/ lakes winter conditions
Late start to the season this year but with the first cold spell here and a slight thaw coming thought I'd start the ball rolling.
Whats the consensus of opinion on things being "in" on Sunday, will it refreeze enough, will there be anything left?
Looking quite warm Saturday night now unfortunately, I'm split 50:50 on driving up Saturday night hoping the morning will bring better than expected conditions
Freezing level only due to drop below 700m at about 22.00 on Saturday so I wouldn’t be risking Sunday personally. I will be risking Wednesday however!
9 degrees and raining at Shap as I drove through this morning. Not sure it will get cold enough soon enough for Sunday... my feeling is steeper stuff will be stripped and less steep stuff will still be wet.
I was considering heading up to the lakes this weekend, although for an overnight backpacking trip rather than climbing. After looking at pics of snow and blue sky on twitter all week (looking at you, Al Hinkes) the forecast for the weekend definitely looks more murky/rainy/warmer and I expect things will thaw quite a bit. MWIS are saying 3degC at dusk on Sat and only around 0degC on Sunday (@750m) so it looks on the nope side of iffy to me.
Cold conditions are forecast to continue for a few weeks, so personally I'll be finding something else to do this weekend and hoping for the best for my backpacking trip next week.
Raise ski webcam is showing a huge amount of snow being stripped, if it stays like this it will be miserable trying to travel over this sort of ground:
Lets hope the gully's have held it all and a cold period would see some good stuff being in and even running/walking being a lot easier
9.5 degrees and raining on the top of Kirkstone at 3.30pm today
fb pics from Helvellyn today suggest that we're back to square one - and it's got several hours of raining to do before it gets cold again
Yep, that’s it gone from what I’ve seen on Lakes Weatherline, I was up over Skiddaw on Wednesday evening, the zigzags off the summit were holding so much snow it was skiable right the way back to Mousthwaite Combe I reckon, that would have been tomorrow’s job if it had hung around !
I went up from Sheffield on Friday lunchtime and came back Saturday afternoon. There was a massive amount of water ie raging rapids where gentle streams with quaint stepping stones previously were! Despite the thaw there was still snow up the tops - thigh deep in some drifts. If we get a very cold spell soon there is bound to be loads of ice. Not yet though, there was very little ice in the gullies even high up as I say just very wet at the moment.
Went up last night to Tarn/Falcon Crag, lots of powder all unconsolidated.
Any word on the watercourses? Coming in yet?
Scafell crag was very thin on ice yesterday.
might be a good day for the edges tomorrow
May even be a day for the Derbyshire ridges!
Been for a plod up Red Screes tonight, lots of evidence of avalanche debris from the gullies, dug a mini test pit and about 8 inches of full depth slab just pulled away very easily, turf soggy underneath, be careful out there !
Yes I was out in the Angle Tarn area yesterday and there was a goodly depth of unconsolidated powder snow lying on very wet, soggy grass.
Went for a quick blast up Halls Fell ridge on Blencathra this evening and it was mainly unconsolidated powder which was drifting in the strong easterly winds. I thought it would have consolidated a bit after todays sun and then a freeze, but no. All the days tracks on the hill were getting covered by spindrift. Going skiing at the moment is a better bet than winter climbing.
Stunning day on Coniston and Dow yesterday. Poor climbing conditions but still made for a very good day. I'd intended to take a look at Low Water Beck but it was more water than ice (see image in the gallery). Went up to Levers water and did a line up a runnel on Cove Rib with heavy powder and unfrozen turf. Carried on to Raven Tor and did a runnel to the right of the Central Gully which looked more entertaining than the gully. More swimming ... Then down to Low Water and a look at Percy's Passage. I decided to have a look at the icycles on the right hand buttress instead. Found a route through but was very delicate. Descended to Dow Crag and embarked on E Buttress. This is a real mountaineering route which felt serious as a solo. The turf was a bit firmer but still deep powder and no helpful rocks. The pitch out of the basin was hard in the conditions with no ice. Loads of spindrift on the ridge from Dow to Buck Pike (see image). It really all needs a thaw to come good, but assuming its not all washed away, it could be very good indeed when it happens. Images at https://johnfleetwood.smugmug.com/Landscape/2019/Coniston-and-Dow/
Nice one, John. I was lucky enough to be the first to log a winter ascent on E Buttress and was impressed with the quality of the route.
Right, my first contribution of 2019 so Happy New Year everyone.
Just returned from a run round the Coniston fells (Fri/1st 18:00). As reported by Full moon addict, Low Water Beck is icing well but its not climbable yet, needs a few more days. The beck was flowing well all the way to the tarn. Took Summit Route to the top of the Old Man which involved knee-deep unconsolidated snow on top of wet turf. The conditions are not surprising really - I was on top of the Old Man last Sunday in horizontal rain at +5C, and the snow all fell on top of the still wet turf...
In general the snow depth varies from zero to about a metre, average 20-30cm making walking quite arduous & running even more fun. Stunning wind-blown flutings in places though, enjoy.
Sounds OK but what did you do in the afternoon?
Keep it going, I miss those shared winter climbing days.
Horrible amounts of unstable snow on Helvellyn yesterday - bitterly cold (-17 windchill reported) and movement of path very very arduous. So difficult that after ascending by Swirral and not staying on the summit for longer than I could avoid I descended to Red Tarn and actually walked on the ice for a considerable distance back to the main path to avoid the extreme difficulty of moving over slippery rocks hidden by white fluff.
Character forming though!
Btw is it possible to get anti balling plates for Scarpa boots? They need them! nearly impossible to place steps with blocks of ice balling up the soles
Soft snow on the walk up to Sharp Edge today, definitely glad to have axe and crampons in the ridge itself, wore crampons down to around 500m after descending from Blease Fell.
Felt quite warm today, hopefully it will have caused a mini thaw up to 800m or so.
Thank god it is not just me that thinks the Scarpa sole design is a total load of crap and does not shed mud or snow.
Sledging with the kids at only 350m today and the snow is still dry, unconsolidated powder even at that level. No sign of freeze thaw, 1 degree in Keswick at 1630. Skiers having fun!
Another run today (Sat/2nd) including Easy Gully on Dow Crag which was completely banked out with powder. Climbed in fell running shoes but with 2 axes, much fun. A crust has formed on the snow, in places hard enough to bear weight, so running seemed a little easier going than yesterday.
Ha ! Fell shoes ! Wimp. I did summit route in flip flops today.
it's like walking in high heels perhaps? Not that I have any experience of that
9 degrees and pissing down today, mega thaw but if the high stuff holds and it gets cold again it should make for some fun.....
That was just before breakfast. Always up for a climb. Thursday saw me finally entering the 21st century with leashless axes. I must say, that I rather enjoyed the freedom of them even if it felt a little odd to start with.
Hi Ross. I saw your entry before I went out and thought I'd give it a go. You're right - it is a good route, especially the top half. I did the scramble last year and took quite a different line using decent rock most of the way up.
Red tarn cove yesterday was powder snow on the approach turning quite wet as the day went on. We stayed off most of the routes due to soft ground, very little was frozen up but gully #2 had some reasonable ice so had a plod. Bailed out and went home today due to rain and rising temps..
Went up Deepdale today in the hope that the snow would have frozen nicely and with a forecast of a bit of sun. Both hopes were dashed! Very hard going with heavy, slightly crusty snow and no tracks. I had East Hutaple Groove in mind but there was nothing on it at all, so did East Hutaple Gully instead. Descended the other side to Link Cove and headed beneath Scrubby Crag with very poor visibility and very heavy going. Contoured round to Hart Crag in search of ice. I eventually found some in the murk, but it was mostly rotting and thin. I looked at the ice falls but couldn't quite justify it. Instead I did the runnel on the left, descended and located Cold Lazarus. It demanded great attention with pretty duff ice and collapsing snow. The little chimney looked too thin at the top, so I took the icefall to the right which was full on 4 in the conditions. Raining hard on the way back. Still a lot of snow but not much ice and desparately needs to freeze.
I also agree. I had the same problems last week on the Cheviot with snow balling up on the soles of my Scarpa Mont Blancs. I also found the soles and rand to be very soft and suffered cuts and gouges all over them whilst ascending scree on the way to church door buttress on Bidean. I never had that problem with my Solomon super mountain 9,s.
I’m guessing most snow/ice will have pretty much disappeared by now??!
Judging by the amount of water in the river this morning I think you're probably right.
> I’m guessing most snow/ice will have pretty much disappeared by now??!
Remember the Lake District Ski Club camera gives a good indication about snow cover. Admittedly it doesn't help with ground temperature and ice, but successive days with it becoming muddier and muddier is never a good sign.
Apparently there was good climbing in the Red tarn gullies yesterday, but that's academic given today's warm wet and windy conditions
Great End this afternoon (Sun/10/Feb) was pretty warm & pretty wet, snowy but with little ice in evidence & only at the top of the crag.
One Pitch Gully in ascent & Cust's in descent were just about tenable, both were stepped out. More freeze/thaw followed by a decent freeze are needed I think.
Long thaw between Tuesday and Sunday, I'd be surprised if there's any winter left after it.. but it does look to get cold again next Monday!
Had a really good day on Gable Crag. Conditions not brilliant but the overnight snow made it scenic. Had the crag to myself in the morning on Pinnacle Ridge and Central Gully. Then another pair turned up to do Clark Gable which I also did the top of and ended on Gable End which is very good.
Actually think I may have gone up a different line to Pinnacle Ridge - something to the left. One to come back for! Great day though - here's an image of the crag - https://johnfleetwood.smugmug.com/Landscape/2019/Gable-Crag/i-W3mX4v5/A.
Seems like winter has returned to the mountains, has anyone been and taken a closer look yet?
With the freezing level dropping below the summit from Fri night we may have some routes in condition after the weekend?
Quite a decent avalanche on the east facing slope behind sharp edge, lots of snow above 500m currently that fell in gale force winds over the weekend. It’ll need to settle down but the temperature range should mean a bit of consolidation.
Very toilsome and cold on Helvellyn yesterday AM though it seemed to warm up after midday. Didn't need crampons but lots of soft unconsolidated snow made the going quite arduous, particularly as I wore my comfy but rubbish soled Scarpas of great priceand suffered immense balling up even without crampons. They must have worked hard on the soles to get them like that!
What boots are they and why do you think they ball up so much?
I take it there was no sign of frozen turf when you were up there? I looked pretty in pictures I saw from yesterday though. Forecast looks like there should be snow around next weekend still but not really very cold over the next few days. Perhaps I'll try taking my skis out next weekend rather than go climbing! https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/forecast/gcty5q7dp#?date=2019-03-17
I did see a couple of people with skis at the summit shelter. I slid off near the top of Swirral Edge taking the easy way down - I had encountered no frozen turf doing the round but it did look as if soggy ice might be present in places on the Red Tarn Face.
On the walk out beside the tarn I stepped onto a snow patch and more than the boot and ankle disappeared into an unfrozen bog below the snow, comfy!
I have researched the boots as I got them from the Rock and Run shop in Ambleside so that tells you how long I've had them! As best as I can see they are bright orange Mont Blancs and have a goretex label. I didn't use them for a long time because they gave me blisters but a year or so ago I decided to try to break them in and this appears to have produced a comfy boot for walking with a bit of a less precise feel than my Sportiva Nepals on rocky or uneven ground and with a terrible vice for balling up, something I thought only crampons did,, a shame, as I reckon I could get used to them for very easy stuff and being slightly less than rigid they are indeed good for walking.
With the right (or wrong) snow conditions (especially wet) pretty much anything can ball up, boots, crampons, skins on skis etc. regardless of the manufacturer.
All I can say that this is a relatively new experience for me to have this happen every time I wear the same boots, and I started hillwalking seriously in the early 80s, before that it was all in an old pair of boots DMS.
The possibilities exist that it is not the boots but a new kind of snow, or a new kind of effect from having put on some weight ;-)
I am rather suspicious though - maybe I need to do something to the soles with a chisel. It places a big strain on the foot and ankle always to have balls of ice on the front of the foot as well as being desperately dangerous on some terrrain
> I take it there was no sign of frozen turf when you were up there?
I don't know anything about winter climbing, but I went for a walk today up to about 700m and there were patches of wet snow only. Obviously more higher up, but I can't see anything being frozen.
A lot of the info centres around Helvellyn, I get that but has anyone else been around Scafell area or Great End over the last couple of days?
Have you looked at the great end temp sensors on the BMC site, that might give a general idea.
I did a recce along the base of Great End last Sat. Fair amount of snow in gullies but cover over some of steps and chockstones in lower half looked thin. Snow was soft and powdery as expected. No ice visible on Window Gully icefall finish, visibility poor so can't tell about ice on other climbs. On Sun did Great Gable via Green Gable with intention of turning back if conds got too hard. Very very windy at times (!!) as forecast, more fresh snow down to 400m. Temp not as cold as predicted so no icing up of paths and soft new snow lying over saturated ground/rocks. Deep accumulation of snow at top of Windy Gap so used rock where possible to skirt round this. Gable Crag looked quite white but didn't get close enough to routes to judge conds. Overall lots of powder and damp ground needing an intense freeze before climbable.
There's a log for Pisgah Buttress Direct on Sunday.
this is what Bowfell looked like at 9am
Someone on facebook on Monday said that the Great End gullies were all full of soft wet snow.
However, there's a thaw due tonight (rain at all levels), cold tomorrow but another wet thaw forecast tomorrow night before more cold snowy conditions on Saturday.
Personally I'm not expecting any decent conditions anywhere this weekend.
No I wouldn't be either. Fell top assessor said some ice was starting to build on Helvellyn face, so hopefully a good sign with some freeze/thaw to come. I've a day out pencilled in for Monday, looks like there'll be a good freeze on Sunday night but still half expecting to end up on rock somewhere instead.
This Winter Conditions page gives a summary of what is being climbed at the moment, what is 'in' nick and what the prospects are...
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