Bouldering and Scrambling


Sharp Edge, a grade 3 scramble

Bouldering is a form of rock climbing without the use of any ropes or harnesses. Participants rely solely on their hands and feet to clamber over rocks. For this reason, bouldering usually involves fairly short rock formations. Scrambling has no official definition, but lies somewhere between bouldering and hill walking, in that you may be able to take a few steps in between using your hands to climb over rocks.

There are plenty of opportunities for both bouldering and scrambling in the Lake District with a good amount of activity companies available to teach the beginning novice.

What Bouldering and Scrambling Involves

Whilst some indoor activity centres may offer bouldering as an activity, more typically you will find both bouldering and scrambling being required as part of one of the more difficult fell walks. Bouldering and scrambling give walkers a sense of freedom, as they are not weighed down by rock climbing equipment, however, it’s important to recognise your own limits in abilities and turn back if needed.

What to Wear and Bring

You will need a good sturdy pair of walking boots. Loose fitting trainers, shoes, and flip-flops are not appropriate footwear. Layering up clothing is a good idea, as you can add or take away layers if needed. Trousers should be quick drying and you should consider adding a base layer in colder weather. Waterproof clothing is almost always a must in the Lake District.

You should also bring a map, a compass, a whistle for alerting Mountain Rescue Teams if required, a mobile phone, and a torch. If you are attempting one of the tougher scrambles you should carry a rope in case you need extra support. You should also have enough food and water for your walk, plus extra in case of an emergency.

Where to Practice Bouldering in the Lake District

The Lake District is filled with opportunities to practice bouldering with the Langdale Boulders being one of the most popular areas. Lakesbloc is a free resource available for climbers keen to find some of the best bouldering areas in the Lake District. Many fell walks in the Lake District offer scrambling opportunities, including Sharp Edge by Blencathra and Striding Edge and Swirral Edge – both by Helvellyn. These ridge walks are very exposed and should not be undertaken lightly.

Both bouldering and scrambling require a good level of fitness and some skill, therefore if you are a complete novice, you may wish to consider using an activity company to guide you on a route.

The Lakes Mountaineer

The Lakes Mountaineer provides customised guided scrambling excursions where you can learn scrambling skills to help look after yourself on a hike where scrambling is necessary. They also provide family scrambling adventures with the suggested age of 11+. 

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  • Tel: 07903456136

West Lakes Adventure

West Lakes Adventures will create a bespoke package for your scrambling adventure, using some of most classic scrambling routes in the Lake District.


River Deep Mountain High

River Deep Mountain High operate scrambling sessions at Raven Cragg, Jack’s Rake, Whitestones. Helmets and ropes are used as an additional safety measure.


Mobile Adventure

Mobile Adventure offer full day sessions that can be tailored to your requirements. Mobile Adventure provides participants with free photos of their activities, and also offers the use of a GoPro equipped helmet for an additional fee.


Real Adventure

Offering bespoke technical courses in scrambling, with a choice of around 50 different routes in the Lake District. Real Adventure are also a provider of accredited mountaineering qualifications.