/ UKC Winter conditions report Lake District 21st Feb

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paddy cave - on 21 Feb 2014
For conditions before the 21st Feb see -
http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=578545

Please add new conditions info here...


After a few days of the freeze-line being above the summits there was a temporary dip last night to below 700m. The wet snow had hardened up reasonably well in places but did vary a bit at Brown Cove Crags today, the turf was not frozen except for in some of the most exposed places at the crag top. Very windy today but warmed throughout the day with overnight ice starting to melt by mid morning. Gully’s still have plenty of snow in and there is some good cover high up, though a lot less than last week now.

Looking warmer tomorrow again so only a temporary return to full winter up high, Snow Forecast reckons 1750m for the freeze-line potentially tomorrow night with some rain so likely to soften everything again and cornices will be worth staying clear of. Turf will need a full freeze again and the rock is fairly black on the crags now.

Snow Forecast - http://forecast.com/resortwww.snow-s/Raise/6day/mid

Still loads of good cover though for a winter walk or for skiing with some tactical route choice! Raise no doubt will still have plenty of cover.

some photos from today on here - http://www.mountaincircles.com/brown-cove-crags-helvellyn/

Wesley Orvis - on 21 Feb 2014
In reply to paddy cave:

Just got back from Browncove Crags, I thought with the slightly cooler temps over the last day or so something might be ok to climb, it was raining in the cove but still plenty of snow left, went and had a look at Central Gully but the snow was still too soft, looks like an avalanche had come down Broad Gully at sometime today, so we traversed back out and headed to the summit, the rain turned to snow at about 850m and we was beaten back by the wind at around Browncove summit, no climbing tomorrow I don't think not even easy gullies. Just not been quite cold enough.

On the plus side there is still a lot of snow up high and colder temps forecasted for the end of next week will bring things back in quite quickly.
Mountain Llama - on 22 Feb 2014
In reply to paddy cave:


at Great End today (21 Jan), plenty of snow and wind. Plenty of fresh snow over damp base layer. Was aiming for Central gully but constant avalanche debris rained down, so headed for Custs Gully which was fully of soft snow and a few areas of neve, no cornice.


Shame it's going to warm up over the weekend, a good freeze would bring Stella conditions.


Bumped into Alan Hinks on the way down!
Post edited at 18:21


mugglewump - on 22 Feb 2014
In reply to paddy cave:
Had my skis on yesterday the weather was a bit brutal but the skiing was awesome!
DaveAtkinson - on 22 Feb 2014
In reply to paddy cave:

Also out on Friday. Fresh snow on Great End and gullies v.deep, soft and dangerous. Scafell crag was also well plastered earlier in week with good depth of snow with hard neve high up and would have had a lot more snow yesterday. If the thaw is only for a day there could be good conditions by mid week on Scafell.
DaveAtkinson - on 22 Feb 2014
martinph78 on 22 Feb 2014
In reply to paddy cave:

A quick summary of the North Lakes:

I was out on Thursday around the Coledale horseshoe. Was wet all day, with hail stones and some very strong winds over the summits. Mild for winter though (except with the windchill on the summit). A few patches of snow but only a light dusting/hail on the highest tops. As I say, mostly a wet day! There was a lot of water in the ford though, which didn't finish

Friday popped up Catbells to stretch the dogs legs in the morning. No snow at all, but got hammered by hail and very strong winds on the top (actually had to sit it out at one point). Mostly a day of rain and hail. Cleared up nicely overnight.

This-morning there wasn't any snow to be seen on Skiddaw and rain was heading over to ruin a nice morning. Quite mild again.

Had a good few days navigation, teaching an old dog new tricks, and plenty of beer (all that rain is good for something!), but glad we stuck close to camp to be honest.

PS - The ford over the Coledale, by the mine, any reason there isn't a footbridge near by or is it usually lower than 4ft deep!
paulh.0776 - on 22 Feb 2014
In reply to paddy cave:
Harter Fell and Hawes Water Sat 22nd

We took a walk over Harter Fell today with a view to checking out how the snow is holding up over there, we made it to Nan Bield Pass before retreating back down to the valley out of the weather on the summits.

The temp over Harter Fell summit was well above freezing and as such the snow was soft and slushy. All of the gullies have been very full, but have all avalanched and released from high up. More rain tomorrow will not improve the situation, it'll be a very brave/foolish climber that ventures into these areas at the mo.

pics at:
http://www.paulhorsmanphotographer.blogspot.co.uk
Post edited at 19:33
blackcat - on 23 Feb 2014
In reply to paulh.0776:Oh well im in chamonix next weekend just hope we have some decent weather there,get my axes out for the first time this year.
Wesley Orvis - on 23 Feb 2014
In reply to paddy cave:
Went up Harrison Stickle yesterday and did some summer scrambling it certainly felt like spring was in the air (until the afternoon that is when the stinging hail came) looking around Crinkle Crags and Bowfell were stripped back to the Climbers Traverse, don't look like they will make it through the thaw.

Wetherlam, Old Man and Great Carrs also getting pretty thin now, won't last much more of this.

Up the Dodd on Skiddaw today and the glimpses of Browncove we did get through the clag were it still looked pretty good, with good coverage still, imo the only places which will make it to the weekend when it refreezes are Helvellyn and Great End (beat you up there Saturday morning).
Post edited at 17:16
redsonja - on 24 Feb 2014
In reply to paddy cave:

has anyone been along striding edge or sharp egde the last day or two?
Ross.Cooper - on 24 Feb 2014
In reply to paddy cave:

Was up around Helvellyn area on Saturday 22nd, did a gully on the tongue by Dollywagon North crag, lots of soft snow. Descended Swirral Edge and climbed a gully on the Red Tarn face and snow was in pretty good condition, mostly good placements, had to traverse left a fair way almost to the top of Striding Edge to find a surmountable cornice...
BigLob - on 25 Feb 2014
In reply to paddy cave:

Has anyone got any info on Langdale/Weatherlam conditions? Up there this coming weekend and looking for some white stuff to play in (if its still there!)
Tom W - on 25 Feb 2014
In reply to BigLob:

I was skiing on Raise / Whiteside on Saturday and then again today, during which the snowline has receded quite a lot. From what I saw of Brown Cove Crags in the distance, the crag is fairly black but the gullies are still complete. Ground, even on the summits, is saturated. It was snowing quite heavily on the tops for a while, but falling as rain below about 700m. I can't see where there will be climbing over the next few days, unless there is a really good freeze. Clutching at straws there though...
BigLob - on 25 Feb 2014
In reply to Tom W:

Cheers Tom. Thats what I thought but I live in hope. Axes already in the boot of the car!
Will Smith - on 26 Feb 2014
In reply to paddy cave:

Has anyone been up to Great End in past couple of days to see how much snow has survived the thaw?
ERB - on 27 Feb 2014
In reply to Will Smith:

I was thinking of heading up there at weekend, so if anyone can give us any info on conditions that would be great.

Mark
Denzil - on 27 Feb 2014
In reply to ERB:
Been over Striding Edge and Swirral Edge today. Nice conditions with plenty of snow but still only a thin consolidated layer on the surface. Steep snow slopes at the top of both edges requiring crampons and axe. Still snow in various gullies in the area, but will be unconsolidated and not worth trying to climb. At least it made a good change to the rain we've had for the rest of the week so far.
Tom the tall on 28 Feb 2014
In reply to Denzil: beautiful morning in keswick this morning, quite a hard frost and some new snow above 600m or so. Would be a cracking day on the fells today, shame I'm off to bed after night shift!

Full moon addict - on 28 Feb 2014
In reply to Tom the tall:

it was a cracking day! went up to brown cover this afternoon and did the central gully then down swirral and up the grade II gully. had both cliffs to myself. its not brilliant for climbing but good enough for easy routes. I managed with fellshoes, Kahtoolas and a lightweight mountaineering axe. there's some neve but mostly its soft slab and graupel. there's no cornice problems on the two routes I did, but there's some sizeable ones elsewhere. The exit to swirral is very steep compared to normal.I've uploaded some photos to http://johnfleetwood.smugmug.com/Latest/February/Helvellyn-Gullies-Feb-2014

A Mountain Journey - on 28 Feb 2014
In reply to paddy cave:

Quick update from Helvellyn. Quite a bit of fresh powder snow, great for skiers & walkers, less so for climbing, we didn't come across any frozen turf.
A few photos below show todays 'Alpine' conditions.

http://mark-mountainjourneys.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/striding-edge-helvellyn-winters-back.html

Forecast for tomorrow is looking good.
Mark
Mountain Llama - on 28 Feb 2014
In reply to paddy cave:
just got back from a blast up Great End. I climbed Central Gulley Left Branch. There is still plenty of snow with a layer of a few inches of fresh snow other a firmer base. The quality of the snow is varied with unconsolidated leg swallowing stuff to quite firm but no neve I am afraid. Not much ice forming and turf unfrozen.

There are medium sized cornices on Left Branch and South East Gulley with very steep exits to other gulley routes. The cornice on Left Branch appeared stable.

I thought things would have firmed up more following the warm week and cooler temps for the last few days. We need a thaw and a re freeze to bring stuff really into condition.

Lots of people out enjoying the sun walking.

Cheers Davey
Post edited at 17:53
martinph78 on 28 Feb 2014
In reply to paddy cave:

Anyone know what conditions are like on Grey Crag (Oxford and Cambridge Direct) or maybe Corvus (Raven Crag)?

Looking for some rock climbing rather than winter, so interested to know if there's any snow on them.

Unless anyone can recommend a long, south facing D-VDiff for a decent day out with the trad rack on Sunday :)

A Mountain Journey - on 28 Feb 2014
In reply to Martin1978:

Although the wind was light today, it was still pretty biting cold. I reckon Grey crag will be unpleasantly cold for rock climbing, and Corvus is facing the wrong way so cold there too (and likely very wet after the torrential rains of past weeks).

Raven crag in Langdale with a link up onto higher crags might be nicer. Wallowbarrow could be a good option
Red Rover - on 28 Feb 2014
In reply to paddy cave:

Any snow in Langdale?
A Mountain Journey - on 28 Feb 2014
In reply to Red Rover:

Looked like much less cover than central fells from what we could see
martinph78 on 28 Feb 2014
In reply to A Mountain Journey:

Thanks for that. We've had a few nicer days over here (Durham), and I was repairing the roof with my mate today, in the sun, and we both fancied getting on some rock for a few big routes. I've done the Langdales to death lately, but will give Wallbarrow a look. Cheers.

We might end up mountain biking instead.



Red Rover - on 28 Feb 2014
In reply to A Mountain Journey:

Thanks. I'm tempted by Swiral end Striding edges but I reckon a lot of people will have the same idea, is there a good ridge in the central fells that would be quieter?
DSM - on 28 Feb 2014
Just returned from a run up Scafell from Wasdale via Deep Ghyll which was soloed in fell shoes with 2 short axes. Blue sky, no wind, perfect snow, no cornice, route banked out except for the initial chockstone. There's no ice around but easy gullies like this that get no sun make for much fun.

Having said that, the MRT were called out today to rescue a pair of walkers who had become cragfast at the top of Lord's Rake without crampons nor axes.

DSM
A Mountain Journey - on 28 Feb 2014
In reply to Red Rover:
yhm
I suspect the edges will be excellent though
Post edited at 19:55
paulh.0776 - on 28 Feb 2014
In reply to paddy cave:

Generally there is a layer of fresh powder on top of teh old stuff, but not really enough of it to cause any problems yet.
The snow and turf on Brown Cove Crags isn't as solid as I thought given the freeze/thaw of the last few days, the gullies all have plenty in and both left and right Parallel Gullies are nice and full and well corniced at the top, def a good warm up route.
I continued over to Helvellyn and spoke to two guys that had climbed in Red Tarn Cove, both confirmed conditions were better than BCC, they had climbed No:1 Gully and the slope to the right of Viking Buttress, both were solid near the top with good patches os neve here and there on the way up.
The cornices looked reasonably solid on the whole (don't sue me if they drop tho!!)

I moved over and had a look in Nethermost Gully, which looked in good nick tho I'd go for the left brach as the cornice over the right side looked a bit droopy.
Go high...go hard and enjoy :-)
a few images at

http://paulhorsmanphotographer.blogspot.co.uk
Red Rover - on 01 Mar 2014
In reply to paddy cave:

Went up from Langdale to Esk Pike and Bowfell and did some scrambling today. Crags are black, turf isnt frozen but theres plenty of snow for a nice walk and a lot of gullies look full (dont know how stable).
Gav Parker - on 01 Mar 2014
In reply to paddy cave:

Did the edges today on Helvellyn...a great round.
Lots of loose unconsolidated snow though..didn't see anyone on red tarn face and the exit down on to swirral very loose indeed..
Its just not happened this winter!!!
Wesley Orvis - on 01 Mar 2014
In reply to paddy cave:
Went to do north gully on bowfell today, climbers traverse isn't even there completely banked out and extremely dangerous did the river of stones instead as north gully was very unstable. the great slab is buried completely, loads more snow up high just not climbable.
Post edited at 21:28
str1nger - on 02 Mar 2014
In reply to paddy cave:

Went up to Red Tarn on Friday. Walked up at 23:00 and pitched Terra Nova tent, beautiful clear skies on the walk in. Could see lots of constellations and even Andromeds galaxy and Orion Nebula.

Woke up on Saturday at 8am and beautiful clear skies again. Went up striding edge No Crampons were needed. We then walked 50m past the trig point of Helvellyn and set up a snow bollard with a decent 20cm depth (Aiming for the top of the little butress to the right of the large snow bowl) perfect shot!! Cornice was rounded and very firm and had to hack my way through. Snow bowl was very interesting.....6" of soft snow then 3" of hard pack then loads of graupple under tbat (prefect for slushies ;-) )

We did a couple of short routes on this little butress...a direct route up the middle 30m with a traverse ledge 6" wide and 3 meters long which required some torquing of the axes. The other route was on the far right hand side a kind of gullyeading to a corner, length 30m, with a difficult 4meter crux involving a slight overhang with laybacking and using the axe upside down (stein pull) to get leverage. After the crux is a long snow plod with no protection for 15m.

Not sure what grade but if people have done the route please let me know.

Pictures and video to follow.

Weather at 9pm saturday was high wind gusts flattening the tent to our faces...blizzards...so we packed up and walked down. I presume lots of new snow tomorrow...making avalanches likely considering the top layer of 6" fluff.

We did see a few small cornice collapse avalanches today, but nothing serious. The big snow bown was rounded and tbere was a skier going down it 3 to 4 times throughout the day.

As I said earlier pics and video to follow

Mike Stringer
Andy Can - on 02 Mar 2014
Quick sprint up Sharp Edge gully - snow was more compact than I'd expected and the gully full. However, there's no way you'd get any gear in and we broke through to the gully bed on one or two occasions. Good fun though. Tarn unfrozen. Turf unfrozen. Temp below the cloud was 4C and on the top of Blencathra was 1C.
(The biggest danger were the ill- equipped lemmings swarming all over Sharp Edge and the steep ground above. On the summit area, we were asked 'which way is it to Scales?' by a number of hikers who had no map, no compass and were frankly lost in the mist following footprints.)

redsonja - on 02 Mar 2014
In reply to Andy Can:

Hi Andy. what are conditions like on sharp edge? could we get some use of crampons and axes? thanks
Gerry_Doncaster - on 02 Mar 2014
Was in the Langdales yesterday, finishing up on Harrison Stickle. In terms of snow and ice there was absolutely nothing worth mentioning. The crampons stayed in the sack and we only used axes on the final approach to the summit (via the South Ridge scramble route) to scrape patches of soft wet snow off the footholds.
iamaclimber - on 03 Mar 2014
In reply to paddy cave:

Has anyone been on Great End? Im wondering about the risk of weak cornices & windslab in the gullies?
Wesley Orvis - on 03 Mar 2014
In reply to redsonja:

Did Sharp Edge again yesterday, the south side (Scales Tarn side) is completely stripped, still plenty on the north side though, when we arrived at the edge it still had plenty of snow on the crest, at 10:01 it started raining and by the time we crossed the edge it was completely gone, was just wet slate before the bad step, was raining on the summits too along with a whiteout, we didn't see any other people on the edge at all.

Unfortunately winters over before it even begun.
SuperMike64 - on 03 Mar 2014
In reply to paddy cave:

Did striding edge yesterday. Reasonable conditions on way up. But this was at 8-9am. Whiteout on summit so came back down striding edge in wind and rain. Snow was starting to feel quite weak underfoot but finished for 12 so could have gotten a lot worse in the afternoon. No need for crampons.
redsonja - on 03 Mar 2014
In reply to Wesley Orvis:

thanks for that Wesley. I will think of somewhere else for tomorrow. does anyone know how lords rake is?
Avinash1 - on 03 Mar 2014
In reply to SuperMike64:

And the gullies on red tarn still no go?
Climb1981 on 03 Mar 2014
In reply to avinash1981:

Does anyone know what pinnacle ridge or great end look like at the mo?
pistol on 03 Mar 2014
In reply to paddy cave:

Went up to Brown Cove Crag today; lots of avalanche debris around but it seems the snow has consolidated presumably due to an overnight freeze and it is in nice condition.

Went up Central Gully (I think - seems to be some confusion about its name). It is well banked out with only a small step at the start then easy 1 axe plodding. No appreciable cornice.

Further around at the Parallel gullies there are more appreciable cornices that seemed safe early today but you might want to think about if it warms up.
Mountain Llama - on 03 Mar 2014
In reply to Climb1981:

See my great end feedback from Fri above
SuperMike64 - on 05 Mar 2014
In reply to avinash1981:

On red tarn I couldn't see too much avalanche debris although the cornices looked significant. I couldn't really get a good look as the cloud came in as I got closer.
paddy cave - on 06 Mar 2014

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