Planning on some trips to get up to the Lakes - obviously covid pending - will be ready to go at the drop off a hat, but with work I have to give some notice for project planning. So from past experience which month is a good bet?
Feb, March '91. It was like climbing on styrofoam!
Very difficult to say. Depends on what grade you are climbing as well. You can get conditions anytime from November to April but my experience is most likely end January to early March. You do need to be prepared to go at the drop of a hat though. You often get just a couple of days before the conditions change massively due to rise in temperature/rain.
I've spent loads of time winter climbing in the lakes (or trying to) over the last 15 years and I have had what I would consider good conditions around four times (anytime between February and March). Lakes conditions are very fical!
If you cant be really flexible and go when it's good I'd stick to Scotland.
Christmas to mid-April, but have seen 600 feet of water ice in Central Gully Great End in November.
Some February and March days you can do winter routes on Great End in the morning then climb in a T-shirt on Shepherds in the afternoon.
> If you cant be really flexible and go when it's good I'd stick to Scotland.
TBH it's often fickle enough in Scotland too. The days of being able to confidently book a week's trip 6 months in advance are gone.
I've climbed in nick winter routes in the Lakes from early December to early April in the last 5 winters. But really besides the obvious January and February are likely to be best, there's not much to say beyond go when it is in nick. The depressing truth though is that routes can go in and out of condition in a day and you may end up doing the Helvellyn horseshoe quite a few times when that's the best option (or indeed only option). It's a great day out of course, but just a shame there aren't more options that are 'in condition' as quickly and reliably.
> December 1982
Feb 1982 the temp at my house didn't get above zero for three weeks and we had minus 19 C.
Just when you’re desperate for spring, typically winter conditions come good. Personally I’d say late February/March can be pretty good for consolidated snow in gullies. My experiences of December and January are usually pretty powdery with mild temperatures and unfrozen turf. Obviously a lot of variables though, and depends what type of route you want to do.
It cannot be predicted, other than "the day" will be that Wednesday that you cannot get out of work but all your mates can.
Thanks for all the help - I wish a climbing time machine was good to go!
Think I'll just let my boss know that in January/February I'll be taking some days off with only 24hours notice...
I'll be a pro at the Helvellyn horseshoe route if nothing else. From last winter, was there any really good places to keep an eye on for winter conditions (other than this forum?) - I follow and use a few for Scotland, but not sure about Lakes conditions blogs??
Winter climbing Lake District FB group is worth joining for conditions.
The key with winter climbing in the lakes is making your own decisions by following the forecasts/turf thermometers and not waiting for others to find out for you. Last year I did Moss Ghyll (Winter) (IV 5) in brilliant conditon what was deemed a poor winter. My partner posted some photos on here and I heard reports of people heading up to try the route just the following day only to find it not to be in condition.
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