photos and route maps from my ten ascents can be seen on my website at https://www.leaney.org .