First recorded as a climbing crag in 1886 when WP Haskett-Smith and JW Robinson climbed on E Buttress, Dow Crag comprises of six buttresses providing over 100 routes ranging in difficulty from Moderate to E6. It’s a stiff one hour walk in from the car park.
Directions: Dow Crag lies 3 miles west of Coniston village. The car park is reached via a turn off (opposite the petrol station) in the village itself, which is signposted “Walna ScarTrack”. After a mile or so you’ll meet a gate, whilst on the way you’ll encounter the steepest section of straight road in the Lake District. Take care on this road which is often populated by walkers and by horses from the nearby riding schools. After the gate you can stop for a refreshing ice cream (if the van is there) then continue left, for a further half a mile. Eventually, the track becomes unsuitable for driving on, and you can park. Follow the track west, then branch right to Goats Water. The crag is reached via the scree slope with the first aid box being a marker for the start of Murrays Route.
There are many climbs of note, amongst them are:
Arete, Chimney and Crack – three star 96m Mild Severe,six pitch
Abraxas – three star 85m E3 5c 5c 4c 5b
Eliminate ‘A’ – three star 107m VS 4b 4b 4c 4a 4c 4b – “One of Britain’s greatest routes”
Giant’s Crawl – three star 115m Difficult, seven pitch.
Nimrod – three star 84m E1 5a 5b 5c
Holocaust – 72m E4 6a 5b 5b
Catacomb – three star 60m E1 5a 5a 5b
Pink Panther – three star 40m E2 5c
Leopard’s Crawl – three star 48m HVS 5a 4c
Murray’s Direct – three star 48m VS 4c 4b 4c
Murray’s Route – three star 78m Severe – “One of the greatest classics in the Lakes” – the only route that I’ve climbed on Dow, something that I intend to remedy soon.
The Shining Path – three star 28m E5 6b
Paths of Victory – three star 59m E6 6c
‘C’ Ordinary Route – three star 100m Difficult, seven pitch
Hopkinson’s Crack – three star 45m HS
Quotes from Al Phizacklea – Dow Duddon & Slate F&RCC Guide