Pavey Ark and Jack's Rake

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Himalayan Guide visits the Lake District
Last year we battled through dodgy stomachs, headaches and breathlessness to achieve our dreams of reaching Everest Base Camp. Along the way new friendships were made and many good memories were etched in our minds forever.
This was all made possible with the help of our incredible porters, guides and our group leader Rajesh who stuck with us from the moment we arrived in Kathmandu, throughout the 75 mile trek and finally back to the airport destined for Heathrow.
18 months later with new chums added on facebook and occasional catch-up’s with our Nepalese friends, news came about that Rajesh, aka Raz, aka Razzle had landed in the UK for his first ever trip outside of Nepal.
Instantly ideas started flying around in my head. What will he want to do? Where will he want to go? What will he make of the UK?
The day finally arrived when I was reunited with Raz, and to no surprise Alton Towers blew his mind! Within 15 minutes of being there, packed with excitement Myself, Raz and fellow trek mates Alan and Stacey were strapped into the vertical terror ride that is Oblivion, staring down to a black hole in the ground. Seconds later that ride was over and what followed was 7 hours of stomach churning thrills, laughter and a few queasy moments from me. Raz loved it!
It was at the end of this day that I informed him of something I was arranging that would feel a little closer to home. Two days in the Lake District with two other familiar EBC Trek faces would show Raz some of England’s most beautiful landscapes and what had inspired us to head for Nepal.
Deciding on the exact location wasn’t easy. Raz has been a guide in the Himalayas for 12 years. He has led travellers on many different treks and has dragged people to Everest Base Camp on more than 50 occasions. I needed to think of two routes for a  short trip but with a bit of variety, I was worrying that it all could seem too much like being back at the office for him.
Two weeks later and the destination was decided. Great Langdale would be our base camp and the target peaks were set. A scramble on Pavey Ark and the classic route of Bowfell and Crinkle Crags were mapped out.
Alan and Paul came along for the trip and were excited to see Raz again. We were departing from Cambridgeshire’s flat fens, an area with no real hills to feed our addiction and a huge elevation drop for Raz. From his home city of Kathmandu at 1400 metres above sea level to approximately 10 metres it must have seemed strangely featureless.
It was the first week in August and stifling hot! For 5 hours the four of us were crammed in Alan’s VW Golf with rucksacks, camping gear and no air conditioning.
During the car journey it was clear that the heat was not affecting Raz in the slightest and that even the A1 motorway and its surroundings was giving him so much to absorb. When I think back to Kathmandu’s free-for-all of rusty cars, tooting at each other on the dusty roads, our traffic system must have felt very relaxing.
Finally after Alan’s endless offerings of awful repetitive dance music and a quick detour to the culinary delights beneath the golden arches (Raz’s first) we arrived at the Great Langdale Campsite. It was 2.30pm and we still had our first hike to complete so we acted fast. Thoughts of arriving at the pub late at night after the bell rang on serving food were enough for us to have the tent up pretty swiftly.
Leaving the campsite behind us the air was very muggy and it didn’t take long to work up a sweat as we retraced the flow of Stickle Ghyll up towards Pavey Ark. We figured clambering up the shear face amongst the cracks of Jack’s Rake would spice things up a little and I was surprised to hear that Raz hadn’t really done what we call scrambling before. After a short break at Stickle Tarn and trying to point out the route in the rock face we pushed on up… straight up!
I led the way. Wedging my self into the deep scars of Jack’s Rake seemed the safest thing to do, rather than being on the exposed edges. I was assessing for solid holds for my hands and feet and constantly maintaining three points of contact.
All of a sudden Raz shot up the outside edge overtaking me like Spiderman. ‘You ok dude?’ he said as he passed by. I heard laughter from Alan and Paul below and Raz shouted down, ‘I want to get your picture’. I looked up so see him perched on a rock several metres above pointing his camera at us. Crikey! How did he get there so quick? I felt a little embarrassed.
Eventually with Raz now leading the way we topped out on Pavey Ark. We all looked down towards the tarn below and then out to Langdale and beyond to the Coniston Fells. The view was fantastic, lush green and vibrant in the late afternoon sunshine.
I said to Raz, ‘Hey buddy, what do you think of the Lake District?’ to which he replied, ‘It is absolutely beautiful!’
This coming from a man who walks in the shadows of Ama Dablam and Everest!
We made our way back down quickly to the campsite to get cleaned up for dinner and with groaning bellies and a thirst for beer we burst into the Old Dungeon Ghyll Pub.
I told Raz that a great day walking in the Lakes ends with stodgy food and a few beers and he seemed more than keen to taste the culture with chips on the side and a few pints.