With an elevation of 405 m (1,329 ft) and a prominence of around 60 m (197 ft), Helm Crag stands to the north of Grasmere, clearly visible from the village. Its parent peak is High Raise and it is listed as a Wainwright. The summit area is complex, with a series of ridges and intervening hollows. The true summit stands around 7-8 m (25 ft) above the path and a scramble up rocks is required to reach it (Wainwright never managed to do so!). Further to the south east, there is a large group of rocks named the Lion and the Lamb, a name often mistakenly applied to the rock formations at the summit itself.
The usual starting point for an ascent of Helm Crag is from Grasmere. Approaches can also be made via Bracken Hause or along the ridge from Gibson Knott. From the summit area, there are views of the Langdale Pikes, Coniston Fells and the Eastern Fells.