Sunday, 5 December 2010

Alpine Lake District

Approaching Green Gable

Today was almost alpine in the Lakes. Blue skies, cloud inversions, sub zero temperatures and a complete covering of snow. After the warm temperatures of yesterday the overnight freeze had brought plenty of routes in to condition. At valley level there was a good icy crust but this soon disappeared as we climbed to leave plenty of unconsolidated snow with a good covering of surface hoar. There was plenty of evidence of a number of small slides on various aspects in Gillercombe caused by yesterdays warm temperatures on the new snow. However things were pretty stable today.

We decided to have a look at the classic Gillercombe Buttress (IV 5). However the sun had done it's job and stripped the crag before we arrived leaving unconsolidated snow on the ledges and plenty of black rock. One team were seen heading up but I'm sure they'll agree the route was defiantly not in winter condition and shouldn't have been a attempted. By the time we were returning to the car at last light the crag was almost black.

We opted to continue up to Green Gable Crag which was looking very wintery. Epsilon Chimney is a gem of a grade III route with plenty of gear and good hooks up a technical groove. We also climbed the 3 star Garden of Eden (III) which was a wee bit thin and Beta Hammer Belter (III)

Unsurprisingly the hills were very busy today. Looking across to Great Gable there were teams climbing Engineer's Chimney (V 4), Bottleneck Blues (IV 4) and in-situe on Engineers Slab (VI 7). Snickersnap (VIII 9) also had an ascent on Saturday.

A quick round up of the rest of the action this weekend.

The usual suspects, Brown Crag Coves, Helvellyn, Low Water Beck and Great End were all busy as usual with multiple ascents of most of the routes. A few more unusual climbs included Pendulum Ridge (III 4) on Scrubby Crag , Woodhouse's Route (IV) & C Ordinary Route (IV 5) on Dow Crag, Ledge & Groove (V 6) on Bowfell Buttress, Slingsby's Chimney (V 5) on Scafell and Step Gully (II/III) on Greenhow End.

On the flanks of Dollywagon Falcon Crag Gully (II), Dollywagon Gully (III) and Chock Gully (IV 4) all received ascents although the latter looked extremely thin when we looked at it on Saturday morning. Up on Bowfell Links - No 1 Gully (I), Hidden Gully (I) & Two Under Par (II) were all climbed while over on the west Great Gully (III) and Right Hand Branch (V 4) on Wasdale Screes received ascents

A few of the gills have been coming in to condition - Carrock Fell Ice Fall (The Trough, III), Pudding Beck on Force Crag (III), Newlands Hause Waterfall (III), Whitewater Dash Waterfall (II), Launchy Gill (III) and Shoulthwaite Gill (V) were all climbed this weekend. The Honister Pass Ice Falls (III-V) have also been receiving a lot of attention although it sounds like the drainage patterns have changed creating some very strange conditions.

Gillercombe Buttress - Not in condition!

John on the initial moves of Epsilon Chimney (III)

John engrossed in the technical grove of Epsilon Chimney (III)

Chris on belay duty enjoying a few fleeting moments of sun.

Topping out on to Green Gable as the sun sets

Cloud inversion from Green Gable