Author Topic: Steepest Mile?  (Read 718 times)

MkPotato

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Steepest Mile?
« on: 17:15:58, 23/07/20 »
Looking at Country Walking, they (and apparently Wainwright) say the SW ridge up Kirk Fell is the steepest mile in Lakeland. Looking at the OS map, it gains about 600m at quite a gradient before easing off for the last 100m. Does look pretty steep to be fair. Not done it myself.


Anyone know of any contenders?


Iím not familiar with the Highlands, and there might be harder slogs there, but I think the SW route up Pen yr Ole Wen in Snowdonia probably gives that a run for its money, if not exceeds it - itís unrelenting for the first 2/3, not to mention loose.


I suppose there will be steeper sections of paths (and a lot of scrambles), but itís a sustained steep gradient that really takes it out of you.

Percy

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Re: Steepest Mile?
« Reply #1 on: 17:59:37, 23/07/20 »
The thing about that route up Kirk Fell is it's completely relentless - it feels like exactly the same steepness all the way up. The kicker is the last 150m or so until it does ease off are on loose rock. I can see from the map that the gradient does lessen between 400 and 500m but it's not particularly noticeable on the ground.


I can think of steeper places but none that go on for that long.

Bigfoot_Mike

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Re: Steepest Mile?
« Reply #2 on: 19:14:40, 23/07/20 »
Elidiir Fawr is not as steep as Pen Yr Ole Wen  at its steepest, but it seems like it to me. Perhaps it is the relentless unchanging gradient.


Are we talking a mile horizontally here, or a mile along the slope? We donít have anywhere in the UK where we can walk a mile vertically. There canít be too many places in either category that remain very steep for a  long distance, as we run out of elevation quite quickly. The steepest slopes wonít be able to provide a mile long walk.

MkPotato

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Re: Steepest Mile?
« Reply #3 on: 20:09:33, 23/07/20 »
Elidiir Fawr is not as steep as Pen Yr Ole Wen  at its steepest, but it seems like it to me. Perhaps it is the relentless unchanging gradient.


Are we talking a mile horizontally here, or a mile along the slope? We donít have anywhere in the UK where we can walk a mile vertically. There canít be too many places in either category that remain very steep for a  long distance, as we run out of elevation quite quickly. The steepest slopes wonít be able to provide a mile long walk.
They were talking about a walking mile obviously, but my thoughts were the same as you, in that there will be short sections of many paths that are steeper, but not over a sustained distance.


The walk up from Mosedale to Wind Gap on Pillar looks steeper if anything. Not done that either though.


I guess they were just using a mile as an arbitrary distance for a sustained slog.

Ridge

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Re: Steepest Mile?
« Reply #4 on: 20:23:19, 23/07/20 »
My knees would agree with the Kirk Fell path being blooming steep and never ending.

Percy

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Re: Steepest Mile?
« Reply #5 on: 21:02:58, 23/07/20 »
Are we talking a mile horizontally here, or a mile along the slope?
Embrace the ambiguity. Give us your nominations for both.

Strider

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Re: Steepest Mile?
« Reply #6 on: 21:21:02, 23/07/20 »

The walk up from Mosedale to Wind Gap on Pillar looks steeper if anything.

Descended that way a few years back on a forum meet.  Was like trying to walk down a pile of marbles!
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richardh1905

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Re: Steepest Mile?
« Reply #7 on: 21:22:45, 23/07/20 »
Kirk Fell probably has it south of the border, although Pen yr Ole Wen is certainly a contender.


...but north of the border, there is the stupidly steep descent from the western end of the Aonach Eagach ridge in Glencoe, about a mile from the 900m contour to the bar of the Clachaig Inn (alt 50m).
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richardh1905

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Re: Steepest Mile?
« Reply #8 on: 21:39:10, 23/07/20 »
Kirkfell 2289 ft ascent in a mile
Pen yr ole wen 2189 ft in a mile
Clachaig Gully 2623 ft in the bottom mile

Edit - measured using Viewranger.


Edit2 - there are steeper miles in Scotland, but this is a walking forum!
« Last Edit: 22:10:23, 23/07/20 by richardh1905 »
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Bigfoot_Mike

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Re: Steepest Mile?
« Reply #9 on: 22:24:43, 23/07/20 »
Clachaig Gully is steep and dangerous if there are others above you. My walking companion and I aborted our descent of the gully and chose an alternative descent due to the number of rocks being rained down on us by careless walkers above us.  The Aonach Eagach was good though, as was the malt whisky in the Clachaig Inn afterwards.

Bigfoot_Mike

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Re: Steepest Mile?
« Reply #10 on: 22:36:48, 23/07/20 »
Tryfan has about a 2,000 ft drop in about 1 kilometre. The North Ridge may not count as a walk, but you can walk down the gully on the west side, starting just north of the main summit and down to the A5 by the most direct route once off the scree. Going up this would be quite an effort, even if it doesnít last for a mile. I have only descended this route.

MkPotato

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Re: Steepest Mile?
« Reply #11 on: 07:12:04, 24/07/20 »
Kirkfell 2289 ft ascent in a mile
Pen yr ole wen 2189 ft in a mile
Clachaig Gully 2623 ft in the bottom mile

Edit - measured using Viewranger.


Edit2 - there are steeper miles in Scotland, but this is a walking forum!


Thatís a great new game in  ViewRanger!


Having a quick look at some of the slopes I considered steep, I looked at 1km (for ease of calculation) sections.


Kirk Fell and Pen yr Ole Wen do seem to be two of the steepest sustained sections of ďpathĒ (rather than proper scrambles), and have average gradients of about 50% (over their steepest km, bit less over a mile).


A lot of the other paths that I considered steep are around 30%. I guess anything over about 25% is going to feel steep, particularly if the surface is loose.
« Last Edit: 07:31:17, 24/07/20 by MkPotato »

vizzavona

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Re: Steepest Mile?
« Reply #12 on: 09:20:08, 24/07/20 »
Hello... I have always thought that some of the roads in the lakedistrict are steeper than those north of the border.:-)
My own experience of the Scottish hills is of many steep pulls upwards. and not all found on the celebrated Munros.
As for Clachaig gully descending this way would entail maybe ten or so abseils whereas I guess what us being talked about is the path, such as it is, that is West of the gully. It has been stated that it has sections of loose stones obviously a problem if you are too close to the gully in descent.
The path seems not to be on the OS map nowadays... Can't recall if it ever was? Have used this for ascent and descent before and  after the Ridge and after a gully ascent.  Not been there for fifteen years or so.... Maybe things are vastly different now.


richardh1905

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Re: Steepest Mile?
« Reply #13 on: 09:26:18, 24/07/20 »
Hello... I have always thought that some of the roads in the lakedistrict are steeper than those north of the border.:-)
My own experience of the Scottish hills is of many steep pulls upwards. and not all found on the celebrated Munros.
As for Clachaig gully descending this way would entail maybe ten or so abseils whereas I guess what us being talked about is the path, such as it is, that is West of the gully. It has been stated that it has sections of loose stones obviously a problem if you are too close to the gully in descent.
The path seems not to be on the OS map nowadays... Can't recall if it ever was? Have used this for ascent and descent before and  after the Ridge and after a gully ascent.  Not been there for fifteen years or so.... Maybe things are vastly different now.

For clarification, I was referring to the path west of the gully. Satellite imagery suggests that this is now the main way on or off the western end of the Aonach Eagach ridge.
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BuzyG

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Re: Steepest Mile?
« Reply #14 on: 14:41:00, 24/07/20 »
600m in a mile is mighty steep.  Not done that lake land route.


I just checked CIC hut to CMD.  As it was the steepest place I could recall walking/ scrambling up without a rope in UK.  That one is a meagre 500m but in in 1km