Currently it's minus 4 and snowing in Ambleside. The weather has been pretty good today but the sunshine has stripped a lot of the frosting from the buttresses. We're not getting the depth of snowfall that the east of the country is getting but still enough to make the driving interesting.
There's been a few teams out on the usual areas of Helvellyn and Great End. The old snow is now well consolidated and the turf is nicely frozen. The heavy snow showers should be continuing to improve conditions on some of the classic mixed routes such as Bowfell Buttress and Pisgah Buttress. The low level icefalls of The Trough and Low Water Beck should be coming into condition fairly shortly although they're not there yet!
One team paid a visit to Scafell which was reported to be in good condition. Plenty of snowed up rock and streaks of ice. The Cascades on the Shamrock have had an ascent. However only the higher & north facing buttresses were rimed due to the sunny conditions today. Snow chains were very useful for getting up Wasdale.
It looks like it's going to be a very busy weekend so probably best to take the opportunity to go and explore some new areas rather than the usual suspects!
The Lake District has been very busy this weekend with plenty of folk out on the hills enjoying the good conditions. Generally there's more snow and better conditions in the north with the Coniston area looking very bare. Temperatures have stayed low (-4 oC in Ambleside at the moment with 2" new snow) but plenty of sun today has helped the snow to consolidate. There's a surprising amount of water ice around after a few days of cold temperatures. Helvellyn has been the main focus but a few folk have gone for more adventurous options with Scrubby Crag seeing some action and a potential new route on High Crag, Dollywagon. The highlight of the weekend was arguably the first winter ascent of Scabbard on Bowfell by Paddy Cave, Chris Sterling & Tom Greenwood to give Fragile Existence at VII+ 8. The weather is forecast to stay cold for the next few days with a few more snow showers coming from the east. Conditions for climbing should continue to improve with more water ice forming. A quick round up of what's been climbed in the last couple of days...
Blea Water Gill, III
Left Branch, II, Brown Cove Crags
Central Gully, I, Brown Cove Crags
Right Buttress Crack, III, Brown Cove Crags
Two Grooves, IV, Brown Cove Crags
Catstye Cam Gully, I/II
Pinnacle Ridge, III, Gable Crag
Bottlescrue, IV 5, Gable Crag
Engineers Chimney, V 4, Gable Crag
Window Gully, II/III, Great End
Central Gully, II, Great End
Swirral Edge, I, Helvellyn
Gully 1, II, Helvellyn
Gully 2, I, Helvellyn
V Corner, III, Helvellyn
Blade Runner, IV 4, Helvellyn
Viking Buttress, IV 5, Helvellyn
Striding Edge, I, Helvellyn
Thor's Corner, IV 4, Helvellyn
Nethermost Cove Gully I/II
In to the Groove / Big Groove, V 6, Bowfell
Bowfell Buttress, VI 6
Pikes Crag Long Gully, I
As everyone keeps asking... The Trough on Carrock Fell, which is our infamous roadside icefall, is starting to form with ice visible at the back of the gully but no ascents yet that I'm aware of. With the forecast I would guess it'd be in in a couple of days.
Zac Poulton Mountaineering now have a presence on Facebook. Please have a look at our page and let us know what you think. If you click on the 'Like' button you'll receive automatic updates as to what we've been up to and the conditions out on the hill. With plenty of wintery weather forecast I'm just waiting for my chest infection from Kathmandu to get better and we'll get the condition reports up and running again.
The option of raising the alarm by text is now a reality. Many of the UK's mountains suffer from poor mobile phone coverage and yet increasing numbers of folk in the hills rely on their mobile as their primary piece of safety equipment. The majority of mountain rescue call outs are now initiated following a mobile phone call. However a text message will often still work where there's insufficient coverage to hold a conversation or when your battery is low and increases your chances of summoning help in an emergency. The major phone providers in tandem with the emergency services have now rolled out a system of registration for those who feel they might need this service. Simply text 'register' to 999 and follow the instructions in the return text. There is more on this story on the Grough Outdoor News site and at http://emergencySMS.org.uk
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