Accident Blackspot 

Lords Rake         updated 22/12/03  


Location - Scafell, approach from Mickledore ridge or Hollowstones on the Wasdale side

A number of incidents including an avalanche - possibly 10 rescues over the last 10 years - current situation is very dangerous due to recent rock fall at the top of the first ascent - most recent picture at top but full chronological history of fallen block and background follows.

 


Photo Update 20th December 2003 

The first snow of the winter and the following photo was taken Saturday 20/12/03, 12 months on from the similar photo taken 19/12/02 and shown further down the page.  However, there has been little change from the last significant collapse in March 2003.   

 


The following four photos were taken Saturday 1st November (poor visibilty)- for full set of 1/11/03 photos see bottom of this page

[please be patient as it could take up to 5 minutes to download all the photos - I plan to reduce them to thumbnail photos which can be clicked on to view at full size]

 

Approaching the pillar from the Mickledore side.  There is an alternative route through to the right hand side but take great care as its a bit of a scramble, slippery and one slip is not good news.

Standing on the uphill side.  If you do come through the gap then do not touch the pillar.  Also check the soundness of the boulders you are balancing on / pulling through on.  The area where my hand is used to be the home of the large boulder abut the size of a 4 drawer filing cabinet which dropped off last spring (see past photos below) 
This is the land slip viewed from the West Wall traverse, looking north-west and directly above the leaning pillar (about 4 vertical metres) .  The two pegs are markers placed and photographed so we can monitor movement.  As at 1/11/03 they were set at 600mm between the two nails.  I can assure you that great care was taken placing these posts.

This is the warning sign at the western exit from Lords Rake on the flank of Scafell.

Photo History in Chronological Order

The Whitehaven News - (Thursday 2nd January 2003)

WASDALE Mountain Rescue team is warning of a massive rock fall on Scafell, making conditions very dangerous.  Lord's rake approached from Mickledore Ridge or Hollowstones, on the Wasdale side, is an accident Blackspot - there have been around 10 rescues over the past 10 years.

Last year a pillar collapsed, making the situation dangerous and prompting the National Trust to place warning signs around the area about loose and unstable rock.  Now a wall to the left of the detached block has collapsed, making the situation even more dangerous.  As a result, a lot of rock has been left at the top, ready to fall down, and the pile is very loose and unstable.  It has also caused the leaning block from the last fall to drop a further few feet into the rake and has now cracked at it's base.

This area is the scramble route to the summit of Scafell, which is usually only used by the more adventurous.  But Guy Newbold, of the team, is warning people to exercise extreme caution if they are going to attempt the route.  "The leaning block, which looked like it was starting to become stablised, must now be treated with considerable caution due to it's recent  movement and new crack formation," said Guy.  "Given a choice I wouldn't go up the Rake again until after all the loose rock has come down, hopefully over the course of the winter.  But if you must go into the Rake please ensure there is no one else in it above you, there is a lot of loose rock ready to topple."

 

Photo taken from start of the Rake looking west. The toppled block at the top of the first ascent is a recent feature (since ~Jan 01 - if anyone has seen it before this date please let me know as we are trying to establish when it fell, blocking the normal safe route - email rawarren@freenetname.co.uk  )

 

     
Toppled block at the top of the first ascent, Lords Rake - this block has recently fallen across the route and is fractured and extremely loose.  Dislodged rocks beneath it will bring it down, cleaning out the rake (and anyone in it) and sending boulders crashing down to the tourist path which leads from Hollowstones to Mickledore.

WARNING UPDATE - 5/12/02 the rock wall where the gentleman in red has his right hand has now collapsed (this week) and sent a pile of fresh, loose rocks down the Rake.  Extreme care was already required before this latest fall to avoid dislodging the toppled pier so please avoid / treat with the greatest of respect.  The Park Authority have already placed warning signs.  They will now be approached again by the team to update them on the situation.  The cold spell this forthcoming weekend will not help the situation.

WARNING UPDATE - 13/12/02   

Updated photos added at the bottom of this page showing the massive rock fall - new photos provided by Guy Newbold - more on his website   http://www.felltreks.co.uk

     
Start of West Wall Traverse which leads directly to the summit col of Scafell. A relatively safe scramble but has seen at least 3 rescues in the past 20 years.  This photo is taken from the new toppled block and shows where the blocks initial impact will be.
     
The toppled block looking back towards Scafell Pike - access is either through the arch (loose and ready to collapse) or to the left of the block as you look at it - very steep and loose - not forgiving if you slip.

 
Updated Photos - 12/12/02
Original photo of toppled column is above with the new photos taken 12/12/02 below - the area highlighted is the rock wall which has now collapsed - it goes without saying that extreme caution should exercised if attempting Lord's Rake 

 


 Updated photos 19/12/02

 

 
     
 Photo taken by Guy on 19 December 2002 from Rakes Progress looking across to the fallen pillar.  A good photo which shows how straight the rake is through to the 3rd ascent on the far side.  The fallen pillar is quite small on this photo about a fifth of the way down the rake's image.
     

   
 Updated 9/1/03  

 

 
 

 All the following photographs were taken Sunday 5th January

 
 

 

Frozen ground has stabilised the rake below the pillar but the block itself and surrounding rock walls are highly suspect.

 

The considered personal opinions of two team members, one a qualified Geologist, the other a Chartered Civil/Structural Engineer is that the pillar will not survive any further movement and its collapse is imminent.  The rock wall to the left of the photo is also severely fractured and ready to come down.

If you do venture up the rake and notice any further movement please contact the team or the National Trust

 

     
 The fracture lines are easy to spot.  

 

     
 

 

 
     
 Checking one of the compression cracks  

 

     
 

 

It's difficult to see what is actually holding the block together. A classic compression crack. 
     
   

     
 

 

This 1m x 50cm x 40 cm block is now ready to drop and fill the archway. 

If you do climb through, avoid pulling on anything, especially the block. 

     
   

 

     
 

 

 The summit of Scafell looking south east.  Worth the climb and well away from the dangers of the block, 200 m below

 Updated 5/2/03    
Photo taken 5 February 2003 showing boulder still in same position. Guy couldn't get up to it due to the bank of soft snow beneath it.    

 


Update 26/3/03

 

 The following photos were taken 26th March 2003 and show the differences  
     
 

 

Photo taken 5/1/03 
Photo taken 26/3/03 - spot the difference  

 

     
 

 

The new profile as you approach from the bottom 
     
The piles of loose broken rock that could have landed on your head!! 

 

 Comment:  

The team members who took these photos are convinced that the block will move again in the next 4 weeks as the drift of old, hard snow under the base thaws fully.  We will keep you updated with it's progress.

 

 


Updated 14 May 2003

 

 
The above photos were taken by a team member recently (14 May 03) and show the poor state of the crag directly above the fallen pillar, indeed this is the ground the pillar is propped against.  When this bank collapses it will most probably fill the rake.  National trust are investigating.  For more details see www.felltreks.co.uk  .  For the progressive story on the pillar as it crumbles see below.

Updated 1/11/03
Approaching the pillar from the Mickledore side.  There is an alternative route through to the right hand side but take great care as its a bit of a scramble, slippery and one slip is not good news.
Standing on the uphill side.  If you do come through the gap then do not touch the pillar.  Also check the soundness of the boulders you are balancing on / pulling through on.  The area where my hand is used to be the home of the large boulder abut the size of a 4 drawer filing cabinet which dropped off last spring (see past photos below).

Compare this with the next photo which was taken 9/1/03

This is the land slip viewed from just to the edge of it,  looking north-west and directly above the leaning pillar (about 4 vertical metres) .  The two pegs are markers placed and photographed so we can monitor movement.  As at 1/11/03 they were set at 600mm between the two nails.  I can assure you that great care was taken placing these posts.
This is the land slip viewed from the West Wall traverse, looking north-west 
This is the warning sign at the western exit from Lords Rake on the flank of Scafell.

 

 

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