UKC

/ Where are the Lakes winter climbers?

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Phizzers - on 14 Feb 2018

It's been one of the best winters for years, yet it seems that very few new routes have been climbed in The Lakes this season.

30 years ago, there were several activists, Andy Hyslop, Brian Davison, Dave Kay and myself who were all battling to ascend new winter routes.  Then along came the next wave, Steve Ashworth, Paddy Cave and Dave Birkett took up the mantle of front line activists, with Brian Davison becoming the Grandfather figure. (Apologies to those keen lads and lasses who I have missed).

But where are the new generation of winter activists?  Has winter lost it's appeal to the younger climbers?  Or has The Lakes become so unpopular that it is now ignored?

Have other areas of Britain seen a general downturn of activity, or are there still some mad kids out there finding their way up the white stuff?

I hope so.

Cheers, Al

MFB - on 14 Feb 2018
In reply to Phizzers:

Not that much left, other than classic rock, wonder what percentage of the last guide got repeat ascents

conditions over last 5-6 years haven't been great 

Post edited at 21:22
nation1 - on 14 Feb 2018
In reply to Phizzers:

Greg Boswell........ not sure if he does much in the Lakes though 

Dave Cumberland - on 15 Feb 2018
In reply to Phizzers:

Al, think conditions have been often quite frequently poor in recent years. Those used to better conditions are waiting for it to improve!

DC

ERB - on 15 Feb 2018
In reply to Phizzers:

Conditions just arn’t right and haven’t been for a few years, even this year Helvellyn has been the crag in condition the most but compared to good years there still hasn’t been a good build up of ice. Reports from Great End and Gable have been poor (but starting to look promising) February is usually colder so there’s time yet.

Exile - on 15 Feb 2018
In reply to Phizzers:

Admittedly not all, but a lot of Steve's, Paddy's and Dave's harder new routes were rock routes climbed under winter condition.  I suspect people now think twice about climbing this sort of route in the Lakes.

 

mrphilipoldham - on 15 Feb 2018
In reply to Exile:

I've been mulling this over recently, how popular are the mountain crags during the summer months? How many ascents do even the most popular rock routes see per annum? Is it one or two teams worth stopping what could be a huge potential of new winter routes? 

I must admit, the only time I head to the Lakes is in winter (though this is something I intend to change this summer!). But if it's anything like the Peak District, then anything even remotely arduous to get to will result in even the most popular routes there seeing only a handful of ascents each year. Wimberry, Dovestones Edge (and Tor, for that matter), Standing Stones.. all excellent venues but neglected.

5
Jim 1003 - on 15 Feb 2018
In reply to Phizzers:

The new generation are in Scotland doing proper routes...

4
Phizzers - on 15 Feb 2018
In reply to Jim 1003:

Touche.

JDC - on 16 Feb 2018
In reply to Phizzers:

"It's been one of the best winters for years,"

It might well have been, but it's still not a great one... Conditions have been in and out, but have lacked any decent freeze-thaw cycles - it's either cold or it's warm. Ice build up has been poor and turf largely unfrozen in many places.

Prof. Outdoors on 16 Feb 2018
In reply to Phizzers:

One winter climber missing here. I am certainly not a new router but always enjoyed my bimbly routes in winter or summer.

Sadly unable to do any activity at the moment. Been off work for 4 months with a trapped femoral nerve. Off to Ortho this afternoon.

Even if conditions are not ideal for climbing, I would recommend that people get out into the hills and just enjoy them for what they are. Always a good idea to maximise opportunities whilst you can.

Enjoy the Outdoors!

Dave Cumberland - on 16 Feb 2018
In reply to Prof. Outdoors:this afternoon.

> Even if conditions are not ideal for climbing, I would recommend that people get out into the hills and just enjoy them for what they are. Always a good idea to maximise opportunities whilst you can.

> Enjoy the Outdoors!

Agree there - rub noses with it. Also worth commenting that there are plenty of people getting out and doing stuff in the right conditions and they don't necessarily tell anyone on this site what they are up to.

Today's comment:

Have had constant hail showers then melting this week.

Fells are white and getting more and more consolidated with the freeze-thaw. So long as it doesn't get stripped should be OK soon when winds die down. Has not been particularly cold. Barely freezing at Great End. A couple of weeks hard frost after this though would be excellent.

DC

 

mrphilipoldham - on 16 Feb 2018
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

Very melty Monday/Tuesday then cold again by the looks of it

Footy564 - on 21 Feb 2018
In reply to Phizzers:

 Generally don’t log what I’m doing In the lakes on here for fear of getting strung up by the secret society of keyboard polishers every time I touch anything that slightly resembles something that some one once ascended in summer. 

I’m no Greg Boswell, but We’r trying as hard as we can ;) and as far as first ascents go the leg-ends before us have laid down that many test pieces that We’r spoilt for choice!

The Grist - on 22 Feb 2018
In reply to Phizzers:

I think a lot of winter climbers are just put off doing stuff in the Lakes as the general attitude seems so far against mixed climbing. I tend to go to Scotland or when conditions allow to Wales. The guidebook contains all these 3 star mixed routes which never seem to get logged (apart from Bowfell buttress). I guess I am just hesitant to get lynched. 

Ramon Marin - on 22 Feb 2018
In reply to Phizzers:

Hi Al, I agree with Jim above. I think the young scene of winter climbers is very strong from my point of view, but most just go to Scotland. On a typical good week in Scotland you see plenty youth on decent routes. Maybe it is because it is most guaranteed conditions. In my case, I have looked at the Lakes, but the lack on obvious (in my limited knowledge) of classics VIIs and VIIIs regularly in condition I just head to Scotland, like most of my friends. 

Phizzers - on 24 Feb 2018
In reply to Ramon Marin:

Hi,

There's been some good comments on this thread, I suppose the lack of good conditions over the past few seasons means that you've got to visit Scotland for good ( and big!) Ice.  

I also understand the reluctance to record new mixed routes in The Lakes, I never got any stick following my Scafell winter routes, even though I repeated Jones' Route Direct the following summer and the crampon scratches were very evident.  I think I was lucky that no-one had twigged onto the consequences of winter climbing back then.

The big ethical debate really kicked off with Steve Ash on Snicker Snack, It really awoke the 'Old Guard' to what was going on, and this eventually led to the Lakes Winter ethical guidelines from a few years ago by the FRCC.  I suppose the consequence of that is to drive any activity under the radar, for the climbers to just get on and enjoy things without the fear of getting castigated in forums like this.  So I suppose things are still going on, it's just we don't hear about it.  Keep it up, and good on yer! 


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