Elbow Ridge Grade 3 Scramble

What to expect

Published By: Daniel Woodley. Published: 27th May 2024. Disclosure: I earn commission from purchases made via links.

In mid May 2024, I tackled the short but sweet Elbow Ridge grade 3 scramble at Winnats Pass in the Peak District.

If you want to know what this scramble is like, watch my video and read my description below.

Scramble Profile

Time:  Less than 10 mins on rock.

Total Ascent: Approx 65m.

Grade: Between a grade 3 scramble and a moderate climb.

Start/End: Start at the foot of Elbow Ridge. Finish by walking down the tourist path back to the car park.

Hazards: The initial section is steep and with a few loose holds. The mid-section is a narrow, exposed ridge. The upper section is very loose. Wind may prevent safe scrambling. There is some grass/moss on this route.

Parking: Pay and Display car park at Speedwell Cavern, Hope Valley S33 8WA.

Initial Climb

The scrambling starts two metres from the road and is steep (grade 3) from the get-go.

I found a few loose holds here so you’ll want to check the rock before you put any weight on the holds.

There was some moss/grass growing here and there but it wasn’t slippery on this dry day.

Start of Elbow Ridge scramble

The start is very close to the road

Elbow ridge drone footage

The rock is well worn and the best line obvious

Steepest section on Elbow Ridge

This is the steepest section and can’t be avoided

The Mid Section

The mid-section is a very narrow ridge, it was just wide enough for me to stand up on but on a windy day, I could see myself bum-shuffling here instead.

The rock was well worn but it was interspersed with moss and grass, although not enough to interfere with the scrambling.

There is also an escape route on this mid-section, however by this point, I had already done the hardest bits.

Narrow ridge on Elbow Ridge

The narrow ridge which catches the wind

Side view of Elbow Ridge

The escape route

The Upper Section

The upper section consists of some decent but easier scrambling on ever looser rock.

Finally, at the very top there is a steepish section (around grade 2) over very loose material.

I took a like slightly to the left to avoid this loose holds.

Upper section of Elbow Ridge

The upper section of Elbow Ridge

Top section of Elbow Ridge

I went left at the top to avoid the very loose rock

Walk Out and Return to the Car Park

The top of Elbow Ridge is a grassy affair and one can descend to the car park via the tourist path, which is a short distance away.

Topping out of Elbow Ridge

The walk out

A Warning About Elbow Ridge

As you can see from the images, the road and path are directly under this scramble and any loose rocks may fall onto cars or pedestrians.

You may wish to avoid busy periods (holidays, weekends etc) or go early morning to avoid the tourists that gather at the base of the scramble.

Also, Winnats Pass is notoriously windy and the narrow ridge may feel considerably more dangerous in strong wind.

I haven’t completed many other scrambles in the Peak District but you might enjoy these routes in Snowdonia, they all have narrow ridges:

About Daniel Woodley

This guide to the Elbow Ridge scramble was created by Daniel Woodley, aka The Bald Scrambler.

From walking along beaches and kayaking down rivers to making his way up mountains and even jumping out of planes, Daniel has a love of the outdoors, but scrambling is his real passion.

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Daniel Woodley

Daniel Woodley aka The Bald Scrambler

Have fun, keep safe. Hopefully I’ll see you on the mountains one day

By The Bald Scrambler

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