Nethermost and Dollywaggon Pikes made lamentably poor life-choices, taking positions in Helvellyn’s shadow. There are even (gasp) people who bypass these summits without a glance on their way to the parent fell. But these are fine tops; Nethermost is Lakeland’s ninth highest, after all, and both present tremendously rough flanks to the east. For this reason, they should always be approached from the Grisedale side: the Thirlmere flanks may be regarded as a delicacy by a hungry sheep but offer little to tempt the mountaineer. This route enchains the two eastern ridges, making a fine expedition on any day, but especially when Striding and Swirral Edges are heaving.
I’ve laid it out as a figure-of-eight with Nethermost first because descending Nethermost would be steep, with the potential trap of Eagle Crag lurking at the bottom: not somewhere to step off without a 6’ wingspan. I’ve also assumed the good track up the valley because you’ll be eager to get to the fells quickly, and with dry socks, but happy to take the slower route back.
metres / Distance
NY3904816137 Set off up the lane from the old police station. This is a lovely start, with the deep wooded dell on your right.
NY3831015681 After a kilometre or so, tarmac yields to a good track, ignoring the right turn to Helvellyn. You'll be returning by this route.
NY3681814851 Three-and-a-half kilometres from the start, take the right fork across the valley floor towards the big hanging valley of Nethermost Cove, with its tumbling cascades. You're headed that way.
NY3649814609 Cross the smaller track traversing the north side of the valley (this track is your route back) and head steeply up into the cove. Not long after the waterfalls (around 500m altitude) swing left onto the ridge proper. Follow this steeply up to the summit. You can see just how steeply on the photo below:
NY3438714117 Follow the escarpment south, over the subsidiary summit of High Crag, to Dollywaggon Pike.
NY3461413052 Drop down the sharp nose of the eastern ridge. This is visually impressive but not difficult, so long as you give Spout Crag a wide berth at the bottom.
NY3603014319 At Ruthwaite Lodge, pick up the northern valley path and head back down the dale, crossing your footprints from earlier.
NY3815115939 Take a right and drop to the little bridge across Grisedale Beck to point (2) and back down the tarmac lane.