/ Lakes Conditions
Given the recent thaw can anyone give me an idea on any routes that are in OK condition - grade ii/iii. We were in central gully 2 weeks ago and the ice in parts was in good condition (20cm screws) so I'm wondering how much is still there.....
Also has the snow now calmed down or is still a bit volatile in gully's?
Lots of snow forecast today on strong west veering northerly winds so you may want to avoid gullies/slopes in general especially NE -> E -> S -> SW
met mountain seems more certain of snow for the lakes
"Showers becoming more frequent and widespread for a time by midday,"
And can anyone recommend anything for tomorrow that may be in OK condition.
Just my opinion but most high up gullies facing north and east should be in, with the low temps forecast for Saturday and the remaining snow refreezing it should be blue skies, bullet hard neve, cloud inversions and the coves to yourself, maybe not, but did i say i was an optimist. My opinion any remaining snow which there is lots will be consolidated, i haven't been out since last Sunday so is just my opinion.
Hmm, hardening existing snowpack with new snowfall ....
That's in grade I/II range don't know about ice in the harder gullies but judging off the Weatherline pics of Red Tarn looking semi frozen, i think there will be something left high up defo worth the walk in anyways.
I did say my opinion, i which i am entitled to even if it is wrong. The gullies on Browncove had hardened up nicely last Sunday from slushy in the morning to a fairly decent crust good for climbing for the afternoon, i can't see all of this old snow having thawed and i didn't think there has really been a lot of fresh snow since then so i am still sticking to my above opinion.
Yes all depends on how much new snow falls I guess.
I'm thinking we might take a look at Gable Crag.
What i am fed up of is people on here telling everyone else that nothing is in so they can have the crags to themselves, i have heard you at it and then seen you up there, busted, you know who you are.....
I was starting to get that feeling myself! It's my first post on here and I refrained from posting as it's rare to see people publishing route conditions.
And no one apart from yourself answered the question of what maybe in or not. I understand the risks of new snow on top of wind slab / compact and will take that into account, but that wasn't the question....
Looking at the BBC forecast for Ambleside - Saturday looks good, Sunday looks as if there will be snowfall (dunno how much) at higher levels early in the day so there could well be a few avalanches. The wind direction is also going to shift a lot. Depending on how hard the existing pack is the new snow could stick enough to build up. Then again it may slough off continously.
I'm not saying that there won't be anything in condition, just that on Sunday gullies do not look the safest bet at the moment.
> Yes all depends on how much new snow falls I guess.
> I'm thinking we might take a look at Gable Crag.
Gable has a tend to strip very quickly with the type of weather we've just had.
Thanks, great advice, haven't done much stuff up Gable. When people refer to the north side of Helvellyn range where are they generally referring to? I've done stuff on the N side of Fairfield and the south side of striding edge but nothing on the other side.
Makes a change from those who climb routes in marginal condition and then post to say how fantastic conditions are :)
> Thanks, great advice, haven't done much stuff up Gable. When people refer to the north side of Helvellyn range where are they generally referring to? I've done stuff on the N side of Fairfield and the south side of striding edge but nothing on the other side.
Generally the Red Tarn area, between Striding edge and Swirral edge.
Have a good day.
Been out into Brown Cove Crags and over Raise this afternoon. Although the snow is patchy, what's there is feeling pretty solid (although I didn't dig any pits to test bonding).
Some cornicing going on at the top of Brown Cove Crags, hard to see how big due to low cloud. A few photos here: http://mark-mountainjourneys.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/a-winters-afternoon-on-brown-cove-crag.html
It was raining by the time I got back into the valley (5pm), likely that'll be falling as snow higher up.
Had a great day on Browncove Crags today, bullet hard neve and fully frozen turf, did Left Parallel Gully which was complete and neve bottom to top and a variant of Stepped Ridge, missing the icey bits out as the ice wasn't climbable, so just picked out frozen turf, snow patches and rock up the central butress to the top. Great day, blue skies and about minus 5 on top. Not as much snow left in the other gullies as i expected, the thaw has been quite substantial on Browncove Crags but Red Tarn Face looked to have held onto a lot more but was a lot more popular too.
On great end today did central right hand branch more like 3/4 left hand looked in. The midddle litch up to the amperpheatre is a good 2/3 mixed the routes are well above their grades
Wont b there much longer.
Fantastic day out sun all day
Certainly not perfect ice but good enough for a great day out with blue skis and not a sniff of snow or dangerous conditions - in fact the complete opposite. If it does snow heavy the pack is extremely compacted so bear in mind.
If you get there well early before the thaw kicks in i imagine it will be exactly the same as it was today, also depends how much snow falls tonight aswell, if i hadn't been up there five days in the last ten i would give it another shot, but i have decided to have a snoop around Angle Tarn Gully and the Bowfell area, very early, before the temps are due to rise.
As ever double check the forecasts and re-evaluate conditions :-).
Hi Adam, yes nice to have crack with you today, we ended up finding a nice route up the central Buttress a slightly different version of the Stepped Ridge, some of the people on here giving advice haven't left their arm chair for the last 20 years yet alone climbed anything lately. Was Left Branch any good in the end? we couldn't be bothered queueing, but was very happy with the two routes we did.
We climbed Central Middle way, probably tech 4 for 2 moves atm but good belays. We also climbed the upper icefall finish to Window Gully after deciding the Wall and Groove finish was too thin and brittle. Some ice in Window was very brittle and platey, although as a whole the normal route on Window is well banked out atm. We came down Custs and Branch gullies, both of which had lots of good neve in them.
grate conditions consolidated snow top out was easy to just traversed right to miss out the dodgy bit of the cornice.
We were also at Brown Cove this afternoon - hello Wesley! It was my friends first winter climbing (via Ambleside to buy boots!). We soloed the far left gully which was fun and easy grade 1, then climbed Central Gully. The bottom ice pitch was interesting, then bomber neve to the top with a few short icy slabs that would be covered in snowier conditions. Steep exit. Grade 2 overall. Unsure how it'll fare tomorrow. Mwis forecast is quite warm, and very windy.
Hi Tom nice talking to you today, he seemed to fare well on the descent gully for a first climb, great day on the crag and the conditions look pretty good for the long term too......happy climbing!
It's all over now, was plus 8 on top of Stoneycove Pike today, went for a big hike and even Helvellyn east face looked stripped by the end of the day, we need another big dump of snow to survive the predicted freeze/thaws.
There is still enough of a snow pack around - enough to ski on.
The forecast is for it to cool down Sunday night to +3 in the valleys with a further cooling on Monday night. A predicted 20 cm snow on higher ground is due. Winter is far from over, if you really know what you are talking about in specific terms.
maybe not much good for gullys or ice... but the mixed should come good
A good week to have off work :)
After Sunday night's (almost) devastating thaw. By Monday the freezing level dropped to c. 650 m. Any remaining snow patches - mainly on N & NE have had a layer of graple onto a hard icey surface, followed on Tuesday by heavy wet snow. So care will be required on N & NE slopes which have the underlying old snow.
Otherwise shaping up for some really good sport on the fells.
Were you one of a pair on Central Gully I waved to? I walked 200m past and solo-ed the ridge between the two parallel gullys (Parallel Ridge??). It was a delicate II thanks to the unconsolidated powder resting on negatively inclined strata. And very windy in the top half. But a satisfying route.
I went on over Helvellyn and did Swirral and Striding Edges in the company of a team (James, Robert?) whom I'd seen on Stepped Ridge earlier. The aretes were in sporting nick with a mix of plastic ice and soft snow. The cornice, though substantial, seemed well bonded today, but the exit ramp above Striding Edge was obscured by drifts and offered an unappetising descent so we did the round clockwise and took the nastier ramp uphill.
Lakes looked wonderful. Snow down to about 300m everywhere. Great views. Plenty of exercise. All in all a cracking day.
Was up on Pavey Ark and Pike of Stickle area today, only walking, lots of fresh snow about. Had a play around in the snow and about a meter of snow in some gullies on the remnants of previous compacted snow. Snow pack slipped whilst digging test pit, lots of slab (not a surprise). All very scenic and everything covered as far as we could see, scafell, great end, great gable etc. Will it still be there on my next day off in 12 days...
Went for a mid-morning post night shift mooch to Low Water Crag today. Unsurprisingly, Low Water Beck is just that, a beck. I went to look at Percy's Passage - generally good ice. Turf mixed, snow mixed. I was solo so skirted the crux as a fall would have been very interesting, but I was happy on the rest of it. Obviously, no need to place screws so can't comment on that. It was mild today, although the wind was nippy, beautiful sunshine, clouds above the summits. Dow was black, didn't bother with a closer inspection as the gullies looked fairly empty and incomplete, and I was short of time. Central fells looked much whiter, but my eyesights appalling. A drop of a few degrees will make the climbing there excellent. Road to Walna Scar car park was fine at 11am. Cafe in town does excellent tiffin.
Been at Brown Cove Crag most of the day, excellent conditions. The link has a few photos and brief description:
Have a great weekend
Did Window Gully on Great End on Thursday. Good conditions with plenty of ice. Central gully looked complete and had some ice. SE gully looked complete but the ice pitch although centainly doable looked a tad thin.
Looks Ok for the weekend weather permitting
Anyone else been out today? Heading up to dollywagon tomorrow
did dolly chimney toady. Its very doable but the snow isnt great wet snow 4 in deep sitting on neve (wont slide though). Ice higher up but melting (and raining - very very lightly but not snow). Turf is mixed some great some other not so great.
A good day out but nows what tomorrow will bring !
I did left parallel gully on Brown Cove Crags and Gully 2 on Red Tarn yesterday. Both were in good nick with a dusting of fresh snow on top of good neve. Top of Gully 2 had some ice hidden under the snow which spiced things up slightly.
went up to dollywagon today, bomber turf but visibilty was awful (20-30mtrs) at best and one hell of a wind. Snowing up high for most of the day so a lot of fresh unconsolidated snow kicking around.
Was at Scafell Crag too both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was as described above - ok conditions in the morning, thawing through the day and we watched the ice smear on Bottrill's Slab visibly disappear before our eyes. Sunday, there was a bit of fresh powder around and the turf had reconsolidated, but snow through the day meant that by the evening, everything was just choked in deep, soft and unstable powder (made coming down Deep Ghyll interesting)!!
Up at Brown Cove Crag today; Left Branch (I think, the topo in my guide is confusing) which was fun.
The thaw on Saturday has turned to very nice snow/ice.
Though snow is blowing around a lot no dangerous wind slab in the gully or cornice.
First time I've ever felt I needed my axes to stop myself blowing away mind.
Anyone been up great end way today?
Good neve conditions today Red Tarn area of Helvellyn. No. 2 gully has a good pitch.
Bad news- weather going down hill tomorrow with thaw forecast day after.
Sorry, I meant Gully 1 left of Viking Buttress
Fantastic conditions on Great End today
Snowing pretty hard in Ambleside this morning
Well the snow is about 4 inch deep just outside KEndal, must be putting a lot down in the lakes, could be some interesting conditions around tomorrow.
Can someone help?
Plenty of snow left on the tops and in gullies, but it was thawing like mad today on Red Screes. Just about frozen on top, but below 600m melting quick and soggy as f. Night-time freezes needed!
Still loads of snow just need a re-freeze.
Is Sarah Nelson's still open in Grasmere?
Same, see you there!
Did parallel gully rib on Browncove Crags today started early and turf was frozen and snow semi hard, freezing level rose to the summit just as we topped out:-) Gullies still loaded with fracture lines at the top and fairly big cornices, just waiting to go, still saw people going up them though:-(
Re: parallel gully rib...Brown Cove Crags.
I looked at it last Winter as I was descending into the top end of Helvellyn Gill from Whiteside. Looks like an interesting line if the gullies are busy or mobile.
How did you find it? Is grade II a fair description?
Yes felt a hard grade II today with all the fun at the top and an unprotected snow arete in the middle, snow wasn't perfect but turf was ok.
> Yes felt a hard grade II today with all the fun at the top and an unprotected snow arete in the middle, snow wasn't perfect but turf was ok.
In many ways the snow arete is the crux. Not exactly confidence-inspiring under loose snow.
II is a fair description. I've done it twice and it is a pleasant way up the cove. The top wall looks big as you approach but is small.
Went up Bowfell today freezing level at about 800m, had a look up South Gully snow pretty firm on top but loose underneath, fracture lines all over the place on every slope and angle, so walked around to Angle Tarn and had a look up Angle Tarn Gully same crack there, the area around Angle Tarn is absolutely loaded with snow and lots of ice all over the place, all we need is a good freeze, there is stil plenty of snow all over the mountains above 700m not just on norh facing crags either and it's still deep, ended up walking up Ore Gap and my hesitation in climbing the gullies proved correct witnessed the aftermath of a massive avalanche on the right side of Ore Gap from the cove on Esk Pike, 4ft deep crown wall and about 100m long, small car size blocks, unbeleavable for the Lakes not seen out like it apart from the North Face of the Ben avalanches. Beautiful day in the Lakes with cloud inversions, views for miles, blue skies, dry rock and felt very Alpine (i imagine as never been).
Here is a conditions picture of Brown Cove crags from Sunday 17th Feb.
Snow had firmed up overnight and the gully routes were straightforward.
There was a bit of strength in the Sun today and so things did start to soften if exposed.
A team were in Central Gully at about two'ish in the afternoon.
This may help, upon Helvellyn Sunday, Langdale Pikes Monday, have been some freezing o/night snow with firm crust in gullies
Kilnshaw Chimney on red Scree in fine condition this evening, the snow pack has firmed up nicely, the main danger now seem to be from crevasses where the snowpack has seperated from the mountain, some hollow sounding areas that are easy to fall through.
Custs gully also climbed and looked in similar good nick.
Many thanks to the team from ambleside and london that let me sneak past!
Anything on St Sunday? Greenhow End?
Was there myself today,excellent. Point I want to make is the alarming number of family parties attempting to get up and down an extensive snowslope just below the top of Brown Crag on the popular path down to Swirl How without crampons and axes. Most just had bendy boots and the odd stick between them.
I put my crampons back on to descend the slope , others just sat down and shuffled down best they could. Luckily nobody slipped, but there was a good run out onto exposed rocks at the bottom of the slope.
We watched somebody fall there a few weeks ago for the very reason you mention.
They looked like a spinning starfish until they hit the rocks.
luckily nothing broken but very shuck up with cuts and bruises.
Are the lower crags at Langdale (e.g. Scouts Crag, Raven Crag) free of snow and ice?
Down in the Lakes from this evening and fancied a bit of cold finger rock stuf.
Much of the higher rock in Langdale is also free of snow - just with a wintery approach.
Climbed at Raven Crag ( walthwaite ) today rock was good and dry on the whole
.Still a bit of ice on the lines that were seeping,dont know which ones they where but plenty to go at.
What did you / NMM get done?
Just wondering what the ground was like over there at the moment of anyone can help. If there is deep snow and the paths are iced over I'll not bother, it will be above my level at the moment.
Approached via Skew Ghyll in Wasdale which was banked out with snow all the way (does not happen that often).
Soloed Central Gully LH which was in fine form.
Soloed SE Gully which was rather thin & a little trickier than usual.
Soloed Window Gully which was in fine form.
Descent via Custs Gully which was also banked out.
Off the crag by 11AM before the crouds hit & back home for lunch.
Teams on C Gully, looked good, A and B don't look complete.
Also, a pair on the Shamrock.
Sadly very few seemed to be carrying axes and I'd guess no crampons either. Beyond Hollowstones it was neve/ice all the way to the summit, the big red and grey taxi was in the valley, hope all was well but could imagine it'd be a day for "slips".
Just got back from Tarn/Falcon crag and managed to do a (rare?) ascent of chock gully in great conditions. Plenty of ice up until the capstone then mixed moves to the slope above. Then never with na few turd steps until the top, great day out.
Window Gully upper icefall looked fully formed. But it's only short!
We were on Direct Route, Scafell Shamrock, today which was in great condition. We witnessed two accidents today, one which needed the RAF helicopter, and both of which appeared to caused by lack of crampons. I do hope both have a speedy recovery
Did Gully no.2 and Gully no.3 on Tarn Crag Helvellyn today, neve all the way bottom to top and nice steep snow leading up to the gully's as well, top pitch of gully no.3 felt like hard II, gully no.2 was an easy snow plod. Fresh snow falling down to about 500m all day and ice on the path from Dumail Raise upwards, met lots of nice people on the hill great conditions, great atmosphere, cracking day!!!!!!
Yes a team said it was in perfect condition and easy III today
> Approached via Skew Ghyll in Wasdale which was banked out with snow all the way (does not happen that often).
> Soloed Central Gully LH which was in fine form.
> Soloed SE Gully which was rather thin & a little trickier than usual.
> Soloed Window Gully which was in fine form.
> Descent via Custs Gully which was also banked out.
> Off the crag by 11AM before the crouds hit & back home for lunch.
What did you have for breakfast?
> We were on Direct Route, Scafell Shamrock, today which was in great condition. We witnessed two accidents today, one which needed the RAF helicopter, and both of which appeared to caused by lack of crampons. I do hope both have a speedy recovery
Could see you, and hear, you from Pikes Crag ;0)
Amazing how few seemed equipped for the conditions.
I can add that the sweep of buttress between Central and Window gullies, heading up to Central Gully RH Arete, was in great go-anywhere condition (on Thursday) if crowd-avoidance tactics are needed.
On Blencathra, Foule Crag Gully was in yesterday - good snow with a couple of interesting steps thrown in. Sharp edge was icy here and there, mostly avoidably so.
Some good ice up around Blea Water... some photos on here -
We did a recce to South Gully, Bowfell Buttress and North Gully yesterday. The snow was ok but there was powder under a thick crust.Hmmm... quite a lot of ice around on the crags, there were areas of solid neve which was nice but also areas of soft sugar. We intended to clmb North Gully but as the second pitch was playing hard to get (lack of snow to stand on under the chockstone) and as the time was getting on we retreated.
images of Bowfell Buttress, North Buttress, South Gully, and North Gully at
There was a section of a couple of metres of scrambley rock near the top I suppose. I did the whole thing in fell running shoes & it was basically a walk.
Low Water Beck not yet climbable - but its only a few days away if the temperatures stay cold enough. Soloed Summit Route on Coniston Old Man in fell running shoes (for the umpteenth time!) which was quite a challenge due to having to kick steps in the hard neve all the way up.
Went up Zero Gully on Crinkle Crags today, easy snow plod with steep cornice finish, managed to get on steep snow next to Crinkle Gill at about 500m. Was a mixture of mainly neve with sugary patches here and there, blue skies most of the day and good views out west, ice forming all over the place just very thin at the moment, need another week of cold weather.
Did the direct finish to Raven Crag Gully on Red Screes this morning. There was a little less ice than when I have done it previously, but still IV by the easiest line. There seems to be a lot of water ice around - Kirkstone Quarry ice falls looked like they were in. I don't know for sure but I suspect that there is quite a lot of water ice 'in' around the Lakes, this may be the week for Cold Climb classics for those with the time to go looking.
To be fair though DSM, the direct finish to Great Gully isn't that high, nor the ice I climbed and saw today. I really don't know, but for those willing to look I think Raven Crag Gully, (Borrowdale) / Dove Crag Gully / Inaccesable Gully may be in given what I saw today and the fact that Chock Gully has been climbed.
Did you look into Chock Gully?
Innaccessible gully had no ice on it when I drove past on friday. It gets the sun too much. Black Crag icefall also had only a sliver of ice extending 2/3 of the way down. DCG will have more though...
Hey Paddy, thanks for that. Am off out tomorrow on the strength of the weather.
Hope you had a great time at the CIC - we certainly did. Awesome conditions and bet the film crew enjoyed it !! (think he did ) We certainly did - wish we were still there.
Good to watch you on the (thin) curtain - awesome.
Jim H (frcc)
Thanks NMM, good to know.
Is there any snow left in the gullies on Wasdale screes?
Scafell, Pikes crag, would guess Broad crag as well.
Yeah, that's what I was tending to think. It's just so tempting!!! It has had harder frosts in the W Lakes though...
Anybody been past Honister? Or seen the crags above Buttermere? Eagle's claw looks immense (more like Scottish VI?)
Yeah, that's what I suspected. Thanks for saving the drive though! Was there much ice build up on the grooves to the left of SE gully?
Great end is still hanging in there.
Today at least.
Left finish of central gully had lots of good ice in it today, as did window gully.
Don't know how long it will last in the warm (7 deg) temperatures though ?
I climbed Central Gully on Brown Cove Crags and Gully No.2 Red Tarn Cove Helvellyn yesterday (tues 26th). Everthing is in lovely condition, but with the warmer weather coming fast, its not going to last forever. The cold nights will help a lot, though any slopes that catch a hint of sun during the day will quickly loose any cover.
This thread helped make today a better day, thanks to everyone who's contributed.
Catstycam gully ? - is that a new one ? Never heard of it and it isn't in the new winter lakes guide ?
Tis the obvious 20' wide gully on the north facing side of CSC...grade I...but a great way to jump over to red tarn...
Makes for a more fun approach & a good warm up.
Any chance of there still being snow/ ice at the weekend with this warmer weather?
Heading there myself on Saturday. Here's hoping your hunch is good.
Be prepared to queue!
> Be prepared to queue!
Yeah, the whole world will be on Great End and Helvellyn!!
Did you get a look into Chock Gully on Falcon Crag - I'm guessing not from the angle of your shots but thought I'd ask.
Thanks for that Crofty/Simodgee
Will have a look at it on the way in next time - just to add a bit of interest on the walk-in :)
Hmm .....you may be ok in the gully, I nipped down into Cock Cove for a look but the slopes were softening fast in the sun so didn't stay for a good look.
That's what I thought thanks, quite a long shot now. I've only got Sunday to play with and given the freezing level is going above the tops on Saturday and not coming back down until Sunday afternoon I may go and look elsewhere.
thus guaranteeing long queues...
Thanks for that.
My mate wants to climb it, but I don't know anything about the route. I know there is snow in gullies and on the summits, but is Pinnacle Ridge likely to be bare, with patches of frozen turf? How much of it is turf, and how much is rock/snow?
Thanks for any info.
Brief report from an early morning run up Coniston Old Man to catch the sunrise (which was beautiful!).
The shady slopes still hold a lot of iron-hard neve which will render the tourist paths rather slippery later today I think (crampons advisable for descent). For climbers there are a multitude of easy snow routes climbable from Low Water up to the summit all at around I/II, but the snow will soften during the day. Perfect conditions for walking/running really. Low Water beck is a waterfall. Enjoy.
Good work DSM. We need more like you. Thanks for the heads-up.
Chock Gully on Falcon Crag this morning, think NMM and LakesWinter from this shire folowed us up it. In 'lean' mode at the moment - good ice and snow most of the way, but the chock stone moves were snow free. About IV 5 at present. I don't think it's going to be there much longer given how warm it is in Kendal now.
We looked into the top of Dollywagon Gully but the last 20m or so would have involved some turfy ledge hacking so we decided against it.
> thus guaranteeing long queues...
Actually there were only ourselves and Exile plus mate on the route today and very good it was too!
The chockstone in Chock Gully is rarely snowed up, at most you might get a bit of verglass on the holds.
We've got a plan for tomorrow, so I know exactly where the queues will turn out to be :-)
we were in Red tarn cove today.....it was very quiet, just us and 2 other ropes of 3, its in lovely condition, so was very surprised to find it so quiet.
The A66 didn't have much traffic on it either.
Pics would be great thanks.
Hi Paul Hope you a had a great day...good to blether and day worked out well
Lots of snow remains on North facing aspects but its melting fast!
Just got back from an early morning trip to Dollywagon North.
Did Thrash Corner & Rescue Groove just in the nick of time due to the rapidly advancing thaw & found them quite sporting but good fun nevertheless.
Had a great day on Sat thanks... conditions in Red Tarn Cove were excellent and no crowds!!
Congratulations to my climbing partner Peter (red fleece and trousers) who started his winter climbing career this year aged 67!! :-)
images at from sat:
I'd put money on Helvellyn being in good nick, and probably Great End as well...there was plenty of snow pack in the gullys so it just depends how well its stood up to todays temps. The temp will drop tonight and the freezing level isn't too high tomorrow so I think there's a fair chance it'll be ok..
I'm off to Great End tomorrow, for my first climb up Central Gully so I'm hoping its still good....anyone up there today??
Went to Foule Crag yesterday, the snow was all soft and wet, but we found some ice which gave 3 short pitches on nice plastic ice. Temperatures at 900m were about +2, which was 3 or 4 degrees warmer than forecast.
Early starts tomorrow or Wednesday (assuming overnight frosts) should pay dividends, otherwise head for ice rather than snow.
The proper thaw is due from Wednesday afternoon onwards, though there are vague hints for a return to cold weather next week.
central G LH branch was in fine nick midday Sunday, I reckon will be good for a few days yet.
Plus some good sport ice around angle tarn
Glad you found something to play on:-)....
We did central gully Great End today, first time up for me. It was a lot easier than I expected and we didn't feel the need to rope up at all, good snow and ice all the way. It's holding up well at present. Left branch had lots of ice on it (2 guys climbed it as we passed through)and the snow field at the top was firm with steps!.. the ice around window gully looked good from below as did south east gully.
I'll put some pics up on the blog tomorrow.
Had a great day along with several other parties on great end today
May last for a few more days if temperatures dont rise too much
Did Window gully on great end today. 4 good little pitches ( including start pitch). A bit stepped out but that didnt detract.
Good neve, sunny weather, no wind, only one other person on the mountain-magic!
Your photo shows the wall and groove finish to Window Gully which was looking a bit fragile today
thanks for that, I've updated the blog :-)
Probably my last venture out this winter so fed the rat by climbing several of the gullies on Great End this morning. -2.3 at the car 6.45 am but quite warm once up above the fog.
Central Right Branch, good, one rock step.
Window, good though second step melting fast becoming rocky.
One Pitch Gully, good, one rock step.
Any info appreciated :O)
They were half stripped last weekend (so i heard), i think you will need to go higher!!!!!
Hi Jas. I also climbed Chock Gully last Saturday. If you're after that, (as I suspect you are!) it could still be there, but have a plan B / be prepared to go for a walk. I'd leave it until this Sunday at the earliest given the freezing levels over the last few days and predicted ones to come. I'd also start early as the route is actually pretty low - we'd finished the route by 9.00am and it had been properly cold on the walk in, but we still saw a little drippy water ice on the route.
We could really do with more snow though, as it stands there isn't going to be a great deal above grade II in until water ice routes start to form up.
did v corner look like it was in?
Went up to Red Tarn Cove today, did the buttress left of gully no.3 linked about 4 pitches of ice at about II/III, ice is forming everywhere but a bit hollow today, and 3 inches of fresh snow from today and that's on top of the old hard snow of which is about 4 inches and that's on top of about 4 inches of sugary stuff, so not a good base for it all, ended up lowering off after the 4 pitches due to the snow feeling quite unstable on the top two pitches and it feeling harder than my limit of leading III, dug a pit at the bottom and was quite shoecked at how unstable the layer of neve is on topo of the sugary stuff it didn't take much to move it, also tested and axe anchor at the bottom with my mate doing a big slide on purpose and it popped the 4 inch crust quite easily, only one other person on helvellyn that we saw and he was soloing gully no.1, even the edges were empty of poeple, snowed all day and whiteout of about 10 metres all day too. It was still falling as snow above 100m all the way home, once this lot settles down and the freeze continues i think some pretty ogdd conditions are due. Great day.
great news Wes...was bound to be unstable but am surprised so much fell. if we get a little bit of cycling this week we are back in there :-) was it rimeing at all or mainly just falling ?
Went up the easy mixed ground from Kirkstone Pass straight up to summit of Red Screes today, loads of ice forming on the buttress and gullies facing the pub and loads more in North Cove, loads of fresh snow been blown from the north into east Cove but Raven Crag Gully and the ice falls in East cove seem to be well behind the ones in North Cove for ice build up, the Kirkstone ice falls didn't seem to be forming at all either. Still snowing up there and more due, shit loads been blown about in the strong winds, all in all it seems to be shaping up into the best winter i have seen in my short time winter climbing (i was out due to injury 09/10).
> was it rimeing at all or mainly just falling ?
rimeing high up and a layer of verglass over every bit of rock from the pub up, so cold my gloves were sticking to the axe something i don't usually have a problem with and gloves and laces completely frozen stiff
Did you do Robs ice fall in North Cove yesterday? If not, why not??!!
Has all the new snow blown off? It can't have stabilised yet.
Popped into north cove on descent and just had walking axes with us, looked nice and fat though, how about one night after work this week? Could meet you on the pass.
We have had strong easterly to northerly winds all day but i doubt all 3 inches that was there yesterday and more falling as i was leaving has been blown away.
Probably just a difference in opinion of avalanche conditions, i have been avalanched on the scarp slope there before, so i could have been over paranoid yesterday and the day felt very much the same as that day so i could have been playing it safe. It just didn't feel right to me.
Gully number 1 was safe as houses, I did it in running shoes with Kahtoola KTS and one axe... it was bomber!!
There is a cornice built up in other areas and I'm not sure at all how stable it is there, sure there will be windslab built up in places, but not where I was. I descended off swirral and took a direct line to collect my dogs, once they saw me, we headed back to the path on Swirral to descend to Red Tarn and the Glenridding YHA.
The conditions were perfect. Great bomber neve, good ice, all you could want. Felt easier that it ever has before. Follow link below to see images on my facebook page
See how the week pans out mate. I have a first aid course on Weds/Thurs, so not sure if I can get the time, but maybe Thursday eve?? Maybe friday? Lets keep in touch
1 - 2 inches of snow in Kendal this morning.
Anyone done Birkness Gully up on Eagle Crag? Been looking through the guide book and noticed it but haven't found any pictures to have a better look. Is it more icefall than mixed? Is it turfy/snow based etc. Any info would be appreciated!
A shot from yetserday aftetnoon there will be even more now
And another from Saturday at red tarn Cove
Will this hold til the weekend do people reckon? Fancy a trip up Sharp Edge. Never done it in the snow so would be a nice opportunity!
"On Friday, snow showers will follow constant snow (although in England and Wales rain, except perhaps highest summits)"
Will likely update this tomorrow eve & weds eve as am out both days.
Which of the ridges is most reliable for this weekend? I'm presuming Striding and Sharp are fairly reliable? How's about the Langdale Pikes?
Also any fairly reliable Lakes Venues really! Never been the Lakes y'see winter climbing wise.
We were at Great End yesterday, Great conditions hard packed snow.
Hows about Blencathra? In nick?
Go Kate go!!! Think it will be good.
nice site thanks
Been wanting to do it for years.
First pitch in poor condition. Wet and falling down as I seconded it.
The mid-March sun is hammering it, despite the cold nights.
Great lead by my mate Mark!
The top pitch (slab) was in great condition despite being showered with water from the unclimable Direct Finish.
I doubt it will be in condition again this season.
Pictures to follow....
No snow anywhere, just frozen water lines.
I was up Great End this morning; there's not that much snow on the hills. But what's there is in all the right places and is in really good nick. The snow is pretty much only in the gully lines making for an easy walk in, the snow was firm snow ice and the ice felt nice and plastic. The side walls of the gullies appeared dry, so should allow for good/easy protection.
I soloed Central Gully Right Branch, which has a couple of lean steps (any thaw might leave some gaps) and then an ice step which felt quite exposed when soloing, but of good quality. The ice pitch on the Left Branch looked nice and fat. On my way back to the car I saw someone belaying on top of the pitch, proving it must be complete.
I descended Custs Gully which was banked out with very firm snow ice, without any steps.
I think I might have met you on your way down. Did you stop to chat to an party of three, one of which was an Irish girl? If so thank you for your kind advice. We did Central right branch and had a brill day :-)
Loving your work there - keep it up Dave!
THE ONE GLOVE CLIMBER - PHOTOS
Also there was a chap, sorry forgot your name mate, at the top of gully 1 yesterday who was taking photos as I had an 'interesting' time on the left finish of viking butress.
Good effort guys!
There's some more cold due from tonight, whether it's too late remains to be seen...
Currently trying to decide what to do from Langdale tomorrow - walk, winter climb or summer climb! Or just go to the pub to watch the rugby.
Slinging it down in langdale this morning.
Snow on the bits of the fells I could see through the murk but looking at the amount of water in the streams probably melting fast.
The conditions wont be particularly good for climbing anywhere. The ice has broken up quite a bit and the snow pack has a mix of old hard neve hacked to pieces, windblown and slab areas atop and in the next 48 hours wet to dry snow accumulating on top with a lowering of temperature. This all being at higher levels. Be interesting to hear the reports back from tomorrow for Sunday.
Snow falling above 400m last night at the pass, fresh snow covering above 500m on Helvellyn at Browncove today, then the freezing level went above the summits this afternoon with a refreeze tonight, which it is as it's only 2 degrees in Kendal and a cold day expected tomorrow, you never know, i will certainly be having a smooch about!!!!!
Good day out today, Pinnacle Ridge (St. Sundays) good fun, Dollywagon gully good nick but could do with a refreeze as snow getting soft but plenty of cover so you don't get near any turf, tarn gullys 2 & 3 also soft snow but thick enough not to touch turf, Tarn gully 1 not good nick and not recommended without a really good freeze and some more snow.
Out of interest what was the exit slope like on Pinnacle Ridge?
Wasn't too bad although it was starting to get loaded in certain areas, we just avoided large accumumlations and aimed for the craggy/turfy bits
Had a run over Pillar this afternoon, plenty of new snow which is knee deep in places, with some very large cornices forming.Would think Scafells will be very unstable under foot making it hard going at present.
We picked a crag (Chapel Crag) that had lost most of its old snow before Thursday, so the new snow didn't create any avalanche hazard (until the top 10m or so). Much to our surprise, there was excellent ice as well. Turf varied from frozen solid to completely unfrozen. No cornices, but areas of windslab on southern slopes.
An inch of new snow down to valley level overnight, melting fast in the valley when we left. But freezing level still about 500m and due to cool down - hope it's enough for the new wet snow to freeze nice and hard :-).
Did the Old Man and Brim Fell today, now i know the word epic and Brim Fell don't really sound right, but for two hours i could not see a single thing, didn't know left right up down, had to plung my axe really deep for every step just to make sure i was on solid ground, been in lots of whiteouts but nothing like this, trying to cross the ridge from the Old Man to Brim Fell was EPIC (huge cornice) and down to Goates Hause wasn't easy either, lots of people turning back with the waist deep snow and zero visibility there was no wonder, it felt a lot more epic than Pinnacle Ridge yesterday and this was just walking, the ammount of snow above 700m is unreal, if this lot turns to neve it won't shift for a long while. The park was plastered this morning all thawed below 200m by the time we got down. Another fantastic day this winter just keeps coming......
Sounds great Wesley. We had very similar conditions on Aonach Eagach yesterday, i would certainly call that EPIC as well, 12 hours in fact!
Let's hope the temperatures stay low and keep hold of it for a bit.
"Life in the White room"
We went over Striding Edge today, lots of deep powder on the climb up to the ridge from Red Tarn and on teh ridge itself, visibility was only a few meters most of the time and made distinguishing distance, orientation and direction very challenging. Very difficult to make out the difference between white snow and fresh air while on the ridge...
Lots of fresh snow everywhere, we could be climbing well into April if we get a good freeze, the gullies may take a day or two to consolidate at present though.
Went in to have a look at the face climbs but there was deep snow to get to them with windslab on top. Unstable layers and did not fancy the top out slope or exit through slumping cornices so ended up on Swirral/Striding. Visibility dire on the top and on the edges.
Should be fitter though as we took the gear for a walk on Saturday. Scrubby crag was awful with deep soft snow and some big fresh avalanches at the far end of Scrubby. (E - NE aspect)
There is great deal of fresh snow but think next weekend is set for wind and rain. Ah well
Sunday we were out Red Tarn/Helvellyn (running training for our MRT including snow pack assessment and avalanche search and recovery...hence the detail). New snowfall is at 20-90cm depth and at the base of gully 1 with full depth (surprisingly) good stability. Pretty representative of the recent falls. Evidence on the old neve (isolated areas in gullies and high up) of a shallow instability layer of sugar snow, accounting for some of the isolated patches of debris. Extensive and substantial cornices ...some of these now being in filled ...but quite a few have infilled the underlying fractured ones from earlier in the week. Ridges, summit and plateau very alpine and quiet, few parties choosing to turn back before the top...we passed somebody walking down from red tarn in baseball boots.
All in all full winteriness is back and continuing this week for a brilliant continuation of the season :-)
What a difference and hour makes.
Did you get to see how much snow there was on Dow Crag?
> Did you get to see how much snow there was on Dow Crag?
> I was starting to get that feeling myself! I
There was deep snow on top of Dow & the gullies (eg Great Gully, Easy Gully) were laden with deep wet snow & also corniced. But having said that there was plenty of black rock visible too due to above-zero daytime temperatures. This was all on Saturday - looking over at Dow / Old Man this evening (Monday 18:20) the whole place appears plastered in further snowfall from Sunday & this morning. Rarely ever seen it so white.
Awesome. Thanks, I've been trying not to think about certain classics on there this weekend but a covering of wet snow followed by some sun and more snow on a strong SE make me think it could be worth some serious consideration!
Are you saying the scree and boulders are buried too?
I'm currently trying to disbelieve forecasts of a thaw lasting from Friday lunchtime until Sunday...
Latest Met forecast is 900m FL sat (and dry) and 400m FL sun with a good strong SE wind...
> Are you saying the scree and boulders are buried too?
It was low visibility but the whole cove was covered.
Few shots and some info from today on here -
Great End, anyone been up for a look.....
Odds of this lasting til next weekend? Please Sky Gods!
You were very brave to wade up Skew Gill with the mrs after the ammount of snow put down on Sunday, glad you all came out unhurt and hopefully a lesson learned.
Here it comes again...(not that we lost any momentum this week :-))... friday a yellow warning NW with amber (poss 10-15cm) cheshire/south mersey and Saturday yellow also...
Weatherline is still posting updates from top of helvellyn gathered by the assessors who gi up everyday. It's not the same as sais reports but does give an idea of snow conditions, wind speed, strength and temperatures.
we made our way up towards Brown Cove Crags today... very very windy with lots of spin coming over the top of Helvellyn, realizing that the gullies would be banged out with powder and slab and the wind was forecast to increase we retreated.
Its very possible that the snow has been moved by the wind onto the west facing slopes, but with more forecast over the next day or two and very windy for a good few days after that , it could be a while before we have a little freeze thaw cycle to settle things down again.
I'm not bothering with the Lakes this weekend due to the avalanche risk. Only slopes that have been exposed to the wind, i.e. S through to E may be scoured. All other slopes (especially above 500m) I would say were 'avalanche city'. Could be some good conditions in May ;-)
Went upto Red Scree's north cove today and climbed on the Crag looking down into Patterdale, slopes had a slight build up of wind slab under the crag, but it was mostly stable. Descended down the gully on the opposite side of the mountain looking into Ambleside/Lake Windermere, all snow stable, wind blown and hard. Good glissade down what would have been the Red Screes.
Wind blowing from the South East tonight.
By the look of the forecast, it will be windslab & danger... but some places will be ok.
Anybody know what road conditions are like around Troutbeck now please??
Due to drive up from Blackburn in the next couple of hours.
fyi yesterday a 100m wide and 30m long slab avalanche was triggered in the Howgills within 100m of the road...
Up by Red Tarn yesterday, gullies snowed out but Striding Edge fantastic! Difficult windy conditions on Helvellyn summit.
snowing pretty hard in ambleside at the moment. roads are o.k though
Given the amount of snow and strength of winds I'd say it's a good weekend for low-level navigation practice - but stay aware of avalanche risks.
We were planning another trip over, but the A66 is currently shut, and it looks like getting worse before it gets better :-(
I've got some ideas,(one of them is a chimney not far to the right of where we last met up,) - def' not a sure bet, but if you change your mind feel free to e-mail.
Yes, I'd thought about that. Although I'd prefer it to have some neve on I think, which it might have firmed up a bit after the warmth on Tue and E wind. I'm not travelling up this weekend now though. All transpennine routes are either dodgy or closed. Having a rest before the Easter hols next week!
Hopefully conditions should settle abit and this easterly should do some good things that make driving round to Wasdale worthwhile!
Hope you get something good done this weekend. I'm going to play in the peak.
p.s this is the true depth not an exaggeration... Lovely :)
Comments in the logbook on here, and what I've been told, lead me to believe it's mostly turf, but more like V 6. We'll see - it looks like sunday's plan now.
If you're in Wasdale, and it's in, over Easter and don't mind an extra tagging along I'd be keen.
No snow in Kendal but last night tried to get over the pass and a camper was blocking the road just after Limefit Caravan Park with snow drifts all around it, fast turn around was in order, then tried to get over Dunmail Raise couldn't even reach the bottom of it the snow was that thick, i think i will have a day off today sped it with the mrs and head out tomorrow for some nice winter walking,
Anyone know how much snow's fallen in the Northern Lakes? If the A66 opens in time we might head over for a walk.
Potentially really quite a lot....
Main roads are mainly open (but problems on A66 between Keswick and Cockermouth because of fallen tree), minor and high level routes often closed (eg Loweswater only accessible by 4x4). So don't necessarily expect to be able to get close to a lot of stuff easily.
There have been strong winds and lots of drifting low down, so presumably much more so high up.
Thanks. We might give it a miss - not sure I can be bothered with yet another walk up Blencathra!
I think the whole Lakes is plastered mate, Blencathra yesterday looked the whitest i have ever seen it. All main roads should be open now, any high roads will be completely impassible. Kirkstone Pass was shut officially at the Queens Head last night, but shut well before that due to a large camper in drifts blocking the road, was a hell of a night for a drive about but saw some of the most arctic conditions i have ever seen, the whole Lakes was like been on top of the Cairngorm plateau in a blizzard, great for March 22nd.
Even some of the main roads (eg A591 over Dunmail Raise) are currently struggling to be kept open because of the amount of drifting in the strong winds.
Or, looking at things positively, many lakes holiday cottages are currently able to offer ski in, ski out accommodation ;-)
Looks good for the next couple of weeks, unfortunately (?) we'll be in Scotland and then Spain. Can't see it lasting until May!
What are the roads around coniston and langdale like at the minute...?
> What are the roads around coniston and langdale like at the minute...?
Avoid, south lakes is pretty bad;
hells bells! thought we had it bad in yorkshire...!
ok, thanks folks, will give it a miss and hope that by the first weekend in april this has all turned to perfect neve...!
<fingers crossed for the next 2 weeks>
just done 8 callouts back to back 24 hours continuosly...thawing where there is no wind freezing off higher up in the wind, 8ft drifts here...last night at 3 in the morning i think we must have been at about minus 20C.
In reply to heidi123:
mountain rescue...having a snooze on couch before the expected SARCALL this evening...
All the A roads are passible, just done a big round of the Lakes over Dunmail, round to Penrith on the A66 and back down the motorway and over Shap, some amazing sights to be seen, most of the snow is held up in massive cornices at low levels, what you can seee high up is plastered, there is a fairly big cornice over the side of the road on the north side of Dumail Raise aswell as along the motorway heading north between penrith and Shap, one side of the walls are bare and at the other side there is 10 foot of snow, crazy never seen anything like it here in the Lakes, surely this winter has to give 9/10 a run for it's money????
Just what I was thinking! Sitting here looking out on no snow whatever and people talking about waist deep drifts only half an hour's drive away. And the same to the south of us (nr Milnthorpe). Don't know if it was a mistake but the BBC NW news on TV last night was talking about problems on the M6 near Carnforth! Can't believe it.
main problem has been the wind ...70-90 on high ground scouring everything and then dumping it...behind those pesky, walls and scarps. Seen cornices that would put those on the ben to shame in places where you wouldnt think they could form...
We attempted to get down Wasdale this morning but gave up, could barely open van doors in the valley. We had considered langdale, rare things will be plastered, but decided against it. Wind far too strong to be stopped belying in for any time. Stay safe if you do go out.
then at midnight in the same wind but feet of drifted snow...nuts day
If the RAC were involved you'd have more people to rescue!!!
Just before Christmas we broke down on the other side of the pennines from Penrith area where we live. I walked through rain to beg use of a phone in the shop queue at Raby Castle, and made the famous "A phonecall away from help" of which they boast. It was a wet day and when I mentioned the road had been wet they refused to come out. It was already close to dusk so our breakdown became a total crisis.
We had to beg help from strangers to get the car running enough to get to my brother's for the night and lots of help the next day to get various jumpstarts as we came back over the A66. OVER 24 HOURS to get home, the first and only time I've called for help since we joined in 2009!!!!!!
Who needs enemies with an organisation that will let you down like that after charging you through the nose?
Tried to get to a route early this morning but got stopped by the wind.
A66 was still shut all day. Open again now, just in time for the working week :-(
Even had Malc along to break trail and still got stopped! Just walking up from Dunmail.
Went up around low water beck today, long way off being in, still running and incomplete. Continued up to low water crag and up around percy's passage - some ice but not enough to climb. dug a few pits and some worrying instability in places below 700m. The top section had descent patches and no real cornice to speak of. Wind gusting 50 mph + and walking was very difficult on the summit. Lots of snow being blown around and massive drifting making walking difficult (waist deep snow in places!)Walna scar rd has a good 2/3ft of drifted snow filling it. On the plus the sun was out, it wasn't that cold and got to play out!
It was indeed the RAC and I was so worked up about it afterwards it made me ill. We had 2 kids in the car one of whom needs medication daily.
I couldn't stay on the borrowed phone to argue as my attempt to continue the conversation appeared to be going nowhere and I now had an emergency with dusk approaching to deal with rather than a breakdown, thanks to the rather expensive RAC - we feel as if we've been mugged and are looking for an alternative
well to get back on topic the wonderful conditions on Great End earlier in the month helped cheer us up!
Up in Pillar Cove yesterday. There was debris from a small avalanche high up (hard to tell how recent given how fast the snow's moving round in the wind), and a pit we dug on (N-ish facing? need to double check on map) had a slab on the top, 4-6 inch deep, that would slide fairly easily.
Snow depth is very variable - completely blown off some exposed slopes/ridges, drifted in stream beds, etc, giving soft snow you sink into to well above knees every step. And in other places high up, it's hard enough that crampons are essential unless you want to spend your whole day cutting steps....
Driving along the A66 again this morning - drifts a few feet high by the side of the road in places, but lower south facing slopes of Skiddaw and Blencathra stipped bare by wind/sun. So really very, very variable - but plenty of winter out there! Oh, and many minor roads still needing a lot of care and/or not yet passable in normal car, though hopefully that'll improve quickly over the next few days.
Had a walk in the Newlands valley and up onto Outerside for a look. The paths were ok but lots of wind blown powder about in the dips and hollows. the exposed areas are stripped but anything sheltered was holding snow.
bitterly cold with the biting wind chill.
images from the day at:
We did think about that, briefly, but it adds an extra hour each way, and we were only planning a day trip anyway. A 7 hour round trip with a low probability of finding good conditions was more than I could justify!
Of course in the event our race in the Peak on Sunday was cancelled, so we could have gone for the whole weekend.
very big windslab avalanche on skiddaw today...estimated at 150M-200M wide, 1-1.5M crown
I was just about to say I'd seen a photo on Facebook of an avalanche on Skiddaw......
Do you know on which aspect?
Pic I've seen said "West fork of How Gill", and suggested it was likely due to warming up in the sun. Will need to check map, but guessing southerly-ish...
Can't from phone, will try later from PC.
Windslab avalanche, South facing bowl (Howe Gill West), side loaded over the ridge on the right (east) over the weekend partially onto an area of old snow.
Estimated crown wall 1-1.5M high > 200M wide >30M long which would make it about 1500-3000 tonnes!
It looks like you can make out the older snow which has created the (instability) shear layer on which it propogated just below the crown (once it got going it has scoured down to the bare fell below the old snow patch).
looks to me the slope that avalanched was on SW aspect which would be expected given resent wind directions.
Yes, definitely where the snow build up has been from the wind, and also would have been in the sun yesterday.
The head wall is clearly visible from the A66.
As for gully climbing conditions I would hold off for a while longer.
Route tip for the weekend would be Blea Water gill assuming it stays cold.
Anyone any idea what conditions look like on red tarn and great end in the last day or two? Or opinions on grade three's worth looking at for this thursday/friday?
I haven't been out since Sunday, but I'd still be looking at ridges for the end of the week rather than gully lines. Pinnacle Rodge on Great Gable or some of the Green Gable buttresses maybe?
Green Gable Buttresses (as seen from a fair distance in Ennerdale) were certainly looking nicely white on Sunday.
Right buttress crack on brown cove crags was good today. Usual icy bulges around bottom of crags fun to play on as well.
Low Water Beck is ice top to bottom, but not currently climbable. Very brittle, wet and thin. A few days freeze could see it right though. I scrambled up mixed ground to the left at about grade 2. The tarn is frozen, and Low Water Crag was white, but I didn't go for closer inspection so can't comment on the snow or cornice. (Yesterday)
anyone checked out blea water recently?
just follow the massive queue :-(
where will this queue start from sir?
One of the many Raven crags...
its in needlesport in copies of a large format book
I've driven across the A66 (Cockermouth - Penrith) mon & tue at 9 am & 3pm. It's never been above 4 degrees, and sometimes down to freezing point, according to car (and there was certainly ice on back roads yesterday morning).
Snow level is very variable because of the drifting and sun. Certainly lots of cover over maybe 400m on most aspects, but equally still big drifts at ground level against walls, etc.
It has been snowing down to ground level today and yesterday but still turf at under 250m is not frozen at all. Not sure about higher, have been chained to a desk :(
> just follow the massive queue
I wouldn't worry about that. There's plenty going on that this site never gets to hear about.
Sssshhhh. Don't tell them!
So... Up on my loansome for the weekend and thinking it would be nice to solo a grade 1/II gully somewhere, any advice?
But whenever a specific route does get mentioned on here (usually the day before I've planned on climbing it), it's immediately swarming with people hacking it to bits.
This time in doesn't affect me - we're off to Braemar to fail to get to any of the crags due to snow drifts :-)
The obvious ones are all in the guide book, but there is not a great deal of info on snow condition at the mo'. If I was you I'd have a few ideas, maybe on different aspects, and then look back here Friday night, (given people will be out climbing on Good Friday,) and see what's been done / what's been done near where you want to go.
As Exile said. Pick somewhere with different options so you know you'll get something done. Also look at the aspect (in the guidebook) as the late March sunshine...
I was going to give a similar reply...
Lots of deep snow out there, but also plenty scoured slopes almost snow free. Lots of ice forming too.
Don't know, but Black Crag icefall comes in more quickly than Inaccessible Gully. Shalthwaite Ghyll has been done so they could be worth a look.
> Don't know, but Black Crag icefall comes in more quickly than Inaccessible Gully. Shalthwaite Ghyll has been done so they could be worth a look.
Black crag icefall SE facing. Innaccessible needs a lot of freeze thaw with a FL fluctuating around 600m. Doubt they'll be in but I could be wrong!
I did Inaccessible gully with an experienced Scottish climber who thought it was harder than any V he'd done. It's certainly not the same grade as Chock gully, harder climbing with less reliable gear when I did it in 2009.
cheers joe, raven crag gully was in great nick today, well the top pitch anyway, bottom 2 were a wee bit thin.
Looks good...roll on blue sky and no wind for tomorrow :p
Will keep it flexible and judge the conditions when we get there though. I've known the weather forecast to be wrong before...
You can do condition reports without having to name routes or crags.
Did inaccessible gully in 2010. It was in its usual thin condition and certainly a hard 5. I saw it in the early 80s in properly full iced condition and it looked more like a grade 4. But that's a rare occurrence.
> You can do condition reports without having to name routes or crags.
Err.....how or why? Does that not defeat the object of this thread?
"fantastic winter conditions in the Lakes, but I'm not going to tell you where"
Lets please keep this about winter climbing in the Lakes rather than if we should or should not be posting conditions on a conditions thread, and how exact / vague these reports should be. If you want to discuss that then please could you start a new thread? Thanks.
Fairy nuff :)
Tips for the weekend:
Climb at lesser known venues
Climb harder than grade III or IV and you probably wont encounter queues
Avoid bowfell buttress, viking buttress, great end - central gully.
Coms on guys it's a conditons thread if you don't like it don't get involved and keep the thread for the sharing conditions sort of people, start your own with codes so noone knows what your on about or even better don't even report it on the net at all.
Helvellyn will be quiet as mouse if everybody assumes it wont be ...
Climbed Blea water Gill today. The ice is good but there is a lot of soft snow on the slopes between the pitches. No doubt this will be soon stepped out.
OK then, let the Easter hordes in and kick the f**k out of it! Happy Easter!
Snow on Striding Edge is mixed, soft in places, hard in others, didn't inspire the confidence that swirral edge did. The exit ramp is frozen solid. Swirral edge was good snow, compact. Plenty of snow and some big drifts on the paths up. Finally the wind stayed low enough for me to get this ticked off!
Just spotted this photo, was taken a few minutes after we summited (that's not us, but they were behind us)
Helvellyn Red Tarn area very quiet today only saw one other team and a soloist, even the edges were quiet, did gully no.2 and descended Striding Edge, approach slopes were still quite soft and areas of windslab to avoid but once in the gully it is ice with 3 inch of soft snow on top all the way to about 10m below the cornice, were it changes to sugary shite, not very nice for topping out.
Absolutley amazing today, blue skies and deep snow, ice everywhere, done the edges over 20 times and yet today they were the most fascinating i have ever seen, Striding Edge actually as it's own cornice running the lentgh of it, and no rock hardly visible at all which makes it easier than with no snow on it. So glad to live in the Lakes, Great End tomorrow!!!!!
I do agree Wesley about the snow conditions today - there are some amazing wind-made sculptings around, rather rare for this part of the world.
> Helvellyn Red Tarn area very quiet today only saw one other team and a soloist, even the edges were quiet,
You probably saw me, did a few lines on Brown Cove crags too, Red Tarn in much nicer nick if you're going tomorrow. lots of ice here and there that i've never seen before and some really really nice conditions.
Going to look at Inaccessible Gully tomorrow - hope its in !
What altitude/aspect is black crag icefall ?
For any chance of Inaccessible Gully you might want to be there at daybreak. It gets sunshine very early which can render it unclimbable. I did it in immaculate early-morning conditions in 2010 (http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=137188) but a party that turned up 90 minutes later had to turn away due to meltdown.
Black Crag Icefall is much lower down & also faces the sun...
Scrubby routes that looked in:
Tongue and groove.
Did you notice if the ice was in on the upper pitch of heorot/Grendel?
Thanks for the info
Ok, cheers Jon.
We were up on Shelter crag yesterday.Snow was horrible sugary stuff all the way up, no neve and very little ice. Will be looking elsewhere on Monday!
Considering heading up Blencathra on Monday, from either Threlkeld or Scales, possibly with the inclusion of Sharp edge.
Anybody been up there in the last day or two? What are the snow conditions like on the various aspects?
Are we likely just to be floundering around in powder all day?
Did Great Gully with the Right Hand finish yesterday and had it to ourselves. Northern Mountain Monkey from this shire did it today. If you go for it get an early start as the bottom pitch and a half were a bit delecate when we did them, we started climbing at 6.15am.
It is one of the best routes I've done in the Lakes, great climbing for the most part, and including the easy snow at the top we did nine pitches.
Did Skew Gill and Cust's Gully today, seriously banked out, very easy and very pleasant, beginner friendly even compared to usual. Once again a fantastic day out in the Lakes with blue skies and views to die for, lots of people topping out on Great End having completed, Central Gully, South East Gully and Window Gully, all reported good conditions with fat ice and a mixture of neve and sugary stuff and the odd patch of windslab. The snow pack seems to be firming up now and if these conditons continue it's going to take a long time to thaw out. Skew Gill must be 30ft deep judging off how far off the top of the ravine compared to usual you are??? Cust's as well never been up it so close to the top chockstone
> Anybody been up there in the last day or two?
Yesterday afternoon (Friday) a pal and I walked round the Bowscale-Bannerdale-Souther loop from Mungrisdale. We were in snow from quite low down and from 400m or so it was more or less complete cover, although pretty thin in places. Up top around the 700m contour there were some large patches of good firm stuff, especially along the top of Bannerdale Crags. Hardly any sloggy snow at all the softer stuff when encountered was never very deep. We didnt take axes or crampons and never wished for them, but we both felt that anywhere even slightly higher say from 750m or generally steeper would be a crampon job for sure. So Blencathra which was looking fantastic would fit the bill, assuming conditions are much the same come Monday.
The latest I climbed Central gully was 8th May 1993 and I had to cross about 15 feet of snow at the top to reach dry land. Mind you it was looking a bit dirty by then! I experienced ankle deep snow around 20th Oct 1992 on top of Great End - will be interesting to see what happens this year
Great conditions on Brown Cove Crags yesterday.
2 pairs on Left Branch, one team on Left parallel Gully and we did Central Gully - not exactly Picadilly Circus given Saturday of Easter Weekend!
Gully went from soft powder to perfect neve back to sugary stuff about every 5 steps, but great fun all the way to the top.
Thinking of Custs Gully on Tuesday. Any comments about conditions on Sunday or Monday would be gratefully read. Ta!
get there as early as you can so its frozen and hopefully quiet. there was no-one there this morning.
Wow, my original post was at over a month ago and look at the conditions today!!!! Let's hope the temperatures stay low....
had a good day out on sat - lots of neve forming on green gable where exposed to the wind. Gable Crag looked good. then down to sty head and up skew gill and custs. like other posters have said nice conditions and firm snow. then off to scafell pike and west wall traverse/deep gill to scafell. some rather disconcerting snow on the west wall traverse which broke away when traversing. lots of rime on walls bounding deep gill. then down to wasdale and up red pike. some little icefalls on cover up to black crag and plenty of cover around red pike/scoat fell. very little snow to west from there. finished over pillar and back to honister. felt a bit shattered after dragging my camera gear round that, but this weekend really has been special for easter.
The far right icefall at Hanging Knotts looked amazing, but we noticed a unique challenge for aspiring ascentionists; a sort of ice 'chute' protruding over a metre from the top of the fall. Not seen anything like it before.
Good effort, how long did it take you?
Had a very quiet day yesterday out on Helvellyn, Striding Edge now has a track across the snow but is still superb. The open snow slopes still have a covering of slab and the gullies are a mix of neve, slab, powder and sugar snow. The buttresses looked to be in good nick but didn't get up close.
Red Tarn Cove was empty of climbers, a few were on Brown Cove Crags.
The climbing isn't perfect ....yet ...still a sublime day to be out in the mountains....long may it continue
Did Great Gully Right Hand on Saturday, we were the only people on it and it was excellent. The first 2 pitches were a bit necky but climbable and the ice above was excellent. Lost count of how many pitches, one of the best winter routes in the UK for sure.
Did Newlands Hause yesterday, it's a bit hollow. The left side is better than the right.
Went to look at Force Crag very early this morning but it has lost chunks and is no longer in nick sadly. We climbed the waterfall a bit to the left of it, which was a pleasant consolation.
> Had a very quiet day yesterday out on Helvellyn, Striding Edge now has a track across the snow but is still superb. The open snow slopes still have a covering of slab and the gullies are a mix of neve, slab, powder and sugar snow. The buttresses looked to be in good nick but didn't get up close.
> Red Tarn Cove was empty of climbers, a few were on Brown Cove Crags.
> The climbing isn't perfect ....yet ...still a sublime day to be out in the mountains....long may it continue
> images at
that should be
Did a variation of Buttress Route (II) on Red Screes Crag today, was going to do Rob's Icefall but couldn't get to it due to lots of windslab in the cove, the approach slopes in the north cove are extremely volatile, one minute you are on neve and one step later you are in chest deep windslab, we abondaned our attempt and took the only route we could get to safely, which was a very pleasant variation so overall pleased with the day and then a perfect glissade down the full length of the far right gully in the east cove.
In my opinion the Kilnshaw Chimney will be fine due to it's apsect and looked in to me, also the exit wasn't too loaded either but make your own evaluation when you get there but it is definitely worth a shot.
No problem, Report back if you can as i was going to give it a shot on Wednesady night!
Climbed Raven Gully diret finish on Red Screes today - Kilnshaw Looked fine.
It's official - this season I've climbed in the Lakes in Dec', Jan' Feb' Mar and April - and still it goes on!
I did November too (i you can count Striding Edge in deep powder) so i have climbed for a six month season in the Lakes this year
Wesley, if you are ever in a pub in the Lakes and i'm in there make yourself known as your drinks are on me all night.
The info you've provided on this thread has been superb!
If you are short of a partner anytime get in touch.
I live South lakes so am handy when not working ??
PS - sent you a mail.
Jim you are a keen beggar.
Anyone been to look at Inaccessible Gully on Dove Crag ?
any info would be great.
Was one of the first (actually I think the first or 2nd) on Great end on yesterday.
Don't know much about conditions except to say both Central and Cust's gully were in good nick, solid ice on Central in a couple of steps which proved too much for the party with a dog and turf where exposed was well frozen too.
If you were the two guys I soloed past cheers for letting me nip by.
Hi Ken, thanks for you kind comments!
Hi Jim, cheers for the offer, sent you an email back :-)
It's not over yet........
Did V corner (Red tarn cove) on Monday, Conditions were good, plenty of ice under a small dusting of snow, however there were very short sections where the snow had drifted and it was quite deep and felt a bit unstable. An early start would be preferable to get the safest conditions. On the summit we were greeted by 2 guys wearing jeans and trainers who asked us if we had abseiled up the mountain?? On a high note we also met the fell top assessor it was his last day of the season. In all a great day, just hope it stays cold.
Going to have a think about what's next. Quite fancy some easy Grade 1 gullies (I'm soloing and only have walking axe/crampons).
On the summit we were greeted by 2 guys wearing jeans and trainers who asked us if we had abseiled up the mountain??
Out today Helvellyn area. Plenty of snow left but soft and sugary up to about 2300-2500ft.
I was on the summit of Red Screes yesterday and 80 - 90% sure I was looking in the right place for Inaccessible as I've also not done it yet. If I was looking in the right place it's not in - love to be proven wrong though!
Blea water gill today -ice was in very good condition, especially the upper icefall. Soft snow outside the beaten track link ups.
Well, I hope to get LOADS done this summer (and what's left of winter ??)
Just need a few partners to climb with pal :)
Cheers Wesley but just realised I've changed my e-mail recently - try again with the new one ??
You didn't take notice of any of our advice when we said that the slope you were about to tackle was quite steep, your dog fell down the approach and wasn't looking too happy at all. And you still continued with no axe or crampons.
The swearing and general ignorance didn't help when you asked for a F***ing Ice axe either.
Choosing when to turn back is one of the most important decisions that you can make on the mountain.
Isnt this a conditions, not a circumstance Post ???
Great conditions at Great End today. Did custs gully, brilliant snow
dove crag gully
first pitch thin and we avoided via pitch one and two of chicken variation
back into gully and climbed the crux pitch which was fat
Hope you and your son had a good day otherwise.
Been up red tarn Helvellyn today and all the gullies are in. Maybe keep clear of the bowls for decent as there is a dodge layer in the snow pack at about 5 cm.
On Monday I shot up a load of the lines around red screes from the pub at the top of the struggle. Kilnshaw is ok. Robs ice fall has some good ice but best to approach down from the saddle to middle Dodd as there is an accumulation of soft snow on NE aspects.
Raven gully is spot on.
jesus man, use some punctuation!
jesus wept........wots the world coming to.
I think i may have spoke you in the car park at Kirkstone, did you set off quite late on your own?
I'm the guy who advised you that the gully was steep and icy and suggested that it was not suitable to climb with running shoes, not to mention your little dog who was clearly terrified after falling down the approach.
We weren't laughing at or filming you; not sure where you got that from, just concerned for your safety!
'only time i swore was after you had said no' Not sure about that, but you did shout rather aggressively to stop 'throwing snow' down at you while we were descending Custs. We weren't throwing snow! just the usual spindrift you would expect if there are people climbing above you.
'Not all runners can't climb as I proved with or without gear' You seriously need to take a long time to ponder you ego problems otherwise you may end up dead, You got lucky this time!
If so get a grip and take responsibility for your own actions.
Anyone know if Force Crag is still in? Looking to get out very early tomorrow morning.
Ok. Thanks for the tip.
Anyone seen how white Scafell crag is at the moment?
Was there much water running down it?
Can anyone tell me if gully lines on Brown Cove Crags have gone soft or are still playable?
Have sorted a trip out tomorrow and need to know which side of the hill to head for. Can do either, but would like to go up the west side, but would like to maximise my efforts for not such young limbs.
Tues-Window and Left Branch both in fine fettle...affected by traffic but still good
Overnight- snow hole (just to the left up the snowed in beck after you crest out coming up Grains Gill)...bookings for the summer being taken for it at laterooms.com
Wed-South East-Great with one steep pitch of ice in the usual place...a bit harder than usual...Belting alpine conditions, clear blue, piercing sunlight.
Down to climb on Shepherds (bumped in Lakes climbing legend Rick Graham so we shared a rope on climbs had been looking down on from a snowy belay just a few hours earlier). Can confirm the Shepherds Cafe is in nick.
Skiving off to Ravens Tomorrow so will report back.
very probably...its still very cold and left doesn't catch the sun...
Sorry to disappoint but gravity kind of made the going a bit tricky, it just wasn't in. We could have done with a vortex but that wasn't to be and the force was not strong with us that day so we had to revert to the more traditional method of pogo stick.
A mate did Ravens today. I quote his report as " all pitches 4 - all thin and bold except top."
> Was there much water running down it?
(Dove crag gully)
it was fine on tuesday afternoon
pitch one dry and thin
crux pitch - some seepage (wet gloves)but ice was fat and in good nick
we weren't sure if anything would be climbable when we left the valley at about 7 degrees however there was no free water at bottom of the crag and it quickly turned gloves to ice on the summit - big wind chill on top
A bracing -4 on the cumbrian coast, clouds on the fells atm.
This is a perfect example of why punctuation matters.
A photo would be brilliant if you have one (trying to convince my mate it's worth the extra drive so we don't end up back at Helvellyn, again!).
Nice one SG!
Does any know what the conditions are like on hart crag and green how end?
> Does any know what the conditions are like on hart crag and green how end?
Was up there this week - loads of ice out of the sun.
Was out again yesterday and climbed Great Gully Right Hand. First pitch of main gully was wet but rest was superb.
Has to be a contender for the best value ice climb in the lakes.
Was at bleawater today.
Blea water Gill was still fat with ice but sounding hollow in places and water could be heard running behind it,missed the first pitch out.
birketts gully had a small stream running out of the bottom of the first pitch and the snow on the next pitch up was very soft. Traversed in to the upper pitches and the ice was fine. Imagine it will get worse with the current temps.
Had Helvellyn to myself today. Bit windy mind, particularly going over the top.
A few were out on Brown Cove Crags, but that was really in the wind.
Great day today on Great End. Window gully still in fine nick with fat ice though snow soft between the ice pitches. Middle fall hard water ice and quite steep. Right hand exit looked more like an easy ramp but still good ice.
Did moss ghyll today. Quite thin conditions. Although snow was bomber on approach there were patches of powder on the route which made some moves very insecure. Found the traverse back into the gully after tennis court wall quite tough. Just enough ice on collie step for it to go.
Lords rake looks great, it was a fantastic blue sky day today and I saw a team of 4 set off up it.
We were going to do great western but buttress was pretty bare so stayed in gully.
Had hoped to do great gully on the screes but decided it would not be fit. On the drive out this aft it looked as though it was hanging in.
Raven Crag Gully Today (probably the 363rd ascent since last friday...parties 364 and 365 just behind)...still very good...thin bottom pitch, chockstone pitch lead in ice good, then rocky exit, main pitch beltin fat ice all the way. Should be good for weekend still.
cup of tea then over to Trough Gill which is now unhealthy.
I figure the snow should have consolidated a bit since last weekend?
Mostly good on Red Scree's, but highly variable. Got better the higher up you get and on steeper ground. It has not been through a proper freeze/thaw in the last week though. Ice was excellent for the most part.
Two questions Simon:
What grade would you put Raven Crag Gully at? Lot of people putting it at III in the logbook.
Any more detail on Trough Gully? Was thinking of heading over there tomorrow. Had man flu and am going stir crazy reading all the routes being done...
Did Raven Crag on Wed. I'd put the mixed ramps on the 2nd pich as a fiddly III+ because the ice was thin and you were using small hooks/bits of turf/anything to get some purchase and avoid a barn door effect. The chockstone pitch was easy III with ice for the first half and then I ended up letting the axes dangle and rock climbed the top. Final pitch was superb, 35-40m of ice and 6 screws (much longer than the 25m in guidebook) and to me felt III+/IV-, because of its length and airy finish (mind you I did take the v airy option of traversing right and stepping on to the chandelier!). Its well stepped out but I'd say it's harder than the II/III that's been mooted. Just my opinion but I lead up to IV.
Cheers for that. I was thinking of going for a solo but I'm only confident of doing that on solid III's in good nick. Sounds like it might be a wee bit harder than that.
I think we (me and missus) talked to you on Weds as you were heading off - you pointed us in right direction for Cust's - much appreciated! It was all fine, and top views from the summit.
Hope you get your May route in!!
cheers yes it was us, andy had to dash off but in 2 and half days have enjoyed both winter and rock routes with 19 stars and 3500+ climbing which is very :-)...hope you enjoyed the classic alpine day.
raven crag gully now at IV (easy way to index a route like this is to ask what would you give SEG ...which is not II...) bottom pitch is tech IV, and though stepped out top pitch is sufficiently long with the 'hardest' move at the top and reliant on screws to warrant IV
Tough Gully water running underneath and falling down quickly ...and has a gap in the middle.
Blea water sounds like its still a goer from a mate.
Wow can we get any more alpine like days into this winter? Another amazing day today in the Lakes with perfect visibility and some pretty good routes too, did Central Gully, down Cust's and back up Branch Gully, a fantastic day on Great End and met lots of friendly ukcer's too. Snow was getting a bit soft in the sun on the top out and a bit sugary up most of the gully too, but the ice is perfect at the moment taking all lengths of screws.
Have fun out there because their ain't long left of this season!!!!!!
An accurate grade for Raven Crag Gully is III/IV. People should use split grades more IMHO.
i must add a rather large avalanche came down central Gully from the right arete just above the crux of right branch about 2 mins after we passed, it would of took us right out and was caused by the sun on the right hand side slopes, be careful on sun lit slopes, it only left a small scar but was fairly epic to be so close too.
There's probably more left than you think - at least another week of subzero temperatures currently forecast
1. There isn't an 'accurate' grade for winter routes ...you know they vary and are graded for best conditions and are there as a guide.
2. and III/IV is just an inability to grade using the scope of the current grading system...
3. But hell what what do we know...we just go climbing...
Instead I had a nice walk and got totally sunburnt!
A quick update from today on Great End. Amazing weather, views and conditions and still plenty to go at: http://www.lakelandascents.co.uk/2013/04/great-end-in-amazing-conditions-ice-and-winter-climbing/
We did it without consulting the guide and discussed what grade we thought it was after. We came to the conclusion it would have been a bit of a sandbag at III, whilst at IV you would need to tell your mates down the pub it was 'soft touch'. Difficulty can vary with conditions too, so I have to side with Northern Mountain Monkey on this one.
I was in the gully to the right of Falcon Crag, onto Dollywagon though. Echoing the "take care" as there was signiicant rock fall from the right side of the gully that was baked in sun.
A very warm day with t-shirts on most of the day. The snow on main paths and slopes in the sun pretty much gone now (up to Grisedale Tarn). St.Sunday Crag looked good though, not sure of actual ground conditions but still covered in plenty of snow.
Fair enough I tend to use the grades used in guidebooks and don't have any with III/IV used so its either hard III or easy IV (which is what we plumped for mainly based on the first pitch and screw only protection for the long top pitch)...and given SEG, Twisting, SC are bench mark III. Both Al and I have soloed it in the past when Raven is fat III and 'at grade'. Notably different from then is that axe technology and vertical cramp points make it easier. It matters little its a pleasant amble.
Fair enough I tend to use the grades used in guidebooks ...which day did you climb it btw? http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=108286 is classic III conditions by the looks...?
My grades in order of difficulty for some of the classics:
Central Gully Left Hand: III
South East Gully, (taking the corner direct,): III, but harder, and better, than Central Left Hand
Raven Crag Gully: III/IV
Chock Gully: IV 5
Dove Crag Gully: IV/V 5
Great Gully, right hand finish: V 5
Moss Ghyll: IV 5/6
Steep Ghyll: V 5 (we didn't have prime condition for this.)
Bowfell Buttress: V 6
Went up Red Screes today, Left Hand Raven Crag Gully not in, did Kilnshaw Chimney also not in, went round to the North Cove lots of snow left but needs a good re-freeze all snow slushy and all ice dripping and unattached. Need to go very high at the moment to find anything left in. I personally feel it's all over :-(
Temps much higher than predicted by met office, got 12 degrees on my van thermometer today.
> My grades in order of difficulty for some of the classics:
> Central Gully Left Hand: III
> Bowfell Buttress: V 6
Shoulthwaite Ghyll: IV 4
Viking Buttress LH: V 6
> My grades in order of difficulty for some of the classics:
> Central Gully Left Hand: III
> Steep Ghyll: V 5 (we didn't have prime condition for this.)
> Bowfell Buttress: V 6
Not done these 3 yet.
We ran Raven Crag Gully as three pitches, so I think the way we did it our first pitch was the guide book pitches 1, 2 & 3(?) Felt a little too hard and sustained for III on the day.
Chock Gully was thin when we did it, but the only moves of 5 were the ones from under the chock stone with bomber gear right there. We didn't do the introductory pitches though.
I wouldn't argue with your grade for Moss Ghyll, it's actually what I thought on the day. However Steep Ghyll is harder, but I don't think its VI, which is why, (along with the reltively short lived nature of the difficulties on MG,) I gave it IV above. A bit of a round about way to grade a route I know!
Shoulthwaite Ghyll I've done twice - IV 4 in good nick, wouldn't argue with V 4 for one of my ascents though.
Only done the original line on Viking Buttress which I thought was IV 5.
For those who have done Inaccessible Gully would IV 6 be a good guess?
I thought the initial pitch of the right hand finish (we did a 30m pitch here) sneaked into 5
The 2nd pitch is very tricky (definitely 5) in 'mixed' conditions hence V overall IMO!
Hi Wesley, after I spoke to you at the bottom of Custs on Saturday, my mate and I waited for the threat of human avalanche to pass (the 6 numpties ascending branch gully with out axe or crampons) we went up branch and started to descended Custs I heard a crunch in the snow, I looked up and it was no other than Alan Hinkes. Sorry for the expletives Alan but you did give me a shock. Great day all around.
Inaccessible Gully: IV back in the day, suppose still that, just a move or two at the top of the ice to give food for thought. Then there's the chockstone, which is slightly harder thn the one on Chock Gully. I did them both the same day and there didn't seem much between them.
Raven Crag Gully; III/IV seems fine to me, I was one of the first teams up it this year and though it was hard III soft IV.
Chock Gully; felt solid V 5 to me
Not done Dove, Great, Moss, Steep, Bowfell (yet...)
Viking LH; no way V, far to short. Felt as hard as Two Grooves on Brown Cove, so IV 5/6 I think.
> My grades in order of difficulty for some of the classics:
> Central Gully Left Hand: III
> South East Gully, (taking the corner direct,): III, but harder, and better, than Central Left Hand
Done them but can't remember anything about the grade - a long time ago!
Probably about right - III in normal fat conditions, IV when thin.
> Dove Crag Gully: IV/V 5
Agree with these - short crux sections
Not done this.
Probably the hardest in this list! However it's the only one where I wasn't using dropped picks.
I'd say V 4 for Steep Gill, it's serious rather than technical. Done it a couple of times and I've never found that much gear.
Possibly - meant to be harder than Fallout Corner in Coire an Lochain.
Hardest gully that I've done in the Lakes is Robinson's Gully, to the right of Dove Crag Gully, tenuous climbing with very little gear: VI 6
Yeah, I'm intrigued by Robinson's Gully - both times I've climbed on the crag, once doing Dove Crag Gully and once Chicken Out, it appeared to be nowhere near in condition. I'd be interested in what weather / freezing paterns you think brings it in?
There is a move in the top chimney on Bowfell Buttress that is as hard ar anything on Fallout Corner, (I've heard the comparison you make from an Ambleside shop owner of the 80s and 90s, possibly the same person?) but you can easily step around it to the right as the Summer line does.
When I did Dove Crag Gully it was fully formed so possibly something similar. I've only been to the crag once so can't really come to any conclusions about the conditions there. I think we just decided to have a look "because we are here now". From memory (we are going back nearly 30 years now) it was mainly bridging and back and footing with sod all gear worthy of the name - I ran the two pitches described in the logbooks here together.
Bowfell Buttress/Fallout Corner - yes same person.
Had a fantastic day on Saturday climbed Catsty Cam Gully to warm up, slighty soft near the top, then onto Helvellyn to climb no 2 and no 1 gullies.
Both in good condition and worth a visit.
Back down Striding Edge, still covered in snow,
Nethermost Gully looked to be in good condition from 100m away.
Hope these Alpine conditions continue for a week or two yet.....
A few images on the blog at.
Some really good ice formations at the base of the crag. Good snow in the gullies too
Having said this it is in suprising well though, we had a superb day and it will stay in until this warmer weather comes in for the weekend.
The only thing is we were the only climbers on the face all day
10 degrees North Lakes at 900 feet today, little wind, sunny, hills looking hazy and ghostly white, ice may hang on a while at high level.
Anyone been anywhere near the kentmere horseshoe? thinking of going for a run friday but dont fancy it if its too icy/snowy
Aprreciate its not exactly climbing but it does relate to winter conditions :)
Soloed Central Gully Gt End today. Excellent conditions and beautiful day. Good neve in central runnel which is the line of an old avalanche. Plenty of ice, left hand looks fat SE and Window good too. Did some ice falls in Grains Ghyll on the way down.
Cracking day out.
Where on this photo is there a grade 5 move?
There are hands off rests after every move with a couple of large ledges & good screws. Bit of a thrutch at the start in a narrow chimney groove but can't fall out then a good ledge and bridging up to good ledge at top icicle. Thread & screw runner level with you as you step right. Only one steep move on this step right from the top icicle to another big ledge.
In past years it may have had more hooks but been steeper. Always however seems to have good rests and
I thought the bottom thrutch was 5. It's certainly no easier, (although shorter,) than the cruxes of many of the Scottish V 5s I've done. (Eg Point five, Orion, Hadrians, Vanishing, Minus Two, Indicator Wall Right Hand, Last Post, Peter Pan Direct) and on a par with the harder V 5s I've done, (Centre Post Direct, Smith Route by the original finish, Poacher's Fall.)
For me 'bog standard' 4 is the crux of Comb Gully, Italian Right Hand, Observatory Buttress, Zero, Indicator Wall Left Hand, Quarts Vein Scoop, Grey Mare's Tail etc. The second pitch of DCG is presently harder than all these.
Having said all this I may just have been feeling jaded after leading the first pitch with a cold! :)
At the end of the day the route is great, in condition at the moment and, in my opinion, presently quite a lot harder than the advertised IV 4 in the new guide. If people go to do it as a result of my post I'd rather they felt it was easier than I say rather than getting strung out.
Cheers mate :)
Early start on Dollywagon Gully yesterday. Snow all the way, mostly good but the snow below the chock was pretty sugary. Mid step ice fine but top pitch all but gone, there was a very thin patchy slither up the groove that led to within feet of the top. Will not survive predicted temperatures (if it survived yesterday afternoons sun...). Had thought of it as a safe sheltered bet but forgot the top catches lots of sun. Went cragging today instead.
for what its worth, when we climbed this 10 days ago
bottom pitch - too thin for decent screws, hard for the grade, might well be 6
crux pitch - fat, good screws, some rests, grade probably as per guide book
Had a good day out soloing yesterday. Did Skew Gill direct finish (a nice 20m pitch of III). Window gully is currently II and must have about 8-10 foot of snow banking out the top icefall. Broad Crag gully is in good nick although it is solid III and made for a pokey solo. Well worth it's 2 stars though!
> My grades in order of difficulty for some of the classics:
> Central Gully Left Hand: III AGREE
> South East Gully, (taking the corner direct,): III, II/III
> Raven Crag Gully: III/IV AGREE
> Chock Gully: IV 5 AGREE
> Dove Crag Gully: IV/V 5 (see below)
> Great Gully, right hand finish: V 5 1 move gets 5
> Moss Ghyll: IV 5/6 Not done
> Steep Ghyll: V 5 AGREE - hats off to the FA. I thought this was a necky route.
Here's my thoughts on the Lakeland 'Wild card' routes. These routes can vary immensely, as let's face it, ice build up varies depending on snow amount, freeze-thaw cycles, wind direction and the nature of the bulges (no jokes please!)
West Waterfall gully? Lakeland IV (i.e. anywhere between IV and VI) It had a 5m section of vertical sheet of ice that was detached behind and only attached at either side with effectively no reasonable protection...
Inaccessible gully - seems to vary massively depending on ice build up, the nature of the bulges and how much you trust the gear! When I did it in 2009 (will try to post a photo) the ice column was bulging out at the top and very featured chandelier ice about 2ft wide. My Scottish mate who seconded said he couldn't of led it and he's solid on Scottish V. I haven't done a Scottish V that compares in difficulty/thinness. I would suggest V 6 in Feb 2009. So IV/V in the guidebook.
Dove Crag Gully - I could imagine that the first pitch could bank out a lot if the right amount of snow came on the right wind pattern and acutally be IV... However, I think the guidebook should be graded for most likely conditions rather than 'back in 63 this was...'. The 1st pitch had about 6m of plum vertical (if not steeper) with a couple of cm of ice and not thick enough for screws until you could rest you back against the side, therefore V,6. The second pitch bulged outward (not inward as in the picture linked above) with steep chandelier ice, so bridging was not really possible and supports my overall grading of IV/V. I did Clogwyn L branch (IV/V,5) the same season and DCG felt harder.
Let's face it, ice conditions can vary immensely and further supports the argument for split grades. DCG can occasionally be IV but more often is V, so IV/V in the guidebook seems fair. If guidebooks don't aim to provide the most accurate grade possible, then what's the point in them, you may aswell just get an OS map look at photos on the internet and get on with it. This would probably lead to much more MR call outs and then there'll be more media calls for limiting access to the hills.
So let's have some realistic grades that give people the best idea of what they may be about to climb! So concludes my essay
Fare enough - you guys must have been one of the first teams to do it this time round. - good effort for going to have a look.
> I thought the bottom thrutch was 5. It's certainly no easier, (although shorter,) than the cruxes of many of the Scottish V 5s I've done. (Eg Point five, Orion, Hadrians, Vanishing, Minus Two, Indicator Wall Right Hand, Last Post, Peter Pan Direct) and on a par with the harder V 5s I've done, (Centre Post Direct, Smith Route by the original finish, Poacher's Fall.)
> I've not done as many of those V's as you have Exile but I'd agree that Dove Crag Gully felt harder than some. Although short compared to the Ben and Meagaidh classics it's the hardest pitch on a grade V route I've ever done.
But as others have said, conditions can vary so much. I opened that photo link and couldn't believe the amount of ice on it compared to our ascent - almost looks twice as much.
>This would probably lead to much more MR call outs and then there'll be more media calls for limiting access to the hills.<
Quite agree ice can vary a lot and I was commenting as the routes are found at the moment. It seems there was only two days between Exiles ascent and mine on Dove crag, and not sure they change that much in 48 hours. The photo was taken on Saturday afternoon 6th April. I live right below the route so have seen it in many different conditions over 30 years. Think this year the 2nd pitch was the easiest I've seen it, I don't know any grade 5s where you can take you hands off after every move! While I agree the 1st pitch was looking thin and probably 6.
I couldn't / didn't want to take my hands off after every move on the thrutch, although, as I think you're intimating, there was probably only one or two moves where you needed to properly pull / hang on the arms.
We climbed the route on Tuesday - I'm not sure how much the route changed but there was certainly one ice screw hole I could see behind the bottom 'umbrella', (at the trutch,) that I couldn't possibly reach - the umbrella having lengthened in front of it. This may obviously not have been yours though.
I think somebody who was steady on IV 4, having done some of the routes I've suggested above, would find that pitch a grade harder.
Anyway - it will all be gone pretty soon - such are the vagaries and so rewards of Lakes winter climbing!
I thin you are right about Great Gully Right Hand Finish - just sneaked the 5.
I may be completely off the mark here but one possible explanation for DCG getting IV 4 in the present guide book is that there may be a reluctance to give 20m of ice on Dove Crag a VII or 7 in the grade. I've climbed Scottish VI 6 a few times and the Edge On Variation looked, (I saw it near the time of the first ascent,) and sounds in the guide book, far harder than the grade. But if you give that VI 6, then Chicken out is easier so it gets V 5, and DCG is easier again, so can only get IV 4.
I can think of a few examples where routes in Scotland may have also been inadvertently 'down graded' because of neighbouring routes, and would get a higher grade on a different crag.
There were similar arguments about things like Eagle Ridge in the early 1990s when the current two part grading system was proposed. I don't think you can accurately grade many routes as conditions vary so much especially in the Lakes and N. Wales, the best you can do is give a rough indication as to what to expect.
When I did DCG (1986 I think, may have been a year earlier) the first 5 metres were a couple of grades harder than the rest of the route so a grade of IV 6 might have been right for those conditions - basically a boulder problem start to a standard grade IV. In a way similar to your description of 6m of plumb vertical ... I'm not sure if the base of the route would bank out with snow, a collapse and a refreeze might be more likely. For a short while it's similar to Gemini on Carn Dearg though without the exposure - without the converging walls the first pitch would be a lot harder and sustained and probably the equal of Gemini.
is there a concensus that pitch 1 is crux of Dove Crag Gully?
it seems it was the hardest pitch in 86 and 2013
Thanks for your comments, particularly about Gemini as I had wondered what that route is like and how it compares to the start of DCG. I agree with what you are saying for the start of DCG to an extent, but I would not want to deck it with winter kit on from 6 metres. IV,6 would surely suggest some good protection on the harder climbing?
If split grades aren't allowed, how about a grade of 'Lakeland IV'. In the same vein as 'Scottish VS', i.e. that the actual grade can vary a lot... This would give newcomers to the discipline of winter climbing a better guide of what to expect (rather than simply IV).
Went to red tarn cove and then hart crag in Deep Dale today. Neither crag was in condition. The snow was the horrible sugar type. There is avalanche debris at the bottom of both crags. All of the gully lines on red tarn cove are still full.
lakes winter - going, going, soon to be gone. Great season though!
we had a final plod up Central gully on Great End yesterday, The snow was very soft at the bottom but firmed up just enough by the time we got to the first pitch to give us the confidence to progress.
Th exit slopes were a lot softer than we would have liked and without a refreeze I guess its all over,
It was raining steadily by the time we came down and with the temperature as high as it is, it won't last long...
p.s Now that this lovely warm, wet windy weather has finally arrived... all the people that were complaining about the cold have shut up....
"old chinese proverb" says ..be careful what you wish for!!! lol
It pains me to say after over 23 weeks of winter fun in the Lakes - "That might just be it, for just now." sigh
BTW I think we met on mount blanc a few years ago - Simon from Assured
Although fresh this morning this gives you a picture:
I was being optimistic and had a play around Red Tarn this morning. There is very little snow about now, especially where the graded climbs are. Even if it froze hard over night, you'd do very well to link them into any sort of route. There are some patches heading towards the end of Striding Edge, and a large patch between No 1 gully and Swirral Edge. I had a check of the cornice from the plateau. Whilst appearing solid, it does not look to be very bonded to the rock/mud (which was soggy and well above freezing). I personally wouldn't/ didn't trust it!
I couldn't say for Great End though? You'll only know by having a look?
Some shots of Great End on here - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mountain-Circles/189325167779118
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